Best headphones for mixing for less than $100 USD?

I had been looking at getting some Sennheiser HD 598’s, but they’re a bit out of my price range right now.

So I was really considering the similar but cheaper HD 558’s… Until someone mentioned Audio Technica ATH-M40x for music production and mixing.

This got me confused, because I thought closed back headphones were generally not as high quality , at least at the same price point?

Anybody have any experience with either the HD 558 or the ATH-M40x?

Or any other recommendations less than $100 USD? Thanks!

For what it’s worth I have a set of ATH-M30’s and I love them. I paid less that $100 CDN and found it to be money well spent.

My understanding is the M40x’s are a significant upgrade in frequency range, as well as some cosmetic improvements.

I have found Sennheiser headphones colour sound for me, but that is subjective. I love listening to final mixes with them, but I don’t trust myself to mix with them.

I went looking for a set of Bose, but at $279 I set my sights a bit lower. After testing about a dozen at a local Best Buy, I ended up with a Skullcandy “Grind” headset, $59.95. They fit well, have comfortable ear pads, a fairly flat response with a little bass (which I just flatten with my EQ a tad) and are well build. They have a bit of heft to them, not cheaply built. TechRadar did a nice write up: http://www.techradar.com/us/reviews/audio-visual/hi-fi-and-audio/headphones/skullcandy-grind-1291937/review

The only think lacking is an inline volume control which doesn’t bother me. Inline controls tend to roll off high frequencies if they use cheap pots. I adjust my playback volume in the console anyway.

Cheers.

I’ve heard a lot against using ATH-M40 for mixing, they’re supposed to be great for listening but quite bass heavy. I’ve not listened to the HD 558s but after using the HD 595 for ages I’d probably go with them.

I think you can get used to any pair eventually though. Try to find some that are comfortable. I can wear my HD 595 for 14 hours and forget they are even there.

I can’t remember the price, but you can do a decent job with AKG K240, but know that they lack of 80hz and less and they have a boost around 100-150… Super nice sound stage, pretty wide.

You’ll probably mix the low basses too loud with them…

I use Senheiser HD600, more expansive but, awesome, nice basses resolution… I stumble on an article mentionning that Bob Katz could almost use HD600 for mixing (when I was shopping last year.). Sorry, I can’t remeber the article source.

The main thing I wanted to share is this super nice headphone calibration plugin I came across today. :

http://store.sonarworks.com/collections/headphone-calibration

http://sonarworks.com/headphones/supported-headphones

You can buy the software + headphones or just the software if you already have the headphone. I will try it soon on top of my hd600 and see if I get magic-insta-better at mixing,… If you know the frequency response of your gear, you can try to correct it.

I’ve a lot against using ATH-M40 for mixing, they’re supposed to be great to listening but quite bass heavy. I’ve not listened to the HD 558s but after using the HD 595 for ages I’d probably go with them.

I think you can get used to any pair eventually though. Try to find some that are comfortable. I can wear my HD 595 for 14 hours and forget they are even there.

Yeah. I had HD 590’s for 10+ years until they finally died. So that’s why I know I’ll like the 598’s. But I’m trying to find a possible value. Someone else mentionedPhilips SHP9500 which are sounding pretty intriguing now

Not sure on the best value for money cans, but i can say that just going into a store and trying them out really helped me.

I use - krk kns 8400 fairly cheap but I’ve really clicked with them for mixing

also great for films!

Headphones are good for making a mix that sounds good on headphones.

However, to make a mix that sounds good on speakers and headphones, I’d still recommend A/B listening through both speakers and headphones.

I even would recommend to also A/B listen to multiple setups with speakers in the best case.

I have recently purchased the Kurzweil KS-40A monitor speakers.

http://kurzweil.com/product/ks-40a/

These come in the price range that you’ve mentioned to be willing to spend on headphones and these speakers did make my mixes more clear.

Oh man,

I hate to read thevaluations of headphones in the shops.

There is no product on earth that could be voted more subjectively.

“My headphones is the best, it sounds so shiny on highs” … ??? Is this good, is this bad?

“No, my headphones, it’s very loud bass” … ???

“I bought this 20000$ headphones, and it was like waking up”

etc.

I want precise, scientific tests. Where are those? And I think you can get used to almost all normal studio headphones. If you starting to realize, how it will sound on various speakers, if it sounds specifically like this and that on your headphones.

I want precise, scientific tests. Where are those? And I think you can get used to almost all normal studio headphones. If you starting to realize, how it will sound on various speakers, if it sounds specifically like this and that on your headphones.

