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Best Closed back Headphones for "Mastering" under $600

GaryH

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Note those Rtings measurements combine low frequency blocked ear canal mic measurements on 5 people in the low frequencies (up to ~400 Hz) with measurements at 5 reseatings of the headphone on their ear simulator dummy head for the rest of the (upper) frequency range.
 

F1308

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Forget headphones.

Buy this IEM right away....

 
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aspillane789

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Forget headphones.

Buy this IEM right away....



I’ve seen this IEM term a few times. Could you shed a bit of knowledge on what that is?
 

oleg87

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For what it's worth, if you didn't get along with the K371 I'm not sure you'd find the Zero to your taste either. Though for $50 you don't lose much trying.
 

F1308

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fascinating. I second Gary's concern of using IEM over Studio Headphones for mastering.

Exactly my opinion before thoroughly checking them...

 
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aspillane789

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For what it's worth, if you didn't get along with the K371 I'm not sure you'd find the Zero to your taste either. Though for $50 you don't lose much trying.
I actually loved the k371. Most beautiful pair of cans i have ever heard. Slightly too euphoric imo for a mastering context.

Exactly my opinion before thoroughly checking them...


Intriguing. I wonder if other share a similar opinion.

*im really liking 560s rn. Doing my first master test on them. so far so good.
 

Robbo99999

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Hello all! new this this forum and i love it so far. Great community. Anyways i noticed most pair of cans recommended for mastering are open back. I have a few reasons for looking for closed back including noise isolation, convenience, and a tip from my Mastering mentor who oddly enough prefers closed back if he was forced to master on headphones. btw he doesn't ever master on headphones he has a very good control room with top notch Acoustical treatment.

Since i simply cannot afford or have the luxury of having a control room/ we are looking for suitable pair of cans for me. His current owned list of headphones are the Sennheiser HD 280 Pro, a pair of grado's (im not sure which model,) and the slate digital VSX headphones.

Surprisingly he states that the Slate VSX headphones with goodhertz can opener is very similar to his current monitoring control room. he was impressed.

[I currently have the Hifiman Sundara. Even though its highly praised its just not working for me (and my mastering mentor noticed this too. I have this slight suspicion that the pair i bought from amazon are not as good as buying from sweetwater or something. Ehh im probably just paranoid lol..]

Anyways the plan is to do the following.

1. Connect new "to be determined" closed back headphones to my SMSL m500 Dac/amp.

2. Try different EQ profiles from AutoEQ, until i find the best one.

3. Put Goodhertz Can Opener as a last plugin on my monitoring channel. (i use Reaper daw)

4. Carefully consider Dsoniq Realphones instead of Can Opener just for the HRTF application. (Might do occasional room simulations to check different platforms.)

So this is the basic overview. Completely open to any pair of closed cans under $600. If its a little more that's okay.

*If recommending a pair of closed back i would be interested to hear your use of Headphone EQ, and use of those pair of cans in a mixing/mastering context.

Thnx all! :D

Edit 1: oh also having a neutral eq response is preferred. However most important is how the pair of cans will translate to studio monitors, clubs, cars etc.
If I was you I'd use an open backed headphone as the consistency from person to person is more reliable in terms of the frequency response received between different people as seen in this following post from user @staticV3, who analysed the consistency data on RTings review website - open back headphones are more consistent:

Then in terms of specific headphone, I'd recommend the Sennheiser HD560s as it has low unit to unit variation, low distortion drivers, the stock frequency response is well above average in terms of "neutrality/preference", they're not expensive, and they'll be "most neutral" when used with Oratory's EQ along with really good bass response & bass detail (in my experience & supported by the measurements):

Yep, so they're low distortion, measurement from Oratory:
HD560s Distortion.png

They have low unit to unit variation which means that when you buy one you're likely to get a correct reliable experience and serves to make the Oratory EQ's more valid & accurate for you. I've got 3 units of these and measured on my miniDSP EARS rig they all measure virtually identically (ignore that the frequency response looks strange, that's because it's on a miniDSP EARS rig rather than GRAS rig, but still valid for comparing unit to unit variation):
HD560s all units AVG of left & right channel.jpg
@solderdude also measured 3 units of HD560s on his flat plate rig and he got low unit to unit variation on those too, his post showing his results here:
 
