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Very specific headphone/audio recommendation

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 

First, a preface.
Yes I did search, exhaustively.  Mad Lust Envy and The Nameless have great posts.  I haven't found any other posts that are close enough to my request to find the information I need to make these decisions.  If this should be moved to another forum because It slants more towards that topic, feel free to move it.  This post concerns the 2012 Holiday season,  If it helps people in the future, that's great, but I'm primarily concerned with the next month or so.

I'm looking for an "audio setup" for PC gaming.  I currently have multiple KSC-75s, a Grado SR60, Logitech G35s and a Logitech G930 with an irreparable dongle.  Only the Koss and Grado's were bought by me, the others I just use/tolerate.  I'd like to be wireless again.  I got so used to being able to get up without taking them off that I nearly broke the G35s a dozen times because I forgot that I'm now tethered to the PC again.  I'd like a solution that lets me be wireless, but also lets me plug in so I'm not limited by charge time.

Budget:
$200 - It's not an issue of means, but justification.  If there is a SERIOUS improvement to be had for $225 I can do that, but I don't see this happening.
I'd prefer a finished product.  But I'm not averse to modding or even outright building what I need.  I know my way around a Dremel and soldering iron.

Use:
PC Gaming.  This will never be used on a console.
YouTube
Google Talk

Surround:
For games, Dolby headphone or equivalent is fine with me.
However, I would like them to be able to play stereo well too.  The G35/G930s make YouTube sound like crap.  Right now I'm forced to flip a switch, unplug them, plug them back in, and change a setting in software every time I want to change between 7.1 and stereo.

Sound Quality/Tone:
Obviously this is important.  I find the Grados to be nice for intricate sound, "The Last Samurai OST" for instance, but quite harsh and fatiguing. I'm looking for something full and smooth, but still with a focus on gaming. I don't think I fall into the basshead range, but I know need more bass than ATH-AD700 can deliver.  There have been times lately where I could hear the G35s struggling to try and output the bass in a scene.  When I pushed the signal over DVI to the living room so I could see what it was supposed to sound like, the extra range made a huge difference.

I also have a habit of listening to some liquid D&B when I need to focus on writing a paper, or programming.  The Grados fall flat on their face with this kind of thing though, so having my main gaming headphone pick up the slack would be nice, but not required.


Positional Accuracy vs. Sound Quality:
This will be used mostly for gaming.  Positional accuracy is just as important as sound quality.  I'd prefer something more accurate and better sounding than the G35/G930 since they do neither very well.  If I absolutely have to choose between the 2, I'll take positional accuracy.

Isolation:
There are 5 people in my house right now.  The computer room is next to the living room and it's an open concept.  So I get to listen to the TV unless the headphones have a decent amount of isolation.  I know this affects sound quality, so they don't need to be approved for the gun range or anything.

Comfort:
The headphones must be circumaural.  Supra-aural hurt my ears after 20+ minutes no matter what.  Even properly cleaned buds/IEMs give me massive ear infections after a few uses.  I can wear the G930s for 5+ hours without discomfort.  The G35s are heavier, and less comfortable, despite not having batteries.  I can't wear the Grados for more than 30 minutes before the pain starts ruining the audio experience.  I have tried multiple replacement foams.  They do not help.  I have never found clips to be comfortable enough when adjusted for proper audio to wear for any length of time.  I use my clips for my tablet at school, and for working out, that's it.  The padding for the headphones needs to be pretty deep.  My ears aren't that big, but if my ears touch the driver enclosure even a little they start to hurt after a few minutes.  When I actually get to play, I'll play for 8-10 hours.

Microphone:
A functioning headset is the end goal.  If I have to attach a mic myself I'm OK with it.  If it already comes as a headset I'm also OK with it.

Wireless:
I'd like the setup to have the option of being wireless.  I'm OK with wearing headphones plugged into something I have clipped to me.  If I'm taking the belt clip method, I need a way to charge them while in use and I need it to have a microphone jack.  This seems to be how the Astro Wireless Mixamp works.  I'm open to other ideas though.
2.4Ghz is pretty jammed up here.  I'd prefer something in the 5Ghz range, but I'll deal with 2.4 if I have to.

Bonus:
If I can use the headphones normally with just the headphone jack while traveling that would be nice, but only if everything else is met.

Recap:
Gaming/YouTube/Voice Chat
<$200 total
Wireless USB DAC w/ Dolby Surround or equiv.
Circumaural headphones/headset that sounds good with the DAC in surround & stereo.  More Isolation is good.  Needs to be comfortable for extended use.
I can add a mic if needed.

So, lots of very specific requirements.  Anyone have any ideas?

 

ADDENDUM:

If I WERE to build something, would it end up being cost effective in this price range?  would there even be a point?

 

UPDATES:

It seems the Astro Wireless Mixamp 5.8 is the only product of it's type on the market.  How can this be?  Maybe I just can't find a competitor.  Also, they don't seem to be sold separately, and I cant find a used one anywhere.

As for the cans, it seems the frontrunners are the V-Moda LP($199), ATHM50S($199) and the Creative Aurvana Live($99).  All are selling for ~$100 on amazon right now

It also seems that the Mixamp only has Optical in.

