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View Full Version : Can anyone recommend a good pair of studio monitor headphones?


elevenpower
Mar 21, 2005, 03:17 PM
I'm looking to buy a pair of studio monitor headphones. I would be prefer a sub $100 pair. But all recommendations are welcome.

Thanks.

pulsewidth947
Mar 21, 2005, 03:39 PM
I absolutely adore my Beyerdynamic DT250's.. They cost me less than 100, they sound flat, with awesome bass response. Also they are comfy and reasonably light.

They are closed headphones so no worries about spill or anything.

I mix on these headphones (of course in addition to real monitors!), they jsut enable me to work late at night without annoying the neighbours.

TenderBranson
Mar 21, 2005, 04:08 PM
By far the best headphones you can get for $100, shipped. Not a question about it.

CanadaRAM
Mar 21, 2005, 04:11 PM
If you can find AKG K240 or K241's at your price, they are hard to beat.

The Sony MDR-7509 are the bomb but they are much higher than your budget.

uaaerospace
Mar 21, 2005, 05:50 PM
I found a pair of Bose TriPort headphones at an Apple retail store for 33% off, which made them 99 bucks. I have not thought twice about my purchase in two years. They are not specifically studio headphones, but they are still very nice. Comfortable and sound wonderful. I usually wear them for at least 4 hours a day, and they never cause discomfort. ~Josh

RandomDeadHead
Mar 21, 2005, 06:28 PM
Sorry to burst anybodys bubble but, bose is trash. Just a name with a huge markiting budget, and a world full of suckers to prey on. It's all smoke and mirrors. Google this "bose is trash", don't take my word for it.

But for a good set of cheap cans go here.
Headphonez (http://www.headphone.com/layout.php?topicID=1)

These guys are pros and not afrade to bash the very same products they sell, they also offer price matching.

pepeleuepe
Mar 21, 2005, 08:13 PM
The Sony MDR-7506's can be found in nearly every studio around the world. They may not be the best sounding ever, but they provide a fairly flat frequency response at a very reasonable price. Also, if you become accustomed to the response of these headphones, you can be pretty sure that they will be available at almost any studio you visit.

These headphones are designed specifically for studio monitoring, not for casual listening. This means that your ears may get tired from the crisp highs and mid-highs over long listening periods. If you're looking for a nice pair of casual listening headphones, these are probably not the ones to go with. If you want a ~$100 set of studio monitor headphones, then these are a good choice.

Dave

sorryiwasdreami
Mar 21, 2005, 08:18 PM
Sony MDR-V6

They are about $60-$75 and have a very natural sound. They don't color the sound or add/raise/lower frequencies that aren't present naturally.

Highly recommended.

tech4all
Mar 21, 2005, 08:31 PM
Sorry to burst anybodys bubble but, bose is trash. Just a name with a huge markiting budget, and a world full of suckers to prey on. It's all smoke and mirrors. Google this "bose is trash", don't take my word for it.

But for a good set of cheap cans go here.
Headphonez (http://www.headphone.com/layout.php?topicID=1)

These guys are pros and not afrade to bash the very same products they sell, they also offer price matching.

Nope. Disagree. Bose is not trash. We have several Bose products that sound GREAT. I did the Google search but it does not change my opinion. IMO, I would recommend Bose for the most part.

However, I do own a pair of Bose headphones and while they sound great IMO, the craftship is not the best. This is my second pair and the part of them that goes over my head keeps cracking. The first pair broke, and I just noticed my second pair (which they gave me for free btw) is starting to crack again. Not sure if I would recommend Bose headphones anymore, but the rest of their products we own are great. No complaints despite the 'trash' talk.

These guys are pros and not afrade to bash the very same products they sell, they also offer price matching.

Is that really good business? What's the point of selling something if they're just going to bash it? Just doesn't make sense to me.

