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Helix through headphones?

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Hey guys - how does the Helix sound through headphones? I plan on using it to play late alot when everyone is sleeping...does it still kick lollipop or does it kind of lose its magic when playing this way? I never really liked how the HD500 sounded through headphones. Can I expect a big difference?

 

Thanks!

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My KOSS cans need some serious TLC, so I've been running it through Sennheiser HD 280 pros.  The only drawback is that they REALLY underscore the desire for FRFR speakers.  IOW, it sounds pretty damn sweet.

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Did you listen to the Pod through an FRFR system? If yes, how did you like that? From what a lot of people tell me, the Helix is a completely different experience than the Pods.

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Depends entirely on the headphones. Helix itself produces excellent tones, as does the POD HD series although personally I think Helix is better. But both will sound bad through earbuds and low quality headphones, and both will sound excellent through good quality headphones.

 

Edit: You may also need to tweak your presets in order to have them sound good using headphones. Most headphones emphasize the low end so you may need to dial that back in your preset. Also, for best results with headphones set the output mode to Studio/Direct and use mic/cab simulations in the preset. For instance, I would not expect your HD500 to sound good using headphones if your presets are designed to be used with a real guitar amp and you are using Live output mode. In that situation your headphones are not delivering a similar signal to your ears that your amp is with the same preset.

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Headphones are always a compromise. Always. Because you're not moving air.

 

That said, I've had good luck with my IEMs (Shure SE215s) and also with my Sennheiser HD 380s.

But if you program patches with these and then expect them to sound right "live" through speakers, imho, you will always be disappointed.

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I've been using Sennheiser HD280 Pro with the HD500 in the past and use them with Helix now.

They sounded great with HD500 and so they do with Helix. Of course you have to adjust the patches but that's true fro every single piece of gear you change.

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I use Sony MDR7506 headphones.  They are the professional phones you see in nearly every studio that say Studio Monitor on the top of the band.  There is a reason they are in so many studios and used by so many DJ's.  Aside from the clarity, frequency response way beyond what humans can hear, and as little coloring as you can get from headphones... they can handle insane volume levels.  

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I use Sony MDR7506 headphones. They are the professional phones you see in nearly every studio that say Studio Monitor on the top of the band. There is a reason they are in so many studios and used by so many DJ's. Aside from the clarity, frequency response way beyond what humans can hear, and as little coloring as you can get from headphones... they can handle insane volume levels.

I'm forced to wonder what the point of having a frequency response outside the range of human hearing is...is it supposed to somehow be comforting to know that the frequencies are there, despite our inability to perceive them? Or is Sony after the much coveted whale and bat demographics?

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I'm forced to wonder what the point of having a frequency response outside the range of human hearing is...is it supposed to somehow be comforting to know that the frequencies are there, despite our inability to perceive them? Or is Sony after the much coveted whale and bat demographics?

 

Perhaps there's more going on than just marketing gibberish. Maybe it's to do with the materials used to construct them and because of this there's no way to suppress the frequencies beyond the human range without actually affecting the frequencies in the human range.

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"outside the range of human hearing". Hogwash. Maybe they are there, but that's probably true (depending on the human being measured) for a LOT of current pro headphones from AKG, AT, Sennheiser and others, but 7506s are NOT somehow a "gold standard". They are popular imho mostly because they are quite loud, and yes, they do, in fact, sound very good, and are comfortable for long stretches. I like them, but don't own a pair because I prefer other things.

They're not bad, on the contrary... and I suspect they'd be a great match for Helix.

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Perhaps there's more going on than just marketing gibberish. Maybe it's to do with the materials used to construct them and because of this there's no way to suppress the frequencies beyond the human range without actually affecting the frequencies in the human range.

Perhaps...actually, I'd like to think that this is the reason.

 

However, the "buy our new Thingamewhozitz 2000...it has more everything" philosophy is what our economy is built on. ;)

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"outside the range of human hearing". Hogwash. Maybe they are there, but that's probably true (depending on the human being measured) for a LOT of current pro headphones from AKG, AT, Sennheiser and others, but 7506s are NOT somehow a "gold standard". They are popular imho mostly because they are quite loud, and yes, they do, in fact, sound very good, and are comfortable for long stretches. I like them, but don't own a pair because I prefer other things.

