Master Mi

Faithful high definition studio headphones with flat frequency response

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Heya, guys.

I'm looking for some professionell studio headphones with a natural hi-fi sound without bass or high frequencies boosts or mid frequencies reductions.
...so, just some headphones which are really neutrally EQ-ed that let me perceive a crystal-clear natural sound and which exactly (as possible) sound as I compose and mix in my DAW.

What would be your favourite headphones at these conditions?

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Edit: My big choice is actually between those headphones:

1) Beyerdynamic DT 880 Pro (5-35000 Hz, 250 ohms, semi-open)
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
>>> https://www.thomann.de/gb/beyerdynamic_dt880_pro.htm
(also available as a slightly cheaper Black Edition)
>>> https://www.thomann.de/gb/beyerdynamic_dt_880_pro_black_edition.htm
frequency response graph >>> https://reference-audio-analyzer.pro/en/report/hp/beyerdynamic-dt-880-pro.php

2) Sony MDR 7506 (10-20000 Hz, 63 ohms, closed)
-----------------------------------------------------------------
>>> https://www.thomann.de/gb/sony_mdr7506_kopfhoerer.htm
frequency response graph >>>  https://www.rtings.com/headphones/1-2/graph#386/2031

3) AKG K-702 (10-39800 Hz, 62 ohms, open, with replaceable cable)
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
>>> https://www.thomann.de/gb/akg_k702.htm
frequency response graph >>> https://www.rtings.com/headphones/1-2/graph#332/2031

4) Beyerdynamic Custom Studio (5-35000 Hz, 80 ohms, closed, with replaceable cable, headset customization options and 4 adjustable bass levels)
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
>>> https://www.thomann.de/gb/beyerdynamic_custom_studio.htm
frequency response graph (depends on bass slider settings) >>> https://www.dropbox.com/s/vdu9ty3w3l0m95z/DT770-CS.jpg?dl=0


I've already got the Sony MDR-7506 which are really good (except the little bit overemphasized 10000 Hz area which can make the sound a bit harsh).
They have a high-definition sound as well as a very good stereo imaging and they'll be kinda comfortable after wearing them for a few days.

The only problem might be that the frequency response sinks drastically at the frequency range over 15000 Hz - so, you might have some difficulties to hear some frequency clashes or conflicting reverberations effects in the high frequency area clearly enough.

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Whatever you end up getting, I recommend looking into Sonarworks Reference 3, which is a VST plugin that corrects frequency imbalances for headphone mixing based on your headphone model. I use it with my AKG K702s and like it a lot -- K702s are skewed toward mids and highs, and it evens things out in a way that makes getting balanced mixes noticeably easier. (FWIW, Sonarworks supports the DT 880 Pro and the Sony MDR 7506 but not the Sennheiser HD 569.)

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I would definitely recommend the Beyerdynamic DT 880's, specifically the 32 ohm model. I got the 250 ohm model, which needed a properly calibrated headphone amp to get a full bass and treble response due to the high impedance. Presumably the lower impedance allows the extreme lows and highs to come through more evenly, so you shouldn't need an amp to get a proper frequency distribution.

graphCompare.php?graphType=0&graphID%5B0

Besides the frequency response, they are very durable and long-lasting, and they have an honest stereo field. I've had them since Dec 2013, and they still are super comfortable while allowing me to mix with utmost awareness of stereo space and frequency fullness.

As an example, here is something recent that I made using these headphones (note: you'd have to download it to hear properly clean treble frequencies since soundcloud embeds at 128 kbps), and here is something zircon made also using them.

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Thanks for the nice hints and information. ))

In the end I've chosen the Sony MDR-7506 and I'm really satisfied with those headphones.
They've got a really natural sound - no overpowered, but really crisp and highly defined basses (probably one of the biggest issue with most studio headphones), pretty decent, clean and neutral mids and really defined high frequencies (although they might be a bit standing out and sharp at "sss" sounds like hi-hats - I tried to change this with an equalizer plugin but no matter where I reduced or raised frequencies I couldn't get significantly better results which might be a sign that these headphones make a really clean, authentic, neutral and natural sound).

In the beginning it might be a bit unusual to listen to soundtracks with such a reduced, neutral bass - but it's really good for the mixing process (as well as for watching movies etc.).
Your sense of hearing wil get used to the neutral sound within a few days/weeks.

The stereophonic/ surround sound is also pretty awesome (and really precise), too.
Related to this it can really keep up with the big room sound of my new stereo speaker system (Logitech Z533).

A bit annoying during the first days was the slightly noticeable pressure on the head around the ears (my ears got pretty warm at the first day after wearing the headphones over a longer time).
But this vanished after a couple of days and they now fit really well without boiling my ears.
If you have larger ears you should look for another model of headphones maybe (they're really made for smaller and normal ears) - such like Beyerdynamic DT 770/880/990 Pro headphones which are really big compared to my Sony headphones.

