Category Archives for Headphones

How to choose professional studio headphones

How to choose professional studio headphones

What are the best headphones for music production?

Before investing in studio headphones you need to know which one suits you the best, your needs and preferences. There is not really something such as the ‘best headphones for music production’ just because there are many different types of headphones with distinct features that are involved and your preferences will go to one or the other considering those preferences. So how to choose professional studio headphones?

For recording or tracking you will need  closed-back headphones, while you’ll preferably use open or semi open headphones for mixing and mastering but more on that later…

Many other elements, such as your budget, preferences and specifications will play a major role in you definite choice.

There are some great values that can handle both if you are on a budget. I could have made a bigger separation in headphones for recording and headphones for mastering and mixing but as you continue reading , you will have a complete overview of the best studio headphones and their own specifications, pros & cons and for each situation.

How to choose professional studio headphones

You can’t start out without professional studio headphones!

When you are building your home studio or you start out as a DJ, the choice of the headphones you are going to be work with is one of the most crucial, if not the most crucial decision you have to make. You can start out as a producer or DJ without monitors, but you can’t without a decent pair of headphones. Of course, that doesn’t mean that you don’t need to buy monitors eventually but some monitoring headphones are almost able to do the job as well although there are many reasons why you shouldn’t use only headphones.

Mixing and mastering with headphones?

Many say it is not recommended to mix and master your music with headphones… and they are right!

Reason why,  is that headphones can not reproduce frequencies at the exact response rate.  You also lose stereo balance when mixing down your tracks with headphones and you will eventually have to make corrections with your monitors.

So,why use headphones in a studio?

  • As a beginner, you might not have the budget yet to buy monitors, it is better to invest in a pair of quality headphones than in a mediocre pair of monitors.
  • You don’t have optimal studio conditions too work in….
  • How to choose professional studio headphonesLet’s say you live in small a flat. You work your  ass off all day long for a bad paying office job just to able to buy some software every 3 months with the little that you have left. Spending your days imagining the day you will finally be able to shout  ‘Hasta la Vista ‘ to your boss to make a career in the music industry.

And then you come home, it’s late but for you, the day finally starts  and you feel excited to work on your latest track! But then you realize  that the same grumpy 70-year-old neighbors from above – that’s friendly enough to put the level of her TV on max so anyone can follow the last episode of  ‘The Young and the restless’ with her, but who is also clearly not sharing your taste in music- is going to bed … I think you get the picture here and unless your neighbors appreciate your music at 2 am ( please give me your address…)  or you have the best isolation, you might need to do the job with your headphones! BTW, grumpy grandma could use a pair of headphones too 😉

  • Headphones can be used a second referral, to get a closer look at the stereo field and bass.
  • Finally, you will need headphones for recording to isolate to sound.

How to compare headphones?

You mostly get what you pay for but you can get great professional value for headphones that cost less than 100$ and even some of the best professional studio headphones under 300 $, if you know where to find them.

As a beginner, it is sometimes difficult to choose between the abundant offer off studio headphones? Why should you choose one above the other and how to compare them! Closed-back, open-air, semi-open headphones…enough choice but are they all worth each other? 

It all depends on what you are looking for basically, but I will help you making out which one you should go for, considering the different features that each one possess and your personal preferences. Out of the best professional studio headphones under 300 $ , there is certainly one for you!

 

Before checking out the best headphones I invite you to read : How to compare headphones

 

You will  understand the different types of headphones available and their own specifications. It is sometimes difficult to understand the specifications mentioned on the box. Before making a choice you should be familiar with some technical terminologies such as  frequency range, impedance, soundstage, …. because it’s those specifications that will make you choose for one model or another.

I am explaining those terms in the most comprehensive way possible, so check it out

 

How to choose professional studio headphones

Now that you made a balance between your budget, your preferences and that you understand the different features and specifications and that you know how to choose professional studio headphones…Let’s bring these specifications into practice and let’s find out which headphones will be the one you will go for !

Discover : the 10 best professional studio headphones under 300 $

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I hope this was helpful for you and don’t hesitate to comment or give your suggestions in the comment section bellow or send me an email to angelique@children-of-the-electronic-revolution.com

The best studio headphones under 300 $

The best studio headphones under 300 $

Good quality studio headphones are a MUST for any music producer or DJ.  

Finding the best studio headphones at an affordable price can be tricky, though...

Let's find your match and discover the 10 best studio headphones under 300$

You already know how to compare headphones  and how to choose professional studio headphones analyzing the different types, features and specificities.


Your ideal studio headphones are most certainly out there!  So, discover them now!


