Comfortable headphones with good fidelity and a low price point will never go out of style in the studio.
TASCAM aims to complete that trifecta for music producers, engineers and artists with the new TH-02 closed-back headphones. Available now for a street price of $29.95, the new headgear is a result of significant R&D – according to TASCAM, the company spent over a year comparing technologies, designs and methods to provide a $100 dollar headphone for less than a third of the cost.
Here are more details about the TH-02, in the words of TASCAM:
“The sensitivity and frequency response of the TH-02 deliver clear balanced sound to fit all favorite tunes, regardless of genre or application. These high-powered headphones produce pristine highs, clear mid-range, and rich low end where most other headphones leave one yearning for more.
TASCAM understands that just as important as the sound of ones headphones is a clean modern design and comfort. Featuring plush cushioned ear cuffs and a padded headband; TH-02 can be put to work for hours of comfortable use. Both left and right
ear-cuffs offer full 90° rotation, making TH-02 flexible to wear when listening to favorite albums, tracking for hours or performing all night. The folding design of the TH-02 allows them to compactly fit wherever they need to go.
TASCAM’s TH-02 headphones can easily be a part of one’s everyday accessories but also fit into a recording or performing workflow. Don’t just hear with any pair of headphones; truly listen to the details of music and media while enjoying comfort and flexibility. With the TH-02 headphone, TASCAM (as always) has delivered first-class quality, style and design at a price everyone can appreciate.
Main TH-02 Features:
• Foldable Design for Easy Compact Transport
• Tightly-Stitched,Padded Headband and Ear Cuffs for Stylish Comfort
• Closed-Back Design with Clean Sound – Rich Bass Response and Crisp Highs
• Snap-on 1/8(3.5mm)to1/4(6.3mm)Adapter
• Loudhailer Diameter: 50mm
• Impedance: 32O
• Sensitivity9dB± 3
• Frequency Response: 1H–2kHz
• Cable Length: About 9.8ft (3m) when fully extended”
These days, it’s all about leveraging your assets in as many ways as possible.
Maybe that’s why CAD Audio has designed its newest professional headphones line, Sessions MH510, with a trio of applications in mind: for performers in recording sessions, players in live audio environments, and audio enthusiasts who are just listening to music.
The MSRP of the MH510 is $159.00. Here’s what CAD says about the latest pair for your ears:
“Growing from a decade long collaboration of CAD’s experience and expertise in the design of professional audio equipment, the MH510 headphones produce a wide frequency response (10Hz – 24kHz) with extended lows, smooth mids and articulate, life-like highs for accurate and natural reproduction.
The MH510’s high SPL capability delivers ample volume while the design provides exceptional isolation ensuring a private listening experience that virtually eliminates bleed through into the playback environment.
In addition to professional specifications and performance, the Session MH510 phones are available in a distinct and modern cosmetic design with four colors––Black, White/Red, Back Chrome and Black/Orange to choose from.
The MH510s feature exceptional power handling capability along with high quality construction to stand up to the most demanding use without sacrificing extended listening comfort. Each headphone is supplied with two cables (coiled and straight) and two sets of earpads to satisfy changing user demands.”
OK, we admit it – we can see this making the music pro in your life pretty happy this holiday season.
“AMPED UP SOUND
Designed specifically to mark 50 years of loud, the Major 50 FX brings the big stage directly to your ears. Engineered to deliver a sound all its own, the Major 50 FX pays homage to the massive Marshall legacy with its punchy lows, clear mid-tones and higher-than-human highs. This is a headphone that brings you a rich and crunchy sound throughout the frequency range.
The inner ear caps borrow the fret detailing used for the Marshall 50th anniversary line of amplifiers, while the outer parts are adorned with gold accents. Vintage Marshall is also echoed on the headband, constructed from the same vinyl used for Marshall amps, and as a nod to Marshall’s glory, the inside is inscribed with the date and place it all began – London, England, 1962.
CANVAS CARRY CASE
The Marshall Major 50 FX comes with a roadworthy canvas carrying case for transport and storage.
The outer parts are adorned with gold accents. The inner ear caps borrow the fret detailing used for the Marshall 50th anniversary line of amplifiers.
