It seems like every time you turn your head, there’s another set of pro-level studio headphones available, ready to help you mix away from your studio monitors or, heaven forbid, just kick back and relax. Here’s our look at the latest offerings from the top names in pro-level studio headphones. Don’t pass up Part 1!
Austrian Audio Hi-X65
Headquartered in Vienna, Austrian Audio’s Hi-X65 headphones incorporate the still-relatively-new (but on-fire) company’s Hi-X Drive Technology that begins with a 44mm (1.73 inches) diameter driver, a ring magnet system and a copperplated aluminum voice coil. The Hi-X65 is said to provide excellent stereo imaging and low total harmonic distortion (measured at <0.1% at 1 kHz, with up to a “three-times better” measurement in the bass). Frequency range is stated as 5 Hz – 28 kHz, with 110 dB SPL/V impedance. Maximum comfort is provided through a flexible headband and padded ear cups that swivel 180 degrees. The Hi-X65 comes with both 3-meter and 1.2-meter detachable cables, with 3.5-mm connectors at both ends.
beyerdynamic DT 700 PRO X , DT 900 PRO X
Late last year, Berlin-based beyerdynamic introduced its new PRO X line, featuring DT 700 PRO X and DT 900 PRO X headphones. The closed-back DT 700 PRO X can be used for studio or mobile production, while the circumaural, open-back DT 900 PRO X is aimed at professional monitoring, mixing and mastering. Each model makes use of the new STELLAR.45 driver, based around a strong neodymium magnet and a lightweight voice coil made of copper-plated, high-tech wire. Used in conjunction with a newly developed three-layer speaker cone with integrated attenuating layer, the new PRO X headphones have an efficient driver system that has an impedance of 48 ohms. Smooth, gray velour ear pads are complemented by soft memory foam in the spring-steel bracket construction headband.
Chicago-based Shure has a long and rich legacy of providing quality headphones for the studio and stage. The new SRH840As follow that tradition in updating the SRH840 with a new look, minor sonic improvements and a couple of accessory changes. The SRH840A features a circumaural (over-ear), closed-back design, making them appropriate for tracking. Shure bills them as “monitoring headphones.” Shure says the SRH840A features some “nuanced” improvements to the sound, resulting in lower harmonic distortion and more precise left-right driver matching. The frequency response of the 40mm driver is reported as 10 Hz – 22 kHz; impedance is 38 ohms. The SRH840A weighs in at 0.6 pounds, with plush ear cushions, adjustable headband, and both ear cups able to swivel. It comes with a 9.8-foot straight cable.
Focal Clear Mg Professional
The French pro-audio manufacturer’s new Clear Mg Professional (Clear Magnesium Professional) Headphones differ from their namesake with the addition of a magnesium cone for greater dynamics and tonal balance across the full audio spectrum. The circumaural, open-back design incorporates 1-5/8-inch (40mm) full-range speaker drivers with Magnesium M-shaped inverted domes, combined with the frameless 1-inch (25mm) diameter and ¼ -inch (5.5mm) high copper voice coil. The open grille inside the ear cup extends the high frequencies and follows the ‘M’ profile of the cone more closely to further reduce adverse effects. With a 24 kHz breakup, the high frequencies are extremely linear and the transient signals are respected.
Sennheiser HD 400 PRO
The German pro-audio manufacturer‘s makes a range of headphones—from reference-quality to workhorse, affordable studio models—that few manufacturers can match. The company’s new HD 400 PRO studio reference headphones fit right in for use in mixing, editing and mastering applications. Built around a lightweight, open-back design fitted with soft velour ear pads, they are the first open studio headphones in Sennheiser’s PRO line, and offer a wide frequency response of 6 Hz – 38 kHz. The Sennheiser-developed 120- ohm transducers include a diaphragm made from a proprietary polymer blend that, when working with the headphones’ driver magnets, is said to provide deeper bass. Distortion is below 0.05% (measured at 1 kHz, 90 dBSPL). The transducers sit at a slight angle, emulating the triangular listening position common to a studio sweet spot.