Synth Forum

Clear all

Headphones Suggestions Anyone?

24 Posts
7 Users
Posts: 23
Eminent Member
Topic starter


I'm wondering if anyone has a suggestion about which brand/model of headphones (I'm thinking over-the-ear) will be most effective in capturing the pristine sounds of the Montage for recording and mixing purposes (I'm using Cubase Pro for recording).

I'm all ears!

Thanks in advance 😉 ...

Posted : 10/03/2021 8:31 am
Posts: 0
Trusted Member

I'm using Beyerdynamic DT 770 Pro.

Posted : 10/03/2021 10:33 am
Bad Mister
Posts: 12304

I'm all ears!

Headphones used for music performing are as personal a purchase as you can make. Do not buy based on recommendations alone, like shoes, you should personally try them on. If they physically hurt you ears (not talking about the sound now) but if they pinch your ears or are too heavy, or simply are uncomfortable - you will not care about how good they sound, you will not want to put your ears in them for any length of time.

You don’t buy shoes on recommendation alone — you should try them on. Trust me on this...

Posted : 10/03/2021 12:11 pm
Posts: 207
Reputable Member

After a year using headphones (a very good one, I love the way they sound, indeed ) and loudspeakers I discovered to my amazement this:

Composing, mixing and playing using loudspeakers is great.
Playing through headphones what you previously made via speakers is good as far as needed when not being alone.

But all the work I made via headphones had to be adjusted later since through loudspeakers the performance was very, very far from what was meant.
This affects relative loudness of parts, effects, decays, releases....everything.

I promised myself never compose, arrange or mix again via headphones.

If you are interested in the performance of another Beyerdynamic, receiving 86 points....(yours are given 80 if are 250 ohms or given 69 if 80 ohms)...

A place to see many work on headphones and earphones testing...

But my recommendation is simply headphones are to be used when the people around is not to be implied.

Posted : 10/03/2021 3:19 pm
Bad Mister
Posts: 12304

After a year using headphones (a very good one, I love the way they sound, indeed ) and loudspeakers I discovered to my amazement this:

Composing, mixing and playing using loudspeakers is great.
Playing through headphones what you previously made via speakers is good as far as needed when not being alone.

But all the work I made via headphones had to be adjusted later since through loudspeakers the performance was very, very far from what was meant.
This affects relative loudness of parts, effects, decays, releases....everything.

I promised myself never compose, arrange or mix again via headphones.

Excellent point... the rule of thumb is mix where your audience is likely to listen.

If you’re doing a mix and it is going to mainly be played back in speakers, then mixing in headphones will typically give you false sense of how audible everything is. The difference can be stunning. Back in the day, you would NEVER mix in headphones... for just that reason. But then comes the “Walkman”... if you’re too young to remember... Similar situation now with texting, people walking into poles and out into traffic, all while listening to their Walkman in headphones... The Walkman delevoped a huge audience that listened to music only in headphones... so things change with the times.

How many people today are listening to music in headphones now, in Cars (horrible sound systems), in living room speakers, etc...?

But if you mix in headphones be aware that it comes with the same pitfalls that happen when you mix TOO LOUD.
in headphones and when your playback is too loud... you tend to hear things better. Everything is so CLOSE.

Up to an unbelievable volume level... we humans think louder is better. The reason is you can hear everything when it’s up loud. It’s like with light, the brighter, the better we can see.
(Once it reaches physically abusive, we leave) but up until that point we tend to like more light, more volume.

The point is when you play the same thing back at more normal levels - that’s when you realize some things are crazy out of balance. So back to the rule of thumb... mix at the volume your target audience is likely to listen. Mix through the media your target audience is listen through...

There are headphones specifically designed for mixing. I have a pair of Yamaha HPH-MT7 (made for mixing).
And a pair of HPH-MT8 made for listening.

The MT7 are honest, like working with NS10s, you can believe what you are hearing.
Most headphones, designed for listening and enjoyment, flatter the sound. (like the loudness contour button, they make it ‘consumer ready’ ).

I have engineer friends who can listen to a mix through MT7s and they understand immediately the purpose.
I have others who would not understand them...

Funny story about the “more cowbell” in the mix... it is one of those musical items, that once in a mix, always winds up TOO LOUD. You never really need “more cowbell”, often because in the Control Room musicians love to listen back at very loud volumes... you become unaware of just how loud that cowbell is in relation to the other instruments... the secret is to turn the mix down, I mean way, way, way down. This is when you notice, at low volumes the only thing you can still hear is that COWBELL. It’s like dominating everything. And at ‘background’ music levels it’s way too prominent.

