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I have a number of headphones that I use for different purposes:

  • The obligatory Sony MDR7506s: Love these, they're like the NS-10Ms of headphones. I use them for as much as possible when external SPL allows. I use them for any critical listening I might have to do.

Sony MDR7506

  • Sennheiser HD280s: I have 4 or 5 of these. I use them when the external SPL is too loud for my 7506s (because they isolate so well). I also use them in the vocal booth because they limit bleed so much. I try not to use them if I can help it, since I think they sound fairly "muffled"

Sennheiser HD280

  • When listening to classical music or the such, I love my Grado SR80i headphones, but they get uncomfortable after a while. Great natural sound though.

Grado SR80i

  • For in-ears, I have a pair of M-Audio IE-40s (made my Ultimate Ears, distributed by M-Audio). They don't have traditional drivers - they use a triple armature driver system, and have an amazing bass response, and incredible isolation. I can be listening to my iPod at half volume and a subway will go by, I won't even hear the subway in New York City (NYC). I use these for listening only while biking, walking, all the time in NYC, etc...

M-Audio IE-40

  • I've saved my favorites for last. My Beyerdynamic DT880 PRO cans. Pure bliss. Amazing. Slightly hyped, but amazing low end response, super smooth high end, and AMAZING localization. Almost sounds like you're listening to speakers. I like using these for listening to a final product. Its my equivalent of pumping the mains for a client versus critical mixing on the near fields. Also one of the most comfortable pairs of headphones I've ever worn. 6, 7+ hours no problem. They're semi-open back, so they have nice ventilation, and of course they have the famous velour ear pads. Fuzzy! Gotta love these guys :-)

Beyerdynamic DT880 PRO

What's your headphone collection like?

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33 Answers 33

up vote 5 down vote accepted

I too have a lot of different headphones that I've collected over the years:

  • Sony MDR7506's. I have multiple pairs of these (6, I think) back from when I used to record bands. They were under $100 when I bought them, so I consider them good, cheap throw around headphones. They sound pretty good and work great in the field. For many years they were my main recording headphone. I also have a pair that I removed the drivers from and installed into a shooters headset so that I now have a pair of headphones that provide ear protection when recording the super loud stuff.

  • Sennheiser PX200-II. I use these as a small, light-weight headphone, when doing more discreet/stealthy field recording. Also a great iPod headphone.

Sennheiser PX200-II

  • Sennheiser HD600. I love these for studio work. They are open back, so you can't record with them. But, if you need some great headphones for editing/sound design. You can actually mix on these (though, I wouldn't recommend that!). Also comfortable to wear for a long while.

Sennheiser HD600

  • Beyerdynamic DT770 PRO. I love these. I picked them up a few years ago to replace the Sony's as my main cans in the field. The Sony's can get uncomfortable after wearing for long periods of time. I don't find this to be the case with the Beyers. Great sound, comfortable, but you don't really want to kick these around because they are not cheap.

Beyerdynamic DT770 PRO

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That's a very clever hack to put the drivers into a shooters headset. I'm curious as to how it affects the sound, is it pretty similar? I usually just put some ear plugs between the headphones and I, but that's very far from ideal! – Andrew Spitz Mar 3 '10 at 20:11
It may slightly incread bass response. I'm not sure, when I'm using them (only on LOUD stuff, guns, explos, etc), I'm not really focusing on the difference in sound. Mostly just focusing on if my mics are distorting. – Chuck Russom Mar 6 '10 at 7:00

Sennheiser HD 25-1 II

alt text

  • lightweight and comfortable
  • high attenuation of background noise
  • extremely robust construction
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I love my Sennheiser HD280 Pro headphones. They sound excellent, isolate really well and are built to a high standard. I'd recommend them to anyone.

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Same here! I love that cans – alansende Jan 10 '11 at 1:58

I have two headphones, both by Beyerdynamic.

The DT 880: I love these because they I found them less tiring. (Ear fatigue... I could work for hours and hours...) I found them relatively neutral in colouring sounds. Unfortunately they're over 10 years old and properly worn. I don't use them much these days. They need a good refurb, but can't afford it now.

