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Studio Headphone Guide

There are a multitude of factions that go into creating a mix that can rival any song you hear on the radio. Room acoustics, the sounds you use, how you manipulate them, the mix as well as other things. Good monitors are recommended for mixing, but headphone mixes are also important. The thing is to not only know the right headphones to mix with, but to learn the characteristics of the particular set you have. While I can't tell you any one pair is guaranteed for any one person, I do have a small list of some headphones I like. You can research these and determine your weapon of choice. For one, let's understand 2 different headphone styles. You have closed-back and open-back. Closed back headphones are usually better for recording while open-back can help achieve a better mix. Here are some closed-back headphones I like as well as pricing info, reviews, etc on each:

-Sennheiser HD280 Pro

These are more of a work horse than a fashion statement, but work they do, and they be doin it well, word to Uncle L. One of the most widely used recording headsets as well as one of the most reliable especially for the price range. All in all, they're good money.

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-Sony MDR-7506

I've probably seen these headphones in more studios than any other set. Popularity doesn't always equate to functionality, but in the case of the classic Sony MDR-7506, the functionality validates the popularity. If these headphones could talk they would have Hov's voice and would only say "I WILL NOT LOSE!".

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-Extreme Isolation EX-29

In the Headset High School yearbook, if Beats by Dre win Most Popular, Prom King, Most Likely to Succeed, and just about every other cool person award there is, the Extreme Isolation EX-29 wins Most Socially Awkward. They look weird and they stay isolated. REALLY isolated, but fortunately, in the world of headphones, this is an incredible trait so there's no bullying these headsets. While most headphones attenuate one frequency, these attenuate the average frequency over a wide range. If you're a drummer.......buy these. End of story.

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  • Here are a few open-back headphones I like. Again, the open-back sets are better when you're mixing(in conjunction with your studio monitors):

Beyerdynamic DT990 Pro

 The dynamic range surpasses that of a human ear (5Hz-35Khz). The low end is present and accounted for when mixing and the feel.....well they feel like a pair of fresh Air Max 95s right out the box. The lime green joints. Anything that can be compared to the Lime 95s are worth checking out and you know this. 

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AKG K 701

Audiophile [aw-dee-uh-fahyl]: a person who is especially interested in high-fidelity sound reproduction.

It wouldn't be uncommon to find an [aw-dee-uh-fahyl] that considers these to be the best headphones on planet earth. It's flat-wire coil technology delivers an unparalleled transient response. Quincy Jones himself has stated these headphones have the best sound of any headphones he's ever owned. 'Nuff said.

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Shure SRH1840

 

There are moments in life which you will never forget. You can tell the story, even today, with the detail of the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. Maybe the day you graduated, lost your virginity, or turned 21. Well there's a new sheriff in town ladies and gents. That is the day you heard your music coming through these headphones. It's wonder of sorts how such a full, crisp signal comes through a speaker this size.

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There are so, so many choices when selecting the headphones right for you. I hope my suggestions can at least serve as an effective starting point in your venture. With whatever pair you choose, be sure to give them the time they deserve. Learn your set's frequency response so you can really achieve a mix that translates well across all mediums. Thank you for reading and happy mixing!

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