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Old 01-09-2021, 08:00 PM
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Default Expert Mastering Engineers Sound Off on Using Headphones for Audio Mastering

From monitoring during recording to being able to work without disturbing others, headphones have many roles in the world of audio. When it comes to audio mastering though, things change a bit. If you’ve ever wondered if you can effectively master on headphones, whether you should be using them for specific parts of the mastering process, or if there are certain makes or models that are better suited than others, then this one’s for you. Five mastering engineers at the pinnacle of the craft generously agreed to chat with me and lend me their views on how and when (or when not) to use headphones for mastering.

In this piece you’ll learn:

Whether or not five industry experts regularly reach for their headphones when mastering
Which tasks they feel headphones are particularly well-suited to
Which makes and models they prefer
Let’s dive in and see what they have to say!


https://www.izotope.com/en/learn/exp...eadphones.html
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Old 01-09-2021, 11:28 PM
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Really interesting read. Thanks for posting. I’m aligned with Mr. Katz.
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Main System:
Amati Futura Mains
Amati Homage VOX Center,
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Three MC2301's for L,C,R
MC 602 for the rears
C 1100, MX 151, MCD 1100, MR 80
Nottingham Dais with Wave Mechanic
Sumiko Palo Santos Presentation

SurfacePro 3, RPi 4, ROON, WW Starlight Platinum USB, Schiit Yggdrasil, Benchmark DAC3 HGC

MX 151, OppO BDP-95, JVC RS-500 DILA projector, 106" diagonal Stewart Luxus Screenwall Deluxe with Studiotek 130 G3 material.

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Ohm F, MC 275V, C2300, MR 77, Rega P3

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Old 01-09-2021, 11:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by W9TR View Post
Really interesting read. Thanks for posting. I’m aligned with Mr. Katz.
BK: The issue of "lowest common denominator" comes up just as it does with speakers, and it's a specious argument just as it is with speakers: should we master on cheap earbuds or Audeze LCD-4s? With loudspeakers we can quantify the deviation from accuracy using well-established measurement utilities, but headphone target curves are not sufficiently standardized, and even then it's the wild, wild West out there. The deviation from the Harman target is not an efficient means of judging how close to flat our headphones are.

Besides, Sennheiser, Focal, Audeze, Electrostats, and in-ear headphones sound vastly different from one another! How are you going to make something translate to all those in the same way we can do every day using superior calibrated loudspeaker/rooms? Are you going to play the "put one on, listen, put the other on" game to arrive at some ugly "common medium"? Give me a break.




Problem that I see, is that speakers/rooms for audiophiles are no less Wild, Wild West... Tom. Certainly a Martin Logan sounds different from a Harbeth while the XRT2K sounds much different than both... There is no golden standard.

Of course mastering/mixing should be done with as close to your own system as possible but we know that is not possible.
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Main System Luxman D-06U Luxman L-590AXII
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Sennheiser HD600
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  #4  
Old 01-10-2021, 03:00 PM
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Quote:

Problem that I see, is that speakers/rooms for audiophiles are no less Wild, Wild West... Tom. Certainly a Martin Logan sounds different from a Harbeth while the XRT2K sounds much different than both... There is no golden standard.

Of course mastering/mixing should be done with as close to your own system as possible but we know that is not possible.
All these mastering guys have uber-tweaked rooms and systems and seldom travel to other venues. So they know what their systems sound like and can perform their magic knowing the result will meet a high standard.

Here is a link to Bob's mastering studio. It would be at home here @ AA custom room treatments, dedicated AC power, big Dynaudio MTM monitors (to reduce room reflections) big power amps, JL Audio subs with proper time-aligned crossovers, custom tape repro electronics, etc.

https://www.digido.com/studio-a/

The problems with headphones are adding back the inter-aural cross correlated time delay info that comes into play using speakers in a room. These timing cues are responsible for imaging width, depth, and height. But he does use them, and I am 100% onboard with his choices.

Quote:
Auxiliary monitoring is with the world’s best headphones, Stax 007 MkII and Audeze LCD-4, each driven by its own DAC and headphone amplifier.
__________________
Main System:
Amati Futura Mains
Amati Homage VOX Center,
Proac Response 1sc Rears,
Three MC2301's for L,C,R
MC 602 for the rears
C 1100, MX 151, MCD 1100, MR 80
Nottingham Dais with Wave Mechanic
Sumiko Palo Santos Presentation

SurfacePro 3, RPi 4, ROON, WW Starlight Platinum USB, Schiit Yggdrasil, Benchmark DAC3 HGC

MX 151, OppO BDP-95, JVC RS-500 DILA projector, 106" diagonal Stewart Luxus Screenwall Deluxe with Studiotek 130 G3 material.

