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Choosing headphone for mastering
Old 31st May 2018
  #1
Gear Maniac
 

Choosing headphone for mastering

Hi
Sorry i'm new to mastering. Currently i master my tracks using ozone 8 (previously ozone 5). I mix and master all ITB, no external hardware. A common home producer.

Since my studio is less than ideal condition, i think it would be a logical choice to do mastering using a good pair of headphones.

I had an r70x for a while now and boy i really loved them. But i think it would not be suffice anytime soon.

So i'm aiming for a true pro grade reference headphone (is r70x could be considered pro grade?).

I planned to buy a used sennheiser hd 800, since the price is cheaper now that the hd 800s is out. Is it still a good choice? Or maybe there are better alternative like hd 700, or models from.beyerdynamic, etc?

Please don't be harsh. I know i don't know anything very much but i'm willing to learn.
Thanks
Old 31st May 2018
  #2
Lives for gear
i've always really liked beyerdynamic phones. used them for 20 years now. currently have the dt990 pro and they're terrific.

mastering on headphones is pretty unfun, but if your room is terrible i do think it's better to just use phones.
Old 31st May 2018
  #3
Gear Maniac
 

My room is terrible. No acoustic treatment of any kind and the only speaker i have is hs80. Using focusrite scarlett.
Like i said, a typical home studio condtion.
Old 31st May 2018
  #4
Lives for gear
so get yourself a nice pair of headphones and then start saving up for room treatment. that's the smartest money you can spend.
Old 31st May 2018
  #5
Gear Maniac
Check out the Audeze LCD-Xs or LCD-4s. As much as I wouldn't recommend mastering on headphones, I know of a few mastering engineers (including myself) that wouldn't be too bothered if they were forced to temporarily work on them only. I love mine.
Old 31st May 2018
  #6
DAH
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DAH's Avatar
What are u going to master?
Hint: if you say "my mixes", then I and probably other people in a more polite form will say: "GTFO"
Sorry for being harsh, but how are you going to master in the same non-ideal mixing room?
Old 31st May 2018
  #7
Gear Addict
Quote:
Originally Posted by DAH View Post
What are u going to master?
Hint: if you say "my mixes", then I and probably other people in a more polite form will say: "GTFO"
Sorry for being harsh, but how are you going to master in the same non-ideal mixing room?
I think, if he is smart. His answer would be (for that homeenviroment) with long breaks and lots of other music in between to reset the ears!
Because basically, that is the most important thing here.. the ears!

Last edited by gregerlindberg; 1st June 2018 at 01:18 AM..
Old 1st June 2018
  #8
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by DAH View Post
Sorry for being harsh, but how are you going to master in the same non-ideal mixing room?
that's why he wants headphones.

go easy. everyone starts somewhere. and that somewhere is usually a crappy room.
Old 1st June 2018
  #9
Gear Head
 
jontornblom's Avatar
How do you like your sound tilted? You want something that is pretty flat (although that’s a perceived quality when it comes to headphones that depends a lot on your head and ear anatomy), but some people like that flatness tilted either towards the high end or low end. If you don’t mind brighter headphones, the AKG k812 are really good, the k700 series or q701s are a lot more affordable. I cranked out some solid masters on both of those sets of headphones when I needed to. AKG headphones need significant break in time before the top end relaxes. You’ll need a serious headphone amp for the 700 series cans, but the k812s do ok with any decent amp.

I would also check out the newer offerings from Focal.

No matter what you do, it’s going to be difficult to get the low end right since you won’t be able to feel the bass, which is a significant factor in how we perceive it. You can do it though, it just might be an iterative process.
Old 1st June 2018
  #10
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by DAH View Post
What are u going to master?
Hint: if you say "my mixes", then I and probably other people in a more polite form will say: "GTFO"
Sorry for being harsh, but how are you going to master in the same non-ideal mixing room?
That's why i wanted headphones.
It's ok to be harsh, but at least read my thread description wholly and carefully before jumping recklessly to the conclusion that "OP wanted to master in the same non ideal mixing room".
Old 1st June 2018
  #11
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by jontornblom View Post
How do you like your sound tilted? You want something that is pretty flat (although that’s a perceived quality when it comes to headphones that depends a lot on your head and ear anatomy), but some people like that flatness tilted either towards the high end or low end. If you don’t mind brighter headphones, the AKG k812 are really good, the k700 series or q701s are a lot more affordable. I cranked out some solid masters on both of those sets of headphones when I needed to. AKG headphones need significant break in time before the top end relaxes. You’ll need a serious headphone amp for the 700 series cans, but the k812s do ok with any decent amp.

