• We would like to remind our members that this is a privately owned, run and supported forum. You are here at the invitation and discretion of the owners. As such, rules and standards of conduct will be applied that help keep this forum functioning as the owners desire. These include, but are not limited to, removing content and even access to the forum.

    Please give yourself a refresher on the forum rules you agreed to follow when you signed up.

Very different sound with headphones vs monitors


Fractal Fanatic
Man, no mention of Blue yet? Those were like the standard response for several years after Cliff raved about them when they first hit the market.


Forum Addict
Well, I don't trust too much in frequency sheets of headphones. Depending on their own shape they don't have to display a flat curve to get a flat curve to the ear of the listener. How good they achieve that target depends on the shape of the ear. The room inside the headphone and the ear make their own little environment. Long story short, the response on the paper is not necessary the reponse that you get with your own ears.
It's different from free field listening.


Man, no mention of Blue yet? Those were like the standard response for several years after Cliff raved about them when they first hit the market.
This is me. Going on quite a few years with the Mo-Fi. I love them and they're pretty close to my CLR's.

I don't particularly like the Axe through the HS8's...they seem a bit boomy there (which I can dial out, but I take my CLR's as a better frame of reference.)

Edit, moved since this is really a headphones thread now.


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.
Thanks, some awesome advice here!


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.
Same for me. I also felt like they sound better after a little break-in time.


Forum Addict
ATH-m50x ok too, but read a review here of someone that hated them...
Me :)

They sound quite different to my Mackie HR824 monitors. However, the Audeze LCD-2 that I have been using for the last 7 years, accurately reflect what I hear through the monitors.

If I had never been spoiled by the Audeze, maybe I would accept the ATH-m50x as they are. But when comparing, they are in a superior league.

I've purchased the ATH-M50x for 2 reasons: 1) I wanted closed headphones 2) the ear-pads of the Audeze LCD-2 are rotten, for a second time, and the replacement is very expensive. But I have fixed it with cello tape and I am not using the Audio-Technica at all.

Last edited:


Playing with headphone can (in my opinion) not be exactly the same as playing with studio monitors and/or real cab.
But modelers sounds great with headphones too.
It is great to practice, for ambient music with reverbs, delay, .....We get the "special" FX very well.
I have no problem to use my Axe FX II with Headphones.
But I prefer playing with monitors/cabs on a regular basis. Personal taste.


The Blue Mo-Fi headphones mentioned above, I have the Blue Mix-Fi (same cans just renamed, why? NOBODY KNOWS). They're great headphones and have a built in switchable amplifier if you like it really loud. They sound great with the Axe III as they have a little roll off on the highs so they won't sound harsh or fuzzy. On the other hand they are somewhat heavy and the clamping force on the head is quite strong so wearing them for several hours can get uncomfortable. Price is around $300 but I found an open box deal on eBay for $129 and have had no issues.

The other set I have are open back Philips Fidelio X2. They sound awesome with professionally recorded music, very clear and detailed with a wide soundstage but when I used them with the Axe III it sounded like I was getting distortion, I'll try and check them out again and see if I can find why I'm getting distortion, (could be the preset?). They are much lighter than the Blue's and the pads are much more comfortable. Again $300 range but can be found much cheaper on the bay.


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

Mate, I'll make it easy for you. Good headphones make a huge difference! When I bought the Axe years ago I had a pair of very, very cheap headphone. After some research e i settled on DT880. I've bee using them for years now. Having said I've learned not to create a present with headphones. I only use them for quite practice.


Thanks, some awesome advice here!
I just remembered the Sennheiser HD 650 have been price reduced by Massdrop renamed the HD 6XX revised with a nice dark blue color and a 6 ft cable. These are by far the best deal out there right now, I believe they are $220 so $100 off, fantastic cans. Check em out: https://www.bing.com/search?q=massdrop+hd+6xx&PC=U316&FORM=CHROMN

Oh again however, if you like it loud and don't want to disturb anyone go with the Blue Mix-Fi's (Mo-Fi's) as they are closed back cans and wont leak sound like the open back Sennheiser's. What the Senn's have are more detail and a wider soundstage. ;)
Last edited:


Yeah I have decided just to use my monitors mainly for creating sounds. Noise is not such a problem where I am so I don’t really need to use cans.


New here
First time posting here but thought I throw my take on headphone use with the Axe and modellers in general. Nicer headphones do make a huge difference (open do a better job with all else being equal) but the real enjoyment when using headphones comes when you are able to add some spread across the stereo field. There are many ways to do this (delays, room reverbs, stereo room IRs, even a good subtle chorus, dual cabs and careful panning etc.) but however you go about it the closest you will get to "feeling" like the amp is moving air is to engage with the stereo field and the sense of space that comes with it. No preset that you create with headphones will work if you go about it like I described. Through a set of monitors, headphone presets that I've created with any modeller don't have the push and punch that is needed when your listening out loud in a room and the air is being moved in a million ways around your head.
Top Bottom