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Open Back headphones for mixing & mastering

Hi,

I am looking to replace my 10y old AKG headphones for a newer set. I do most work on headphones, because my time on studiomonitors is limited.
I would like a good deep bass 5hz range and was thinking about the open back headphones because they are better for mixing and mastering in general.
Most of these headphones tend to have a high impedance and therefor an extra headphone amp is needed to arrive at a nice higher volume.
Are there any members here that have some advice with open back headphones for the Ipad?
I was thinking of the audiotechnica ath r70x and the cheaper beyerdynamic dt 990, but I'm open to all suggestions!

Thanks!
Bob

Comments

  • Heya Bob!!! I use these.

    😂😂😂. No nice to see you in public. 😜. I am too on the hunt for decent open backs.... as my DT 770’s get me fatigued quickly anymore. I just want some decent ones to track with.

  • Open-backed headphones in general have problems below 100hz, although they are excellent at all other frequencies. The ATR70X would be an excellent choice of headphone, especially if used in conjunction with Morphit. Sennheiser HD600s or HD650s would also be good choices IMO.

    Sub 100hz bass is one of the biggest problems to monitor accurately. Headphones can actually do this more reliably than speakers, but to get decent sub-bass you need closed-back, or planar magnetic, or in-ear.

    IMO the DT770 Pro (80ohm) is a great option for sub-bass, as long as it's combined with Morphit.

  • I have the DT 990 Pro set. They are 250Ω and it does make them harder to drive. I have three sets of headphones I use, so I run them through a little headphone amp. This amp drives the Sennheisers and Audio-Technicas fine. I had to take the DT 990's and run them direct from the MOTU interface and they sound much better this way. I would suspect that they wouldn't work well directly off the iPad output amp.

    Beyerdynamic do make the "Edition" model of the DT990 in a a 32Ω version. They claim they have the same sound as the pro model. I've never used them, so I don't know. Would be worth looking into though since they are targeted at tablet/phone use.

    One other thing to think about, my son uses AKG and loves them. I think they sound great but they don't fit my head. He hates both my Sennheisers and DT 990's because they don't fit his head.

  • Great advice guys! Will check

  • I just bought superlux. Open and closed. Not really at a pro stage. I do think the evo I got ( which is an upgrade to non-evo ) is kind of panned more than the former.

  • Theres the headphone review. Just bought because they said they were good. Lets say they were 8.7 review and an expensive pair were 9.1 I just thought its only .4. Which might be a lot in terms of difference.

  • Love my AKG702s for this very purpose.
    Sound great, super comfy and don’t get sweaty. Plus they have a replaceable lead.

  • With my dt-880 pro I always too much highs and lows in my mixes. Just for fun I bought superlux hd 681B . These cans translate very well! Not for music listening. A bit sharp. Not very comfortable. But I‘ m happy with my mixes.

  • @richardyot
    Thanks a lot for this advice! I have looked into the DT770 Pro (80ohm) and I believe its a nice upgrade coming from my old AKG271 (55ohm).
    Looking forward to use them soon!

  • @Bob said:
    @richardyot
    Thanks a lot for this advice! I have looked into the DT770 Pro (80ohm) and I believe its a nice upgrade coming from my old AKG271 (55ohm).
    Looking forward to use them soon!

    Good choice :)

    Be sure to use Morphit when mixing with them!

    https://apps.apple.com/us/app/tb-morphit/id1487595036

  • NixNix
    edited November 2020

    Always wondered what hainbach used.

    HEDDphones - serious money

    https://hedd.audio/product/heddphone/
    Frequency Response: 10 – 40.000 Hz
    Efficiency: 87dB SPL for 1 mW
    Impedance: 42Ω

  • audiotechnica ath r70x.
    By far the best you can get under 300 €!
    You can wear them for hours without even noticing them (almost).
    I use them with the SPL Crimson 3 with the built in „phonitor matrix“. Excellent couple!
    You need a good headphone amp, which the SPL has.

    Frequency range: 5 - 40000 Hz
    Max. Input power: 1000 mW at 1 kHz
    Impedance: 470 ohms
    Sound pressure: 98 dB
    Weight: 210 g (without cable)

  • @MobileMusic, I have a pair of Roland RH200s. They’re a bit heavier in the bass for mastering, but a pretty good product. I much prefer the Sony 7506 for that.

  • edited September 13

    This morning DHL handed over:



  • I used Sennheizer HD 650’s for years until I accidentally ruined one of the cans. I searched in vain for another second-hand pair but eventually purchased a pair of HD 660s’s. And when these go, I’ll be searching for another open-back pair

    The essential trick with any high end set of cans is allowing for burn-in. I used to laugh at those on audiophile websites with their discussions regarding lengthy burn-in and sexy headphone amplifiers, but burn-in can make a huge difference if you want and need to trust your cans as an alternative to a decent monitor/amplifier combo in your studio.

    It took about 6 weeks before I could trust my HD 660s’s. And that was only after using a custom correction profile in Toneboosters on iOS (I still use Sonarworks on the desktop). The core difference between the older HD 650 model and the updated 660s model is that the bottom end was more natural in the 650’s without relying on a correction profile. Having said that I definitely think that the 660s is an improvement on the older model when used with a decent correction profile.

