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I have both open (Grado SR80s) and closed (AT MX40X) headphones.

The open headphones are unmatched for listening to music (in a quiet room). However, if you have access to a microphone and an audio interface (which you will need for recording anyway), closed-back headphones work much better for practicing. Among the advantages of using closed back headphones are:

1. You'll be able to hear yourself the way an audience would, and you will thus get used to shaping your sound to match the way you would want to be heard.
2. The closed back headphones can provide some hearing protection in case you're practicing loudly and/or in a 'live' room.
3. You can independently control your volume and that of your accompaniment/backing track/etc.

About 90% of my saxophone practice is into a microphone with closed-back headphones in a WhisperRoom. For flute and clarinet, which are significantly quieter, I spend much more time practicing without headphones in an open room.
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I bought a pair of Sony MDRXB650BT/B a few years ago and love them. They are Bluetooth, good sound, isolated...just work really well. Always have had good luck with Sony headphones. Link below.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01BY7ZMXC/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_tai_BaTDCb93F6RKE


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How do you get around the lag when you are recording / practicing? I can see that this works if you just listen to backing tracks and don't tie in your own instrument so there is just an initial lag but after that you just play along with a delayed track but if you add your own instrument to the phone output and you are stuck with a 1/2 sec delay, that won't work. That's why I went RF wireless which does not suffer from that issue.

But maybe you have a workaround?
 

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I personally prefer the open back for recording and playing along. Part of the sound feedback process is hearing the horn in the room. If you use closed back, and listen to the mic sound, you don't get that feedback.

In virtually every recording or live sound situation I've been in, where headphones were used, one of the following two things happened:

1) The phones were open back, and all horn players were happy
2) The phones were closed back, and horn players uncovered one of their ears.

It's probably more important in any kind of section work, as you need to blend with the other musicians.

The only time that I ever played with closed back phones on both ears was when backing up Englebert Humperdinck. He supplied phones to the band, primarily because the on-stage sound was TOO FREAKING LOUD!!!!! The headphones provided a form of protection. I still used ear plugs. It was an uncomfortable gig...
 

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Audio Technica. the M30X or 40X
I'm going to +1 this and one up it. The Audio-Technica ATH-M50x are some of the best sounding and performing headphones on the market. Clear, crisp, uncolored, good isolation. Not too uncomfortable to wear for long periods of time. I use them mix my symphony recordings on still (even though I Have some nice Genelec 1031As that I use most of the time.) And not too expensive. You can often find them for $125-130, and the regular retail price is $150.
 

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If you want to train yourself to have a great recorded sound, you'll want something with great isolation and sound quality, a good mic, signal chain, etc. If you want something just to practice along with and still hear your natural sound in the room, a speaker setup is best. Open back cans will be second best. The more open, the better, and the more transparent the pads, the better. Some of the Sennheisers have big soft, fluffy pads that barely block sound at all.
 

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Instead of open-backs, you could always try some ambient earbuds. They probably don't sound as good as cans, but you can also wear them unobtrusively on stage for self-monitoring, or while running in traffic. They're very portable, provide some hearing protection, and no one else can hear what you're hearing.
 

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Hello

Im going to get me some quality headphones. I will be using them for listening to music, play along, and sometimes recording myself play(just for training purposes only, so any music bleed dosent matter)

Im wondering if I will be able to hear myself as clearly when I'm playing along with them on? Should I buy headphones that's less isolated? or should I get full isolated and listening to myself trough the mic?

Or is it more ideal to have the play along on speakers?

Thanks for help
if you play along to speakers you're mic will pick up the speakers, which you probably don't want when mixing different inputs, but some situations it don't matter. as far as hearing yourself, the sax is a field horn. the best headphones might slightly muffle the sound you hear. (which can be a minor blessing, tinnitus wise.) but given how much a vibrating skull can effect what you think you're hearing, i think it's always good to record a few sound checks and adjust to what best suits your taste before laying down you're first serious take.
 

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Should you decide to go with 'full isolated' headphones, try playing with them on, but keep the mic off. What you are going to hear is the reed and nothing else. It's quite amazing, if you never did that before. Joseph Allard was quoted as saying: Play the reed, not the mouthpiece. Now, just how can you tell, with all that rich sound coming from brass and enriched even more by the echoes? Well, with the isolating headphones on, you are going to hear the reed and nothing else. I do it once in a while while practicing my etudes, it helps me hear and heal the core of my sound.
Interesting tip Stelian. I've never heard or thought of trying this. Thanks for this suggestion. This kind of shared knowledge is what I love about this forum.
 

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Beats Solo 3 headphones are really good sound isolators but you’ll end up playing with one ear off. Sound quality is really good and the Bluetooth connectivity is excellent. Used with a Mac and iPhone X. Long term comfort is good and comes with carrying case. $150?. Came with computer bundle.
 

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I've been recording for a number of years and bought what the old engineer guys told me were the best. Those are AKG K240s. They are comfortable and sound great but they are open on the sides and will bleed. When that's a problem, like on quieter stuff, I use my Sony MDR 7506s. They're almost as good for clarity. Better if all you want to do is listen to your album collection. They don't have the midrange hump that the AKGs have.
 

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OP has a ton of opinions to comb through at this point, and that's not a surprise. When people get headphones they like, they tend to REALLY like them and evangelize them. I'm no exception. I've had my Sony MDR-7506 phones for about ten years at this point and they're great. My wife and my dad now own a pair too. We all love em. A hundred bucks for the industry standard that you'll find in basically every recording studio on earth is a solid deal.

As far as OP's question about "are open-back or closed-back headphones better for saxophone," I mean... no? Neither will be better or worse for saxophone. It'll be completely up to personal taste, and whichever you end up liking more is how you should go. But if you were to order a pair of the Sonys or a pair of the Grados totally blind, just get em and try em out, I think you'd be happy either way. No reason to go over the hundred-dollar-ish budget for headphones unless you're a serious audiophile or a professional mixing/mastering engineer, in my opinion.
 

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If you're budget conscious (under $50), you might check out some of the over-ear Koss headphones. They sound nice, although they're not made to take a lot of punishment. I used to use some AKG headphones that were great, until they broke. With the high frequency loss I have, I'm not sure I'd drop $100 on a pair of headphones at this point.

Lots of good recommendations already, if you were looking to spend more. AKG, Audio Technica, Sennheiser, Sony...they all make good headphones, it just depends what style you like and how you feel about the sound.
 

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I am a big fan of Beyer dynamic headphones. They are very accurate and pleasant to listen to. I own a pair of DT880's and a pair of DT 1350. Make sure, unless you have a headphone amp, the version you buy is 250 ohm or lower. No headphone is more comfortable than the DT 880. I could listen to them for hours.

https://www.cnet.com/news/theres-something-so-right-about-the-beyerdynamic-dt-1350-headphones/
https://kenrockwell.com/audio/beyer/dt-880.htm
https://kenrockwell.com/audio/beyer/dt-1350.htm
 
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