Which Headphones For Producing/Gaming/Movies/Music
Jul 16, 2008 at 4:37 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 26

mattyb

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Hey everyone!

Time to ask the experts.

Ok. The run-down is that I'm going to be building a new computer within the next week or two, which is going to be a powerful beast (e8400 with 4 gigs of ram.) It's going to be used for both gaming/movies/music & music producing. I'm going to purchase an M-audio oxygen 49 midi controller keyboard and hook that up through the midi port of the Creative-Xfi Fata1ity Platinum card.

I'm already aware that the x-fi is NOT a great card for music producing, but I have no choice in this matter as its the best for games and can't be beat in that regard. Down the track I plan on getting an m-audio audiophile 192 and putting it in a 2nd machine
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Anyway, this leads me to my question(s).

From what I can gather, and from what some people have already told me, I'm guessing that I'm going to need 2 pairs of headphones? 1 for gaming/movies/general music listening, and the other for producing/mixing music.

I was looking into the Sennheiser HD 555 & the HD 595 for the gaming headphones. They have got a lot of great reviews! I was also considering in using these for producing/mixing as well but some people have said that they are not good for that purpose?

The producing headphones I'm considering is the AKG S240, which are apparently VERY good and has also received a lot of awesome reviews. I've heard that AKG is a very good brand.

If you guys could get back to me and let me know what yas think.. would be very much appreciated!
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hopefully someone here has both of those headphones and can tell me the exact differences.

Please note that I'm on a budget, and can't afford expensive headphones. If I have to spend money to get 2 pairs of headphones, it'll have to be around the $300 - $450 australian dollars mark for the 2 of them altogether.

Thanks in advance!

Matty B.
 
Jul 17, 2008 at 10:06 AM Post #4 of 26

Seidhepriest

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For production, Edirol MA- -series speakers (MA-10, MA-15, MA-20, etc.). Used MA-10 sometimes surface cheap (less than US$50).

AKG K-240S are great, yes. Not that great in stock configuration, they need a good amp (the soundcard should be fine though), a better cable (Sweetcome star-quad here, cheapest and noticeably better than stock AKG wires), and foam pads (not cushions) removed. They love a good, powerful amplifier, but they're fine out of an Audigy-2 front panel (so they should be fine with the latest model too...). The stock cable isn't the highest quality, and it affects latency (K-240S are somewhat slow and thin-sounding with the stock cable, a replacement star-quad cable makes them much more dynamic and opens up space, thanks to clean 10000+Hz range).
 
Jul 17, 2008 at 6:09 PM Post #5 of 26

Jo-Vo

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Hi!

Just wanted to mention that a X-Fi is a PITA for producing music. Wouldn't a M-Audio audiophile work for games, too?

Regards,
Jonas
 
Jul 17, 2008 at 8:06 PM Post #8 of 26

darkswordsman17

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I would say go for the Auzentech Prelude for gaming, or maybe a lower end X-Fi (since all you really want from it for headphones and gaming is the CMSS-3D headphone, which I believe you can get on one of the lower end X-Fi models). You might also consider one of the multitude of other sound cards that feature Dolby Headphone support.

As for audio creation, I'd recommend a separate dedicated card for that. Maybe an E-MU 0404USB or 1212 PCI card?

Hmm, I just realized, do you already own the X-Fi?

Headphone wise, I'd say Beyer DT-880s might fit the bill quite well. You'll miss some bass on games (get a dedicated sub
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), but they're supposed to be stellar for positioning and soundstage. They'd be good for audio production as well I would think since they're fairly neutral. The AKG-K701s might be decent as well, but again, lack bass for gaming.
 
Jul 17, 2008 at 8:10 PM Post #9 of 26

chinesekiwi

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Enthusia /img/forum/go_quote.gif
I recommend the beyerdynamic dt770 for gaming, lots of bass.


I'd go soundstage in a headphone for gaming over pure bass for gaming really tbh.
 
Jul 17, 2008 at 9:49 PM Post #10 of 26

Enthusia

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Quote:

Originally Posted by chinesekiwi /img/forum/go_quote.gif
I'd go soundstage in a headphone for gaming over pure bass for gaming really tbh.


Sound stage is important, but for gaming you need bass (explosions) and positional audio (footsteps, etc). The dt770 have been proven to be one of the better headphones for gaming and isolation is a plus, so nobody can disturb you when your in the zone.
 
