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Mad Lust Envy's Headphone Gaming Guide: (12/10/2019: Schiit Gaming Dac/Amps 'Hel' and 'Fulla 3' added)

Discussion in 'Video Games Discussion' started by mad lust envy, Jan 17, 2011.
  1. Fegefeuer
    ronfifer likes this.
  2. mindbomb
    To be clear, there is no 360 degree positioning from stereo headphones. Good positioning is the result of the use of virtual surround sound (lets you hear more directions), a good audio engine (directions change appropriately with movement), and your own ability to adapt to new spatial cues. All a headphone has to do is to try not to get in the way.
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2019
    Evshrug likes this.
  3. Mad Lust Envy Contributor
    Today was a good day. After so many months of wondering where my Ultrasone HFI-15G went, I found it hidden behind a drawer. No idea how it fell behind it, but I would've never found it had I not had to to remove the drawers to move the dresser.

    It's my favorite bed headphone, and it's def gonna get a lot of use with the Mixamp 5.8 at night. I've been using the KSC75 all this time in bed, but I don't like it when laying down because the cables are so frail and prone to snagging, which will yank them off the drivers. The 15g has a single cable that has a beefy strain relief so it can take punishment.

    Anyways, yes, good day indeed.
    Evshrug likes this.
  4. wmf
    1. Have best imaging, most accurate sense of direction spanning 360 degrees, and large enough soundstage in an online FPS game.
    2. No mic is required
    3. Does not significantly underperform in other areas such as bass, fun factor, and immersion (ex: AD700x)
    4. Will NOT be used for anything other FPS online gaming.

    Please name one below $300 and one above $300.

    im quite happy with the DT990s, i can recommend those. soundstage is good, altho not as good as the others... i dont use a mic, bass is definately there. im thinking of getting another pair of beyers, maybe the DT 1990s.
    im mostly in BF V, BF1, and on ocassion CoD WW2. I was also considering the T90. might be a little bass light though, especially if one of the criterias are bass, fun factor. (but great detail )
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2019
    ronfifer likes this.
  5. DeadOfKnight
    Thanks a lot for all of these reviews, but I can't help but be left wondering what the bottom line is. For each of the price brackets, which would be your top picks for different use cases at this point in time?
  6. Mad Lust Envy Contributor
    There is no bottom line. Each review is based on the product by itself. If I were to put what I'd choose, no one would bother even reading the reviews and just go with what I choose with no other reason, despite my tastes being my own, and my tastes not being the best for every single aspect of gaming. I've had countless messages and questions asking whats the best headphone for every single thing, in which the answerr is there is no such thing. So no, I won't put my top picks. It also wouldn;'t make sense, as I don't have all these headphones on hand to truly single out what my faves are if I were to compare them directly.

    My picks would all be skewed towards the most recent products because they are fresher on my mind. My tastes have also evolved to the point where something I would've hated back when I first started, I would love now, and vice versa. So really, each review should be taken with a grain of salt and be looked at with how I feel the bass, midrange, treble, soundstages are and not what I like or dislike. Outside of my preferences, you can more or less get a grasp for what type of a headphone each one is based on how I feel about these factors. I honestly would LOVE to delete my old mini reviews, because they were skewed more towards subjective than objective impressions. The older reviews are very rough for me to look at, personally, because of this, but people feel they should be left up if to at least have some form of base to go on.

    Really, why would I single out something like an X2, when there are plenty of great alternatives like the K712, DT990, HD650, etc. All these are fun for similar and different reasons, so I don't find it logical to say, YES THIS IS THE ONE TO GET. So I'd say, look at these headphones, and find which one sounds the most appealing to you, based on availability, price, comfort, and what sonic traits appeals to you most.

    If I had a billion dollars and did this for a living where I would be constantly reviewing new products and keep them around as reference points, then perhaps I could make lists on like 'Top picks of 2019' etc. But really, I don't have such an opportunity, and a lot of my reviews are for old products that have either been replaced or discontinued.

    I have an Ultrasone HFI-15G. If I were to say it's my fave headphone for x reason, that wouldn't help anyone, as Ultrasone hasn't made this headphone in many years, and availabilty is very, very slim.

    So yeah, there's too many reasons why I don't feel the need to make a 'top picks' type of entry for the guide.
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2019
    AxelCloris, Zachik and headphonesonly like this.
  7. DeadOfKnight
    So you're saying I have to actually participate in the conversation and ask questions? I can't just lurk around to find the answers I'm looking for?
  8. Mad Lust Envy Contributor
    Lurking around, I'm sure the same potential questions have been answered many, many times throughout the years by very capable dwellers of this forum who likely have good opinions on products that are likely more recent and more questionably appealing than the assortment of things I review for someone's particular tastes.

