Here, check out Sennheiser HD600s vs Beyerdynamic DT880s vs AKG K271 Studios: http://www.headphone.com/technical/product…pare+Headphones

Very useful site: http://www.headphone.com/technical/product…/build-a-graph/

You can check out frequency response, impedance, distortion, isolation. Most models listed.

Basically, sorry if it makes me unpopular in some peoples’ books, stay away from AKG’s for mixing (imho).

The frequency response across the whole range is so far off. You get detail though. For some kinds of music they make great listening headphones. I know they’re quite popular in vocal booths too. You certainly get a good mid-range.

Sennheiser is what I used religiously for 10-ish years. Good detail, very comfortable, low fatigue, slick sounding… Only problem I have with them is the same problem I have with Mackie and Genelec monitors, which is the “produced” sound they give everything…

You listen to your mixes through Sennheisers, you get used to things sounding slick and modern. The problem is, you get used to a lifted top-end, smooth upper mids and deep lows, and your mixes come out with all the opposite characteristics. You miss the harsh top-end in the mix and don’t feel you need to work to get presense in the tops and lows. (it’s why NS10s remain so popular - they bring out all the problem areas in mixes and don’t really do anything flattering to the tops or lows. They still have the last word on mixes on when you’ve got £35k monitors in your studio.)

I’ve recently switched to Beyerdynamics and I think the DT990 Pro’s and DT880s are the best all-round mixing/writing headphones you’ll find. (in an untreated room, I’d say superior to probably any nearfield monitoring you’re going to get - it is just about impossible to get a useful low-end in an untreated room.)

They don’t sound as slick as Sennheiser, but they sound more honest and upfront. The sound’s kind of comparable to Dynaudio monitors, but obviously without the huge room problems you usually get from them - (being that they all go too low for most home studios and tend to need really careful placement)… Sennheiser I’d compare more to Mackie/Genelec.

So now I’ve switched to Beyerdynamic I feel like I can trust what I’m hearing much more than I could with Sennheisers. So it’s really quite easy to tell when you’ve got the mix right, and harshness and muddy lows and things are easy to pick up on.

I actually wish there was a near-field monitor which filled that gap Beyerdynamics do; somewhere between NS10s for honesty and Dynaudios for clarity.

DT880s are the semi-closed back. More detail, great transients, more expensive, good isolation. (ideal for mixing)

DT990 Pro’s are open-back. Very similar, less fatiguing (based on an electrostatic design), light and easy to use. (ideal for writing)

Just on the detail issue, in some ways I find the high-level detail of DT880s and Dynaudio monitors difficult to work with. You can never really tell when a percussion track or reverb’s going to disappear on a regular hifi. Or when a mix is just going to sound too dry… So sometimes the more accurate representation of detail makes mixing easier… 990s are my first choice (and under £100). Look at the frequency curves on the headphone site and imagine those inverted -> that’s roughly the character your mixes will take on if you use them. If you see the curve NS10s produce, it’s a kind of anti-loudness effect with a really lifted 1khz region. So mixes always come off them with a bit of a smiley face and smooth upper-mid’s, which sounds - obviously - much slicker and more expensive than mixes coming off monitors with huge extended lows and tops and so much detail you end up mixing your reverbs in at sub-audible levels.

As mentioned above, i also own a pair of DT880’s and i really hate these phones for mixing/production purposes.
they sound way too thin and start to distort very soon if you’re feeding them with material saturating the lower frequencies a bit more than classical stuff does.
compared to the AH-D2000’s you might even get the impression that the DT-880’s have a HPF at around 60-80hz.

but i agree on your AKG opinion. i don’t understand why everybody seems to recommend that brand when it comes to studio matters. have yet to hear a convincing product from them. (have heard 4 phones “upper price” phones so far)

afterall and once again it’s all about personal preference then…

It is absolutely critical that you get a proper amplifier if you’re going to buy upper-end headphones.*****

I own a pair of senn hd600’s paired with a meier audio headfive amp. They are really fantastic headphones, and any “improvements” that could be made would be subjective.