WITH FX (COMES FULLY LOADED)
As a FX product, the Marshall Major 50 FX comes fully loaded with an Apple-certified microphone and remote, and volume control.”
This week, AKG introduced a newly designed version of its classic D12!
The new D12 VR large-diaphragm cardioid microphone has been rebuilt specifically for kick drum recording and live applications.
According to AKG…
The D12 VR (vintage sound re-issue) offers a thin diaphragm within its newly designed capsule, which enhances low-frequency performance. With phantom power disabled, the D12 delivers accurate, pure character from the sound source. With phantom power enabled, one of three switchable active-filter presets can be used to quickly adapt the mic’s response to suit the user’s desired kick drum.
The “vintage-style” premium bass microphone offers three active sound shapes for recording: open kick drum, closed kick drum and vintage sound. D12 is manufactured with the original AKG C414 transformer from the 1970s.
The AKG D12 was originally introduced in 1953 – the world’s first dynamic cardioid mic with a unidirectional design. The AKG D12 VR is expected to retail for around $560 and to ship in October 2012.Click for more details!
Both the Anniversary Edition C451 microphone and K702 headphones are available for 599 Euro, or $766 at today’s exchange rates. They are now available globally.
Since it’s AKG’s big day, we’ll let them do the talking – here’s all of the details from AKG on their latest launch:
AKG’s C451 65th Anniversary Edition condenser embodies sound from the legendary C451 EB with the CK1 capsule delivering stunning quality and precision accuracy. Since its introduction in 1969, the C451 has been continuously improved and has demonstrated its durability under the harshest onstage environments. The C451’s transformer-less preamp enables high sound pressure capability, allowing for close miking of high-energy sound sources up to 155 dB SPL without distortion.
The reference small-diaphragm is an excellent tool for capturing the smallest details of any instrument due to its lightweight membrane and sophisticated acoustic design, which makes it the perfect choice for accurately capturing drums, percussion, acoustic guitar and overhead miking.
The K702 Anniversary Edition headphones bring a new level of precision to the line with newly designed genuine leather headband and soft velour ear pads for maximum comfort during long recording or listening sessions. With its patented Varimotion two-layer diaphragm and revolutionary flat-wire voice coil, K702 delivers pristine sound with incredible impulse and treble response.
K702’s reference-style headphones boast an over-ear, open-back design, with extremely accurate response. Its sophisticated technology allows for spacious and airy sound without compromise.
AKG’s C451 and K702 65th Anniversary Limited Edition sets both stun with a new Titan semi-gloss finish.”
Headphones are more popular now than ever before — and today’s music fans aren’t just listening on cheap earbuds, either. Although the consumer audio sector didn’t perform very well on the whole during the great recession, Hi-Fi headphones were the one category to boldly defy that trend. While the rest of the consumer sound market dropped by 14%, sales of headphones grew by 25% in the UK during 2011 alone.
But this growth hasn’t been limited to the number of sales. The average cost of headphones has been rising as well. In the US, sales of headphones priced over $100 have more than doubled, adding over $200 million in new revenue to the market. Unfortunately, some of us audio geeks may think that listeners’ priorities can be misplaced at times. 54% of consumers said that the “brand” of headphones was “very important” in their choice, while only 48% said the same for “sound quality.”
But before we get all high and mighty, let’s take a look at what headphones we’ve been listening on in the studio, and then evaluate where they serve us well — and where they don’t. Because today, having a reliable headphone reference may be more important than ever.
Sony MDR-7506 ($99)
Pros: They’re hard to break, they’re loud, and they’re everywhere.
Cons: Extremely quirky frequency response; Have been out-classed by many new models.
Everyone who knows audio knows the MDR-7506 headphones. They are quite possibly one of the most ubiqutous models of headphones of all time. They’re loud and hard to break, and the 7506′s rugged closed-back design make them a sensible choice for the tracking room floor, intensive day-to-day handling and live sound applications.
On the other hand, the MDR-7506 headphones are not without their quirks. How can you tell if your mix sounds right on these Sonys? Well, if it strikes you as too bright, too brash and too boomy, you’re probably headed in the right direction.
In the interest of sounding loud and exciting, the 7506s are unusually bright headphones, with a frequency response somewhere between a smiley face and a roller-coaster. This may help them overcome the “boxiness” of older closed-back designs in order to easily win audio “sip-tests”, but it doesn’t mean they’re an ideal choice for all users.
