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Can I use studio headphones for recreational music listening?
Old 25th January 2013
  #1
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PinkM0nster's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Can I use studio headphones for recreational music listening?

Hey guys,

After much lurking for the past year or so, I've had to finally make an account so I can ask for some much needed newbie advice!

I'm in need of new studio headphones after the jack on my old set has completely disintegrated. Also, but of less importance, I want some new headphones for listening to music casually around the house and whilst watching films.

If I bought a good set of studio headphones, would listening to music sound terrible in them due to the flat response aspect? Would it be better to by two separate headphones for different uses? One thing I was thinking about was just using the EQ function on my iPod/computer whilst listening to music offset the flat nature of studio headphones. Would this work?

For note, I'm planning on buying KRK KNS 8400 studio headphones.
Old 25th January 2013
  #2
Lives for gear
 
🎧 5 years
I don't know anything about those headphones but studio monitor headphones make songs sound better and clearer so definately use it for both.

Make sure you pay attention to the impedence of the headphone and make sure your music player can drive it. Google headphone impedence.

I recommend beyerdynamic headphones.

Sent from my SAMSUNG-SGH-I777
Old 25th January 2013
  #3
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PinkM0nster's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
I'm using a Saffire 6 USB interface for production. I'm still quite new to impedance requirements. Would my interface be able to power the KNS 8400 headphones I'm planning to buy?

Headphones:
Nominal Impedance - 36 ohms

Saffire 6 USB:
Output Impedance: < 7 Ohms
Load Impedance: > 24 Ohms


Do they have to match the Load or Output Impedance to work?
Old 25th January 2013
  #4
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🎧 10 years
Yeah absolutely, you can use studio headphones for casual listening. Those KRK's are closed-back so you could even take them out, without the spill annoying other people in public places. Your interface will have no trouble at all powering those. You'd get decent level plugged directly into a laptop out of them.
Old 25th January 2013 | Show parent
  #5
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PinkM0nster's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by mikebailey92 ➑️
Yeah absolutely, you can use studio headphones for casual listening. Those KRK's are closed-back so you could even take them out, without the spill annoying other people in public places. Your interface will have no trouble at all powering those. You'd get decent level plugged directly into a laptop out of them.
Nice! I guess it's settled then. Studio headphones it is. Someone else told me that it's actually beneficial to listen to music through studio headphones because it teaches you how professional music is mixed.

Thanks for the advice guys
Old 26th January 2013 | Show parent
  #6
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Lotus 7's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by PinkM0nster ➑️
I'm using a Saffire 6 USB interface for production. I'm still quite new to impedance requirements. Would my interface be able to power the KNS 8400 headphones I'm planning to buy?

Headphones:
Nominal Impedance - 36 ohms

Saffire 6 USB:
Output Impedance: < 7 Ohms
Load Impedance: > 24 Ohms


Do they have to match the Load or Output Impedance to work?
The load impedance rating of the Saffire headphone output jack (24 ohms) is the minimum impedance that it's designed to drive. Since your phones have an impedance of 36 ohms there is no problem driving them. The phone impedance must always be higher than the rated load impedance.

Connecting (2) pairs of 36 ohm phones together with a parallel splitter would result in a load impedance of 18 ohms which is lower than the Saffire is rated to be able to drive. The phones would draw more current than the output stage was designed to provide. Although it would probably be usable, the maximum level would be reduced and there would be a possibility of overloading the output stage if played at maximum levels for an extended period of time.

Two sets of phones with a higher impedance, for instance Sony MDR7506s (63 ohms) could be used in parallel by using a splitter since their combined impedance would still be higher than the 24 ohm minimum.

Re: Studio headphones in general.
As has been already stated: Studio "monitor" headphones tend to be designed to provide fairly "flat" frequency response and low distortion so as not to emphasize any particular frequencies. Some, but not all "hi-fi" headphones designed for home listening or for use with portable players tend to have exaggerated bass and sometimes peaked treble response to help "dull" music sound "better". Some of the best, "high-end" hi-fi phones are designed for flat response and accuracy and are often used for studio monitoring as well. It varies from brand to brand and personal preferences do play a part in picking any transducer, be it a mic, speaker or headphones. Also, just because a set of headphones are advertised as "studio monitors" it does not guarantee flat response or low distortion. I've reviewed "studio monitor headphones" with far from flat frequency response and high distortion. Any headphone can be advertised and called anything the manufacturer feels will help sales. The reputable manufacturers can usually be trusted, but there are many manufacturers who are less than reputable when it comes to advertising.

Read reviews, ask questions, but above all, try to listen to any headphone or speaker before you make a purchase choice.
Old 26th January 2013 | Show parent
  #7
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PinkM0nster's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lotus 7 ➑️
The load impedance rating of the Saffire headphone output jack (24 ohms) is the minimum impedance that it's designed to drive. Since your phones have an impedance of 36 ohms there is no problem driving them. The phone impedance must always be higher than the rated load impedance.

