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headphones for composing and mixing

Discussion in 'Studio Techniques' started by musicalm, Dec 22, 2011.

  1. musicalm

    musicalm New Member

    I am planning to pick up a new pair of headphones for composing and mixing. I will also be checking my mixes on HR824s but need to be able to work at night without bothering the wife. I'll be using an Apogee Duet 2 to drive the headphones. I've narrowed it down to AKG K701 / K702, Sennheiser HD600, HD650, and possibly Beyerdynamic DT 880 (possibly DT 990). I'm also willing to *consider* dropping the extra cash for the HD800 or T1 if I am convinced they will be worth the extra with a Duet 2 in the context of my music.

    To give some extra context, I will be working on a few styles of music including:
    ambient (such as Phil Wilkerson, Thom Brennan, early Steve Roach, etc)
    new age (such as Liquid Mind, Gandalf, 2002, Yanni, Tim Story, etc)
    progressive (such as Michael Cassette, Dinka, Proff, Shingo Nakamura)
    hybrid cinematic (such as scores for Tron, Avatar, Inception, etc)

    It's also possible I will work on some purely acoustic music in contemporary instrumental / modern classical from time to time (mostly using samples) but this shouldn't play an important role in my decision.

    I have called all the shops in town and nobody carries good headphones around here so I'm not able to demo anything. I'm hoping you can help me make a good decision knowing that I can return them if they don't work, but won't be able to demo before buying. Of course if any of you know a place in the Twin Cities where I can demo these phones before buying that info would be appreciated as well...
  3. Eddie Sullivan

    Eddie Sullivan Senior member

    If it helps you to know I supplied the HD800's to a top mastering engineer at Sterling Sound here in New York recently... he really loves them. They are expensive, but they are worth it : )

    Unfortunately they are not the kind of thing that dealers have laying around- high end headphone purchases are becoming more and more a leap of faith based on reputation...
  4. musicalm

    musicalm New Member

    Thanks Eddie. I have seen lots of praise for them. They are very expensive though and I'm not sure the other gear I have and my skills are good enough to really make it worth it. Have you tried them and the others I mentioned? I'd be interested in comparisons specifically focused on using them in the context I will be...
  5. daveyboy

    daveyboy Senior member

    I use the AKG k702s and really like them. I'm also a former Mackie hr824 user for many years (now use focals). I find the 702s comparable to the focals when going back and forth. There is a break in period with headphones though. I burned mine in for a whole weekend before I started using them. I still think the cheap AKG 240s are decent. Just make sure they're the open back design as the bass is typically more accurate.

    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
  6. Eddie Sullivan

    Eddie Sullivan Senior member

    What are you using for your main monitors?
  7. musicalm

    musicalm New Member

    HR824 are my main monitors.

    @daveboy, do the 702s compare with the 824 also or more closely to the focal?

    Have either of you listened on the 600 or 650? Any opinions on how either of them compare to the 702 for my purposes?
  8. daveyboy

    daveyboy Senior member

    I used the Mackies for years and know them well. In my (treated) control room the low end/low mid was too much and not well defined and the high end wasn't pleasant. None of that maters btw as the bottom line is if one's mixes are translating. That beings said, the Focals work better (ie I can hear the problems in my mixes better) and the 702s have a similar non hyped sound. I think the 701s are the same driver though and are cheaper. I'm also driving them with a dedicated DAC by Benchmark which makes even my normal Akgs sound pretty good.

    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
  9. musicalm

    musicalm New Member

    Thanks @daveboy. Interesting comments on the Mackies. I have wondered if the lows were too accentuated on them. I have been interested in Adams for a while. What do you think of them? Also, do you think the Duet 2 will drive the AKGs well enough?
  10. daveyboy

    daveyboy Senior member

    I went from the Mackies to some Dynaudios 6's for a week and then had some Adams 8" (forget the model #) for 2 years. They're ribbon tweeters definitely have a sound. I then demoed the focal twins for a week and liked those better. I can really hear my eq changes vs the other stuff I've used. You just have to try this stuff and see what works for you. I still use 4 other sets of speakers in my room while working just to check things out. The duet will drive the Akgs or any other modern headphone.

    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
  11. musicalm

    musicalm New Member

    Thanks again @daveboy. I haven't' come across focal twins before. I just looked up some info on them. They are quite expensive! Is it just the precision that you like better or was there a problem with the sound of the Adams that sent you out looking?

    Any thoughts on the Sennheiser HD600 or HD650?
  12. daveyboy

    daveyboy Senior member

    They are definitely more precise. When I make an eq change I hear it much better. There are other (bigger) factors though like room acoustics/tuning and monitor placement. Bass traps are key.

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