 Audio-Technica ATH-M50x professional headphones 

Capture d’écran 2015-09-24 à 17.53.13

 

Complete review and price

The Audio- Technica ATH-M50 is the follower of its big brother, the Audio-Technica ATH-M50. It is one of the best professional headphones for music producers and there are many reasons why! They are the best-rated headphones under 200$ and my personal favorite!

Type: Closed back

My opinion: Excellent quality/price, solid built up, good noise isolation and a well balanced, flat and neutral sound. Best value for the price!

Read More


Sony MDR-7506

sony mdr 7506

Complete review and price 

 

Sony MDR-7506 are used in professional studios all over the world and create great enthousiasm to every one who tried them. People who tried the Sony MDR-7506 claim that once you get used to the 7506, its hard to go back to using any other headphones that cost less that twice their price. They are at least as good, and probably better, than anything else for the price…read more 

Type: Closed back

My opinion: Excellent value for the price, a reference in music industry,well balanced and accurate sound, good isolation for passive noise canceling headphones

Rating: 9,5 / 10

Complete review and price: here


 

Sennheiser HD 280 Pro

Sennheiser

Complete review and price 

Sennheiser HD 280 Pro are solid and rug closed ear headphones designed for  professional monitoring applications and are Sennheiser’s most significant closed headphones to have been presented over the last years. They can be placed under the best headphones under 100 $….Read more

Type: Closed back

My opinion: They are solid and comfortable, very good noise isolators and good value for the price

Rating: 9/10

Complete review and price: here


Shure SR H240

shure srh240A

Complete review and price

The Sure srh840 professional headphones are among the best professional monitoring headphones on the market. They are build like a tank and have an unbeatable sound quality, reproducing the most accurate and well balanced, warm sound with little mid range emphasis. Sound quality is their signature and makes the Sure srh840 one of the best audiophile headphones under 200 $…. read more

Type: Closed back

My opinion: Solid built up and comfortable , fantastic sound quality

Rating: 9,5/10

Complete review and price: here


 

Beyerdynamics DT 880 pro 250 Ohm

beyerdynamics dt 880

Complete review and price

The newest version of the Beyerdynamics DT headphones are combining the sound quality of  open headphones with the strengths of more powerful, closed headphones. They are among the best professional studio monitoring headphones on the market and they are fantastic for mixing purposes! read more

Type : semi open

Rating : 9,5/1o

Amazing performances for mixing and fantastic sound quality, comfort and advantages of both open and closed headphones

Complete review and price


 V Moda Crossfade lp

v moda

Complete review and price

The V-Moda Crossfade LP are probably one of the most eye catching headphone out there. The Crossfade LP It is a very sophisticated headphone with revolutionary design, comfort and great sound that will enthusiasm every audiophile, DJ or producer. It’s no surprise they are among the top-ranked headphones on Amazon. read more.

Type: closed back

Rating: 8/10

When fashion meets function! Fantastic design and built up for a clubby sound

Complete review and price: here


 

 Sennheiser hd 25 1-II

sennheiser hd 25

Complete review and price

Sennheiser HD25-1 II Closed-Back Headphones  have been an industry standard for decades now. Used by the most respected DJ’s for years, they kept on following the newest generation of DJ’s which still makes them one of the best headphones ano 2015. More than that, they are iconic! read more

Type: On-ear

Rating: 9,5 / 10

Excellent choice for DJ/ producers, light weight and solid, outstanding sound qualities and isolation.

Complete review and pricehere

 


 

AKG K 240 MK II 

 

 

AKG 240 MK II

Complete review and price

AKG K 240 MK II are professional semi open headphones. They have been a standard in many studios for more than 3 decades now and are one of the world’s most used professional headphones. The MK II offer an unbeatable sound quality for a very affordable price. They are one of the top choices for a producer on a budget. read more

Type: Semi-open

Rating: 9/10

My opinion: well balanced and detailed sound, great sound imaging and very good price/quality value

Complete review and pricehere 

 


 

Grado Prestige Series BR 80e

grado 3

 

Complete review and price

The Grado prestige Series headphones are open back on-ear professional studio headphones .Even if they are not my first first choice when it comes to studio headphones ( I’ll explain why later ) and I hesitated to put them in list at first, I was thinking about how worth they are considering their price. As I know many beginners or even more advanced producers are tight on budget.When it come to price/quality they are almost unbeatable! Most of the headphones I presented so far, are more expensive and maybe too expensive for some of you.The Grado’s are not THE best headphones on the market but definitely one of the best headphones under 100 $. read more!