    Like when someone asks me, what's the best headphone to buy nowadays in price bracket xxx, I seriously can't answer such a question, when I don't have a huge pool of recent products that I have experienced, etc.

    Also, I put "Price as of Month/Year" because really, things change quickly. What may have been $150 to me months ago, may be $300, now, or no longer sold, or cheaper, etc.

    I know the guide isn't perfect, and the volatility of the headphone market doesn't help matters. But it is what it is.

    I think people looking into headphones should stop stressing about what's best, etc. There's SOOOO many headphones out there that it's impossible to find what the best is for any one thing. The great thing is that the market is so competitive, that the vast majority of headphones that aren't bottom barrel will almost always turn out to be good at worst, great on average. Even companies like Bose, Skullcandy, Beats, etc, all have products nowadays that are really fantastic. They have to be, because of how much competition is out there.

    So look into headphones that YOU think look like something you want, and see if what people say about them sounds like they'd suit your needs. Chances are a good, fun sounding headphone will sound great for fun gaming, and a very detailed headphone with open soundstage will likely be great for competitive gaming, etc. There's not much else to make headphones truly stand out. You can extrapolate if a headphone will be good just by reading about these factors more often than not. There really is no such thing as the best of the best, at least unless you're going for the very high end, and even up there, there's so much competition, you're unlikely to single out one or two headphones objectively.

    Sorry for the bad grammar and punctuation. It's late, and I'm writing out my thoughts directly.
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2019
    AxelCloris and Fegefeuer like this.
  9. Fegefeuer
    You are on point. There's no best headphone, only (good) compromises and those can be very personal. Today we have a lot more choices than years ago, that's a big plus.
    There are so many great headphones to choose from, no matter the price. Headphones can be so different in tonality yet stil objectively great for gaming. Like TH-900 and HD800.
    I wouldn't wanna tell someone to choose one over the other. Maybe the TH-900 is too far from neutral for one but much more immersive for the other? You have to find out for yourself.

    I would pick the PC37X and HD 59X over all the AKG K7XX and the X2 if I had to choose, I'm very likely in the minority there. All 4 offer the most important traits for a good to great gaming can but I much prefer the tonality of the former two.

    Best way is to go to a local dealer and get a loaner. Try a few candidates out for yourself, make your choice.
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2019
    Evshrug likes this.
  10. SierraMadre
    You keep on going back to how much you want it to be like the AD700x just with more bass/immersion/fun, so your best bet is to start with the Ath-ADG1X which is basically the gaming rebrand of the step-up AD*9*00x but tweaked for a bit more bass and a built-in mic included.

    If you don’t like that then move onto the AKG K712 or the K7XX. Obviously you would need a mod mic for both of those.
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2019
    ronfifer likes this.
  11. Mad Lust Envy Contributor
    Here, I'll give an opinion. If you want something competitively strong like the AD700 without fully compromising the bass, the K610 Pro is FANTASTIC. You can arguably even say it might be tonally superior to the K712 Pro. It's a very linear sound with a lot of bass extension. Not that it's bassy, but the bass reaches low, instead of just rolling off into nothingness. I think it is competitively viable. Easily.

    Are the K612 even sold today? These are the types of questions I have that keep me from constantly making such recommendations, because I'm going off impressions I made of them so many years ago.
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2019
    Evshrug and ronfifer like this.
  12. DeadOfKnight
    OK, I'll just try to be as detailed as I can on what I'm looking for. Right now, I want a new set of headphones to use with my PC instead of my Ultrasone HFI-700s. I use my PC for everything: gaming, movies, and music. I have a Creative X-Fi Titanium HD sound card that supports up to 330 Ohms load. I switch between the different modes depending on what I'm listening to, and I appreciate having the ability to hear every detail, including EAX effects in older games. I really like these headphones for the sound quality, but they're not comfortable for long sessions. I have attached an Antlion Modmic, but I find it to be a really annoying with long cables that get in the way. I got small children that like to get into my stuff the moment I walk away from my desk. This means coming back to find everything disassembled on my headset. Anyway, when I'm not using my headphones, I have a pair of Klipsch R-15PM studio monitors positioned at 45-degree angles from where I sit, about 2.5 feet away, and an R-10SW subwoofer under my desk. I think they sound great with the exception of a harsher sibilance than I would like. However, they do sound a lot better at higher volumes than I'm able to actually use when my wife is home. The other microphone I use is just the one built into my Logitech C920 webcam.

