Kabinet vs. Studio Headphones EQ

  • Hi.


    I have both the Kemper Kabinet and a pair of Beyerdynamic DT-880 Pro headphones. I do NOT yet have monitor speakers.


    What I realized is that the EQs of my profiles sound quite different between the headphones and the Kabinet. I usually much prefer the sound of the Kabinet since it has more presence and clarity than the headphones. If I adjust a profile with headphones it often sounds too harsh and spikey with the Kabinet.

    I picked the 880 Pros since they are supposed to be some of the most neutral studio headphones out there.

    I usually play the Kabinet somewhere around -30db and -25db since it's a tiny room I'm practicing in.


    Here are my questions:


    1. How come I hear such a difference between neutral headphones and the Kabinet? (I already tried to play with the SPACE function)


    2. Which of the two sounds would be closer to the FOH experience?


    3. When it comes to recording: I have a waves plugin in which I can choose my headphones and then it compensates the EQ. The result is quite different from the EQ without the plugin. Is there a point to this although the headphones are actually famous for sounding neutral?


    4. At what db level does the Kabinet sound most "as it is" or "neutral" or does that depend on the profile? What I mean is, if I use the Kabinet as a stage monitor, at what db level will it sound most like what the audience hears via FOH? In my experience the tonal profile changes quite a bit with different volume levels of my Kabinet.


    Thanks for your input!

  • I am going through the same problem, I try to adjust at home with headphones, I practice with a powered FRFR and than mic the FRFR for live. Some profiles sound great in the headphones and not so much through the FRFR. I am am planning on going straight from the Stage to FOH if we ever play again (Scheduled for March) but I want to tweak from my headphones at home because I can't play loud there and I don't have access to the main PA. I did get some good responses from some smart people on this post.

    From what I have read sound will change at higher volumes so I would think the sound you here from the Kemper Kabinet should be closer to the FOH than the headphones.

    “I used to jog but the ice cubes kept falling out of my glass.”

    Dave Lee Roth of Van Halen - 1979

    Edited 3 times, last by sstauffer ().

  • This is a nice thread as I have been going through headphones for almost two weeks now. Plugged my Kabinet in once and went back to the phones. I'll stay with them until I start to blow out my ears. I tend to bounce back and forth between the two depending on my mood. Noticed the profile differences myself.

  • Just one doubt has arisen to me reading this interesting thread: probably I misundestand but, cutting a long story short, the sound from FOH will always remain a mistery until we give it a try? No matter how good it has previously sounded, for instance through Monitor Output to Kabinet, will it sound different sent to FOH from Main Output? Thanks

  • Just one doubt has arisen to me reading this interesting thread: probably I misundestand but, cutting a long story short, the sound from FOH will always remain a mistery until we give it a try? No matter how good it has previously sounded, for instance through Monitor Output to Kabinet, will it sound different sent to FOH from Main Output? Thanks

    FOH will always be a different entity of "FRFR" speakers, and despite the claim no "FRFR" (be it FOH speakers, stage monitors or studio monitors) will ever sound exactly the same.

    That said the Kemper Kabinet (in FRFR mode, not with the imprints) will at least be in the same ballpark than what you feed to FOH.

  • although the DT880 may be relatively neutral they are not flat. No headphone or speaker is. Therefore, monitoring is about getting a sound that will “translate” well not a sound that will be the same on different systems


    .


    Also, and perhaps the biggest factor, the headphones are firing straight into your ears with no room ambience whereas the speaker is in a room and you are hearing direct and ambient sounds together. The space feature is supposed to help with this but every room is different so it is only a generic ambience.


    in reality, the sound on headphones will always be different than the sound over speakers.

  • Isn't there a setting for the headphone output to add "space" to it to sound more comparable?


    You can add a thick foam spacer to each ear so the headphones don't sound so "boomy". Just don't tell no one I said so. :P



    (I already tried to play with the SPACE function)

    As you can see, I wrote in my initial post that this isn't about space. Space (which is always on for me) gives room but doesn't change EQ.

  • That said the Kemper Kabinet (in FRFR mode, not with the imprints) will at least be in the same ballpark than what you feed to FOH.

    But: Say I find the sound over the Kabinet just slightly too trebly, isn't that unpleasantness amplified over the louder FOH? Don't behave lows, mids and highs differently when amplified?


    At the beginning of my Kemper journey I found that M Britt profiles sounded a bit too dull and muffled for recording (still often think so). But played loud they are a bit more pleasant than many of the competitors' profiles because they lack sharpness.

  • in reality, the sound on headphones will always be different than the sound over speakers.

    But of course, other music can sound perfectly balanced over the headphones. I once spend a day listening to reference tracks via the headphones and tweaking my profiles in a way that they sounded like they could be in the actual mix of that band. But then played loud through the Kabinet really didn't sound great.


    Should I assume that the profiles we use for recording are not 1:1 the profiles we use for band rehearsal / gig / playing loud?

    It does make sense to me, but then - isn't one of the main selling arguments for the Kemper that we can use EXACTLY the sounds we use on our recordings also in a live situation?

