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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. SierraMadre
    My experience with it is limited to VSS gaming and movies on PC (multichannel PCM feed via USB) and PS4 (Dolby Digital 5.1 feed via optical). Didn’t bother with the stereo “high-res mode” as I have a more capable G6 for that.

    I hate thin and excessively bright presentations but do not get that from the game dac given the right configuration of surround content modes. There are 3 surround mode presets (separate from the EQ presets) that appear to be tied to the software app on Windows, “studio”, “gaming” and “movie”..

    Studio surround mode is horrible and overly metallic and thin, somewhat like you described. “Gaming” was ok, “Movie” I found to be the best in general.

    Audio quality is of course better on the G6, the USB-fed surround processing of which isn’t limited to DVD quality sampling rates and bit depth. However, for me, the hit to audio quality from engaging the DTS Virtual X v2 surround mode on the game dac was still plenty tolerable. It just muffled things slightly (which I’ll take any day over the more metallic reverb caused by some other solutions). The reason why I prefer it for most content to the G6 for PS4 however is because I have found it to be better at projecting the illusion of ‘out of my head’ depth for front and rear cues and thus found it more more immersive for movies and single player focussed content.
    illram likes this.
  2. ronfifer
    The HIFIMAN HE-400 reviewed in this guide, is it the 400i or the 400s or is it an older model? If it is an older model, can we expect better 3D positioning of sound cues for the 400i/400s models? (That is can we assume the score for competitive would be higher than 7.5?)
  3. Mad Lust Envy Contributor
    Literay near the beginning of that review:

    "Before I start, let me clarify something: This impression is of the HE-400 Rev. 2 using the Hifiman velour pads"

    Also not gonna discuss scores anymore.
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2019
    halcyon likes this.
  4. ronfifer
    so there are 3 models on the market? He-400 rev2 and HE-400i and HE-400s?
  5. C-Bass
    Yes that's correct and they all have their own sound signature. The HE-400 is discontinued actually.
    Evshrug and ronfifer like this.
  6. ronfifer
    Thanks C-bass, quite a simple logical answer to a simple question. Cheers mate.
  7. Mad Lust Envy Contributor
    Sorry, I've been up like 32 hours, so I might be a bit short fused.

    Well, there's also the HE4XX which is I believe based off the 400i. I dunno however. I've only experienced the 400 and 4 in terms of the old style HFM planars. Both discontinued.

    I still have my trusty 400, which is like my 3rd or 4th time buying them. I had to buy some cheap short ebay cable since the original one started disintegrating.

    I'd sell the Edition XX before I'd sell the 400.

    Last edited: Aug 4, 2019
    ronfifer likes this.
  8. SierraMadre
    @Mad Lust Envy I was wondering whether you are still using the Alcantara pads with your Mobius (think it may have been Shure) and, if not, what you are using now. I loved the Mobius but had to return it due to the pads (too hot and the foam was way too squishy in my pair, leading my ears to touch the drivers).
  9. raband
    I'm using (and happy with) the gel pads from Audeze on my Mobius
  10. SierraMadre
    Thanks, I have heard they are great but even shallower in depth than the stock pads which were no good for me. It’s possible I had an unlucky pair, ears touching the drivers of headphones hasn’t happened to me very often in my years of using various headphones, but I am still rather wary and if my original experience is indicative then that means the gel pads will almost certainly be too thin for me.
  11. Mad Lust Envy Contributor
    I put the stock pads back on, though tbh, Pretty much all my headphones are stored away and don't get used. The only ones I use daily are my PortaPro wireless at work and Ultrasone HFI-15G at home.

    I'm considering a pair of Grado GS1000e though inb the far future.
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2019
  12. Evshrug
    It wouldn’t be fair for me to comment on other headphone brands since I am sponsored (somewhat, it’s more like I am a consultant for hire and Sennheiser is one of my clients, in any case my old content from before when I had the Q701, K712 Pro, and DT 880 are still somewhere on head-fi, and I still have a K612 Pro), but I can at least describe what a Sennheiser Headphone is like, and compare within the line. Oh, and an interesting fact I learned about myself that may apply to others: my ear canals are a bit smaller than average (think the smallest or second smallest eartips for IEMs, can’t wear Audeze iSine IEMs), which means their resonant frequency actually amplifies some treble frequencies, so the highs are actually louder for me and it explains why I find some headphones more fatiguing than others.

