The No.1 Website for Pro Audio
 All  This Thread  Reviews  Gear Database  Gear for sale     Latest  Trending
Good/Cheap headphones for Mixing/Reference purposes?
Old 15th August 2009
  #1
Lives for gear
 
Lifted's Avatar
 

Good/Cheap headphones for Mixing/Reference purposes?

I have been looking through about 80 different headsets, and half of the reviews say that they are GREAAAAAAAAAAAAAT, and the other half bash them for uncomfortable ear cups. Worst thing is that 98% of the people never mixed a record in their life.

Does anyone know good/decent headphones, that are closed back, and are good for mixing/referencing the recording?

I have Yamaha MSP5s, but I also want headphones, that can tell me a real world reference of my track quality/mixing byproduct.

Something under 150, I'm BROKE at the moment heh



Audio-Technica ATH-M50S for the win?
Old 15th August 2009
  #2
Here for the gear
 

HD280 gets my vote. I got the 595 but they're open.
Old 15th August 2009
  #3
Here for the gear
 

Also, look at Grados. Both sennheiser and grado are top of the line companies.
Old 15th August 2009
  #4
Lives for gear
 
Lifted's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by whatwhatwhoa View Post
Also, look at Grados. Both sennheiser and grado are top of the line companies.
Old 16th August 2009
  #5
Lives for gear
 
SkunkWorks's Avatar
 

Here's what I just posted about the HD280 in another thread. I would not recommend mixing on them...

The HD280 Pro have a complete lack of upper bass/low mid. If you've ever compared them against just about any other high quality can, especially Sennheisers from the HD595 on up, it's quite obvious. Once I realized this it explained why anything I ever mixed on them sounded grossly boxy on anything else the material was played back through (was compensating). They're also a bit overly bright in the highs, not the upper highs but the lower harsher highs. For just listening to music they're not so bad though... the lack of mid bass gives them a sense of extended low end in the more sub frequencies.

A friend of mine who has them in his studio agrees.

Mine have been banished to tracking duties only, because of the isolation.
Old 16th August 2009
  #6
Gear Addict
 
Paul Russell's Avatar
 

I bought my Sennheiser 590s when that was the top of the range. Nothing under that number ever came close to being good enough. But they're open. The only closed back ones that I've ever liked are the Beyer DT770s, which we use for tracking. However, the hyped bass in these due to the closed back mean that they're not a good reference set.

It's not a good idea to mix using headphones. It'll make you deafer than Beethoven much sooner than you'd like.
Old 16th August 2009
  #7
Here for the gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by SkunkWorks View Post
Here's what I just posted about the HD280 in another thread. I would not recommend mixing on them...

The HD280 Pro have a complete lack of upper bass/low mid. If you've ever compared them against just about any other high quality can, especially Sennheisers from the HD595 on up, it's quite obvious. Once I realized this it explained why anything I ever mixed on them sounded grossly boxy on anything else the material was played back through (was compensating). They're also a bit overly bright in the highs, not the upper highs but the lower harsher highs. For just listening to music they're not so bad though... the lack of mid bass gives them a sense of extended low end in the more sub frequencies.

A friend of mine who has them in his studio agrees.

Mine have been banished to tracking duties only, because of the isolation.
It's the truth. Closed designs really makes the bass responses unrealistic.
Old 11th October 2017
  #8
Lives for gear
 

AKG K66 Replacement

I was about to start a new thread about this same topic until I saw this old one so I'll just resurrect it instead.

My issue is while I really like the "full range" sound of my AKG K66 headphones for reference, they are failing (bad cord, duck taped ear cups, broken headstrap, and other wear and tear) after 13-14 years of use. So, what I'm looking for is some good open back replacement headphones that sound as good as the AKG K66 (which have good bass, mids, and highs frequency response with nothing overemphasized). My budget is limited to around $100-$120. I'm BROKE too!!! Just like the OP.

I understand the higher end Sennheisers (hd598 and up) mentioned earlier in this thread are more expensive and out of my budget. Furthermore, I prefer to stick with the AKG brand for the time being since I had a pretty good experience with my K66s (had 2 pairs, one down, the other on it's way down). I was looking at the K240s on amazon a while back with a detachable and replaceable cord (which is already an improvement over the K66 hardwired non - detachable cord). I'm thinking about trying out those. However, I'm just not sure if they sound as good as or better than my K66s as full range reference headphones. The K240 is a higher number and more expensive model so I would like to think so. The K66 has a really nice and crisp highend that can pick up elements in audio (such as noise or background noise) that are sometimes hard to hear on other headphones which makes them great for noise reduction, sound design, and mastering applications. The lowend and mid range on the k66 are also nice and clean with no "muddiness." The whole frequency spectrum sounds well balanced on the K66 from bottom to top with clear instrument separation. Is the AKG K240 just as good or superior in that respect?

