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Mad Lust Envy's Headphone Gaming Guide: (3/18/2016: MrSpeakers Ether C 1.1 Added) - Page 1363

post #20431 of 37467
Could I use the Schiit Magni and Modi with the Q701s and still get positional audio? I read somewhere that I couldn't. What does the Modi do exactly?
post #20432 of 37467
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cruhx View Post

Could I use the Schiit Magni and Modi with the Q701s and still get positional audio? I read somewhere that I couldn't. What does the Modi do exactly?

I'm guessing you're talking about this in terms of gaming and a PC. You need an amp for the Q701. The Magni is a decent pairing. If you use a DAC like the Modi, it will take the place of a proper sound card and you will be confined to its capabilities which don't include some sort of 3D processing.

post #20433 of 37467
Thank you for your answer. Yes i am using a PC and am referring to gaming. I have a few more questions that I need clearing up, sorry if they're kind of random.

Are there any DACs that provide 3D processing as well as a soundcard could?

If I were to use a lower impedance headphone, (32 ohms) what type of audio setup would be best in providing both positional audio for competitive gaming as well as good sound for music?
post #20434 of 37467
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cruhx View Post

Thank you for your answer. Yes i am using a PC and am referring to gaming. I have a few more questions that I need clearing up, sorry if they're kind of random.

Are there any DACs that provide 3D processing as well as a soundcard could?

If I were to use a lower impedance headphone, (32 ohms) what type of audio setup would be best in providing both positional audio for competitive gaming as well as good sound for music?

 

Check out the thread that is specific to your topic. You'll get better answers there.

 

The Nameless Guide To PC Gaming Audio

post #20435 of 37467
Quote:
Originally Posted by ClarinetsRock View Post
 

What do you guys think of the new Sennheiser G4ME series? As in the G4ME One and the Zero.

 

What are the differences between them?

 

Also I have heard that the PC 360 is the same as the G4ME One.

 

What do you think of the Steelseries Siberia Elite as well? In comparison to Sennheiser?

 

I am trying to find a really nice headset which I can use for gaming as well as music listening and editing music. 

 

I currently own a Sennheiser PC 141 and am looking at upgrading to a better headset. 

 

Thank you for your help!

 

G4ME Zero = A rebadged and repainted PC350 with better pleather earpads

G4ME One = A repainted HD558 with a mic

 

You can get the HD558 for $130, and spend the extra $120 you'd save on a better mic, a Xonar U3/Creative Omni and you'd still have some spare cash left.

 

As for the Siberia Elite, never heard of it  and probably never will. I mean, $200? Keep dreaming SteelSeries. The Fidelio X1 was just $150 a few days ago. Drop the Elite to $100 and we can talk.

post #20436 of 37467
Thread Starter 
Well here guys. My secret review. I need to re-tweak the layout just a smidge, but it's pretty much complete.

The review has been sitting in my laptop for a few months it seems, but I finally got the okay to post it by Jude. All in all, thoroughly impressed by the sound quality. smily_headphones1.gif





Monster DNA Pro



monsterproducts.com

MSRP $299.95

Where To Buy: Best Buy Exclusive ($279.99)
Review (Click to show)
I'd like to thank Monster for giving me the opportunity to test and review the Monster DNA Pro. Unless you've been living under a rock, Monster should be one of the most recognizable names in the headphone industry, if not THE most well known. I won't bore you with their history, since they should be a common household name by now. Monster can take a humongous chunk of credit as to why there has been a huge interest in the headphone market the past few years. Over the past few years (now completely separated from the Beats name), Monster has garnered a lot of positive attention from audiophiles with their release of the Turbines and Miles Davis Trumpet IEMs. Having proven their worth amongst audiophiles for their IEMs, they then made a move towards the portable/full-size market with their release of the DNA On Ear headphones, and now the DNA Pro Over Ear.

Having only previously owned the Monster Turbines IEM in their headphone line, I wasn't sure what to expect out of the DNA Pro. The Turbines, while definitely great sounding, were a bit too big for my ears, so I didn't keep them long enough due to personal issues with comfort (though to be quite honest, I find almost every IEM uncomfortable). How did the Monster DNA Pro fare with me? It surely had an uphill battle as a closed AND faux-leather padded headphone, but it wouldn't be the first time I've given a chance to headphones of that particular ilk. Personal bias towards open-backed/cloth padded headphones aside, I feel any and every headphone deserves a chance to prove themselves, regardless of make and model.

On to the DNA Pro...