    First up, I think Mad Lust Envy did a great job describing an impression on the Game One. It’s basically the same headphone as Drop.com’s exclusive PC37X, so choose whichever makes sense for you. The PC37X I have sounds VERY similar to the HD 599 (which I also have), except the PC37X has a hair more treble energy and it’s impression of soundstage distance rolls off a little slower (so it can seem deeper). Sennheiser tuned it with a v-shaped frequency response (as almost all musical enjoyment headphones are), but they used a fair amount of restraint and nothing overpowers or is under represented (feels balanced yet fun, yo!). Of all the headphones I have, I use this one the most to play PUBG Mobile with friends (hey, it’s great! Also I don’t have to be in a specific room!), make conference calls, and do voiceovers to add to videos. I’ve been using this since the tail end of Destiny 1’s lifecycle, meaning I also use it for playing on my PS4 (and getting my Starcraft II fix on my PC).

    I find it super comfortable... Sennheiser isn’t really trying to make a headphone that you forget you are wearing because it has a clamp force I would describe as “snug,” however I do forget how long I’m wearing them and the need to readjust them because the comfort stays consistent for 3,4, or 5 hours. It doesn’t develop hotspots for me. I will literally wear them while working and then playing for like 8 hours in a row... I’m cheating a little though, because I’ve been using prototype Dekoni Choice Suede Pads for about a month now, the Suede cloth (in my experience) is just so buttery itch-free and the memory foam melts away any hotspots (the stock Sennheiser pads are good too, IMO the stock velour is tied with the best other brands of velour, and the regular foam inside has nice loft with no issues of ears touching drivers). There is a fat, thick pad (covered in velour!) on the headband, which agrees with my picky balding head :nerd:

    The cardioid mic is great for quick, cheap video voiceovers because it maintains a constant distance from my mouth between takes, de-emphasizes sounds from other directions or greater distances, and IMO it sounds great with a good soundcard. I have two desktop mics... it’s just the Sennheiser one is convenient and consistent, and sometimes I just need to get STUFF done!

    Ok, so where does the GameOne/PC37X stand against other Sennheiser headphones?

    The Game Zero is the obvious direction for closed back gaming needs. As a closed headphone, it seals the wearer off from leaking his/her sound out to other people/microphones (Game One doesn’t pick up its own mic unless there is a cable/jack issue) and it blocks some of the outside sound out to aid in the gamer’s immersion. Also as a closed headphone, the sound is naturally more closed in as well, without as much soundstage seeming to stretch away from you. A bit more bass pressure too. Some people prefer the sound of closed headphones, some people simply need closed headphones. Mic is the same, pads are covered in pleather (different mount than the Game One unfortunately, you can totally replace the Sennheiser pads if they get worn out but it’s a somewhat complicated clip-ring-clip affair with a ring that separately attaches to the earcups then the pad), and it has extra hinges to fold up smaller and flat into a mini-briefcase looking included case.

    EDIT: I just spent in total 2 hours writing a fun but informative comparison for you guys, but when I hit “post,” my login cookie expired, Head-Fi logged me out, and everything I wrote since my last edit was lost. I’ll try to recreate some of it, but... it will be shorter. Also, there will be a bazillion edits so I can add on without the text disappearing again.

    How about the new GSP Models? Well... I haven’t been able to try them out yet, personally. But they have a slightly improved cardioid mic, adjustable clamp tension, hybrid pads with cloth where they make contact with skin on the GSP 600 and GSP 670 models. I’m also interested in the dual wireless modes of the GSP 670: it has Bluetooth 5 with support for some high-res codecs, but Bluetooth has inherent latency and two way comms (sound and mic) sound quality issues, so Sennheiser also includes a USB dongle that uses 2.4 GHz wireless (like a cordless home phone, if you remember those) and an in-house designed codec to sound really good, with chat, and no perceptible latency. The GSP 670 also includes Sennheiser’s Binaural Engine for surround processing, and a software suite with a dial to adjust the wetness (reverb) of the surround, perform EQ, etc.

    Native Soundstage size: many headphones < HD 650 < HD 598/HD 599/Game One < HD 700 < HD 800

    The HD 650 and similar variants that use the same enclosure have similarly intimate soundstage. It was tuned using diffuse field measurements, and the driver is capable of presenting a fair amount of detail including those that indicate this sound is further or closer, so it’s no slouch and it takes well to a DSP, but it just doesn’t quite sound as “out of the head” and speaker-like as some of the most “elite” soundstage headphones. What it does offer is like the audio equivalent of a smooth, refined scotch. Liquid, warm, with all kinds of subtle notes that draw you in if you pay attention, but presented in an unforced way. A bit less bass and treble than the Game One (it’s more neutral). I enjoy music and movies with this one. Read Mad’s impressions on the first page of this thread for more.