So, altogether you can hardly do anything wrong with buying the Sony MDR-7506 as professional studio headphones.
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PS: Since a friend of mine wants to buy some Beyerdynamic headphones (770 DT Pro or 880 DT Pro) for gaming soon I might have a chance to compare those ones with my Sony MDR-7506.

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Since I'd been focussing much more on this topic lately, I've updated this posting with new studio headphone models and relevant facts of these models.

Edit: My big choice is actually between those headphones:

1) Beyerdynamic DT 880 Pro (5-35000 Hz, 250 ohms, semi-open)
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
>>> https://www.thomann.de/gb/beyerdynamic_dt880_pro.htm
(also available as a slightly cheaper Black Edition)
>>> https://www.thomann.de/gb/beyerdynamic_dt_880_pro_black_edition.htm
frequency response graph >>> https://reference-audio-analyzer.pro/en/report/hp/beyerdynamic-dt-880-pro.php

2) Sony MDR 7506 (10-20000 Hz, 63 ohms, closed)
-----------------------------------------------------------------
>>> https://www.thomann.de/gb/sony_mdr7506_kopfhoerer.htm
frequency response graph >>>  https://www.rtings.com/headphones/1-2/graph#386/2031

3) AKG K-702 (10-39800 Hz, 62 ohms, open, with replaceable cable)
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
>>> https://www.thomann.de/gb/akg_k702.htm
frequency response graph >>> https://www.rtings.com/headphones/1-2/graph#332/2031

4) Beyerdynamic Custom Studio (5-35000 Hz, 80 ohms, closed, with replaceable cable, headset customization options and 4 adjustable bass levels)
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
>>> https://www.thomann.de/gb/beyerdynamic_custom_studio.htm
frequency response graph (depends on bass slider settings) >>> https://www.dropbox.com/s/vdu9ty3w3l0m95z/DT770-CS.jpg?dl=0


I've already got the Sony MDR-7506 which are really good (except the little bit overemphasized 10000 Hz area which can make the sound a bit harsh).
They have a high-definition sound as well as a very good stereo imaging and they'll be kinda comfortable after wearing them for a few days.

The only problem might be that the frequency response sinks drastically at the frequency range over 15000 Hz - so, you might have some difficulties to hear some frequency clashes or conflicting reverberations effects in the high frequency area clearly enough.

I'm thinking about getting some further studio headphones for a more accurate and larger higher frequency section.

The Beyerdynamic DT 880 Pro Black Edition for just 185 euro really seems to catch my attention in this case - but I'm really not sure if I can just connect this 250 ohm version to my Steinberg UR22 USB audio interface without a further headphone amp.
But they really have a smooth flat frequency response graph (except the little 6000 Hz peak):
>>> https://reference-audio-analyzer.pro/en/report/hp/beyerdynamic-dt-880-pro.php
I don't really want to have the standard DT 880 (no-pro) 32 ohms hi-fi model, because the hi-fi series seem to have a much less flat frequency response and harsher higher frequencies - as you can see here:
>>> http://en.goldenears.net/11302

The AKG K-702 seems to be really interesting, too (also has a replaceable cable).
It has only 62 ohms (so, no amp needed, I guess) - but there I'm afraid that I'll have a similarly harsh sound like on my Sony MDR-7506, according to its frequency response graph.

Another interesting model I've found lately is the Beyerdynamic Custom Studio.
It has a quite large frequency range.
According to the frequency response graph these headphones also seem to be pretty flat until over the 15000 Hz region (except the little overemphasized bass section below 200 Hz where I'm not sure which bass level setting they've used in this measurement) - obviously no harsh high frequencies here.
>>> https://www.dropbox.com/s/vdu9ty3w3l0m95z/DT770-CS.jpg?dl=0

It has only 80 ohms - so, it might work well without a further amp.
Another big advantage of this model might be that - in addition to the replaceable cable - nearly all other parts of these studio headphones are replaceable, too.
You can also buy an additional special accessory cable with a microphone and use it as a pretty good headset.

I wonder if they can keep up with the DT 880 Pro since they play in a similar price league of the same developer.

Does anybody already have tested these studio headphones and can give a little comparision of the mentioned models?

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If you're only using the headphones in your studio, buy the most comfortable pair and hit it with Sonarworks for the most ideal headphone response possible.

If you plan to use the headphones elsewhere, obviously Sonarworks can't follow you around, I'd say the best out of what you provided is the K-702 just based on the chart.

