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Regarding Headphone Sound

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DonCarrera
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Regarding Headphone Sound Oct. 1st, 2011 @ 04:12 AM Reply

Yeah, hey everybody.

I recently bought a moderately good set of headphones with a low, low price at a local hardware store. While I wasn't quite 100% happy with the sound initially, a friend let me borrow his incredibly good-sounding Sennheisers as a method for direct comparison.

An idea struck me then and there. "What if - what if I use my friend's set as a basis in terms of sound and use the built-in EQ function on my MP3 to modulate the quality of my own cheap-ass set to imitate his?"
Well, turns out this approach worked. The new-found sound turned out to be damn close to that of the expensive Sennheisers, almost - almost - exactly the same.

So here's a question - would it be possibly, and advisable, to set the same EQ parameters on tracks I produce on the computer temporarily as to imitate the listening experience of those INCREDIBLY EXPENSIVE studio headphones before rendering the song? Or is there still a huge, important difference here that I should be aware of?

eatmeatleet
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Response to Regarding Headphone Sound Oct. 1st, 2011 @ 05:09 AM Reply

I don't give a damn. Tell me how you did the equing


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Buoy
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Response to Regarding Headphone Sound Oct. 1st, 2011 @ 07:19 AM Reply

If that's the case then that's incredibly weird because headphones and speakers aren't just different in their frequency response curve. The dynamic range is different, the type and amount of distortion is different, the volume they can produce is different, and speaker elements and other parts are built with materials of different quality. Also, if it was a cheap-ass set it probably can't even reproduce the lowest and highest frequencies that a more expensive monitoring headphone can, and you can't fix that with any amount of EQ.

DonCarrera
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Response to Regarding Headphone Sound Oct. 1st, 2011 @ 08:00 AM Reply

At 10/1/11 07:19 AM, SBB wrote: If that's the case then that's incredibly weird because headphones and speakers aren't just different in their frequency response curve. The dynamic range is different, the type and amount of distortion is different, the volume they can produce is different, and speaker elements and other parts are built with materials of different quality. Also, if it was a cheap-ass set it probably can't even reproduce the lowest and highest frequencies that a more expensive monitoring headphone can, and you can't fix that with any amount of EQ.

With "cheap-ass" I meant a twenty-dollar set, not some 1-buck schmuck's earbuds. The frequency range goes from 20Hz to 22000 - the brand being Maxell - and that being all I know aboot 'em. I don't really see how a difference in material composition would benefit the wideness, the quality, or the degree as to which the sound may be panned if you can manually alter that anyways.

These buds have no distortion, no real downside save for a lacking >40Hz response, and barely any coloring. All the problems can be ironed out nearly entirely with a very precise, arduous equalizer job and a good-quality but very slight bass boost.

Plus, this is the first time a listening experience on headphones has ever sent shivers down my spine - so I guess that's another pointer. :D

Rivergrey
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Response to Regarding Headphone Sound Oct. 1st, 2011 @ 08:34 AM Reply

I've got to agree with SSB though: this really shouldn't be happening with any pair of headphones under 60$. :3


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imfromkenya
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Response to Regarding Headphone Sound Oct. 1st, 2011 @ 02:55 PM Reply

i also don't know about that !! :(

EoD696
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Response to Regarding Headphone Sound Oct. 1st, 2011 @ 06:13 PM Reply

If you're talking about EQing your listening experience, thats one thing. EQing your listeners is totally different. They're not going to have the same headphones you have...and they probably are going to be using speakers. The best thing to do is...skip the phones. Let the music hit the air before you decide what you want it to sound like. And do it with a cheap set of speakers, because most people aren't going to have your level of affinity for sound. Detail work, polish, fine-tuning; these are purposes of headphones. Broadband EQing should be done with speakers; put it in the car if you have to. Speakers are better, and very very very different than headphones of any calibur.

HungarianSupermarket
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Response to Regarding Headphone Sound Oct. 1st, 2011 @ 06:18 PM Reply

At 10/1/11 06:13 PM, EoD696 wrote: If you're talking about EQing your listening experience, thats one thing. EQing your listeners is totally different.