For some listeners, this hyped-up response may sound refreshing over short periods of time. The unfortunate flip side is that these headphones can become grating over long listening stretches. In any event, their hyped-up sound doesn’t stack the deck in your favor when it comes to making smart choices about EQ and frequency balance.
The larger, more expensive MDR-7509 can sound a bit bigger in the lows and smoother on top than the MDR-7506, but still have a frequency response of Appalachian proportions. The smaller, more affordable MDR-7502 may be a little brighter than what some other brands of headphones have to offer, but they might sound the most neutral of this series – although perhaps not the most impressive.
Sennheiser HD-280 Pro ($99)
Pros: Hard to break, great isolation, un-hyped sound.
Cons: Lacks the benefits of more expensive open-back designs; Not ideal for mixing or critical listening.
The Sennheiser HD-280 Pro headphones are now established as one of the rising stars of a newer generation of headphone designs.
They can handle a lot of abuse, and their extremely well-insulated closed-back design reduces bleed and cuts out significant levels of outside noise. This makes the HD-280 an exceptional choice for tracking sessions, and its acoustic-isolation properties are especially useful in live sound applications.
Although the HD-280 headphones may be one of the best tracking models available for under $100, they’re not without their limitations. Since the HD-280 lacks the uncolored performance of more expensive open-back headphones, so they’re not recommended for critical listening decisions or as a mix reference.
Additionally, some singers can find the isolating effect of well-insulated headphones to be confusing, and the old “removing one headphone” trick can be necessary more often than not with this type of design.
AKG K240 Studio ($99)
Pros: Affordable, comfortable open-back design delivers neutral frequency response.
Cons: Larger than many other studio headphones; Wire-to-body connection may not be rugged enough for heavy-handling situations; Open-back means more headphone bleed (in both directions).
The AKG K 240 is one of the modern classics of high-quality headphones. Of all the models we’ve listed here so far, they’re easily the most un-hyped and reliable from a critical-listening standpoint.
The one drawback is that although the open-back design of these headphones allows for a better frequency response, it also means more sound can get in and out. Headphones in this class are ill-suited for live sound scenarios and for tracking sessions that involve loud bands.
Some singers, however, may enjoy the relative lack of acoustic isolation the K240 provides, and this style of headphone can sometimes help improve pitch issues without the need to remove one ear-cup. If you don’t mind a smidge of headphone bleed in the mic, they can be terrific in this application.
An updated version, K 240 MK II, is also available for $199.
Grado Labs SR-325is ($295) & RS2i ($495)
Pros: Neutral, durable, compact open-back design ideal for critical listening; Made locally in Brooklyn, NY by a classic and committed family-owned business.
Cons: Fairly expensive; Not ideally suited for tracking or live sound applications.
When you put on a good pair of Grado headphones, don’t expect to be blown away by their sound. Instead, expect not to hear them at all. That’s the beauty of all of Grado’s best designs. They stand aside and allow you a direct link to your music.
Although the SR-325is and RS 2i are not technically part of Grado’s “Professional Series” (The PS-500 and PS-1000 sell for $600 and $1,000, respectively) they are a great set, and would make a near-ideal headphone reference for most engineers and musicians.
The entire Grado line is worth investigating, and they offer superb models that run from $79 on up to $1,700.
In this general price range, open-backed models from AKG like the K701 and K702 (both $349) are also worth a look, as are their closed-back K271 MKII ($269) which are suitable for tracking and live sound as well.
Is this the hybrid headphone we’ve been waiting for? A newcomer on the scene, MultiSonus Audio, has officially launched their new line of EartBombz in-ear headphones, which combine the performance of a professional isolating in-ear headphone with the functions common to use in phones, iPads and other portable consumer devices.
There are three tiers of the EarBombz product line: the “A-Bombz” (Absolute Audio Resolution) (MSRP: $24.95), the “H-Bombz” (High-definition Sound) (MSRP: $39.95), and the flagship “EB-Pro” (MSRP: $79.95) series, the latter of which are designed to meet professional standards in and out of the studio.