CalfCanuck
Mar 21, 2005, 10:21 PM
The Sony MDR-7506's can be found in nearly every studio around the world. .... If you want a ~$100 set of studio monitor headphones, then these are a good choice.
I'd second the 7506's. Another benefit for field audio is that they fold down to be quite a compact package.

johnnowak
Mar 21, 2005, 10:51 PM
The Sony's are ****. Get the AKGs. You will NOT be disappointed.

johnnowak
Mar 21, 2005, 10:52 PM
Ah, and anyone who knows what they're talking about will say the same thing:
Bose is trash. Undeniably.

johnnowak
Mar 21, 2005, 10:55 PM
Is that really good business? What's the point of selling something if they're just going to bash it? Just doesn't make sense to me.

Yeah. Convincing people the Bose suck so they can sell more expensive headphones with a higher margin is certainly bad business... :rolleyes:

It's like people don't even think here. Honestly. I don't mean to be rude, but for the love of God, use your head...

ReanimationLP
Mar 21, 2005, 11:06 PM
I use the Sony MDR-V150s. Sound awesome, 25 dollars or so at the Best Buy. Perfect for the price, a bit fragile though, dont try putting them in your pocket.

live4ever
Mar 21, 2005, 11:41 PM
Grados are very nice.
www.gradolabs.com

dzavitz
Mar 22, 2005, 12:06 AM
There's a recent mini-roundup done over at http://arstechnica.com (http://arstechnica.com/reviews/other/HiFiHeadphones.ars).

quackattack
Mar 22, 2005, 01:43 AM
Obviously a lot of opinions in this matter. From what you describe my personal recommendation is Sennheiser 280 HD's. I would definitely NOT recommend the Bose. You can get much better phones for the same price. Grado's are great phones, but I don't think they are what you are looking for either. They are open and they aren't really monitors.

Do yourself a favor and do some research to determine exactly what you are looking for. I would head over to Head-Fi (http://www.head-fi.org). These guys are experts and will be able to help you find exactly what you want.
But careful, once you get into head-fi its hard to get out..... don't say I didn't warn you.

Peyote
Mar 22, 2005, 01:46 AM
I know this is out of the price range, but I can't wait to get my AKG K271's in a week or so!

I do some audio voice over recording, etc now and again, and decided to go with a NICE pait of headphones instead of studio monitors...just because I don't think I'd be happy trying to listen to my music through speakers that sound as flat as studio monitors. So instead of buying $100 headphones and $300-$400 monitors, I'm buying $200 headphones and $150 desktop speakers (Klipsch Promedia 2.1).

In your price range, I hear the Sennheiser HD 280 PRO's are very nice, and they fold.

http://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/HD280Pro/

here's what I'm getting: :D
http://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/K271Studio/

JFreak
Mar 22, 2005, 02:10 AM
SHURE E5 - this is way out of your price range, but if you can, try them out.
http://www.shure.com/psm/earphones/default.asp

kanker
Mar 22, 2005, 02:47 AM
Another vote for the Sony 7506's. Not the best phones in the world, but at their price they are just about the ultimate. Best part about them is they fit neatly in a Crown Royal bag.

Mav451
Mar 22, 2005, 03:06 AM
The Sony's are ****. Get the AKGs. You will NOT be disappointed.

...this is why you DON'T want to go to head-fi.org

You either meet a fanboy or you meet a hater. Ultimately, while that place is resourceful, alot of people are reluctant to suggest anything other than their favorite brand.

The BEST way is for you to try out the headphones yourself. Grado? AKGs? Senn? These are just names unless you try them out. Some places, depending on city vs. urban, you can actually find brick & mortar stores that have these phones. That would be the best way for you to decide.

Take in your iPod and try em out. Obviously amp vs. unamp will be a factor, but that's up to you if you want to factor that in.

Chappers
Mar 22, 2005, 04:19 AM
I think you should get these - obviously if you have the money $900

http://www.headphone.com/layout.php?topicID=3&subTopicID=26&productID=0020380001

Have to say there were many great recommendations at this site - so worth a look (as originally Posted by RandomDeadHead).