The DT770Pro: The reasons why I chose this headphone over Sennheiser's HD 25 MK II are: - I found it more comfortable (circumaural design) - I believe it colours the sounds less. If you want to comapre it to chairs: Sennheiser HD 25=a big enough leather armchair. Beyer DT 770PRO=IKEA Pöang armchair. It's a bit harsh, not so bassy.

Altough I find that this closed design makes my ears getting tired sooner. Unfortunately the environment I'm working in is not exactly like an unechoic chamber, so I get odd noises bleeding in from outside, hence the closed design.

I am planning on buying an AKG K 271 MK II (the 55ohm version) in the future, purely for listening to music. Sticking to the chair comparison: this one is like a 3 seater textile coated, very spongy sofa. They sound very nice, I like the warmth of those cans. An open or semi open design would be much better, but I have to do my research first. I'll look into AKG products, that's for sure. I compared all mentioned headphones in a shop before I made a choice. I don't regret it.

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Sony MDR-7506

Subjective pros:

  • I absolutely love my MDR-7506! It might be because I'm so used to them, but they sound really great (as in flat). I don't like when headphones enhance the bass, unless it's for listening to music casually.

  • To me, they are really comfortable. They aren't too tight and claustrophobic, but also aren't too loose that the "real" and the "monitored" get mushed up.

  • Decently priced

Subjective cons:

  • The padding of the cushion deteriorates quite quickly, and it's not pretty when it does. There are little pieces of fake leather that go all over the show.

  • They get really warm when recording in the field during summer time.

  • When these headphones are new, the plastic from the headphones make a subtle crackle sound when one moves. It's a bit disturbing for monitoring and can be heard on a quiet recording. It's not a big deal though.

Beyerdynamic DT770pro

My answer is the exact opposite to the others. Last year I bought myself a pair and proceeded to selling them soon after. I did give them a few months though.

Subjective pros:

  • A solid build

Subjective cons:

  • They felt very tight and claustrophobic, so I couldn't wear them long without going a bit coo coo.

  • They are quite bulky, and don't fold up.

  • I would also get the sound of the cans themselves, the closest way I can describe what I mean is by comparing it to putting a sea shell by your ear to "hear the sea". So if I'd move my jaw slightly, I would become hyper-aware of the headphones.

  • They felt a bit bassy for my liking, but that might have been biased by the fact that I was really used to my MDR-7506 headphones.

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Have you tried the DT990? What you describe are the basic characteristics of any fully closed pair of headphones. The DT990 are the open version, they sound more natural and though equally bulky don't give you that 'head in a vice' feeling. – EMV Jan 9 '11 at 13:39
Thanks for that @emv. I haven't tried them, but will keep an eye out if I see some to test. – Andrew Spitz Jan 9 '11 at 16:19

All AKG stuff for me is the best ! My first pro headphones was AKG 141 studio - modern version of 141 monitor (they had 600ohm impedance) with only 55ohm and brilliant sound in a semiopen case. But my ears was hurting after non longer sessions.

Next and present - AKG k240mk2 - best sound for a mixing with a cosy velvet ambouchures. Their sound is not coloured.

and several pairs of portable AKG headphones for wav and flac playback =)

and important note that they are still assembling strictly in Austria, not China as many manufacturers.

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Beyerdynamic DT-770 Pro 250 ohm

They provide a consistent sound in a robust form with a good degree of isolation and comfort. I also have the M version for noisy environments.

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I use Sennheiser HD280 PRO's. They have their flaws but you can learn their sound. The isolation is great so you can totally be in your world even with other people around. There are spare parts available (ear pads, headphone cable). Sennhesier CX300-II's too for mp3 listening in the city.

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I love my Audio Technica ATH-M50 - I use it with portable recorder and at studio.

Audio Technica ATH-M50

+ - Price, Mobility, Robustness, Jack reduction with screw-thread

- - Weight, maybe Accuracy

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Have them too, but don't you think they have too much bass? – Reachground May 14 '12 at 9:22

Yet another vote for MDR's in the field and Sennheiser open-backs in the studio! :-)

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My favorites have to be the AKG K240 ...whenever I have them on I completely forget that I'm wearing them, to me they sound like speakers. Lovely. They are pretty open, though, so everyone around you hears everything too!

although strangely I don't like the newer versions they've made, give me the old school ones any day.

