Monitoring Audio: Headphones or Near-field Monitors?

KRK Rokit 8" G3 Near Field Monitor If you're looking to improve the sound for your film or video projects, you need a way to listen to your sound so that you know whether it's as good as you'd like. If you're like me, you're not doing your audio post-production work in an acoustically treated studio or control room. More likely you've got a home office or spare bedroom.

And you don't typically want awesome hi-fi speakers for this job because hi-fi speakers are meant to make everything sound as good as possible. They are usually designed to add a little more bass and a little more treble.

What you really need is a brutally honest sound that is as accurate as possible. And that's the job of near-field monitors and reference headphones.

So in cases like mine where you're working in a spare bedroom, do you go with near field monitors or do you go with a good set of headphones? Do you try to acoustically treat your room? Ideally, both.

That's a tough question that I haven't totally answered even for myself. I have a set of the KRK Rokit 8 near field monitors. But they're not exactly perfect, particularly since the room I'm working in is FAR from acoustically perfect. I recently bought a reference measurement mic and used FuzzMeasure to see how long various frequencies hang around in my room. It wasn't pretty at all. Like almost all small household bedrooms, the bass lingers forever. And you might think, "You must get amazing bass sound in that room." But no, it is actually quite the opposite. The bass is mushy and creates all sorts of comb filtering. So I'm not getting an accurate picture of my recordings at all. How frustrating!

So I've got a DIY project in motion to see if I can address that issue by trapping some of that extraneous bass. More on that in the future.

Beyerdynamic DT770 Pro

I also have a set of Beyerdynamic DT770 Pro 32 ohm headphones that I bought several years ago. These are closed-back headphones that sound very good, but they have a closed back design. This makes them very good for use when you're recording (so that sound doesn't spill out and back into the mic) but to get the most accurate sound, most reference headphones have an open-back design. Evidently you just can't get reference accurate sound in a closed back design.

AKG K712 Pro

So I'm now on the hunt for a decent pair of reference headphones. I've got my eyes on the AKG K712 Pro reference headphones. Anyone out there have experience with these? There are several other options in the same pricerange. Audio Technica has a new offering but their marketing materials say very little about accuracy. I realize that's very difficult or impossible to capture in specifications.