The trick is mix soft when placing the cowbell, make it fit. Then check the mix LOUD, you’ll still be able to hear the cowbell — you’ll see you can get away with using a whole lot less.

Posted : 10/03/2021 4:01 pm
Posts: 207
Reputable Member

I never listen above 85 dB, regardless of the way it is being played.
I love music, and keeping my hearing till I die (should I? Was told if I managed to stay alive another ten years I might never die thanks to great work in progress) is much more than a January statement.

So if canyons come into scene, or say a couple of 150 tonnes bells, those are at 85 dB or less and the rest in the scene follow suit, but down, down...
I saw with great enjoyment on a sound analyser software that a range of about 30 dB turns out to be typical along my music, and more than enough to extend all the orchestration. So if top is 85 dB, the lowest will be 55 dB, a bit below typical conversation level.

I am sorry to hear you think car sound systems are all that bad/horrible...In mine there is a really good one that enjoy to the bones. Castanets, tambourines, violas, cellos, violins ...offer such a detail..., the tremolos, vibratos...even the breath of the performer...

I once found myself repeating a song for the whole hour and a half the trip took...

Posted : 10/03/2021 4:46 pm
Posts: 784
Prominent Member

I did a lot of research and tested out quite a few pairs before buying the Sennheiser HD600's. Almost all the review sites have the HD600's in their top 10, and many compare them against the newer replacement models, and the reviewers tend to choose the HD600's over the newer ones...I checked out many reviews on a lot of different headphones.

My main focus though was finding the best pair for making acoustic grand pianos sound realistic and natural. As you can see in this particular review site, they are quite 'flat' so great for studio mixing, but I find they sound great overall with everything.
Especially acoustic piano Performances...because the best sampled pianos require the full range of frequencies and in order for it to sound natural, the frequency response should be relatively flat. Some headphones that aren't so flat and boost in the higher ranges, sound a bit harsh for piano Performances, but not the HD600's! The only thing that I EQ'd slightly on the Montage for the CFX pianos was the following on the Master EQ:
- 200Hz - reduced the Gain -3dB, Q of 1.3
- 1k - increased Gain +1dB, Q of 1.3
- 4k - reduced the Gain -2dB, Q of 1.1

Other pianos are basically the same, except a much narrower Q on 4k, but I only EQ natural sounding pianos to sound authentic. Pianos that were EQ'd for radio or rock/pop, don't require much additional EQ if any on these headphones.

Posted : 10/03/2021 5:00 pm
Bad Mister
Posts: 12304

I am sorry to hear you think car sound systems are all that bad/horrible...

Sorry, lol, one of my pet peeve’s is audio systems in automobiles. Put the speaker in the door (it never gets slammed), the speakers are aimed no where useful, hardly ever at your ears. Let’s just say they put them where they don’t belong. Simply moving where the sound comes from would improve them markedly (imho).
With the dawn of automated (driverless) cars, maybe a big rethink about speaker placement in a vehicle is on the horizon.

The other pet peeve is the sound of smart phones (Phones are 1000 times better at photography and videos than they are at their primary function being a PHONE! )
How much do the lenses on the cameras in your smart phone cost?
Compared to:
How much is the speaker and mic? C’mon phone makers... it’s the 21 century!

Those are my audio pet peeves...(this week) lol

Posted : 10/03/2021 6:01 pm
Posts: 0
New Member

This web site has thorough tests and reviews of most of the well known and popular headphones:

I got myself a Philips Fidelio X2 (could get it for €149) and because I liked it so much I got myself a second one such that one can stay with the MODX permanently. 🙂

Posted : 10/03/2021 6:55 pm
Posts: 207
Reputable Member

But, billions of blue blistering barnacles, what cars have you been driving so far...?
Please, have your music ready and go to the nearest Audi dealer, ask them to give you five minutes hearing your songs while sitting anywhere in that A8 and you surely change your mind.
Even the W12 engine sounds lovely when running... although very hard to hear !!!
If not, if I am wrong, tell them who you are and they will surely listen.

As for smartphones, remember money makes the world go around, so you are supposed to listen via earphones. Same goes for televisions, calling for sound bars regardless of size or price.

