Anyone ever mixed with high end headphones?
GearNerd
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#1
30th December 2012
Old 30th December 2012
  #1
3 + infractions, forum membership suspended.
 

Thread Starter
Anyone ever mixed with high end headphones?

Wondering if anyone mixes with high end headphones like Stax SR-009, Sennheiser HD 800...? Would this be a good choise if the room is bad and can´t get monitors sounding the way they should. Or at least use the headphones complimentary to the monitors? Has anyone had good results with headphones?
#2
30th December 2012
Old 30th December 2012
  #2
Lives for gear
 
Mixtree Audio's Avatar
I mix and check masters all the time on HD800s due to being in a residential building and working in the wee hours. They take a while to get used to because they are ruler flat down to below 20hz (depending on the amp), ruthless in revealing every flaw, pop, click, hiss, too much EQ, phase issues, too much panning, compression, limiting, etc. I can usually get to 95% finished with a mix, then just need to check and tweak on my Focal 2.1 monitors for how the panning translates and how the bass/kick and lead vocals sit. I absolutely love them. They do not have any hyped bass whatsoever, so you must ignore what you've been used to with all other headphones. These ain't no Beats ; )

You must pair them with a suitable headphone amp and at least a very good DA converter or they won't be worth the investment. You will just hear all the deficiencies in a cheap amp and converter. I use a Violectric V181 balanced amp with a Double Helix 4-pin XLR balanced EPOCC copper cable, and either a Violectric V800 DAC or the DAC on my Dangerous monitor controller. It's killer. Other amps to consider are from Grace Design, QES Labs, or Lake People.

-d
#3
30th December 2012
Old 30th December 2012
  #3
Gear maniac
 
orpheus_'s Avatar
 

I use AKG K171 MkII when travelling, with Redline Monitor as last insert on the master bus.

This usually gives a good result but I do need to take the song apart and put it back together again when back in the studio as it doesn't translate perfectly. But each time I do it gets closer and closer to translating, so I think if I keep working at it I might get to good translations.

I don't think I could without Redline though, just the fact that it's binaural instead of stereo I find it very fatiguing and hard to mix but Redline works really well for me to fix this.
#4
30th December 2012
Old 30th December 2012
  #4
Lives for gear
 
John Willett's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mixtree Audio View Post
I mix and check masters all the time on HD800s due to being in a residential building and working in the wee hours. They take a while to get used to because they are ruler flat down to below 20hz (depending on the amp), ruthless in revealing every flaw, pop, click, hiss, too much EQ, phase issues, too much panning, compression, limiting, etc. I can usually get to 95% finished with a mix, then just need to check and tweak on my Focal 2.1 monitors for how the panning translates and how the bass/kick and lead vocals sit. I absolutely love them. They do not have any hyped bass whatsoever, so you must ignore what you've been used to with all other headphones. These ain't no Beats ; )

You must pair them with a suitable headphone amp and at least a very good DA converter or they won't be worth the investment. You will just hear all the deficiencies in a cheap amp and converter. I use a Violectric V181 balanced amp with a Double Helix 4-pin XLR balanced EPOCC copper cable, and either a Violectric V800 DAC or the DAC on my Dangerous monitor controller. It's killer. Other amps to consider are from Grace Design, QES Labs, or Lake People.

-d
Agreed - everything you say is correct.

I use mine with the Grace m903 at the moment.
#5
30th December 2012
Old 30th December 2012
  #5
Gear nut
 
Lehmman's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by GearNerd View Post
Or at least use the headphones complimentary to the monitors? Has anyone had good results with headphones?
Personally it's the way I use it.
HD-800 driven by QES Labs HPBA-2 are the ones I currently own.
The HD-800 have (IMHO) a great soundstage, the imaging champs of the dynamic headphone world.
Someone finds them a bit 'bright', I feel that the treble is extraordinary clean.
Provided you have a very good source/DAC, the HPBA-2 drives them perfectly, it works in current-driving mode, which is better for dynamic headphones.
Insanely fast on transient response, ruler flat frequency and phase response.

