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I picked up a pair of beyerdynamic DT 770 PRO (250 ohm) headphones a couple of days ago. My reasoning being I don't have a decent pair (I borrow a cheaper pair occasionally, AKG K77s), and my room has a bass resonance so I want something else to check mixes on.. as well as for doing fine edits, checking tracking etc.

Anyway, I did a little monitoring while recording some drum tracks and the high end seemed a bit prominent. Got back home and started working on them, bit of EQ, compression etc to get a rough idea. Sounded great but then I took of the phones and listened through my monitors [Behringer Truth B2030A.. despite the brand they are rated very well I believe]. The mix was instantly a lot duller and the tracks I had worked on were lost.

I did some further comparisons. The monitors are "normal" as I would consider it, the DT 770s have what I would say is a 'very prominent' high-end and the AKGs somewhere inbetween. Then I noticed the impedance of the phones (250ohm). I figured maybe since my interface had a 75ohm output there was a mismatch and that might cause a loss of bass. However, I have been assured that high impedance would only cause a level drop, and the interface manual says it works up to impedances beyond 250ohm anyway.

So I'm a little confused. The DT770s seem to have great reviews but considering their marketing includes words like 'reference monitoring' and 'good for mixing' I am left asking myself:

  • Is this normal - phones just clearly have more high end?
  • Why does it seem so obvious, so different between my 3 tests (AKG K77/DT770/B2030A)?
  • Would this change with a high-quality (+£££) pair? Should I be looking with a higher budget or is this simply how headphones work?

Any thoughts greatly appreciated, thanks guys.

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you shouldn't hear much difference due to the impedance, and as you say the power transfer wouldn't be of 100%. I would recommend to play a record you know (something professionally mastered, for example) and see the difference there instead of with a personal track. –  cbarg Jan 30 '12 at 17:15
    
Thanks, there's definitely a difference, the difficulty is I don't know if it's normal or expected or not. Basically around 5-8k I'd say there's a bit of a boost - drums particular are clearer through the phones.. –  Kieren Johnstone Jan 30 '12 at 17:44
    
Yes, expect big differences even in devices with the same brand and model, and a huge one when comparing headphones to monitors. Good luck!!! Also consider the path between the speakers to your ears vs the speakers in your headphones to your ears. Lastly, manufacturers try to save money and sell new technology all the time, sometimes they have to test the market with their stuff, which sometimes is far from being the final product they dream of (iPad 1 anyone?). So expect some lack of mid-range response in a two-drive speaker. –  cbarg Jan 30 '12 at 18:18
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1 Answer

Forget about headphone impedances; as you assume they're primarily an indicator for the loudness, but you can't conclude anything about the sound from them. In particular, the higher the headphone impedance the lower the influence on the sound.
Actually, the sound of any headphones is mainly governed by their mechanical construction. I personally have never liked the sound of any pair of Beyerdynamic headphones I tried, I much prefer most AKGs; but sure enough many people disagree there.

The real trouble is not any particular type of headphones, it's headphones in general: you can't live without them, but they're just no replacement for proper studio monitors. I can't really explain that, but I don't know anyone who could yet proove the opposite. It appears that our ears simply don't work in a comparable way to normal hearing when we have headphones on.
Rooms with bass resonances are a plague. But have you tried every possible setup of speakers- and listening position yet? This can make a great difference. Even better would be another room, but that doesn't seem to be an option.

At any rate buying another pair of headphones wouldn't really solve the problem. What you should rather do is to get a feel for the sound of the monitoring devices. Listen to various styles of music through all of them, comparing the special qualities each offers. When actually mixing something, switch between all of them depending on what kind of signal you have before you. A good mix should sound good on all.

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