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Looking into headphones!

post #1 of 105
Thread Starter 

Salutations! I would like to say that I've been looking into headphones for about two weeks now. I understand what the peripherals are and do (DAC, ADC, AMP, etc). I will understand what you say when you talk about treble, mid-high, highs, low-mid, sub-bass, soundstage, etc. (Having done research).

 

 

The only pair of headphones I've ever owned are HD203's. I use to use a Razer Banshee (lol) but I would like to move onto better audio. I already have a $2,000 home-built PC, so I should get some high-quality audio to go along with the high quality visuals!

 

Straight to the point: MY budget is...well..I don't necessarily have one. If I think the price is worth it, I can spend it. Right now I'm looking at sub $500 for headphones.

 

Having said that; I was looking at the HD 598's and HD 650's. Then I thought about it...why buy something without having opinions!

 

I need headphones that are great for competitive gaming as well as personalized gaming (see: RPGs). I listen to a LARGE variety of music - but only like 1-5 songs when it comes to hip-hop, country or rap. (Well...I do listen to ICP...but...they're not bass-heavy like most rap).. The majority of my music consists of Iron Maiden, Alice Cooper, Sonata Arctica, (Bands like Bon Jovi, Quiet Riot, etc ((I'm a HUGE 80's fan))), funk (think Dazz Band, Gap Band, etc.), Sara Bareilles, etc.

 

 

In order of genre's I'd rate my need as such:

 

 

Symphonic Metal -> Metal -> Rock -> Techno -> Funk == Electronica == Dance -> Jazz/Blues -> All Else

 

As far as my games...I have a crap ton...so...I'd really like to be able to hear enemy footsteps. I'd like to hear the crispness of lush environments as I trek over them...but...I would like for the bass to be good enough that it's very subtle. (It'd be nice to say..oh hey, that grenade produced a rather pleasant sound!)

 

 

Let me go further and to explain that bass makes me sick. Bass that's too high actually bothers my heart enough that it will completely change the rhythm and it will make me nauseous/light headed. So absolutely for 100% certain; high bass is not a concern. I don't want strong bass!

 

 

On the DAC/AMP side of things: I do need to use this pair of headphones with my Samsung S3. I will probably be using FLAC's and if I have to I can get portable DAC/Amps. (My job is actually a sit down job, at a desk, so there are other options. ((We can use the outlets for personal things...however, we may not use USB devices.)))

 

Since I would mostly be using these headphones at home I was originally looking at getting a Xonar STX.

 

 

Thoughts?

 

 

EDIT: Preferably open and not closed.


Edited by rpegaming - 12/1/12 at 10:03pm
post #2 of 105
Quote:
Originally Posted by rpegaming View Post

Having said that; I was looking at the HD 598's and HD 650's. Then I thought about it...why buy something without having opinions!

Since I would mostly be using these headphones at home I was originally looking at getting a Xonar STX.

I think the Essence STX and Senn HD598 would make a fine combo.

post #3 of 105

First of all, if you intend on doing competitive gaming, skip Asus cards (partial gaming audio support, no positional cue improvement algorithms) and get a Creative X-Fi Titanium HD, which is currently the best soundcard for gaming, that is also great for music and movies due to its very high quality DAC and components.

 

About headphones, the Audio Technica ATH-AD700 are excellent for competitive gaming, not so much for immersive gaming due to their very light bass presence. Alternatively, look into the Beyerdynamic DT990, performing almost as good as the AD700 for competitive gaming, but being much better for immersive gaming.

post #4 of 105
Thread Starter 

Do you think that there are better options as far as soundstages, and highs/mids go?

 

 


Quote:
Originally Posted by Roller View Post

First of all, if you intend on doing competitive gaming, skip Asus cards (partial gaming audio support, no positional cue improvement algorithms) and get a Creative X-Fi Titanium HD, which is currently the best soundcard for gaming, that is also great for music and movies due to its very high quality DAC and components.

 

About headphones, the Audio Technica ATH-AD700 are excellent for competitive gaming, not so much for immersive gaming due to their very light bass presence. Alternatively, look into the Beyerdynamic DT990, performing almost as good as the AD700 for competitive gaming, but being much better for immersive gaming.

 

 

 

How do they do for the genre's I listed?

 

 

Also...would an external dac/amp be better?


Edited by rpegaming - 12/1/12 at 10:04pm
post #5 of 105
Quote:
Originally Posted by rpegaming View Post

Do you think that there are better options as far as soundstages, and highs/mids go?

 

How do they do for the genre's I listed?

 

The AD700 have an immense soundstage, with the DT990 not being too far behind. An alternative to the DT990 is the Ultrasone HFI-2400, a bit more impactful and with quite good positional cue accuracy.

