Tag Archives: studio recording

Headphone Review — In-Ear, On-Ear, and Over-Ear

There are too many options to choose from when buying a new set of headphones.  We wanted to share with you a few of our favorite products to potentially help narrow down your search, cause we care.  We care about your ears.  You’re welcome.

In-Ear Headphones

We’ve seen the life and death of several in-ear headphone models.  A durable headphone is vital when you’re always on the run.  But of course, we’re always looking out for the best audio quality available.  We recommend the Klipsch S series in-ears.  You can buy a pair of S4i’s for $99 on Amazon here.  The highs are crisp, the mids cut through, and there’s just enough bass to fill the low end.  

Klipsch Image S4i Rugged - Red All Weather In-Ear Headphones

Klipsch Image S4i Rugged – Red All Weather In-Ear Headphones

We opted for the Rugged model, which boasts the following features for awesome outdoor abuse:

  • All weather design resists moisture and functions thru extreme elements
  • Ruggedized with tough rubber moldings
  • X-large 3-button remote for easy control during outdoor activity

The only con we can think of is they are not quite as loud as some of the Sennheiser, the Sony, and the Bose In-Ears of the past, but they make up in functionality, durability, and style!  Gotta look good…

On-Ear Headphones

This is an easy one.  Gotta go with our friends at LSTN Headphones.  We received a pair of Cherry Wood Fillmores earlier this year, and fell in love at first listen.  The cherry wood casing adds a unique acoustic quality to the sound, warming up the mids and adding clarity at the same time!  Plus, you get a great bass tone without the “blowing out your eardrums” effect you get with some powered headphones.  “WHAT?!?  Sorry, I can’t hear you because I’ve been blowing my ears out.”

Cherry Wood Fillmores

Cherry Wood Fillmores

Also, the compactable (word?) design makes them great for on-the-go listening.  Just fold them up, throw them in the included travel bag, and head out to catch your flight, road trip, library, whatever you crazy kids do.  Whippersnappers.

Did we mention it’s all for a GREAT cause?  Proceeds from your purchase go to LSTN charity partners for the deaf, helping to restore hearing for children in need.  Pretty awesome, right?  Pick up a pair for just $100, a great buy at this price point.

Over-Ear Headphones

Being pro audio folks, we get serious when it comes to over-ear headphones.  We spend a lot of hours with over-ears, so they have to be good.  Comfort is important, clarity of sound, and a flat, frequency response.  We’ve tried most of the major brands, the Audio Technicas, the Shures, the Sennheisers, Sonys, AKG.  You can spend upwards of $600 or more on studio headphones.  We don’t do that.  $100 will buy you a nice pair of pro audio phones.  The Sennheiser HD 280 Pro is a solid choice for pro audio, with great noise cancellation and a good bit of low end response.  We tend to throw a pair of HD 280’s in the vocal booth to ensure no audio, other than the vocal itself, leaks into the microphone.  But as much as we like the Sennheisers for tracking, we tend to reach for the Shure SRH440 to mix our sessions.

Shure SRH440 Professional Studio Headphones

Shure SRH440
Professional Studio Headphones

The SRH440 model brings a flat frequency response with strong mids and a crystal clear high end to tame the unpleasant nuances.  Comfortable and lightweight, the Shure SRH440’s are great for hours spent mixing in the studio, or maybe to block out Dad’s singing on that long roadtrip to Wally World.  The Shure does lack a bit of low end bass response, but that’s what monitors and a subwoofer are for!  We typically use the SRH440 to reference guitars, vocals, overheads and other instruments that exceed the 150Hz range before switching to our studio monitors to zero in on the bass instruments.  Many of our engineer confidants ask to use our Shure phones when we visit their studios.  We be like “stop stealing our headphones” and they be like “no”.

Thanks and please let us know if you have any questions at all.  Sign up for our email newsletter here and never miss another blog post from Blue House Records.

Keep it funky,

Engineer Phil Tan Talks Music Industry, Recording and Mixing Rihanna’s “Diamonds”

Great video featuring Full Sail graduate Phil Tan discussing working in the music industry, recording and mixing Rihanna’s hit single “Diamonds”, and letting the music designate your mixing technique and workflow.

Tracking Vocals – 3.11.13

We laid down some vocal takes today for Alexa’s song “Giving Up On You”.  Signal routing is as follows:

Blue Baby Bottle Condensor → Focusrite ISA One Preamp → dbx 160x compressor/limiter → Digidesign 003 rack → Pro Tools 10

Alexa tracking vocals on the Blue Baby Bottle

Alexa tracking vocals through the Blue Baby Bottle.

Alexa Tracking Vocals 2

Fun fact, that kick drum head in the background survived nearly 15 years of abuse by way of Travis Tatman and friends. Now it’s a wall ornament with fun stickers.

Signal is routed from Focusrite Preamp to dbx 160x to control dynamics, but we usually keep the ratio and attack settings low while tracking.

The signal is routed from a Focusrite Preamp to a 1970’s era dbx 160x to control dynamics, but we usually keep the ratio and attack settings low while tracking to avoid over compressing the signal.

Solid little setup.  The Presonus D8 Preamp sounds great on drums, and adds an extra 8 XLR inputs to your signal chain when connected via digital fiber optic cable.

Solid little setup. The Presonus D8 Preamp sounds great on drums, and adds an extra 8 XLR inputs to your signal chain when connected via digital fiber optic cable.

Working with Alexa has been a lot of fun.  She's got some great material and really has a handle on her music style.  Excited to post new music soon.

Working with Alexa has been a lot of fun. She’s got  great material and really has a handle on her musical style. Excited to post some crunchy new jams very soon!!!  Until then, keep it funky.  – TT

Tracking in Westwood, CA – 3.2.13

Currently working on an EP with a talented singer/songwriter out of LA.  The music style is a kind of pop rock mix with elements of R&B and even some Blues.  Will post music samples soon.  Until then, here are a couple pics from our session last Saturday.


The Blue Baby Bottle condensor microphone sounds great on the high end frequencies, which is perfect to throw over the hi hat and snare. Really able to capture those crisp hi hat notes and the snappy rim shots with this setup.


Still going with the Sennheiser e902 kick drum mic. All it takes is this guy to get a solid thump, and when absolutely needed, we add a bit of sample kick from the Steven Slate Drum pack to get a bit more high end punch.


Loving the current recording setup. DAW, Compressor and Preamp all in one case, a case for cables, a case for mics, and the laptop, and we’re off to the studio to make records. Nice!


There’s just way too much going on here. But man does that Gibson ES 137 sound great through that Marshall cab… mmmm hmmmm