 

They're not bad, on the contrary... and I suspect they'd be a great match for Helix.

Amen, brother! Amen. Loud=good. More loud? More good! ;)

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I use Sony MDR7506 headphones.  They are the professional phones you see in nearly every studio that say Studio Monitor on the top of the band.  There is a reason they are in so many studios and used by so many DJ's.  Aside from the clarity, frequency response way beyond what humans can hear, and as little coloring as you can get from headphones... they can handle insane volume levels.  

how the listening is compared with a pair of near field monitor? Do you have to equalize to match the monitors? I've tried several headphones (about 70$ models) and what I've found is that there is a lack of low frecuencies.

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how the listening is compared with a pair of near field monitor? Do you have to equalize to match the monitors? I've tried several headphones (about 70$ models) and what I've found is that there is a lack of low frecuencies.

 

I have these headphones and use them always for my baseline tones. But, I also create the tones within the confines of a mix. When I think I have the tone I'm after for one particular track, I'll listen to it, within the mix, on other audio systems, from cheap to not-as-cheap, but nothing high end. I find I rarely, if ever, have to EQ anything depending on listening medium. Everything sounds remarkably similar regardless if it's listened to on the headphones or not.

 

I don't find a lack of low end on these headphones (7506s). The low end may have an apparent weakness, maybe not as much oomph as compared to a speaker system with a sub-woofer, say, but I've come to the conclusion that it's because it's clearer, more defined, and better balanced.

 

So, to get good results across multiple speaker systems, I guess I do EQ things, but I EQ at the source, which is Helix, to get a good final balance. This way, EQing is not necessary with the final output whether listening on headphones or something other.

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I'm forced to wonder what the point of having a frequency response outside the range of human hearing is...is it supposed to somehow be comforting to know that the frequencies are there, despite our inability to perceive them? Or is Sony after the much coveted whale and bat demographics?

 

The best way I can explain...  Lets say you have a speaker that just covers a particular range, like a tweeter or a woofer or a mid.  If you use a crossover to send the applicable frequencies to the applicable speakers, all sounds good.  But if you were to remove the crossover and send ALL of the signal with it's full range of tones... things would go south quick because although the speakers can only reproduce a certain range, it's not like they aren't receiving the full range and trying to reproduce it.  This is very evident if you've ever hooked up the speaker output to a sub-woofer without a crossover.  It sounds bassie but not sub-woofery and when you try to push it, it gets all distorted.

 

A lot of headsets ( I just happen to like the Sony ones) get around this issue by making the frequency response of the speakers as wide as possible.  The range on these is rated at 10hz - 20kHz.  So while we mortals might not be able to hear all the way down to 10hz the speakers in the headsets don't mind getting frequencies that low and it just processes them..  I actually hooked up an analyzer and sent tones down to 3hz that they reproduced.   

 

how the listening is compared with a pair of near field monitor? Do you have to equalize to match the monitors? I've tried several headphones (about 70$ models) and what I've found is that there is a lack of low frequencies.

 

Well they aren't as articulate as my Event 20/20's and they aren't as sloppy as the NS-10's either, but they do a nice job handling the bottom end and have a fairly nice dynamic response.  

 

I just did some experimenting and did a bunch of playing around with putting the headsets partially on and playing with turning the main volume on the Helix up and down to the speakers and turning the headset volume up and down, and while there is obviously a difference, I was really kinda surprised I could hit levels where I really couldn't tell if I was hearing the cabinet or the headsets. 

 

The headsets aren't as articulate as the speakers, which is expected, but the tonal range is very comparable.  So far my experience has been that if I work out a patch with the headsets on, it just sounds better through the speakers. Speakers are just more dynamic/articulate in response than the headsets...  I have not found the need to change the eq for headsets vs speakers.

 

YMMV

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I have these headphones and use them always for my baseline tones. But, I also create the tones within the confines of a mix. When I think I have the tone I'm after for one particular track, I'll listen to it, within the mix, on other audio systems, from cheap to not-as-cheap, but nothing high end. I find I rarely, if ever, have to EQ anything depending on listening medium. Everything sounds remarkably similar regardless if it's listened to on the headphones or not.

 

I don't find a lack of low end on these headphones (7506s). The low end may have an apparent weakness, maybe not as much oomph as compared to a speaker system with a sub-woofer, say, but I've come to the conclusion that it's because it's clearer, more defined, and better balanced.