All three products include in-line microphones and are compatible with a wide range of professional and consumer technology including tablets, smart phones, computers, mixing boards, and stage monitors.
The founding team of Seattle-based MultiSonus Audio, which includes performers, engineers, producers, and avowed techies, developed the EarBombz using carefully considered acoustic engineering, high-quality materials, and components configured for durability
“Things seem to be quieting down—until you slip on a pair of wireless headphones and jump into Brooklyn’s wildest dance party, where a live DJ is spinning tunes directly into your head . . . and onlookers are watching one crazy silent movie.“
Where: Brooklyn’s Great Googa Mooga Festival in the Nethermead Meadow of Prospect Park.
What: Silent Disco
When: Saturday, May 18th from 7pm – 9pm; Sunday, May 19th 6:30- 8pm
Admission: General Tickets, Free; Extra Mooga $249.50 — visit here to see if general tickets are still available
Have you heard of Silent Disco? Or shall we say experienced the Silent Disco? Silent Disco creates a “Dancing to nothing” utopia for live music event attendees by replacing a live speaker system with wireless headphones. Each guest receives an individual pair of wireless headphones, then channels into the live music broadcast via FM-Transmitter and listens to the live music act. Thus, creating a silent atmosphere without violating local noise restrictions in evening hours.
The Silent Disco was first spawned in 2005 at the U.K.’s Glastonbury Festival. But, it was San Francisco DJ Robbie “Motion Potion” Kowal who brought the concept stateside to Tennessee’s Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival in 2006. Since then this oxymoron phenomenon has been spreading worldwide from festivals to rooftops.
But, is Silent Disco encouraging a more isolating environment or does it inspire communal interaction? The headphones are creative because this allows you the same experience whether in the front row of the crowd or in the back. You can also turn the headphones off or turn down the volume providing no reason to escape the loudspeaker noise to have an intimate conversation.
With all the delicious food and beverages that the festival will bring, ending in a Silent Disco, will be a great way to people watch, digest and dance! Expand your palate and your mind!
Check it out at Brooklyn’s Great Googa Mooga festival in the Nethermead Meadow of Prospect Park. Silent Disco will be grooving on Saturday from 7pm – 9pm Sunday 6:30- 8pm. Get in FREE or pay $249.50 — timing is everything!
The new Monitor MSX5 by G-Sonique is a VST plug-in designed to improve your headphone mixing capabilities with “realistic monitor/speakers simulation for professional mixing.”
According to G-Sonique…”While some classic “spatial processors” were developed for enhancement of music listened to on speakers, after a few years of research, we developed a new algorithm/system that is not working purely on the principles of basic spatial processing.
Spatial processing is an algorithm simulating the basic concept of listening on speakers where left channel is “copied” into right channel, attenuated, frequency distorted, and time delayed by a few milliseconds, equally for right channel.
G-Sonique Monitor MSX5 VST plug-in moves these basic spatial processing principles/algorithms forward and offers a comfortable and precise way of mixing on your headphones.
While every studio monitoring system should have flat frequency response, every set of monitors have slightly different sounds. The sound of MSX5 is very neutral and flat, but has a few sound characteristics of the famous Japanese speakers that are popular worldwide for their very sharp and cold sound.”
Much more information on this new ($60) VST (PC-only) plug-in plus sound demos can be found at the G-Sonique website.
MSX5 Features Include:
Monitors angle – this feature simulates angle of rotation of studio monitors/speakers towards your head/ears. In professional recording/mixing studios speakers are usually rotated 15 – 25 degrees.
Monitors distance – this feature simulates distance of monitors in room from your head/ears.
Center balance – by this knob you can attenuate level of phantom center to hear wider stereo signal
Main volume – control output volume of all system
(BASS) Woofer size – simulate the size of the bass woofer of your virtual monitoring system. Most of classic studio monitors do not have the biggest bass woofer so you can’t hear deepest sub-basses 10 – 35 Hz without additional sub-woofers. But this feature is often desirable because deep and massive bass can soften mid and harsh mid-treble frequencies. So if deepest sub-basses are not reproduced by smaller monitors you can hear more sharp, harsh and clear sounds as well as many problems in your mixes.
