CK9C x Headphones.com
Jorge Aguilar II, also known as the musical artist CK9C, leads the YouTube channel “[CK9C] ChaoticCanineCulture” where they create original songs and videos along with a talented team of animators, producers and recording engineers. With a mission to create some of the most stunning songs and music videos on the internet, Jorge and the CK9C team have amassed more than 475M views, written several gold and platinum records and gained over 1.1M subscribers.
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Jorge has been writing and producing original music for the past 14 years, becoming best known for their viral works including, “You Can’t Hide” with over 125M views, “Funtime Dance Floor'' with over 55M views, “Do You Even” with over 40M views and many other songs. Based in Los Angeles, CA, Jorge works full-time on the channel with their music production team that he first met while working at Atlantic Records as a recording engineer intern. Now with a mix of seasoned engineers on the team, the music of CK9C has become an experience for listeners that parallels industry standard mixes without being backed by a large record label.
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“With all the time and effort that the team and I put into creating and mixing each song, it’s become our missing to help the audience experience a next level of sound, both for fans listening to our music and for those making their own music.”
“Since my early days of producing, headphones have been a constant and necessary tool. From writing and recording songs in a crowded house to sharing dorm rooms in college, headphones have always been over my ears. Yet for the majority of my time that I’ve spent producing, writing and mixing, I’ve only used a couple of pairs; the popular Audio Technica ATH-M50x for their flat sound-signature and the wired headphones that used to come paired with new iPhones as a reference for popular ear-buds. I knew other types of headphones were out there but I didn’t think to look further into that world until years later. The closed-back flat sound of the ATH-M50x was touted by so many as the standard for producing with. That pair of cans helped me learn to better write and mix throughout music school. I also ran a small recording studio using those headphones for a few years and I even used that same pair of headphones to mix my songs that would go on to become gold and platinum songs. They’ve been an incredible pair of headphones over the years and I still use them to this day as a closed-back headphone to use while recording vocals or live instrument tracks.”
“I have had an advantage after moving to Los Angeles where I could visit other studios and listen to my mixes in treated rooms. But with the events of 2020 unfolding, visiting other studios ceased being an option as was working in person with my production team. Since I currently rent the house I’m living in, I also knew that properly treating my home-studio would not really be possible either. I have some baffles mounted to stands around the room to help with some of the reflection points but it’s far from a quality room-treatment. These limitations are what culminated into the impetus to look into upgrading my headphones instead of my speakers as I worked to mix solely from home.”
“I quickly realized after some preliminary research that the world of hi-fi headphones was a lot more vast than I had anticipated. Luckily I found YouTube channels such as The Headphones Show, Joshua Valour and Streaky that helped guide me along as I looked for what would become my next studio reference headphone, a step up from my ATH-M50x and a step into the world of hi-fi ‘open-back’ headphones.”
“That’s when I discovered the HEDDphone by HEDD and the Audeze LCD-MX4, two exquisite headphones that looked to be the perfect balance of detail, soundstage and clarity that I was looking for as reference headphones. For the next two weeks, I’d research each along with which headphone amp would pair best with them. At the time, I didn’t know much about headphone amps either but after many hours of research, I felt confident to try both pairs of headphones along with a Cayin IHA-6 headphone amp to drive the more power-demanding HEDDphones."
The HEDDphone from HEDD Audio came onto the scene last year with a bang and is used by audiophiles and mixing professionals alike. Using a new AMT technology that HEDD uses in their monitoring speakers, the HEDDphone delivers detail on a whole other level.
"Luckily I didn’t have to look far for where to purchase these as headphones.com was one of the most well-reviewed distributors and so I chose to purchase through their site. Soon after receiving and testing all the gear, I began to realize just how much I had been missing out on when it came to the listening experiences of a well mixed and mastered track through a pair of professional level headphones. It truly felt like listening to songs again for the first time and finally hearing all the detail, passion and effort that the producers and engineers had put into each track. Even listening to my own songs on the HEDDphones and LCD-MX4 was an experience that I’d never had while listening to my songs through headphones. I’ve now started mixing some of my upcoming tracks with both pairs as references and it’s been an incredible difference in how I can use headphones in my mixing workflow. With their high level of detail retrieval, accurate tonality and impeccable soundstages, I’ve been able to more easily spot and fix mistakes in my mixes and compositions. The best way I can describe the upgrade is like going from a HD to a 4K screen and finally getting to see all the details in a picture. I’ve always loved my Yamaha HS5 speakers for their stereo placement when I want to build my soundstage. With the closed-back build of the Audio Technica M50x headphones that I had been using, the soundstage was not as accurate as my speakers. But with the open-back build of the HEDDphones specifically, I can confidently place my instruments and vocals much more accurately and fill up the entire soundstage exactly the way that I envisioned. Of course there’s always pros and cons, and where both the HEDDphone and Audeze LCD-MX4 excel in detail retrieval, tonal accuracy and large soundstages, they are both fairly heavy compared to most conventional headphones. Though with proper posture, I’ve actually found I can comfortably use them for a few hours at a time before I need to take a break for my ears and my neck. I’m absolutely amazed by the sound of both pairs and plan to use them as references to mix and write with in the studio going forward. I know my headphone journey is just beginning though, with my eyes set on closed-back and in-ear headphones next.”
“Still, I know that not everyone can experience high-end listening gear but I would love to help listeners get started exploring the expansive options available to them rather than just sticking to the most popular options found on store shelves. I believe it is important that listeners be able to easily discover the different types of listening experiences available to them. I want to help them discover this ever-evolving world of audio technology that I am so passionate about as I continue to learn more myself.”