I've been on a quest for a variety of headphones for tracking use in my studio, as my trusty Sony 7506 cans are falling apart after 7 years of constant service. The ATH-M30 is the lower-cost Audio-Technica pro headphone, and I think in some ways I like it more than it's pricier 40 series brother. The 40 mm drivers deliver a tighter midrangey punch that can help cut through a loud tracking room environment - no, they're not as hi- fi, but I think they help to hear clearer in certain situations. Plus the ear cups don't swivel all around or fold up like the 40 series or the Sonys, so the cans are easier to put on. The cable does have a 1/8" end with a screw-on adapter, which I would chop off and replace with a 1/4" plug instead. These phones retail for less than $100, which makes it easy to pick up a couple for a small studio. Go for it. (www.audio-technica.com)

Tape Op is a bi-monthly magazine devoted to the art of record making.

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