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Headphones and Atomic CLR MkII Neo

Rod Robinson

New Member
I'm looking for advice on headphones that would best match the FM3 tones coming out of an Atomic CLR speaker. I've seen threads regarding headphones, but I would like my tones to be as similar as possible to what I'm hearing through the CLR. I'm looking for particular brands and models, as well as the important specs if applicable. Thanks in advance from a Fractal noob!
 

bkrodgers

Inspired
I've got the beyerdynamic 880 headphones. Pretty sure they're 250 ohm. The headphone port can drive them as loud as I probably should listen to them, but I do have to crank it pretty far up. I'd prefer to have more headroom to drive them louder if I wanted to, but I'd imagine that much more than what I can get at the max would not be good for my already ringing ears. They sound great and are very comfortable.
 

ethomas1013

Fractal Fanatic
I also have 880's. Same observations as @bkrodgers. You do have to crank the FM3 headphone output up pretty far to get good volume, but all the way up is probably louder than I should use. I also agree on the comfort and great sound.

I have a CLR as well. The high end of the CLR has always sounded a bit strident and artificial to me. It's not a high-cut issue, I just don't enjoy playing through any FRFR monitor that I have owned (Atomic, Friedman, RCF, FBT, XiTone). All of them sound artificial to me. I don't feel that way about the high end using the 880s.
 

Severed

Power User
I like these, Beyerdynamic DT 990 PRO openback headphones, 250 ohm
my only complaint is the coiled cable, it makes it heavier than it needs to be imo.
I also own a pair of original CLR active wedges, the heavy ones, and they translate pretty well imho.

ymmv as everyone ears are unique
https://europe.beyerdynamic.com/dt-990-pro.html
 

bishop5150

Fractal Fanatic
I've got the 880's as well. They are nice. Comfortable too. Don't really use them too much but I do like them.
 

Randy4Guitars

Power User
I too have the Beyerdynamic 880s and CLR and agree with ethomas1013. One thing I like about the 880s is that I can't turn them up too loud. And there is just a little too much of something in the hi end with CLRs that I don't really notice with the 880.
 

DaveO

Experienced
If I may ask, is your discussion about using these on the FM3? Or is this just a general discussion re headphones quality?
Just wondering...
 

zerolight

Inspired
880s are great, the 250ohm sound best, but the Beyers are easier to drive than most 250ohm headphones. I don't have a CLR, have my 880s plugged into a Focusrite 8i6 Gen 3 and get a good volume with the knob up half way.
 

Sixstring

Axe-Master
I don't use head phones but I am real curious as to how the CLR is being stated as Artificial or Strident. This is not a bashing post but rather a how come this is.

If we look at published response graphs, a quick google search of the graphs show the Beyerdynamics 808, CLR, and a typical guitar speaker. I know these are just graphs but they tend put things into perspective with respect to the comments.

I see a smooth 5dB hump in the Beyerd's from 80Hz out to 4.5k past that it looks like the swiss alps which may not really matter depending on where you cut. Now I'm now sound teck but if this is what they are publishing then this is what I'm going by.

1593092511104.png

Accept for the dips at 100, 300 1.2k the CLR looks pretty good from 80Hz all the way out to 20k which I would call pretty flat!
1593092586592.png

Now this looks familiar! maybe that's why the Beards sound more pleasing? Anyway I thought it would be worth looking at.

1593093842605.png
 

ethomas1013

Fractal Fanatic
I can't explain it. Graphs don't necessarily support what I'm hearing or what I'm stating. It's really just personal preference.

Let's just say that FRFR monitors are not my preferred way to play and monitor guitar tones. I'm an amp guy, specifically a small open-backed combo guy, and what I hear from an FRFR monitor is not what I prefer. Every single FRFR monitor I have tired (CLR, FBT, Xitone, RCF, Friedman) sounds artificial and strident to me. My personal preferences/observations have more to do with FRFR than with the CLR in particular. For what it's worth, I thought the CLR was the best sounding FRFR monitor I have owned.

Oddly enough, I don't feel the same way about the DT880's. I use them for silent practicing and have no complaints about what I'm hearing using the same IR's that I was using with the CLR (I sold the CLR two weeks ago).

Ultimately, my preference is for amps. I use modeling with in-ears for a silent stage in the Worship setting. For everything else, I use amps.
 

Sixstring

Axe-Master
I look at graphs and use them as a reference as to what might explain what I might expect! The graph of a guitar speaker and the Beyerd's look similar although the similarities are in different places in the frequency spectrum.

I personally think that the spacial distance has something to do with it as well. Perhaps the strident sound you are referring to has something to do with the extended response of a full range speaker and it's response at that part of the frequency coupled with proximity?

I haven't used an amp and cab in years, 12 to be exact! Thats how long I have used FAS stuff but I have used them with some sort of FR solution.

I have been looking at amps again especially the ones with I/R and load built in: Suhr, Hook, REVV and they have me looking pretty hard!
 

