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Best Headset for Gaming Enthusiasts?

  1. Nokillz
    I just recently got a new rig and am on the market for a great headset in the ballpark of $250-300. I am looking for something with noise-cancelling, amazing sound quality, and a clear microphone. I would go for a headphone/ dedicated microphone setup if they are built for gaming, the only thing I do on this computer. I've been looking around for some time and have been interested in the Sennheiser products and astro's A50s. I am pretty new to head-fi as well. I am unaware if this is important, but I am using an onboard sound card. Thanks! [​IMG]
  2. Nokillz
    Just to point it out, I would really prefer a closed headset/headphone. 
  3. jackwess
    Hello and welcome!
    This guide should help you to get started and give you some ideas. 
  4. Dragonzeanse
    Don't worry about noise cancelling if you aren't in a consistently noisy environment (public transit, airplane, etc). It'll just make the audio quality suffer and a lot of them can't play music when the batteries die. If you don't want to hear outside noise, you just need properly isolating headphones. I recommend open headphones over closed ones for gaming, but it's a matter of preference.
    Here's some setups:
    1. Philips Fidelio X11, Blue Snowball microphone
    2. AKG K612 Pro, Objective2 amplifier, Blue Snowflake microphone
    3. Sennheiser HD 558/598, FiiO E7, Antlion ModMic
    4. Audio Technica AD900X2, Blue Snowflake microphone
    5. Beyerdynamic DT880 Pro, Objective2 amplifier, Antlion ModMic
    6. Sony MDR-MA9003, Schiit Magni4, Antlion ModMic
    1: Does not need an amp, does not need its cable changed. Don't listen to the people complaining about it.
    2: The A900X is closed, if that's more your fancy.
    3: Discontinued; price will fluctuate.
    4: Might not be necessary for the MA900s, but I included it regardless.
    Some of those setups go out of budget, but feel free to mix and match microphones and amps, as long as you have an amp if your headphones need it. The DT880 Pros and K612s need them. The Fidelio X1s do not, and I have amped them from a Little Dot MKIII. No real noticeable difference.
    The Antlion ModMic isn't a desktop microphone; you attach it to your headphones. If you're OCD about adhering something to your headphones, I don't recommend it.
    I didn't include any closed headphones because it's not my area of expertise in terms of gaming. At least, not anything near your budget (Alpha Dogs are the only thing I think come to mind as a good closed for gaming, and they're double your budget without a microphone and amp). Creative Aurvana Live and a Modmic/Snowflake might work.
    A lot of gaming headsets are open; really, the only ones I recommend are. I haven't found a good closed one. Not to say all open headsets are good (lol Kraken Pro).
    Good rule of thumb: if people who have heard it commented that it has a large soundstage, it'll probably do good for gaming. This is all assuming you use software like Razer Surround, Dolby Headphone, etc. Or just turn on binaural audio in your game's settings. This was written assuming you PC game; if you don't, the headphones are all still good recommendations.
  5. Nokillz
    Thank you for your knowledge Dragon! I am truly a novice when it comes to headsets. My current pair is the Skullkandy Crushrs, the left cup recently snapped in half. Which of those headphones would you recommend above all else for sound quality? If I use an open headphone, could the people in my Skype call hear everything, as they have a tendency to complain about such sounds as my keyboard. 
  6. Nokillz
    Thank you for the guide, I've seen it before but will give it another look. [​IMG]
  7. schizo
    Audio Technica M50s + a Samson Meteor USB mic are what I use and I personally feel they are both fantastic. When you're looking to spend 150+ on a headset/mic setup, you want to go with separate mic and headsets because the vast majority of the higher end headsets do not come with built in mics, and if they do they aren't the same quality as a large stand mounted mic. Additionally, with the mic already separate if you feel like you want even better high end sound in the future then you can upgrade the headset (or vice versa) without worrying about finding that unicorn of the best of both worlds and instead can focus on quality specialized products. Specialization is where quality is.
  8. Dragonzeanse