I would also be open to any opinions on the Audio-Technica ATH-M50x. How well do they compare to the AKG K66/K240s for studio applications (mixing, monitoring, referencing)?

Last edited by kvmoore; 11th October 2017 at 07:20 AM..
Old 12th October 2017
  #10
I've been a big fan of the Audio Technica ATH-M40x for a while now.

- Kris
Old 12th October 2017
  #11
Gear Nut
 
skyy38's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lifted View Post
I have been looking through about 80 different headsets, and half of the reviews say that they are GREAAAAAAAAAAAAAT, and the other half bash them for uncomfortable ear cups. Worst thing is that 98% of the people never mixed a record in their life.

Does anyone know good/decent headphones, that are closed back, and are good for mixing/referencing the recording?

I have Yamaha MSP5s, but I also want headphones, that can tell me a real world reference of my track quality/mixing byproduct.

Something under 150, I'm BROKE at the moment heh



Audio-Technica ATH-M50S for the win?
You could also buy second-hand at your local Cash America Pawn Shop.
The store next to me routinely has a bakers dozen pair of quality pro headphones in stock all the time.
Old 12th October 2017
  #12
Gear Addict
Just to add a bit of low end bargain hunting info....

The Samson SR850 that is mentioned in the Gearank page are a re-badge of the Superlux HD681B ( make sure it's the B model ) which can be found on Aliexpress for peanuts......

https://www.gearank.com/guides/cheap-studio-headphones

https://www.aliexpress.com/item/Supe...8-1633563db411
Old 13th October 2017
  #13
Lives for gear
 

Thanks. After hours of research and reading, I've narrowed my choices down to the K240 Studio and the K702/Q701 which cost over $100 more than the K240. The K702/Q701 seems to be VERY highly respected in regards to flat frequency response and Soundstage (stereo imaging) for the purposes of mixing, mastering, and sound design, which is right up my alley. I'd just have to wait until I budget can accommodate the extra cost if I were to decide to go with the K702/Q701.

With that said, I'm willing to bet even the K240s (tried and true and we'll respected by professionals for decades) would be a significant step up from the K66 I'm currently using. At $64 on Amazon, they are about the same price as what I paid for each pair of K66s years ago. However, for mixing, I be willing to save up a little more and stretch my budget for some K702s/Q701s if possible. I'd like for my cans to be good enough to mix on and have my mixes translate nicely on near field monitors, consumer stereo, car, club PA etc....
Old 13th October 2017
  #14
Lives for gear
The 'latest' version of the K240 is the M220, so that's probably worth investigation before you commit to the 240: Massdrop AKG M220 Headphones Collab | Major HiFi
Plenty of reviews in headfi.org and elsewhere....won't really touch your hip-pocket either !

http://www.headphoneslab.com/akg-m22...phones-review/

Last edited by studer58; 13th October 2017 at 09:02 AM..
Old 13th October 2017
  #15
Here for the gear
 
GM86's Avatar
 

My suggestion goes for ATH-M50X.
Great for monitoring and very good for casual music listening.
And they're not too expensive!
Old 13th October 2017
  #16
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by studer58 View Post
The 'latest' version of the K240 is the M220, so that's probably worth investigation before you commit to the 240: Massdrop AKG M220 Headphones Collab | Major HiFi
Plenty of reviews in headfi.org and elsewhere....won't really touch your hip-pocket either !

http://www.headphoneslab.com/akg-m22...phones-review/
Based on a review I've watched as well as what I've read, there's really no real difference in the sound between these two. Only cosmetics and slight price difference.

I've done even more research since my last post on "mixing" headphones that translate well to monitors with good accurate soundstage and balanced frequency response (including accurate bass response and presence comparable to speakers) and have come to the conclusion I may need to just wait awhile and extend my budget sore something like HD600s. I know I ruled that out in a earlier post but considering how serious an application "mixing" really is and the impact it will have on the final product, I need to reconsider.

Truth is, my monitoring environment is NOT ideal and my mixes do not translate well, particularly, in the low mids/bass department. To fix that will require a lot of rearranging which would involve setting up a new workstation for mixing in another room (the current room is too small and the monitors are always close to a corner which is not good. Plus, the room is not treated). Then after all of that, I would still need to get some room treatment. Although that would be the long-term solution (which is also costly), I think in the meantime, I need to consider an accurate pair of headphone monitors. At least with the room out of the picture, I might get better results. Of course, I still plan to fix my monitoring environment sometime in the future whenever budget allows.