Jul 18, 2008 at 4:31 AM Post #11 of 26

psyllium

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Sennheiser HD-25 would do most of what you wanted... I've got some friends who produce on them, they isolate pretty well, stay on your head alright for gaming, and good for listening to music on. I haven't tried them for movies but I reckon they'd be ok.
 
Jul 18, 2008 at 6:14 AM Post #12 of 26

ericj

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Keeping in mind the target audience, if producing music for videogames, you should probably get some headphones sold by some company that makes high-end mouse pads.
 
Jul 18, 2008 at 7:53 AM Post #13 of 26

Peter Pinna

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Enthusia /img/forum/go_quote.gif
Sound stage is important, but for gaming you need bass (explosions) and positional audio (footsteps, etc). The dt770 have been proven to be one of the better headphones for gaming and isolation is a plus, so nobody can disturb you when your in the zone.


Which particular model of the DT 770?

Reply to mattyb:
I have been involved professionally in music production over many years. I may be stating the obvious to you, but since I don't know you, I want you to know that I am definitely not trying to insult your intelligence when I tell you that while I've seen it done, mixing with headphones is still relatively rare in the industry. Actually, I have been involved in two productions which were eventually mixed using headphones. One of those times the AKG K701 was utilized and the other time the Ultrasone Pro 750 was used.
Don't misunderstand, I'm NOT saying that other headphones can't be used for this purpose. What I am saying is that those were the ones with which I've had personal experience in this regard. I did not do the mix, directly, on either of these. But, on one of them, I did give the Sound Engineer some very specific instructions on what I wanted.
I am not a "gamer". Consequently, I am unable to speak from personal experience about the performance of any headphone in this regard. I have been told by people who have told me they are "gamers" that the Pro 750's are excellent headphones for gaming purposes.
I can speak from experience about listening to newly recorded playback as well as other music of different genres via the Pro 750's. I have never heard a headphone that was more similar to the sound of high quality studio monitors (with no additional EQing in an accoustically controlled room) than the Pro 750.
For movies, they are the best I've ever heard. I don't use the Dolby Headphone setting because the "surround sound effect" built in to the Pro 750 sounds more realistic and natural to me.
These headphones, FYI, require a lot of "burn-in" time as do other high end headphones.
Take a look at the links in my signature area.
There is another poster currently on this thread who has all but accused me of being a "shill" for Ultrasone. I am warning you about this in advance because he /she may try to "attack" and demean this post. (I do not know what interest there is for him / her to do this. Perhaps he / she has some type of interest in a competitor headphone company. I don't know.) I am definitely not a "shill" for Ultrasone or anyone else. Except for owning a pair of their headphones, I have absolutely no association with Ultrasone. In actuality, my admiration for the performance of the Pro 750 is genuine as is my enthusiasm for telling others (who are interested in "high end" headphones) about them.
Good luck to you in finding your headphones.
 
Jul 18, 2008 at 12:40 PM Post #14 of 26

mattyb

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Thanks guys
smily_headphones1.gif


I'm still deciding on the headphones pretty much.. but I'm faced with an "amp" problem now. I've read that you need an amp to power these high-end headphones, and that a PC sound card won't really be enough. Is this really true?

Jo-Vo: M-audio is not good for games. The sound card choices for me is restricted to the x-fi line or possibly the auzentech prelude.

From what I've read, the auzentech has preamps built into it as opposed to the x-fi? I think I read it as 5vms or something like that as opposed to 2.5vms or something similar from the x-fi. Does that essentially mean it will be twice as loud? I don't know much about this stuff.

I know that I already have a bass-line model of the sennies, which are VERY low and the sound has to be turned right up to get any good sound from it. The other model which I'm using now is actually designed for portables (Sennheiser PX 100) and they are MUCH louder! so I'm guessing they have a stronger drive built-in or something being portable? or I suppose in this case a lesser-drive thats required?

Someone said something about having their high-end headphones hooked up to the audigy 2 via the front panel. Does it make a difference when plugged into the front panel as opposed to the back of the sound card? And how loud exactly is this sound? do you have to up the volume to max to achieve a good result?