I'm really curious about the planar HiFiMan.
Did not test them yet.
GearNerd
Thread Starter
#6
30th December 2012
Old 30th December 2012
  #6
3 + infractions, forum membership suspended.
 

Thread Starter
I´ve read also the HD 800 being too bright and lacking bass, so not really ruler flat FR. I´ve heard them only once quickly and that´s the impression I also got. But I´m thinking of giving them another chance with a good amp...

I wonder if anyone´s tried the Stax SR-009 and mixed with them? Or other high end headphones.
#7
30th December 2012
Old 30th December 2012
  #7
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John Willett's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by GearNerd View Post
I´ve read also the HD 800 being too bright and lacking bass, so not really ruler flat FR. I´ve heard them only once quickly and that´s the impression I also got. But I´m thinking of giving them another chance with a good amp...
The HD800s are definitely not bass light - but the bass is clean and neutral and does go very low.

You would only think them bass light to headphones that have a hyped bass end - eg: putting in an upper bass lift to make you think that the bass goes lower than if does.

I don't find them bright at all, but they do have a clean and extended top end.

I find them the most accurate headphones I have ever heard and sound like the original instrument in the room.

They are so revealing that they show up deficiencies in the headphone amp. and the source material, so "bass light" and "too much top" are more likely to be the amp. or source, than the headphones.

I have had my HD800 for not far short of four years now.
#8
30th December 2012
Old 30th December 2012
  #8
Gear Guru
 
Sqye's Avatar
 

.

Mixing on HPs is VERY tricky, if not virtually impossible, for most people.

Getting the bass and imaging correct is the challenge.

Some people can do it, but most serious engineers DON'T WANT TO.

But hey, if you don't have a room - you gotta do what you gotta do.

I do agree that if you MUST mix on HPs - as MixTree says -
you definitely want ruler flat HPs - along with a serious preamp, amp and converters.

But I would almost never mix on HPs if I didn't have to.

You can get used to anything -
as Chris Rock says, "You can drive a car with your feet, but that don't make it a good idea".

That said, as we become a more and more mobile world, the trend toward HP mixing will likely increase.

.
#9
30th December 2012
Old 30th December 2012
  #9
Banned
 

I mix in ear goggles from time to time. Generally, though, the idea is to set up the mix on my home rig before taking it into the studio to perfect. I find mixing in headphones quite comfortable (it's very easy to hear EQ moves and subtle reverbs, because unlike in a "real" studio, you're never off-axis, and for some reason, I find myself listening constantly at a lower volume, so my ears stay fresher), however there's almost always a need to tweak the bass on a proper monitoring system.
#10
30th December 2012
Old 30th December 2012
  #10
Lives for gear
 

When I really have no other option, I'll do it. I use KRK 8400s and redline monitor; I think redline monitor is a must have for balancing levels, especially if you like to hard-pan stuff.

I really didn't like the KRKs out of the box but after about 50 hours I think they've mellowed out a bit and/or I understand them now.
#11
31st December 2012
Old 31st December 2012
  #11
Hey Guys,

I experimented with a couple mixes using some $700 Alessandro/Grado headphones that are quite revealing and comfortable. The mixes sounded fine, but I made small adjustments to the balances and panning after listening on speakers.

My opinion is that headphone listening is a different experience than speaker listening. I mix for speakers, FWIW.
#12
31st December 2012
Old 31st December 2012
  #12
#13
31st December 2012
Old 31st December 2012
  #13
Lives for gear
 
Ward Pike's Avatar
I mix on a variety of sources, headphones included. Earbuds included. Why? Because most consumers are listening to music in three places these days:
  • Earbuds plugged into an iPod/iPhone
  • Laptop or computer speakers
  • In the car/truck.

