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Headphone purchase, For objective production needs
Benliq
post Oct 29 2013, 12:29
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I'm trying to mix self-composed music in an ITB fashion, the HD555 I've been using aren't really that good for the task. I need recommendations based on:

1. Sub $150 price, based on the industry wide standard for warranty I consider them disposable after the 2 years end.
2. I see that most professional environments demand sound isolation, for my particular scenario where that isn't the case, shouldn't open headphones provide more accurate reproduction?
3. Again, accurate reproduction is the key concern. The HD555 (and I guess the rest of the HDs) has the signature Sennheiser veil, not good for faithful reproduction of the source.

Thank you.

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DVDdoug
post Oct 29 2013, 19:32
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Basically, you want your "monitors" to have flat-smooth frequency response (no big peaks or dips) and you want to cover the whole frequency range. There should be plenty of acceptable headphones in your price range.

After that, it's a matter of learning your monitors. That means getting familiar with them to the point where you can make a mix that sounds as good as possible on a variety of systems.

That's not easy with headphones... The experts will warn you NOT to mix on headphones! Your HD555s may work just as well as any other good headphones, once you learn how the sound "translates" to other setups.

From Recording Magazine:
QUOTE
As those of you who have followed this column for any length of time can attest, headphone mixing is one of the big no-no's around these parts. In our humble opinion, headphone mixes do not translate well in the real world, period, end of story. Other than checking for balance issues and the occasional hunting down of little details, they are tools best left for the tracking process.


Headphones are not easy to specify/measure and the manufacturers sometimes fudge the specs. Opinions & preferences also vary. Read some reviews, go to a store and listen, choose headphones that sound good to you and are comfortable to you.

QUOTE
1. Sub $150 price, based on the industry wide standard for warranty I consider them disposable after the 2 years end.
FYI - Koss has a lifetime warranty. But, headphones should last many years in a studio-like environment.

QUOTE
2. I see that most professional environments demand sound isolation, for my particular scenario where that isn't the case, shouldn't open headphones provide more accurate reproduction?
If you don't need isolation, just choose whatever headphones sound the best (or the most natural) to you and are comfortable. (I tend to prefer open headphones.)

QUOTE
3. Again, accurate reproduction is the key concern. The HD555 (and I guess the rest of the HDs) has the signature Sennheiser veil, not good for faithful reproduction of the source.
Maybe you want something with stronger high frequency response... "Veil" is one of those useless audiophile terms that has no meaning in science or engineering. And, it can't be measured or specified. biggrin.gif ...How many dB of veil do the Sennheiser's have? biggrin.gif

This post has been edited by DVDdoug: Oct 29 2013, 19:42
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extrabigmehdi
post Oct 29 2013, 20:33
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QUOTE (Benliq @ Oct 29 2013, 11:29) *
The HD555 (and I guess the rest of the HDs) has the signature Sennheiser veil, not good for faithful reproduction of the source.


After some listening, your brain should get used to the "veil", and won't even notice it.
I don't think this would hamper your ability to mix music , although speakers are usually more appropriate for this.
Otherwise you may ask at head-fi, for "detailed" or "revealing" headphones .

QUOTE
shouldn't open headphones provide more accurate reproduction

Closed headphone try to prevent reflections inside cups, by using dampening materials inside cups (i.e materials that absorb sound).
A more efficient method, would be to just let these "unwanted" sounds, escape on the side (open headphone).
So I think this the theoretical logic that would explain why open headphones should be more accurate.
You can block the sides of your hd555 with your hands of whatever, and get an idea of the limits of such logic.
Imho you can still manage to find a "better" headphone than your hd555 and that is closed (or should I say, that you just appreciate more) .
Personally I got a worse opinion of the hd595, after getting a srh940.

This post has been edited by extrabigmehdi: Oct 29 2013, 20:47
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Benliq
post Oct 29 2013, 20:54
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I'm mixing for headphone users, so I don't have to worry about speaker listeners.

QUOTE
Headphones are not easy to specify/measure and the manufacturers sometimes fudge the specs. Opinions & preferences also vary. Read some reviews, go to a store and listen, choose headphones that sound good to you and are comfortable to you.
Can't do that, they only have over-priced/impractical models on display.


QUOTE
FYI - Koss has a lifetime warranty. But, headphones should last many years in a studio-like environment.
I had an extensive look at Koss, they seem to have stopped innovation since the 80s. (other than their portables)


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...How many dB of veil do the Sennheiser's have? biggrin.gif
Veil is a subjective description, but since it is consistently reported by everyone it isn't really a controversial audiophile fabrication.
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ktf
post Oct 29 2013, 21:06
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QUOTE (Benliq @ Oct 29 2013, 21:54) *
Veil is a subjective description, but since it is consistently reported by everyone it isn't really a controversial audiophile fabrication.