HiRez
Mar 22, 2005, 04:33 AM
I also have to put in another recommendation for the Sony MDR-V6s. Not only do they sound great, but the are very efficient and easily driven, so you will have no problem using them with any portable player and you will not need a headphone amp. BTW, the MDR-7506 are identical except for the gold plated connector. Don't waste your money on them, as the original V6s can still be had for significantly less (http://www.millionbuy.com/snymdrv6.html). You will not be disappointed with these phones. They're also extremely rugged (hauled mine all over creation for 15 years now), and fold up, but the only flaw is the thin black "leather" coating over the ear foam will eventually flake off, but it's not a show-stopper and you can get replacement ear foam from beyerdynamic phones that fit if you really need to. Don't be fooled by other Sony headphones with similar model numbers, many of them, even some with higher price tags, are really quite bad and completely different animals.

doumbek
Mar 22, 2005, 07:49 AM
Beyerdynamic DT770 headphones are comfy, and very accurate. I own them, and love them,, but they are about double your price point.
link to the headphones (http://www.beyerdynamic.com/com/maerkte/m_u_p/index.htm)

But whatever headphones you get, make sure to try them out first. Head down to your local music instrument mega-store, and you should be able to try a few models out side by side. That way you can hear the difference, and make up your mind in regards to the cost vs. performance ratio you're willing to live with.

uaaerospace
Mar 22, 2005, 08:55 AM
Ah, and anyone who knows what they're talking about will say the same thing:
Bose is trash. Undeniably.

This post is pointless. The guy asked for suggestions. I have a pair of Bose Triports, and I love them. I would think that after owning them for 2 years after several sets of sonys I would know what I am talking about. Please post something constructive instead of just bashing. ~Josh

Mav451
Mar 22, 2005, 11:56 AM
I also have to put in another recommendation for the Sony MDR-V6s. Not only do they sound great, but the are very efficient and easily driven, so you will have no problem using them with any portable player and you will not need a headphone amp. BTW, the MDR-7506 are identical except for the gold plated connector. Don't waste your money on them, as the original V6s can still be had for significantly less (http://www.millionbuy.com/snymdrv6.html). You will not be disappointed with these phones. They're also extremely rugged (hauled mine all over creation for 15 years now), and fold up, but the only flaw is the thin black "leather" coating over the ear foam will eventually flake off, but it's not a show-stopper and you can get replacement ear foam from beyerdynamic phones that fit if you really need to. Don't be fooled by other Sony headphones with similar model numbers, many of them, even some with higher price tags, are really quite bad and completely different animals.

And if I didn't already mention, I too use a MDR-V6. My first, and last head-fi phone. I got a refurb for $40. Great bass response, not necessarily of Senn quality, but for $40? I'd take it.

Great for gamers/overall music listeners. If you wanna specialize, its going to cost you.

MacHarne
Mar 22, 2005, 12:05 PM
Sorry to burst anybodys bubble but, bose is trash.

I'm glad you have a strong opinion. Next time, though, to better articulate a thought or purpose, it's best to not rant with name-calling. The poster, elevenpower, asked for good headphone recommendations and not people's least favorite brands.

Anyways. I own a pair of Bose Triports and they are fantastic; their sonic range and reproduction is superb. Timbres are matched wonderfully with true-to-life responses, particularly with orchestral or jazz tracks where the quality of the music is of upmost importance. Although, for studio use I don't see a need for that specific model. When I was in radio, we used Sennheiser; I can't recall the model but they were comfortable for taking on and off frequently and put out great sounds in the humanly audible range. Sennheiser isn't that competitive in performance characteristics with brands like Beyerdynamic or the nice Shures that are out there, but Sennheiser makes quality, inexpensive headphones.

My recommendation would depend on your specific use. One feature, never to forget, is how flexible/rigid they are; you may, as I was, be removing and putting on these headphones frequently and would like something that doesn't show signs of fatigue.

Mav451
Mar 22, 2005, 12:14 PM
I'm glad you have a strong opinion. Next time, though, to better articulate a thought or purpose, it's best to not rant with name-calling. The poster, elevenpower, asked for good headphone recommendations and not people's least favorite brands.

