Best combo music/gaming headphones in 2012?
Mar 5, 2012 at 9:58 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 22

mindstarr

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Hello,
 
New to the forum so apologies upfront for any noob errors/faux pas.
 
I'm looking for a fantastic pair of headphones primarily for gaming but also listening to music. They would be my daily headphones, in use for up to a couple of hours a day so comfort is a factor too. 
 
Bass response is important as I listen to electronic music mostly, but I'm not interested in hyped bass, just a nice balance. I'm looking for an audiophile-quality experience, ideally with a great soundstage for gaming details. Don't want anyone creeping up behind me with a knife in BF3.  
 
I currently have a pair of Bose QC3's (and before anyone says it, yes, I know that pretty much anything I get will be better than those) which make my ears quite hot and I don't like the noise cancelling effect.
 
I have a preference for closed headphones as occasionally there may be others in the room, but I'm willing to consider open backed options as well if it makes a massive difference in quality. From my initial reading it seems that open backed = better soundstage and closed = better bass. Aiming for a compromise here, ideally a top-notch closed headphone.
 
Source is direct from my desktop PC (X-Fi Extreme soundcard).
I do not plan to use an amplifier, but if people think it's essential I can look into it.
 
Let's put a price cap of ~$600 to give some flexibility.
 
To start the discussion, here's a list of cans which seem to come up in forum discussions on this topic (some open, some closed):
 
Audio-Technica ATH-AD700 (open)
Sennheiser HD558 (open)
Sennheiser HD449 (closed)
Beyerdynamic DT-880 32ohm (closed)
Denon AHD2000 (closed)
AKG K-701 (open)
AKG Q-701 (open)
 
Thank you very much in advance.
I love you all.
 
 
Mar 5, 2012 at 10:20 AM Post #2 of 22

GL1TCH3D

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600$ xP
At 600$ you could go for the higher versions of those headphones. For example, instead of the ad700 you could probably get an ad1000 or 2000 for that price.

I'd also strongly recommend looking at the denon d5000/7000 which are great overall.
 
Mar 5, 2012 at 10:24 AM Post #3 of 22

mindstarr

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Yes thanks I just listed out some of the headphones I see come up often in the discussions on gaming on this forum.
The price cap is deliberately high to allow ppl flexibility to comment on high-end models if they think they are the best option given my criteria! I don't really expect to have to spend that much TBH.  
 
Mar 5, 2012 at 10:43 AM Post #4 of 22

GL1TCH3D

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Yes thanks I just listed out some of the headphones I see come up often in the discussions on gaming on this forum.
The price cap is deliberately high to allow ppl flexibility to comment on high-end models if they think they are the best option given my criteria! I don't really expect to have to spend that much TBH.  


You don't HAVE to spend that much. There are plenty of lower end headphones which would do the trick for most people.
There's a thread in this section which compares headphones and headsets in gaming. You should check it out if you haven't already.
 
Mar 5, 2012 at 10:47 AM Post #5 of 22

PurpleAngel

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Beyerdynamic DT770 Pro 80-Ohm ($180)
Asus Xonar DG, PCI sound card ($30)
 
Beyerdynamic DT770 Pro 250-Ohm ($180)
Fiio E9 ($90)
 
Mar 5, 2012 at 11:22 AM Post #7 of 22

mindstarr

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Thanks for the tips guys. Why the DT-770 instead of DT-990? I hear the DT-990 has better bass response.
Also I see amp recommendations starting to crop up - is this really necessary for the DT-990 if I get the 32 ohm version?
 
 
Mar 5, 2012 at 5:47 PM Post #9 of 22

PurpleAngel

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Quote:
Thanks for the tips guys. Why the DT-770 instead of DT-990? I hear the DT-990 has better bass response.
Also I see amp recommendations starting to crop up - is this really necessary for the DT-990 if I get the 32 ohm version?

You did say there would be others in the room. I'm just getting an option for closed headphones.
I do like my DT990 pro 250-Ohm, I do like the full bass and full treble, it's like being in a movie theater, but they are open.
and it might(?) cross the line as you did not want hyper bass (or hyper treble?).
 