I keep reading the AKG K series lack in bass response. Although the ATH M50x claim to have decent bass and treble response, they seem to lack in midrange. Furthermore, closed-back headphones are less balanced than open-back headphones which make them less-than-ideal for mixing duties (although they're good for tracking due to better sound isolation.). However, the HD600S seem to be a balanced all-around headphone with decent (but not overly-hyped) bass response. Considering the fact I produce a lot of bass - heavy music (consisting of TR808 drums.....mostly rap beats), I think I need to strongly consider the HD600s. I admit, I have been mixing my beats with too much bass sometime when using the K66s so I HAVE to check with monitors. The K66s are a bit light on bass. The bass is all there but it's hard to judge the levels.

Those HD600s are close to $300 though. Dang. Oh well, I guess nothing that's really good comes cheap. Quality comes at a premium. I never ever spend over $100 on a pair of headphones. Maybe if save up and get the HD600s, my music will thank me later. Based on what I've read from reviews, they're comparable in sound to nearfield studio monitors as far as accuracy.

Last edited by kvmoore; 13th October 2017 at 10:37 PM..
Old 13th October 2017
  #17
Gear Addict
Quote:
Originally Posted by GM86 View Post
My suggestion goes for ATH-M50X.
Great for monitoring and very good for casual music listening.
And they're not too expensive!
But not good for reference or mixing because of the bass build up in the closed design.
Closed back designs are usually best avoided for mixing.
Old 13th October 2017
  #18
Gear Addict
Quote:
Originally Posted by studer58 View Post
The 'latest' version of the K240 is the M220, so that's probably worth investigation before you commit to the 240: Massdrop AKG M220 Headphones Collab | Major HiFi
Plenty of reviews in headfi.org and elsewhere....won't really touch your hip-pocket either !

http://www.headphoneslab.com/akg-m22...phones-review/
These look like a re-working of the Samson SR850 / Superlux HD 681B ....... Both of which get good press and go for under $50.... Just a thought.
Old 13th October 2017
  #19
Gear Addict
Quote:
Originally Posted by kvmoore View Post
I keep reading the AKG K series lack in bass response. Although the ATH M50x claim to have decent bass and treble response, they seem to lack in midrange. Furthermore, closed-back headphones are less balanced than open-back headphones which make them less-than-ideal for mixing duties (although they're good for tracking due to better sound isolation.). However, the HD600S seem to be a balanced all-around headphone with decent (but not overly-hyped) bass response. Considering the fact I produce a lot of bass - heavy music (consisting of TR808 drums.....mostly rap beats), I think I need to strongly consider the HD600s. I admit, I have been mixing my beats with too much bass sometime when using the K66s so I HAVE to check with monitors. The K66s are a bit light on bass. The bass is all there but it's hard to judge the levels.
IF the phones are strong in the bass you'll mix with less bass... the AKG701 are often considered to be light in the bass but that is probably because they are telling the story fairly accurately.... which is what you need for mixing.

This link helped me enormously and I went for the AKG701.

https://ehomerecordingstudio.com/bes...io-headphones/
Old 14th October 2017
  #20
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mikey77 View Post
IF the phones are strong in the bass you'll mix with less bass... the AKG701 are often considered to be light in the bass but that is probably because they are telling the story fairly accurately.... which is what you need for mixing.

This link helped me enormously and I went for the AKG701.

https://ehomerecordingstudio.com/bes...io-headphones/
I thought you were looking at a price point around $150. Unless I’m looking at the wrong model, you bought phones costing more than twice as much.
In fairness to you, some posters were recommending phones nearer to $600.
Oh well... I’ve liked every AKG headphone I’ve put on, as long as there was an adequate headphone amp to drive them. I hope yours meet your expectations.
Old 14th October 2017
  #21
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by kvmoore View Post
I was about to start a new thread about this same topic until I saw this old one so I'll just resurrect it instead.
Good idea, because headphones haven't improved at all in the past 8+ yrs.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Mikey77 View Post
Closed back designs Headphones are usually best avoided for mixing.
FTFY
Old 16th October 2017
  #22
Lives for gear
 
BIG BUDDHA's Avatar
hundreds of pro studios have Fostex T20s or T40s. i must have bought 30 pairs at least since 1989 till now. I've still got 8 pairs or so. i like them, but I've never mixed on them. sometimes i listen to the mix on them, but better to mix on speakers. hope that helps Buddha
Old 17th October 2017
  #23
Quote:
Originally Posted by GM86 View Post
My suggestion goes for ATH-M50X.
Great for monitoring and very good for casual music listening.
And they're not too expensive!
+1 i swear by my ath m50x now. They show me things my nice monitors + subwoofer and my mixcubes dont. Really accurate for doing eq! Best mixing headphones! Under 150 there is nothing better, and even at any price id bet they hold their own. Top 5 at any price probably
Old 20th October 2017
  #24
Lives for gear
 