You can’t expect the HD600’s to be a huge improvement if you run them off the generic headphone out on your comp. or ipod. The HD600’s have a 300ohm impedance versus the ipod buds which are 32 ohm. Basically, they’re harder to drive.

I read keith’s comments about the hd650’s not having enough bass and distorting. It could be that he wasn’t powering them correctly. It sounds like he turned up his source to the point of distorting (so its the source thats distorting, not the senns).

anyways, thats all I have to say.
Also, closed headphones tend to isolate better at the cost of having a muddier sound (from “trapped” bass). If you want acurate sound, open is the way to go.

all my headphones are getting amped by this, which in my opinion should serve enough power by its internal headphone amp.
i’m certainly not crazy enough to buy a couple of 200-300$ headphones in order to connect them to my mp3-handy for evaluation. ;)

the reason for why the senn’s were distorting was simply a too high volume level. i need high levels when producing / mixing music and so far only the pioneers and the denons were able to fully satisfy me concerning that.

It either powers them sufficiently, or it does not, its not really a matter of opinion, but you could be right, although the details on the headphone out aren’t really enunciated in the description. I personally would only trust a dedicated headphone amp, unless I knew the receiver had a discrete, well designed headphone out.

As for the distortion, that seems very strange to me. My ears would be bleeding before I got to the point of audible distortion.
The measurements between the senns and denons don’t really show a difference in distortion either by looking at headphone.com’s measurement applet:

Of course at the end of the day its not really the graph that you care about. I wouldn’t doubt that the denons are terrific 'phones. I’ve just been enormously happy with my hd600’s, they are super comfy and have a very laid and neutral back sound that you can listen to for hours, and I’ve heard the hd650’s have a similar sound with more low end.

I don’t have an amplifier, so its probably best for me to take a few steps back and look around some more.
I don’t want to buy anything above 200e right now, so I don’t think I will be buying a new headphone any time soon.

Right now I’m working with my headphone plugged directly into my sound card.
I can wait, its a hobby not a job.

Sennheiser HD650 for me. Love them

I agree with the comments about DT880/990 being good too, but I prefer the HD650’s

They are all good out of these 3 though.

I actually found DT990s and 880s needed a fair bit of run-in. They both sounded a little constrained until they’d had about 20-ish hours of play. And certainly wouldn’t recommend them for blasting your ears out - they’re definetly for low-mid-level monitoring.

“Thin” isn’t quite the word I’d use. I mean they certainly don’t make your material sound fatter than it is. This is the reason I rate them above just about any other make/model for mixdowns and arranging. (closest I’ve found to the NS10s of headphones… although DT100s are probably closer to the NS10s of headphones, along with the way you get virtually no low-end off them.)

I took about two weeks to adjust to Beyerdynamics from Sennheisers, but now I can pin-point the frequency I need to focus on, get a very accurate idea of transients across the spectrum, and get a very reliable sense of low-end weight… Dennons and Sennheisers feel more tweaked to me: feels like the spectrum’s split. They both put a sheen on the sound which, when you’re checking out headphones in a store, might swing it for you, but of course introduces that element of guess work back into what you’re doing when you’re mixing… (I think it’s a hugely neglected issue with monitors, because people instinctively choose the ones which make their music sound more like they want it to, which of course makes it harder to achieve that sound in a way which is going to work outside your studio… And it’s crazy when I see kids who’ve spent £1000 on big Dynaudios - which are great - or HR824s or Adams, and get such an overpowering, lifted sound, that they can only get mixes half-way decent by either cross-referencing like crazy with other peoples’ tunes, or relying on plug-in analyzers! Virtually working in the dark. In big studios, those types of monitors, which make things sound great and give you tonnes of detail and separation, are much more intended for tracking, and I don’t think many engineers would risk a mix off them if it hadn’t at least been cross-checked on something more down to earth and reliable.)

