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Billy86

Open- or closed-back cans for mixing?

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Posted (edited)

I guess I've been out of the loop too long. I kept looking for the post that said "NO, YOU CAN'T MIX ON HEADPHONES!!!" This was my training in the 70s and I had no reason to reconsider during the subsequent decades when I worked in studios. I realize that most music these days comes out of earbuds or computer "multimedia" speakers, and so I guess the thinking might be Why waste money on studio monitors when the sound will eventually be coming out of one-inch speakers (or earbuds!)? Everything does sound better on headphones, of course, which is the exact reason I don't use them for mixing. You have to check your work on as many different playback systems as you can, including cans, but in my opinion you shouldn't be doing the primary work in the hyped aural environment of headphones. It's music. It's meant to flow out into a room and envelope the listeners.

Or to put it another way, when was the last time you went to a concert and listened on headphones?

Edited by Larry Jones
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Posted (edited)
On 7/10/2019 at 11:44 PM, lmu2002 said:

A bit OT but as Morphit and Sonarworks were both mentioned I thought I'd give them a go.  Sonarworks seems to  work as  promised but Morphit does exactly the opposite on my  ATH- M50x:  it boosts where Sonarworks cuts!  My other phones are not  listed. Have you guys any experience with these? I put them both on same master bus and a-b:ed them back and forth one at a time. Like night and day. The graphs  presents exactly what I hear.

corrections.jpg

Hmm. I compared the correction curve of morphit for M50 with the frequency curves available online for M50 it seems matching, you may check aswell. So something else might be causing this. It seems you have turned on the predefined target curve option inside sonarworks, maybe thats causing the difference. I dont have sonarworks I demoed it once long back. Is that setting supposed to be turned on? I think to get the 100% flat response you just have to keep the reference SR enabled thats all. That said, I dont know for sure, I demoed long back and I demoed an old version. Btw morphit works flawless for my other headphones Sen HD280 and Sen 598. One reason I choose morphit over Sonarworks is due to the stimulate mode in Morphit. I dont like the 100% flat correction it applies which its kept in correct mode. Just flip to Stimulate mode and try to stimulate M50 to sound like other headphones. My fav one is the HD 600, it always sound the best flat response to my ears. I also applied a little bit custom correction to my preference. The generic studio reference corrects the curve 100% flat that it sounds too artificial and mechanical. Too much detail in the High frequencies that I get tired within 10 mins. I believe naturally music is never meant to be listened that way. The HD 600 curve is my fav and for best bass response I switch to Philips Fidelio  X2, If I like to check how my mix sounds in a V shaped headphone I will switch to something like DT 990. I dont understand why someone would like to listen in the Generic studio reference setting it doesn't sound musical at all. Btw I prefer to keep the inbuilt limiter off in morphit, it changes the sound if the audio is hot.

Edited by Sonarman

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I don't mix on headphones, and agree it's not ideal. But then I have the luxury of having nice speakers and a treated room. Plus I'm in a detached garage so I can make as much racket as I like at any time of day or night.

Mixing on headphones might be some peoples' only option, though. If they live with or near other people who might not be thrilled by a 3:00 AM mixing session. Or they're mixing in a bad acoustical environment. Or they have kids that never stfu. 

 

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26 minutes ago, Sonarman said:

Hmm. I compared the correction curve of morphit for M50 with the frequency curves available online for M50 it seems matching, you may check aswell. So something else might be causing this. It seems you have turned on the predefined target curve option inside sonarworks, maybe thats causing the difference. I dont have sonarworks I demoed it once long back. Is that setting supposed to be turned on? I think to get the 100% flat response you just have to keep the reference SR enabled thats all. That said, I dont know for sure, I demoed long back and I demoed an old version. Btw morphit works flawless for my other headphones Sen HD280 and Sen 598. One reason I choose morphit over Sonarworks is due to the stimulate mode in Morphit. I dont like the 100% flat correction it applies which its kept in correct mode. Just flip to Stimulate mode and try to stimulate M50 to sound like other headphones. My fav one is the HD 600, it always sound the best flat response to my ears. I also applied a little bit custom correction to my preference. The generic studio reference corrects the curve 100% flat that it sounds too artificial and mechanical. Too much detail in the High frequencies that I get tired within 10 mins. I believe naturally music is never meant to be listened that way. The HD 600 curve is my fav and for best bass response I switch to Philips Fidelio  X2, If I like to check how my mix sounds in a V shaped headphone I will switch to something like DT 990. I dont understand why someone would like to listen in the Generic studio reference setting it doesn't sound musical at all. Btw I prefer to keep the inbuilt limiter off in morphit, it changes the sound if the audio is hot.

I wouldn't use any correction tool as an eq to find a pleasing sound.

Yes the M50 frequency response graphs match the curve on Morphit but that's my issue: it should look quite the opposite and not emphasize the flaws! That's the idea of correction eq software isn't it.

One more correction: Morphit  simulates headphone models, it hopefully doesn't stimulate anything :)

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Haven’t pulled the trigger on anything yet but am zeroing in on 

beyerdynamic DT 990 PRO  Open-Back, (80 Ohm). Anyone have any experience with these? 

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They're great listening headphones, but a bit bass-hyped for mixing. The semi-open DT 880 is flatter for about the same price. Also in the same price bracket are the AKG K702's, which are even more natural in the low end.

Which is not to say you can't mix with headphones that exaggerate bass. You just have to keep that factor in mind while you're mixing, so that you don't end up with bass-light mixes. Truth is you can actually learn how to make translatable mixes on any speakers over time. 

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45 minutes ago, bitflipper said:

They're great listening headphones, but a bit bass-hyped for mixing. The semi-open DT 880 is flatter for about the same price. Also in the same price bracket are the AKG K702's, which are even more natural in the low end.