 

For the majority of genres you listed, the DT990 and the HFI-2400 are a better option than the AD700. Think of the AD700 as one of the best headphones for competitive gaming and competitive gaming alone.

post #6 of 105
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Roller View Post

 

The AD700 have an immense soundstage, with the DT990 not being too far behind. An alternative to the DT990 is the Ultrasone HFI-2400, a bit more impactful and with quite good positional cue accuracy.

 

For the majority of genres you listed, the DT990 and the HFI-2400 are a better option than the AD700. Think of the AD700 as one of the best headphones for competitive gaming and competitive gaming alone.

 

 

Hm...I'm looking into your suggestions and they seem to have either a lot of bass or strong bass...You mentioned that they were better for immersion...but I also believe, like with all audio, immersion can be in the eye (or in this case, ear) of the beholder. 

 

Anyways..I took a gander at the buying guide. Just trying to find something that has emphasis on mids and highs but have present but not very heavy/strong lows...Bass does not provide any additional immersion for me beyond being slightly, slightly clear, etc.

post #7 of 105
Quote:
Originally Posted by rpegaming View Post

 

Hm...I'm looking into your suggestions and they seem to have either a lot of bass or strong bass...You mentioned that they were better for immersion...but I also believe, like with all audio, immersion can be in the eye (or in this case, ear) of the beholder. 

 

Anyways..I took a gander at the buying guide. Just trying to find something that has emphasis on mids and highs but have present but not very heavy/strong lows...Bass does not provide any additional immersion for me beyond being slightly, slightly clear, etc.

 

I know what you're saying, but keep in mind both sets have quality bass, meaning it doesn't bleed into the rest of the frequency range, and isn't overpowering.

 

Also, external DACs have zero gaming audio support, with a few exceptions that have some gaming support but it's still inferior to internal soundcards, especially when talking about the Titanium HD that has full gaming audio support.

post #8 of 105
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Roller View Post

 

I know what you're saying, but keep in mind both sets have quality bass, meaning it doesn't bleed into the rest of the frequency range, and isn't overpowering.

 

Also, external DACs have zero gaming audio support, with a few exceptions that have some gaming support but it's still inferior to internal soundcards, especially when talking about the Titanium HD that has full gaming audio support.

 

 

Hm...Okay. I get what you mean as well. I just can't try out most of these mid-range sets since I'm the only person I know who really cares about anything electronic. I didn't necessarily mean the bass would bleed or overtake/overpower the mids/highs.

 

I should have worded it better!!

 

Would the Titanium HD be good with the music? Or should I look into external things for music at any rate? (Since I do need something to go with my Samsung S3).

 

I won't really be playing music while playing games so there is that. If the Titanium HD will be well enough then I won't even worry myself about it.

 

 

Now you see why I'm having such a hard time deciding!

 

I'll keep looking at what you've suggested so far. (Long reads!)

 

My two main concerns are being able to have distinctions between instruments and resolution..

 

Thanks for your support and help so far!

post #9 of 105

Well, what headphones have you listened to that you consider to be too bassy for your taste? I'm asking just to have a better understanding of your limits regarding low frequencies.

 

Yes, the Titanium HD is very good for music and you would lose all gaming capabilities by getting an external DAC instead. However, you can get a portable headphone amp that can be used with both the Titanium HD and your phone. An amp like the PA2V2 or Fiio E11 are a good starting point, lower amps are not worth the money for what they provide.

 

I know quite well what it's like to be flooded with suggestions and ideas to look into, but you'll get there :)

post #10 of 105
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Roller View Post

Well, what headphones have you listened to that you consider to be too bassy for your taste? I'm asking just to have a better understanding of your limits regarding low frequencies.

 

Yes, the Titanium HD is very good for music and you would lose all gaming capabilities by getting an external DAC instead. However, you can get a portable headphone amp that can be used with both the Titanium HD and your phone. An amp like the PA2V2 or Fiio E11 are a good starting point, lower amps are not worth the money for what they provide.

 

I know quite well what it's like to be flooded with suggestions and ideas to look into, but you'll get there :)

 

 

I haven't used enough headphones to tell you...:(...

 

Most of my experience with bass comes from surround sound or listening to friends play instruments with amps...

 

 

Too bassy for me is basically when the bass starts manifesting as vibrations. (Elaborating on my earlier comment...It's not the bass that necessarily gets me...it's once the vibrations come into play...which takes VERY little bass in my opinion!)

 

I think if the vibrations didn't disturb my heart as much as they do I wouldn't be so concerned with bass.

 

Detailed lows = fine. Vibrations = not fine.

 

 

Basically all boomy/thumping headsets are instantly a no. I'd be all for great lows and detailed bass as long as it didn't pass the mids/highs, and didn't vibrate my head.