Build Quality:

6.75/10

I received the matte-black DNA Pro, which I personally found aesthetically pleasing if a bit contemporary, urban/street styled. I generally prefer a classy approach, but for the general consumer, I feel they used the right amount of styling. Not so sure on the other colors, which are a bit too loud for my taste. I'm very thankful to have received the most 'normal' of all DNA color schemes. The DNA Pros are built mostly of plastic, save for some visible metal areas on the hinges. The plastic feels somewhat durable, though I feel that the exterior plastic piece with the 'DNA' label may be a weak point if some accidental stress is put on the size adjustment mechanism. It may potentially cause the that piece to separate from the inner piece with the L/R markings. Under normal use, I don't see this being an issue, but freak accidents aren't impossible. I have spotted some DNA Pros at my local Best Buy stores, and almost every single one (yes, all of them) had broken pieces on or near the DNA labelling. I have a feeling people are much too abusive with demo units, and I don't expect this to be a normal occurrence. Still, some careful handling should apply.

The headband isn't generously or even moderately padded, instead using what seems to be a sweat-resistant rubbery material. If anything can be said of the padding, is that it should be very easy to keep clean. The adjustment mechanism doesn't have any markings/notches, yet feels very secure, so there shouldn't be any worries with the DNA Pros losing your preferred size/extension (which I believe for many people is going to always be fully extended). They also collapse inwards to allow for a smaller footprint/easier storing/portability with it's included travel bag.

The outer cup sports a mirror-esque triangular shape with the DNA logo embossed in the middle. The reflective 'triangle' is the only area on the headphone prone to fingerprint smudges. Thankfully, the rest is matte black and resistant to fingerprints. Moving on to the portion housing the drivers, it swivels/rotates just enough to to cater to different head shapes, but doesn't have a large amount of freedom in any direction.

The ear pads are of synthetic leather. They are soft, and airy (to the point that you can hear the air move if you compress the pads). The pads are dense enough to retain just enough of it's shape without flattening out and crushing your ears against the drivers. The DNA Pro is marketed as over ear/circumaural, though on the smaller side, and may potentially cause the DNA Pro to fit as a supra-aural headphone. For my medium-sized ears, it fits just over my ears with some work. Not impossible to fit over ear unlike the Sennheiser Momentum (which I argue has a circumaural fit for people with freakishly small ears...or Hobbits). From what I can tell, they don't seem to be user replaceable.

Both cups house 3.5mm inputs for personal preference as to whichever side you'd like to use the audio cable on. The exposed side can be used to share the source signal (MusicShare™), whether it's with other headphones (which is great for A/B testing, assuming the headphone connected has a similar decibel level), or even something like speakers if you'd like. I'm generally used to headphone's cables being attached to the left ear cup (typical of single ended headphones), but you can be rebel against the norm and use the right side. Removable cables are always a plus, especially using the standard 3.5mm input, as it allows the user to use whichever standard audio cable they'd like.

That being said, I find the tangle-resistant coil cable supplied to be fantastic. It's around 6 feet, with the cable being straight up until the coiled end which can be stretched to add around 2 extra feet or so (by my guesstimation). The cable feels durable, with a nice amount of thickness, and without the horribly grippy texture found on other cables that love to snag on everything. Easily one of my favorite stock cables out of all the headphones I've reviewed/tested. It terminates into a standard 3.5mm plug with a thin barrel, which is appreciated as it should put less stress on 3.5mm jacks. I measured the cable's resistance at around 0.7ohm, so there really isn't any reason to replace it based on resistance alone.



Accessories:

9/10

The Monster DNA Pro comes with:

- 3.5mm to 3.5mm tangle-resistant coil cable

- ControlTalk® cable for Apple devices (one wasn't included in this review sample)

- Travel pouch (very high quality)

- Monster Clean Cloth

- 6.3mm snap-on adapter



Comfort:

6.75/10

This is one aspect of the DNA Pro I wish I could be happy with. My problem being that it simply doesn't extend far enough on my head. The DNA Pro has to be fully extended to reach my ears in the proper position, and at that point, the headband is pushing down against my skull, enough to leave a dent on my head after a brief session with it on. The headband has a lot of wasted horizontal space that I could use to allow the cups to reach lower (without needed as much extension), but due to their plastic design, I wouldn't be able to bend it in a more cone shape, as it wouldn't retain the shape. If Monster had allowed for around an inch more extension in the arms or had a more arch on the headband, a lot more people would be covered. As it stands... it fits me, though not ideal by any means.