Anyways. I own a pair of Bose Triports and they are fantastic; their sonic range and reproduction is superb. Timbres are matched wonderfully with true-to-life responses, particularly with orchestral or jazz tracks where the quality of the music is of upmost importance. Although, for studio use I don't see a need for that specific model. When I was in radio, we used Sennheiser; I can't recall the model but they were comfortable for taking on and off frequently and put out great sounds in the humanly audible range. Sennheiser isn't that competitive in performance characteristics with brands like Beyerdynamic or the nice Shures that are out there, but Sennheiser makes quality, inexpensive headphones.

My recommendation would depend on your specific use. One feature, never to forget, is how flexible/rigid they are; you may, as I was, be removing and putting on these headphones frequently and would like something that doesn't show signs of fatigue.

As much as I like people to discuss freely here, I can't let it go by that Bose is (implied) better than Senn.

Apparently you've never tried the 600's/650's. I'll leave it at that. Try a real headphone before you make quick/sweeping judgement about an ENTIRE line of headphones.

*edit*
LOL. If you are recommending the Triports (the same headphone they have in most Apple Stores), you have GOT to be joking. That is one of the worst headphones I have tried. Even Grado SR60's are better (and this is coming from a SR225 user). If I wasn't as knowledgeable about the significance of amps/sources, then I would have judged the iPod wrongly b/c of those horrible headphones.

Fortunately, having listened to my friends iPod (lossless DMB songs at that) with an amp + E5's, I know better.

vga4life
Mar 22, 2005, 01:39 PM
Beyerdynamic DT-250. Closed ear (no spill), circumaural (very comfortable), and practically indestructable. About $180 and worth it.

If your budget is tight and you can get used to their response, i second the Sony MDR-7506, but I find the beyer's much more comfortable for long-term wear. If you're going to be using these phones in a studio for hours on end, it pays not to cheap out on uncomfortable gear.

(Open ear phones are no good in a studio setting, obviously. And I wouldn't recommend Bose in any setting.)

-vga4life

Mav451
Mar 22, 2005, 01:52 PM
The 250's look awfully alot like the V6's...is the padded headpand (in terms of comfort) the biggest difference? The earpad/shape is almost identical, from the pictures anyway.

http://headroom.headphone.com/productphotos/0020112525sidebig.JPG

quackattack
Mar 22, 2005, 02:09 PM
...this is why you DON'T want to go to head-fi.org

You either meet a fanboy or you meet a hater. Ultimately, while that place is resourceful, alot of people are reluctant to suggest anything other than their favorite brand.

The BEST way is for you to try out the headphones yourself. Grado? AKGs? Senn? These are just names unless you try them out. Some places, depending on city vs. urban, you can actually find brick & mortar stores that have these phones. That would be the best way for you to decide.

Take in your iPod and try em out. Obviously amp vs. unamp will be a factor, but that's up to you if you want to factor that in.

While I agree that their are alot of "haters/fanboys" at Head-Fi, I still think it is a great resource. It is a great place to discover new phones, It is a great place to get an education. I didn't even know what an headphone amp was until I started hanging out over their.

I do agree that you really should try and listen before you buy. Unfortunatlely depending on your location this can be hard to do. Guitar Center has a few Senns, BDs, and AKGs. Grados are near impossible to find in a store. Headphone.com has a great return policy, but you want to be careful not to abuse it.

This is why I suggested Head-Fi. They can help you narrow down what you are looking for and give you a short list of phones to try. Also they know alot more about this stuff than us macrumors cats (sorry guys).

quackattack
Mar 22, 2005, 02:12 PM
SHURE E5 - this is way out of your price range, but if you can, try them out.
http://www.shure.com/psm/earphones/default.asp

These are great phones, but I don't think this is what he was looking for. They are VERY expensive, and they are canal phones. This isn't ideal for a studio monitor.

I have the E2C, they are worth checking out if you want to lookk at canals. They are in the price range, and have great sound. A great value in my opinion!

RAS admin
Mar 22, 2005, 02:17 PM
I recommend the Sennheiser HD280 Pro mentioned earlier. I use them for my iPod and G5. This same model is featured in a recent review of various headphones. http://arstechnica.com/reviews/other/HiFiHeadphones.ars

quackattack
Mar 22, 2005, 02:22 PM
Beyerdynamic DT-250. Closed ear (no spill), circumaural (very comfortable), and practically indestructable. About $180 and worth it.

