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ericarthurblair

Sound through headphones

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Hi,

 

I love the sound I get through my desktop speakers, but I can't stand the sound when listening through heaphones. Instead of nice smooth overdrive the sound is fizzy and nasty. I've tried ATH-M50 studio headphones, open grado headphones and basic iphone ear buds. Of the three, the iphone headphones are by far the most usable. They have too much high frequency but it could be corrected with EQ.

 

I've seen people say certain headphones work well, but I don't want to make a big investment in fancy headphones just to find they are the same as the ones I already have.

 

Any ideas?

 

Thanks!

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3 hours ago, ericarthurblair said:

Hi,

 

I love the sound I get through my desktop speakers, but I can't stand the sound when listening through heaphones. Instead of nice smooth overdrive the sound is fizzy and nasty. I've tried ATH-M50 studio headphones, open grado headphones and basic iphone ear buds. Of the three, the iphone headphones are by far the most usable. They have too much high frequency but it could be corrected with EQ.

 

I've seen people say certain headphones work well, but I don't want to make a big investment in fancy headphones just to find they are the same as the ones I already have.

 

Any ideas?

 

Thanks!

 

Every time you change the output device, your tone is gonna change... and often that difference will be significant. Headphones and studio monitors are fundamentally different. Proximity is also part of the problem... if you dial in a sound with your monitors and then switch to headphones, the high end will always seem more prominent because they're right on top of your ears. High end frequencies diffuse quickly when there's a big air gap between your head and a pair of monitors, they get absorbed by lots of things in the environment the farther you get from the source... but if you stick your head right next to those same speakers, you'll hear unpleasant fizzy high end that way too.

 

Unless you want to be in a constant state of tweaking back and forth, the only real solution is to tailor your patches for the output you intend to use... it means keeping different set lists for different scenarios. There no way around the initial grunt work.

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The opposite happened to me Cru- I made the mistake of trying to mix with my headphones for the 1st time the other day, 1st time for everything i guess. Using  the DT-770 Pro's (80 ohm) I thought they would be "flatter". Boy was I surprised when I took them off and compared the mix with my Mackie 824s. Too many highs, almost brittle sounding ( the headphones added Bass) from the mackie's then, and too much verb in places I didn't hear with the phones on. The brittle snds may have enhanced the verb using the 824's. Its ok to still track with phones (esp with using vocal mics- you almost have to then in smallish studio's), but for final mixing/EQ I'll stay with the flat monitors (or invest in a much better set of headphones). My two cents.

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That matches a lot of my experience. My Audio Technica's sound very dull and boomy compared to my desktop speakers (music speakers, not monitors). And I too have experienced that whatever I adjust for one is awful through the other. All of that I expected. What I didn't expect is that I can't get a decent sound out of my good headphones. It's not just different EQ, its just bad. It's always fizzy. $20 iphone earbuds are much better. There, the difference really is mostly EQ.

 

It sounds like people can get nice sound with the DT-770s and HD650s. Its just a lot of money to gamble to fix a problem that nobody else seems to have.

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I used ATH M40x since I started playing my Helix a few years back. They were okay, but I kinda grew tired of the sound and I was curious about the Beyerdynamic DT770s. A few weeks back I switched to DT770 80ohm and I couldn't be happier. They sound really detailed and 3-dimensional, the sound has good body and nice bite. Much more natural sound than the M40xs. Also, less tiring due to the overall build of the cans and their wider sound stage. 

 

Build a preset from scratch using the output device of your choice to get the best results. Don't expect all presets to sound excellent on all kinds of headphones and/or speakers, that's just unrealistic. 

 

When I switched from the M40s to DTs I noticed that the M40s made me limit the low end in my presets too much and add to much of unnecessary high end. That was because the M40s sounded bloated and I thought I was pumping too much bass, so I cut it, and then added a lot of highs and mids to get the clarity the cans were missing. I'm correcting this in all of my presets using my DT770s now. 

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They aren't cheap, but... Sennheiser HD600. You won't regret it, if it's the Helix Floor you're using. (I don't know if the headphone amp circuit is the same in the LT and Stomp so I can't speak for them.)

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9 hours ago, spikey said:

The opposite happened to me Cru- I made the mistake of trying to mix with my headphones for the 1st time the other day, 1st time for everything i guess. Using  the DT-770 Pro's (80 ohm) I thought they would be "flatter". Boy was I surprised when I took them off and compared the mix with my Mackie 824s. Too many highs, almost brittle sounding ( the headphones added Bass) from the mackie's then, and too much verb in places I didn't hear with the phones on. The brittle snds may have enhanced the verb using the 824's. Its ok to still track with phones (esp with using vocal mics- you almost have to then in smallish studio's), but for final mixing/EQ I'll stay with the flat monitors (or invest in a much better set of headphones). My two cents.