Connecting (2) pairs of 36 ohm phones together with a parallel splitter would result in a load impedance of 18 ohms which is lower than the Saffire is rated to be able to drive. The phones would draw more current than the output stage was designed to provide. Although it would probably be usable, the maximum level would be reduced and there would be a possibility of overloading the output stage if played at maximum levels for an extended period of time.

Two sets of phones with a higher impedance, for instance Sony MDR7506s (63 ohms) could be used in parallel by using a splitter since their combined impedance would still be higher than the 24 ohm minimum.
That's great. I'm not planning to use more than one pair of headphones at once so splitting shouldn't be an issue. If I were for some reason to try the headphones on some hardware which has a load impedance lower than the headphones impedance, what would the effect be apart from having a quieter volume? It wouldn't deteriorate the sound quality or damage the headphones would it? The reason I'm asking is because I might want to try them on an old HI-5 system and I can't find any details on the impedance levels for the phone output.

Thanks for your advice, much appreciated.
Old 26th January 2013
  #8
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The KRK phone's 36 ohm impedance is in the "typical" range for modern headphones. They tend to run from about 32 ohms to 60 or 70 ohms, OR they're high-impedance phones that have an impedance from 250 to 600 ohms are are designed to be able to be used on 150 ohm output impedance "lines". Any output that is marked as a "headphone" output and is wired with headphone standard connections (2-mono channels, Right on the "ring", Left on the "tip" and the common connected to the connector "shield") should drive your phones safely and to a decent volume level. The only phones I know of that have problems on some outputs are Beyerdynamic Custom One's which have a very low impedance of only 16 ohms. Some headphone amps and studio headphone phone distribution boxes using low power op-amps have trouble driving such a low impedance.

The other issue people sometimes run into is not enough volume when using very high impedance phones designed to be used to monitor line-level outputs. Those usually have a 250 to 600 ohm impedance so they draw very little current from an output, but need much larger voltage swings to create loud sounds. Phones with high-impedance drivers like the Beyerdynamic DT-880-600 (600 ohms) , and AKG K-240 "Monitor"s (600 ohms) must be driven from a voltage source with a higher voltage swing then most portable players or most audio interface "headphone" outputs. High-impedance phones are becoming less popular and harder to find these days. Very few people need or use them anymore.

The rated load impedance of any "phone"output jack should always be lower than the actual headphone impedance. Using a headphone with a "lower" impedance than the rated output impedance of a source will result in the phone trying to draw more current than the output is rated for. Usually, most headphone outputs will work fine unless they are being driven to maximum levels which can cause "clipping" , a particullary nasty type of distortion. Using a phone with a higher impedance than the output is rated for draws less current so is perfectly OK.

If you mean the Hayden High-Five guitar amp as your "HI-5 System", that will have plenty of power to drive the phones. It has an output transformer and probably takes the headphone output directly from the speaker feed so will be very low impedance. Then only concern there would be to not crank the amp too high and burn out your phones from over-driving them. 5-watts is not much to push through a loudspeaker, but is enough to "toast" any headphones.
Old 26th January 2013
  #9
S21
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🎧 5 years
The pro phones can be hard to drive direct from things like iPods.

For example, the AKG K 271 MkIIs I have are often reported to be bass-deficient. That is certainly the way they sound plugged directly into an iPod. Add a headphone amp between the iPod and the headphones and the bass returns.
Old 26th January 2013 | Show parent
  #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by S21 ➑️
The pro phones can be hard to drive direct from things like iPods.

For example, the AKG K 271 MkIIs I have are often reported to be bass-deficient. That is certainly the way they sound plugged directly into an iPod. Add a headphone amp between the iPod and the headphones and the bass returns.
Yes, good point.

Sometimes it's not only the pro phones. I have a 2 or 3 year old iPod Touch that really has a very "wimpy" output and won't drive my Shure or Etymotic ear buds very well. It's just OK with the crappy Apple white earbuds. Haven't tried it with any pro phones, but probably wouldn't be too happy. I think Apple is concerned about flack or lawsuits from people having hearing loss from listening too loud, so they severely limit the output power. That probably also increases their battery life a little.
Old 12th July 2016
  #11
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KRK KNS 8400 isn't a bad choice although I went with the Shure SRH840 Professional Studio Headphones. Much better sound and quality
Old 13th July 2016 | Show parent
  #12
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Owen L T's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by stephenwells ➑️
KRK KNS 8400 isn't a bad choice although I went with the Shure SRH840 Professional Studio Headphones. Much better sound and quality
Did you mean to resurrect this thread? (It was, otherwise, well and truly dead!)
πŸ“ Reply

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