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aspillane789

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If I was you I'd use an open backed headphone as the consistency from person to person is more reliable in terms of the frequency response received between different people as seen in this following post from user @staticV3, who analysed the consistency data on RTings review website - open back headphones are more consistent:

Then in terms of specific headphone, I'd recommend the Sennheiser HD560s as it has low unit to unit variation, low distortion drivers, the stock frequency response is well above average in terms of "neutrality/preference", they're not expensive, and they'll be "most neutral" when used with Oratory's EQ along with really good bass response & bass detail (in my experience & supported by the measurements):

Yep, so they're low distortion, measurement from Oratory:
View attachment 243279

They have low unit to unit variation which means that when you buy one you're likely to get a correct reliable experience and serves to make the Oratory EQ's more valid & accurate for you. I've got 3 units of these and measured on my miniDSP EARS rig they all measure virtually identically (ignore that the frequency response looks strange, that's because it's on a miniDSP EARS rig rather than GRAS rig, but still valid for comparing unit to unit variation):
View attachment 243280
@solderdude also measured 3 units of HD560s on his flat plate rig and he got low unit to unit variation on those too, his post showing his results here:

Thnx Robo! i ended up getting the hd 560,s. Translating incredibly well to speakers and cars. What i hear in my cans with Oratory's eq is so similar to what i hear on speakers. btw i am using goodhertz can opener, and occasionally checking club and car in dsoniq realphones.

With some reference tracks i believe these cans are Spectacular for mastering.
 

Robbo99999

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Thnx Robo! i ended up getting the hd 560,s. Translating incredibly well to speakers and cars. What i hear in my cans with Oratory's eq is so similar to what i hear on speakers. btw i am using goodhertz can opener, and occasionally checking club and car in dsoniq realphones.

With some reference tracks i believe these cans are Spectacular for mastering.
Ha, good, how did you get them so fast? Did you order them before I recommended them to you? I'm glad they're working well for your use case.

EDIT: nevermind the question, I'd forgotten we'd had some PM's back at the end of October, you bought the HD560s sometime late October.

EDIT #2: and sorry you'd already said in this thread you bought the HD560s:
lol, I hadn't realised you already had them when I recommended them to you!
 
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aspillane789

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Ha, good, how did you get them so fast? Did you order them before I recommended them to you? I'm glad they're working well for your use case.

EDIT: nevermind the question, I'd forgotten we'd had some PM's back at the end of October, you bought the HD560s sometime late October.

EDIT #2: and sorry you'd already said in this thread you bought the HD560s:
lol, I hadn't realised you already had them when I recommended them to you!
Lol no worries :)
 

Postlan

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Realistically speaking, mastering with a single headphone should be considered very dangerous. Quite frankly, I don't think you can confidently publish a commercial song without checking it on a speaker. Sometimes it's better to check things like noise with headphones, but judging the overall balance, transients and space can be especially difficult with them. When it comes to lows, even without very expensive speakers and a well-treated room, a small monitor will do a job for you if you have enough experience, but in that case headphones are a practical way to check the lows without spending $$$$. The low end of the Neumann NDH30 is very good.

Either way, I recommend using headphones along with speakers.
 

markanini

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A well extended IEMs is a useful for finding problems in the sub bass. The Truthear follows Harman-IE which is a bit mid forward though, maybe to the point where it masks such issues. EDIT: I other words a mid forward signature can negate the utility of IEMs.
 
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GaryH

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Except it also isn't actually very well extended in the sub-bass, despite what the 'subwoofer in an IEM!' marketing says.
 
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markanini

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Except it also isn't actually very well extended in the sub-bass, despite what the 'subwoofer in an IEM!' marketing says.
True, some $10 IEMs perform better in this area.

1669889869027.png
 
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