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Very different sound with headphones vs monitors

tysonlt

Inspired
Greetings All!

I have a pair of Presonus HD7 headphones. They're 'OK'. I heard in a forum somewhere that they were decent for the price.

Now I have recently got some Eris 4.5 monitors. Again, just 'OK' based on reviews, but in my price range! :)

I am noticing that things sound GREAT in the monitors, but harsh and fizzy in the headphones. I know one should not rely on headphones for tuning presets (or monitors - gig volume is best etc etc) but I was surprised at the difference. Headphones are handy for playing around late at night, but they sound... well, awful.

Is this likely due to the headphones just being shitty? Honestly until now I have found them to be fine. I have been working on getting my sound less shrill and ice-picky (using Eon speakers which are shrill), but was surprised at how much better it sounds through monitors...

Have I just adjusted to the much better sound of monitors?? Is that possible?? I didn't think Eris was THAT good??? :D
 

simeon

Axe-Master
judging from the price of the headphones, i would say get better headphones. i use beyer dt880's and they sound close enough to my adam a7x monitors for me not to worry
 

bradlake

Axe-Master
You are definitely selling yourself short using those cans...the headphone out in the III is very high-quality and rewards using a better product. Do a simple search here for “headphones” and you will get more suggestions than you can handle.
 

Chuck P

New here
Well, you need to find out where the truth is. If commercial mixes sound OK through your rig through your headphones, and the monitors sound too dark, you might need to to adjust the monitors (and your Axe presets). I personally struggle with this because I seem to fatigue more quickly with headphones, and presets (and mixes) done through cans end up too bright.
 

tysonlt

Inspired
Brightness is something I have struggled with. Bandmates complain about the Sword of Shiva beaming out of the monitors. I only have JBL Eon 610s and Cliff mentioned that they are pretty sharp.

Monitors are close to a wall, but have a bass adjustment to compensate... they just sound great, closer to the tone I was hoping for, and the cans sound like shit. Let's just say I'm glad it's the cans and not my presets!!!
 

666was999

Forum Addict
No matter if you'd buy more pricey high class stuff, headphones are always simply headphones, nothing to tweak your sounds on them, nothing to rely on when you want to play out loud with such made presets.

So you could keep the cheap phones, use the output eq to make them at least acceptable enough for just some noodling in the evening.
To tweak sounds you'd better use the monitors anyway.

Except you suffer under GAS like I do and love to buy and try new stuff, well then.....
 

tysonlt

Inspired
No matter if you'd buy more pricey high class stuff, headphones are always simply headphones, nothing to tweak your sounds on them, nothing to rely on when you want to play out loud with such made presets.

So you could keep the cheap phones, use the output eq to make them at least acceptable enough for just some noodling in the evening.
To tweak sounds you'd better use the monitors anyway.

Except you suffer under GAS like I do and love to buy and try new stuff, well then.....
I hear ya, but hopefully I can get just a little closer... not planning on setting patches, just want to play at night and not have an earful of hyenas mating.
 

tysonlt

Inspired
Had a look on the forum for headphones

OH GOD!!

THE RABBIT-HOLE!!!!!!

(Thank the gods I don't care about AITR!)

After some light reading, I think I can see a number of the suggested cans on this page:

https://www.storedj.com.au/headphones/studio-monitoring-headphones?SortProduct=PriceValue DESC&PageProduct=1&FilterProduct=(IntegratedPrice:ge:99,IntegratedPrice:le:212)

Not that I'm asking people to do my homework for me, but..... well......... kinda am! :)

Are there any in this page that people have had good experience with? Again, not expecting to tune presets, but I don't want to have to 'untune' presets just to save my ears. Ballpark would be good.
 

tysonlt

Inspired
DT770 PRO is the right price... I read that Cliff at least owned one of these once...

ATH-m50x ok too, but read a review here of someone that hated them...

Sen 280 Pro as suggested above is well within price spec... can go up to about $200 AUD.
 

bradlake

Axe-Master
Had a look on the forum for headphones

OH GOD!!

THE RABBIT-HOLE!!!!!!

(Thank the gods I don't care about AITR!)

