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Old May 14th, 2016, 08:49 AM   #1
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Around ear, closed back headphones

I'm looking for a pair of headphones I can use to monitor the audio on my camcorder (Canon XA20) or my external recorder (Tascam DR-44WL). I would like the set to be around the ear (for extra noise isolation) and closed back (for the same reason).

A model that I see recommended often is the Sennheiser HD-25 (closed back but on ear).

Another model I often see recommended is the Sennheiser HD-588 (around ear but open back)

The one model I've found so far with both close back and around ear is the Sennheiser HD 280 Pro, but it's marketed as entry level.

Does anyone have a good recommendation for an around-ear, closed-back headphones in the $120-$200 range? I like Sennheiser but I'm open to other options.
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Old May 14th, 2016, 09:44 AM   #2
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Re: Around ear, closed back headphones

Sony 7506 is considered by some to be a "standard", I have found them very satisfactory.
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Old May 14th, 2016, 12:48 PM   #3
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Re: Around ear, closed back headphones

The Senn 280 is far from entry level, truly a great set of phones when you're looking for even response and good isolation. Of course to accomplish this they are a bit bigger than most.

I regularly use the Sony MDR-7506 and the Sennheiser HD280 Pro. The Sonys are indeed one of the industry standards for dialog as Battle wrote. Kind of a best-balance approach for the spoken word, with pretty good on-the-ear isolation, not too big, not too small, with a mid-range bump in response, so you can really hear what's going on with dialog.

The Senn always come out for music or for isolation. They're outstanding, with flat response across the spectrum. I've taken to using them for dialog, too, though the larger size can be a hassle, and they definitely keep your ears warm!

I think of these as the two industry standards, with many more people going for the Sony, but the 280s have a substantial following as well. That either of these will cost you $100 is one of the great bargains in pro sound, and there aren't many such! I highly recommend both, but currently use the 280s mostly.
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Old May 14th, 2016, 02:22 PM   #4
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Re: Around ear, closed back headphones

I have the Sennheiser HD25 and 26 but seem to always come back to the Sony MDR 7506 as I have tended to use them or the MDR V6 over the past 30 years!

They are comfortable, sound good and don't break the bank, I also tend to prefer them for music listening too.
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Old May 14th, 2016, 04:07 PM   #5
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Re: Around ear, closed back headphones

Thank you for the recommendations and the extra info on the Senn 280 Pro. I haven't been able to get my hands on any of these models so far, so my comment on "entry level" was based only on reviews and discussion boards.

For those who have used the Senn 280 Pro, any issues with the cable (where the cable meets the cup)? I understand these cables are not user-replaceable as in other models.
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Old May 14th, 2016, 06:38 PM   #6
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Re: Around ear, closed back headphones

Headphones are generally a personal choice of sound and comfort. Audition as many of the popular pro field sound HPs mentioned (if possible). FWIW, I've been using the Sony MDR 7506/V6 since 1990. I recently tried the HD280, but the sound and fit was 'foreign' after using the Sonys for so long. Search here and other field sound discussion groups for some other possible contenders...
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Old May 14th, 2016, 07:17 PM   #7
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Re: Around ear, closed back headphones

After my HD280's went missing a couple of years ago, I replaced them with a pair of Sennheiser HD380PRO headphones. I wouldn't want to go back to the clunky 280's. The sound is very similar, maybe just a touch better low and high end in the 380s, but the HD380 earcups are much smaller and the whole headphone folds up neatly into a small hard case that comes with it. They are much easier to use when operating a camera since they allow me to get my head closer to the viewfinder and the side of the camera, and I think they're more comfortable for long wear. All in all, much more practical for use in the field. I have heard some people complain that all the Sennheisers are tight and uncomfortable if you have a larger than average head. Not a problem for me (I've been accused of having a big head, but not in the physical sense), but it's something to be aware of.

I also have a pair of Sony 7506s which are good for basic interviews and such, but have a rougher sound to me than the Sennheisers. I wouldn't choose them for listening to music at home.

For real run'n'gun work, my favorite is a pair of Shure SE215 in-the-ear phones that are super compact to carry and totally unobtrusive when in use. I think the sound quality is every bit as good as the Sony cans, although the very different feel of them certainly takes some getting used to.

