Headphones? or monitors?

hello everybody…i live in a one bedroom apartment.i just started mixing foundations, have a 2 year old toddler and some really nice neighbors who love to complain about my loudness…it is really getting hard for me to work in a building where everybody lives so close to each other…

what should i do?
shall i switch to headphones?

Well, I would always recommend monitors but I used headphones for a couple of years for mastering and never got any complaints, so if you must you can certainly work with headphones.
If you are going to use headphones, I recommend picking up a good pair like the Sennheiser HD 650.

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@Rock, I haven’t yet managed (despite owning a small acoustic treatment plant in my tiny room!) to get a balanced room, so I am also using headphones a lot for a different reason. Like @Paul says, get a decent pair and also, a lot of us seem to be liking the Sonarworks plugin to then improve the ‘neutrality’ a bit further. Then, treat the neighbours to a (cheap) meal out, so you can turn up the monitors once in a while!!


whoah! thank you both so much for that information!
@Paul i will certainly look into those headphones asap! thanx for your help!

@Elton i will also look into that plugin! lol you know what? i think they might just need that! they are seniors and i’m sure they wouldn’t mind at all…we can all give in to anger, when we can all respond with kindness instead…thanx for that advice elton!


Since I got a child I almost always work in headphones. I have Seinheser 650 and have pair of Beyerdynamics DT 880 which I’m using mostly with synths (connecting directly when I’m not using computer). Just check what you’ve done with headphones on the monitors… so you’ll be aware of the difference.



Make sure to send Sonarworks an email regarding an educational discount! I spoke to a gentlemen named Matiss and he offered an EDU discount of $45.50 for the standard headphone calibration and around $99+ for the individual calibration service.

As Danny has recommended Sonarworks himself, I also would strongly recommend the calibration as well. Just like Mike I have Sennheiser 650s


Ive got a question for those of you using HD650’s. Do they need a separate amp to drive them or are you using them straight ? I’ve only found conflicting and unclear information on the web. Thanks.

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Thank you all for your response! this information has been very helpful! love this community already! have good day!

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In my opinion, investing into some sort of audio interface in conjunction with Sennheiser 650s will be a better bet then straight and worth the money in the long run. Assuming you mean straight into your computer via headphone jack in your computer.

I personally run a Audient iD14 with Sennheiser 650s and the headphone calibration. Impressed with the sound so far at it’s particular price point, it’s also compact and easy to travel with. It would be ideal to include a headphone amp after the A/I, but I’ve been fine with the sound of the Audient iD14 without the amp.

However, with any set of headphones, you won’t truly get the whole picture when it comes to the low end, so take that into consideration, even with the audio interface and calibration.


@Jamie na, I’m running my whole setup through a focusrite interface but I mean an actual headphone amp. at 300 ohms impedance some say it needs an amp to drive it properly. and wondering about both studio and then for traveling just through the 1/8" laptop jack.

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With your setup running through a Focusrite (I’m assuming Scarlett?) From what I’ve learned, it would be strongly recommended to push the signal through to a Headphone Amp. As I said, I’m impressed with the combination I am running now, but eventually I will invest into a headphone amp by Schiit (Asgard 2 or Valhalla 2, not sure which model).

When I was first researching amps affiliated with headphones I used Head-Fi forums and Gearslutz for real life experiences from other engineers who had similar issues. I remember a particular case where someone had a Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 and just like you was curious if he needed a headphone amp to drive the impedance level because the 2i2 and similar models have limited voltage and power capabilities.

If it’s permitted (I don’t know if it’s allowed to post links to other forums here) I can find it and post the case study, it’s very informative. If anyone has similar experiences with Scarlett audio interfaces and success without headphone amps, please correct me if I am wrong. :slight_smile:


@Jamie any headphone amp u suggest?

I can’t recommend one personally, because I haven’t tried very many and there are so many different price points to go by, they can vary from $50 to around $1000 haha. Sorry Rock.

I just know Schiit makes some affordable quality headphone amps. You can also try and head over to guitar center or your local instrument retailer and see if they will let you try some out and ask for their advice. Just make sure you take their advice with a grain of salt. Hope this was helpful!

If anyone can assist Rock and I with quality / affordable headphone amps aside from the ones that I provided by Schitt, it would be greatly appreciated :smile:

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@Jamie i will do that! yes they always want to sell you more…lol…thanx alot! that info was very helpful!!

I will switch to monitors :- )

You get a better sound and of course you can hear some stuff better

I tend to use headphones just to verify my kicks loudness & Sub bass

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I love my HD650 on an OTL tube amplifier for recreational listening but with added warmth/distortion it is not suitable for music production. As I work in the box and don’t track myself, I don’t have an audio interface. For critical listening on headphones I use a solid state amplifier (Burson Conductor) instead. Frankly, I cannot go back to the un-amped signal. The HD650 shows it’s famous dark side and I’m lacking clarity.

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dont get me wrong guys…i love monitors…i’m in love with my yamaha hs8’s…but for now i gotta figure something out so i can keep attending class…but thank you all for you help!!!
@Marius sorry to hear that brother! hope you find a solution to it! im using the behringer amp800
and it works just fine! i needed something asap for class…i do exactly what danny said about taking a refference track break…IT HELPS ME ALOT! but good luck bro! dont give up i’m sure youll find a solution!

I’m using Sonarworks headphone calibration and 650s works fine for me

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# Audio Technica Ath M50X Professional Studio Monitor Headphones