John's Musings

Yeah, Me Neither

Headphones and Shit

Make no bones about it. I am an audiophile (phool). Headphones are abundant and nowadays celebrities and artists slap their names on headphone brands and kids pay big bucks for them. Audiophools buy headphones that cost thousands! I'm not kidding. So what's a boy to do? In a sea of headphones which ones do you buy?

I suggest watching music videos for the answer. Let me clarify. Every artist nowadays slip a few scenes of themselves in the studio into their videos. Look at the headphones they are wearing. Look at the headphones the guy on the big board is wearing. Mind you these people are recording professionals and can wear whatever they want.

Sure, look hard enough and you can find any headphone you want. But pay attention to the headphones you continually see. There are three that you'll see pretty frequently.

My whole point here is that if these headphone are good enough for the top names in the recording industry they are good enough for you. All three cost less than $150 and can be had for less than that if you shop around or buy refurbished.

Sony MDR-7506

SONY MDR-7506 were introduced in 1991 and designed for professional studio use. Studios probably have dozens of sets of headphones and I guess if you own a studio you don't want dozens of sets of $1000 headphones. What are the qualities you want in a headphone? First of all they must sound good and the term studio pros use is "neutral" meaning they don't color the sound or make the highs too high or the lows too low. Second they must be built like a tank. "That's a wrap" and the headphones get taken off and tossed.

So ultimately sound pros asked the manufacturers, make us a neutral headphone that can take some abuse that SOUNDS GREAT. The older brother to the MDR-7506 is the Sony MDR V6

The Sony MDR-V6 were made from 1985 and were instant hits with the pro crowd. Sadly they were discontinued in 2013 or 2014 and for a while there was some chatter about Sony bringing them back. They can still be had brand new on Amazon. The world is still flooded with plenty of stock. They are some of the best headphones on the planet and can be had for less than $100.

Even though they are gone the MDR-7506 was generally touted as being just a tad better. That may be true but my go to headphones are, and will always be the Sony MDR-V6. I have two pair and one goes with me in the casket.

More and more these days when i'm watching music videos on YouTube I see the Audio-Technica ATH-M50x.

Depending on your personal preference these may be better than the Sony's. These are generally described by being MORE neutral then either of the Sony's and possibly have a little more critical acclaim than the Sony's.

They are a little heavier although maybe a bit more comfortable. They scream "built like a tank" and the sound is nothing short of amazing.

The M50x was introduced in 2014 and it is the little brother of the M50 which are also iconic headphones.

Yep, I own all three of these headphones and sadly many many more. These are really the only 3 that matter. I have owned and listened to many "high end" headphones but the reality is when I want to sit at home and drink coffee and listen to the tube headphone amp that I grab one of these three pairs of headphones, depending on my mood, or which pair is closest.

Don't spend $500 on Dr. Dre headphones. Before Dr. Dre (I'm not knocking him, he made a fortune doing this) sold headphones he was (is) a recording artist. Here are pics of him in the studio, pre-Beats, wearing, you guessed it, Sony MDR-V6 and ATH-M50

Not knocking the man........just saying.