Something like this maybe? http://graphs.headphone.com

I used it last summer to buy Sennheiser HD 25-1 II (HD-650 only for reference, wasn’t my price range…):
http://graphs.headphone.com/graphCompare.php?graphType=0&graphID[]=513&graphID[]=4313&graphID[]=533&graphID[]=853&scale=15

(But of course did some listening tests, too. I also had Beyerdynamics DT-770 Pro and AKG K-271 on my list.)

Thanks!

Also very helpful:

http://www.innerfidelity.com/headphone-data-sheet-downloads

Suggestion:

http://www.innerfidelity.com/images/SuperluxHD681.pdf

Thanks!

Also very helpful:

http://www.innerfidelity.com/headphone-data-sheet-downloads

Suggestion:

http://www.innerfidelity.com/images/SuperluxHD681.pdf

I actually already have the Superlux HD681, they are OK but I don’t really feel like they are a long term solution

I’ve used the KRK-KNS-8400s for a year and a half now and they sound pristine. They’re like perfect for surgical edits. They feel like there’s nothing hanging on your head and ears compared to some others I’ve used (due to the foam technology and shape I guess). Now, think conectors: those are robust. But just in case you start banging your head so hard because your tune rocks so much and end up forcing the cables out of their jacks into the wall so they break apart, you can easily replace them.

They’re great when you decide to go out into the wild with a sound recorder like Tascam DR-05 in order to capture the sound of a bee landing onto branches full of leeves in case the picnic gets boring.

For mixing, I use them to monitor and check glueness among synth leads, pads and the snare drum. The highs are as high as they should.

For low end though, they’ll “fail” you. That’s why I have speaker monitors and spectrum analyzers always at reach. Not that they don’t represent lows finely for that matter. They do, but they don’t hype the lows, so you might think “Hey, where are the lows that’ll make hips bounce?!” and end up cranking lows louder than necessary and end up booming your car door windows out later.

I absolutely recommend them for their pristine audio quality but severely recommend the taming of the beast.

I mean “leaves”.

Maybe, before decision, it is required to define what is a really good headphones first…

This seems to me quite a reference (Hifiman HE 560): http://www.innerfidelity.com/images/HiFiMANHE5602014.pdf

Have a look at the square wave. It actually looks angular (most others not). Seems to be a very good headphones for dynamics and transient fine-tuning (for the rich).

Well, I went ahead with the Philips SHP9500… Bought them today on Amazon for $85, paid $9 extra to have them delivered tomorrow so I can enjoy them this weekend.

A major factor influencing my decision was this:

https://www.reddit.com/r/headphones/comments/3n5eq9/are_you_fucking_kidding_me_shp9500/

Where this guy compares them to Sennheiser HD800 (over $1000 headphones), and says they are better than Sennheiser HD 600 and 650, which are $500 headphones.

Also I heard plenty of people saying they were a good value even in the $150-200 range.

Also everybody agrees they are comfortable as hell.

I don’t think I can go wrong here :slight_smile:

I’ll report back in a few days my findings.

The SHP9500’s came in the mail today!

I had a chance to do a little testing, and I will do more tonight.

I’m posting the review in parts to the head-fi.org forums. Keep up with it here if you’re interested:

http://www.head-fi.org/t/796714/organic-ios-philips-shp9500-review-and-comparison-with-superlux-hd681-and-koss-ksc75

I’ll tell you guys something I won’t tell the head-fi guys…

I’ve listened to a bunch of my own songs on the SHP9500’s, and so far ALL the mixes sound “correct”. There’s never been a case of “oh that doesn’t sound right”… Also they sound better than ever.

I think I’m going to have a good friendship with these headphones :slight_smile:

Now let me get back to listening to my own music with some trippy xmplay visualizations, and get back to the netherworld :slight_smile:

I’ve listened to a bunch of my own songs on the SHP9500’s, and so far ALL the mixes sound “correct”. There’s never been a case of “oh that doesn’t sound right”… Also they sound better than ever.

Now, let me get serious. That is bad. Really bad. What you’d have wanted was: “Also, (all my old mixes,) they sound worse than ever.”

That is the actual result I got from listening on good reference monitors. They should not make sound “pleasant” to listen to at all.

Good reference display should expose every little detail in the mix. And therefore, probably sound worse than before on any other (hi-fi) system or headphones.

Although your headphones may be great. No offense.

^^ Very good point Eatme. You should get a good sound from a well mastered reference track imo. Though I agree that the sound shouldn’t be coloured by the headphones. Having said that, I think you can get results from anything, it just becomes more difficult when you don’t have something uncoloured.
Some good cans are on my to buy list and after trying out a few, pioneer hrm7 seemed good to me. The highs seemed a little more defined, but I was only using a reference track I knew well and was also able to have a second opinion from someone who’s opinion I respect.