Recommended Isolation/Isolating Headphones

bonzoleum

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I've had a set of Vic Firth Isolation headphones for a jillion years, but I'm looking to get a pair that does a better job of cutting out the drums I'm playing so I can hear better what is being piped into my ears through the phones. Anyone have an opinion on these?


http://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/EX29?adpos=1o2&creative=55678058761&device=c&matchtype=&network=g&gclid=CNqC77SDoMwCFQeraQodQykGig


http://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/EX25?adpos=1o5&creative=55678058761&device=c&matchtype=&network=g&gclid=CJufz6iDoMwCFQmQaQodtpkHrg
 
R

RickP

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I have the EX 29 nd they are very comfortable and isolate well. The sound quality is very good for this price range. The late and missed Tommy Wells mentioned that quite a few musicians he worked with used the EX 29 from Direct Sound.

I still think the gold standard is the GK Ultraphones.
 

Tuckerboy

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The Direct Sound EX29's are nice and fairly comfortable for extended periods of use. I've had a pair for about 7 years and the headpiece where it attaches to the earmuff just recently broke but all parts are replaceable on their website, a big plus because otherwise they are in still in great shape. I've heard the Ultraphones aren't as comfortable as the Direct Sounds but I have no direct experience with them. For smaller practice rooms, I generally use Shure 215's (about $100) or Westone's along with shooters earmuffs so I don't have to turn the volume (metronome) up so much. I haven't got around to doing it yet but Stickinthemud recently had some good information about using cheap silicon earplugs to mold into some in ear 's for even further isolation.
 

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jakeo

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I've had problems with people pulling the ex29's off with one hand and having the plastic holding the actual earpieces break as Tuckerboy describes. Gotta be careful with them.
 

TDM

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Thought this was a rather funny quote from the Sweetwater site:

"Most professional headphones (EX-25s included) deliver great sound, so the level of comfort they offer is the real factor that determines whether they're really worth buying or not."

Reality: Headphones, in general (and especially closed back designs), don't sound very good and frequently have odd spikes, curves, and roll-offs in their frequency spectrum. Even paying many hundreds (and sometimes thousands) of dollars won't necessarily get you a pair that sounds neutral and true. You have to audition a lot of headphones, with material you know well, before accessing the sonic quality of a given pair. I've not tried the Direct Sound brand, but I'd caution anyone against believing the type of marketing-speak printed on the Sweetwater web site.

I've tried many pairs of close-back professional headphones (classic studio phones and newer designs) and have been surprised how many fall short sonically. Imaging and sound stage are typically issues, as are shrill high frequencies, boomy lows, and recessed mids. The problem with most of the specific isolation phones I've tried is they are all mids, with no appreciable lows or highs to speak of, or odd sounding lows and highs.

Ultimately, for my own isolation headphone needs, I settled on a new professional design by Shure, the SHR 940. Shure makes some great sounding headphones in their close-back professional line and, in their relative classes, these are bargains for sound quality. However, like other manufacturers, Shure uses a lot of plastic parts and these break. I've babied my various pairs of SRH 940s and none of them have broken, but I've seen lots of broken pairs of these phones. With Shure, you don't get to an all-metal band with all-metal parts in the necessary places until you're at their top-of-the-line close-back, which is around the $500 price point. That's what I'd recommend over the SRH 940s that I'm using presently. The SRH 940s (around $300 USD per pair) sound very neutral, have surprisingly good imaging for close-backs, and provide reasonable isolation and comfort.

Shure SRH 1540
http://www.shure.com/americas/products/headphones/srh1540-premium-closed-back-headphones
 

TDM

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jakeo said:
I've had problems with people pulling the ex29's off with one hand and having the plastic holding the actual earpieces break as Tuckerboy describes. Gotta be careful with them.
This is where the Shure SRH 940 headphones break, too. It's always in one of two places... at the piece that holds the piece connecting to the earbuds or at the piece that controls sizing of the headband. Both places are plastic parts. The all-metal headband and metal connectors of the Shure SRH 1540 headphones solves both problems.
 

organicdrummer

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If you are looking to switch up from the Vic Firths, consider the Ultraphones.
 