  • isn't one of the main selling arguments for the Kemper that we can use EXACTLY the sounds we use on our recordings also in a live situation?

    Consider if you really want the same sound live as you do when recording. Many of the artists that used crazy amounts of gear live, like stacks of cabs/amp, or ridiculous amounts of rack mounted gear and switchers and load boxes, and slaved amps, etc., ect., used a Fender Champ, or Roland Cube to get the sounds we love on the recordings.

  • Consider if you really want the same sound live as you do when recording. Many of the artists that used crazy amounts of gear live, like stacks of cabs/amp, or ridiculous amounts of rack mounted gear and switchers and load boxes, and slaved amps, etc., ect., used a Fender Champ, or Roland Cube to get the sounds we love on the recordings.

    I think you misunderstood what I meant. It's exactly the other way round - get me that great sound of the champ from the studio for the audience, too.

  • 1. How come I hear such a difference between neutral headphones and the Kabinet? (I already tried to play with the SPACE function)


    2. Which of the two sounds would be closer to the FOH experience?


    3. When it comes to recording: I have a waves plugin in which I can choose my headphones and then it compensates the EQ. The result is quite different from the EQ without the plugin. Is there a point to this although the headphones are actually famous for sounding neutral?


    4. At what db level does the Kabinet sound most "as it is" or "neutral" or does that depend on the profile? What I mean is, if I use the Kabinet as a stage monitor, at what db level will it sound most like what the audience hears via FOH? In my experience the tonal profile changes quite a bit with different volume levels of my Kabinet.

    Hey Kaschko,

    here my thoughts/answers to your questions:

    1st as many wrote before there is not one but many headphone sounds. I had the 880 and sold them because of the same experiances you mentioned. But great headphones for just listening!!! I found per accident the Sennheiser HD 380 pro that suits my needs. It is very flat in the high register but has a warm but punchy low end.

    2nd For me it was a try and error with bringing recordings of my favorite profiles to my stereo, my car stereo, my phone..... and it took some time to build a knowledge which profiles work FOR ME as FOH, rehearsals and recording experiance. Now I mostly select new profiles that are working in all my environments. I still use a 1960 Marshall 4x12 cab with a 8080 linear power amp for rehearsals, only use the house monitors when gigging.

    3rd no experiances

    4th no exect meaning... I mean I love my headphone sound loud but not unhealthy..... I love my Marshall moving air... and I live with the compromises on non-professional stages.

    Best regards

  • But of course, other music can sound perfectly balanced over the headphones. I once spend a day listening to reference tracks via the headphones and tweaking my profiles in a way that they sounded like they could be in the actual mix of that band. But then played loud through the Kabinet really didn't sound great.


    Should I assume that the profiles we use for recording are not 1:1 the profiles we use for band rehearsal / gig / playing loud?

    It does make sense to me, but then - isn't one of the main selling arguments for the Kemper that we can use EXACTLY the sounds we use on our recordings also in a live situation?

    One of the other things I said in the post you quoted was that the objective with setting profiles (just like mixing full recorded tracks) is always to get a sound that "translates well" to multiple setups and environments. Even great album mixes sound different on every system or room. That is why many people listen on multiple setups (like Hudiluma described) and effectively average out the sounds to get something that works pretty well on most systems.


    As for the DT880, you might have noticed in the frequency plot I posted that they appear to have a massive 12dB boost around 6k so even good relatively "neutral headphones or speakers are far from flat.


  • But: Say I find the sound over the Kabinet just slightly too trebly, isn't that unpleasantness amplified over the louder FOH? Don't behave lows, mids and highs differently when amplified?

    That's why you need to tweak your profiles loud (ca. 85-95 dB) because that’s when the Fletcher-Munson curves are most flat.

  • Well I love my Kemper but still struggling to find a tone that matches all. Although it is obvious to me that it is for metal nearly impossible if not having a backuptrack of your recordings.
    Anyway I came closer with a free TMS Profile that works great for rehearsal/live and for some songs. However for recordings I still use Metal Profiles of Josh Middleton. Currently only two of 150 working on my recordings (due to masking and gain structure).
    Live you cannot hear „anything“ - kind of crazy. Therefore I use different profiles and still found out that even every song needs a slightly different profile to work. Though not yet figured out why.

    If anyone has any idea how to get that one tone I would be pleased to know as there is also the aspect of gain (live sound less gain, recording massive gain or double tracking)... and I also use the 880 which is difficult to translate with.

  • That's why you need to tweak your profiles loud (ca. 85-95 dB) because that’s when the Fletcher-Munson curves are most flat.

    Super interesting. Can you expand on that? How far do I have to be away from the sound source (Kabinet or Monitors) to judge and from where do I measure the db level? From my position or directly in front of the speaker?

  • Super interesting. Can you expand on that? How far do I have to be away from the sound source (Kabinet or Monitors) to judge and from where do I measure the db level? From my position or directly in front of the speaker?

    Read this up here, explains it well:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Loudness

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Equal-loudness_contour

    ;)