I spent a long time deciding which headphones I should pick as my low end monitoring solution. More on that later, but this is my journey in to choosing the best home studio headphones for the amateur producer.
My time in the previous blog post about choosing the monitoring for my home studio ended up with me deciding that my audio monitoring solution for my home studio was more than adequate. My actual requirement was to be able to hear the low end of my mixes in a more structured and clear manner.
This discovery made me start investigating using studio headphones instead of bigger monitors. I wanted to be able to hear the low end of my mixes but avoid the muddy low end build up which becomes apparent in a small studio.
Currently I do have a couple of pairs of headphones for listening to my mixes on. I use a pair of Apple iphone earbuds (because most people are listening on this sort of device of course!) I also have a pair of trusty Samson SR 850 home studio headphones. These have been my go to headphones and are a part of my own the road kit which I take when I work away in my full time ‘proper job’ role.
Why the change from Samson SR 850?
Strictly speaking I don’t need to change my home studio headphones as the Samson SR 850 will do just fine, with a few tweaks. I do find they are incredibly bass heavy and so I created a Sonarworks style EQ for Bitwig which would flatten the curve. When placed on the master chain in my DAW this then sent any audio out to my headphones with an EQ reduction in the right areas for these headphones.
If you have a pair of Samson 850 headphones you can download my preset for Bitwig studio. I made it to help keep the low end under control and it seems to have done the trick.
My reason for an upgrade of monitoring headphones is purely that my Samsons are a bit tired and old now and I know that they are a lower end quality. They still perform well but I want to try a more tried and tested pair which people swear by.
My shortlist requirements
As always when I’m buying kit – I make sure I know my limits and what I actually need. It is very easy to spend more than required on features and specifications than needed, so I find I have to plan out what I do actually want. My aim with these headphones is to be able to hear the low frequencies in my mix.
- Be able to monitor 30Hz
- Be less that £150
- Be closed back
After doing a number of searches and looking at reviews and recommendations I settled on a choice between the two below:
Beyerdynamic DT 770
- Range 5Hz – 35KHz
- Closed back
Sennheiser HD 280 PRO
- Range 8Hz – 25KHz
- Closed back
So… how to choose?
So these two sets of home studio headphones are pretty well matched. Every review I hear is from an owner of one of the above sets. Both are “industry standard” (I hate that phrase but I guess for these products it means they have earned their place).
My choice was purely on 2 points – laziness of finding out if I needed a headphone amplifier for the Beyerdynamic and the fact that the Sennheiser did everything I wanted them to for less money.
My decision was made and I completed a purchase from GAK.co.uk which arrived the next day.
My findings will come with time as I need a bit of time to play about with the headphones and find my feet with them. One thing I have noticed from the start is just how clear they pick out the low and mids compared to my Samson SR850 home studio headphones.
First impressions are I made a good choice with these headphones and feel they have been money well spent. I will do another post in a few weeks to report on my progress.