Headphone Reviews

AKG K141 MKII REVIEW

When it comes to comfortable headphones that you can wear all day with virtually no fatigue, and when semi-open will do (lets face it, for sensitive recording sometimes you have to insist on closed cans while tracking) the K141 has always been a first reach for me. They have a very natural sound and a smooth response top to bottom that doesnt annoy as much as other headphones can after long periods. Very comfortable headband and the ear pads are nice and easy on you too. The removable cable is a nice touch, the only drawback being that the ¼ plug tends to require re-assembly every once in a while by pushing the sleeve back up.

Conclusion: For tracking, mixing and pleasure the K141 are a truly nice reach. You appreciate them more at the end of the day also, when your ears arent quite as scorched as other cans can cause.


AUDIO-TECHNICA ATHM50 REVIEW

Somebody did their research and planning on the ATH-M50 for sure. The things they must have thought about were superb sound and detail, comfortable fit for virtually every head out there, and ease of handling / operation. Oh and the build quality feels superb, although these certainly arent time tested yet as they havent been in use very long.

With the ATHM50 its like you can just turn it up, and keep turning it up, and up and up, and it doesnt get painful. Theres a very pleasing way that it manages midrange and transient response where, it sounds true to the source, but doesnt spike your eardrums constantly. You hear snare drums, you hear transients, you just dont feel like an ice pick has been stuck in your head at the end of the day. These have such a nice image and depth to them that, if you were to consider mixing on headphones, itd be one of the few pairs that Id say give you the right information to work with.

Conclusion: Seriously, get one pair at least. Its a universally easy headphone to deal with and sounds great, and you cant say that about many headphones out there.


DIRECT SOUND EX29 / EX25 REVIEW

***The EX25 model provides slightly less isolation, and is a lighter weight more compact design.***

Drummers, one room home studio owners, location recordistsyou may want to consider a pair of EX-29 if you dont already have them. The isolation they provide is superb and overall the sound quality really is decent stuff. One of the nice things about these is the fact that, as a drummer, I can wear these without having to crank the mix to hear the click or other players. This lowers my fatigue and keeps the ear ringing out of my life. I even wear the Extreme Isolation Headphones while practicing drums just to keep the high SPL from causing any damage. They fit pretty tight on some peoples heads, but I dont find it overly tight (you can stretch them some, leave them on the back of a chair for a couple of days if needed). The fact that they surround your ears like a gasket is also good in that it keeps the bleed out of your mics also (something other isolation of closed designs dont accomplish as well as these). Recording on location is soooo easy its not even funny, you hear what the mics hear.

Conclusion: Every studio should have at least one pair, I own two myself. They really eliminate the room from your ears, and the bleed from your mics. Sound quality is quite decent, not real hi-fi etc but better than needed for tracking. Being able to turn down the mix for drummers is a real plus when it comes to preventing fatigue.


PRESONUS HP4 REVIEW

Go to any major trade show and look behind the booth, and you will mainly see the Presonus HP4 headphone amp driving the cans. Why? They are reliable and cheap! These little units seriously put out, they will crank if you need them to. The other thing many dont realize is, in a pinch they make a decent little active monitor controller for your active studio speakers. For a home studio setup that isnt switching between multiple sets of speakers, and needing 4 sets of headphones pushed nicely while tracking, the HP4 is a no brainer. It even has a mute.

Conclusion: Buy it if you need those features, a nice little box that delivers way beyond its asking price and does what it says. You can even daisy chain them if you need to expand later!


SONY MDR7506 REVIEW

A studio staple for many years now, the 7506 remains a popular choice for tracking headphones. The padded ear cups are comfortable and the adjustable headband will accommodate virtually any head. There is a choice between 1/8 and ¼ (with included gold adapter) and the cable is the coiled type (Im not a huge fan of coiled cables, kind of a waste of length!).

I find the 7506 headphones to be bright. I think thats what a lot of people maybe like about them, aside from the fact that they gained their popularity when there was maybe 3% of the headphone choices to be made that we have now, when they were first released. The accented top end can be fine short term, some find them fatiguing after long periods and I am in that category as well. Being that they are an industry standard of sorts, having a pair in a busy, working studio can make a lot of sense.

Conclusion: Too bright for me, but people need different things out of headphones. Still a good seller due to their industry standard status, you can never go wrong with the 7506 but I prefer other brands over Sony when it comes to headphone choice.


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