Now of course I do most of my mixing on nearfields, switching over to mains periodically, but I can get a lot of work done on headphones too.
#14
31st December 2012
Old 31st December 2012
  #14
Gear addict
 

I tend to use them to judge fader rides. I feel I can sit inside the vocal or guitar. The same goes with a snare drum. Once I get the punch of the snare to nearly hurt my ears on headphones, I tend to back off a bit and its normally right where I want it.
#15
7th January 2013
Old 7th January 2013
  #15
3 + infractions, forum membership suspended.
 

After an extensive test, I'm keeping en eye on the HD-800.
#16
7th January 2013
Old 7th January 2013
  #16
Creative Edge Music
 
qvplite's Avatar
 

Beyerdynamic DT 880 Pro

Yes - the Beyerdynamic DT 880 Pro headphones come highly recommended by Mike Senior, a well-established authority in the mixing world. His book on mixing music is awesome by the way, with some pretty dry humor throughout.

Nothing can replace a top quality set of nearfields in a GOOD room, but if you don't have $4-5k to spend to get both the good monitors AND the room to where it needs to be, it is very very helpful to have some pro mixing headphones to be a constant reference point.

Another bonus: you can bring the headphones anywhere, so even if you mix in different environments, rooms, studios, etc., you'll always know what your cans sound like.
#17
7th January 2013
Old 7th January 2013
  #17
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Puffer Fish's Avatar
I do not like to mix on headphones, but I have done it. Mostly when I was working on mixes away from the studio, while traveling and the like. I make sure I am not getting too specific with the adjustments I am making. So for me, it has only been useful for cursory efforts. But there is a lot of work on tracks I have been able to do this way---chopping up tracks, working with simple level adjustments, cleaning stuff up.
#18
21st January 2013
Old 21st January 2013
  #18
3 + infractions, forum membership suspended.
 
Afsouth's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by GearNerd View Post
I wonder if anyone´s tried the Stax SR-009 and mixed with them? Or other high end headphones.
Not sure if I would really mix on a Stax, in the past I had the HD-600.
When I first tried the 800 I was blown away.
#19
21st January 2013
Old 21st January 2013
  #19
Gear Head
 
captainfaggo's Avatar
 

you should check out the ultrasone signature pro's too, very flat and because of the technology involved a lot less fatiguing than other cans
#20
21st January 2013
Old 21st January 2013
  #20
Gear addict
 
syntheticrhyme's Avatar
 

I use the Beyerdynamic T1 and I'm very happy with them. Currently I'm driving them with my apogee duet and they sound fantastic for mixing. They'll probably perform even better with a high end amp
#21
14th March 2013
Old 14th March 2013
  #21
Gear maniac
 
4blades's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by syntheticrhyme View Post
I use the Beyerdynamic T1 ... They'll probably perform even better with a high end amp
#22
15th March 2013
Old 15th March 2013
  #22
Gear interested
 

I use akg 40 and mix and master with them and the product is real nice! No issues at all, i have good ears.
#23
16th March 2013
Old 16th March 2013
  #23
Lives for gear
 

One of my concerns with headphones is how drastic they make stereo space sound. A little pan goes along way, so things end up sitting more centred than they would on monitors.
#24
3rd April 2013
Old 3rd April 2013
  #24
Gear Head
 
captainfaggo's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Draytone View Post
One of my concerns with headphones is how drastic they make stereo space sound. A little pan goes along way, so things end up sitting more centred than they would on monitors.
An SPL Phonitor could probably sort that problem out for you
#25
3rd April 2013
Old 3rd April 2013
  #25
3 + infractions, forum membership suspended.
 

Tried the Phonitor, VRM, TB Isone, 112db redline monitor, nothing sounds near what the Smyth Realiser can do with a pair of Audeze LCD-2 to recreate a true stereo or surround speakers environment.
#26
3rd April 2013
Old 3rd April 2013
  #26
Gear Guru
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by GearNerd View Post
Wondering if anyone mixes with high end headphones like Stax SR-009, Sennheiser HD 800...? Would this be a good choise if the room is bad and can´t get monitors sounding the way they should. Or at least use the headphones complimentary to the monitors? Has anyone had good results with headphones?
As many others here are saying: mixing on headphones is problematic for a number of reasons.

