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Headphones recommendation
Last post Fri, Nov 02 2018 by Gustar, 10 replies.
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Posted on Sun, Oct 14 2018 20:36
by Pixelpoet1985
Joined on Fri, Dec 23 2016, Germany, Posts 287

Hello everyone, 

I'm wondering which headphones you guys are using with the Synchron Series, especially the strings?

I tested the following ones I own and they all change the sonic experience immensly:

  • Beyerdynamics DT 990 Pro
  • Sennheiser HD 380 Pro
  • Philips SHC8800/12


Also, I noticed that some of my sonic issues I had with Synchron Strings I vanished when hearing with speakers instead of headphones. For me, the attacks and vibratos sounded way better.

@VSL: Is there a recommendation from your side in order to achieve the sound it's intended to be?

Many thanks in advance.

Posted on Mon, Oct 15 2018 13:53
by fatis12_24918
Joined on Sat, Dec 16 2006, Posts 295

 

Well, this is a very frequently asked question, and the challenge headphones, vs. monitors is the eternal one.

Actually all the sound engineers agree (e.g. look to manuals, forums, tutorials etc.) on the fact that a perfect monitors set up, playing back the music "on air" should be the best, because it's a more natural and human experience, compared to the unnatural simulation of the headphone.

On the other side, experts often say that even in professional studios sometime the audio speakers are not perfectly set-up, (very complex to avoid stereo interference, and colour of the room) so imagine in home studio or desktop set-up... then the golden rule should be, try to make it perfect with professional headphone, and it will sound good with monitors as well. Your experience seems to confirm it. I also had the very same experience.

My HD 380 Pro headphone tend to make the high frequencies more evident, and with standard or cheap headphone very often music I considered bad with Sennheiser headset, was sounding pretty good!

Unfortunately sometime I had the reverse experience, and music I considered perfect after mixing with Sennheiser headphone, was not equally good when playing back from my Yamaha studio monitors (very often underlining the bass frequencies instead... I try to follow all the rules for compensation but I suppose that my room can't get rid of the difference, and I simply try to find a good intermediate solution).

So my very personal process is: prepare the mix with my headphone, and later test it with the studio monitors. If it's fine I try it with iPad headset and my car stereo for confirmation.

In regards to Synchron Strings, and high frequencies, I've one more comment: getting old and using headphone too much, usually the user is loosing high frequencies sensitivity. I suppose it is probably happening to me, even if last medical check was still almost perfect 1 year ago. But due to the fact very often are the high frequencies of Synchron Strings disturbing my mixes, I suppose that it's not (yet) age or ears the problem... but I always ask others to cross check to get external feedback :)

Posted on Mon, Oct 15 2018 22:01
by stephen limbaugh
Joined on Tue, Feb 23 2016, Los Angeles, Posts 270

Waves has a plugin that recreates a "mix room" for your headphones.  Anyone try it?

Nx Virtual Mix Room is a virtual monitoring plugin that delivers, on headphones, the same three-dimensional depth and panoramic stereo image you would be hearing from speakers in an acoustically treated room.

2019 MacBook Pro, 8 core i9, 32gb RAM. Heavy Digital Audio PC slave, 6 core Xeon E5-1650, 128gb RAM. Logic 10.4.8. Mojave & Windows 10.
Posted on Tue, Oct 16 2018 13:25
by crusoe
Joined on Sat, Dec 26 2009, Posts 141

Hi Pixelpoet,

I've read a couple of reasearches on psychoacoustics, they state that ear canals of different individuals could be so different that it might call for *very* different headphones, since their sound depends on those individualities so much. It means you should really trust your own judging, apart from recommendations. Can't give you the link right now, but maybe you'll find something youself.

Also, I very much agree with the comments in this thread.

Cheers,

Crusoe.

