Headset?

Edited: May 21, 2021, 7:38 PM · I'm learning several unexpected lessons while recording my 1st violin part for my student ensemble (first time as first violin!) - I was provided the 2nd violin part and the music. It's easy (part of Handel's Water Music) as we are all learning the technology - including my teacher - and I've had some very unexpected recording issues. For whatever reason I simply cannot record using my bluetooth earbuds with my Blue Yeti as it sounds awful. I've all the right settings for both input and output, but there it is.

I've discovered my recording is far better if I use a headset that does not have a microphone and that I can't actually hear my teacher's recording well enough unless I use a full over-the ear headset. I do have a (very) old headset that does the trick nicely. But it has a cord which I hate.

Curious if anyone here uses a blue tooth over-the-ear headset for recording, and has suggestions. I've not yet decided if I really need noise canceling to tamp my sound back a bit so I can hear my teacher's recording. Trying not to spend more than I need to. A Bose headset WOULD be lovely :-)

Also curious if anyone has had issue with recording when two microphones are present even when the settings are correct.

Replies (11)

May 21, 2021, 8:07 PM · I find that wireless headsets just don't cut it for real-time stuff, even when they're very high-end. I'd go with a wired headset.

I consider my Audio-Technica MSR7s to be fairly decent for this purpose.

Edited: May 21, 2021, 8:47 PM · The interesting thing is the actual quality of the sound recorded is different, almost like my laptop is picking up input from both microphones, the recorded sound is quite harsh. I also never had the chance to really relearn how to play with others before the lockdown so it's definitely a learning experience to need to play the 1st violin part while listening to the 2nd. Thankfully my teacher is moving me to alternating in-person/Zoom lessons starting next week.

Thanks for the advice Lydia, I will check out the brand you mentioned.

May 21, 2021, 8:51 PM · I agree with Lydia. I would not use Bluetooth headphones. The lag is too high.

Most headphones will sound good enough unless they're super cheap. One headset that I had for a long time that I really liked was the AKG K-240. It looks massive but it's surprisingly comfortable and the cups go all the way over your ears. I thought I would "upgrade" to $300 Sennheiser headset, but it's not as comfortable as the AKG, AND it has one of those springy-spiral type cords that always gets in the way. A plain straight wire is better because you can clip it to your clothes with a simple clothespin. Your other option is just earbuds, but again they should not be wireless.

By the way, real-time wireless IS possible and performers do it all the time, but it's radio-frequency (FM), not Bluetooth.

If your microphone has a gain knob consider turning it down. You could be clipping the mic preamp.

May 21, 2021, 9:04 PM · Paul, thanks, will check that model as well. My gain setting has been the same for a year (and it is turned up but will change that). I have to wonder if some system update is behind it as even Zoom lessons are impacted now. Regardless, my experiment proves I need to not use bluetooth for this.
May 21, 2021, 10:07 PM · My Bluetooth earbuds have a "headset" mode and a "headphone" mode. If you use headphone mode (the earbuds' mic is inactive) with the USB mic selected and it's still bad, I don't know. My laptop's built-in mic is also "present" so there are three in the vicinity, but as long as I have headphone mode plus USB mic, everything is fine.

I dislike the cord too but find that it helps a little to have it behind my head/neck instead of in front as one would typically use it.

May 22, 2021, 7:13 AM · Hi,

I had a lot of problems recording properly on an improper setup :).

There are options depending on what exactly you want to achieve but if you need to listen to a recording from your computer and then play in real-time or hear your instrument in real time you need to invest in an audio interface a 2x2 minimum and with loop back functionality ideally .

Otherwise you might do with a usb mic that has a headphone out for monitoring . As other said I wouldn’t use Bluetooth headphone because of the latency unless you just want to hear a metronome or the reference track then sync them with software.

May 22, 2021, 8:40 AM · I've a Blue Yeti microphone that does great, I think I just need a good wired headset and I'm addressing that today at a local store as I need to record tonight and they have the one Paul suggested. I appreciate all of the helpful comments, I think it all comes down to Bluetooth. I will reserve those buds for my phone :)
May 22, 2021, 8:55 AM · Catherine, I would be interested to get your review of the AKG K-240 headphones. Good luck with your recording.
May 22, 2021, 3:03 PM · Sennheiser HD58x through Drop:

https://drop.com/buy/massdrop-x-sennheiser-hd-58x-jubilee-headphones

I use many headphones or sometimes earphones daily (99% of the time while outside home.) While I have no favorite headphone, for this specific purpose the HD-58x is an amazing value for the money. Long cable, but it is sturdy, "non-tangly", and easily replaceable for a short one. Generally quite "neutral" sound, which is good for listening recordings or "monitoring". Now made in Romania, they used to be made in Ireland, just like the HD-600 and many others. Mine is from Ireland. Reviews indicate there is no quality loss from the switch to their new Romania-based factory.