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Old May 14th, 2016, 09:06 PM   #8
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Re: Around ear, closed back headphones

I have and use both the HD 280's and the 7506's. I find that the HD 280's have better isolation so those are my go to for location work. Also the small exposed wire on the 7506's can get caught on something and break. both are affordable and used by a lot of professional sound crews.
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Old May 14th, 2016, 10:03 PM   #9
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Re: Around ear, closed back headphones

+1 for the 280 Pro.

Someone recommended the Sonys to me long ago, and I used them for a while, thinking that they must be "the accepted standard." Maybe they were. Certainly they're good for monitoring dialog recording.

But when I listened to some commercially recorded vocals, I was shocked. For example, Judy Collins, instead of sounding golden-voiced, sounded like a strident harpy. Other source material was just as revealing. The Sonys have a pronounced midrange (maybe upper mid-) boost.

Somehow I found the 280 Pro, and I've never gone back. To my ear they have a much flatter (and therefore more pleasing) response. They also have better isolation. I've been using the same pair now for at least ten years. The headband is augmented with gaffer tape. But I've never had a problem with the cable or connector.

If you are only recording dialog, and want phones that put everything "right in your face" (which will, admittedly, help you hear unwanted noise), then perhaps the Sonys are for you. But for a more realistic tonal balance, and better isolation, you can't go wrong with the 280s. (Disclaimer: I have not tried the 380s ... perhaps I'd like them even better.)
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Old May 15th, 2016, 09:37 AM   #10
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Re: Around ear, closed back headphones

I always use DT100s for isolation - have done for years, but they're too big for use next to the camera and the protrusions can scratch them! However, since I've been using in-ear monitors for my band, I've started using these for all sorts. I've got custom moulds which work really well, and they're so much more comfy that big over-the-ear types. I also have a couple of pairs of Shure SE215s and with their soft fittings these also work brilliantly with cameras. Can't praise them enough. My ears (which are quite big) now seem very sensitive to pressure - like from my old HD25s, and they're quite painful - and like my DT100s, stick out quite a way from your head.
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Old May 15th, 2016, 02:02 PM   #11
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Re: Around ear, closed back headphones

+1 for the 280 Pro, Love mine! When shooting in noisy environments that outstanding isolation can save you.

But, I too use them in combination with Shure in ear buds (don't remember model but ran me around $100.00) when shooting inside. I am often shooting and directing interviews or such. All critical listening takes place with the 280s. Having good buds means I am monitoring audio at ALL times. Even when the 280s would get in the way of communicating with the talent.

A pair of 280s and a pair of GOOD buds would put you right in your $200.00 range. I must admit my "big head" side of me laughs every time I see a so called pro monitoring with his I-phone plugs ;-)

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Old May 15th, 2016, 10:37 PM   #12
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Re: Around ear, closed back headphones

I think the 7506s are the industry standard. . .pretty much most location sound guys I've met use them. They probably ARE harsh. . .I think that's deliberate so you can hear dialogue better. . .they've likely got a peak where vocal frequencies live, and they're meant to exacerbate problems so they don't go unnoticed.

I have the 280 pros AND the 380s. I've used the 280s some but after trying the 380s use them more. . .I think they are more comfortable and they have a "3D" quality to the sound, in my opinion. I don't know how to explain it. . .when you listen to them it's more like you're sitting in front of nice near field monitors than listening to headphones. You can hear "depth" in mixed sounds like music. Plus you can actually hear/feel the bass in music. . .my 280s don't seem to do that.
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Old May 15th, 2016, 10:57 PM   #13
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Re: Around ear, closed back headphones

Quote:
Originally Posted by Battle Vaughan View Post
Sony 7506 is considered by some to be a "standard", I have found them very satisfactory.
This.

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.
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Old May 16th, 2016, 02:03 AM   #14
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Re: Around ear, closed back headphones

I will say I like the isolation of some of the sturdier ones even for field work. . .can be hard to tell if you're hearing that barking dog through your headphones or THROUGH your headphones, if you know what I mean. . .
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Old May 16th, 2016, 02:04 AM   #15
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Re: Around ear, closed back headphones

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pete Cofrancesco View Post
This.

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.
Yes, agree most location recording you can't change a lot apart from problem solving, so literally any h/phones will suffice (there are acceptions tho) I have even used the cheap 'airline' phones on a couple of occasions.

You need good ones if you start tweeking the eq of the signal......
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