However, based on testimonial of friends, ubiquity, and an even better chart, I'd say you should probably go with the Sennheiser HD 280. This is the 280 i pulled off of google:

image.png.b82910074d74f36e3852adbab18acbd0.png

 

I have used the DT 880 for a long time, but to be perfectly honest, it's just as bad as the frequency response graph tells; it has incredibly shrill spikes in the treble range. It's honestly an eye-opener when you switch between a flat response and the DT880's (which I have, I use DT 880's + Sonarworks) just how bad the DT 880's actually sound. When compared A/B in that fashion, it honestly does sound like the audio is coming out of a phone speaker when you hear the DT 880's natural sound.

Of course, it doesn't matter too much at the end of the day. Headphone responses are easy to get used to and compensate for because they have very broad features (unlike a bad room, where you can get a random 9 dB spike at 130 Hz and nowhere else due to room geometry). What really matters is that most of the frequency range is represented adequately, and that they're comfortable to wear. Every other consideration can be appeased by practice and experience. You're never going to get truly good bass response on headphones (unless you have Nuraphones) and you're never going to get good stereo imaging without putting any crosstalk simulation on your master chain. Unlike studio monitors, there's a pretty low ceiling to how good headphones can sound, and if you're in the $100-150 range, any of the popular ones will do once you get some experience on them.

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I tend to agree with that. Get a decent set of open cans, Sonarworks, and Canopener. Sonarworks and Canopener both have trials so you can see how big of a difference they make, and both go on sale every now and then.

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Sennheiser HD 280 don't look too bad from the frequency response - but it's not too far away from my Sony MDR-7506.

I wonder why the Yamaha studio headphones aren't constructed in a way they would represent their pretty nice studio monitors - the frequency response in nearly all models seems to be completely different than their HS or MSP series of studio monitors.

The AKG K-702 look a bit more interesting for me, 'cause the frequency response from the lower to the higher frequencies is slightly rising there.
I'm not quite sure how electromagnetic waves (frequencies) go through your auditory canal, until they get to the sensory cells in the ear.
But if the process is similar to the physical way of frequency reflections of studio monitor speakers in the room (bass frequency waves remain longer in the room than higher frequency waves), then the AKG K702 could bring a fairly flat sound reproduction to the sensory celly in your ears.
The feature with the replaceable cable is also really nice.

But for some reasons it totally drags me in the direction of the Beyerdynamic DT 880 Pro Black Edition.
Except the little peak at 6000 Hz they seems to have the flattest frequency response I've ever seen at headphones (if all the measurements of the headphones are all fairly correct so far).
>>> https://reference-audio-analyzer.pro/en/report/hp/beyerdynamic-dt-880-pro.php

I'm still not sure, if I can connect the DT 880 Pro (250 ohms) without problems (or without another amp for headphones) to my Steinberg UR22 USB audio interface and get the full sound quality out of it.
If somebody already has experiences with using these (or similar 250-or-more-ohms headphones) in connection with an USB audio interface, please let me know.

Until I got more information about the DT 880 Pro, I'll stick with my Sony MDR-7506 which are actually pretty good except the lil harsh high frequencies.
The hint with Sonarworks isn't too bad there, 'cause it inspired me to create some EQ-masks as master plugins for my Sony MDR-7506 headphones and my Presonus Eris 3.5 studio monitors.
For creating these presets I used a multiband EQ plugin from my DAW to counter some of the sticking out frequencies (of the frequency response graphs I got from internet) on an imaginary, fixed horizontal axis a bit for getting an even more flat frequency response and a less harsh sound of my Sony MDR-7506 headphones.
I only use these selfmade EQ presets as master plugins which I can switch on or off anytime - it the mixing sounds good with both settings (EQ on & off) I guess it can't be too bad in the end.

Just don't forget to switch off the EQ master plugin before measuring/adjusting the loudness and exporting the track.
 

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As someone who used the 280's for awhile back a few years ago I can say that they are deep in the dreaded Sennheiser Veil territory.  Which means you can really jack the upper mids and have no idea just how much aural pain you are causing your listeners. Before I upgraded to the HD 600's I was only using the 280's for mixing bass and low mids.  Even then I feel I would hit ear fatigue with those things in about 20-30 minutes of listening. 

If you can delay purchasing anything right now and save up I'd go right for the HD 600s.  They are expensive but you can hear absolutely everything with them. 

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23 hours ago, Garpocalypse said:

If you can delay purchasing anything right now and save up I'd go right for the HD 600s.  They are expensive but you can hear absolutely everything with them. 

Hm, the Sennheiser HD 600 seem to have a similar frequency response like the AKG K-702.

Since the HD 600 is a 300 ohms model, does it mean these headphones work correctly with a normal USB audio interface or do you use further amps or stuff like that for composing and mixing with 'em?

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Just now, Master Mi said:

Hm, the Sennheiser HD 600 seem to have a similar frequency response like the AKG K-702.

Since the HD 600 is a 300 ohms model, does it mean these headphones work correctly with a normal USB audio interface or do you use further amps or stuff like that for composing and mixing with 'em?