I disagree. I have been mixing on HD595s for years now because of a lack of space for proper monitors, checking as often as I could on speakers and of course comparing with real-life sound, as I record classical music mainly, I think they're very accurate. I'd like to know who this 'everyone' refers to, haven't heard anyone about it yet.

This post has been edited by ktf: Oct 29 2013, 21:09


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extrabigmehdi
post Oct 29 2013, 21:24
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QUOTE (ktf @ Oct 29 2013, 20:06) *
QUOTE (Benliq @ Oct 29 2013, 21:54) *
Veil is a subjective description, but since it is consistently reported by everyone it isn't really a controversial audiophile fabrication.

I disagree. I have been mixing on HD595s for years now because of a lack of space for proper monitors, checking as often as I could on speakers and of course comparing with real-life sound, as I record classical music mainly, I think they're very accurate. I'd like to know who this 'everyone' refers to, haven't heard anyone about it yet.


Well, I don't how the "veil" could be explained scientifically, but this is something I notice when I switch to other headphones (that seems to have more "clarity").
Perhaps it's just that the other headphones have some boosted treble, but I 'm not fully convinced by such trivial explanation.
Otherwise, the hd595/hd555 are fine for mixing, I guess.
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markanini
post Oct 29 2013, 22:55
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I'm using Sennheiser HD280 right now, EQ'ed according to Rins measurement and I captured stereo impulses from xnors crossfeed that I insert on the stereo buss in my DAW. My speakers are Alesis M1 in a semi-treated room. Translateability has been rather good so far but I always check a mix on speakers before making any final decisions.

Edit:Grammar

This post has been edited by markanini: Oct 29 2013, 22:58
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Benliq
post Oct 29 2013, 23:06
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QUOTE (extrabigmehdi @ Oct 29 2013, 21:33) *
Personally I got a worse opinion of the hd595, after getting a srh940.

I think I still prefer circumaurial open headphones.

QUOTE
I'm using Sennheiser HD280 right now, EQ'ed according to Rins measurement and I captured stereo impulses from xnors crossfeed that I insert on the stereo buss in my DAW. My speakers are Alesis M1 in a semi-treated room. Translateability has been rather good so far but I always check a mix on speakers before making any final decisions.
I heard them in a store, but they sounded lacking in terms of positioning.

Are there any open headphones that are regularly used (other than Sennheisers) by the professional community?
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markanini
post Oct 29 2013, 23:24
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>I heard them in a store, but they sounded lacking in terms of positioning.
Wouldn't you agree listening conditions were different than what I described though?

>Are there any open headphones that are regularly used (other than Sennheisers) by the professional community?
None which are within your budget.
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extrabigmehdi
post Oct 29 2013, 23:36
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QUOTE (Benliq @ Oct 29 2013, 22:06) *
Are there any open headphones that are regularly used (other than Sennheisers) by the professional community?


Beyerdynamics headphones are for some reason the first brand to come to mind . So you might want a DT990, which is open.
The semi open DT880 is more popular though ...

This post has been edited by extrabigmehdi: Oct 29 2013, 23:37
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DVDdoug
post Oct 29 2013, 23:50
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QUOTE
I'm mixing for headphone users, so I don't have to worry about speaker listeners.
In that case, your HD555s should be fine. Your listeners will be using a variety of headphones. When you're doing music production the goal is NOT to get the best monitors/headphones you can buy and then make the mix sound great on your headphones, or only for listeners with high-end headphones. The goal would be to make it sound as good as possible on whatever the listener is using, without compromising the sound for listeners that have very-good headphones. You can't do that with lousy headphones, but you don't need the best headphones in the world either.

The only way to do that is to check your mix on every headphone, earbud, and IEM you can get your hands on. That's what the pros do... They check their mix on small speakers (or cheap monitors), on good headphones, cheap headphones, earbuds, on a boombox, in their car, on their home stereo, etc. With experience, you should learn what a good mix sounds like on your main monitoring/mixing headphones, and you won't need to do as much back-and-forth and tweaking to make a mix that sounds good everywhere (or on all headphones). Most mixing engineers avoid upgrading their monitors, because they've learned to make a good mix on the monitors they know.

Now, if you want better/different headphones for listening pleasure, that's fine too! ...But once several years ago, I was getting bored with my headphones and I went to the store to listen to some better (more expensive) headphones. When I listened at the store, nothing sounded as good as the ones I already had. So I didn't buy anything, and I used those headphones 'till they died.

