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Old 01-25-2013, 09:28 AM   #1
nugiboy
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Can you use studio monitoring headphones for music?

Hey guys,

I'm in need of new studio headphones after the jack on my old set has completely disintegrated. Also, but of less importance, I want some new headphones for listening to music casually around the house and whilst watching films.

If I bought a good set of studio headphones, would listening to music sound terrible in them due to the flat response aspect? Would it be better to by two separate headphones for different uses? One thing I was thinking about was just using the EQ function on my iPod/computer whilst listening to music offset the flat nature of studio headphones. Would this work?

For note, I'm planning on buying KRK KNS 8400 studio headphones.
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Old 01-25-2013, 11:13 AM   #2
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You sure can use studio headphones for general listening. Depending on the headphones you may need one of those 1/4" to 1/8" adapters which makes them mildly annoying to use because it makes the plug so damn long but it's doable. They won't sound bad either, they might sound a little uninspiring because they won't have booming bass or anything like that, but they'll still sound pretty damn good and you might like the sound of flat headphones.
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Old 01-25-2013, 11:20 AM   #3
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Not only that, but it's a good idea. Knowing how professionally produced music that you like sounds on them will help you mix on them.
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Old 01-25-2013, 11:36 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by Cavalcade
Not only that, but it's a good idea. Knowing how professionally produced music that you like sounds on them will help you mix on them.


This, huge this. Knowing how differently music sounds on a pair of flat studio headphones versus consumer headphones is huge. Most genres sound better without all the hyped frequencies and such
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Old 01-25-2013, 11:52 AM   #5
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Thanks for the advice guys.

So it seems that studio headphones will still sound ok whilst listening to music, and may even give me some useful benefits with regards to hearing how songs are produced.

However, if I did want a slightly more atmospheric experience, would simply using an EQ function on my music player give me the same result as having regular consumer headphones?
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Old 01-25-2013, 12:17 PM   #6
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Not identical, but it'd sure help
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Old 01-25-2013, 12:54 PM   #7
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They'll be great.

A lot of people think using monitors or headphones for casual listening is bad, but personally I love it. Hi-fi speakers tend to 'enhance' the source audio by hyping the bass and treble, but after a year or two of engineering you won't actually enjoy that anyway.

I'd rather let my headphones or speakers stay neutral, and trust the highly-skilled mastering engineer with 500,000 worth of audio equipment to EQ my music for me.

When you listen with a studio playback system, you're hearing the music/movie/game as it's supposed to sound.


I play a bit of competitive Team Fortress 2 and I love my studio monitors - the stereo field is really wide and it's easy to pick out everything going on, but the sound effects are big and boomy and awesome. And something with outstanding audio like Battlefield Bad Co or Machinarium is just a blast to play.
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Old 01-25-2013, 12:59 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kyle62
They'll be great.

A lot of people think using monitors or headphones for casual listening is bad, but personally I love it. Hi-fi speakers tend to 'enhance' the source audio by hyping the bass and treble, but after a year or two of engineering you won't actually enjoy that anyway.

I'd rather let my headphones or speakers stay neutral, and trust the highly-skilled mastering engineer with 500,000 worth of audio equipment to EQ my music for me.

When you listen with a studio playback system, you're hearing the music/movie/game as it's supposed to sound.


I play a bit of competitive Team Fortress 2 and I love my studio monitors - the stereo field is really wide and it's easy to pick out everything going on, but the sound effects are big and boomy and awesome. And something with outstanding audio like Battlefield Bad Co or Machinarium is just a blast to play.


Wow, that's very convincing. What you said about trusting the mastering engineers with thousands of pounds of equipment rather than your headphones blanket-like eq on whatever you're listening to makes perfect sense.

I think I'm sold guys - thanks for the advice.
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Old 01-25-2013, 01:13 PM   #9
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Another quick question. I'm using a Saffire 6 USB interface for production. I'm still quite new to impedance requirements. Would my interface be able to power the KNS 8400 headphones I'm planning to buy?

