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Impedance in headphones + Mixing
Old 30th September 2019
  #1
Here for the gear
 

Impedance in headphones + Mixing

Long time lurker, first time poster!


To make a long story short, I’m investing in a him studio (bedroom edition) so I’ve decided to start small and work my way up with the new focusrite 2i2 3rd generation


I’ve invested in studio monitors (hs7 first and iLoud For second reference) and looking to get a good set of mixing headphones for a third reference/ when I’m not able to use the monitors (did I mention this is a bedroom edition? )


Anyways, the 2i2 3rd gen has a recommendation of headphones with impedance Of 200ohms but I’m trying to see how that affects my mixing .. plus there are no headphones (that I’ve been looking up) with ohms near 200 .. they are significantly lower of drastically higher (ex. 32, 49, 80 vs 250, 600[which is higher than recommended])


I’m not trying to invest into an amp as it goes over my budget (FOR NOW) but I’m really trying to see what is the issue with lower impedance vs higher impedance regarding mixing .. and which headphones would suit my situation

Thanks again

PS if this is posted in the wrong forum, can a mod please move it to the correct place? Sorry again in advanced
Old 1st October 2019
  #2
Lives for gear
I think this is a good recap: https://theheadphonehub.com/what-is-...one-impedance/

As for headphones, do you ONLY want to mix with it or record with it as well? If only mixing, get open back. If mixing and recording, closed back.

As for specific headphone recommendations, I'll pass as everyone has their fav and you'll never get anywhere with such recommendations IMO, you'd need to try them out (hopefully you're near a store where you can).
Old 1st October 2019
  #3
Lives for gear
 
decocco's Avatar
 

Higher impedance headphones will be quieter than lower impedance headphones. This may or may not be of concern to you.

I suggest you try some different professional headphones before settling on a pair.
Old 3rd October 2019
  #4
For your interface, any headphone with an impedance of 300 or lower will be sufficient for you for checking your mixes with
Old 3rd October 2019
  #5
Here for the gear
 

*200 or less

And that’s really my main issue (if it’s really an issue)
Im looking for quality open back headphones with an impedance in that range

But I usually find some that are significantly lower than 200 .. like 80 or 49. Or significantly higher than 200
Old 3rd October 2019
  #6
Lives for gear
 

You want to check the headphone amp impedance and make sure your headphones are a close match. Whether they headphones are higher or lower impedance doesn't mean jack squat.

Just like any amp/speaker connection you get maximum loudness vs frequency response when the headphone and amp impedance ranges are close. I'd also avoid having a very low impedance headphone set with a high minimum impedance headphone amp. If the amp is 32ohms minimum and the headphones are 8 ohms you'll likely burn the amp up. I've done it when connecting headphones in parallel to the same jack. On SS amps, the impedance can be higher and do no damage. Its just the signal sounds like crap with high impedance phones and low impedance amp.

If youre looking for loudness, be sure to compare sensitivity levels. In speakers they call Efficiency SPL where you convert watts to actual decibels. In small devices like headphones and mics the better ones should list the sensitivity vs milliwatts. You find some manufacturers like AKG have excellent frequency response but the sensitivity is real low requiring a powerful headphone amp to get bones moving. Others can have higher sensitivity making them more efficient when running off a small USB powered interface, but the frequency response may not be nearly as good.

Lastly, headphones are fine for tracking and listening to fine details and adjusting the stereo pan. They are totally useless finishing a mix and setting the musical depth and setting time based effects like echo and reverb. You have no cross feed and the center of the image is in your skull instead of out in front of you so you're handicapped trying to create a three dimensional sound. All your mixes will sound two dimensional when using headphones only. Luckily you do have monitors so you have that part covered. Once you get the depth right you can listen on headphones with no problem. Trying to fake distance without actually using your outer ears is like trying to play golf with one eye. You'll be chopping away forever when you loose the ability to triangulate distance using your actual ears.

Its the main reason I don't waste a whole lot of money on headphones. Doesn't matter how much you spend the issue isn't the quality of headphones, its the lack of crossfeed that screws you up. The last two sets I bought were AKG. I bought a decent set of the K702's for $200 then I bought a cheap set of K240's on sale for $50. I cant tell a dimes bit of difference between them when recording. I constantly mix the two sets up in the studio so I can affirm how close they sound in a blind listening test like that.

I suppose I could listen to a high quality mix and pick out slight differenced between them but I'm not a fan of wearing them. I like many spent years using them when I lived in apartments and had young kids. I only use them for tracking vocals to avoid feedback now. You only need to run monitors at the recommended 83dB level which is about as loud as you set your TV when listening. I can do that all day long in an apartment and not bother anybody.
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