Posted on Fri, Oct 19 2018 17:47
by Gustar
Joined on Wed, Sep 05 2018, Posts 17

Whatever headphones you choose, I would highly recommend trying/purchasing the Sonarworks Reference Headphone Edition software. No matter what headphones you buy, you will never get a really linear frequency response. Of course, experienced audio engineers can adapt through experience, but IMHO the much better solution is to have a software correct the frequency curve.

You can actually try the tool on their website without any hassle - just pick your current headphones model, start the demo songs and compare the sound with and without calibration to see if it is useful to you.

https://www.sonarworks.com/reference

(scroll down to "Try it out")

Posted on Sat, Oct 20 2018 01:36
by kenneth.newby
Joined on Wed, Mar 19 2014, Posts 119
I use the Sonarworks system for both my studio monitors and my calibrated Sennheiser HD-600 headphones. In both cases, monitors and headphones, the improvement in spectral balance is noticable. Recommended.
Posted on Sat, Oct 20 2018 10:56
by Gustar
Joined on Wed, Sep 05 2018, Posts 17

Originally Posted by: stephen limbaugh Go to Quoted Post

Waves has a plugin that recreates a "mix room" for your headphones.  Anyone try it?

Nx Virtual Mix Room is a virtual monitoring plugin that delivers, on headphones, the same three-dimensional depth and panoramic stereo image you would be hearing from speakers in an acoustically treated room.



I own Waves NX and demoed Redline Monitor by 112dB. However, my go-to plugin for headphones  crossfeed/room emulation is TB Isone 3 (individual settings). Using Isone 3 and Sonarworks Reference I can do 85%-90% of my mixing with headphones only.

However, as has been mentioned in this thread, it is very advisable to have access to an acoustically treated room with calibrated speakers to put the finishing touches on any mix and check if everything is correct.

All the mentioned plugins have demo versions available - I always recommend trying for yourself to see what works best for your needs.

Comparison:
https://www.pro-tools-expert.com/home-page/2016/5/3/mixing-on-headphones-the-headphone-monitor-plug-in-shootout

Posted on Mon, Oct 22 2018 19:10
by stephen limbaugh
Joined on Tue, Feb 23 2016, Los Angeles, Posts 270

This is all extremely helpful -- thanks guys

2019 MacBook Pro, 8 core i9, 32gb RAM. Heavy Digital Audio PC slave, 6 core Xeon E5-1650, 128gb RAM. Logic 10.4.8. Mojave & Windows 10.
Posted on Thu, Nov 01 2018 15:41
by Pixelpoet1985
Joined on Fri, Dec 23 2016, Germany, Posts 287

I also want to thank all of you for the feedback, information and tips. Very appreciated.

I'm only a hobbyist, not a pro, and I have to go with my headphones, because I only have time for music in the evening or at night. Thanks @Stephen for the Waves Nx plugin, I immediately bought it. That's a great product and totally sufficient for my needs.

Pity that nobody from VSL chimed in, I really hoped to hear some advices or recommendations. I read that the Sennheisers are used for recordings at Synchron Stage. I prefer the Beyerdynamics at the moment, and, they have a Waves Nx preset, but they sound (totally) different from the Sennheisers. 

Posted on Fri, Nov 02 2018 15:26
by Gustar
Joined on Wed, Sep 05 2018, Posts 17

I don't think there is a good answer to the question you are asking. I doubt any software company would produce a product that only sounds "correct" or is intended for a certain type of headphones. If you have high quality headphones which are suited for mixing, almost everything should at least sound good or better.

I don't know how serious you are about sound quality, but IMHO none of the headphones you listed are an especially good fit for serious mixing, especially in case your mixing training is a bit limited. I am afraid, if you want to buy a product in this price range, you might have to compromise.

As for recommendations, if your budget allows it, you could take a look at the Sennheiser HD650 (currently 329 Euros at Thomann). AFAIK, these are quite popular for mixing purposes in this price range and are among the most neutral headphones, even without any plugin correction.

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