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Old May 16th, 2016, 03:54 AM   #16
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Re: Around ear, closed back headphones

I use the sennheiser HD25, they're great field monitors, but they do get uncomfortable when wearing for longer periods. They make your ears hurt!

I use Sennheiser HD7's for other stuff. Very comfortable but expensive. They're not ideal though as they put some punch into the bass. But I use them for listening to music too!
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Old May 16th, 2016, 10:15 AM   #17
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Re: Around ear, closed back headphones

I've used my HD 25's for about 20 years and , for field work , wouldn't use anything else - I still also have HD 414 and 424 headphones for use at home .

The main feature of the HD25 is that , as a professional product , all the component parts can be replaced and are still readily available - I just changed the ear muffs on mine a couple of months ago .

For over ear monitoring , the Beyer Dynamic DT 108/109 were the standard units
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Old May 17th, 2016, 08:26 AM   #18
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Re: Around ear, closed back headphones

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Originally Posted by Pete Cofrancesco View Post
For field work you don't need high end headphones. You listen for major issues ie clipping, bad connection, wind noise, etc. You use good headphones for studio work.
That's what I was thinking. I want to hear any hissing, any ambience noise (if the gain is too high, for instance), anything that I can fix by dialing in my sound recorder properly. After all, even if the audio is fuller, richer, etc., through headphone A compared to headphone B, the recorder itself may not capture those nuances necessarily. But hissing, wind noise, clipping, etc, will be present everywhere (headphones and recorder).
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Old May 17th, 2016, 11:02 AM   #19
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Re: Around ear, closed back headphones

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Originally Posted by Andrew Taylor View Post
That's what I was thinking. I want to hear any hissing, any ambience noise (if the gain is too high, for instance), anything that I can fix by dialing in my sound recorder properly. After all, even if the audio is fuller, richer, etc., through headphone A compared to headphone B, the recorder itself may not capture those nuances necessarily. But hissing, wind noise, clipping, etc, will be present everywhere (headphones and recorder).
That's an incomplete picture of monitoring in the field.

Fuller and richer is for listening to one's favorite music at home, can you feel the bass, do the cymbals shimmer...? The recorders are more than capable of capturing more nuance than an unfaithful headphone reveals.

A pair of consumer ear buds may overstate bass, or may leave it out. They may make upper-mids and highs super crispy. Any of these are monitoring problems that may lead you to make bad decisions in the field.

To add to Pete's list: phones should also reveal low-frequency noise that comes from HVAC systems and traffic.

Using one of the standards consistently over time will serve you well. You'll develop experience of how they perform, you'll better know what you're hearing means to the recording and what it means to audio post.

"Good headphones are for studio use..." may leave the wrong impression. There are many definitions of "Good" for different uses. Music consumer goodness doesn't belong anywhere in our workflows. For reference monitoring we're concerned with faithfulness. Even a faithful headphone has limited use in post sound for video, most of our work needs to be done with reference monitors.
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Old May 17th, 2016, 12:43 PM   #20
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Re: Around ear, closed back headphones

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the recorder itself may not capture those nuances necessarily.
I have to take exception to that. I would say that today's $100 digital recorder is capable of better accuracy and "nuance" than today's $100 headphone. For a given price, transducers are always more colored and less "inaudible" than the electronics. And today's electronics are amazingly good. If you can hear it on your $100 phones, your $100 recorder can surely capture it ... and maybe a few things you did not hear.

Mr. Rosenbaum makes a good point about LF noise. If your phones have an artificially boosted midrange, you might keep the playback gain relatively low to avoid painfully loud levels at your ear. And that low playback gain, coupled with the headphones' response curve, might keep you from hearing that rumble.

You aren't listening to an SACD playback, and you don't need to tell the difference between Alchemy and Zildjian, but you do want a full frequency range. And -- IMHO at least -- fairly flat response.
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Old May 17th, 2016, 02:04 PM   #21
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Re: Around ear, closed back headphones

Agree with Seth and Greg 100%

This is what I am doing right now. I am editing clips sent to me by a client. He is out of state so I do his big important shoots but he also has two young men that are on his staff shoot testimonials on a regular basis. I am essentially editing amateur footage and it is a frustrating mess.

