300-600 $ Headset (headphones) options?

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Gnuz

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Hello, I hope to get some help to pick the right set of headphones in this price range. :)

So I originally started looking for a new set of headphones in order to replace my gaming headset. Then I discovered that I get a better result buying a good set of headphones and a seperate mic. However since I don't have any speakers, the headphones is my only audio for my desktop pc. So it doesn't have to "portable", and I would prefer open back headphones for this reason. They have to be comfortable, even when worn for long periods of time a day. - I don't need virtual surround either.

Even though I will be using my headphones for gaming, besides that I will be using it for anything else involving audio, so listening to music or watching movies or series. So I'm looking more for great all-round headphones I guess, and would prefer headphones, which sound better over some who give me an advantage while gaming, assuming the set still have a good sound stage.

In terms of sound profile, I'm not really sure, what I'll prefer though..

I'm not opposed to buying an amplifier and a soundcard, even though that may be a little later,couple of months or so..

Some of the sets I've looked at are Sennheisers HD 598 and the 600, which seem to be a solid choice? or beyerdynamic’s DT 990, DT 880. I've also looked at the HiFiman HE-400 for the planar magnetic drivers.

I originally posted this topic over on tomsguide side: http://www.tomsguide.com/answers/id-2589976/300-600-headset-headphones-options.html#15587190

After recommendation, I've moved it here, where it probably also fits better.

- I just got one other small question, since I'm look for open back headphone should I buy the unidirectional modmic instead of the omnidirectional which are more sensitive and have a larger frequency response than the unidirectional mic. Or will they both do well with open back headphones. I'm asking since they are available on massdrop, which makes them pretty cheap even when shipped to my country. But its only available for a couple of days yet.

 

Iamsoda

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Feb 18, 2015
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Honestly if you want a really good gaming headset its all overpriced. What is it you need? surround processing? (go with razer surround software. works like a charm and makes any plain stereo headset surround) Good quality headphones? (pickup a pair of sennheisers higher end HD versions) Don't want a separate Mic or would prefer a built in Mic on the headset? (Get the Sennheiser gaming headsets. They have really good specs and aren't overly expensive. I have the HD SE gaming)

The big gimmick you overpay for is the virtual surround sound. The razer surround software is $20 and is the same thing as any high end gaming headset.

Good luck
 

theLeggo

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Dec 26, 2014
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Since this is your second time posting this, and you still haven't really decided, check out this guide http://www.head-fi.org/t/534479/mad-lust-envys-headphone-gaming-guide-2-17-2015. Thousands of pages to surf through, and you can easily search for any of the headphones you just listed. Mind you they are a somewhat audiophile community, but it does mean you get to see 200-300 headphones compared to the premium 500+ headphones.

Also, what do you mean by "somewhat portable" if these are just going to be used at your desk?
 
for reference, i told him to post it here on the tomshardware side (instead of the tomsguide side) of things since we have a few more audiophiles and headphone experts here.

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i'd search the forum for "ssddx headphone headset" and read some of my past recommendations to get a better feel for what sounds like what, what is important, different audio terms, etcetera.

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do you want virtual surround sound? if yes you will want a soundcard if your onboard does not support it. if you go with easy to power headphones 80ohm and under you might be able to get by with just this. if you end up wanting harder to drive headphones it would be best to use the line out jack on the soundcards to avoid double amping (if possible, not a strict requirement).

cheap soundcards would be the xonar dg, xonar dx and creative z.

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what kind of sound profile?

if you want advantage in fps... the audiotechnica ad500x ad700x and ad900x do this. super huge soundstage, great comfort and a high-mid focused sound with almost no bass presence at all. you can hear footsteps and gain some slight advantage but they arent as fun as other headphones. the akg k701 and similar models are going to sound about the same. generally an amp is not needed and a good soundcard is fine.;

if you want a completely neutral sound.... the hd598 does this and doesnt need an amp though certainly benefits from one or a good soundcard. the dt880 does this as well but does need a good amp. overall i will say the 880 will be a bit sharper and have a slightly wider soundstage as well as having larger/better earpads. neutral sets give you the most natural sound possible however may be a bit boring for some while others like how the mid-bass is not recessed.

if you want a more fun sounding headset with a v-shaped curve, the dt990 does this well. very sharp crisp highs paired with good bass levels for an open can as well as a respectable soundstage. they do require a good amplifier.

the hd600 or hd650 are similar to the hd598 in that they are neutral. they are not as sharp and crisp and can be best described as "smooth". where the dt990 can sound harsh to some (while others say its detail-oriented and crisp) the hd600/hd650 are smooth (while some call them not as detailed or slow). often people cannot love both the hd600 and dt990 and pick one or the other as their favorite.

sorry, i dont know a whole lot about the hifiman series.

