Originally Posted by Cry Havoc /img/forum/go_quote.gif If you're only into gaming, you don't need an amp. They just make stuff sound prettier.
That all depends on how much sound quality matters to you. If the headphones you have are hard to drive (beyer 880s, akg 601s) then a dedicated headphone amp is a must for gaming. The sound is fuller, and the impact more tight and accurate. Plus without a dedicated headphone amp, explosions will sound distorted.
Originally Posted by Foe-hammer /img/forum/go_quote.gif That all depends on how much sound quality matters to you. If the headphones you have are hard to drive (beyer 880s, akg 601s) then a dedicated headphone amp is a must for gaming. The sound is fuller, and the impact more tight and accurate. Plus without a dedicated headphone amp, explosions will sound distorted.
I think your overstating things a bit there, mate?
What you want is soundstage. To a certain extent, you could even say KSC75s and the ER4P will do you fine, but you want some classy cans, right? Ok.
Sweet spot for this stars at $75 and ends at $150.
AD700s or an RP-21 will get the job done. HD555/595/580 should be paired with an amp to get the most out of them. Try to find an HD580 if you're going to go with Sennheiser. Grados aren't really much of an option at this price for this purpose, but Goldring DR-150s will do you well, even without an amp.
There's a Phillips model with a good rep for soundstage, but I still can't find it anywhere online, supposed to be cheap too. So yeah, none of those models will disappoint, so don't stress about it and just spend as much as you feel comfortable.
IMO, bang for buck wise, go with RP-21 or AD700 or DR-150, depending on how much you want to spend.
Try to avoid and ignore the drama on this board, you'll get walls of text you shouldn't care about. So yeah. Honestly, I think there should be a sticky thread for gaming cans.
What would really be nice is if there was some kind of hearing bot that you could run through a test designed to see how well the headphones do for positional audio in games, problem is that's so personal that there's no way to objectively measure something like that.
Shadow, you would do well to use binaural recordings as a test, as well as normal gameplay.
Binaural reordings are created with microphones situated inside a model of a human head, and they're designed to be played on headphones. The cheesy recordings have sounds that circle the head, and those sounds give you a very good sense of position and relative volume levels when sounds are "in front of" or "behind" your head, rather than just off to the sides. There are a number of stickied threads on these forums with links to excellent, and free, binaural recordings.
I think you'd do well with the 555s, by the way. I'm not a gamer at all, but I greatly appreciate effective soundstage in music, and both rely on a headphone's ability to interpret directional cues. The 555s move the physical transducer away from your ear, which more closely resembles the positioning of actual speakers. I moved on to other headphones for music, but for movies and gaming those can definitely be the end of the line.
Should you, at some time down the road, desire to hear your music in higher fidelity than you currently do, you should consider an amp. This step should probably be taken after you've upgraded your soundcard (or bought an external a/d converter) and upgraded the bit rate of your source files. Your soundcard uses so-so opamps, and those draw their power from a noisy source (your computer's power supply). An external amp uses a dedicated power supply and higher quality components. If you're not deterred by your lackluster welcoming committee here (and willing to stop using audiophile as a term of derision in an audiophile community) you'll find a lot of good information here about cost-effective DIY amps, and/or inexpensive off the shelf amps.
Be prepared to invest upwards of $100 per component to get a noticeable increase in sound-quality. That's just the rule around these parts. Other people revise that estimate upwards, sometimes as high as 7 or 8 hundred dollars. For me, if it's less than $100 it's not as good as what I've already got.
AD700's are what I bought for gaming a month ago. I absolutley love them. The soundstage is large, and they are very clear. They have very little bass though (I mean VERY little), but some see this as a pro, others see it as a con.
As much as I love them, the more I browsed these forums the more I NEEDED more expensive headphones. The AD700s were the most amazing things ever to grace my ear, but I started thinking to myself : What if there are cans that sound better than these?!?! I looked and looked and finally decided that I am going to get the beyerdynamic DT880, which cost more than 2 times than the AD700's.
But, up came another problem. A new amp! Good God when does it stop?!?! I don't know which one I am going to buy, but it is between the Meier 2move and a Darkvoice 336i/Little Dot MKIV. Add another $300 to the $260 for the DT880's.
I would have been satisfied with Tritton AX360's for gaming, but I happened to stumble upon AVS Forums gaming headphone thread, and eventually here. I am so glad I did, but my wallet is so light now.I am now going to spend 5 times more than the amount I first intended ($100). I hope I'll be happy with my purchase, and happy gaming.
Just remember that the AD700's are amazing sounding cans. Many people have said they have the sound quality of 'phones twice their price. They are a great deal.
Eventually it's gonna be unavoidable. But by all means, if you are on a budget, don't starve yourself to buy a new pair of phones. I had a little savings that I was going to use to buy a new computer, but instead it went towards my newly found "audio addiction".