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Choosing between these headphones for Mixing/Mastering
Old 9th August 2019
  #1
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Choosing between these headphones for Mixing/Mastering

Hey everyone, first timer here!

I'm trying to figure out what headphones to get in for mixing/mastering. I know it's not comparable to studio monitors but atm it's the only thing I can get. From what I've read there are a few quite cheap options that sound okay to work with.

- Beyerdynamic DT770 / DT990 Pro
- Audio-Technica ATH-M50X
- Sony MDR-7506
- Sennheiser HD-280

Would you recommend any of these to mix and master? If not, any other better options available? Bear in mind my budget is tight and logistics aren't great right now for me to get monitors.

Thank you in advance
Old 9th August 2019
  #2
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The only pair you've listed that I have extensive experience with are the AT-m50x, which I love for field production monitoring, for musicians in studio, and casual listening, but they'd be pretty hard to mix on. Whatever you choose, I definitely suggest doing the month long demo of Sonarworks headphone correction software. I didn't like it the first time I tried, but now I find it indispensable for mixing on headphones. I go back and forth between hd800 and m50x, but the vast majority of my headphone mixing is done on the hd800's. Don't forget to consider how comfortable each pair may be on your head and ears, especially if you'll be using them for long stretches of time.
Old 9th August 2019
  #3
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Owen L T's Avatar
Definitely NOT the 280s. I have two pairs for tracking, and they're great for that. But they are not a headphone you'd want to mix on. Limited bass extension, and extremely tight - great for bleed, not great for extended use.

The pair I bought to spot-check my mixes on were the AKG 702s. Super comfy, and great value, as they've been around a while. Open back, which is kind of what you want.
Old 9th August 2019
  #4
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GYMusic's Avatar
Maybe because I'm so used to them, but I still use the Sony MDR-7506s. I have many pairs. I've been tempted to try the Audio-Technica ATH-M60x.

Adding... again, maybe because I'm so used to them, I have mixed on the 7506 when I had no other option with good results.
Old 9th August 2019
  #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bonelli View Post
Hey everyone, first timer here!

I'm trying to figure out what headphones to get in for mixing/mastering. I know it's not comparable to studio monitors but atm it's the only thing I can get. From what I've read there are a few quite cheap options that sound okay to work with.

- Beyerdynamic DT770 / DT990 Pro
- Audio-Technica ATH-M50X
- Sony MDR-7506
- Sennheiser HD-280
Granted they aren't top end but these are not "cheap" options and they are all more than "OK." They are all highly-regarded headphones FYI. However I think all of these are closed back, and if you're sure you're only going to mix/master and not use them for tracking, I wouldn't advise. Get open back.

If you're dead set on one of these, honestly you can ask 100 people and get 100 diff replies. For every person who says X is amazing, Y will say avoid at all costs.

I personally am not a fan of the ATHs although they are very good quality, because they have a boost in the bass which I hate and IMO makes no sense. Studio headphones by definition are supposed to give a neutral, honest sound. The others I have not tried enough to feel qualified to speak to (and have put a purchase on hold anyway).

If at all possible, find a place where you can try these out. That's the only way to know what will work best for you. FWIW
Old 4 weeks ago
  #6
Gear Addict
My stuff translates mixed on a K701. It’s so big that you don’t have a lot of the congestion of most headphones.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #7
Lives for gear
I own all of the headphones you’ve listed, except the Beyer.
I agree with bill5 that the AT is bumped on the low end in a way that makes them somewhat unreliable in getting your low end into that “sounds at least OK on any system” range.
And I agree with Owen in rejecting the 280 for mixing, but for the opposite of the reason he gives. While they are not bumped obviously on the low end, they have so much extension on the low end (down to 10 hz or so if I’m not misremembering) that I spent far too much time “fixing” things in the extreme bottom that weren’t audible to anyone else. They are also heavy, the coiled cord tends to kink, and they aren’t very efficient.
The Sony you reference is a very old design, but it is a very neutral and honest, light, fairly comfortable phone. I actually mixed some audio for video in someone’s garage using 7506 and a pair of PA speakers (which I didn’t trust at all). Those mixes weren’t bad, and I would pick the 7506 if I were offered the four choices you give.
The ATs are more impressive to listen to and have both more thump and sparkle, but I mix better on the Sony’s... or the very cheap Sennheiser 202, which may not be a current Sennheiser model.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #8
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Will The Weirdo's Avatar
Just like with every monitor, you have to learn headphones too. IMHO you can learn to mix on any of these headphones given enough time and desire. I suggest you find the closest music store that carries most of these and go test them for yourself with music you are familiar with, then pick what works best for you and learn that pair inside and out.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bushman View Post
The ATs are more impressive to listen to and have both more thump and sparkle, but I mix better on the Sony’s... or the very cheap Sennheiser 202, which may not be a current Sennheiser model.
Current schmurrent: https://www.amazon.com/Sennheiser-HD...gateway&sr=8-1