 

EDIT: moved a statement from wireless to comfort.


Edited by Prophes0r - 12/6/12 at 9:31pm
post #2 of 11

10 hour charge for wireless headphones?

post #3 of 11
Thread Starter 

I mean I want the option to plug them in when they run out of juice and still use them.  Instead of having to use a different setup after a few hours.

 

I actually got 8+ hours from the G930s most of the time.
 

post #4 of 11
Thread Starter 

The more I look at this problem, the more I think I'm SOL.
 

post #5 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by Prophes0r View Post

The more I look at this problem, the more I think I'm SOL.
 

 

Pretty much this.

 

Your budget is too small for a lot of what qualities you seek in one piece of hardware. Your'e wanting something that actually has great sound quality, but also has gimmicky surround tech, which anything with higher quality will lack. You're also wanting very serious battery life, which costs money. You're also wanting to be able to plug it in normally, or use wirelessly, which is also going to cost money. What you described just doesn't exist yet. There's not enough market or tech for good wireless headphones that are actually good sounding. If you want to stick to wireless gaming headsets with emulated surround sound, you'll have to basically just stick to what you're used to there. And if you want something that actually has high quality audio reproduction, it's going to have a wire, or be expensive. So I would suggest you either re-consider your goal here. Or consider getting two different headphones. I would not put a lot of money into a gaming headphone. You can build what you're looking for, but it's not going to be $200. That's just not realistic.

 

To get all the qualities you're asking for, you're looking at a Beyer MMX 300 with an Astro Wireless Mixamp basically. That's the only way to get a quality phone, with microphone, finished product, with isolation, comfort, and very good sound quality, along with a wireless option and wired option, with surround tech and good normal stereo output. Obviously this is far from $200. More like three to four times that, unless you go used. Again, not worth it for a "gaming" setup unless you're into competitive lanning or something. And this is why people end up with logietch or other gaming industry headphones instead, you just suffer the quality.

 

Very best,

post #6 of 11

I'd go for a sound card and a wired phone... Just don't know if a closed headphones is a good option for gaming.

post #7 of 11
Thread Starter 

I was able to snag a ATHM50S for $70 shipped.  I'll be modding a mic into it.

 

It looks as though the only option to get all this running wirelessly is the mixamp though.  Does anyone know of a competing product?

post #8 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by MalVeauX View Post

 

Pretty much this.

 

Your budget is too small for a lot of what qualities you seek in one piece of hardware. Your'e wanting something that actually has great sound quality, but also has gimmicky surround tech, which anything with higher quality will lack. You're also wanting very serious battery life, which costs money. You're also wanting to be able to plug it in normally, or use wirelessly, which is also going to cost money. What you described just doesn't exist yet. There's not enough market or tech for good wireless headphones that are actually good sounding. If you want to stick to wireless gaming headsets with emulated surround sound, you'll have to basically just stick to what you're used to there. And if you want something that actually has high quality audio reproduction, it's going to have a wire, or be expensive. So I would suggest you either re-consider your goal here. Or consider getting two different headphones. I would not put a lot of money into a gaming headphone. You can build what you're looking for, but it's not going to be $200. That's just not realistic.

 

To get all the qualities you're asking for, you're looking at a Beyer MMX 300 with an Astro Wireless Mixamp basically. That's the only way to get a quality phone, with microphone, finished product, with isolation, comfort, and very good sound quality, along with a wireless option and wired option, with surround tech and good normal stereo output. Obviously this is far from $200. More like three to four times that, unless you go used. Again, not worth it for a "gaming" setup unless you're into competitive lanning or something. And this is why people end up with logietch or other gaming industry headphones instead, you just suffer the quality.

 

Very best,

This pretty much sums it up. Ask for to much for to little. For gaming nothing beats a nice soundcard with a wired stereo headphone. 

post #9 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by Prophes0r View Post

I was able to snag a ATHM50S for $70 shipped.  I'll be modding a mic into it.

 

It looks as though the only option to get all this running wirelessly is the mixamp though.  Does anyone know of a competing product?


Good price, definitely, but I don't think it will suite gaming well. Look at this thread, the m50 does not score high: http://www.head-fi.org/t/534479/mad-lust-envys-headphone-gaming-guide-updated-11-12-12-sennheiser-hd650-added

 

If I were you, I would find another phone, it is possibly not better than your g35/930 for gaming.

post #10 of 11
Thread Starter 

I had forgotten the part about the sound stage on the M50s.  At that price though I'm willing to give them a try.
 

My concern at the moment is finding a way to get a wireless mixamp.  There are none on ebay/craigslist or anywhere else without the A40s.

post #11 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by Prophes0r View Post

I had forgotten the part about the sound stage on the M50s.  At that price though I'm willing to give them a try.
 

My concern at the moment is finding a way to get a wireless mixamp.  There are none on ebay/craigslist or anywhere else without the A40s.

 

There are many solutions for making a headphone wireless. Google it.

 

They simply don't include making them do that with emulated surround. But I'm sure you could do it with a soundcard as your source.

 

Very best,

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