Good headphones to use with the QC

Interested to get your recommendations on this. I’ve never really bothered with headphones with a modeller before, for 2 reasons; one, the Helix was so big I never travelled with it, and two, in my experience, even high end units like the QC sound rubbish through headphones.

To be fair I’ve only ever used Bose QC 35 headphones, and they sound just about ok, or I’ve used small in-ear things which sound awful; they crackle and break up a lot (presumably they can’t handle the frequencies that modellers produce?)

But there must be some decent headphones out there to use with something like a QC, right?

There are a lot of variables, of course, but I personally have never run into “crackle and breakup” with any headphones, earbuds, IEMs or speakers unless there’s a problem with gain staging somewhere in the signal chain.

I’ve used Sennheiser HD 280 Pro, AKG K712 Pro, and a half dozen different inexpensive (roughly $10 to $40) earbuds with the QC. In all cases I’ve played the phones/buds both directly from the QC headphone jack and through my studio board into a wired headphone amp belt pack. There are some differences in the presentation, but none of them sound bad.

Ah that’s interesting - do you mean something like this?

I’ve never thought to use something like that before, so could be a ‘fix’. And yes, there could also be a problem with the gain staging in the signal chain somewhere as you say, I’m no expert on this sort of thing…

Go for a 250 Ohm headphone, i have a Beyerdynamic DT900 pro, sounds great.

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I’d second the Beyerdynamics, I’m using my trusted DT990PRO for relatively silent practicing (it bleeds out a little due to it’s open design), and just love it!

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That’s good to hear about the DT990 Pro, they seem to be half the price of the 900s…

Does the 990 come with a coiled cable or a straight cable? Presumably the cable is fixed in place so can’t be swapped?

Coiled and fixed indeed.

Oops i said, 900 but it is the 990 i have.

Yes - coiled and fixed. There’s a mod that you can do to make this not a fixed cable, but I’ve not bothered to change it the past decade I’ve owned it.

I did replace the pads a few times though. I’ve dabbled with a few cans over the years, but I’ve always come back to the DT990Pro as it’s so comfortable!

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Yes, like that. I use the Behringer P1 because I wanted to have the option for a stereo feed.

I have used the following and they’re all fine; surprisingly the levels and performance are fairly similar despite the impedances being so radically different:

Sennheiser HD 6XX, Nominal impedance: 300 ohms
Slate VSX 2.0, 37 ohms
Sony MDR7506, 63 Ohms

that’s a pretty wide spectrum there of specs and price range, but they all perform just fine for me.

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Ditto the Beyer 990s. They sound great, but they’re also accurate and “unhyped.”

I just tried some Beyer 990s. I thought they sounded pretty good - certainly better than the ‘domestic’ headphones I’ve used before such as Bose Quiet Comforts. But I still got some ‘distortion’ (a sort of fizzing or crackling sound) in the background on certain notes; this happened when I was using a guitar with humbuckers (it was more noticeable on my guitar with an EMG Active humbucker)
This was disappointing - it’s the one thing I was hoping that some high end studio quality headphones would not do.
I’ve checked the blocks within the QC preset, there doesn’t appear to be any clipping, and the amp block I’m using isn’t particularly hi-gain.

I also notice I have to have the Quad C volume up pretty high with the 990s, is that because of the 250 ohm impedance?

you need to check the HP level on the I/O and see if your presets clipping.
if so, you can play with the DB on both HP and the preset output and avoid clipping.

I use HD6XX (300 ohm)and they sound great, a little dull on the high end though, but They require the HP output to be maxed and the main volume knob at 75+ to get reasonable volume

I also have ATH-M50x (38 ohm) but they have pretty harsh highs and distort very easily with the QC, so I don’t use them often.

I’ve thought about buying a set with an impedance between these but don’t want to waste time on a failed experiment. I have searched everywhere to find the headphone output impedance of the QC to match the best set but it’s not published anywhere.

Thank you, turns out that was happening, and now it sounds a lot better - not perfect mind, still a bit of crackling or break-up at times (oddly on the cleaner amps but presumably the hi-gain amps disguise this with the amount of gain they produce?) but you’d have to listen carefully.

It’s certainly sounds better than with any other headphones I’ve use anyway, so that’s a major start.

A couple of questions ;

  1. the levels on the I/O page are global rather than per preset, is that correct?

  2. in terms of clipping, when viewed on the level bars, am I correct in thinking it’s okay to see an occasional orange, maybe even a very quick bit of red? Or do I want to try and remove all of the red at all times?

on the HP section in the I/O i boost the HP output to max, and reduce the other option (1-2 / 3-4) to -4DB aprox.
this prevent most of the factory presets to clip when using HP for me.
i try to avoid any orange or red bar.
you can also use compressor on clean sounds to compensate if you strum hard .
hope you will find it useful .
btw, on HP the QC sounds the best foe me when the big volume knob is on 100.

  1. Yes, the I/O settings are global presently. There are feature requests to allow the input and impedance settings to be saved per preset.

  2. I’ve seen different opinions. Some let it clip the red a little and don’t really hear problems from it. I set mine to avoid the red

990DT Pro for me too! They are amazing for QC or mixing/mastering of anything! :slight_smile: