Any advice for versatile audiophile headphones ?


Jun 9, 2016
Hi everyone, this is my very first post on the forum, although I've been reading it for a while.
I'm writing today because I'm currently looking for new headphones (mine just broke :'( )
I would like to buy versatile headphones, that is to say headphones which would be excellent for both gaming (wide soundstage, precise sound, good positional audio) and music (high-quality audio, detailed and clear sound, ...)

I'm considering spending around 250 to 300 bucks, in order to get something pretty decent.

I would be more inclined to go with a headset which has already a mic attached on, as there's not much space on my desk for a stand-alone microphone.

Though, if you have increadibly good headphones to suggest, I could consider buying a modmic or something like that.

I found brand new headphones from Audio-Technica that look pretty awesome. These are the Ath-adg1x, and I'm really looking into getting one of those. Has someone already tried them ?

Also, I've read a lot about Philips Fidelio X2, Beyerdynamic mmx 300, AKG K701, Sennheiser etc...

I know that they are all excellent and great quality headphones. But, in terms of gaming and spatialization, what are all of these worth ?

If you have any other suggestion, I'd be glad to look into them :D

Has someone an idea of which would be the best headphones we could get at that price range ?

Thank you a lot in advance for all of those who will take the time to read and to answer.

Have a good day.
sounds like you would want something not bass light but not bass heavy either.. in other words something a bit more neutral.

not sure how flexible budget is. some options may push you a little over depending on what you pick.

dt880 is more neutral than the 990 and 770, lacking the heavy bass and brightness of the other two but still retaining somewhat of the same sound signature. i would suggest using an amplifier with them though but it could be a good choice.

the hd518/558/598 lineup is neutral as well. they are slower paced and more easy listening, non fatiguing. also a good choice.

the ad900x might have enough bass for you to consider them neutral, but the whole lineup is generally bass light with slightly more bass as you move up the line. dont expect deep bass levels but might be punchy enough for your needs.

likewise the q701/k701/k702/k7xx while generally in the bass light category might have enough punch in bass to keep you happy. you will want a decent amplifier with them as akg cans are generally touchy and sound like crap on bad equipment.

on a tight budget, the 668b's arent bad either and are neutral. i'll list them, but personally i'd say the higher end products are better.

the onboard audio on rampage boards is decent compared to other motherboards. honestly do not believe the hype though, its only as good as low end soundcards. i know advertisements make it out to be ultra high quality and better than soundcards. i have an older rampage board myself. its likely sufficient for headphones not requiring an external amplifier as long as you do not notice any problems. for headphones i note that need an amplifier, you can likely use the onboard as the dac portion (i believe you should have dolby headphone available as well?) and just use an external amp for powering the headphones (you should have a line-out jack right?).

for headphones that i noted need an external amplifier, the schiit magni is a good quality and strong for the price amp. there are cheaper products which might work, and sometimes strong soundcards can work but i dont want you to run into any issues.
ath-adg1x = ad500x basically.
ath-ag1xx = a500x (closed version)

likewise the mmx300 is based on a more bass light much earlier version of the dt770 premium.

likewise the game one is basically a hd518/558
the game zero is more similar to the pc363d/pc350se/hd595/hd555 and is more bass light

hyper x cloud is based on the takstar pro80. good, but i wouldnt say its the quality of the others except game zero.

in some cases its cheaper to buy the headphone equivalent and use a modmic with a soundcard and end up better in the long run for cheaper. your choice but dont ignore headphones just to go headset.

with that said, outside of the above mentioned headsets which are actually based on headphones.. quality of gaming headsets is only so-so and headphones trample them. -

are you looking for a good general use headphone, something advantageous for fps gaming or something fun sounding? there is no "best at all categories" though excelling at one does not mean not adequate for another.

for gaming advantage... cans like the ad500x, ad700x, k701 are good. keep in mind you will want a good amplifier and source for the akg cans or they will not sound good.

for general use... cans like the hd518,558,598, dt880 are good fairly neutral and general purpose.

for fun factor... cans like the dt990, dt770 are good

yes, there are many more cans than i listed above that are good, i'm just giving you an idea. give this a look but remember to take it with a HUGE grain of salt as its an opinion piece.

do watch the videos on virtual surround sound to see if you like it. if you do, a soundcard may be what you want to go with instead of an external dac+amp and may influence your headphone choices if only on a $250 strict budget.

TLDR: figure out what kind of sound signature you want.


Jun 9, 2016
Thanks for the answer.

The headphones I'm looking for are first and foremost meant to be used for gaming purpose. However, I would like them to be of high quality enough to enjoy listening to music or watching film with them.

Also, I'm not a fan of too bassy headphones. I would prefer equilibrated, realistic sounding heaphones, with nonetheless a good punch, but without any frequence overwhelming the others.

For the question of the sound card, I need your advice here :

I have the Asus Rapmage IV Black Edition as a mobo, with ROG SupremFx Black 8-channel onboard, including a TI TPA6120A2 Amplifier.

Would that be sufficient, or should I get a "true" soundcard ?


Jun 9, 2016
Thank you for your advices. I have one last question left : what would be the maximum impedance my onboard card could handle ? Like would 35/48/60 be too much ? Is there a way to know ?
its a common enough mistake given how things are marketed but you can not tell how hard a headphone is to drive just from impedance. sensitivity is also very much important.

for example, the beyerdynamics cans are high impedance but also high sensitivity and thus are easier to drive than akg cans which are low impedance and low sensitivity.

while people often use impedance as a general guide, you need to be aware its not 100% accurate to judge things that way.

if you really wanted to dig into the nitty gritty... all about impedance, sensitivity and voltage and

also, there is a difference between driving them and driving them well. power needed increases as volume rises and certain tones (mostly bass) require more power than others. thus, even a somewhat inadequate amplifier can "drive" some headphones but you might be limited on volume (they may be quiet) or you may notice lack of bass (tinny sounding). also, if you push your amplifier to its limit you might start getting clipping.

your onboard should be able to handle things like the hd518 series fine, ad500x series fine and might barely handle the dt880 if you accept some quality loss. the akg cans i would not want to run on your onboard and it would be suggested to use something stronger for the dt880... at least in the range of the soundblaster z (though spending a little more on a good headphone amplifier would be better). the akg cans i would definitely use an amplifier with.

a general rule of thumb is that anything 40-50 ohm impedance and under normally works with portables and onboard. now this is not always true (sensitivity again). some high end onboard claims up to 600ohm impedance support.. and they might work with some headphones in that level but given how much onboard varies in quality its really a "test to make sure" scenario. want the dt880 and your onboard claims support? test it, but leave room in the budget for an amplifier if you find you need one.

TLDR.. headphones known to be easy to power would be fine. things like the hd5*8 series or ad-*00x series will work fine. anything that people claim works on portables without an amp will work as well.
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