Headphones:
Nominal Impedance - 36 ohms

Saffire 6 USB:
Output Impedance: < 7 Ohms
Load Impedance: > 24 Ohms


Do they have to match the Load or Output Impedance to work?
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Old 01-25-2013, 01:29 PM   #10
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To work, not at all. Matched impedance maximizes the power transferred, but it'll be fine. "Load impedance" is the recommended amount of impedance for whatever you're plugging in (in this case, the headphones). Output impedance is the impedance of the interface itself. Since it recommends 24 ohms or more, and the phones are 36, you shouldn't have any problems.
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Old 01-26-2013, 12:27 PM   #11
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Wow the headphone amp of the Saffire 6 is really weak then...
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Old 01-26-2013, 06:52 PM   #12
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I'd like to make a certain comment on this...

KRK , although stated to be for "studio use", are known for having a rather colored sound for "studio" mixing and mastering. They should actually be fine if you plan on doing a mix of music listening and mixing/mastering but be very clear on the fact that you are getting bottom line studio gear and this is far from optimal.

As for what Kyle said, well not to burst your bubble, but "Hi-Fi" in itself means "High fidelity", and the higher the fidelity to the source material, the flatter the speaker/headphone is - while some more "expensive" companies will offer bass and treble boost, any company looking for pure studio reference, or pure fidelity, will opt for a response closer to flat, and most audiophiles look for a good midrange in their equipment...

I understand budget constraints are generally the reason for going with the KRK line in the first place, so if that's the case I can understand, but if you're willing to about, maybe double your budget, you can consider other options that would be better purely for mixing purposes.

If you're willing to go with open headphones and a 400 dollar budget, one of your best choices possible is the HD-600, which is basically for the price an amazingly balanced headphones, and recommended by audiophiles and studio engineers for years now. You can hardly go wrong with these for the price, they are legendary.

Another company that makes great open headphones for mixing is AKG, but these have been often criticized by music enthusiasts (i.e not sound engineers) for having a very sterile sound - That being said they are INCREDIBLY detailed and revealing of flaws and one of my favorite companies because of it, and if you record or listen to very busy music they are downright amazing.
You can get AKG studio headphones at the same price as the KRK and I guarantee you they'll be better for mixing, or you can upgrade at around 270 for the K702's and these will be waaaaaay better.

Keep in mind these are all open headphones, they cannot be used in a very loud environment, on the other hand if you have a quiet studio environment, if someone asks you a question with the headphones on you will be able to answer them without taking them off. Akg's opne headphones sound signature is a bit light on bass, if you need super loud bass or really deep sub-bass (Rap, Electronic Music, downtuned metal) think about whether these are the best for you.

Also the AKG's without a dedicated amp might not be super loud.

For closed the AKG has released the AKG 550 which is much revered lately and considered perhaps amongst the best closed headphones at that price range, at 300 bucks.

For other closed, cheaper ones, the shure SRH440's are a new super well regarded, 100 dollars product that could work on a budget. - slight emphasis on upper mids, treble.

And finally the ATH M50 which is probably the most recommended closed headphones for beggining "audiophiles", these are probably best for mixing electronic music and rap, being closed and having a higher bass response than the other ones I mentioned here - these are widely enjoyed headphones and are a very common recommendation for dj's also.

Whether you take my advice or go with the KRK I hope you find something that suits your needs!
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Old 02-08-2013, 08:29 PM   #13
Justin L Franks
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chatterbox272
You sure can use studio headphones for general listening. Depending on the headphones you may need one of those 1/4" to 1/8" adapters which makes them mildly annoying to use because it makes the plug so damn long but it's doable. They won't sound bad either, they might sound a little uninspiring because they won't have booming bass or anything like that, but they'll still sound pretty damn good and you might like the sound of flat headphones.


I can't stand those kind of 1/4" to 1/8" adaptors either. The ones that use a short piece of cable are so much better. I didn't even know those kind existed until I bought my first set of Grado headphones, which had this little gem in the box.

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