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I dont use my headset to record but I listen to music all the time - I walk everywhere and my best thing is to listen to tjunes while walking in the city. So my needs may be different to the pro's.

For me the Sennheiser Px 100 are great because of their non-intrusive nature and mobility. I just got to use my friends HD 202 set and its got great sound without being to bulky. In-ear sets come in handy but they hurt y ears after listening for too long.Im still looking for a good in-ear pair of headphones - any ideas?

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+1 FOR DT 770 Pro (80ohms) i have them for 3 days now and they are awesome, from mixing music in Logic to field recording. they have very good isolation

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GRADO SR-125 - a great full & open sound. i remember comparing with sony, akg, and sennheiser in store and the grados stood out significantly to me. i like how they have a very light, minimal design as well so i forget i'm wearing them!

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Another vote for the Sony MDR7506. I don't know that I'd call them "flat," but I know them well enough to trust them, and they're good 'n loud. I have been meaning to buy or build the shooter-iso rig for awhile now. One day...

I do tend to gravitate towards open-back phones for studio vocals. Depends on the session and the part.

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I'm thinking of investing in a pair of Beyerdynamic DT770 Pros. I'm guessing that all of you that are already using these have the 80 ohms version, right? Anyone using the 250 ohm version or do they require too much drive? I'll primarily be using them for monitoring field recordings with a Sound Devices 702t.

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I use the 250 ohm and find it has a flatter response. I don't have a problem running it off either an Mbox or even an iPod. – Iain McGregor May 22 '10 at 17:01

I mainly use Sennheiser 650s and Sony MDR7509HDs and prefer the sound of the Sonys, but I dont think either are comfortable to wear ;)

If I'm monitoring during field recording I use small earphones and wear a pair of Peltor ear protectors on top for isolation.

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I don't think I'm going to have much new to add to the discussion, but I'll add my headphone choices to the mix;

In the field, the Sennheiser HD280 PROs have wicked isolation, and sound pretty good, something in this price range might be throw around headphones for some people, but for me, they're my primary field headphones.

I can talk about Beyerdynamic DT770 PRO's a bit, too. I've used a couple pairs, borrowed from a couple different friends, and like Mr. Russom said, they're very comfortable. They feel really good, I can wear them forever - okay, not forever, but for a long time before I have to take them off. I haven't done any field recording with them, I only used them in my house and in a lobby environment, so I didn't have a lot of time to figure out just how good the isolation is.

For listening to music, my Grado SR60i's are my go-to cans. They're cheap, and sound better than anything in their price range. They're totally open, though. Absolutely no isolation, if you put them on, and don't have anything playing, you'll hear everything around you. They're not something you'll use in the field, but they're awesome for listening to music.

And on my MP3 player, I have some Sennheiser CX300s. They have good isolation, and I listen to 64kbs podcasts with them.

Sennheiser CX300s

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Beyerdynamic DT-770 (I have the 250 Ohm ones) are my first choice for field recording or noisy enviroments. A bit harsh if you want, not lightweight but very comfortable for long periods. Spare parts can be found if necessary.

For postproduction I prefer Grado Labs SR-325is. They are supraural and not an example of ergonomy, but I wouldn´t change them. You can easily detect noise or clipping with them.

I would recommend both of them.

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AKG 701. Amazing 1kHz & Up. They are extremely precise for spatial location and have truly unexaggerated mids and top end. Dialog, vocals, sibilance & compression artifacts clearly represented. (They take a good week of full frequency medium loudness playback to "Break-in")

Sennheiser HD 650 Amazing 1kHz & Lower. The low end is emphasized but incredible for picking out problems in low mids, bass and even sub-bass. Resonance, tuning and bass clarity clearly represented.

I recommend buying these 2 pairs while interchanging for great Headphone accuracy.

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I own a pair of AKG K 271 (MKII), even though they don't offer the most linear frequency response available on the market, they can be quite helpful in the final mixdown phase, even more so if you get to know them a bit. I also sometimes use them for field and voice recording, because of the closed design.

