Choosing Headphones to Record Sound for Video

Discussion in 'Movi Technical' started by Rorick Edge, Sep 2, 2018.

  1. Rorick Edge

    Rorick Edge Active Member

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    When I'm shooting video I like to monitor the sound regardless of whether I'm recording to an iPhone or a dedicated sound recorder. Basically, I want to know whether the microphone is picking up unwanted sound, which might be anything from electrical interference to wind hits on the mike to the sound of a passing airplane.

    When I'm recording sound to an iPhone, I have to use wireless headphones to monitor. Right now, my headphones of choice, which I own for other reasons, are the Bose QuietComfort 35. My use of these headphones is contrary to internet wisdom, which correctly points out that if one wants to hear unwanted sound, the last thing one wants is active noise cancelling. However, that neglects the fact that it is now possible, on these Bose and at least some similar headphones, to turn off noise cancelling. With noise canceling off, the Bose work just fine. I wouldn't buy the Bose or similar just for the purpose of monitoring sound recording, but if you already own them, they will not only work, they will give you much better battery life than earbuds.

    I also record sound to a stand-alone recorder. This requires wired headphones. In North America, where I live, Sony's MDR-7506 headphones have been the standard for this kind of recording for 30 years. When I got involved in sound recording, they were the obvious choice, mainly because they are what just about everyone uses. However, in 2018 I think that the best way to regard the Sonys is as expendables, which means that if they fail the best solution is to purchase a new pair. Hiring someone to repair them is uneconomic, purchasing Sony spare parts is uneconomic (if they are even available), and repairing them yourself is a frustrating exercise unless you own a multimeter, a Philllips #0 screwdriver, wire cutters, wire strippers and fine needle nose pliers, and are set up for, and handy at, soldering very fine wires.

    When my Sonys failed recently (broken wire), I took the opportunity to check out Sennheiser HD 25 headphones. These have been the standard in Europe for this kind of recording for the same 30 years. They are also the world's most popular headphones among DJs and have a strong following among commuters, or at least did until Apple got rid of smartphone jacks. They are the same headphones that you see sportscasters wear, except that those versions are fitted with a microphone.

    I wound up replacing my Sonys with the Sennheisers and wish that I had purchased them in the first place. For one thing, the Sennheisers are completely modular and parts are readily available. I can fix a break in the wiring in five minutes with nothing more than a Torx T6 screwdriver. The replacement cable costs US$22. The equivalent Sony cable (get out your soldering iron) is US$75, which is about 3/4 of the street price of the Sonys new. The Sennheisers, with cable, are also less than half the weight of the Sonys.

    All of which is to say, if you are in the market for wired headphones to record sound for video, maybe check out the Sennheisers before getting on the Sony bandwagon. The Sonys are cheaper, but there's such a thing as false economy.

    P.S. My local New York sound house tells me that its biggest seller after the Sonys are Sennheiser's HD 280. My sense is that Audio-Technica's ATH-M40x and ATH-M50x headphones also have a following.

    Photos of the Sony MDR-7506 and Sennheiser HD 25:
     

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    #1 Rorick Edge, Sep 2, 2018
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2018
  2. Andy Johnson-Laird

    Andy Johnson-Laird Administrator
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    Interesting information, Rorick.
    Thanks!
    Andy

    Forensic Software & sUAV / Drone Analyst : Photographer : Videographer : Pilot (Portland, Oregon, USA): Trees=2, Ground=1, Props=11. :(
    The Ground Is The Limit™
    ---------- Forensic Drone Analyst : Forensic sUAV Analyst : Forensic Unmanned Aircraft Analyst : Forensic Drone Expert
     
    Rorick Edge likes this.
  3. Stefan Timm

    Stefan Timm New Member

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    Rorick, how exactly do you monitor audio. I'm just asking because I haven't yet found a way to do that.

    Thanks!

    Stefan
     
  4. Rorick Edge

    Rorick Edge Active Member

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    Hi Stefan,

    Could you elaborate a bit? I'm not sure that I understand the question. What are you trying to do that you're having difficulty with?
     
  5. Stefan Timm

    Stefan Timm New Member

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    I‘d like to listen to the audio as it is recorded on the iPhone (e.g. by the Movi app) using blootooth headphones.
     
  6. Rorick Edge

    Rorick Edge Active Member

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    Got it. While Bluetooth bandwidth is likely to expand in the next couple of years, my experience is that at the moment you can't run both headphones/earbuds and the Movi app on Bluetooth at the same time. If I want the Movi app to be active, I record sound to a second iPhone. As a rule, I record sound to a separate device anyway.
     
    #6 Rorick Edge, Sep 5, 2018
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2018

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