I was reading a question asked by Chris Nannny about the amount of difference you get with good headphones and its got me into thinking of getting some new ones. At the moment I own the same ones Chris' using the Sennheiser HD 201 with an H4n and to be honest I never take them with me because the wire is too long and I find them a little big to go around with, I was looking at the HD 25-1 II's and they seem to be the size I'm looking for but their a little too pricy for me atm. Could you guys give me some recommendations with headphones that are under $100, small to carry around and good for field recording. Thanks in Advance.

  • I just found out I have some Panasonic "Monitoring" headphones RP-HT260 with frequency response 10hz-27khz, 40ohms any good? lol they've been laying on the floor next to my brothers drumset. Feb 14, 2011 at 14:39
  • I carry around a pair of AKG K450's almost everywhere. They may not be totally pro but I find them extremely lightweight, portable, and accurate sounding for monitoring.
    – jgrzinich
    Feb 14, 2011 at 18:29

3 Answers 3


I use the Sennhesier PX200s with my iPod and as a backup/spare pair when field recording - they are designed for travel, they fold up into themselves...


  • Finally, someone who's used those cans! Good tip, Tim - looks way better for in-a-pinch monitoring than the crap I've used when I don't have my 7506's on me. Thanks! Feb 15, 2011 at 4:49

I know this isn't necessarily a direct answer to your question, especially since thus far in my career I have always used headphones for field recording. *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.


HD-25: closed back so good insulation, good low-frequency response for wind-control, fancy headband and smaller cans so they won't slip off your ears in awkward positions. and they look far less silly than larger cans like the 280s or dt770s. The 25-SP low-cost version has different drivers. (!)

Sony's 7506 is a popular choice too. I've never used them.

  • I don't look silly in my 770s! :D I've got the M ones (with vinyl earpads, for drummers) and I like the isolation. They've got a boosted bass response which I got used to I think. Feb 14, 2011 at 19:01
  • no offense meant, i think that was inspired by the 280s.. i definitely look silly in them.
    – georgi
    Feb 14, 2011 at 21:34

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