Lake House:
Ohm F, MC 275V, C2300, MR 77, Rega P3

OnDeck:
McIntosh MAC 4300v

Last edited by W9TR; 01-10-2021 at 03:06 PM.
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Old 01-10-2021, 06:07 PM
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Yes, I am familiar with Bob Katz and his approach. In fact one can take many of his albums for a test-drive if you stream. https://www.allmusic.com/artist/bob-...054492/credits
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Main System Luxman D-06U Luxman L-590AXII
Prima Luna Dialogue HP Harbeth 30.2 40th anniversary
HeadphonesWoo Audio WA6 Audeze Deckard Prima Luna Dialogue HP ZMF Auteur Blackwood
Sennheiser HD600
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  #6  
Old 01-10-2021, 07:37 PM
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I generally like his work. Haven’t heard much of it based on that exhaustive list.
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Main System:
Amati Futura Mains
Amati Homage VOX Center,
Proac Response 1sc Rears,
Three MC2301's for L,C,R
MC 602 for the rears
C 1100, MX 151, MCD 1100, MR 80
Nottingham Dais with Wave Mechanic
Sumiko Palo Santos Presentation

SurfacePro 3, RPi 4, ROON, WW Starlight Platinum USB, Schiit Yggdrasil, Benchmark DAC3 HGC

MX 151, OppO BDP-95, JVC RS-500 DILA projector, 106" diagonal Stewart Luxus Screenwall Deluxe with Studiotek 130 G3 material.

Lake House:
Ohm F, MC 275V, C2300, MR 77, Rega P3

OnDeck:
McIntosh MAC 4300v
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  #7  
Old 01-10-2021, 09:38 PM
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I see a lot of the "audiophile" standards on that list and especially from the 90's. Badi Assad, Anna Caram, Sara K., Rebecca Pidgeon, David Chessky (brother of Norman Chessky of Chessky records) even Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong mastering... He has been at it for quite some time and his albums typically did sound very good, hence popular with audiophiles over the years.
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Main System Luxman D-06U Luxman L-590AXII
Prima Luna Dialogue HP Harbeth 30.2 40th anniversary
HeadphonesWoo Audio WA6 Audeze Deckard Prima Luna Dialogue HP ZMF Auteur Blackwood
Sennheiser HD600
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  #8  
Old 01-10-2021, 10:43 PM
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He has some great tutorials on his website - super easy to understand and well presented.

He uses the same equipment interconnect cables I do; Mogami Gold.
__________________
Main System:
Amati Futura Mains
Amati Homage VOX Center,
Proac Response 1sc Rears,
Three MC2301's for L,C,R
MC 602 for the rears
C 1100, MX 151, MCD 1100, MR 80
Nottingham Dais with Wave Mechanic
Sumiko Palo Santos Presentation

SurfacePro 3, RPi 4, ROON, WW Starlight Platinum USB, Schiit Yggdrasil, Benchmark DAC3 HGC

MX 151, OppO BDP-95, JVC RS-500 DILA projector, 106" diagonal Stewart Luxus Screenwall Deluxe with Studiotek 130 G3 material.

Lake House:
Ohm F, MC 275V, C2300, MR 77, Rega P3

OnDeck:
McIntosh MAC 4300v
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  #9  
Old 01-10-2021, 10:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by W9TR View Post
He has some great tutorials on his website - super easy to understand and well presented.

He uses the same equipment interconnect cables I do; Mogami Gold.
Tom, careful with bragging about sensible cables....
__________________
Main System Luxman D-06U Luxman L-590AXII
Prima Luna Dialogue HP Harbeth 30.2 40th anniversary
HeadphonesWoo Audio WA6 Audeze Deckard Prima Luna Dialogue HP ZMF Auteur Blackwood
Sennheiser HD600
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  #10  
Old 01-10-2021, 11:19 PM
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Default Expert Mastering Engineers Sound Off on Using Headphones for Audio Mastering

Ha! I have tried a number of very nice XLR cables and I can’t hear any difference. But always willing to try something new.
__________________
Main System:
Amati Futura Mains
Amati Homage VOX Center,
Proac Response 1sc Rears,
Three MC2301's for L,C,R
MC 602 for the rears
C 1100, MX 151, MCD 1100, MR 80
Nottingham Dais with Wave Mechanic
Sumiko Palo Santos Presentation

SurfacePro 3, RPi 4, ROON, WW Starlight Platinum USB, Schiit Yggdrasil, Benchmark DAC3 HGC

MX 151, OppO BDP-95, JVC RS-500 DILA projector, 106" diagonal Stewart Luxus Screenwall Deluxe with Studiotek 130 G3 material.

Lake House:
Ohm F, MC 275V, C2300, MR 77, Rega P3

OnDeck:
McIntosh MAC 4300v
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