 

So, to get good results across multiple speaker systems, I guess I do EQ things, but I EQ at the source, which is Helix, to get a good final balance. This way, EQing is not necessary with the final output whether listening on headphones or something other.

 

What he said (I guess we were typing at the same time)

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I use Sony MDR7506 headphones.  They are the professional phones you see in nearly every studio that say Studio Monitor on the top of the band.  There is a reason they are in so many studios and used by so many DJ's.  Aside from the clarity, frequency response way beyond what humans can hear, and as little coloring as you can get from headphones... they can handle insane volume levels.

 

Ha ha. Not laughing at you. I am chuckling because I just posted in another thread that my Sony MDRs sound absolutely with my Helix and I can't understand it since they are amazing for studio mixing and super comfortable. Mine get real flabby on the low end of the Helix and tend to distort at louder volume. Mine have been run through the wringer and are a very early model as they have had up great. I also have a set of MDR V6's. They sound a little better but same basic issues. I had just assumed it was an impediance thing between the Helix and the Sonys. My Fischer Audio studio cans sound amazing. Now I am confused...lol.

 

I do want to add that I have always loved the Sonys and you are so right about how great they are for mixing.

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how the listening is compared with a pair of near field monitor? Do you have to equalize to match the monitors? I've tried several headphones (about 70$ models) and what I've found is that there is a lack of low frecuencies.

 

The biggest problem with using headphones or IEMs instead of speakers is not EQ, imho.

 

It is levels of compression, mix ratio for delays, and amounts of gain.

 

But eq is an issue, too.

 

There isn't, in my experience, a "fix" for this. You HAVE to do your final tweaks with a speaker if you want it to sound good through a speaker.

 

Oh, and headphones for mixing? No. Just no. Simple basic mix start? Sure, final critical mix? Never.

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The biggest problem with using headphones or IEMs instead of speakers is not EQ, imho.

 

It is levels of compression, mix ratio for delays, and amounts of gain.

 

But eq is an issue, too.

 

There isn't, in my experience, a "fix" for this. You HAVE to do your final tweaks with a speaker if you want it to sound good through a speaker.

 

Oh, and headphones for mixing? No. Just no. Simple basic mix start? Sure, final critical mix? Never.

 

Yeah, just want to reiterate.. no MIXING with headsets.  Even if they have the frequency response, as stated... they inherently are compressing the signal.  Good headsets are great for adjusting mic placements, soloing channels for live sound, etc..  essentially listening to a single instrument.  I assume it's common knowledge, but maybe it isn't.  You should mix to as many speakers as you can find.   I had 4 sets in my studio.  the Event 20/20's, NS10's, a pair of those little Radio Shack 3" cubes, and a pair of Radio Shack small 3-way indoor/outdoor speakers.   Mix to the 20/20's first, but then listen on everything...  then, put it on the home stereo, take it out to the car, the wife's car, earbuds, headsets (in this case you're just listening, not mixing)...  If anything sounds off.... back to the 20/20's and start again.

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I've only used the Helix through headphone/in-ears, since I'm really only able to plug in at night when my girls are sleeping and go direct when I play at church and listen in through in-ears. So, while I don't know if there's any "magic" I'm missing from not playing through monitors or another speaker setup, I will say that I'm still pretty dang happy with my Helix. (I use Sennheiser HD 280's and 1964 Adels for my in-ears) Like many have stated, I'm sure you need to create your patches to feel and sound the way you want them to when playing silently, but if you'll mainly be playing this way, I will say the Helix is definitely worth the price of admission. Previously I was doing this via my pedalboard > amp head > Suhr reactive load > IR cab sims > recording interface > headphones .. and that was nice, but I just have so much more at my disposal now, AND.. all I need now is the guitar, Helix and headphones :) 

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It depends from the headphones you use...

The phones output of the Helix has 12 ohm. According 1/8 rule a headphone should have not less than 96 ohm. Line 6 support recommends to use the headphones between 150-300 ohm.