QUOTE
but I 'm not fully convinced by such trivial explanation.
I wouldn't use the word trivial, I'd say frequency response is fundamental. In fact, frequency response accounts for most of the difference in sound between different headphones & speakers. (As long as you don't drive your speakers/headphones into audible distortion.) Even things like dispersion & directivity (for speakers) are related to off-axis vs. on-axis frequency response.

Of the 4 characteristics that describe sound quality (noise, distortion, frequency response, and timing) I'd guess veil is most related to frequency response. It's something in the high frequencies, right???? ...Maybe distortion (or the lack of distortion) is heard as a veil, but I doubt that's the issue.

wink.gif These audiophile terms carry a lot of baggage... Some audiophile might be perfectly happy with the best amplifier he can buy. Then a newer more-expensive model comes out and, "A veil is lifted". And of course when a blind ABX test is done and he can't identify which amp is which, the test is "flawed".

QUOTE
I had an extensive look at Koss, they seem to have stopped innovation since the 80s.
I'm not recommending Koss. It just seems like relibility may be a consideration for you.

But, there really hasn't been much innovation in headphones in the past... I dunno... 50 years? biggrin.gif Maybe some different materials, but a dynamic headphone driver is still a "small speaker". Just a coil of wire around a magnet, connected to a diaphragm that moves air.

We still have the same 'ol 2-way & 3-way speaker designs too, except now the woofer/subwoofer is often in a separate box.
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extrabigmehdi
post Oct 30 2013, 00:33
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QUOTE (DVDdoug @ Oct 29 2013, 22:50) *
Of the 4 characteristics that describe sound quality (noise, distortion, frequency response, and timing) I'd guess veil is most related to frequency response. It's something in the high frequencies, right???? ...Maybe distortion (or the lack of distortion) is heard as a veil, but I doubt that's the issue.


To which category correspond the impulse response ? How do you measure reaction of headphones to transients ?
Beside being described as "veiled" , sennheiser headphones (well, the hd5xx & hd6xx range ), they are also described as slow or sluggish.
For some reasons they are unsatisfying with fast paced music, and no amount of eq seems fix this.
I think this "slowness" , and the veil are both related.
It's just like listening everything through a subtle reverb, except that you can't get rid of it .

side note: some head-fier are convinced that a good amp, makes all the difference regarding the "veil".
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carpman
post Oct 30 2013, 00:53
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@Benliq -- Have a look at this thread. The replies were very helpful.
5 years on and I'd still make the same purchase.
http://www.hydrogenaudio.org/forums/index....showtopic=67751

The posts by WmAx were the most helpful to me.

C.


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Benliq
post Oct 30 2013, 02:49
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QUOTE (carpman @ Oct 30 2013, 01:53) *
@Benliq -- Have a look at this thread. The replies were very helpful.
5 years on and I'd still make the same purchase.
http://www.hydrogenaudio.org/forums/index....showtopic=67751

The posts by WmAx were the most helpful to me.

C.

Thanks for sharing your experience!



QUOTE
When I listened at the store, nothing sounded as good as the ones I already had. So I didn't buy anything, and I used those headphones 'till they died.

I know what you mean, I had the HD600s which sounded nearly identical to the 555s.

Are the Inner-Fidelity graphs reliable? How does the V6 look here

http://www.innerfidelity.com/images/SonyMDRV6.pdf
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mzil
post Oct 30 2013, 02:52
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"Veiled" is a favorite term of audiophile headphone reviewers since they can't be called on it, similarly to "soundstage", and if for some reason the collective consciousness and "in group" deems a certain headphone "veiled", yet the reviewer said quite the opposite, they simply invoke the "But everyone has different hearing" escape clause.

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carpman
post Oct 30 2013, 05:08
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Might find this useful info too (if you go the Sony route):
http://www.tomshardware.co.uk/forum/53489-...adphones#548221

C.


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eahm
post Oct 30 2013, 05:38
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QUOTE (carpman @ Oct 29 2013, 21:08) *
Might find this useful info too (if you go the Sony route):
http://www.tomshardware.co.uk/forum/53489-...adphones#548221

C.

Same say, I believe this is the first video of the review I am talking about http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QJh8B1QfEn0, the MDR-V6 are slightly better.
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LithosZA
post Oct 30 2013, 05:51
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Sennheiser HD-280 PRO. Avoid the HD-380, they sound completely different and not flat IMO.
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Benliq
post Oct 30 2013, 06:05
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Anyone familiar with this headphone? It looks like an open headphone, and Shure seems to have warranty plans beyond the 2 year initial coverage.

http://www.amazon.com/Shure-SRH1440-Profes...ords=shure+1440
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Benliq
post Oct 30 2013, 08:06
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I've just had a realization, one of the biggest aspects of what I called accurate was a quick and controlled bass. Apparently closed headphones have "tighter" bases, so my dissatisfaction with the HD555 may as well be its open-design. I thought closed headphones had loose, rumbling bass. I need to have the low frequency notes heard clearly, and not swallowed into a giant rumble.