Heartbeat

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I love my EX-29's! They are WAY better, both in comfort and sound, than the Vic Firths and not terribly expensive.
 

Spooky

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Tuckerboy said:
The Direct Sound EX29's are nice and fairly comfortable for extended periods of use. I've had a pair for about 7 years and the headpiece where it attaches to the earmuff just recently broke but all parts are replaceable on their website, a big plus because otherwise they are in still in great shape. I've heard the Ultraphones aren't as comfortable as the Direct Sounds but I have no direct experience with them. For smaller practice rooms, I generally use Shure 215's (about $100) or Westone's along with shooters earmuffs so I don't have to turn the volume (metronome) up so much. I haven't got around to doing it yet but Stickinthemud recently had some good information about using cheap silicon earplugs to mold into some in ear 's for even further isolation.
I tried the make your own and they might look funny but the do work pretty well!
Cost about £10 to make.
Great for in the band room and lessons.
Spooky
 

bonzoleum

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supershifter2 said:
I use Realistic Nova 40 Headphones and 3M TEKK -32DB ear plugs and thats perfect. Nigel would also know.
I used to do that a while back with a crappy set of phones I had-I'll give that a whirl with the VF's.

Thanks guys-I've found there are some Zeppelin tunes that can be 'covered' on Youtube, but when I tried to do one, my drums were incredibly overpowering-even when I played super lightly. I think my ears are getting funky too!
 

zenghost

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In my experience, nothing beats a great set of high-quality in-ears (don't have to be uber-pricey) combined with a separate set of passive over-the-ear hearing protection to get the best combination of sound quality AND outside noise reduction. You can easily get a NRR (noise-reduction rating) of 29 or better for low cost with standard ear muffs designed for hearing protection..

The downside, is you can reduce external sound to the degree where you cannot hear your instrument, so this set-up works best with a minimal mic and mixer set-up. You can then custom mix the various inputs (music, room and metronome etc) to meet your needs.

I've tried a fair amount of headphones (even supposed studio monitors designed for isolation) and have never been fully satisfied with the combination of noise reduction or sound quality they offer.
 

bonzoleum

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zenghost said:
In my experience, nothing beats a great set of high-quality in-ears (don't have to be uber-pricey) combined with a separate set of passive over-the-ear hearing protection to get the best combination of sound quality AND outside noise reduction. You can easily get a NRR (noise-reduction rating) of 29 or better for low cost with standard ear muffs designed for hearing protection..

The downside, is you can reduce external sound to the degree where you cannot hear your instrument, so this set-up works best with a minimal mic and mixer set-up. You can then custom mix the various inputs (music, room and metronome etc) to meet your needs.

I've tried a fair amount of headphones (even supposed studio monitors designed for isolation) and have never been fully satisfied with the combination of noise reduction or sound quality they offer.
How much is a set of hi-quality in ears? Do they form the plug to your ear contour?
 

sazemanek1

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I've always used some version of bose noise cancelling headphones over the years. NEVER been disappointed.

SAZ
 

swarfrat

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That reminds me - I used the cheap silicone putty to make molds. Then I made plaster molds from that. And that's where i stopped. I was planning to use the plaster molds to make something a little more durable than the cheap silicone version.
 

Chunkaway

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organicdrummer said:
If you are looking to switch up from the Vic Firths, consider the Ultraphones.
Hell yes to the Ultraphones. They are much more expensive than the Vic Firths, but they blow them out of the water. It isn't close.
 

prplx

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bonzoleum said:
How much is a set of hi-quality in ears? Do they form the plug to your ear contour?
I Use the Shure 425. They have a lot more bass then the 215 a lot of people use, and that is important for me to hear the drum properly. Thet cost around 280 USD. If you want a piece that is molded to your ear, it has to be made by a specialist separatly. I just use one of the many foams that are supplied with the inears and it worls really well.
 


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