Yeah, this.

What you need to do is listen to a buttload of music with your new headphones and get used to how things SHOULD sound through them. Only after you do that, will you be able to start mastering with them.

Even with a $500 pair of studio headphones, you can't just unbox them and start mastering things. You need to get used to how they sound. Hell, you could probably even get some decent mastering done with a pair of apple earbuds if you know EXACTLY how different frequencies sound through them.


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DonCarrera
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Response to Regarding Headphone Sound Oct. 1st, 2011 @ 06:22 PM Reply

At 10/1/11 06:13 PM, EoD696 wrote: >speakers are better<

I know all about that already and have amassed four different sorts of speakers AND two other extremely cheap headphone sets with drastically varying sound qualities - not including the car stereo. I'm more fond of speakers anyways, but headphones enable you to tweak the intricacies more and more accurately. Plus, a lot of people DO listen on headphones, hence the usage thereof. :D

EoD696
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Response to Regarding Headphone Sound Oct. 1st, 2011 @ 06:22 PM Reply

I dont really know wtf I'm talking about though, Im an amateur...your twenty dollar phones, they respond at 20hz? And thats a bad thing? I figured the broader the frequency response, the better the phones. The bigger the drivers, the bigger the bass. The less resistance, the louder the sound. Are those incorrect assumptions? For my detail work, I landed these, minus the mic. Did I make the right decision? I really don't know, but I enjoy them, and have had a helluvatime trying to blow them up. They still work just fine :D no unwanted overdrive or rattling. One day though...I will destroy them with my awesomeness!

commandab
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Response to Regarding Headphone Sound Oct. 5th, 2011 @ 03:19 PM Reply

what your trying to do is cool, but its a half ass, look at the eq like a compressor, wow

WhistlerMusicUK
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Response to Regarding Headphone Sound Oct. 6th, 2011 @ 09:31 AM Reply

Give it a try dude. Make a mix on the cheap headphones with the EQ applied and make a mix on the expensive set and then compare the difference. If there is none then you can work with the cheap set with your applied EQ.

People have touched on it here, it's just what you're used to. I test my mixes on all sorts of things but I am probably most familiar with the senhieser buds I use with my iPhone. So I bounce all my tracks to MP3 and listen to it as I'm used to listening to other things and make adjustments accordingly. I am very used to my mastering headphones and monitors too so I know how things should sound on them. It's all personal preference and experience.

I think you'll get used to the cheap headphones if you have to but they won't provide you with the accuracy of an expensive set and you'll have a harder time mixing on them ultimately.

CherokeePurple
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Response to Regarding Headphone Sound Oct. 6th, 2011 @ 05:15 PM Reply

At 10/6/11 09:31 AM, WhistlerMusicUK wrote:

accuracy

/thread

DonCarrera
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Response to Regarding Headphone Sound Oct. 7th, 2011 @ 10:46 AM Reply

At 10/6/11 05:15 PM, CherokeePurple wrote: accuracy

What is this supposed to mean? The panning is perfectly fine and there is no noticeable compression being applied through the EQ'ing job.

I even asked a friend of mine who's been producing for six years to test out mine and a pair of Sennheiser HDs out. He told me that he couldn't even notice the difference in quality. Now what's the point in even spending the extra cash if there is ZERO noticeable difference sound-wise? :D

midimachine
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Response to Regarding Headphone Sound Oct. 7th, 2011 @ 11:28 AM Reply

Can I be bothered messing with the EQ differently for every device and every pair of shit headphones I use? Not really!


p.s. i am gay

midimachine
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Response to Regarding Headphone Sound Oct. 7th, 2011 @ 11:30 AM Reply

Also the difference is always going to be noticeable in terms of soundstage and the way dynamics are presented and just because your mate couldn't tell the difference doesn't mean anyone else couldn't (how long he's been producing doesn't really factor in).


p.s. i am gay