    The HD 700 was popular among many gamers that swear by it, but not as popular among music listeners. The driver is a trickle down of the tech developed for the HD 800, but it was designed to fulfill a checklist of community requests about the HD 800: lower price, smaller earcups, more bass, easier to drive, different cable connector, etc. The vocals are a bit recessed behind the treble, and you can hear and see in graphs that the contrast between lower treble and upper mids is fairly wide. That made for a particular flavor that was received with love or hate with specific music genres, but for gaming it highlighted a lot of tactical cues and soundstage details/harmonics, and it had good imaging and the soundstage was very wide. Comfort was fairly widely agreed upon, because of the light weight, cavernous earcups despite fairly thin padding, light clamp pressure evenly distributed (so not much padding is needed), and fully padded headband (I wish it had a gap at the peak like the HD 650 and 800 headbands). Now, if you have this recently-discontinued model, here’s a tip: Dekoni pads. I’m not saying that just because I measure gear for them, but you can hear and see in measurements that the mid and treble response is much closer together, lending the headphone a more even and less hollow/distant sound. Soundstage is still good, just more focused.

    Ahhh, the HD 800. I’m not sure how much “I” can say that hasn’t been said before, this and the HD 800 S that followed created a storm on their release and still get fresh reviews all the time. They are certainly titans of soundstage, and this is due to the ring-radiator drivers which are low mass, tightly controlled by a powerful electromagnet, and mounted slightly ahead of he ear canal and angled so it directly faces the angle of the ear, suspended in a very open earcup (more like “ear frame” or “ear screen”). What some people refer to as “PRAT” or “Speed” but I call “agility” (since it’s more about how tightly controlled the driver can change its vibrations, not that it can make the tempo/BPM of your music faster), this headphone has in spades, avoiding masked details or one note bleeding over another. It has a very neutral signature, one that can seem bass light in comparison to speakers with wall-reinforcement or headphones with much more bass than mids, but it does extend its reach very low and the large driver (56mm) does have quite a bit of displacement for a headphone; when I first got my HD 800, I commented that I could feel the air pushing and pulling the hairs on the skin of my ears in time to the sound. It’s also got a lot to recommend it in the comfort department: a light clamping force, weight well-distributed between all points of physical contact (divot in the headband, like the HD 650, prevents the majority of the weight resting on that spot), and that weight is very low (330g, or 11.64 Oz) considering the size of the headphone due to choice of materials including a special low-resonance resin used in most of the earcup. I would rather have an HD 800 S because it has less masking and a touch more bass, but the HD 800 is still an incredible performer. Oh, and I prefer silver over black, but people tell me I’m weird :sweat_smile:

    Just this last Saturday, I finally got an HD 660 S. I had heard it at Sennheiser KG and several CanJams, and it plays a balancing act that I knew I would want to own. It takes a trickle-down of the HD 800 and HD 700 driver tech, uses the HD 650 enclosure, and then specifically retuned for a sound signature similar to the HD 6-- line. Sonically, I feel it slots right inbetween the HD 650 and HD 800: it has an agility halfway between the HD 650 and HD 800, but with more of the HD 650’s richer timbre and gentle treble. If someone said the HD 650 seemed to have a veil, the HD 660 S is the answer. Soundstage is about the same as the HD 650 except everything sounds a touch crisper. Ergonomics are the same as the HD 650 too (and same 260 g weight, 9.2 Oz).

    For the record, since I started lurking on Head-Fi and posting in 2009, I was a “holy grail seeker,” a “one headphone at a time” kind of guy. That started to change about three years ago when I started picking up the pace with reviews, and headphones still tend to stick around these days even though I’m not reviewing. The wife says I can’t buy any more headphones... but we all know, I can :wink:
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2019
  13. Mad Lust Envy Contributor

    Evshrug likes this.
  14. debugman
    Hi, I got the DSS but the analog is not working (don't hear party chat).

    I follow the directions in this diagram: [​IMG]

    I tried with dolby bypass on and didn't work either.

    The 3.5mm cable I used work, I connect my headphones to my computer

    I also tried connecting my phone but didn't hear anything either.

    Is there something I'm doing wrong here or I got a damaged DSS?
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2019
  15. Mad Lust Envy Contributor
    If I had a DSS I'd help. I wouldn't be able to pinpoint your problem without it.

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