Ever used the 201s? Similar?
Old 3 weeks ago
  #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bill5 View Post
Current schmurrent: https://www.amazon.com/Sennheiser-HD...gateway&sr=8-1

Ever used the 201s? Similar?
No, haven’t tried them. I would assume they’re in the same ballpark as the 202, but you probably know what is said about “assume”.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #11
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Know? Hell I'm a picture postcard of it
Old 3 weeks ago
  #12
Seems to me if you can mix and master on the 7506, and your mixes translate, your ears are tuned as far as working on cans.
They are not flattering, not very comfy (but that is probably for the best, since ears need several breaks w/ HP mixing) after long hours, and you may have a tendancy to let an excess amount of sub through. To me, they have no curve at all, which I prefer, and good on revealing harsh mids.
It's difficult to give HP suggestions as they seem as personal as footwear.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MixedSignals View Post
Seems to me if you can mix and master on the 7506, and your mixes translate, your ears are tuned as far as working on cans.
They are not flattering
Which is kinda the point of "studio headphones." i.e., a true, honest sound.
I will never get how a company can market headphones as studio headphones when they don't give this.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #14
Deleted ddcbfbf
Guest
Hey guys, I ended up getting the DT990's PRO. Happy about them although I've read that with time and (over)use the sound will actually become better. There's some harshness at higher frequencies but still glad I got them.
Thanks everyone for the replies
Old 2 weeks ago
  #15
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Unclenny's Avatar
Just saw this thread.

My go to phones are Beyer DT 1990 Pro. I think you'll do well with the 990's.

Consider getting the Sony 7506's as well, though. I have them and I never let a mix go without running it through them as they give me a unique perspective when compared to the Beyers.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bonelli View Post
Hey guys, I ended up getting the DT990's PRO. Happy about them although I've read that with time and (over)use the sound will actually become better. There's some harshness at higher frequencies but still glad I got them.
Thanks everyone for the replies
The harshness you hear seems to be borne out in frequency plots for the 990's - try the free demo of Sonarworks and see what you think then!

https://www.sonarworks.com/blog/revi...-review/#build
Old 2 weeks ago
  #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bill5 View Post
Which is kinda the point of "studio headphones." i.e., a true, honest sound.
I will never get how a company can market headphones as studio headphones when they don't give this.
Fortunately, headphones do have learnable and correctable frequency variations. So you actually can learn headphones in a way that you cannot learn or correct a room with destructive nulls and a response that changes every time you move your head.
The only worry I get from your post is how the “harshness” plays out. Often you will get used to it, but sometimes it will annoy you more and more over time. I hope you have the more fortunate experience.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bushman View Post
Fortunately, headphones do have learnable and correctable frequency variations. So you actually can learn headphones in a way that you cannot learn or correct a room with destructive nulls and a response that changes every time you move your head.
No doubt. My .02 though is that I shouldn't have to learn to take a headphones hype this or that way and "auto correct" it in my head. Play it like it is. That will win me over more than any other factor of headphones.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bill5 View Post
Which is kinda the point of "studio headphones." i.e., a true, honest sound.
I will never get how a company can market headphones as studio headphones when they don't give this.
That's the same point Sonarworks makes in their blog review of the 990s - "The treble iceberg which starts at around 6.5kHz makes it hard to judge any instrument overtones. Despite manufacturer’s recommendation, it’s very hard to imagine the DT990 Pro to be suitable for mastering." There's a 9dB peak around 6.5k, followed immediately by a trough down to 0, and another 9dB peak as you approach 10k. That seems like a huge boost to "get used to." I didn't like Sonarworks the first time I tried, but after a more extensive testing period, it's hard to listen to my hd800's without it - they sound harsh and tinny with Sonarworks disabled, and far more like my reference monitors when the correction is enabled. I'm guessing the OP would have a similar experience with the 990s, but obviously headphone sound is very personal!
Old 2 weeks ago
  #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bill5 View Post
No doubt. My .02 though is that I shouldn't have to learn to take a headphones hype this or that way and "auto correct" it in my head. Play it like it is. That will win me over more than any other factor of headphones.
Absolutely. The ideal situation in monitoring is that you simply trust what you hear. You just listen and make decisions. You don’t have to think about trying to make some kind of mental calculation of adding 10 percent at this frequency or subtracting 13 percent across a frequency band.
In my experience (so far), the 7506 and Senn 202 are like that. No drama, no special sauce.
A really good monitor system and room should be like that.
I understand that you learn things by listening, but the concept of “learning” speakers, rooms, and to a lesser extent headphones... that isn’t how it works best for me.
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