In this Avantone MP1 MixPhones review, I’ll discuss what features and aspects make it a great pro audio choice, by highlighting what others who’ve satisfied with the phones have been saying, as well as detail some essential specs.
You’ll learn about the sound quality (like the Avantone MP1 frequency response), it’s strong points, and if there are any drawbacks.
By the end of this post, you should know a lot more about these unique cans, and be able to decide for yourself whether they are a right fit for you.
Exciting stuff… Now to begin! 🙂
Avantone MP1 MixPhones – General Info
- Ear Cup Design: Circumaural Over ear, Closed-back
- Frequency Response: 18Hz – 25kHz
- Driver size: Large format 50mm drivers
- Rated power:15mW
- Maximum power: 30mW
- SPL: 113dB IEC-318@1mW, 1kHz
- Impedance: 16ohm +/-2.4 (15%)
- Shipping Weight: 3lbs
- One straight 3m cable – 1/8″ TRS with threaded 1/4″ adapter
- One spring collapsible 1m cable – 1/8″ TRS with threaded 1/4″ adapter
- Soft carrying bag
- Padded box
Avantone Pro MP1 – Overview
The manufacturer claims that this is the first ever produced multi-purpose headphone for pro audio use.
That means, you can use it for critical listening, mixing, recording, and general listening purposes.
This is because it features something called a “Triple Play Personal Monitor with Vari-Voice.” Which is just a fancy way of saying that it’s suitable for live sound monitoring, DJ, studio recording, mixing and I suppose whatever other audio listening use you can invent for these headphones.
Hence, it was designed specifically as a one-size-fits all professional headphone for multiple listening purposes.
This is perhaps it’s best selling point, or reason to buy. As you may know (or may not know), there are three main types of headphones to consider based on what your intention is: closed-back headphones; open-back headphones; and the mysterious semi-open back headphones. You use closed-backs for listening, open-backs for mixing, and semi-open backs if you believe in them.
But as I mention in a previous post about studio headphones, if you don’t have the money to buy two pairs of high-quality headphones (and you want high-quality, as you don’t want to skimp on the quality of your audio) then you should get closed-backs if all you can afford is one.
Again, we come to the point that closed-back headphones are best for recording, as they lack the sound stage that comes from the natural openness of… open-back headphones.
And this is what Avantone is attempting to address in the Avantone Pro MP1. A closed back that you can use for recording so sound remains going into your head and not into your mic (mic bleed), but that you can use to mix and even master after you’re done recording.
This also makes it pretty useful, I consider, for DJs on a budget. Also, sometimes having less gear is more, for the sake of simplicity. So if one pair of headphones can do the job of three, that’s certainly a good thing to have.
Design and Special Features
According to the makers of these headphones, its design allows users to select between the normal neutral voiced stereo field (full range flat-response), mono, and a specially contoured “mix” mode, where the audio signals focus primarily on the midrange frequencies, simulating the sound of their other product, the Mixcubes. The real purpose of this, however, is to allow for clarity in the critical mixing frequencies, which can be found in the midrange.
What also makes the MixPhones MP1 unique is that it was actually designed and created by professionals and end users alike within the music industry. It’s nice to have a product that wasn’t just mass produced by pro gear manufacturer, but crafted with the pro audio person’s needs in mind. Hence the unique design, which is visually pleasing for those who like to work outside the typical studio environment.
That said, what makes these headphones a good buy for serious musicians, producers, DJs and aficionados?
In a pair of headphones, there are a couple of things to consider when buying one. One is the kind of sound you’re getting, the other is how well they’re designed for a comfortable fit.
One of the things to look for is the frequency response, as the midrange of a mix is one of the crucial trouble spots for many producers when trying to tweak their sounds. There have been very slim choices among studio headphones in being able to tweak these trouble spot areas, and the Avantone MP1 Frequency Response (18Hz to 25kHz) plus its unique “mix” mode, is one of the first to be designed with the midrange in mind.
Three Headphones in One
Going back to what we talked about at the top. Avantone says they are the first to produce a pair of headphones that offer something called ‘Vari-Voice.’ This refers to the small, recessed toggle switch on the headphones themselves which, when selected, allows the users to switch between modes.
In the center position, there is ‘S‘, which makes the MP1 deliver a full-range stereo signal.
The ‘M‘ position sums the right and left channels to produce a mono down-fold signal.
The ‘C‘ position is a filtering feature, which emulates the characteristics of the mid-range heavy frequency response of small speakers, like laptop speakers, cheap headphones, or the MixCube, also by Avantone.
The second important thing to consider is the comfort and design, as you’ll be wearing them for a long time, hours on end.
