Need Some Really Good Headphones

I use Audacity in recording a wide variety of things from many different sources and put all those recordings together and arrange them in producing my own music. But once the music is produced based on the old speakers I already have, when I listen to it on other computers, it is completely inaccurate in that the volumes of the recordings are completely off and everything else. Therefore, I want to know what would be some really good speakers to buy for my computer. I want to hear sound as completely accurate as possible, as I wish to produce my own music not only using Audacity, but other software as well. I have heard that studio monitor speakers are really good (which I assume are the best speakers in terms of accurate sound and are the speakers I really want if such is the case), but I heard that they can be really expensive. Therefore, could you give me a list of really good speakers in the range of $1-$100 as well as $100-$200? I do not know anything whatsoever about speakers, so please be very specific when giving me the list.

Edit: Actually, I’ve decided to choose headphones instead, as speakers are way too expensive (noticing the replies given in this topic). So what would be some really good headphones that produce the most accurate sound in this same price range? And again, please be very specific because I do not know anything about headphones either.

With that kind of budget, I would be buying a pair of Sennheiser Headsets like the HD-202 or similar and plug them directly into the Line Out of my sound card. You can do remarkably well with that and it will blow $100 speaker systems out of the water.

When I’m on vacation I do casual mixing with my laptop and a pair of Sony headphones. I don’t have the model number to hand.

At home I’m mixing on a pair of Boston Acoustic CR6 speakers–slightly bigger than the two biggest Harry Potter novels each. That’s $125 right there not counting the speaker amplifier and the bass cabinet, cables, etc. It’s a small system, but it sounds killer. I think this is about the smallest possible because as you go smaller, the prices start going up again.

The other problem is really small speaker systems can sound really good…quietly. You can’t mix on them.

“Computer Speakers” suck. Almost universally. I have horror tales from trying to buy cheap speakers at work. I didn’t choose the best ones, I chose the least worst.


There are some speakers in that price range that are described as “studio monitors”, but they are not. Basically the problem is that full range loudspeakers with a reasonably flat response cost more than that to make. I have tried several of the little “studio monitors” in the sub $300 range, and non of them give anything like the flat, full range response that you need. Once the price range gets up to around $400, then there are several models worth looking at, such as the Samson RUBICON R6A, Yamaha MS101, Tannoy Reveal, Behringer B2030A…

For headphones, these are unbeatable value - I have found them to be as good or better than other headphones costing three times the price:
I have purchased 6 pairs of these (for work, and one pair for myself) and the performance is very consistent, except for one pair which were faulty, but were replaced straight away by the supplier. I’ve had my pair for about three years and I’m still impressed with them.

not going to find much for 1-200…

but for 249 a piece you can get a pair of Mackie MR8’s… I just sold a pair because I upgraded if you will to the Mackie HRII8’s there a bit bit bit more. but if you ask me, Mackie has the TRUEST sound, what you hear is what your making, opposed to KRK which i also owned I felt that they made everythign sound good. when i would go to my buddies to check i would be like WTF…Also depends how serious you are and how long you want them to last!!!

Check out any purchase over 400 they will break it down into 4 payments. very convient

Given the huge number of studio monitors, and the huge range in prices I would not personally be so bold as to say that one particular speaker provided the “truest” sound. “Klein & Hummel O 500C” monitors are the most accurate I have ever heard - but at over 7000 Euro each !

let me correct my self, out of the KRK rocket 8’s, Mackie MR8, Mackie HRII8, Yamaha, M-Audio the Mackies I found provided the best quality and acurate sound!!!

But yea i know Klein & Hummerz r the shit!!!

I’ve not tried the Mackie studio monitors, but I quite like their PA speakers.

To some extent it is a matter of taste - I don’t much like Yamaha’s, but I know people that love them.

The best choice can also be influenced by the environment - my home studio is nowhere near big enough for the K+H O 500C’s - “nearfield” monitors are what I need.

On the subject of rooms - empty reverberant rooms are not good monitoring environments - Heavy curtains, particularly against the back wall can improve things a lot. Small speakers standing directly on a work surface can cause the surface to vibrate (which is not good), so good speaker stands, or standing the speakers on high density foam on top of a concrete slab, or some other method to isolate the speakers from the bench will provide a cleaner sound.

Positioning speakers near walls will tend to increase the bass, particularly near corners of the room. Careful positioning will make a lot of difference.

Also be careful about acoustic instruments in the room - they will tend to resonate and you can waste ages trying to eliminate a “ringing” in the recording that is really coming from a guitar that is proped up in the corner.

Listening through different systems can help to identify different aspects of a recording - headphones are good for picking out hiss and crackles, inexpensive hi-fi speakers can be useful in getting an idea of how the recording will sound on an “average” music system.

When you get your speakers, spend a lot of time listening to high quality recordings - get to know your speakers.

So just about everybody starts the count for reasonably serious monitoring at something above $250.

You are looking at good headphones and save your pennies.


Actually, I’ve decided to choose headphones instead, as speakers are way too expensive (noticing the replies given in this topic). So what would be some really good headphones that produce the most accurate sound in this same price range stated in my first post? And again, please be very specific because I do not know anything about headphones either.

These headphones are very good and remarkable value for money:
I have bought a total of 7 pairs (6 for work and one pair for myself). One pair was faulty on arrival, but the company replaced them (and paid for the postage) without any fuss.

Now as for my sound card, it is Realtek High Definition Audio onboard. Will that sound card be alright?

Going on my experience of modern on-board sound cards, I would expect that as soon as you plug in some decent headphones, you will immediately discover how poor the sound card is, particularly the recording input, and particularly on laptops.

Any sound card that is designed for audio production is likely to be considerably better. Price wise, these range from the Behringer UCA 202 (line level in/out + headphone socket, USB audio interface ~$40) upward.