I got a pair of Beyerdynamic DT-250… been using em for maybe 5 years now. Not the best looking earwarmers perhaps (I dont care… but it matters to some hehe) but they sound good imo and they’re comfy. Very happy with em.

My 5 cents:

I use Beyerdynamic DT-770 Pro, and more or less agree with what J Swift said. Had been borrowing my brothers pair of DT770 for years and then bought my own pair, but I noticed that they didn’t sound the same - to my disappointment. Then, after using the new ones for a week or two, the sound improved and finally I couldn’t hear the difference anymore - they finally sounded satisfying.

My first pair of headphones was AKG K240, which I bought on the recommendation of the salesman. It wasn’t a great buy for me. They are open, so the sound leak into the microphone, and I don’t like the oversaturated bass (which is also too high frequencywise, probably fine for acoustic bass or so). Frankly, they don’t sound transparent eq-wise - something which I feel the DT-770 does. I must admit that they are extremely comfortable, you can wear glasses and have the headphones on for hours and hours without getting “red ears”. :)

I’ve got the HD595’s too for about two years now.
Theire great!
Really confortable and a great sound.
I wear them everyday, the whole day to school etc (audio visual productions) and I just love them.
I dont know what this whole ‘breaking’ bs comes from but mine is just solid and flexible at the same time, I dropped it a few times by accident and there wasnt even a scratch on the thing.

Mine does have some tears above the shells, I guess that comes from standing up while my foot is on the cable… It’s still holding up though so I’m not too worried. Besides, Sennheiser parts are widely available in comparison to BeyerDynamic.

The senn hd595’s are really terrific open headphones for the money. I owned a pair some time ago, wish I had kept them. They are super comfy.
They also don’t need an amp because they are low impedance (50 ohm I believe).

So yeah, if you don’t need isolation, and don’t want to buy an amp, the hd595’s are the way to go.

Ok, sounds like the best choice right now.
I Can’t imagine it being too breakable at that price, and I’m only gonna use it for music production.
The only thing I can see happening too it is what Maskin said, dropping it cause the cable gets stuck on something. :walkman:

Also, is there a device to make it wireless without adding too much weight?

I have been through literally 20 spare cable sets for my HD650’s

When you buy your headphones, spend a bit more money and get a few spare sets of cables too. You will thank yourself later when one speaker starts cutting out due to a knackered cable and you can just chuck in a new cable instead of waiting for a week or so for a new cable to be delivered.

Is it easy to replace a cable for a HD650?
As said above Ive got a HD595 and Im getting a bit annoyed because of the 3 meter cable, its just way to long.
Some dude at my school has got a sennheiser to (I dont know wich) and he just has a jack plug at his earspeaker, while my cable is really going in the earpiece.

I want a shorter cable but I couldnt find anything about that with HD595’s, how does that work with the HD650’s?

You just pull the cable out and slot a new one in. Incredibly simple.

Have a look here…


Not sure if the cables are replaceable on the HD595 though.

This cable I showed you works on the HD580, HD600 and HD650

No love for the Grados?

I got some 125s and they sound mega-sweet to my uncultured ears. Tell me I’m wrong. ;)


I have had three Sennheisers(of which one set was utter crap, and they were the most expensive ones) and when the last ones broke I bought a 50 eur Sony headphones. I am totally satisfied, I can’t tell the difference to my Sennheisers which I felt had really good sound. The model is MDR-XD100. IMO price vs performance ratio is excellent.

I got some Sennheiser HD 555 lately. I also checked the 595 ones, but could not hear too much of a difference (actually hard to tell ANY difference). The 595 also had some less bass, so I headed for the much cheaper 555.

A good addition for headphone mastering and listening is the use of a crosstalk feed plugin.
Get a decent and updated one here:

“Bauer stereophonic-to-binaural DSP”

This plugin helps to narrow down the stereo image a bit, so you do not get too tired listening a long time to music via headphones. vst, winamp and foobar versions are available.