In my humble opinion, the Beyerdynamic DT770/880/990 should all be used with a headphone amplifiers to bring out their best.
The Beyer 32-Ohm "Premium" versions seem to be harder to drive (needs more amps? or current?) then typical 32-Ohm headphones.
Better quality portable music players seem to do better driving them.
I doubt your current X-Fi Xtreme (music or gamer) is a great driver of headphones.
Maybe upgrade to the X-Fi Titanium HD.
 
 
 
 
Mar 6, 2012 at 3:42 AM Post #10 of 22

mindstarr

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Thanks PurpleAngel - you're absolutely right that I prefer a closed option.
 
What is the difference btw the ohm options in the Beyerdynamic ranges (e.g. 770 80 vs 250 ohm)?
 
Does anyone have an opinion on the DT880 (for my purposes) which is classed as "semi open"?
 
I read outstanding things about the Denon range (AHD2000/5000/7000) as great all-rounders. Any views on those vs Beyer 770/880 vs Senn HD558? I also read good things about Senn HD598 but I just can't bring myself to wear beige headphones.  
  
On the amp issue - can I get an external amp which I can connect between my PC soundcard and the headphones? If so which are good options?
 
I have found this post from Madlustenvy to be quite BTW, but it is heavily oriented towards a 5.1 (Mixamp) experience: http://www.head-fi.org/t/534479/mad-lust-envys-headphone-gaming-guide-w-dolby-headphone-updated-2-19-2012-petition-added
 
Mar 6, 2012 at 4:23 AM Post #11 of 22

PurpleAngel

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Quote:
Thanks PurpleAngel - you're absolutely right that I prefer a closed option.
 
What is the difference btw the ohm options in the Beyerdynamic ranges (e.g. 770 80 vs 250 ohm)?
 
Does anyone have an opinion on the DT880 (for my purposes) which is classed as "semi open"?
 
I read outstanding things about the Denon range (AHD2000/5000/7000) as great all-rounders. Any views on those vs Beyer 770/880 vs Senn HD558? I also read good things about Senn HD598 but I just can't bring myself to wear beige headphones.  
  
On the amp issue - can I get an external amp which I can connect between my PC soundcard and the headphones? If so which are good options?
 
I have found this post from Madlustenvy to be quite BTW, but it is heavily oriented towards a 5.1 (Mixamp) experience: http://www.head-fi.org/t/534479/mad-lust-envys-headphone-gaming-guide-w-dolby-headphone-updated-2-19-2012-petition-added



The DT770 Pro 80-Ohm & DT770 Pro 250-Ohm are really very close, 80-Ohm a little more bassy, 250-Ohm a little more clarity.
I use them on my Essence STX (3 LME49860NA op-amps) which really make them so close to equal.
The 250-Ohm does get harder to drive on lower quality sound cards and the 80-Ohm does better with lower quality cards then the 250-Ohm.
The Sennheiser HD-558 are a little more analytical and less warm then the DT770s.
Nice thing about the HD558s is there is nothing wrong with them & they do a fair job with anything (I don't like the looks of the HD598 either).
Where as my DT990 are lots of bass, lots of treble, and make the best movie theater sound.
 
 
 
 
Mar 6, 2012 at 4:38 AM Post #12 of 22

Eric_C

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MLE's thread is about virtual surround, since stereo should only be able to give you a limited number of cues. Bear in mind that MLE is talking about using a MixAmp, so it's 5.1 sound that's simulated on stereo headphones. Also note that his thread was started with console gamers in mind.
 
Nameless has a PC-specific gaming audio thread: http://www.head-fi.org/t/593050/the-nameless-guide-to-pc-gaming-audio-with-binaural-headphone-surround-sound
 
For closed headphones, I recently read a review on it that hails the AKG K550 as a closed equivalent of the K702: http://www.head-fi.org/t/599170/akg-k550-review-essentially-a-closed-back-k702-literally
That should be great for gaming, given how much praise the 702 gets for positional audio (as can be seen in MLE's thread). Do note that the reviewer later states he sold the 550, and got some lesser-known Beyers instead (660, I think).
 
Also for closed: the KRK 8400 is supposed to be another "closed 702 equivalent". Here's the thread: http://www.head-fi.org/t/570501/the-krk-kns-8400-you-can-have-it-all
 

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