Peter Pinna, thanks for the very lengthy reply, and do not worry, I'm not offended in any way. Even tho I'm a beginner, I'm still aware that monitors are the BEST way to mix music period. Unfortunately though, I can't afford good monitors right now, and would rather concentrate on decent headphones as I have much more privacy, and can use them at whatever time I like (might wanna fool around with a track at 2am or something.)

That being said though, based on everything I've read so far.. decent headphones can still achieve very good results for this purpose! I like to mix it up personally with my current equipment (mix on headphones first, then move to speakers and fine-tune it.) My equipment is novice at best (not designed for audio production.)

I was considering for the time being probably investing in an X-Fi elite pro because it has higher quality DACS over the other models, and wanted to hook up a pair of headphones thru the elite control box (but ive heard you NEED an amp?)

I've read about people suggesting USB DACS with builtin amps etc. Sounds like a great idea, but isn't that basically just a filter that will bypass my soundcard all together? I just wish I didn't play games.. this wouldn't be so hard then
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My main concern is having a sound card that will produce tight productions as opposed to what I have now (Audigy 2), and will also excel in games! and to somehow use a decent pair of headphones thru this new setup for both games & producing. Bare in mind that I will only be using a midi controller keyboard for recording in conjunction with vstis. I need something that is going to make vsti samples sound TIGHT!
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My budget all up is around $650 - $700 for the soundcard and headphones. If you guys have any good possible suggestions to my ordeal.. please let me know!
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I've also posted another message in regards to headphones/dacs with the x-fi.

Thanks guys!
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heh.. I really have to stop writing such long messages.
 
Jul 18, 2008 at 1:00 PM Post #15 of 26

Seidhepriest

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Quote:

Originally Posted by mattyb /img/forum/go_quote.gif
Thanks guys
smily_headphones1.gif


I'm still deciding on the headphones pretty much... but I'm faced with an "amp" problem now. I've read that you need an amp to power these high-end headphones, and that a PC sound card won't really be enough. Is this really true?



Not that true for the K-240 Studio. It will get to listening, even loud volume, without an amplifier. But it won't go head-split loud.
Quote:

Originally Posted by mattyb
Jo-Vo: M-audio is not good for games. The sound card choices for me is restricted to the x-fi line or possibly the auzentech prelude.


Another good (and cheap) external 96/24 interface is Roland's Edirol UA-1EX. USB 2.0, ASIO drivers for MacOS X and Windows. That, for sound editing, not gaming, but it is a quick and portable fix that doesn't require PCI card installation. UA-1EX can be carried between and plugged into Mac and PC boxes too, which is an advantage for carrying between production office and home... UA-1EX costs less than $100.
Quote:

Originally Posted by mattyb
Someone said something about having their high-end headphones hooked up to the audigy 2 via the front panel. Does it make a difference when plugged into the front panel as opposed to the back of the sound card? And how loud exactly is this sound? do you have to up the volume to max to achieve a good result?


SB0240 (Audigy-2 Platinum) came with a front panel which is pretty much the same thing as the X-Fi front panel. "Value" and cheaper versions of Creative cards come without the front panel; the front panel has microphone/line/aux-in jacks, S/PDIF connectors and an amplified headphone output which is powerful enough to drive the K-240S. Probably powerful enough up to ~400-500 ohm of impedance. A back-of-the-soundcard connection, even an amplified one, isn't very suitable for driving headphones.
Quote:

Originally Posted by mattyb
Peter Pinna, thanks for the very lengthy reply, and do not worry, I'm not offended in any way. Even tho I'm a beginner, I'm still aware that monitors are the BEST way to mix music period. Unfortunately though, I can't afford good monitors right now, and would rather concentrate on decent headphones as I have much more privacy, and can use them at whatever time I like (might wanna fool around with a track at 2am or something.)


Small nearfield monitors are quiet enough to be completely mute to anyone outside a room. M-Audio had its own line of cheap small monitor speakers, Roland has its Edirol MA- series. Edirol MA-10 are pretty good small monitor speakers that can be found for ~US$50 online used or off a sale. Those are much more accurate than regular consumer "bookshelf" speakers.

Quote:

Originally Posted by mattyb
I've read about people suggesting USB DACS with builtin amps etc. Sounds like a great idea, but isn't that basically just a filter that will bypass my soundcard all together? I just wish I didn't play games.. this wouldn't be so hard then
biggrin.gif



That's what it means, yes, an external USB DAC is a separate sound interface. A separate soundcard with a USB connection, basically.
 

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