 

 

A typical song for me would be something like "Good Enough is Good Enough" by Sonata Arctica...or..."Out of The Silent Planet" by Iron Maiden....If that gives ya an idea of what my audio preferences are.

 

 

I'm going off topic here: It's extremely hard to communicate when you're like a hamster being let out of a ball. When you know not a single soul who is interested in this kind of stuff...well...it makes it hard to discuss since you aren't used to it!

 

I also took a gander at the uh..K601's I think they were?


Edited by rpegaming - 12/1/12 at 11:50pm
post #11 of 105
Quote:
Originally Posted by rpegaming View Post

 

I haven't used enough headphones to tell you...:(...

 

Most of my experience with bass comes from surround sound or listening to friends play instruments with amps...

 

 

Too bassy for me is basically when the bass starts manifesting as vibrations.

 

Ah. Speaker systems present bass in a rather different manner, the feedback being quite different from headphones.

 

One thing that the headphones suggested have in common is that they are all open models, which tend to dissipate additional resonance created by bass, by design. Another thing you have to keep in mind about open headphones is that they tend to have little isolation (with a few exceptions like the HFI-2400, that has surprisingly good isolation for an open model), meaning you will hear everything around you as well as people being able to hear what you're listening to. However, if you can use open headphones, there is a lot to benefit from them.

post #12 of 105
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Roller View Post

 

Ah. Speaker systems present bass in a rather different manner, the feedback being quite different from headphones.

 

One thing that the headphones suggested have in common is that they are all open models, which tend to dissipate additional resonance created by bass, by design. Another thing you have to keep in mind about open headphones is that they tend to have little isolation (with a few exceptions like the HFI-2400, that has surprisingly good isolation for an open model), meaning you will hear everything around you as well as people being able to hear what you're listening to. However, if you can use open headphones, there is a lot to benefit from them.

 

 

I'm not too worried about others hearing what I'm listening to. I'm not too worried about sound getting in. My computer runs at sub 30 DBs and there are no other noises in my room. I actually can't even hear any of the fans in my computer, even with no sound in the house and no audio from my pc.

 

As far as in public...

 

 

I imagine if I don't have them turned up very high the leaking wouldn't be bad. I don't need loud music at work. It has to be low enough that I can hear the boss/PA anyways.

 

I tried to stick to open designs in my desires for the simple fact that they seemed to be less bass driven. You can listen to the songs I listed in my last comment if you want to hear what 80% of my library sounds like.

 

Oh! I also forgot to mention I watch anime as well. I don't watch movies! (After typing this i've gotten an urge to start collecting blu-rays....don't ask >_>)

 

I just wish that headphones weren't...well...opinionated when it comes to reviews. I mean...it is audible perception after all; and everybody perceives sound differently. (As in what sounds good or bad)

 

 

Edit: I've had vibrations from headsets/headphones too..that's why i specifically mentioned detailed lows. I know there's a difference between overwhelming quantity and good quality when it comes to bass! (There are several examples out there but mainly I'm just referring to the ones that throw so much bass at you to cover up other things that are, imo, more important)

 

 

Is there an easy way to find reviews (on this website or others) or specific product information (let's be honest, most merchants don't actually have important information) and what not?

 

I usually just do a thing like..."site: head-fi.org product name review" to get some results...but I don't always find a full length review.

 

Makes it harder to look for details when I have to scour the internet :(.

 

 

After looking up the Titanium HD on these forums it looked like most people thought the card wasn't satisfactory...I assume you're just referencing the virtual surround options when you say it's the gaming route?


Edited by rpegaming - 12/3/12 at 10:43pm
post #13 of 105
Thread Starter 

bumpety

 

I'd like to add in addition to the above post that I can honestly buy the stuff at any time. Deciding whether or not to get said sound card is the first and foremost thing that is important to me....Obviously the sound card would benefit games and movies more; but should I just get the sound card, and then later a different amp/dac for music listening...or would the Titanium HD be good enough to power most mid-range ($400-800) headphones?


Edited by rpegaming - 12/3/12 at 10:45pm
post #14 of 105

I use HD Titanium with HD598s. GREAT for gaming. Kick the hell out of the ad700s. Great for music too. small amount of bass for some but can be eqed for more if you think you want it. Just prepare for the lack of bass. But the lack of bass IMO adds to the already amazing soundstage of these open headphones. SUPER comfy, detachable cable, and look good. 

 

cheers

post #15 of 105
Thread Starter 
Those were the ones i was originally looking at....was hoping there was a set of cans that were basically super 598s.

Anything like that that is sub $600?

What about the HE500?
Edited by rpegaming - 12/4/12 at 12:40am
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