After some light reading, I think I can see a number of the suggested cans on this page:

https://www.storedj.com.au/headphones/studio-monitoring-headphones?SortProduct=PriceValue DESC&PageProduct=1&FilterProduct=(IntegratedPrice:ge:99,IntegratedPrice:le:212)

Not that I'm asking people to do my homework for me, but..... well......... kinda am! :)

Are there any in this page that people have had good experience with? Again, not expecting to tune presets, but I don't want to have to 'untune' presets just to save my ears. Ballpark would be good.
Sennheiser, no matter where the price range, has done it for me for decades, the 280 pro on the website was also mentioned above..but the 600 is heavenly if you can afford it.
 
I never grab headphones to play through unless I absolutely have to! That being said, I purchased some open back HD650s, and I must say, it’s obviously not as good as through the big rig, but they sound pretty darn good.
 

JoKeR III

Inspired
Try to get closer with the frequency response of the headphones compared to the monitors. There's a big difference between the headphones and monitors you're using.
 

York Audio

Veteran
I think the most important thing is letting your ears acclimate to a listening environment before tweaking your tones. If you’re using headphones, I would plug them into your interface, pull up iTunes or Spotify, and listen to music first to train your ears getting used to what well-recorded music sounds like. Once your ears have adjusted, you can start programming sounds now that you have a baseline for what tones “should” sound like.

As far as headphones go, I personally like the Audio Technica ATH-M50x’s. They don’t sound like my near field monitors, but no headphones do. But when I listen to music through them and then tweak my tones, it translates a lot better to my monitors. I will say that the AT’s need time to break in before they sound right, so if you go that route, just let music play through them at a decent volume and just walk away for a while. But when they’re broken in, they’re fantastic.

I also have the Beyerdynamic DT 770’s and they’re ok, but sound more distant than the AT’s and lack low end definition to my ears. They just sit on my shelf now.
 

666was999

Forum Addict
I hear ya, but hopefully I can get just a little closer... not planning on setting patches, just want to play at night and not have an earful of hyenas mating.
I have the DT-880 pro's. Good stuff because they have the highs different somehow, it's not that steril crystal clear type of highs. No clue what they did to get it that way.
 

tysonlt

Inspired
I think the most important thing is letting your ears acclimate to a listening environment before tweaking your tones. If you’re using headphones, I would plug them into your interface, pull up iTunes or Spotify, and listen to music first to train your ears getting used to what well-recorded music sounds like. Once your ears have adjusted, you can start programming sounds now that you have a baseline for what tones “should” sound like.

As far as headphones go, I personally like the Audio Technica ATH-M50x’s. They don’t sound like my near field monitors, but no headphones do. But when I listen to music through them and then tweak my tones, it translates a lot better to my monitors. I will say that the AT’s need time to break in before they sound right, so if you go that route, just let music play through them at a decent volume and just walk away for a while. But when they’re broken in, they’re fantastic.

I also have the Beyerdynamic DT 770’s and they’re ok, but sound more distant than the AT’s and lack low end definition to my ears. They just sit on my shelf now.
This is excellent advice, thank you.
 

spagthorpe

Inspired
I have the 250 ohm DT880s, and they sound much better than the Audio Technica pair I had. Much more comfortable as well. I don't have high quality monitors to compare with though.
 

erockomania

Veteran
As mentioned, those are two totally unique listening environments. Nothing will sound the same. In one situation, you are hearing the speakers in the room with a million reflections potentially comb-filtering frequencies and in the other scenario you are hearing nothing but the source with no “room”. Considering that playing environment will also be in the room, that is the best way to dial things in. Just use the headphones as a reference by comparing it to other music you know well.


Also considering that both of these sources are adding their own sonic signature to the sound. Each will have peaks and valleys in different areas in the frequency spectrum.

To further disrupt the tone-dialing scenario, when you are playing at a separate location you will have an entirely new set of equations to deal with. In each circumstance, a new iteration of the tone will likely be necessary. Much like when you play an amp in a room, you find yourself adding more or less treble, mid or lows to your sound to compensate for room nodes, comb-filtering and various other issues a new room can EQ into the final tone.


My rule of thumb is to get a general tone based on a normal cab output… highs rolled off around the 6k area-ish and a peak in the lows (that may or may not be in your CAB IR). This will translate better across most situations and you will find you need to tweak less when placed in those different rooms. The mistake people make with the Axe is dialing in too much top or low end to simulate a recorded, final mixed tone… that’s not true to the real world and that’s why when you do that you find that the top end is way too much when you play them in a live scenario in a room you aren’t familiar with.

One last thing… if you want to hear things a little more evenly across your various listening environments, try a product called Sonarworks. It’s a gamechanger.
 
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