If your budget is tight and you can get used to their response, i second the Sony MDR-7506, but I find the beyer's much more comfortable for long-term wear. If you're going to be using these phones in a studio for hours on end, it pays not to cheap out on uncomfortable gear.

(Open ear phones are no good in a studio setting, obviously. And I wouldn't recommend Bose in any setting.)

-vga4life

Thanks for the info, this is a phone I have been wondering about for a while. How well does it isolate? Would it compare to the Senn 280?

Also Mav, how do you like your SR-225? This is another phone I have been strongly considering.

Mav451
Mar 22, 2005, 02:46 PM
I'm going to be honest with you.

The SR225's were not comfortable to me. For 30min-1hour, yes. But if you are watching a movie (2hours), it starts to hurt. Again, however, you must try them to see what I mean.

Sound? It is very nice for guitars/live performances. Shallow/Deep soundstage is meaningless until you hear the 225's. Grado's, in general, are all "shallow". By shallow, it means that the sound is literally IN FRONT of you (vs. 20-30feet away, ala concert hall).

The bass is also not boomy. If you have flat pads, my god, these things rock. Very, very crisp bass--you're ears will bleed if you turn it up too high ;)

nutmac
Mar 22, 2005, 04:09 PM
Regarding Bose, its headphones aren't stinkers. While there are countless technical documents, reviews, and tests that point out how bad Bose speakers are (particularly considering premium price), their headphones are okay. Overpriced, yes. But they are not terrible. Are they studio quality? No. But they are pretty good phones for casual listening. Of course, it doesn't help that they are priced at the level where you can get significantly better phones (e.g., Grado, Sennheiser), but that is the price of ignorance and/or personal preference.

vga4life
Mar 22, 2005, 04:47 PM
Thanks for the info, this is a phone I have been wondering about for a while. How well does it isolate? Would it compare to the Senn 280?.

The beyers isolate very well - feels subjectively like about 15db. I'd rate it much better than the "active noise reduction" junk from Sennheiser, Bose, et al.

Do note that the DT250 comes in 250 ohm and 80 ohm versions. I can't tell much difference between them, really, except that the latter version is efficient enough to be driven well by my ipod without an amp.

I don't know how they compare to the Senn HD280, having never tried them; I would note that I prefer the velour pads on the beyers to the pleather pads on other circumaural phones i've tried. Pleather makes my ears hot and sweaty after a few hours. OTOH, the Senn's about $70 cheaper.

-vga4life

quackattack
Mar 22, 2005, 05:31 PM
Regarding Bose, its headphones aren't stinkers. While there are countless technical documents, reviews, and tests that point out how bad Bose speakers are (particularly considering premium price), their headphones are okay. Overpriced, yes. But they are not terrible. Are they studio quality? No. But they are pretty good phones for casual listening. Of course, it doesn't help that they are priced at the level where you can get significantly better phones (e.g., Grado, Sennheiser), but that is the price of ignorance and/or personal preference.

I agree with this. They aren't bad phones. They are lightwieght and comfortable. They do break easily however.

BUT... They are way overpriced, like you said. If they were $50 I would strongly consider them. At $150, no way. You can do much much better.

quackattack
Mar 22, 2005, 05:34 PM
I'm going to be honest with you.

The SR225's were not comfortable to me. For 30min-1hour, yes. But if you are watching a movie (2hours), it starts to hurt. Again, however, you must try them to see what I mean.

Sound? It is very nice for guitars/live performances. Shallow/Deep soundstage is meaningless until you hear the 225's. Grado's, in general, are all "shallow". By shallow, it means that the sound is literally IN FRONT of you (vs. 20-30feet away, ala concert hall).

The bass is also not boomy. If you have flat pads, my god, these things rock. Very, very crisp bass--you're ears will bleed if you turn it up too high ;)

This confirms everything I have heard. I am looking for some fun, rock phones. I have been looking at the Grado's, but I am worried about comfort. I guess I will have to try and find a pair to audition. Thanks for your input!

quackattack
Mar 22, 2005, 05:37 PM
The beyers isolate very well - feels subjectively like about 15db. I'd rate it much better than the "active noise reduction" junk from Sennheiser, Bose, et al.

