Best Open-Back Headphones for Gaming under $300?
Apr 21, 2013 at 9:47 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 15

HollowNoise

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Hello my fellow audiophiles, I'm looking for the best or "bang for the buck" open phones. I'm using them for 60% gaming and 40% music, also gonna watch TV shows, movies and what not. I play FPS, like BFBC2, BF3, Bioshock Infinite, STALKER CoP, gonna buy Metro LL, but also play games like Skyrim, Dark Souls, The Witcher 2 and other 3rd person adventure and action games as well. My music preferences are rock, pop, alternative, instrumental, vocal, orchestral and epic scores. At first, I was after the Audio Technica ATH A900X and the AKG K550 which are both closed cans, but after I tried them at my local Best Buy, I gotta say that the A900X did not fit well on my head and were also heavy, let's say they were very uncomfortable for me, and I found the K550 to be overly bright and have a lot of sibilance, which I do not like. I then tried the Sennheiser HD 558 which are open, I found them to be VERY comfortable and relaxing compared to the previous two. I was definitely impressed by the HUGE soundstage they have , I also liked their airiness, and they definetely have a warmer and more neutral sound signature than both the A900X and the K550, AND have a bigger soundstage, although they lack a bit in the bass department. I guess I get fatigued with phones that have a bright sound signature and a lot of sibilance. I also figured that open cans are better for my needs. So which open cans are similar or better than the Sennheiser's HD 558, they must have a warm sound signature, as I found that I dislike overly bright phones, also I need phones with excellent soundstage and would like decent bass, not bloated, just right. AND they must be comfortable as I'm using them for long periods of time. I was looking into the Audio Technica AD900X, Beyerdynamic DT 990, DT 880 and the Sennheiser HD 598. My max budget is about $300, and I'm gonna use them with my Sound Blaster Z Audio Card, no DAC or Amp, so they must sound good without an amp, MUCH prefered if they don't need an amp to sound good. I like the Sennheiser's because they have a warm and neutral sound, just how music should be heard. So which headphones best fit my preferences? any other recommendations, opinions, thoughts? Also anyone owns any of these? If yes, please share your opinion. Thanks in advance :)
 
* Pardon for any wrong terms and mistakes as I'm new to the world of Audiophilia and to Head-Fi. 
 
Apr 22, 2013 at 12:00 AM Post #3 of 15

Povell42

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I have the AD900x and while they are very fun to listen to - the sound stage does not have the best imagery. It sounds a bit echoy in games and makes it difficult to determine which direction sounds are coming from.  It does have a very nice bass that is not bloated or overdone. 
 
So, I find myself preferring my AD700 for gaming purposes since they are excellent when it comes to a large sound-stage with great imagery. 
 
I have decided the only way to meet my needs for different games is to get more than one headphone.  If you have a $300 budget.  You can definitely  afford doing that.
 
For example....I got my my AD700 for $70 used "like new" on amazon.  And I just saw yesterday that they had a few used "like new" for $62. 
 
   Then I got a the Panasonic RP-HTF600-s for $35 off amazon.  These were highly regarded by Dsnuts here on Head-fi as a great budget headphone that has a good bass and decent sound stage to it.  I have been very impressed with my HTF600-s. 
 
         Thread about HTF600-s: http://www.head-fi.org/t/571005/the-panasonic-rp-htf600-s-headphones-more-fun-than-the-hd650
 
Or you could get the DT990 pro for like $180.  Which are great bass and sound-stage open phones.
 
Even if you bought the AD700 new for $100 and the DT990 pro new for $180 you are still under your budget - and it gives you an option for different use.
 
I just could not give up the AD700 when it comes to competative FPS gaming.  I have tried many expensive headphones looking for their replacement for FPS and I have not found one that beats it especially for the price of under $300. 
 
 I personally have given up trying to find the "ONE HEADPHONE" with as good of a sound stage and directional ques as my AD700, yet also has the fun bass factor for deeper immersion.  So, Multiple headphone has been the only way (for me) to get what I want for different game genres and uses like movies and music. (Like my AD900x is awesome for movies and certain music but I do not prefer them in gaming)
 
I hope this helps a little and gives you some ideas.
 
 
Apr 23, 2013 at 5:18 AM Post #6 of 15

lin0003

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For $300, you can get HD600s. They are one of the best if not the best headphone in it's price range. 
 
Apr 23, 2013 at 5:45 AM Post #7 of 15

KetchupNinja

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Quote:
I have to ask, how do the AKG Q701's compare to the Sennheiser HD 598?

 
They both have a pretty large soundstage.  The Q701's are more natural sounding while the HD 598 are a little on the warm side.  I'd choose the Q701's if you're mainly playing shooters for positional accuracy.  Although if you're looking for some enjoyment, the HD 598's lush signature really brings you into the game.
 
Apr 23, 2013 at 6:16 AM Post #8 of 15

HollowNoise

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Quote:
 
They both have a pretty large soundstage.  The Q701's are more natural sounding while the HD 598 are a little on the warm side.  I'd choose the Q701's if you're mainly playing shooters for positional accuracy.  Although if you're looking for some enjoyment, the HD 598's lush signature really brings you into the game.