Lack of headband extension aside, the DNA Pro is a bit clampy, which I assume was a choice to allow for a strong seal and secure fit at all times. The DNA Pro is not a headphone that 'disappears' on your head. The ear pads are relatively comfortable, with a few caveats. While they are soft, they do cling to the skin and isolate a bit too well. It traps heat, and the addition of clamp doesn't exactly help matters. If the DNA Pro didn't clamp as tightly, I could see the pads being one of the most comfortable synthetic-leather pads I've ever tested. They aren't removable from what I've personally seen, so no easy way to clean the pads or replace.

The DNA Pro is relatively light weight, and the cup's dimensions allow it to be used comfortably while laying down. Assuming it doesn't clamp so tightly on your head, it'd make a good 'laying down' headphone.



Design Issues:

The only real issues I have with the DNA Pro is:

- Could use more extension for bigger heads

- Ear pad diameter could stand to be wider/taller for those with bigger ears. They are also not easily removable.

- More arch on the headband as there is a lot of waste headband real estate



Isolation/Leakage:

9/10

This is one of the areas the DNA Pro absolutely excels in. It is among the very best passive noise cancelling headphones I have personally heard, if not THE best. Once the music plays, you'll be hard pressed to hear most external noises. It also keeps sound in even at high volume levels. I don't see how anyone would complain about isolation with the DNA Pro.



Sound:

8/10

The first thing I test with headphones is music, and from the moment I put on the DNA Pro, it was an instant success. People may be adversed to 'popular/mainstream' headphones, but I will say here and now, that selling the DNA Pro short, is a complete and utter mistake. It is a FANTASTIC sounding headphone, so much I'd say it's probably my favorite voicing of any headphone I've heard for my preference in music. Yes, it even outdoes my previous fave: the Philips Fidelio X1's tonal balance. I haven't had a chance to listen to the Philips Fidelio X1 in a while, but the DNA Pro reminded me a lot the X1 in a closed version it's sound They are both energetic and fun, yet in the realm of being well balanced. The one thing I do remember well is the X1's bass, being impressive for an open-backed design, yet being a bit too bloated at times. I'm personally a bit sensitive to mid bass bloat, and get fatigued by an abundance of it, even by headphones with moderate mid bass. The DNA Pro maintains a somewhat lively bass response, with excellent control that doesn't blanket the midrange, nor causes any discomfort.


Bass

8/10

As previously mentioned, The DNA Pro's bass is lively, as well as tactile, yet well controlled. It's not the the final word on speed and attack, instead choosing a happy medium between well-rounded fullness, and restraint. It's in the realm of balanced and moderately emphasized. The bass seems reliant on how well the DNA Pro seals on your ears. I have heard complaints that it rolls off a bit. I believe that is more of a fit issue, and not actual frequency response. To my ears, the DNA Pro's bass extends quite low, and I've never felt it lacking by any stretch of the word. It's surprising to me, as the DNA Pro doesn't exactly fit my head perfectly, yet I have zero issues with getting a good seal on the pads. As mentioned before, the pads aren't exactly the widest, and I could see an issue arising for those with larger ears, which may be breaking the seal enough to lose some bass.



Mids:

7.75/10

The DNA Pro's mids are well defined, tight, and lean. Lean as in it doesn't take up as much headspace as some other headphones with a thicker sound (i.e. MA900, HD650, LCD2). It isn't the most impressive in terms of vocal warmth and intimacy, instead choosing to define them cleanly rather than making them forward. The mids slightly give way to more clarity in the upper ranges and fullness down in the bass. The mids however, are not blanketed by either bass or treble. They're nicely integrated, just not the main focus. I feel female vocals are a bit more impressive than male vocals on the DNA Pro. Female vocals tend to be a problem area on a LOT of headphones, so this is surprising and welcome.



Treble:

8/10

It's been a while seems I've heard a headphone with some good sparkle and energy up top, and the DNA Pro has left me feeling quite impressed in this regard. Having been used to headphones that generally slope downwards and iron out the rough edges of an energetic upper range, I wasn't quite prepared to go back to a headphone with a tilt upwards in treble. I was expecting some ear fatigue caused by treble emphasis. The DNA Pro managed mostly quell my fears, with a clean treble presence that I have been missing of late. There is some grain up top, but I felt that it wasn't as prevalent as some other treble tilted headphones. The DNA Pro's treble is possibly one of the best examples I've heard to date. The few times I felt the DNA Pro to be harsh was few and far between, which is more than I can say for many headphones with treble this well extended.