Do note that the DT250 comes in 250 ohm and 80 ohm versions. I can't tell much difference between them, really, except that the latter version is efficient enough to be driven well by my ipod without an amp.

I don't know how they compare to the Senn HD280, having never tried them; I would note that I prefer the velour pads on the beyers to the pleather pads on other circumaural phones i've tried. Pleather makes my ears hot and sweaty after a few hours. OTOH, the Senn's about $70 cheaper.

-vga4life

Thanks. I currently have the 280's, I love them but they can be a little bulky. I was hoping to get something with good isolation that was more portable. Like I said in my last post, I may have to just try and find a pair. These things are hard to find! Guess I will keep looking.

840quadra
Mar 24, 2005, 01:41 AM
Sorry to burst anybodys bubble but, bose is trash. Just a name with a huge markiting budget, and a world full of suckers to prey on. It's all smoke and mirrors. Google this "bose is trash", don't take my word for it.

But for a good set of cheap cans go here.
Headphonez (http://www.headphone.com/layout.php?topicID=1)

These guys are pros and not afrade to bash the very same products they sell, they also offer price matching.

I went on a trek for one weekend trying to find comfortable, and high quality headphones for listening to music at work. I listened to multiple headphones before going to Bose to listen to the Triport and others. I have had (and still do own) multiple pairs of Sony high end headphones.

1 pair of Sony headphones I purchased last year are good headphones, but the drivers are bulky, and they actually have an odd buzz to them already. I liked the new MDR-V700DJ from Sony, but again the size was a bit big for wearing at work. I also looked at a few Yamaha models, but didn't like the feel or how weak the mids sounded.

I ended up being totally surprised by the Bose Triport headphones. They were real light, and had as good of sound quality as the MDR-V700DJ, with the exception of having slightly more muffled highs. For the price I couldn't go wrong for the Triports, as they were $100 on sale, and after rebate. I would not consider paying $150 for them though

My biggest gripe with the Bose headphones is the cheep plastic housing. I hated the noise canceling Bose headphones, they were too "boomy" and had terrible frequency response. I couldn't believe that you were not able to turn off the noise cancel feature, and the headphones will not work without the battery!!

Yeah the name is big, and becomes an easy target for naysayers, most likely similar to apple outside of the apple community.

el greenerino
Mar 24, 2005, 04:35 AM
Grados are very nice.
www.gradolabs.com

Don't leave my iPod without my Grado SR-80s. They cost $100 but sound like headphones that cost $200.

The kind of people who buy Bose headphones are the kind of people who buy a powermac and only use Mail App.

Chappers
Mar 24, 2005, 05:39 AM
Ok so Bose are not very popular with audiophiles- but I listened to a pair in the Apple store and they sounded good.

I will not buy them because I realise you can get better for less, but are they that bad?

el greenerino
Mar 24, 2005, 07:33 PM
Ok so Bose are not very popular with audiophiles- but I listened to a pair in the Apple store and they sounded good.

I will not buy them because I realise you can get better for less, but are they that bad?

They're not "bad", but considering the triports cost $150, they are a terrible value. Then again, that is argument some people make for why "macs suck". Only difference is they're wrong about macs and we're right about bose :D

thecow
Mar 24, 2005, 09:19 PM
This confirms everything I have heard. I am looking for some fun, rock phones. I have been looking at the Grado's, but I am worried about comfort. I guess I will have to try and find a pair to audition. Thanks for your input!The Grado headphones feel really weird at first, but after about a week, the foam gets softer and kind of molds to your ears. Also since the headband is metal, you can bend them to any shape you want. They will feel a bit uncomfortable when they are new at the store. The store that I bought them at had speakers that were $5,000 each and the owner let us listen to them. He had really good classical music and it sounded like we were at a concert hall. http://www.bwspeakers.com/index.cfm/fuseaction/products.models/label/Model%20Nautilus%20804


Why can't I use the insert hyperlink button? It doesn't work.