Mixing on high-end headphones is still mixing on headphones and the "high-endedness" of the phones does not address all of those issues. Or even most of them, IMO.

They say you can get 'used to' anything. You will probably see a lot of posts from people who DO mix on headphones or who say they CAN mix on headphones. It is worth keeping in mind that nearly every one of them has something driving this as a 'forced choice'.

They have a horrible-sounding room, and they "can't" treat it. The baby is sleeping. They can't afford a decent pair of speakers. What you will never see is someone who has treated his room, has decent speakers and has no sleeping baby say that he STILL 'prefers' mixing on headphones because he gets 'better results'.

I rely on my headphones to check mixes, usually for small flaws that escaped notice. They are an excellent second or third reference. But I find it very difficult to get an accurate "big picture" perspective on the balance of the mix as a whole on them.

YMMV, but I doubt it.
#27
3rd April 2013
Old 3rd April 2013
  #27
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RedTuxedo's Avatar
We consider ours another playback device. It's nice to know that your mixes are sounding good on the mains, the nears, computer speakers and a variety of headphones.

There have been times that the headphones revealed problems that we initially did not hear on the speakers, but we would not rely on them for our main mixing or mastering environment.

To me, panning or stereo spread of effects don't come across well in the mixing stage on headphones. But I can get a better sense of the stereo image during mastering. If the center image is too hollow on headphones during mastering, I jump back to my speakers and see if there is something I need to adjust.
#28
3rd April 2013
Old 3rd April 2013
  #28
Gear addict
 
Bruno B's Avatar
 

For the $1,500 for those magic headphones, I would:

1. Pay a pro acoustician to check out my room.
2. Fix the room with treatment, moving stuff around, etc.
3. Get a decent set of monitors that translates 1 million times better than cans on your head.
4. Buy a pair of $100 headphones.
5. Go out for dinner.
#29
3rd April 2013
Old 3rd April 2013
  #29
has all the gear he needs
 
Unclenny's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by joeq View Post
They have a horrible-sounding room, and they "can't" treat it. The baby is sleeping. They can't afford a decent pair of speakers. What you will never see is someone who has treated his room, has decent speakers and has no sleeping baby say that he STILL 'prefers' mixing on headphones because he gets 'better results'.
Yes.

Quote:
Originally Posted by RedTuxedo View Post
To me, panning or stereo spread of effects don't come across well in the mixing stage on headphones. But I can get a better sense of the stereo image during mastering. If the center image is too hollow on headphones during mastering, I jump back to my speakers and see if there is something I need to adjust.
And yes.

....coming from a guy who mixes on headphones and has for years (Ultrasone Pro 900). High end cans will be more comfortable, less damaging and may even give you a bit better bass response and a more 'real' stereo image.

But I always make sure that I find a way to run my mixes through the monitors before I consider calling it a wrap. I've mixed in a beautiful sounding room with excellent monitoring and there is nothing like it.

Just don't want to wake up my baby.
#30
16th April 2013
Old 16th April 2013
  #30
Gear addict
 
Sudad G's Avatar
 

The complementary use of headphones and monitors is normally recommanded, but if your room isn't perfect or has maybe a bad frequency response I would go to mix on certain headphones which are built for mastering or mixing. It isn't so difficult to mix with headphones when you have some experiences. I do this very often if I have to do a mixing job at other people's studio and/or if I don't know their room characteristic well.

What you need is/are only some linear sounding headphones and some of your favourite cd's. You also have to know that you should do more breaks during mixing compared to monitors, because your ears become faster tired. That's all.

For mixing I made remarkable results with Ultrasone Signature PRO in combination with SHURE SRH-940. (I produce and mix mostly EDM). For Rock/Pop I love the Ultrasone PRO 2900 and AKG K702.

Most important is that you like the headphone and that you know it well. Same with monitors. But the advantage of headphones is, that you can take them with you and that you are room independent.

Sudad G
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