These headphones appear to be very solidly made. They are a little bit heavier than more standard headphones, however (something typical of professional mixing headphones). But some others consider it “light”; I suppose it’s just a matter of opinion.
As I mentioned before, they are generously padded in the ear cups, plus have a pivot design to ensure a comfortable fit – again, pretty standard in studio headphones.
The nice thing about the design is that they look good. If you’re ever in a public environment and you need to quickly track or record something, you’d probably feel pretty good about yourself wearing what is considered a very aesthetically pleasing device.
The pivot, which makes it fit the shape to the angle of your ears for a comfortable fit, is often a weak point on most headphones. However, this pair uses all metal parts for the driver housings and headband, which means that they should be expected to last a long time.
Avantone MP1 MixPhones – General Considerations
What I Think
In doing my research for this Avantone Pro MP1 review, what kept standing out to me is the fact that it has (again) 3 modes of listening. I know I keep repeating this, but it bears noting again, since, as a producer myself, I know how important it is to get an honest sound from my headphones.
It can be frustrating when I switch between headphones, monitors, and laptop speakers and I hear things that my headphones never pointed out to me. Even way after the production stage when. I will export my music from my DAW, listen to my tracks in the car or over someone else’s speakers, and be surprised by how it sounds. And it usually is something within the mid-range area.
I think the fact that these headphones have 3 different modes in one makes it a great consideration for studio headphones, as it broadens your listening options, allowing you to reduce the probability of unpleasant surprises in your mix.
What Others Think
Most pro audio users that used these earphones speak of the beauty and the sound quality of the MP1 MixPhones, even for its price, as well as its comfort and solid design. The general argument is that they are extremely comfortable, strong, durable, with the option to perform critical listening in the midrange trouble spot, a broad wide bandwidth, and good frequency response.
One user reviewed that he’s often disappointed that a pair of headphones which are otherwise excellent in sound, are simply unwearable because of pure design. This doesn’t seem to be the case for the MP1, as the company pulled out no stops to create an pair of headphones that you can wear for hours, sounds great, and produces a clarity necessary for a getting the right sound. This is especially so, it seems, for those who have larger ears (like myself), who find that headphones, often times, press against the earlobes, causing pain after several hours of use. These headphones give me the impression, from reading user reviews that they’d suit people who tend to have this problem.
Pro & Cons of Avantone MP1 MixPhones
- Strong and sturdy design, thanks to metal parts
- Flat response means clarity in listening and mixing
- 3 listening modes means better more options
- Large comfortable ear cups, great for people who have a hard time finding comfortable headphones for their ears
- Beautiful design, might make it the envy of others
- Might be a little on the “large” side; those with smaller heads might find that a concern
- A few may actually not like its design
- Not foldable or collapsible; not the most portable option
Price & Comparable Options of the Avantone MP1
These headphones fall in in the “under 250” category (September 2017), which places them in the budget friend category for professional headphones. If you’re planning on getting a good pair of studio headphones that are professional, the price range of 150 to 200+ is to be expected, and given the features and comfort of this, this is a bargain.
If you want a similar product to this that costs a little less, a nice alternative is the Audio-Technica ATH-M50x. These produce a flat response just like the MP1 across a wide frequency response, and useful mainly for tracking or recording. They are super popular, but a caveat is that some consider them “prosumer” headphones.
Another option for a similar same price is the Shure SRH840. I personally owned a pair of Shure headphones and found them to be long-lasting and good in quality. If you’re not too happy about the design of the MP1, and rather a single-purpose headphone dedicated to recording only, and a similar price, these are a fitting alternative.
If you looking for something high-end, you should get the Sennheiser HD 650. An industry leader in pro audio, you can count on them to deliver the best quality and clarity in your audio engineering. These are open back headphones, great for mixing and producing music, with a flat response across a much wider frequency response (10 Hz to 39,500), meaning more clarity in much lower basses and higher trebles. However, they are not suitable for recording since they are open-back (expect lots of sound bleed due to lack of isolation).
Avantone MP1 MixPhones – Final Thoughts
That being said, the Avantone MP1 MixPhones is a recommended purchase. Lots of people are happy with it, and it’s great alternative to the other top rated headphones for music production.
Finding a good pair of headphones is important if you’re planning on doing any mixing, DJing, recording, or producing. And overall, the Avantone Pro MP1 proves to be an a safe choice for those seeking comfort and clarity. Being a beautiful pair of headphones, fit for both men and women, makes this also an exceptional pick.
It’s not hard to see why so many people in the pro audio arena are excited about getting their hands on these.