Studio Reference Headphones - Neumann NDH20




You get what you pay for...


Today, most guitar/bass players do SOME studio work, even if it's in their own home studio using a digital audio workstation (DAW). Every Mac comes with Garageband so it's just almost routine to record a track now and then.


For the serious musician who wants to record and mix music, reference monitors are very important.


Back in the day when I learned recording (on a 32-track tape recorder no less) we were taught to mix using the speakers we thought that our audience was using. That meant thin, tinny, car radio speakers for instance.


Today, a vast majority of music is consumed via headphones. So it makes sense not only to have basic studio reference monitors to mix, but to have studio reference headphones as well.


My pick is the Neumann NDH20 closed-back studio headphone. At $500, you will no doubt experience some sticker shock but you get what you pay for.


When you see the name Neumann, you already know you are dealing with quality. But there's a reason for that. The German company knows audio.


In the studio, you want accuracy. This is no place for BEATS headphones with juiced up bass. You want to know what the mix really sounds like, without influence. And it helps if you have good isolation, solid stereo imaging and high resolution.


I like the Neumann NDH20 cans because they they feature ircumaural memory foam ear pads designed for superior isolation and exceptional comfort during long listening sessions.


For reference work, I prefer closed back phones like these because they allow monitoring without outside distractions. The noise from the headphone speakers doesn't bleed out either.


There is no mechanically induced noise coloration and the linear frequency response is outstanding. This is achieved because the 1.5" drivers use high-gauss neodymium magnets for high sensitivity and minimal distortion.


The construction is steel. Yep - steel. That's how you build things to last. No cheap plastic here. And for $500 there better not be anything cheap on this headphone.


The unit folds for easy packing and transit and has two detachable cables - straight or coiled. There is a 1/4" adapter included in the box as you would expect.


Thanks to its extended 5Hz–30kHz frequency response, the NDH 20s are particularly helpful for checking the upper and lower extremes of the audio band. Unlike many other closed-back headphones, the NDH 20s are well-suited for mixing purposes too. Their unusually flat frequency response and natural stereo image allow for mixing with confidence and ensuring that your mixes will translate to all playback systems.


SUMMARY


Neumann NDH 20 Closed-back Studio Headphones Features:


Linear sound balance, like Neumann’s acclaimed studio monitors

1.5" drivers with high-gauss neodymium magnets

Extended 5Hz–30kHz frequency response

Free from mechanically induced colorations

Excellent isolation allows working in noisy environments

Transparent sound with high resolution

Long-term comfort, easy transportation


CONCLUSION


Believe it or not, you can spend 10 times this much money for reference headphones, but based on my tests, you cannot get 10 times the performance for those dollars making the Neumann product a solid choice.

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