Type: On-ear

Rating: 8 /10

My opinion:  well balances and nuanced sound for a great price/ quality value

Complete review and price:  here

 


KRK KNS8400 Studio Headphones

 

krk

 

complete review and price

KRK KNS8400 Studio Headphones are truly a real value of professional studio headphones for an affordable price.The sound quality they deliver can hardly be beaten by other headphones in the same price range. They offer an accurate, clear and neutral sound, with low distortion and excellent frequency response. A very good choice for a ‘beginner’ or for any producer on a budget! read more 

Type: closed back

Rating: 8/10

My opinion: amazing sound quality for the price ,a  very good choice for producer on a budget

Complete review and price: here

 


 

Made you choice between the best professional headphones under 300 $ ? I am sure you did! If not…

 

I’d like to hear from you! So don’t hesitate to talk to me 🙂

 

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Any questions? Don’t hesitate to leave a comment below or send me an email to angelique@children-of-the-electronic-revolution.com

 

 

How to compare headphones

How to compare headphones
  • Types of headphones
  • What do you have to consider before buying
  • Understand the specificities

How to compare headphones

Headphones… we all have them and we all use them for the same purpose, basically listen to music. Choosing the right pair of headphones and knowing how to compare headphones  is more complex though than it seems. Earbuds, on-ear, over-ear, closed and open headphones ,… plenty of choice! But we don’t have the same needs and expectations .

The choice of headphones depends on your needs and preferences. A music producer or an audiophile, a DJ on the go or a work-out addict won’t have the same needs and each headphone has it’s own features and specifications.

How to find your way in the headphone jungle? There are some important things to consider (as you will read below) and I am pretty sure that at the end of this article you will understand how to compare headphones and know which type to go for, suiting your preferences and needs!

So let’s have a look at the different types on the market, important things you might not have thought of and specificities and features that will simplify your choice!

Types of headphones

In-ear headphones vs earbuds

Earbuds are inserted in the ear canal. The advantage of earbuds is it’s portability and noise isolation as they are inserted directly into the ear canal. With their small size and light weight they are ideal for music listening ‘on the walk’ and for sports. They adapt with every portable devices and they offer great isolation from outside noise.earbuds 2

On ear headphones vs over-ear headphones 

On-ear headphones (or supra-oral headphones) rest on the ears but doesn’t cover them. They are more lightweight than  over-ear headphones because they use smaller drivers to make them more portable . Some have a great sound quality but over-ear headphones will mostly have better sound quality. They also offer poor noise isolation and can be uncomfortable for extended listening hours as the pads are clamping agains your ears.

Over-ear headphones (or circaumural ) are larger and  heavier than on-ear and have larger pads that cover the ear. Over-ear headphones will have a better sound quality because they use bigger drivers to reproduce sound. They will be more comfortable than on-ear headphones for extended listening time and will please audiophiles and professionals.

Open back headphones VS closed back headphones 

As most On-ear headphones will be closed back, over-ear headphones can be open back, closed back or semi open.

Open back headphones have a wider soundstage as the sound is reproduced by the air that goes through the drivers. They are ideal for watching movies, audiophiles and in studio purposes the will be used for mixing and mastering.

Closed back headphones will be useful for tracking and recording and offer a better sound isolation.

Noise canceling headphones

Any type of headphone has noise canceling properties. How much will depend on the noise filtering properties of the ear pads and the amount of layers of foam that will cancel outside interferences. The more isolation, the more heavy the headphones will be.

Passive or active noise cancelation: Passive noise isolation headphones will lower some of the outside noise by blocking most of the high frequencies but you will still be able to hear some lower frequency waves ( like on plane for example).

Active noise isolation headphones will block even the lowest frequencies and offer a much better noise isolation but by doing so they can muffle the sound of the music you listen to.

 

What do you have to consider before buying

Budget

Even if it’s true that you mostly get what you pay for, some cheaper models have everything it takes to bring your music experience to the another level. There are some remarkable headphones for tiny prices that deliver the flat, accurate and detailed sound you are looking for.

What we all want is the best price/ quality but some people think that because headphones are expensive, they are better. It is not always true. Sometimes you pay for a brand instead of quality. As an example I’d like to talk about Dre’s Beats. This is the perfect example of how price and quality are not related. They are not bad… but they are way to expensive for what you get!