Thanks everyone for your responses. I decided to go with the AKG K240 Studio for the time being until I can afford something more high-end. I just bought a new pair today. They were not too expensive and well within budget. I'm about to open the box and try them out now. I'm expecting them to sound pretty similar to my K66 but better. However, I'll know for sure once I try them on and update you once I had a chance to give them a thorough listen and compare them. They'll probably need some break in time like a new pair of shoes or speakers.
Old 21st October 2017
  #25
if you will be using them most of the time look into ones from http://sonarworks.com they have headphone bundles with curve correction to flatten the headphones out -while the generic profile is good the cystom profile for your pair is better
Old 22nd October 2017
  #26
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by ataylor View Post
if you will be using them most of the time look into ones from http://sonarworks.com they have headphone bundles with curve correction to flatten the headphones out -while the generic profile is good the cystom profile for your pair is better
Thanks. I'm going to definitely look into this!
Old 23rd October 2017
  #27
Old 19th December 2017
  #28
Lives for gear
 

Ok. Based on my experience with the K240s so far, I really like the mid-range frequency response. If my mix sounds muddy in the lower-mid range compared to a commercial track, I can definitely detect it more clearly on the K240s compared to the K66s. However, I think the K66s has a wider overall range, particularly in the sub-bass and highs. On the K66s I can hear all of the bass frequencies compared to the K240s. With the K240s, the bass is slightly deeper but there is definitely a drop-off in the lower subbass frequencies that I don't get with K66s. The subbass presence, while not quite as deep, is easier to hear (including lower subbass frequencies like 40Hz and below) with the K66s, not boosted or exaggerated, but better presented and more defined. I also hear more presence in the highs on the K66s as well (but maybe it's because the K66s have lower impedance and go louder unamped). I haven't tried the K240s on an amp yet so maybe I need to try that next. However, so far based on what I've heard already, I still find the K66s valuable for subbass and highs. On the otherhand, the K240s are great for the mid-range. I could see both being great for mixing songs when used together (each for specific monitoring purposes), whereas the K66s have proven great for my drum sample editing and sound design duties.

The K66s have been discontinued. Does anyone have a pair of K77s and K66s to compare. The specs are similar. I'm wondering in the K77s will give me the same sound as the K66s. If so, I may consider a pair to replace my K66s and complement the K240s.

EDIT:----------------------------------

I just checked and it looks like the K77s are now discontinued too. In fact, it looks like all of AKG low-end sub $100 headphones (with the exception of the K240S) are now of closed-back design, which might not give the same exact sound as my K66s (the K66 has a semi-open back design). It doesn't look like there's budget replacement for the K66s currently on the market since the K77 and K99 are also discontinued.

Maybe closed back design is better for sub bass and highs. Perhaps I should give the K72 and K92 a look.

----

After looking, it appears the only difference between the K72 and K92 are aesthetic. The specs appear to be the same on paper. Apart from the closed-back design and slightly extended frequency response, the specs are very similar to the k66. It looks like they've improved the driver and made them more comfortable with the over-the-ear design, as well as extended bass and high frequency response. BTW, my K240S headphones are VERY comfortable compared to the K66. After comparing specs, it's possible the K72 might be just the ticket. They're very affordable (cheap) too. I just wish AKG made them with a DETACHABLE CABLE!!! come on guys. Anyway, that's another wonderful thing I like about my K240S. You should NEVER have to replace and entire set of headphones just because the cable broke.

Last edited by kvmoore; 19th December 2017 at 07:03 AM..
Old 19th December 2017
  #29
Gear Head
 

Alex Tumay swears by the Audio-Technica ATH-M50x. He uses them as his source of truth constantly.
Old 20th December 2017
  #30
Grado all the way. Open back rules the day for this purpose.
Post Reply

Welcome to the Gearslutz Pro Audio Community!

Registration benefits include:
  • The ability to reply to and create new discussions
  • Access to members-only giveaways & competitions
  • Interact with VIP industry experts in our guest Q&As
  • Access to members-only sub forum discussions
  • Access to members-only Chat Room
  • Get INSTANT ACCESS to the world's best private pro audio Classifieds for only USD $20/year
  • Promote your eBay auctions and Reverb.com listings for free
  • Remove this message!
You need an account to post a reply. Create a username and password below and an account will be created and your post entered.


 
 
Slide to join now Processing…
Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Forum Jump
Forum Jump