Even though I have four different monitoring systems hooked up to my editing system (why is for a different discussion) I put the HD 280s on a few minutes ago to help me concentrate on finding some problem frequencies. What I found was surprising. There is a very nasty clicking sound and I was not sure what it was. Once I isolated it by selecting it using a Spectral Frequency Analyzer I am now sure there was a rattle in the air handling system. They were on a cruse ship. Everything is metal, this rattle is probably in the duct work. As audio guys we are trained to be aware of such things. But the untrained ear is not. In the natural world our brain filters out background noises and we don't pay attention to them. The noise had to be very obvious in the room but the guys probably didn't even notice it. However, I am convinced that if they would have put headphones on to check their audio they would have heard how pronounced the noise was and would have done something about it.. That is not the only problem. Again, by selecting frequencies I found a very low end rumble that was not HVAC. I can hear the ships engines rumbling. The engine noise is easy to notch out without damaging the vocals. The rattle on the other hand is devastating, it is in the 1K to 2.5K range. All of this can be heard on the HD280s. If I would have been there I would have dealt with the rattle. In my opinion field audio does require critical listening and constant monitoring of all frequencies.

Kind Regards,

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Last edited by Steven Digges; May 17th, 2016 at 02:08 PM. Reason: SP
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Old May 17th, 2016, 05:01 PM   #22
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Re: Around ear, closed back headphones

I've recorded dialog outdoors with a long shotgun where two of us were monitoring with HD-280 Pros. The people monitoring would say, "car coming" just before we were ready to do a take. Everybody else would be like, "Wha?" and a few seconds later they would hear the vehicle approaching. Happened all day long. We'd hear dogs, chickens, and aircraft that others wouldn't notice. The tough part is knowing what background sounds are acceptable and which cross the line. If you're too picky, you'll never hit record...

So that's the thing. Field recording isn't about hearing what you want to record. It's about hearing what you don't want to record. (Okay, you want to hear that there's a signal and that it's not clipping or too low, so you do want to hear the intended source to some degree. But it's the problems that you want to eliminate.)

Unfortunately, I found that there are a few plastic parts in the headband that are brittle. It's where the adjustment sliders meat the band. Some small bits fell off. They still sound great and are wearable, but they aren't secure on the head they way they used to be. I replaced them with 7506s for the sake of variety. The 7506s are lighter and a bit more comfortable. They sound a bit "prettier" to my ears as well, while the HD-280s sound a bit more flat and clinical. When mixing, I'd reach for my beat up Senns for sure. I haven't done much field work lately, so I have yet to use the Sonys during a shoot, but I have no doubt that they'd work well. And I don't know that they'd be more or less robust than my abused HD-280s.

At about $100, you can't go too wrong with either one. When you compare that price to a nice pair of studio monitors, headphones are an amazing bargain.

One other note: For recording at trade shows, I don't use either pair. I use earbuds, generally with one in the ear and the other out. That makes me more accessible to talk with people and more aware of my environment. It's simply more comfortable and less isolating. The downside has been that it's harder to hear clipping with the earbuds - for me anyway. Then again, it's loud at trade shows. It might be tough to hear clipping even with cans. Maybe I just need to crank up the monitor output gain...
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Old May 17th, 2016, 05:36 PM   #23
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Re: Around ear, closed back headphones

Jon,

Noisy environments like trade shows are where isolation shines. At least for setting your levels. You can make sure your signal is strong enough not to be blended in with the background noise. But I know you know that....just saying.....

Good ear buds can be awesome. Sometimes I have to be at a tech table for many hours. I have to have clearcom in one ear and an audio record monitor in the other. Instead of being a Bozo the clown with two headsets on and one of the muffs pulled aside I use my sure buds for the record monitor, and hopefully a single muff headset for the com. But before I put the bud in one ear I have checked the signal pre-show with the HD280s. They are always on the table in front of me. In complex audio and video setups one thing I know for sure is that things can change. Just because it tested well in the morning does not mean you can ignore it. Ground loops can come out of nowhere and kick your but! When you get one, it is not a mater of it popping up as much as "how long was it there for". If it is an extended duration then someone got lazy and did not monitor. Lets face it, constant monitoring is a PIA, but the consequences of not doing it can be devastating.