Well, what do I say? That sounds good to me since I'm looking for a happy medium between fun and competitive headphones, I also like to get immersed in my games and I like warm phones, so it sounds just about the right headphone for me :) Any other headphones similar to the HD 598?
 
Apr 23, 2013 at 6:17 AM Post #9 of 15

Christo4

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I have to agree with Povell42, the best option would be to get 2 headphones at least, but with different sound-signatures. I have a pair of Grado SR80i that i use for rock music and some classical music (not the best soundstage but the violin sounds soooo goood) and i have a pair of Senn HD 380 for when i want to have something closed to not be disturbed by outside noises or to not disturb people around me. I am also looking to purchase another pair for soundstage, mostly because i broke my DT 880 :frowning2:.
 
Apr 23, 2013 at 6:22 AM Post #10 of 15

HollowNoise

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Quote:
I have the AD900x and while they are very fun to listen to - the sound stage does not have the best imagery. It sounds a bit echoy in games and makes it difficult to determine which direction sounds are coming from.  It does have a very nice bass that is not bloated or overdone. 
 
So, I find myself preferring my AD700 for gaming purposes since they are excellent when it comes to a large sound-stage with great imagery. 
 
I have decided the only way to meet my needs for different games is to get more than one headphone.  If you have a $300 budget.  You can definitely  afford doing that.
 
For example....I got my my AD700 for $70 used "like new" on amazon.  And I just saw yesterday that they had a few used "like new" for $62. 
 
   Then I got a the Panasonic RP-HTF600-s for $35 off amazon.  These were highly regarded by Dsnuts here on Head-fi as a great budget headphone that has a good bass and decent sound stage to it.  I have been very impressed with my HTF600-s. 
 
         Thread about HTF600-s: http://www.head-fi.org/t/571005/the-panasonic-rp-htf600-s-headphones-more-fun-than-the-hd650
 
Or you could get the DT990 pro for like $180.  Which are great bass and sound-stage open phones.
 
Even if you bought the AD700 new for $100 and the DT990 pro new for $180 you are still under your budget - and it gives you an option for different use.
 
I just could not give up the AD700 when it comes to competative FPS gaming.  I have tried many expensive headphones looking for their replacement for FPS and I have not found one that beats it especially for the price of under $300. 
 
 I personally have given up trying to find the "ONE HEADPHONE" with as good of a sound stage and directional ques as my AD700, yet also has the fun bass factor for deeper immersion.  So, Multiple headphone has been the only way (for me) to get what I want for different game genres and uses like movies and music. (Like my AD900x is awesome for movies and certain music but I do not prefer them in gaming)
 
I hope this helps a little and gives you some ideas.
 

Thanks for the feedback on the AD900X, that sounds like a good idea (having a different phone for music and gaming) but I think I'm sticking with just one headphone, I have heard good things about the DT 880/990, seems like these two are on the fun side and have a proper bass, but the thing is that I'm not gonna use an external amp, and from I've heard these two REALLY need an amp to bring out the good stuff.
 
Apr 23, 2013 at 7:21 AM Post #11 of 15

Povell42

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Quote:
Thanks for the feedback on the AD900X, that sounds like a good idea (having a different phone for music and gaming) but I think I'm sticking with just one headphone, I have heard good things about the DT 880/990, seems like these two are on the fun side and have a proper bass, but the thing is that I'm not gonna use an external amp, and from I've heard these two REALLY need an amp to bring out the good stuff.


I think one of the Beyers may fit your middle of the road purpose.  They have a good sound-stage and imagery along with a decent amount of fun bass.  I have tried the DT990 pro.  But for me I kept thinking about my AD700 when playing competitive FPS games.  Yet,  I  wanted more bass then the AD700 when playing a single player campaign or watching a movie. 
 
If I had to only pick one headphone I would be attracted to the Beyer DT line.  You will definitely want to get one of the 32 Ohm headphones if you are not getting an amp or have a sound card with a built in amp.
 
For me getting more than one headphone is a bit more exciting
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Plus there are some days when one headphones sound just doesn't do it for me, so I can switch it up and have the change.  But, that is just me.
 
Jun 4, 2013 at 3:07 PM Post #13 of 15

shockdoc

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A have to agree with the AD700. Light and comfortable and great positional imaging. Definitely upped my FPS game after getting them. Bass wasn't a big deal when EQ'd thru my Xonar DG. 
 
Jun 4, 2013 at 3:32 PM Post #14 of 15

ztreb185

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If you thought the hd 558s were bass light, the ad700 and q701 are lacking even more in bass.  I have the hd 598s and though bass impact is lighter than 558s, its not as light as the ad700 or q701.  I believe the beyers will have more bass.
 
Jun 4, 2013 at 3:40 PM Post #15 of 15

Koolpep

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HD598 all the way for gaming. No doubt.
 

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