Hello all. Fairly long time lurker, first time poster. Just want to start off by giving a big thank you to the community for providing a wealth of information for curious eyes like mine. Seriously, you guys rock. Now...onto my situation.
I'm looking for some help deciding between a few different headphones(or finding something completely off my radar haha) which will primarily be used for playing games into the night while my fiance is sleeping. Plan on using them for listening to music and watching videos/movies as well.
I suppose it might be useful for me to expound upon what I've had experience with headphonese. Forgive me if I'm a bit long winded, I'm not the most concise person in the world.
The first pair of full sized headphones I purchased were the Sennheiser HD201's three or so years ago. I liked the step up in sound quality over the various pack in earbuds I had been using with everything for years, but I found them to be extremely uncomfortable as my ears touched the drivers. They weren't bad for quick listening sessions, but they simply didn't hold up during long gaming sessions.
Eventually, the comfort issues and the curiosity about what a step up in sound quality got the better of me and I stepped up to a pair of Superlux 668b's. This was quite a jump from up from the HD201's and much closer to what I was looking for. The wider soundstage really added something to games and I found the effect to be pleasing for music and other applications as well. The overall sound quality was a notable improvement. I don't have the audio vocabulary to articulate exactly why, but I will say that the more forward and present bass was something I enjoyed. I've enjoyed these headphones quite a bit, but it's getting to be about time for me to move on and try something else. The issues I had with them are fairly minor, but there are a few I feel are noteworthy. In spite of the somewhat exaggerated bass being something I find pleasing, it's just a tad too boomy at certain points, leading to a loss of clarity. That's something I can deal with/EQ out....but the real thing that has me looking to move on is the same thing that did in the HD201; comfort. I've tried everything short of buying new earpads for them...but I just can't get to a point with them where I can wear them for more than a hour at a time. Sock mod, stretching...in the end, the pads are just too hard, cheap, and unforgiving. I'll probably still keep them around, but I'm at the point where I want to try something new. I know that there's certain pads that will fit, but the ones that seem optimal for what I'm looking for cost nearly as much as the headphones themselves did.
TL;DR version: I've only had the HD201's and 668b's. The HD201's were too low end and uncomfortable, while the 668b's sounded pretty good to me but were uncomfortable as well.
So that's where I've been. Here's where I'm trying to get to.
-Having only had extensive experience with open headphones, I'm looking into trying something closed and isolating. I would be willing to go open if it was that much better and suited my
-As wide of a soundstage as possible. I understand that this is something that closed headphones do not do as well as open headphones, so as wide as that contraint allows.
-Something a tick towards the boomier side with regards to bass would be appreciated as well, but I'm willing to try something more neutral a try as well.
-Lastly and most importantly, I'm looking for something that's comfortable for long listening/gameplay sessions. I don't think I'm as sensitive to clamp as some people are, but cheap earpads that aren't padded well enough are a big no no. Weight isn't really a mitigating factor for me either. I've tried out a friends ATH-AD700's before and didn't have a huge issue with them in terms of how heavy they were.
As I've touched on, my primary usage will be for games. I used to listen to quite a bit of heavier music(metal mainly, Isis still is my favorite band), but lately my tastes seem to have mellowed out a bit and I no longer have a genre I can single out as being my favorite. Classical, some indie, and post rock are probably what I listen to the most at the moment, but I really don't listen to music as much as I used to :/ Hoping some new headphones will change that.
They'll be plugged in directly to my computer. I have what was advertised as a fairly high end audio solution on my motherboard(G1 Sniper 5 from Gigabyte), with an seperated portion of the PCB dedicated to sound and a swappable OP Amp output as well. There's also a headphone amp for the front panel audio. From playing with both, the OP Amp port really does seem to raise the volume quite a bit and bring out the characteristics of my 668b's much better, so I'll likely use that. Not sure of the technical specifications of it and I wouldn't think it would drive a really high impedance headphone, but I think I should be able to get buy if the power requirement is a little higher than average.
Unfortunately, I can't break the bank on this. I recently built a new computer that was frankly a little bit extravagant(I totally need water cooling though!), so in order to keep my finances(as well as my soon to be wife) happy, I'm looking to stick in the $100 to 150 range. I could push it up a bit, but that would require waiting...and I've got the bug right now. If it's really going to get me that much better of a headphone, I could...but I wouldn't push it up much further than that. I'm not an audiophile(although I do care about sound and quality) and at a certain point it's not a good value proposition for me to spend any more.
TL;DR version: Mainly used for gaming at night when my girlfriend wants to sleep and I want to play vidyagaems. Will be plugged into what seems to be a somewhat high end onboard audio solution with an amp. I can't spend more than $200 right now and would prefer not to wait.
Here's what I'm looking into at the moment.