    Anyway, that's where I'm at. As far as what I'm looking for, here's my list of needs:

    Gaming - It's all about immersion. Directional accuracy or the ability pick out small cues comes secondary to actually feeling like I'm there. Not that this isn't an advantage I would like to have, but if I'm being honest, I'm not that great at competitive FPS games anyway. Knowing where those footsteps are coming from and having twitch reactions to them isn't going to happen. It's a bonus if I can try to do that, but it's not a need. I don't spend much time in games like Counter-Strike, but I do play a lot of immersive single player games. I have a nice 1440p ultrawide monitor to get that visually, and I want to give my ears the same treatment. The multiplayer games I play are mostly co-op, and I would like a boom mic for better noise cancellation. I was almost sold on Beyerdynamic MMX 300s. I know they're overpriced, but I don't really care if it's exactly what I want. However, I've also been interested in streaming and content creation. This means having to get a dynamic microphone to cancel out all the noise of my crazy kids. If I do that, then once again I wouldn't need a headset because there's really no need for a boom mic if I have something better. So that brings me back to just wanting a comfortable set of closed-backed headphones for isolation, with a great sound stage for immersion.

    Music - I have a large collection ripped FLAC files, and I listen to every genre, especially hard rock and heavy metal. I don't know if I'm a "bass head". I enjoy deep heavy bass, but I don't like it to drown out everything else. I just want to really feel it, you know? So yes, I am looking for a quality listening experience for music. I like having good separation for all the instruments. I don't know if my speakers are known for being sibilant or if I'm just particularly sensitive to it. I'm not an audiophile in the sense that many in this community are, but I am willing to pay good money for the best "practical" experience that I can get. I can justify spending up to $500 on a pair of cans that are objectively better. I've been attracted mostly to flatter sounding headphones because I feel there's a smaller chance of being disappointed without getting to try them first. However, I'm willing to compromise between great gaming and great listening performance. The Audeze Mobius seems like a good immersive headset with a good reputation for listening to music as well, but the new Creative SXFI Amp sounds like a more flexible alternative that I can use with a variety of headphones. I've tried neither of them, so I really have no way to compare them. I don't know if the head tracking or SXFI is more immersive.

    Comfort - I wear glasses 100% of the time, so soft foam pads without too much clamping force are a must. Pleather pads that stick to my head and build up heat are not good for wearing for long periods of time. However, I imagine that any leakyness this causes should be offset by a closed back design. I prefer this anyway for more isolation and a perception of heavier bass. After doing my homework, it seems like the Beyerdynamics DT 770 Pros are a good choice for what I'm looking for, with reportedly impressive open sound for a closed-back set of headphones. I am also open to other options that I haven't looked at, but either these or MMX 300s, despite some reports of higher than average sibilance, do seem to be the best option for what I want at a decent price. I know it comes in a few different variants and impedences. It's a shame that the cable isn't detachable, because I would prefer a shorter cable or a coiled cable, but it seems like you get what you get at that impedence level, and Custom Games come with more sacrifices.

    Anyway, that's where I'm standing right now. I'm currently leaning towards the SXFI Amp and a pair of Beyerdynamic DT 770 Pros. I don't know which variant I should get, but it seems like the 80 Ohms are the most popular. Still thinking about the Audeze Mobius. I kind of think I'd like the Mobius more for all the features it has, but I just think there's a lot more risk of buyer's remorse. With DT 770s and the SXFI Amp, I only need to be satisfied with half of my purchase to at least feel like I got a decent upgrade. Any thoughts?
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2019
  13. ronfifer
    Thank you. And for this purpose (3D audio accuracy and depth in FPS games), which AMP/DAC would you recommend on top of your head with the K612 pro? I am playing on an MSI gaming laptop.
    Evshrug likes this.
  14. Mad Lust Envy Contributor
    Anything like a Creative G6 would be sufficient. You can always get a stronger amp, but I feel the G6 had enough to gain plenty out of the 612. If not, just attach an amp to it down the line.
    ronfifer likes this.
  15. ronfifer
    And finally, what would be your best equivalent candidate from Sennheiser or Drop Sennheiser HD XXX for this purpose (3D positional accuracy in FPS games)?

    Edit: In your review of the GAME ONE, you make the statement that: "There is clear distance between positional cues in a 360 degree front to back circle. This means the GAME ONE is in the upper echelons of headphones/headsets tested for positional accuracy when gaming."

    Does that put it on top of the K612, same, or lower? Is it the ultimate Senn HD you recommend for FPS 3D positional accuracy or is there even a better Senn HD for this purpose in your opinion? (lower than HD800)
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2019

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