Output sounds bad on headphones, directly or through a mixer

I’ve been puzzled in the past about how bad the output can sound in headphones. More than one pair of headphones. And I’m talking with a cabsim—that sounds great through my FRFR speaker (ASC-10). I’ve been told I need different headphones. I accepted this, as wrong as it sounded to me.

Last night I was doing some recording with friends. I chose not to set up my ASC-10, since I could come out direct from the QC and not have to worry about bleed from other sources in the room getting on my guitar track. I was disappointed to discover that, though yet another pair of headphones, the sound was raw, spikey, brash. Very much like the sound of a preset without a cabsim block. But I checked, and verified that the cabsim was in place. I bypassed it and it sounded even worse.

Here’s the thing: a mic’d cab doesn’t need special headphones to sound good. It sounds essentially the same though all headphones, all full-range speakers, etc. So I just don’t buy the only-certain-headphones argument.

Playing back the recorded track sounds the same (of course). It’s not going to morph into a good guitar sound when mixing or mastering. It’s going to sound essentially the same. And it will be played in many different environments (hopefully) through all different sound systems and headphones and earbuds if our song gets circulated at all. How is anyone getting decent sounds this way when going straight in to P.A.? I’m completely befuddled.

I’m hopeful that I’m doing something wrong, as it seems that plenty of folks are getting good results using the line out on the QC. Does anyone have an actual handle on this? I’d love to know how to make this work. Having to mic a two-way FRFR speaker would not be my favorite thing to do. But I will if I have to.

Thanks for any efficacious wisdom someone might be able to impart.

there are just SO many variables in this kind of situation it’s going to be hard to pinpoint.
Could you upload a preset in particular you’re having trouble with, or is it all of them?
Maybe show us your headphone monitoring settings?
Without hearing the exact issue it’s really hard to narrow it down

It’s possible to have great sound coming thru the earphones. However, if you’re mixing that way to put thru the PA, there can be radical differences in the end result. At volume through PA speakers it’s a whole different world. Still, the QC should sound good thru the phones, so something’s wrong somewhere.

How about starting with a preset we could play thru and compare?

What is the impedance rating on your headphones? With the quad cortex you need higher impedance headphones (250 ohms or more) otherwise they will sound how u descirbed.

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600 ohms (Sennheiser HD414’s last night).

Is this a general view? I get OK sound using ATH-M50X but you think I would get a more realistic sound using high impedance Headphones?

When I was using low-impedance headphones, they ended up sounding very thing and digital at higher volumes. When using higher impedance this went way. You won’t necessarily have more realistic sound quality with higher-impedance headphones tho aside from this digital sound that I described. If you’re not experiencing this though then there will likely not be a difference in sound aside from volume.

Upload your preset and post the link.
Upload some audio recorded from any of the outputs.

Can’t really help you otherwise as there are far too many possibilities.