GK Ultraphones

J.D.

Active Member
Kinda new here, so not sure this is the right place to review these. I know most people use IEMs. I just never liked them. These GK's have been a game-changer for me. Hell...a life-changer. Wish I found them years ago. Invented/sold by Gordy Knudson (Steve Miller's drummer. And if you call to place an order, he'll answer). Short version- he took the best shooters isolation cans and stuffed them with the best possible Sony speakers. Bottom line: my mix is at least 50% lower now. These things freaking isolate. So ALL you will hear is what's coming through them. I even wear them while mowing. I have a VERY loud old Craftsman rider, and when I wear these I can't even hear it. Seriously, best $250 I've ever spent. If they existed years ago I wouldn't have tinnitus . So now, if you see someone on stage with red stripes on their cans, you'll know what you're looking at!
 

Attachments

  • IMG_20220903_064928666.jpg
    IMG_20220903_064928666.jpg
    387.6 KB · Views: 7

Chris Whitten

Silver Member
I've had mine for ten years. I use them for everything (live and studio).
They are an ear saver!
Can't say I'm enamoured with the sound though. They are OK at best. If someone could come out with this amount of isolation, but with better sounding audio, I'd be all over it.
 

cbphoto

Diamond Member
+2. I own 4 pair. Band mates love ’em.
 

AzHeat

Platinum Member
Best I’ve found to allow deaf guitarists to keep cranking past 11 without me going deaf too. Love the isolation they provide for my own practice too. Being able to keep the volume low so I can hear things in detail was huge for me identifying where I was sloppy. I was always stuffing my ears with something, then balancing the cans with the drums to hear. Too much is lost in that exercise.

The GKs are perfect, maybe a bit too perfect if you don’t have a way to add mic’d drums back in. Well made, comfortable and while the Sony drivers are a bit chocked without the open back headphones they were originally designed for, it doesn’t take long for the shortcomings to fade away and sound really good. I hesitated buying them for a long time and tried the cheaper alternatives. Should have saved my money and just gone with them out of the gate. It would have been way cheaper.
 

WuHan Solo

Active Member
The GKs are perfect, maybe a bit too perfect if you don’t have a way to add mic’d drums back in.

That's the problem with the GKs. If you don't have a way to pump the drums back in, there's a huge feeling of disconnect. The bleed may be fine if you're a "sit in the background with the money beat" kind of player, but playing with any sort of dynamics or technicality can be tough if your drums sound like they're coming from your neighbor's house.

I'm going to get a set of phones/muffs to test next week that might solve this issue. They are available with either a 3.5mm jack for aux input, and they also have a bluetooth version (the model I'll be testing/reviewing).

I'll start a thread about the results once I've completed the testing so stay tuned.
 
Last edited:

cbphoto

Diamond Member
Can't say I'm enamoured with the sound though.
the poor audio quality
The Ultra-phones use Sony 7506 drivers, encased in cavernous Peltor ear muffs. Obviously, they’re not for mixing. Compared to the Vic Firth and Direct Sound headphones they sound great. What do you nay-sayers dislike about the Ultra-phone sound? Are you comparing them to IEMs?
 

Chris Whitten

Silver Member
Yes, they are the best sounding iso headphones.
They sound flat and middley, no highs no lows. I'm comparing them to regular affordable hi-fi headphones like Audeze and Focal.
I never use IEMs.
They could sound better, but as it is, they sound fine.
 

WuHan Solo

Active Member
Are you comparing them to IEMs?
Yes. Point taken, and I've edited my post. I've become a bit of an audio snob over the years. You are correct in that they do sound better than the VF's (I have not tried the Direct Sounds), and they are probably the best muffs "made for drummers". I guess what I meant was that I'm not willing to spend $250 to have just-adequate audio when the compromise is either having to mic and feed your drums back in, or barely hear your drums at all.

So, to me, the Peltors are too good (at a 29dB rating), and the Sony 7506s stuffed into them aren't good enough to justify the excess isolation. BUT, that's just my opinion so I am seeking an alternate solution.
I suspect I'll still have a major compromise in audio quality, but will weight that with the convenience of not having to mic for practice.
 

WuHan Solo

Active Member
I think getting the Bluetooth version might be a mistake. The drums will be in your house but a week late due to the Bluetooth lag.

The main reason I'm getting the BT version is because that's what's coming my way to test, and the latency won't be an issue if you're using them to practice by yourself to music (or metronome) on your phone.

Get the Peltor muffs with the dB reduction you want and place them over your favorite ear buds.

I'm currently using an old (discontinued) pair of electronic muffs over buds with excellent results. They allow me to adjust the volume of my drums and music input independently. What I'm trying to find is the best pair that will eliminate the need for the buds. Something someone starting out can just buy, connect to their phone, and play along to their favorite music without the risk of damaging their ears, but not have the sound of their drums so isolated that they can't hear their mistakes.
 

J.D.

Active Member
I've had mine for ten years. I use them for everything (live and studio).
They are an ear saver!
Can't say I'm enamoured with the sound though. They are OK at best. If someone could come out with this amount of isolation, but with better sounding audio, I'd be all over it.
Huh. I've got a bunch of headphones (Koss, Denon), and these may be the best audio of them all. That said, for pure music-listening, I'm sure there's much better ones, but that's not really their purpose.
 

Chris Whitten

Silver Member
They are nowhere near my Focal or Audeze, which I use in the studio when not drumming, but they do the job and protect my ears.
Just wish GKN would up the audio quality.
 

AzHeat

Platinum Member
They are nowhere near my Focal or Audeze, which I use in the studio when not drumming, but they do the job and protect my ears.
Just wish GKN would up the audio quality.
You can’t and have the isolation at the same time. I tried about every combo I could think of including using buds with isolation phones on top. The problem with that is any movement seems to dislodge them. Maybe the Bose headphones the pilots use may be able to hang with the volume of drums and offer noise canceling too, but having tried the normal Bose, the noise canceling comes a split second later and the phones are overwhelmed with the volume.

Not saying the Bose sound that good, because they are far from audiophile quality. Better than the GKs, but as I stated above, you soon forget about the shortcomings because you can turn them way down and focus on your music. With the VFs I was getting this odd low frequency thump from the kick that would give me a headache outside of their far inferior sound.

With that, there are so many who love the VFs and swear by them. I couldn’t see how they did anything well.
 

bermuda

Drummerworld Pro Drummer - Administrator
Staff member
I use them in the studio and keep a pair on the road even though I went in-ear a few years back. Best iso-phones out there!
 

Chris Whitten

Silver Member
You can’t and have the isolation at the same time.
For me it's more a question of cost, they probably don't think a drummer needing ISO headphones also wants to pay extra $$$ for high end drivers. They've used this Sony model for years, in the meantime, hi-fi headphones have moved on in leaps and bounds in terms of audio quality.
 
Top