I also posted this in the video game discussion forum, so I apologize if one or the other is the more appropriate venue:
I'm a long time lurker with an incredibly generic first post. I have thoroughly gone through MLE's gaming headphone thread, and I have a decent idea of what I'm interested in, but all the headphones I want are suddenly very hard to find, and not a god damn place in town has a station where I can listen to any of them.
I am a 100% PC gamer who focuses primarily on the FPS genre. I am "competitive", but now feel like I'm moving out of my detail whoring stage and would like something with more bass and "fun" than my AD700s (I realize I might have to give up a little bit of directional accuracy to do so). From what I've read here, it sounds like this is a very common stage in most headphone enthusiast's evolution =p
I guess to make this post slightly more specific than similar ones in the past, I will ask this: at current listed prices, which of these can be made into the best $300ish value?
It looks like I've narrowed it down to:
MA900s (approx. $240): I would have already picked these up if I could have found them from a reputable vendor at anywhere near retail price. The comfort, sound stage, and minimal amping requirements sound perfect for my price range and they could likely be driven on my Xonar DG. I just feel dirty paying $60+ above retail for them now that they are discontinued. If I have to pay $240 for them, I worry I might get more value out of the X1's at the same price.
Fidelio X1 (approx $240, amp questionable): I also may have already bought these if it weren't for the fact that Amazon had them as a "Deal of the Day" for $150 a few weeks back. Now I feel like a schmuck for buying them at $240. They are still a great value from what I understand, and sound like the exact kind of sound signature I'm looking for. I know they don't take much to drive, but with these I wonder how much I would benefit from upgrading to a soundcard in the $100 range to get more out of them. At that point, I'd be inching beyond my goal of a $300 budget, but would I see significant gains?
Q701 ($200 headphone, likely $100 minimum amp/soundcard): The soundstage on these while amped is very enticing, though these are another set that would force me to spend $100+ on a soundcard or an amp. Still, if there is a really solid $300 "total package" (headphone plus amp or soundcard) that can drive these to meet their potential for PC gaming, then I would probably just pull the trigger on that. They probably don't quite have that super fun/bassy punch "wow" factor that I'm looking for, but I'm hoping I would still notice a big difference coming from the AD700s.
AD900X (approx. $220): I just wonder if these would be enough of a departure from my AD700s. I like that they don't require amping, and I love the comfort/airiness of the AD700s, but I don't want to drop $200 for them to just end up sounding like my EQed AD700s.
I am open to ANY advice/suggestions that deviate from this list. Soundstage is probably still my most important feature, as I primarily play shooters like CS:GO and Planetside 2 where pinpointing direction is essential. I know I can't get much more accurate positioning than my AD700s, but I am willing to give some of that up for something more immersive, dramatic, and universal for music genres outside of female vocals (though female vocals are also high on my list of priorities).
It is possible for me to spend up to $400, but I would really prefer to stay around $300.
I realize that this is a painfully generic first post and the same question has been asked several times, but really I'm just looking for an ideal pairing for my specific needs as well as any recommendations for vendors to buy the items from (also interested in used pairs for sale).
Thank you for reading my noob wall of text, I look forward to any advice you might have.
Edited by prankies - 2/16/14 at 1:03pm