    Outside of paying someone like Sonarworks to create a custom correction profile for you with proper measuring equipment, the way you’ll come to trust a pair of high end cans for music production, is to spend some time with a collection of your favourite music and then listen to it repeatedly via both speakers and headphone (only if you have monitor speakers you trust). You’ll notice subtle (or not so subtle) differences and that will equip you with the knowledge that you need to trust your cans. There’s little need for a headphone amplifier if you’re using a decent audio interface. The trick with an app like Toneboosters Morphit is the wet dry mix. At 100% things can sound a tad too boxy in the lows, for me it turned out to be a very ‘unscientific’ 63% mix that matched closest to my speakers. If I can listen to music I know and love via that correction profile, then I can produce music with that profile too.

    I had to move my studio setup from a room with great acoustic treatment (we had a fire), to a room that’s impossible to treat, and on that basis I was forced to have more trust in my cans, than I have in my SE Munroe Egg 150 monitors. Still love the Eggs, just hate the room they’re in. I still use them to sense check what I’m doing but I’ve grown so accustomed to mixing with with the HD 660s’s, I now feel I can get the mix I want out of them without powering up the Eggs. But just as it is in any walk of life, trust is a hard earned thing.

  • edited September 14

    @jonmoore said:
    The essential trick with any high end set of cans is allowing for burn-in. I used to laugh at those on audiophile websites with their discussions regarding lengthy burn-in and sexy headphone amplifiers, but burn-in can make a huge difference if you want and need to trust your cans as an alternative to a decent monitor/amplifier combo in your studio.

    Not being a pro I find it hard to see the light in this question. :) This is what my recent search threw up - not to dispute your claim, Jon, just because it really happened recently:

    https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.soundguys.com/headphone-burn-in-isnt-real-17463/amp/

  • @ervin said:

    @jonmoore said:
    The essential trick with any high end set of cans is allowing for burn-in. I used to laugh at those on audiophile websites with their discussions regarding lengthy burn-in and sexy headphone amplifiers, but burn-in can make a huge difference if you want and need to trust your cans as an alternative to a decent monitor/amplifier combo in your studio.

    Not being a pro I find it hard to see the light in this question. :) This is what my recent search threw up - not to dispute your claim, Jon, just because it really happened recently:

    https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.soundguys.com/headphone-burn-in-isnt-real-17463/amp/

    My experience is that you generally have to get used to the sound of any headphone, which takes a few days of listening to them. So I think essentially it’s a psychological process.

    I’ve definitely experienced it myself, even with well-balanced cans. After a few days of listening to them the sound grows on me and I enjoy them more than I did on day one.

  • https://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/DT990Pro--beyerdynamic-dt-990-pro-250-ohm-open-back-studio-headphones
    i have these, and love them. so crisp and clear, and being open back, they are extremely comfortable to where for a long time. i highly recommend

  • I like Ken Rockwell's attitude to burn-in
    https://www.kenrockwell.com/audio/akg/k702.htm#perf

    (I like Ken Rockwell's attitude to almost everything in photog too, he likes to prick the pompousness of the know-it-all semi-pro photogs with loads of expensive gear but who only shoot on weekends, and only shoot brick walls at that)

  • edited September 14

    I used a pair of Sennheiser HD 380 Pros for years and when I went to buy a new identical pair they told me about ‘burn in’ at the store. When I got home and listened to the new pair they were indistinguishable from my current pair. So for me / my cans / my ears… burn in, shmurn in.

    Maybe stores say this to keep people from returning them when new cans sound weird, as I have definitely experienced the ‘getting used to’ period when switching models, especially going from open back the first time.

  • @ervin said:

    Not being a pro I find it hard to see the light in this question. :) This is what my recent search threw up - not to dispute your claim, Jon, just because it really happened recently:

    https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.soundguys.com/headphone-burn-in-isnt-real-17463/amp/

    For every subjective POV there's always a deny post you'll find somewhere online. Headphones and speakers for that matter change in subtle ways over time. What @richardyot says is true too, you definitely have to get used to a new set of cans, especially open back designs with a wide sound stage as they do unrealistic things to the low end and are far more revealing in the upper mids and highs.

    As well as Sonarworks I've recently changed to using Acustica Audio Sienna Pro on the desktop when using headphones, as this does more than correct the response curve of a particular headphone model, it's the first plugin I've found that realistically models the room (Waves claim to do this via their NX system but it's nowhere near as good). It really does make a high-end open back set of headphones sound like listening to a good set of speakers in an acoustically treated room.

    The really good news is that Acustica is giving away a free version of Sienna as a summer giveaway with a limited set of room models but it includes the Spitfire Mastering Room with B&W speakers that's my preference. And even better news is that Acustica is currently working on a version of Sienna for iOS. Download the free desktop version and see what you think. The free version will only be available till early October so don't delay.

    At this stage, Sienna is only available as a plugin so you'll need Audio Hijack on macOS or DDMF's Virtual Audio Stream on Windows or even the Jack Audio Connection Kit (not generally recommended as the setup can be gnarly for some) if you want to listen to you streaming service of choice via Sienna. I always take breaks from any track I'm producing to listen to reference tracks in a similar vein via Tidal/Spotify (and always with loudness normalisation disabled) and then return to the track. It gets you out of the 'this sounds marvellous' loop that so easily happens from listening to something repeatedly over and over again.

  • Here's the Sound on Sound review of Acustica Audio's Sienna Pro. It's not just useful background reading, it will help you understand how best to set up Sienna Rooms Free.

    https://www.soundonsound.com/reviews/acustica-audio-sienna

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