In November, I got the chance to listen to a Beyerdynamic Headzone PRO 2.1 system at a conference. First I was astonished by how good the DT 880 PRO sounded, but also by how well the head-tracking system works. I can imagine that for my home studio they could be quite useful in preparing a 5.1 pre-mix before going to the mixing studio...

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I use Sennheiser HD 201 and wanting to upgrade as they are cheap and cheerful.

Would I notice the difference between the Sony MDR7506 and the Sennheiser HD280?

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There's actually a pretty big difference between the 7506 and 280s. You should see if you can round up a pair of each and do an A/B test. You don't even need anything fancy - you would probably be able to hear the difference of the two used on an iPod... – Colin Hart Jan 19 '11 at 11:30
@Colin, I will try and find some to compare. The price of the 7506 are similar to the 280's at the moment which is why I wondered :) – Adrian Millington Jan 19 '11 at 12:39

Sennheiser HD280 Pros are great. I have a pair at every desk I use regularly; they're the headphones I use when I actually have to listen carefully and I care about isolation. I don't find the muffled, I find them very clear, and have used them continuously for long stretches.

I have an HD650 set and an HD590 set; I prefer the HD650. Good for when there's not a lot of ambient noise. Feel much less isolating than an HD280 pair.

For travel I have a Sennheiser PXC-450 pair. Not as good as the other ones, but the active isolation helps. Before I got these I used an HD280 pair, but the active component helps, as does the "talk through" button.

For outside, I had a Koss KSC-75 on-ear pair, but they broke and I replaced them with Sony MDR-Q68LW pair. Not as good, but also not broken.

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What do you think about these types? Right for field recording?

Sony MDR7510 & MDR7520

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I use Remote Audio HN-7506 High Noise Headset (HN7506)

I use these for pretty much anything in the field as they isolate really well. they have the same drivers as 7506's but they offer around 30 - 45 db of protection from outside noises.

Shure SRH 840's for anything in the studio.

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I bought my Audio Technica ATH-M50 to be able to work at a clients office without being disturbed by chatter. I love the design but they have too much bass. At times I forget about it and lower the bass in some fx. Usually I remember but at one point a client pointed it out and I had to go through 10 sounds ^^

I've had my AKG K240 for as long as I can remember (born with them). They've been through a lot but never gave me any trouble. The only problem I can think of is the long chord that always gets stuck under my chair. Other than that I love them. That's one more point for the ATH-M50, got to love the twisted chord.

I did try the AKG K-272 which at least had a nice touch with the velvet earpads. Can't say anything about the audio quality though.

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V moda M 80.

I'm not an audiophile. I don't critically listen to music but listen for enjoyment. I have several IEMs with the best being Klipsch X5 and while the detail is great, i find them too sharp sounding. The M80s have a warm feel with great detail and good soundstage for a portable but has bass. Not a ton but I have to feel the drums and my friends Sony zx700s are good but I don't feel the drums. They could be a little brighter but my ears are very sensitive too harsh treble so I'm not unhappy. The mids are great with great detail and forward without being drowned by bass. I have to add that I find most audiophiles seem to like weak bass but bright treble and consumers the opposite. I wonder if it is because audiophiles tend to listen to natural instruments as opposed to electronic or heavier forms of music with powerful drums but I find it odd when they claim that M50's are too bassy. honestly, don't drums in any live performance have much more impact than what is being played through your headphones? How is this fidelity? Sorry but I'm a noob.

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Sennheiser HD600

- They are open, so they don't hurt you ears after long listening
- Great, natural sound!

- Sensitive Cable and Pins (soon it's gonna be my third cable) [don't even try to use them outside]

With my Adam A7X they make agreat couple :)

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+1 for Sennheiser HD600 in the studio, they are very comfortable and sound great. They do need a decent headphone amp though.

Senn HD25 IIs all the way for the Field.

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Ultrasone 750 pros

great resolution, very comfortable, offset driver greatly reduces fatigue in long listening sessions.

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@Rene - Any idea on how the ear cup size compares to the Beyerdynamic 770 Pro? I love the 770's because the fit around my ear, but the portability of the Ultrasones is hard to ignore. – Steve Urban Sep 30 '12 at 21:03
not sure, although mine do fit all the way around my ears and provide good isolation. – Rene Oct 1 '12 at 11:55

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