In that case, do the HD280s or the MDRV6es have more defined basses?

Edit:
Has anyone tried these?

http://www.koss.com/en/products/headphones..._Size_Headphone

This post has been edited by Benliq: Oct 30 2013, 08:25
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dhromed
post Oct 30 2013, 10:47
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QUOTE (Benliq @ Oct 29 2013, 13:29)
my dissatisfaction with the HD555 may as well be its open-design. I thought closed headphones had loose, rumbling bass. I need to have the low frequency notes heard clearly, and not swallowed into a giant rumble.


Unless the HD555 have been changed since I bought them many years ago, they have extraordinary bass response. Other phones I've tried are always way too bassy and boomy, while the 555 delivers bass that is perfectly audible, distortion-free and doesn't drown the rest of the music.
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extrabigmehdi
post Oct 30 2013, 12:16
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QUOTE (Benliq @ Oct 30 2013, 07:06) *
I thought closed headphones had loose, rumbling bass. I need to have the low frequency notes heard clearly, and not swallowed into a giant rumble.


Well from my experience with the hd595 (open) , hd800 (open) , srh940 (closed), hd25 II 1 (closed) , the trick is that you "feel" better the bass when it's closed.
What does "feeling" actually involve ?
I can only make hypothesis:
- I may need some low level of distortion/ noise to realize the presence of bass (from ear cup reflections ).
- the "pressure" of bass sound waves on ear drums, is perhaps more efficient when there's closed cups.

It's interesting for instance, that you'd find some people complaining that the hd800 is "lacking" bass. And some finding a "cheap remedy", by inserting cloth strip inside ear cups :
http://www.head-fi.org/t/446585/hd800-modification-thread
The more "expensive remedy", would be to try different non-transparent sources...

I actually "feel" better the bass , when using iems (which I guess transfer better the pressure of bass sound waves on ears drums).

If you are undecided between a closed and open solution I suggest you either get the reputed semi-open dt 880 , or the more recent Beyerdynamic Custom One Pro (that can be both closed and open).


This post has been edited by extrabigmehdi: Oct 30 2013, 12:18
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DVDdoug
post Oct 30 2013, 16:13
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QUOTE
To which category correspond the impulse response ? How do you measure reaction of headphones to transients ?
In theory, you can measure frequency response with an impulse. I don't think that's actually practical,* but I believe a mathematician could reverse the process and predict the impulse response from the frequency response. A transient is a time-related event, and Frequency = 1/Time (where time is the period of one cycle).

A peak in frequency response will result in transient ringing (or ringing on the rising/falling edges of a square wave). A loss of high frequency response will reduce the amplitude of an impulse and cause curving of the rising/falling edges of a square wave.



* A theoretical impulse has infinite amplitude and zero time duration. Both of those are impossible in the real world. There are obviously limits to amplitude (voltage) you can apply to a headphone, and as you reduce the width, you get less energy and it's my understanding that you don't get enough energy to get a good frequency response measurement.

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Benliq
post Oct 30 2013, 17:18
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QUOTE (extrabigmehdi @ Oct 30 2013, 12:16) *
Well from my experience with the hd595 (open) , hd800 (open) , srh940 (closed), hd25 II 1 (closed) , the trick is that you "feel" better the bass when it's closed.
What does "feeling" actually involve ?
I can only make hypothesis:
- I may need some low level of distortion/ noise to realize the presence of bass (from ear cup reflections ).
- the "pressure" of bass sound waves on ear drums, is perhaps more efficient when there's closed cups.

Ah, I see. That was a misperception of mine.

Another problem with the HD555s I observed is its inability to produce soundstage because it does not place the sound at the centre of your head. The sound is always to the left and right of my head, just an inch from my ears. This means I am conscious that the "sonic world" is being faked by 2 separate, locatable sources.

However, some headphones that aggressively drive the sound into your head do not produce what I call "soundstage" either...

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markanini
post Oct 30 2013, 20:39
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QUOTE (Benliq @ Oct 30 2013, 18:18) *
Another problem with the HD555s I observed is its inability to produce soundstage because it does not place the sound at the centre of your head. The sound is always to the left and right of my head, just an inch from my ears. This means I am conscious that the "sonic world" is being faked by 2 separate, locatable sources.

However, some headphones that aggressively drive the sound into your head do not produce what I call "soundstage" either...

I don't get it, are you constrasting these two properties with regards to soundstage? What's an aggressive driving headphone anyway?

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