Which is not to say you can't mix with headphones that exaggerate bass. You just have to keep that factor in mind while you're mixing, so that you don't end up with bass-light mixes. Truth is you can actually learn how to make translatable mixes on any speakers over time. 

Thanks. I should mention I do have Sonarworks headphone reference calibration plugin for whatever I buy.  However, the 702's look really interesting and just a touch more expensive. The DT880's only come in 250 and 600 ohm, which doesn't seem to be a good match for my Focusrite Scarlett 2i4? The DT 990 and the AGK 702 are 80 and 62 ohm, respectively. Opinions on this thread in response to my post seem to vary widely; it seems to come down to defining what "drive" means relative to sound quality given the source that's "driving" the cans. 

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Try everything to make sure it works.  Open back, closed back, speakers, boom box, whatever.   Not everyone has this time luxery.  But if you really want to know what it sounds like by the end user, one must use what the end user is listening on.  For that matter, take it to the car as well!

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Posted (edited)

The beyerdynamic DT's have a super wow factor due to their super fast driver and incredible resolution & Sound stage. They are even comparable with some 1000$ headphones. They have the best build quality in this price range. That said they are all pretty V shaped in their response, if you do like V shaped sound then go for it, that holds true even for the 880pro. I had a chance to listen on the 880 for a while and I could't bear the highs.  I haven't listened on the other models but all I have heard is that the 880 is the most neutral among these. A lot of people love these though.  I would say you better demo these before buying.  Also I always trust this guy in headphone reviews. You might gotta have a look.

 

Edited by Sonarman

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Posted (edited)

I wouldn't use any correction tool as an eq to find a pleasing sound.

Yes the M50 frequency response graphs match the curve on Morphit but that's my issue: it should look quite the opposite and not emphasize the flaws! That's the idea of correction eq software isn't it.

One more correction: Morphit  simulates headphone models, it hopefully doesn't stimulate anything 

\\\\\\\\\

What I meant was the Morphit's correction curve does look rightly made for the freq response of M50 graphs. M50 has pretty heavy bass response and morphit attenuates it and also some peaks in the mid but the highs look rather opposite, which does look odd. That said different measurements show diff readings, and so does some M50s, some models have different response when driven in a certain way. Its a pretty complicated topic and ofcourse eq's cant make the headphones sound like the other, freq response ain't the only thing that makes a headphone sound the way it does. Some headphones behave weird or start to distort when you try to correct them with eq. Then the questions of phase and impulse response etc etc comes along. In my experience its easy to make the Sen HD series to sound like other models of the HD series with similar drivers. I've also heard that Beyerdynamic DT series are a bit untameable  with EQ's. So it depends on so many factors. That said using an eq or headphone correction plugin  is something I always recommend doing. Until you start using one you wont know the difference. I was pretty comfortable with the sound of HD 598 but after I started to eq it (or use morphit)  I cant listen to it without it. I cant bear the 5-8K region. Same with the bass response. Its almost impossible to mix in these cans and get the low frequencies right without eq on the headphones. And stimulating different frequency response or the frequency response of other headphones is also something I cant live without, It helps me in many ways.

Edited by Sonarman
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5 hours ago, Sonarman said:

I was pretty comfortable with the sound of HD 598 but after I started to eq it (or use morphit)  I cant listen to it without it. I cant bear the 5-8K region. Same with the bass response. Its almost impossible to mix in these cans and get the low frequencies right without eq on the headphones.

Thanks, I'll try this with my 598's and Morphit.

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Posted (edited)

I’ve been watching lots of YouTube vids comparing headphones. This is one of the best I’ve come across. Compares AKG 702, Beyerdynamic DT 990 PRO and Sennheiser HD 58X. Definitely worth a watch/listen. 

 

Edited by Billy86
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https://www.amazon.com/Sennheiser-HD-599-SE-Headphone/dp/B07RFNZYJZ/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=SENNHEISER+599&psr=PDAY&qid=1563252374&s=prime-day&smid=ATVPDKIKX0DER&sr=1-1

For about the next 12 hours, Sennheiser HD 599 at half price. Reg $199 for $99. Amazon Prime sale. Couldn't pass them up at that price!

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Posted (edited)

I bought the HD 650, received it a couple evenings ago and after a bunch of hours comparing them to my existing headphones and earbuds, returned them 15 hours later.  Painful, that I might have made the mistake in not getting the HD 600 as the price was additionally reduced to $268 on the 600s a few days ago.  From the talk on all the forums, some prefer the 600s and say that the 650's are "warmer".  I have to agree with that assessment.

All in all, my cheapo AKG K240s, was almost completely equal to the HD 650.  At least for my experience.  Several hours of going back & forth.  Listening to some Steely Dan, STYX, Classical philharmonic orchestra with piano, various pop rock tunes.

I thought about the "breaking in period" that is discussed on forums going as far back as 6 to 9 years ago, but finally I just decided that $350 for maybe a slightly better headphone experience could not be justified.

One last comment.  I used the headphone Out jack on my Mackie CFX-12 mixer and the Sennheiser HD 650 at 300 ohms, was loud enough without an amp.  The loudness factor between my 55 ohm AKG's and the 300 ohm Sennheiser was practically identical.  One reviewer comparing the differences between the 600 and 650, noted that the 650's Sound Pressure Level (SPL) is 103 dB compared to the 600's at 97 dB.  'Stated that the higher number makes them more sensitive and (if I recall correctly) requiring less power to drive them.  So maybe that's a remarkable fact about the 650s sounding as loud as they did with 300 ohms as all those on the Sweetwater wall with ohms in the lower 100.

Edited by Toddskins

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