I would also check out the newer offerings from Focal.

No matter what you do, it’s going to be difficult to get the low end right since you won’t be able to feel the bass, which is a significant factor in how we perceive it. You can do it though, it just might be an iterative process.
Can you give me an example of a serious headphone amp?

I already done bits of research and what suited my budget is either cambridge audio or schiit jotunheim.

Something like chord hugo is way overbudget.
Old 1st June 2018
  #12
DAH
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DAH's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by 1jordyzzz View Post
Can you give me an example of a serious headphone amp?

I already done bits of research and what suited my budget is either cambridge audio or schiit jotunheim.

Something like chord hugo is way overbudget.
You dont need an amp unless the outpuy lacks gain headroom.
Old 1st June 2018
  #13
Gear Head
 
jontornblom's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by 1jordyzzz View Post
Can you give me an example of a serious headphone amp?

I already done bits of research and what suited my budget is either cambridge audio or schiit jotunheim.

Something like chord hugo is way overbudget.
Oh yeah, dude. the Schiit Jotunheim will be just fine. No need to get into the super high end stuff. The law of diminishing returns kicks in heavily past the O2/ODAC combo, which I would consider a good baseline rig. For the 700 series headphones, good current output is what are looking for.
Old 1st June 2018
  #14
Gear Head
 
jontornblom's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by DAH View Post
You dont need an amp unless the outpuy lacks gain headroom.
This is true for most headphones, but the impedance character of the q701s (and the k702, k701, etc) prevents the bottom end from opening up unless you have a lot of current available to drive them. They definitely sound different and not just louder with a better amp.
Old 1st June 2018
  #15
Gear Maniac
 

Thanks for the feedback guys

First, my amp is my scarlett interface headphone amp. Is it suffice? If jontornblom said that bottom end won't open on high impedance headphone, this would not be my concern because i got just fine gain on my current ATH R70x. But i don't know whether the bottom end is open or not...

jontornblom you mean this one:
https://www.jdslabs.com/products/48/...ac-combo-revb/

If you said it's good i could grab them and save some money on headphone.

I need an opinion on sennheiser hd 800 (not the new hd 800s) as it is available in used condition.
k812 is too expensive unless it is available used.
Old 1st June 2018
  #16
DAH
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DAH's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by 1jordyzzz View Post
Thanks for the feedback guys

First, my amp is my scarlett interface headphone amp. Is it suffice? If jontornblom said that bottom end won't open on high impedance headphone, this would not be my concern because i got just fine gain on my current ATH R70x. But i don't know whether the bottom end is open or not...

jontornblom you mean this one:
https://www.jdslabs.com/products/48/...ac-combo-revb/

If you said it's good i could grab them and save some money on headphone.

I need an opinion on sennheiser hd 800 (not the new hd 800s) as it is available in used condition.
k812 is too expensive unless it is available used.
Definitely HD580\600\650 over HD800, from experience.
Old 2nd June 2018
  #17
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by DAH View Post
Definitely HD580\600\650 over HD800, from experience.
Well it's a good news for me since its cheaper, but why? What about hd 700?

Unfortunately audeze is out if budget unless it is available used.
Mu budget is 1000$ ish. Could go more.
Old 2nd June 2018
  #18
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by audiomaster View Post
Check out the Audeze LCD-Xs or LCD-4s. As much as I wouldn't recommend mastering on headphones, I know of a few mastering engineers (including myself) that wouldn't be too bothered if they were forced to temporarily work on them only. I love mine.
Those are out of budget. What about lcd 2? Will it be suffice?
Old 2nd June 2018
  #19
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https://www.innerfidelity.com/conten...itys-wall-fame

I went for the HD600.
Any of the "better" ones are more stressful on the ears or significantly more cost.
Old 2nd June 2018
  #20
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Hermetech Mastering's Avatar
 

Verified Member
Headphones aren't really suitable for mastering. There, I said it. For every ME you name that only uses headphones (I can think of two), I could name hundreds that don't, and there are very good reasons for that.
Old 2nd June 2018
  #21
Gear Maniac
 