Soundstage:

8.5/10 (Stereo)
7/10 (Virtual surround)

Here is where I was expecting the DNA Pro to suffer. Badly in fact. Headphones that seal this well, and clamp tightly don't tend to leave me impressed. Yet, again, the DNA Pro threw out a REALLY nice soundstage for a closed headphone. I mainly test soundstage in gaming, lately in both stereo and in virtual surround. As I played some games on my PSVita, I was incredibly impressed by how spacious the DNA Pro's sound appeared to be. Aided by the lean and tight spatial cues, there was a nice amount of air in between audio cues. The stereo separation can be summed up with one word: Stellar.

The soundstage was less impressive in Dolby Headphone virtual surround gaming, in part due to the added warmth Dolby headphone tends to impart on headphones. Closed headphones tend to suffer due to this warmth, and the DNA Pro is no exception. That being said, I was getting some inconsistency when it came to gauging the soundstage on the DNA pros. In some instances, the DNA Pro had open-like soundstage, yet in others, it sounded boxed in and unimpressive. Due to this, I'll say the DNA pro's soundstage is good overall, and even great at times, especially in stereo.



Positioning:

7.5/10

As usual, soundstage and positional cues tend to go hand in hand, and while I felt the soundstage can be inconsistent at times in virtual surround, the positional cues were not. They were always quite precise to my ears, and clearly defined. Better defined than even the Sony MA-900 in direct comparison, which sounded hazy in comparison. The inconsistent soundstage would at times, box in the positional cues, making rear cues to sound less convincing.



Clarity:

7.75/10

It has been awhile since I've heard a closed headphone sound this clean and energetic. It was definitely a surprise to my ears. As mentioned before, the bass isn't the fastest or tightest, though it stills hold great control of itself. The mids are clean, lean, focused and sharp. The treble holds plenty of air without becoming too edgy or grating. This all adds up to a fun, yet clean sounding headphone.



Amping:

Not necessary.

I find the DNA Pro to be quite sensitive, and unless you like a particular flavor an amp adds, I don't see it really needing one. The DNA Pro sounds magnificent with minimal amping, everything else being icing on a pretty delicious cake.



Personal Recommendation?:

Movies, Music, In General ? Yes
Gaming? Maybe

I find it to be the best alternative I've personally heard to the Mad Dog for those looking for another well isolating/closed headphone with a bit more fun/energy. At around $280, if you want a well isolating headphone that controls noise like a world champion, easy to drive, portable, and stylish, the DNA Pro is an attractive option. If you happen to own the X1 and want something similar in closed form, the DNA Pro is quite close, from what I personally hear. I'm a bit adamant to recommend it as a GAMING headphone, however due to inconsistent soundstage which may make the DNA pro lag behind the better competitive gaming headphones.



Comparisons:

Since I don't have any closed headphones with me to directly compare at the time of this review, I can only say that the DNA Pro's strengths remind me a lot of the Philips Fidelio X1's strengths, aside from the obvious closed/open differences. Both are lively on the bottom and top, with everything in between being well behaved. The X1 has a better lower midrange, while the DNA Pro has a better upper midrange. The DNA Pro has more definite control in the bass, where the X1 can come off a bit bloated at times. The X1 is obviously the more open sounding, with definite superiority in soundstage, though for a closed headphone, the DNA Pro can put out some convincingly spacious and clear audio cues. Pretty convinced that those with X1's looking for a closed headphone would enjoy the DNA Pros.

Comparing it directly with one of my absolute personal faves, the Sony MA-900, the DNA Pro bested the Sony in terms of clarity and definition overall. Whereas the MA-900 sounded a bit diffused and slightly hazy, the DNA Pro showcased some very impressive definition of audio cues. Sound effects were sharp and precise, at the expensive of some weight/body. The higher ranges sounded a bit soft and laid back on the MA900 (which I'm personally fine with), while the DNA Pro brought out a sparkle noticeably lacking on the MA-900. The extension on the bottom and top are superior on DNA Pro in every single way. The soundstage, imaging, midrange and warmth are the MA-900's forte, which wasn't quite up to par on the DNA Pro.



Final Impressions:

I'm heavily leaning towards really loving the DNA Pro. They sound absolutely fantastic, with one of my absolute favorite sound signatures, tonal balance, and audio fidelity. In terms of a closed-back headphone, there truly isn't much more I can ask for that the DNA Pro doesn't happily provide. It's got great sound quality, amazing noise isolation, and demands very little power to sound fantastic.

My gripes with it are almost entirely on it's build quality, mainly how it ties directly to comfort (or lack thereof), due to strong clamp, lack of headband extension for bigger heads, synthetic-leather pads (which are admittedly comfortable for faux-leather, but still lacking in comfort in comparison to cloth/velour pads). These are personal gripes, and your mileage may vary. I expect those with smaller heads may find no real issue with the DNA Pro's comfort.



