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Recs For New Studio Mixing Headphones (2020-2021 Edition)


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My AKG K240s cans are soon to wear out after more than a decade of being probably the most important tool to my music development short of FL Studio 11 itself. It will be time between now and 2021 to replace them and I'm wondering what modern cans you folks are using for mixing at the proper (or "flat") signal frequencies and high quality audio playback in this era.

Budget could be as high as $300.00. Doesn't HAVE to be a 2020 model of anything, I just want to get something a lot more modern than my previous model was at 12 years old at least.

What recs do you folks have?

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I use and really love the Beyerdynamic DT 880 Pro (Black Edition) - which are some of the flattest (neutral sound/linear frequency response) high-end studio headphones which sound reproduction is very analytic and rich in detail.
With them you also hear pretty well when you overdo reverb just a little bit or if the staging/room information (stereo and depth) is or is not correct/good.

They can also reproduce a large frequency range from 5 to 35000 Hz - which is more than enough, even for those listeners with the best ears/sense of hearing.

https://www.thomann.de/gb/beyerdynamic_dt_880_pro_black_edition.htm?ref=intl&shp=eyJjb3VudHJ5IjoiZ2IiLCJjdXJyZW5jeSI6IjQiLCJsYW5ndWFnZSI6ImVuIn0%3D


Except for the peak at 6000 Hz (according to the frequency graph in the following link) those studio headphones seem to have some of the flattest frequency response graphs.

https://reference-audio-analyzer.pro/en/report/hp/beyerdynamic-dt-880-pro.php#gsc.tab=0


Make sure to get a good high-end headphone amp like the headphone amps from Beyerdynamic or Lake People (I use the Lake People G109-P) which are specially made to drive such kind of high impedance headphones.
With a good high-end headphone amp you'll be able to to see (or hear) the true potential of these headphones (especially when it comes to the - much better - definition of the bass, lower mids and trebles).

If you connect the Beyerdynamic DT 880 Pro to a good audio interface (at least it should be not one with just a USB current supply - you'll hear that in the bass which will sound a little bit more cloudy/muddy or less defined... so, it should be at least an audio interface with a good current supply) you might get good results as well.

My former USB audio interface Steinberg UR22 gave some moderate results with the Beyerdynamic DT 880 Pro, my momentary audio interface (separate current supply) provided a little better and crispiers sound with those headphones - but my Lake People G109-P really gave the best results and also a really tight and well-defined bass.

For a beginner with untrained ears the differences in the sound wouldn't be that big - but for somebody with a good sense of hearing, trained ears and lots of listening experience, the differences might be similar like for gamers playing Shadow of the Colossus with the graphics of the original PS2 version (equivalent of the DT 880 Pro driven with Steinberg UR22), the PS3 remaster (equivalent of the DT 880 Pro driven with Steinberg UR44) and the PS4 remake (equivalent of the DT 880 Pro driven with a Lake People G109-P headphone amp)...

... just for the case you don't know what I'm talking about >>>  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vGPEipZOBOU



Unfortunately, the Lake People G109-P (around 500 bucks - but probably the best of the G-series) don't seem to be sold anymore.
But the G103-P (just around 300 bucks) should also provide a crystal clear, very detailed and faithful sound in combination with the Beyerdynamic DT 880 Pro.

https://www.thomann.de/gb/lake_people_g103p_phoneamp.htm?ref=intl&shp=eyJjb3VudHJ5IjoiZ2IiLCJjdXJyZW5jeSI6IjQiLCJsYW5ndWFnZSI6ImVuIn0%3D

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  • 1 month later...

I went through this debate myself around March replacing the exact same set of headphones (AKG K240s).

I didn't have a chance to audition a lot of headphones and kind of went in only doing some research. Here's my table:

  • Beyerdynamic DT 880 Pro ($170). Bright sound profile
  • AKG K712 ($290). Bright sound profile
  • Audio Technica ATH-R70x ($350). Scooped sound profile
  • Sennheiser HD600 ($330). Flat sound profile
  • Sennheiser HD650 ($370). Flat, bass sound profile
  • Shure SRH1840 ($500). Flat sound profile

I limited my headphones to open-backed only. I discounted closed-back headphones (which limits options quite a bit; there are a lot of good closed-back headphones that aren't that expensive).

From all of the readings that I did, the Beyerdynamic and AKGs were pretty bright in the midrange. Audio Technica was well-rated but the comfort was supposedly so-so. Sennheiser HD600 was apparently the most flat and balanced of the lot.

I eventually went for the Sennheiser HD650 because they're more bassy and really popular in EDM. I went with those instead of the much cheaper Massdrop HD6xx because I wanted the higher-quality construction and durability. Apparently the Massdrop HD6xx (which is only $220, but you need to do a group buy) is the same, sound-wise, as the HD650.

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