MODX and Montage are so cheap once we compare !!!!

Posted : 10/03/2021 7:31 pm
Posts: 23
Eminent Member
Topic starter

I appreciate all the helpful information folks have been sharing.

Looks like I can't rely on headphones to provide an accurate depiction of what a recording/mix will sound like through speakers, so I will probably aim for a pair that have a flat, high-resolution sound - and if I can find a store where it is possible to try different headphones before buying, that will be helpful, although I'm not sure where that is possible these days - Guitar Center? Best Buy? Or where else?

But then I will focus on finding a good pair of studio monitors for mixing purposes, so...

Understanding that this can also be based on personal preference, I'd be interested in hearing what brand/model/size studio monitors Montage owners who record their own music have found work well for them.


Posted : 11/03/2021 9:07 am
Posts: 0
Trusted Member

In order to get the same sound quality with monitors as with headphones, we should spend far more money in monitors. Plus, you must organize a special room with special phonic coating on the walls and ceiling.
You should have the best studio monitors in the world, If you don't spend money and time on your room itself, it will be absolutely useless.

Posted : 11/03/2021 10:22 am
Posts: 207
Reputable Member

I think there is no need to spend any money but on the loudspeaker themselves, if active, or amplifier/passive if so wished.

The fact of being able to try them at home along a period of time before deciding if they match your needs or otherwise go returning them is really a great deal.

Near field listening, mostly used by keyboardist, will prevent much and most of the nuisances arising otherwise.
Using cleverly what is already own and at hand, such as books, magazines, furniture, carpets...will surely provide the listener with a good environment and a listening experience more than adequate.
If not, further rearranging the very same items here and there, up and down, could surely help.
If again not, then time to spend as much as you wish AFTER you tried really hard...but don't be silly and enjoy what you have. It is not that much difficult. Try it. Don't just thing the magic will drop into that room in exchange of the very money you spent.

And...since you are making your own songs, they will sound very well indeed as you will be adjusting as much as you can all the available settings in order to get what you pretend. Low bass....? You will add some gain. Too bright..? You will...until you are fully satisfied.

Quite another thing is how it sounds on another system...One never knows.

Posted : 11/03/2021 2:17 pm
Posts: 1717
Member Admin

Every house I go into, every car I've ever been in, I've messed with the audio setup to try to make it sound better.

In most cases, what the owner had been enjoying was so far off anything good, I was baffled, if you'll excuse the pun.

It is a constant source of amazement, to me, what others are happy to hear/bear.

These folks, if they have a power outage or something else resets their system, they find me. So they notice the difference after acclimatising to things sounding better, but have absolutely no idea how to balance things.

But they initially didn't know it could be vastly better, and were happy with whatever they'd experienced for a lifetime until I ruined their expectations/palette.

Worse, I have my own biases. I punch the nuts out of mids to high mids, and try to really tighten bass as much as possible so that it hits instead of waffling.

All power to those that can make mixes and use speakers in a neutral way that results in a good balance for everyone.

Don't know how it's done.

So it's completely fine, I think, to have fun with whatever you've got, and make it sound the way you like.

And leave mixing and mastering to someone that knows what they're doing, when you need it done.


EVERYONE recommends the Yamaha HS8's as being "just so" and the most standard of standards.

They're the 'set it and forget it' of monitors.

And they have an ageless design, kind of the Bauhaus of reasonably priced speakers.

Posted : 11/03/2021 2:58 pm
Posts: 1717
Member Admin

Forgot to say a couple of things:

It takes $5000 to get speakers that match a $200 set of headphones.

// some high end car setups are beginning to handily beat $200 headphones. Which can be an incredible, physical experience - and even a little overwhelming - in a good way.

I'm not aware of a plain Jane, just so, Monitor Headphones brand or model. As far as I know, they all have flavourings, and because they are so incredible, those flavourings are distinct.

Most people here, on a Yamaha site, will be slightly reticent to just say the truth: Yamaha's HS8's are just the most ideal default, correct possible choice for Monitors, almost regardless of genre and (to some extent) even price range. They're very good AND very neutral.

And this has been true for decades.

Yamaha is a bit of a stick in the mud, about some things. Sometimes, that's a good thing.

Posted : 11/03/2021 3:12 pm
Page 1 / 2

© 2024 Yamaha Corporation of America and Yamaha Corporation. All rights reserved.    Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Contact Us