 
I have Helix LT and I tried a few headphones:
 
Sony MDR-7510 (24 Ohm)...sounded awful
AiAiAi T-2 (32 Ohm)...sounded awful
Beyerdynamic DT-770 Pro (250 Ohm)...sounded quite good, but it was hard to drive...and uncomfortable to wear for a longer periods and don't liked a curly cable.
Sennheiser HD-650 (300 Ohm)... sounded very, very good! Nice warm sound, good sound stage. Highly recommended!

 

I ended up with Sennheiser HD 600 (300 ohm). It sounds amazing! Clear, extremely detailed sound...! Very comfortable to wear, nice design!  I would highly recommend it!!!

 

P.S. sorry for my english :)

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My research tells me that Helix will sound good with high impedence headphones. But is more the merrier? I've got the opportunity to buy a pair of 600 Ohms BeyerDynamics cheap, but is this overkill?

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My research tells me that Helix will sound good with high impedence headphones. But is more the merrier? I've got the opportunity to buy a pair of 600 Ohms BeyerDynamics cheap, but is this overkill?

All the higher impedance really does for you, is allow you to drive them louder before they start to clip. I use AKG K701's at the moment, which are 55 ohms. I have no issues. I can turn them up uncomfortably loud with no clipping. Headroom is nice...going deaf, not so much.

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Depends entirely on the headphones. Helix itself produces excellent tones, as does the POD HD series although personally I think Helix is better. But both will sound bad through earbuds and low quality headphones, and both will sound excellent through good quality headphones.

 

Edit: You may also need to tweak your presets in order to have them sound good using headphones. Most headphones emphasize the low end so you may need to dial that back in your preset. Also, for best results with headphones set the output mode to Studio/Direct and use mic/cab simulations in the preset. For instance, I would not expect your HD500 to sound good using headphones if your presets are designed to be used with a real guitar amp and you are using Live output mode. In that situation your headphones are not delivering a similar signal to your ears that your amp is with the same preset.

 

 

How do you set your output mode to Studio/Direct for headphones like mentioned above ?

 

 

 

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i just bought some audio technica m50x cans for tracking duties and was pleasantly suprised at how well preset designing works with them on helix.. all the patches i made so far translated pretty well (with minimal tweaking needed) to my frfr system at performing volumes.

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Depends entirely on the headphones. Helix itself produces excellent tones, as does the POD HD series although personally I think Helix is better. But both will sound bad through earbuds and low quality headphones, and both will sound excellent through good quality headphones.

 

Edit: You may also need to tweak your presets in order to have them sound good using headphones. Most headphones emphasize the low end so you may need to dial that back in your preset. Also, for best results with headphones set the output mode to Studio/Direct and use mic/cab simulations in the preset. For instance, I would not expect your HD500 to sound good using headphones if your presets are designed to be used with a real guitar amp and you are using Live output mode. In that situation your headphones are not delivering a similar signal to your ears that your amp is with the same preset.

 

How do you set your output mode to Studio/Direct for headphones like mentioned above ?

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+1 to Sennheiser HD280.  I've been using the same pair over the years with POD XT, X3, HD500, and now Helix.  They work great with guitar or bass. 

 

$100 or cheaper with coupons.  Sure you can spend more or less on a pair of headphones.  I have some cheaper $50 Sony's that sound good with music but bad with Helix.  I haven't tried tried more expensive headphones with Helix, but I suspect there's a diminishing return on investment over the $100 HD280's ;)

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I use a beyerdynamic DT 990 Edition (250 Ohm) with the Helix.

 

The sound is open, it's like you play with cabs. I prefered Open-backs typically cause i ’ll get more spatial sound  than closed backs.

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Actually, if you like listening to music through headphones, and like your guitar to sound like that, you'll like the sound of the Helix through headphones (assuming you dialed it in the way you like it).

 

Not sure why anyone needs a ton of low end for guitar tone. I usually highpass at 80-100Hz anyways. Keeps my guitar out of the way of the bass and kick drum.

 

One tip is to add a room reverb to dry presets, at a low mix (15-30%, decay to taste). Dry tones sound weird on headphones because you're not hearing the natural reverb of the room you are in, resulting in a sound which is devoid of a sense of space. A little reverb can "open up" the perceived space to a size that our human ears are used to hearing.

 

Whatever the case, I think anyone here will tell you that listening through headphones at a normal level is definitely better than turning down FRFR speakers to a volume as loud as an unplugged electric guitar to not wake your kids.

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