Well if you recommend hd 600 it is good news. It's not too expensive. But what about other headphones like hd 700 or whatever? Is it really not worth it?
Old 2nd June 2018
  #22
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hermetech Mastering View Post
Headphones aren't really suitable for mastering. There, I said it. For every ME you name that only uses headphones (I can think of two), I could name hundreds that don't, and there are very good reasons for that.
At least, can you name a mastering engineer that master in a crappy room with an hs 80 all in the box? I bet you cannot name even one.
At least there are two persons that comes from your thoughts and that's good enough. Because i can't afford it (yet) to properly build a good room and buy a mastering grade speaker.
Old 2nd June 2018
  #23
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by 1jordyzzz View Post
Well if you recommend hd 600 it is good news. It's not too expensive. But what about other headphones like hd 700 or whatever? Is it really not worth it?
The 600's don't wear out your ears. Yes the 650/700/800 sound better, but they also wear out your ears more. the 600 is the best balance of all things including cost and your hearing.
Old 2nd June 2018
  #24
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Hermetech Mastering's Avatar
 

Verified Member
Quote:
Originally Posted by 1jordyzzz View Post
At least, can you name a mastering engineer that master in a crappy room with an hs 80 all in the box? I bet you cannot name even one.
At least there are two persons that comes from your thoughts and that's good enough. Because i can't afford it (yet) to properly build a good room and buy a mastering grade speaker.
So you'd probably get way better results sending your mixes to an actual ME, for a number of reasons, than buying a pair of mid range headphones and attempting to fake it.
Old 2nd June 2018
  #25
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James Lehmann's Avatar
 

Mastering solely on a single pair of headphones is a high-risk strategy - you absolutely need to hear what the master sounds like through something pumping larger volumes of air (i.e. speakers) in a bigger space (i.e. than your head), even if it's just a Bluetooth speaker or something.

That said, there's a ton of more mundane mastering tasks that I would suggest you can confidently do on a decent pair of studio headphones - click/noise removal, top'n'tailing tracks, fade in/outs, evening/balancing between tracks etc.

It seems there's quite a jump in the headphone market between what one might call everyday studio cans around $2-300 (Beyer DT880 Pro/Sennheiser HD600 etc) and so-called 'reference grade' models costing > $1,000. No-one can honestly say if your masters will be 4x better if you use cans costing 4x more - you'd have to try some pairs out for yourself, bearing in mind some of the more expensive models draw much more current and will require bespoke amplification to sound anything like their best.

Until last week I hadn't bought a new pair of cans for about 25 years but decided to pop for a pair of Beyer DT880 Pro for general mixing and mastering duties and I'm extremely happy with these. I've always liked Beyer for sheer comfort - they just seem to fit my head and ears better than Sennheiser or AKG - and the sound is really good in conjunction with my Amphion One15s (i.e. no nasty shocks or surprises on either). The DT880s are also more accurate and neutral than the (now rather tatty but still working) DT990s I still have, which still sound great but do weird things to the bass.

Last edited by James Lehmann; 2nd June 2018 at 02:38 PM..
Old 2nd June 2018
  #26
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by elegentdrum View Post
The 600's don't wear out your ears. Yes the 650/700/800 sound better, but they also wear out your ears more. the 600 is the best balance of all things including cost and your hearing.
Thanks. The hd 600 is on my list unless someone can convince me otherwise
Old 2nd June 2018
  #27
Gear Maniac
 

The economic situation here is not very good. I'm just a small home producer and arranger. I also own a mini chamber + band for event and wedding. We would like to do our own demo for wedding band just for our clients to see. I think sending 15 mixes away to mastering engineer that is also mixed in an unideal condition is a total waste of money. I only want our recording to be above average to what others are offering. However i'd also like it not being too far in quality from the commercial recording.
Please don't tell me that i should buy a speaker and room and bunch of other stuff.

Think of it like this.
If you are stranded on an island and you have to master, what headphones would you use? Since the island is remote and the only way to send items is to send it via parachute, you are available to choose a headphone.

Believe me i also wanted to own a mastering room.someday, but not today.
Old 2nd June 2018
  #28
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chet.d's Avatar
 

A friend that has a crazy amount of high end headphones highly recommends checking out the newer Beyer 1990’s for analytical studio type tasks. You can get them new for close to $500.

I have a pair coming to check out.
Old 3rd June 2018
  #29
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by chet.d View Post
A friend that has a crazy amount of high end headphones highly recommends checking out the newer Beyer 1990’s for analytical studio type tasks. You can get them new for close to $500.

I have a pair coming to check out.
Let me know what it sounds like after you got them.
Old 3rd June 2018
  #30
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thermos's Avatar
Hd600 with sonarworks is great. The subs aren’t optimal even with eq correction but otherwise they are great. You should invest in a better dac/headphone amp. It’s super duper crucial to have the headphones sound right. The 600s can sound terrible with the wrong/underpowered amp/dac.
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