For internal (PCI sound cards, the M-Audio Audiophile 2496 has a good reputation for excellent sound quality, though it is not really suitable for old low spec. machines (500MHz or below) Price ~$85.

For laptop computers, the only real option is to use an external sound card.

You will probably find this page useful:

Unfortunately, it turns out that getting a new sound card is not an option for me (I have demanding parents who get very angry when I need new computer equipment. Therefore, the only thing I can get is these headphones, not new speakers or anything else). I have an HP Windows Vista Home Premium desktop computer with an AMD Athlon™ 64 X2 Dual Core Processor 5200+ 2.60 GHz, 2 GB RAM, and 363 GB Hard Drive. Now since you said that the recording input would be poor once I plug in those headphones you mentioned, I would be better off making all my recordings first using my old speakers (which are ACTIVE DC-691P Hi-Fi Speaker System)? And then using these headphones in listening to and adjusting the volumes of these recordings? Now would that be good enough to achieve my goal of having all my recordings sounding nearly the same on other computers and at least having somewhat reasonable high quality production? Finally, you said that this sound card is poor. In what other ways is it poor (besides the recording input and sound quality)?

Errr… what other ways are there? Poor sound quality would be my definition of a poor sound card.

How long would it take you to save up $30 US? Perhaps you could cut a deal with doing a few chores or something?

Now things are starting to look up to me–I have someone who is willing to help me out. It looks like I am able to afford a more expensive external sound card (and maybe perhaps expensive headphones). However, it must be a external sound card–I do not want an internal sound card for my desktop. Therefore, I have a few questions I would like to ask:

1.) What is the best external sound card (by M-Audio which I heard is a good manufacturer) for clear and accurate sound to buy for my desktop computer (anywhere between $60-$200)?

2.) Which would be better? The best M-Audio external sound card to buy for my desktop, or this external sound card right here (which is also a headphone amp):

3.) Now you said that these headphones right here would be the best to buy for clear and accurate sound: But just curious, wouldn’t these headphones be better:

4.) Would any one of the sound cards asked in question #2 work well with my computer (in other words, can my computer even handle it)? Here is some more additional information about my desktop computer:

Model #: a6248x
Product #: GN707AA-ABA
Serial #: MXX73805KG
Software Build #: 74NAv3PrA1
Service ID #: 122-507
PCBRAND: Pavilion

  1. it depends on what you need. For line level in/out the EDIROL UA-1EX is highly recommended - great sound quality and well featured (24/96, optical in, high quality A/D D/A converters, input level adjustment, headphone level adjustment).

If you need a microphone pre-amp, there are suitable models from ART, ESI, Line6, and Yamaha as well as M-Audio. Note that if you wish to use a condenser microphone you may need a pre-amp that has phantom power.

A common problem with USB interfaces is that you may find that when you switch your computer on, the sound card doesn’t work (we have this problem with several M-Audio devices at work). To get it to work it is necessary to “safely remove hardware”, switch it off, then switch it back on again and wait for it to initialise. It’s not a huge big deal, but can be a bit of an irritation.

  1. I’ve not come across that sound card.

  2. The HD880 headphones are terrific value for money and compare very favourably with headphones costing several times more. I find them comfortable to wear and they are the type that fully enclose the ear which is generally good for studio use.

I’ve not tried those Sony headphones but I imagine they will be good, (considerably more expensive than the HD880).

Thomanns best selling studio headphones are the AKG K-271 MKII which get a good write-up here:

With headphones it is important that they are comfortable to wear and fit well. Ideally you should try and find some to try out before you buy, particularly if you are spending a lot of money on them.

Your computer hardware should easily be able to handle any of the sound cards mentioned and should perform pretty well. It is much higher specification than my machine. Personally I don’t like Vista (Linux user).

Now I just have 2 more questions:

1.) Now I noticed the T.Bone HD990D and did a product comparison with the HD880:

Therefore, in what way are the HD880 headphones better?

2.) I don’t plan on using a mic or any other equipment–I just wish to use the external sound card for high quality sound/recordings using Audacity as well as other music software. So in that case, for a USB sound card, the EDIROL UA-1EX would be a good choice?

3.) This entire time, I have made all my recordings with Audacity using my onboard sound card. Therefore, are these all low quality sound waves since they were recorded with that sound card? And that I should make all these same exact recordings all over again with this external sound card (if I want high quality)?

The HD990 are “isolation headphones”. They are designed to reduce outside noise, and so are excellent for drummers and DJ’s in loud clubs, but the sound quality is nowhere near as good as the HD880 which are designed for studio monitoring.

High quality recording of what? The type of sound source that you are wanting to use is important in choosing the right sound card.

Recordings of what?
Do they sound poor quality? If so, do them again. If they sound good enough, keep them.

I download episodes of anime online (videos in avi, mkv, or rmvb format) and I record things from those videos using the record feature in Audacity (like portions of music, sound effects, etc. in those videos) and put those things together in creating remixes. Also, I download music files in flac format and record those files, and I also record things from Youtube videos as well. In addition, I plan on using other music making/mixing software as well. So would the EDIROL UA-1EX be a great choice for a USB external sound card?

Yes it should do very well. One of the regular forum contributors uses one and always reports glowing reviews of it.
Note that to record sounds playing on your computer using an external sound card requires that you use a “loop-back connector”. This is simply an audio lead that connects the sound card outputs to the sound card inputs. You are still able to use the headphone socket on the sound card while the loop-back connector is connected.

(Disclaimer: I am not endorsing this or any other product. The views expressed in my posts are based on personal experience and information gained from reports by other people. I have not personally used an Edirol UA-1EX sound card. Your success may vary from views expressed here or elsewhere).