specific advice for a noob
Oct 31, 2009 at 11:20 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 2

Mister Pesto, Esq.

New Head-Fier
Oct 21, 2009
This is my third post, so I suppose some introduction is in order.

I am new to the audiophilia game. Please assume for purposes of replying to this post that I have essentially zero knowledge. I have a couple of IEMs (Turbines that my wife uses, I use the UM2s). Above all, bang for the buck is my mantra.

1) Assume a budget of $300 (though I am not afraid to go marginally north of that figure to breach some particularly noteworthy quality threshold of which I am not, now, aware). I would like to get a nice set of cans to use at home. I primarily listen to mp3s, but I want something that will make me switch to lossless formats and cds. I have read in various threads here that cans can be divided into 2 (perhaps more) categories: open and closed. Assuming that the former allows sound to leak out to bystanders, where the latter does not, I would prefer the latter. As for noise cancelling, I have no express preference unless you convince me that I should; for airplanes and commuting, where that is more important to me, I will have the isolation of the UM2s and am happy with that. Also, I understand that people frequently use an amp in series with their headphones. Is this purely a power issue? Is the effect on quality of sound limited to the fact that a proper amount of power is needed to make the most of the technology?

2) I am also in the market for a nice pair of headphones to use for gaming (xbox 360 -- halo, madden, etc.). To this end, I understand that soundstage is particularly important, while the detail I might want out of music-dedicated cans is less of a factor. Is it possible to meet objectives 1 and 2 without sacrificing quality to either professed use? I constantly hear about these Astro A40s, and the Astro mixamp. Does the Astro mixamp also function as an amp that could properly drive the cans I ask about in 1 above? Alternatively, is there a better, cheaper amp that I might also use for gaming, supposing that an amp is required for gaming? FYI: I will be using a TOSlink to the 360 to optimize surround quality.

Anyway, thanks for reading and thanks in advance for any answers you might have. If there are undisputed champs for 1 and 2 that do not overlap, I will double my budget accordingly. Teach me.

Nov 1, 2009 at 12:20 AM Post #2 of 2


Headphoneus Supremus
Oct 16, 2008
You can get both 1 and 2 done well enough with one headphone. In general, a good music headphone will be a good gaming headphone. Unless you are more than a casual gamer who wants to enjoy the game a bit more, you don't need a dedicated pair of gaming phones.

As far as no.1, you just need to read, and read a lot. There are countless threads just in the phones forum asking similar questions. It is better to read those and learn a little bit about what you may be looking for rather than ask something so general.

One thing that I can say is that you will run into a problem with your budget. If you spend $300 on full size phones, you are going to be into the territory when amps can benefit the phones quite a bit. That price range is also the range where differences in phones become smaller and smaller and more difficult to hear or notice without an amp.

Another thing to consider is the type of music you listen to. This matters a lot with headphones. It matters enough that it is difficult to recommend a phone without knowledge of the type of music that will be coming out of them.

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