Final Scores...

Fun: 8.5/10 (Great. If you're in the market for closed headphones and want a fun tonality without sacrificing quality, I, in all honesty can't recommend anything else more than the DNA Pro. Yes, it's that impressive.)

Competitive: 7/10 (Good. Great at times, but decent in others, I'll average the competitive aspect to be good. The clarity of sound cues is stellar, though with the soundstage being a bit closed in at times, I can't say it'd be a replacement to the more competitive open-backed headphones, even if some of them may not match the DNA Pro in definition.)

Comfort: 6.5/10 (Decent. Personally, I find them to be passable at best due to the tight fit that forces the headband against my skull, strong clamp, and faux-leather pads which trap heat. Those with smaller heads may have better luck in finding them more comfortable.)

Overall: 8/10 (Great. To say that the DNA Pro was a surprise is an understatement. The DNA Pro is a testament to Monster's constant evolution and growth. Had it been a bit more comfortable and durable, it would've easily been placed among my personal favorite headphones, period. While it may not particularly excel at gaming, it has everything else completely under it's control. If they manage to build upon the winner they have in the DNA Pro, I believe the Monster name will not only stay popular in the general consumer market, but in the audiophile market as well.)
post #20437 of 37467
No matter how good, I'll probably never buy any of their products ever.
post #20438 of 37467
Thread Starter 
If it was more comfy, I'd easily recommend it. Comfort may be a personal issue. The sound quality however is easily top tier for closed headphones, and my favorite sound signature out of all headphones reviewed, even over the X1.
post #20439 of 37467

So would you say without an amp this is the go-to closed headphone for gaming and the Mad Dogs are the go-to when you have an amp in the $300 bracket?

post #20440 of 37467
Thread Starter 
Absolutely. People will undoubtedly be impressed with the DNA pro. You can quote me on that.
post #20441 of 37467

I have listened to the DNAs and I was impressed, although at that time I thought spending $200 on Headphones was retarded :beyersmile:

 

I wanted to let the guys know who asked me about the SoundMAGIC HP100s that I bought.  So far I probably have 10 hours on them and I am highly impressed using them with my Creative ZXR which is running the following opamps (ADA4627-1BRZs (2 -> 1), AD8597 (2), MUSES01).  The sound separation is the best I have ever heard in a pair of headphones and the bass is extremely tight and responsive.  The treble is never tiresome on your ears, it's somewhere between smooth and bright (perfect spot).  The mid-range is excellent when listening to things like Led Zeppelin or Gov't Mule. I don't notice any scoop in the sound signature, yet they are definitely fun headphones to listen to, not reference cans.  They are extremely comfortable and very light, probably the most comfortable headphones I have ever worn and I am extremely sensitive to cans due to my TMJ issue with my jaw.  I absolutely love the headphones and the only thing I would change is the included detachable cable which is coiled and I wish they had included a home normal straight cable.  That is really my only complaint about them and as everyone knows they aren't the "coolest" looking cans out there, the sound clearly cancels out that though.  I look forward to hearing them after 100 hours of usage and once I get my Aune T1 (tube based amp/DAC).

post #20442 of 37467
You need permission to post a review?
post #20443 of 37467
Quote:
Originally Posted by roguegeek View Post

You need permission to post a review?


if you buy your own you can do it whenever. if its sent by the company itself for review they have rules sometimes (usually before the public can buy it), and you have to wait until they approve it.

post #20444 of 37467
Quote:
Originally Posted by roguegeek View Post

You need permission to post a review?

 

It was part of a focus group. Originally, the headphones were supposed to go to the focus group well before the public release of the headphones, but it got held up a bit. As it turned out, though, by the time the participants in the focus group got the headphones (which I think some did before its public release), and then had the chance to listen to and evaluate them, the DNA Pro was on the shelves. Because the original focus group schedule was supposed to be earlier than it turned out in actuality, the participants were asked not to discuss the headphones prior to its release. I didn't communicate clearly to the participants that the headphone was indeed actually out by the time they'd had a chance to spend some real time with them, only because I wasn't 100% clear on what the actual embargo date was.

 

Only when pre-release embargoes are involved is there any need to clear a review's posting date/time. Sorry for the confusion, Mad Lust Envy.

post #20445 of 37467
*never mind*
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Head-Fi.org › Forums › Misc.-Category Forums › Video Games Discussion › Mad Lust Envy's Headphone Gaming Guide: (3/18/2016: MrSpeakers Ether C 1.1 Added)