There are much better headphones out there for a much more affordable price. So don’t be a sheep and don’t let yourself trick by big brands and fashion… there are quality headphones for affordable prices out there that will truly amaze you by their sound quality! Ask yourself the question why you buy headphones. To listen to music or to show off ? If you want only to go for the best,  I made a list of the 10 best studio headphones.Those are more headphones for studio purposes but they are great for any audiophile! And they all sound better than Beats 😉

 

Please read : The best studio headphones under 300 $ 

 

Type of music 

Not all headphones will reflect sound in the same way. Most headphones that or not used for professional purposes will have a colored sound. That means that some aspects will be intensified. This can be the bass, the mid ranges or high ranges. To know which headphones correspond to your personal taste I recommend to read the specifications before you buy.These are not always easy to interpret so I made an understandable list of specifications bellow.

Built up

Before you invest in headphones it is interesting to know how long they will last. The built up quality of headphones will vary and mostly the most expensive headphones have a longer durability. Instead of putting 50 $ dollars into headphones that will last a few months it’s sometimes preferable to put a little more into some that will last.

Comfort

If you are listening to music for extended periods of time or if you use them in the studio, headphones need to be comfortable. It is sometimes difficult to have both built quality and comfort. The sound quality will be better in more heavy headphones, so again it depends on what your preference are.

isolation

I spoke  about isolation before and for some people isolation will be more important than sound quality so depending on which aspect is more important for you, you’ll need to keep that in mind.

Sound quality 

the sound quality will depend on the specifications of the headphones. The frequency response, the impedance, sensitivity and harmonic distortion. It is important to understand the specificities and headphones before you buy them.

sound stage and stereo imaging : Soundstage refers to your listening experience and the playback of sound. the richness, high, width and depth of each instrument or vocal part placed into dimension. A wide soundstage will not only be in front of you but all around, like you are surrounded by the sound coming from every part.A narrow soundstage  will make you perceive the sound more in front or on the sides.

Stereo imaging will refer to how your spacial perspective of the sound will be. It gives you a sense of where each separate instrument will be positioned.

headphones 3

Understand the specificities

frequency range : Frequency is the measurement of sound in Herz (Hz). As humans we are able to hear frequencies from 20Hz to 20.000 Hz. These are standard in most headphones

Frequencies are represented in a graphic (see bellow)

Good headphones need an accurate response to all frequencies: Bass , mids and high frequencies. Bass frequencies should be between 20 and 500 HZ, Mids between 500 Hz and 5000 Hz and highs between 5000 Hz and 20 KHz.  The frequency can also be divided into more categories like Mid bass and upper mid range).

frequency range

Good headphones are able to reproduce every frequency equally.  Although the human ear can only hear frequencies between 20Hz- 20.000Hz, most professional studio headphones have a frequency response that is wider (sometimes from 5Hz to 30.000 Hz). This means a better extension of the sound and less distortion.

Another reason to analyze frequency ranges when buying headphones is related to your preferences. If you are producing or listening to ‘bass’ music, you might go for headphones that emphasize lower frequencies (low-end headphones) but if your genre is more instrumental, vocal or you should go for high-end headphones.

Watch out though that the frequency spectrum is not ‘too’ colored if you are a music producer because you will get a sound quality that is much less detailed and accurate. For music production, the sound should be as flat and neutral as possible.

Total Harmonic distortion ( THD) :  To avoid crackling or alteration in sound, you should go for headphones with a low harmonic distortion ( Lower than 1 % ) They will provide a more accurate  reproduction of sound, even at high volumes. In the graphic above, this would be represented as spikes in the frequency range.

Impedance : To put it in simple words , empedance is the electrical resistance of current measured in Ohm. Most of the headphones have low impedance and require less power to drive the sound . Electronic devices like Ipods or MP3 have a weak amplification, so less resistance which makes it possible to get higher volume. Although some professional headphones have higher impedance ( above 80 Ohm)  and will need a pre amp to be able to drive the sound to it’s maximum level. The resitance is higher, so the output will be weaker and incompatible with software that have weak amplification.It is important to check the impendance before buying headphones because if you don’t pay attention you might be forced to end up having to  buy a pre amp and double the initial cost of your headphones.

Sensitivity : Is the ability of the drivers to reproduce the sound measured in Db. It measures how efficiently the driver will be able to transform the electric input signal into a clear acoustic signal ( sound). The higher the sensitivity the clearer and louder the output volume will be for a given signal.

sensitivity

Hope this helped you understand how to compare headphones and make a choice in you future headphones

Be the first to get my latest blogs and reviews and subscribe to my newsletter and get my Ebook: Music Production: Tips & Tricks for free

Any questions or suggestions? Don’t hesitate to comment or send an email to angelique@children-of-the-electronic-revolution.com