Lou Lab

Inspired
I'm looking for advice on headphones that would best match the FM3 tones coming out of an Atomic CLR speaker. I've seen threads regarding headphones, but I would like my tones to be as similar as possible to what I'm hearing through the CLR. I'm looking for particular brands and models, as well as the important specs if applicable. Thanks in advance from a Fractal noob!

Audio-Technica ATH-M50X are my favorite and I tried a few. The headphone amplifier on the FM3 will provide plenty to power these. I use my FM3 with the ATH-M50X quite a bit.
 

Nor

New Member
Lots of good recommendations in here. If matching to the external source, you might try assigning some EQ to that output.
Everyone hears sound differently. You need to use 'em for a bit to see where they settle in at.
Amazon Prime is your friend. 30 days to check em out. Find out what fits comfortably on your dome. The sound quality only matters if you want to wear them.
Order 6 different pairs, return 5. Then wish you had kept the 3rd one.. :oops:
:D
 

Jarick

Experienced
Amazon Prime is pretty nice for testing headphones, especially if you go with the refurbished ones (which are likely just cleaned/returned ones).

I generally like the Sennheiser HD6xx which I got from Drop.com, good value as it's similar to the HD660 but half the price.
 

zerolight

Inspired
HD6xx is really nice but it’s hard to drive. Most interfaces struggle as does the FM3. It prefers a high power dedicated headphone amp. I tried a Schiit Asgard 2 amp which worked well until I turned on the computer and it picked up and amplified amp noise. In the end I sold the HD6xx a couple weeks ago, returned the Asgard, and bought the 250ohm 880pro and a Focusrite 8i6. Despite being 250ohm, the drivers Beyer use are much easier to drive than the Sennheiser. Over the years I’ve found the 880pro to sound great with a three FAS gens.
 

Jarick

Experienced
HD6xx is really nice but it’s hard to drive. Most interfaces struggle as does the FM3. It prefers a high power dedicated headphone amp. I tried a Schiit Asgard 2 amp which worked well until I turned on the computer and it picked up and amplified amp noise. In the end I sold the HD6xx a couple weeks ago, returned the Asgard, and bought the 250ohm 880pro and a Focusrite 8i6. Despite being 250ohm, the drivers Beyer use are much easier to drive than the Sennheiser. Over the years I’ve found the 880pro to sound great with a three FAS gens.
Interesting, I have a completely opposite experience!

I have the DT880 Pro 250 ohm as well as the HD6xx 300 ohm. I find the HD6xx slightly easier to drive, maybe 10% louder than the DT880. They're a little more mid forward too which helps them cut through.

I also bought a Schiit Magni 3+ headphone amp out of curiosity, and I found it had a pretty minimal impact compared to at least the Axe 3 headphone output. It's maybe a tiny bit smoother sounding.

The FM3 powers both the DT880 and HD6xx plenty well for me. Maybe it's just me, but I don't listen to headphones at a very high volume. Neither of them require more than half power on the output from what I recall.

Anyways, they are both nicely neutral headphones but I find the HD6xx a little warmer/darker which is less fatiguing while the 880 is a little brighter which can be off putting with guitar.
 

zerolight

Inspired
Interesting, I have a completely opposite experience!

I have the DT880 Pro 250 ohm as well as the HD6xx 300 ohm. I find the HD6xx slightly easier to drive, maybe 10% louder than the DT880. They're a little more mid forward too which helps them cut through.

I also bought a Schiit Magni 3+ headphone amp out of curiosity, and I found it had a pretty minimal impact compared to at least the Axe 3 headphone output. It's maybe a tiny bit smoother sounding.

The FM3 powers both the DT880 and HD6xx plenty well for me. Maybe it's just me, but I don't listen to headphones at a very high volume. Neither of them require more than half power on the output from what I recall.

Anyways, they are both nicely neutral headphones but I find the HD6xx a little warmer/darker which is less fatiguing while the 880 is a little brighter which can be off putting with guitar.
It's not about volume. It's about frequency and control. There are some low-fish impedance headphones (Mr Speakes / Dan Clarke) for example that you'd think would be easy to drive, but they don't really start to show their stuff without a big amp. The impedance of a speaker varies over the frequency range so you can end up with a lot of volume on some frequencies but be missing others. To show off their sounds to the fullest the HD6xx/600/650 have always preferred a strong amp. Beyerdynamic drivers like a good amp too, but they can be driven with a modest interface with more control across the frequency range than the HD6xx. I've given up on the HeadFi game now - once you get a good pair of headphones you disappear down a rabbit hole of amplification. In the last few years I had an LCD2, Ether Flow, HD6xx, RS1i, JH Angie, Noble K10, and probably more with multiple amps. I've gone back to 880 pro and 1000MX3 as a friendly budget option instead.

I agree that the 880s are too fatiguing for every day listening. They work great with the Fractals for guitar, but they have a bit too much top end to be a fun listen for regular music. I was quite happy with the HD6xx on my Axe2, but I dunno, the 880 just sounds a bit more accurate and certainly didn't seem to colour other peoples presets quite so much. The HD6xx was also OK with the Kemper (now sold so I can't say how the Kemper sounds with the 880).
 
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