Kind Regards,

Steve
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Old May 17th, 2016, 06:05 PM   #24
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Re: Around ear, closed back headphones

Steven,

That's a great approach - calibrating the earbuds with your reference headphones. I'll be using this trick!

Of course, the other advantage of earbuds (at least if you don't bring your cans as well for calibration) is that they're small. I've been able to pack a DSLR, multiple lenses, shoulder rig, follow focus, preamp, on camera mic plus lavalier, earbuds, batteries, cards, and whatnot in a backpack that fits under an airline seat. Bring along a rollaway for clothing, toiletries, and monopod and you're ready to hit the skies. Grab the monopod, check the rollaway, and hoist the backpack, and you're ready to hit the convention center. I like being able to wear all my kit as I never have to set it down and turn my back to it on a solo shoot.

If I could go with one less lens, I could probably fit the headphones as well...
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Old May 17th, 2016, 09:06 PM   #25
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Re: Around ear, closed back headphones

I spent the $300 and bought the Remote Audio 7506's. They are the best phones I've used for blocking loud ambient sound ( nascar, gun range, loud hip hop dj's) and allow you to hear what's actually going to camera, mixer or recorder. They have the Sony 7506 drivers built in to the phones.
No way would I have been able to shoot some of the insanely loud events with out them. My only complaint is that because of the fit to be able to seal out sound, they can get uncomfortable on your ear cartelige.

You can also order them with a mic with dual lines out- one output to camera and another to clear com, for example. I'm currently getting mine retrofitted with the mic and lines out.
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Old May 18th, 2016, 05:19 PM   #26
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Re: Around ear, closed back headphones

It's been many years since I used the Remote Audio HN7506 headphones, I'd kind of forgotten about them. If you're in a truely noisy venue like an air show or car race, etc., these phones will do what no other set can do.

The Sony drivers are built into a hearing protection headset. That's a lot of isolation. Me, I'd only be using them where nothing else would do, but some would use them all the time. I found them pretty uncomfortable, but I have a very large coconut!
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Old May 18th, 2016, 05:59 PM   #27
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Re: Around ear, closed back headphones

Regarding the HD-280 Pros, they are a bit uncomfortable until broken in, mainly due to high clamping pressure on the noggin. The bad news is that they can be fatiguing during that first week. The good news is that they aren't likely to pop off during an active take. The (standard) 7506s clamp more lightly, even straight out of the box. For all-day comfort, I'd choose the Sonys. For monitoring while running or riding around, I'd choose the Senns.
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Old May 18th, 2016, 06:17 PM   #28
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Re: Around ear, closed back headphones

I don't have a problem with the HD 280s because I adjust them like this. If I want them run n gun tight I keep the side head size adjusters all the way retracted. At that place they are FIRM with a lot of pressure. For comfort I extend them down as if I had a bigger head and they can be adjusted to the level of firmness I want. In other words the head size adjustment changes the pressure from heavy to light for comfort.

Works for me, maybe I have an average sized coconut so they fit at both extremes???

If I have one gripe about them it is the way the top head band padding attaches to itself. Dumb method, I have to fight with it sometimes. Nothing a couple drops of glue would not permanently fix but I haven't done it yet.

Steve

I got a B&H news letter today and Fostex has a new release.......$1,499.00 for there latest studio cans....Really???

Fostex TH-900mk2 Premium Reference Headphones TH-900MK2 B&H
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Old May 18th, 2016, 10:23 PM   #29
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Re: Around ear, closed back headphones

Seth,
You're right ...they are somewhat uncomfortable during long use time, because they press on your ears. I've gotten used to them, but only wear them at loud venues.
Currently waiting for mine to come back with mic and cables.
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Old May 19th, 2016, 12:07 PM   #30
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Re: Around ear, closed back headphones

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I got a B&H news letter today and Fostex has a new release.......$1,499.00 for there latest studio cans....Really???
Yeah, I kind of chuckled when I saw that yesterday as well. And it's not like Fostex is exactly in the elite echelons of exotic sound gear, either.

If you had $1499 to spend, considering that most of the headphones we're discussing here are $100 or so, you could buy any one of them and have enough left over for a Schoeps or high end Sennheiser microphone, which would undoubtedly improve your final product more than an extravagant pair of cans.
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