To get the very best of what they are capable of you'll want to use a nice headphone amp but I use a Presonus 22VSL interface and they work just fine and are perfectly accurate for mixing.   

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I got sennheiser 280s and they are a pain in the ass. The sound leakage is so bad you can use them as speakers. There is zero bass, which caused me to mix my sound into a hitachi vibrator and not even know it. I mean, maybe that's how it's supposed to work and I'm just ignorant? Mixing on headphones is pretty much a nightmare.

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i'm using superlux hd 681 now. the 20 euro AKG competitor. partly because they have 32 ohms and my focusrite interface just isn't that loud in the headphone output.

for someone who is able to/prefers to mix on speakers, they're really pretty good. if you don't know whether you need excellent headphones, just get those. you can still use them for your hifi...

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having bought enough, i can do the direct comparison;

 

i got beyerdynamic  770 at 80 ohms, and superlux at 32 ohms.

 

meh. the superlux are good. they're definitely good to create any music. maybe they're to shallow, but this shit is prty good.

 

 

main thing is, 20 euros is goood these days.

 

it's still got a lot to do with loudness. the 80 ohm 770's just are a bit lacking on a standard interface like the focusrite i got. i had a lower ohm pair b4 but i cannot remember how they sounded.

 

i got 3 pairs right now, the superlux @ 32, the akg 240 @ 55, the 770 @80...AND what to say...

the superlux are good. they also don't cause ear hurt (purely ergonomical) like my old AKG's from a decade ago did....(after a 10 hour night shift)

 

i say, good enough. but if you mix for absolute quiet-i-tude, approach those 4 digits.... i know nothing about them. i just know these 20$ cans are pretty damn good relatively speaking.

 

superlux. good stufff. 20 fucking dollaras.gaussian bell winner

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Besides, I've got the Beyerdynamic DT 880 Pro studio headphones (Black Edition, 250 ohms) meanwhile and I've connected these to my Steinberg UR22 USB Audio Interface (the first version - not the new MK II).

If I listen to a youtube soundtrack like "Rock Box" by Run-D.M.C. with the loudest volume setting on Youtube, for example, I just have to turn up the volume control unit of my Steinberg audio interface at around 11 o'clock to listen to this track at my preferred loudness level.
>>>



In comparison to the Beyerdynamic DT 880 Pro I have to turn up the volume control unit at around 10 o'clock, if I use my 63 ohms Sony MDR-7506 studio headphones (so, not too much difference in this case).
At least this USB interface seems to have a not so bad headphone amp for high-impedance - as well as for lower-impedance - headphones.

And just in connection to this USB audio interface the Beyerdynamic DT 880 Pro sound already pretty amazing - wide sound stage (as if you sit in a little home cinema), very clean, detailed, linear and full sound.
And with these studio headphones you cleary hear, if reverb and certain frequencies are too much or stick out in your mix or get in conflict with other track elements - exactly what I was looking for.

The bass of the Sony MDR-7506 might be a bit tighter (at least at my Steinberg audio interface).
But I'll save some money for another audio interface (maybe the Japanese Roland Rubix 24 with 2 additional line output ports) at which I can connect a high-end headphone amplifier designed for high-impedance headphones (maybe the German Lake People G103-P headphone amp).
So, maybe this combination will bring the Beyerdynamic DT 880 Pro studio headphones to their full potencial.

In the end it might be around further 500 bucks with uncertain results.
But nevertheless I will be able to use some lower-impedance headphones like my Sony MDR-7506 on the Roland Rubix 24 audio interface and some high-impedance headphones like my Beyerdynamic DT 880 Pro at the Lake People G103-P headphone amp at the same time.
So, it would be also a really nice combo, if you wanna listen to some music projects or plan some big gaming or movie evenings with good friends and without annoying the neighborhood in the later evening hours.

As soon as I've got the new stuff, I'll give a little feedback if there are further sound improvements of my high-impedance 250 ohms Beyerdynamic DT 880 Pro studio headphones when connected to the Lake People G103-P high-end headphone amp.

So, stay tuned, dudes. ))

Edited by Master Mi

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maybe the ohm value isn't all that objective, generally. the 80 ohm 770's i got are just really quiet. with my 3 cans, the loudness seems pretty linear in comparison, from 32 to 55 to 80. what you say about 250 vs. 63 ohms tells a different story!

could be i just don't dig the sound of the 770's that much. at fully cranked up, it sounds barely loud enough but just not that good. pretty spacious but lacking power.

maybe i just need a critical amount of volume to feel good about the sound, i don't know. i've noticed that i like many consumer level headphones if the sound is direct and not obviously distorted/relatively flat. i mixed 2 or 3 songs of last year on cheap sennheiser headphones and those sounded good on expensive monitors, as well. it's got to do with being lucky and the mix in question, for sure.

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