    No, it won't be an issue with Skype. Not unless you play sound very loudly. More than likely, the microphone will recognize that as background noise if it has noise cancelling, and nobody will hear it. Although in the case of the Fidelio X1, leakage is very minimal for an open headphone. I don't think you'll have a problem.
    For sound quality, I would pick either the Fidelio X1 or the DT880 Pro. I'd probably edge out in favor of the Fidelio X1 because I like the sound signature, and it's a little bassier, which is good for gaming when you want to hear (and feel) the lows. The DT880 Pros are better for things like monitoring or neutral sound (although they lean towards treble). The DT880 doesn't have a detachable cable, but it has replaceable pads. The Fidelio X1 is the other way around. Also, some fit issues have been reported with the Fidelio X1, so if they don't fit you optimally, return them. I think they will, though; it's not a huge issue.
    I've used the ATH-M50s and they would sound comparatively bad for gaming. This is good advice, however.
  9. Nokillz
    Thanks for the great advice! I've only ever used headsets, but I will now venture out towards headphones and dedicated microphones. 
  10. Nokillz
    Awesome, since your first post I was leaning towards the Fidelos. I am going to do a little bit of research on them and most likely go ahead and buy those. Thank you for the advice again! 
  11. Nokillz
    If you get a chance, I am wondering if the Fidelios have 7.1 virtual surround sound. 
  12. Rhamnetin
    Although they aren't noise cancelling, I will recommend the Audio Technica ATH-A900X and combine it with something like an AntLion ModMic.  It's closed-back and isolates very well, and the sound quality is some of the best in the sub $200 price range.  It has great characteristics for gaming too, such as good bass and strong mids.  Toss in a decent sound card like the Creative Sound Blaster Z and you'll get virtual surround as well as other effects that may be useful (like EAX).  
  13. Dragonzeanse

    None of the headphones I suggested have surround sound. You can make them surround sound capable by using something like Razer Surround or Dolby Headphone, but it degrades the sound quality. If the games you play have a binaural audio setting in their options, turn that on; it will have the same effect.
    Surround sound is a gimmick that a lot of headsets are advertised with, yet usually aren't actually capable of natively. You need a sound processor - in the case of consoles - or the software necessary to make it utilize surround sound. The headphones/headsets can't inherently produce surround sound, they don't actually have 7.1 drivers in them.
  14. Rhamnetin
    ^ This, although I have yet to find a game with some sort of binaural audio setting in their options.  Razer Surround and SBX Pro Studio are said to be the best when it comes to virtual surround, followed by X-Fi CMSS-3D (which I find on par with DTS Connect).  You can find comparisons all around the web, Dolby Headphone is generally viewed as the worst solution.  Razer Surround is a free software that you can download from their website.  Any sound card will offer one or several of the aforementioned virtual surround solutions.  SBX Studio Pro is a feature of the Creative Sound Core3D DSP, which is used on the Sound Blaster Z series.  Dolby Headphone is used on ASUS cards, X-Fi CMSS-3D is used on older Creative sound cards, and DTS Connect can be found on most Creative sound cards and some older ASUS sound cards.
    The ATH-A900X is closed and very isolated, it has a surprisingly decent sound stage for a sub $200 closed headphone, good but not overpowering bass, and good, forward mids which I like in games (might help push out subtle sounds more).  The A900X, Creative Sound Blaster Z, and AntLion ModMic combined will be around $300 before shipping.  You could save more money by getting a Zalman ZM-Mic1 instead of the ModMic.  The Sound Blaster Z is a good choice due to its price, built-in headphone amplifier (which isn't a must for the A900X but it's nice to have), and the amount of features it has.  If you look on Amazon you can see some pretty good prices for the A900X.
  15. Dragonzeanse

    The Counterstrike games have it, and I believe so do Battlefield and Call of Duty. A900X would probably be good for a closed headphone. Your suggestion is good. Still, I favor open headphones for the soundstage. It's very nice to have a wide soundstage for gaming, and virtual surround software benefits from it. Some closed headphones have adequate soundstage, though, and depending on your preference, may sound better anyway.

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