I'll give you a bit of background. I got into competitive gaming when I was nine years old, right around the time a little game called Halo: Combat Evolved launched for the original Xbox. It was my first FPS experience, and I played it for hours on end, to the point where I never lost a single lan with anyone I knew. When I experienced the satisfaction of making my eighteen-year-old cousins throw their controllers in rage, I realized I had found my new hobby -- and my game.
Eventually, I got into Xbox Live. Very briefly in Halo 2, where I got my ass handed to me for the first time, before I had to move to a remote area where I couldn't get high-speed internet. I continued to be a campaign warrior until the last golden year of Halo 3, where I finally got some broad band internet and wound up earning 10+ 50's and competing with some of the best players in the world. I continued on with Halo: Reach (making brief stops with Gears of War, Call of Duty, and Battlefield games), where I became an Arena warrior with 1% Onyx, peaking at #1 on HaloCharts's Arena leaderboards (before it was sadly taken down).
Along the way, probably about the time I started to take off with Halo 3, I began to take my equipment very seriously. I purchased my first gaming headset, some stereo junk from Turtle Beach (pre-x11's), which were an improvement over my TV's audio. I made the shift from HDTV to a monitor with 2ms response time. Eventually, I decided that I needed surround headphones, and that was when I purchased the Turtle Beach x41's. I used these for a short time before I raged and returned them. They sounded awesome compared to what I was used to, but the wireless technology was terrible; they would cut out constantly, shut off completely during a loud explosion, and eat batteries seemingly every six hours. I then purchased some Tritton AX Pros, which sounded absolutely terrible even in comparison to the Turtle Beaches. Eventually, I found the DX11's, which were the X11's paired with the DSS. These sounded great to me, better than the X41's and anything else I had tried, and I was finally able to pinpoint my enemies with moderate precision. I upgraded to the DX12's, which combine the DSS2 and X12's, and I was rather happy with their performance. There was no sneaking up on me in Halo: Reach without my knowing, or in my brief forrays into Black Ops and Battlefield 3.
But then Halo 4 came out. I don't know why 343i made such a big deal over the audio work they did for this game, because I honestly have never heard worse. Aside from the terrible quality of the game's audio in itself, I have an extremely difficult time picking out directions, and I can't tell you how many times I've been beat down by people sneaking up behind me without me being able to notice. The final straw for me was 1v1 Gamebattles, where I was being out-soundwhored to the point of enragement. It's very difficult to outsmart someone when you can't pinpoint them by their footsteps and they can.
So far, everyone I've talked to online recommends Astros, and they say they are excellent for footsteps in this game. They are very clearly superior to my DX12's, as everyone I play with them seems far more adept at tracking my movements than I can hope for with what I can barely hear.
However, I'm not ready to settle just yet. I'm quite certain from the research I've done that Astros aren't the best option. However, I need something that works with the Xbox 360 and that I can use a mic with. I also need to be able to adjust the game and mic volume independently, as communication is key more than ever in Halo 4 with the decreased skill-gap, and I can't risk not being able to hear my teammates -- or them not being able to hear me.
Currently, I have the DSS2. I'm looking to pair this with a set of headphones that surpass the X12's (which won't be hard), but I am also open to purchasing the Astro Mixamp if it is a necessary improvement. Here's what I'm thinking after reading much on the forums here and elsewhere:
I need to be able to drive these with my DSS2 or an Astro Mixamp (as I want surround), and I need adjustable voice over Xbox Live.
The AntLion mic looks like a good option for the non-headsets, but can I attach it to any of these headphones, and will it work well with Xbox Live?
What do you think is my best option here? Will I need an external amp in addition to what I have mentioned? What headset is going to give me the biggest edge?
I'm not interested in watching movies or listening to music; I have a home theater for that, and my XB500's are good enough for the occasional music listening I do outside of my car. I'm interested purely in what is going to be the best for competitive gaming, specifically Halo 4.
Where should I put my money, and what will I need to get everything working?
Edited by Sniperoidz - 1/13/13 at 10:17pm