(TREBLE) Tweeter sharpness/Sound aggression – Many models of the popular Japanese studio monitors have a very sharp and precise treble sound. With this knob you can simulate this kind of extremely precise and sharpness sound of treble in four amounts. (min-max)
Comparison – by this knob you can freely compare between dry (pure headphone sound) and wet (monitor sound simulation)
Recently, I had the opportunity to try out the Hercules HDP DJ-Pro M1001 professional DJ headphones.
Although Hercules has been in the DJ equipment business for some time, this is their first foray into the headphone realm. While I only tried the M1001 (MSRP: $169.99), Hercules recently released two other headphones for various needs and users, the HDP DJ-Adv G501 (MSRP: $129.99), and HDP DJ M40.1 (MSRP: $39.99)
When selecting the HDP DJ-Pro M1001 I felt not only would they be best suited for my particular needs as a DJ, but they would also be good for the musician or audiophile. While they may be a bit much for the person who just listens to music strictly on a casual level, the quality is there for the user who actually needs to hear the particular nuances of an audio track. This becomes important when trying to mix tracks or evaluate levels in a recording setting.
Check Your Head…Phones
When pulling them out of their packaging, I was impressed with the overall weight and feel of the HDP DJ-Pro M1001. They seemed durable and sturdy, yet not overly weighty or cumbersome. The HDP DJ-Pro M1001 are designed with a sleek black finish with blue striping and comes packaged with a carrying bag, a 3m coiled cable w/mini plug, and a screw on ¼ inch adapter.
I was impressed to see that the cable could be attached to either the right or left earpiece to fit the needs of those DJs that have a preference to which ear they tend to mix with most. The ear pieces also pivot in three different ways increasing their versatility even more. The ear cups swivel vertically on the hinge at 180 degrees, while the hinge itself swivels horizontally 90 degrees and toward the inside of the headphones by 120 degrees. This helps in both one-ear monitoring as well as folding and storing in the supplied carrying bag.
The HDP DJ-Pro M1001 was extremely comfortable to wear and use. The ear pads are big enough to block out any unwanted outside noise and make for a nice fit. These were actually the first set of headphones I’ve used in a while that I didn’t find myself repeatedly taking off due to discomfort.
According to the Hercules website the HDP DJ-Pro M1001 have a 5 Hz – 30 kHz frequency range and a 50 mm diameter driver, with a 32 ohm impedance and sensitivity of 107 dB at 1mW. What I can tell you is that the result is a clarity and sound that is incredible: The highs were so crisp and lows were so deep that I almost felt bad that each person in the crowd didn’t each have their own set!
Fortunately, as an open format DJ, in a club setting, I was able to listen to a wide variety of music ranging from Pop to bass heavy Dubstep tracks. I also used them in the quiet of my own home while preparing my setlist for the evening.
The noise-blocking ability, due to the overall design, was well above par and made pre-mix monitoring a breeze. As far as their endurance is concerned… bravo. I admittedly TRIED to blow out these headphones, to no avail (I don’t recommend trying this at home!). I personally feel that due to their clarity, the HDP DJ-Pro M1001 could easily pull double duty as DJ headphones as well as for use in the studio.
Overall, I was very pleased with this Hercules venture into the headphone realm. If I had any complaint or suggestion for the next edition of headphones from Hercules, it would be an angled plug on their cable to increase its durability.
With a MSRP of $169.99 the HDP DJ-Pro M1001 are an aesthetically pleasing, well designed, great sounding headphone. At that price point, they are definitely a product to purchase when looking for your next set of cans!
Here’s what AKG had to say about each of their new headphone offerings – prices have not yet been announced:
“The over-ear, semi-closed design of the K44 Perception provides a powerful low end and clean highs for an excellent sound, ranging from project studios to home recording.
The K77 Perception is an over-ear, semi-closed headphone with powerful and convincing sound at an amazing value – ready to use for home or project studios.
Both products include comfortable leatherette ear pads and a self-adjusting headband for extended wear, without discomfort and a 3-meter fixed, straight cable and convertible jack.
K99’s high-performance, over-ear, semi-open headphones combine excellent sound quality with an astounding price-to-performance ratio. Its large, 40mm speakers provide a natural, uncoloured sound, ideal for the studio. K99 Perception is lightweight and self-adjusting for a pleasant fit for long sessions.”