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I am using Sennheiser HD201 for monitoring in documentaries.Where does a good headphone like Sony MDR 7506 make the actual difference.Sennheiser HD201 gave me a hard time in my last shoot since it didn't any hint of the hiss sound which i got in a mountain ambiance recording using ZOOM H4N (later found monitoring in my GENELEC speakers).Will this sound have been evident if i used Sony MDR series.

Your comments please thanx

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Great question I use the same headphones and I'm curious about the same thing.. –  Stephen Saldanha Jan 26 '11 at 10:46
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7 Answers

It's difficult to get an accurate picture of things in the field with headphones. You will often find things back at the studio that you couldn't hear in the field through your headphones.

That said, if you couldn't hear a hiss over your headphones that really stands out over your speakers, you might want to try another set of headphones. You're using $15 headphones that are made for people who listen to 128k mp3s on an ipod. I wouldn't expect them to give you anywhere near an accurate monitoring solution.

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AS Tyler states, I would go for the standard Sony's if you are going to use them a lot when recording dialogs. But for sound effects I recommend you the Sennheiser HD280, which are closed cans with a lot of external attenuation. That will help you on hiss and hum/rumble identification while on the road.

I use them all time, and they are also great for mixing in shared environments or at college's rooms. Very flat response and quite confortable.

alt text

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Looking at the 280's they have a much more balanced frequency response compared to the 7506's (looking to buy one or the other). I think for sound effects like you say the 280's look like the wise choice. –  Adrian Millington Jan 23 '11 at 0:15
    
i think i will soon catch hold of something better than HD201. thanx –  chrisnanny Jan 23 '11 at 6:09
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the genelecs boost highs in uncompromising manner.. i've actually gone as far as to fiddle with their dip switches at the back (at -2db now). for headphones there are a few threads around but a good pair definitely makes a difference. certainly it's a world of difference between hd-201 and a hd-25.. even though it might not be in the area where you've had problems..

headroom graph

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+1 to Chuck's answer.

"Good" may be partially determined by the type of shoot you're doing. On a sound effects shoot, you may want to use something like Remote Audio HN-7506 in order to block out everything but what you're getting, while recording production dialogue on a film set might call for something more open like regular Sony MDR-7506 (so you can easily hear crew conversation around you between takes without taking the headphones off all the time).

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thanx for the comments

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Good closed back headphone to isolate yourself from the environment is essential, but also consider the equipment you are monitoring from. The Zoom H4n, while a great bit of kit, doesn't have a very transparent headphone amp in it (this is only an observation from usage, I haven't looked for a frequency graph).

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Here's a copy of my reply on another post about headphones and field recording:

My chosen model is Ultrasone DJ-1's. Despite being marketed as "DJ" headphones... they're flat response, 10-22kHz freq response, angled drivers that provide stellar and natural pinna response and thus... amazing stereo imaging. I can actually do 95% of my mixing in these and only occasionally reference the mains, spl and LM100 (the bain of my existence) for my mix levels.

I've had my pair for around 7 years and they are hands down one of the best gear investments I've ever made. They are finally looking like they need to be replaced after 7 long years of absurdly heavy abuse. Not bad for a $300 investment. For heavy headphone users it's not out of the ordinary to spend $1-300 a year on headphones that need to be replaced every year or two. Especially if you travel with them a lot. I made the decision to buy mine after listening to the factory demo CD for about 10 seconds before I whipped out my checkbook. I've never made a faster, more spontaneous and unexpected gear buy in my life. I wasn't even planning on buying any headphones until the regional distributor walked into our studio and demo'd them. I actually bought his demo models since he didn't have any others on him. That's how bad I wanted them. They sold themselves.

I started reconsidering using headphones at all after reading a very insightful and inspiring article on Designing Sound found here though. It might inspire you to fore-go headphones at all. Though I do understand how they can be inspirational by allowing you to focus on things your ears can't naturally hear and helping you somewhat isolate sounds from external distractions. It's an amazing read none the less.

Oh, and any cable can be made shorter by either replacing the cable (if possible), modifying the length and soldering your own tip on or simply wrapping a portion of it and using velcro to fasten it. Just don't make any sharp bends as you don't want to damage the cable. The Ultrasone Pro line models like mine also feature a cable that unscrews at the ear cup (#1 reason most headphones typically need to be replaced, with the Ultrasones all you have to do is buy another $20 cable if it breaks), so all I have to do it find a shorter cable and twist it in. Sure, the Ultrasones are a bit pricey, but as I said before, I highly recommend them and they're worth it in both quality and build terms.

Man, Ultrasone really needs to sponsor me. They've gotten so many recommendations from me over the years it's retarded. And that's just out of pure love and appreciation for my set of cans.

Hope that helps!!!

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