 

The gear matters. Every pair of cans you throw on will sound different, I don't care how "flat" they claim to be. I have two pairs of AKGs...K701's that I love, and an old pair of K240's that I can't stand. The variety of outcomes is endless... and your example  illustrates perfectly why it's utterly pointless to rely on someone else's recipe for success.

 

With monitors, the results will much depend on the room you're in, too. If you've got hardwood floors and bare walls, then the highs will bounce around like a ping-pong ball. I'm in a room with carpet and a big fluffy couch...which unfortunately is where treble goes to die. And a room that's been properly acoustically treated will be different still... the same mix, through the same monitors, played in all 3 environments, will yield different results.

 

Then there's closed-back vs. open-back headphones. The former tend to overemphasize the low end. The list of variables is as long as your arm, and the "secret sauce" will rarely, if ever, be transferable from one guy to the next. All you can ever do is learn how your gear behaves, and tweak accordingly.

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In addition to the headphone's construction/sound it may be the impedance value of the headphones you have tried that is determining which one's sound best to you.

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I've made some progress. Firstly, this conversation is not new: 

Secondly, the headphone output is 63ohm so according to this, the headphones need to be 200-600 ohms to sound good. All of my headphones are low impedance.

 

If I send the sound through my audio interface (scarlett solo) and plug the headphones into that, the sound is much better, despite the extra D/A A/D conversion. With my POD 2.0 the opposite was true (sound was good with headphones in the POD, less good via the audio interface). The scarlett solo headphone impedance is 10ohm, which is a better match for my 32ohm headphones.

 

 

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10 hours ago, ericarthurblair said:

I've made some progress. Firstly, this conversation is not new: 

Secondly, the headphone output is 63ohm so according to this, the headphones need to be 200-600 ohms to sound good. All of my headphones are low impedance.

 

If I send the sound through my audio interface (scarlett solo) and plug the headphones into that, the sound is much better, despite the extra D/A A/D conversion. With my POD 2.0 the opposite was true (sound was good with headphones in the POD, less good via the audio interface). The scarlett solo headphone impedance is 10ohm, whh is a better match for my 32ohm headphones.

 

 

 

No it isn't a new discussion... there's virtually no topic that hasn't already been discussed ad nauseum around here,  lol.  But 99.97% of it boils down to personal preference. Perception is fickle, weird, mostly without a concrete explanation, and nearly impossible to duplicate from one person to the next. Nobody's "right", and there's no universal truth to be found. You'll either like an individual pair of headphones (or monitors, whatever), or you won't...and that's fine. But don't bother fixating on any one individual spec as a magic bullet...none of this stuff works that way. You could go out and spend $2K on some boutique mahogany shell 300 ohm headphones, hand crafted for the Sultan of Brunei, and end up hating them. My AKG 701's are all of 55 ohms, and I love the way they sound. All you can do is try stuff and see what you like.

 

Plus, if the same cans sound good through an interface but lousy directly from the Helix (or vice versa), or they sound great for 11 minutes every other Tuesday, then it's hard to blame the headphones... they're not changing from minute to the next. which means something else is going on.

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The moment you put on headphones you are removing two things....

  • The sound of the room
  • The distance (air) between you and the speaker(s)

Don't underestimate the impact of either of those. 

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you need to set a couple of patches that sound good thru the headphones you do not need every patch set to that eq thats why there is user1 2,3,4 to save patches

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On 8/3/2020 at 9:56 PM, ericarthurblair said:

Secondly, the headphone output is 63ohm

Not sure where you got that number...for the Helix Floor, output impedance of the headphone out is 12 ohms. However, yes, that still means ideally you want headphones with 100ohm or more impedance. I've read a number of complaints here and on other forums of the lower-impedance Beyerdynamics sounding 'bad' with Helix, so I'm going to push back a bit on some of the other posts in this thread and say the main issue really might be the headphones themselves, in your case.

 

I can say for certain my Senn HD600 sound fantastic plugged straight into Helix, and have seen a number of others say the same on another forum. It's not cheap, but a safe bet if you want new headphones anyway. A poster here a few months ago, the last time this topic came up, bought the high impedance version of the Beyerdynamic phones, and they reported back and said they worked great.

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