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modmic vs...

i know the older modmic designs were certainly cardioid pickup pattern while the new design is omnidirectional with noise cancelling. the modmic brand and models get some pretty rave reviews and i've heard sound recordings on the various models and have to say that they are not bad at all. check out some youtube recordings of them if you arent sure what to think.

if that is not your cup of tea, its also possible to mod any 3.5mm boom mic onto your headphones. see the incomplete headphone guide (in my signature) and the appropriate section for that guide (which was copied here from its original source).

or, its possible to use a desk microphone. some cheaper options are the blue snowball and atr2500usb which give stellar performance. the blue snowball does have a slight volume issue and the atr2500 is a little fragile but both are good. a little more expensive are the at2020usb and blue yeti which are stellar. any of the desk mics listed can be used for professional youtube recording or similar and recordings are available on youtube so you can hear for yourself how they sound.

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if you have any other questions (not answered by reading at least a few of my other in-depth answers in other threads once you forum search) please link them here and i'll try to answer them if i can.
 

Gnuz

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I'm pretty convinced I want the modmic, I'm just wondering if the sound leakage is going to be a problem with the omnidirectional mic, or I should get the unidirection? (Which has a lower a considerable lower frequency range is less sensitive)
 
many people use the modmic with cans such as the hd598, dt990 and ad700x and do not note issues so i would not think there would be an issue unless you have your volume cranked up so loud its uncomfortable.
 

randomizer

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While this applies to any set of headphones, it's a really good idea to try these out before buying. They have a bizarre headband that is fantastic if it fits your head, and awful if it doesn't. I owned the AD900X for a short while (before returning it for the reason above) and it sounded great to me and everyone within 20m :lol:
 

Gnuz

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I have been really busy, so haven't had the chace to check back with the forum for some time. Thanks for all the replies though.
Im wondering, if I go with the dt990 what amplifier would I need? :)
 
it would be suggested to go with one like the schiit magni since it is fairly powerful yet not extremely expensive.

you might be able to manage on a $80 fiio e10k or similar but may not get 100% out of the dt990.
 

Gnuz

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Thanks. I'm actually considering the 990 the most right now, and I don't mind buying the amplifier. However I was looking at either the shiit magni or the Objective 2 with ODAC. But only retailers I can find is inside US, which means I'll have to deal with tax and customs on the amplifier when I recieve it.
So therefore I might even choose the hd 598.
 
the o2 amp is quite nice however the magni has a bit more output power if i recall correctly.

now, there may be other amplifiers you can buy which are available locally to you (i just dont know which ones). other options include the e17 by fiio which might work or going with a tube amplifier (which give you that warm tubey kind of sound as well generally).

the hd598 is a good all around headphone that will appeal to most. its neutral across the board for eq, has decent sound quality and clarity. it might not excel in any one area but its hard to go wrong there. plus, its easier to drive than some other cans. kind of an ugly beige though.

now, i will note that the dt990 also has a premium version which is available in 32 ohm which can be powered by a lower end amp. however, it costs much more than the 250 and doesnt sound quite as good which makes it a rather hard thing to recommend and honestly fits in with only a few peoples needs.
 

Stuart27

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You could have a look at the AKG K712's. They'll superb for gaming because they provide pretty good bass for open back. They're still considered reference headphones though so are great for music too.
 

Gnuz

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Okay, thanks. So you would recommend the pro version over the premium of the dt900 for quality?

I'll give the AKG a look, as well, thanks.
 
the premium literally costs $130-170 more than the pro depending on what version you get but only has very minimal differences. it looks like the cost in uk isnt quite so bad but still overpriced.

the only differences: somewhat different styling, looser clamp on headband, not as bassy, more bright and airy sound. the 250 ohm versions use the same drivers between the pro and premium. the 32 is easier to drive but also not as good. the 600 is really a nice driver and the best but hard to recommend based on the cost considering the 250 isnt bad at all.

in general, the dt990 pro is good value, the premiums are just overpriced.

its in your price range of course, but i couldnt recommend it. honestly i'd rather have you get the pro and spend the extra cash importing a good amplifier than wasting it getting a 32ohm premium. just my opinion of course, do as you wish.

if you didnt want to import an amp, i'd just say ignore the 990 and get the 598 instead... over getting the 32 ohm 990. again, opinion.
 

Gnuz

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Thanks. I see your point, at will probably do one of those, either get the 990 and a amp like the shiit magni or the 598. Just can't make up my mind.
Have gotten my modmic though.
 

Gnuz

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Mar 29, 2015
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No, I put it on my old bad headset, immediately.. Quite happy with it. I haven't heard the difference myself, but haven't got any of the usual complains in my skype calls. And I've been told the quality also is more clear compared to the past.
 
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