Sennheiser HD560s (retails at $199.99)-a slightly more recent release, have not tried it but bound to have a similarly neutral tone. Designed in Germany, made in China. I have another similarly made headphone, the HD599, and this type of headphone is extremely comfortable.

(The HD58x is very comfortable once they are worn a lot-some people manually stretch them out a bit when new. Do not be afraid of reviews claiming the HD58x is not comfortable. I could have it on my head forever without noticing.)

Audio Technica ATH-R70x-another extremely neutral and wonderful sounding headphone at a higher price range ($349.99). Super comfortable. Natural, "bouncy" bass tone (none of these headphones are super bassy), super long, replaceable cable, designed for a "reference" tone so you will hear what you record.

You can always get the HD600, though the price goes up and down in the market. The HD58x should not really be much worse. I bought my Massdrop Jubilees at 149.99!

None of these three are closed headphones-you will hear everything around you. They are over the ear, open headphones. All should have a very pleasant sound signature, so you can also enjoy your music collection through them. Of these, I only do not have the HD560s, but am experienced with the others, and end up using the HD58x Jubilee the most, for practical purposes (the Audio Technica R70x requires more amp power than usual, and I have not replaced it's longer-than-a-jump-rope cable-that one is better left to enjoy music-or your own recordings-at home.)

The Audio Technica msr7 Ms. Leong uses is a very good headphone-I would gladly use, though I still do not have it. It is closed over ear, but with a bit more sizzle on the upper mids and highs, so not entirely neutral (I enjoy such highs myself.) The msr7 is not hugely sibilant, though.

I do have the generally disliked Beyerdynamic DT990 just because I do like high frequency sizzle more than most. It sounds "neutral", but with a more overt emphasis on certain high frequencies that some are not/cannot get used to.

The first three I mentioned should be excellent to truly hear yourself, granted good recording conditions were met in the first place. They also work great with music, especially classical, but really with everything for my taste. The best value is the HD580x (only available through Drop), but at least the HD560s is not too expensive, relatively speaking. No need for an HD800 for what you are trying to achieve.

I would not recommend the famous Audio Technica m50x. Even the MSR7 would be more neutral, and better sounding. It is not so cheap at 149.99 anyway.

Do not go for wireless technology for these purposes-it is but a modern gimmick to show off how you do not need cables on the road or at home. The audio signal is affected for the most part, and it is not worth the sacrifice. I have zero wireless headphones/earphones products, and even the "best" ones do not convince me. These type of products also brought about the elimination of the headphone jack on most modern devices-the curse of Apple being at the vanguard of a lot of mobile tech. Mostly everybody followed/is following suit. No one needs wireless earbuds/headphones. Cables work well enough, and present a purer signal. Not being an old anti-tech curmudgeon, but expressing my views on what I deem are the "facts" on these matters, biased of course by my own preferences.

Edited: May 22, 2021, 8:51 PM · Adalberto - thanks for your thoughts! My needs right now are quite basic and didn't want to spend that much at this time. If/when I outgrow my K-240 I will certainly keep the suggestions both you and Lydia made in mind. I also needed something today, literally. It was still a difficult decision to make. I was very curious about the Audio Technica MSR7 headphones Lydia recommended but it wasn't available locally to purchase today, or I might have.
Edited: May 22, 2021, 9:25 PM · John, I did purchase the AKG K-240 locally and I've some initial thoughts. Time will tell how my opinion might change. Please keep in mind that I am barely intermediate (Suzuki 4), and my needs simple. I just needed to be able to hear my teacher/director well enough while playing a part different from his provided track without the headphones tamping down or distorting my own sound while playing. I needed it TODAY. A few thoughts:

1. I am barely 5'3 in my stocking feet, and this headset is almost too large for me. At its smallest it is almost too loose - but it works. This may not be a concern for most. (can't try them on in the store for obvious reasons right now). I found it quite comfortable, once I saw that it really wasn't TOO large. It also isn't very heavy, so comfortable to wear even with glasses.

2. It does have a partial open-back design which had me a little concerned with a possible lack of isolation. Just to be safe I cut the gain back even further on my Blue Yeti, and I couldn't detect any leakage in my recording. I will wait to hear my teachers feedback after he starts mixing.

3. The cord is a very good length, about 8ish feet - which means I don't have to stand in one place unless I actually need to do so. This is a good thing, the more confined I feel, the odder my bowing angle gets :-)

4. The sound seemed neutral, which is really what I want. That's all I can say about the sound before I work with it some more.

So my first use of the AKG K-240 headphones is positive. I do wish it were a little smaller, or adjusted smaller, but I think it will be fine.


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