Best all around headphones for gaming and music on a $200.00 Canadian budget?

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Will Reierson

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I'm looking for a good pair of all-round headphones for music and gaming to replace my cheapo SONY MDR-XB450's. I listen to all forms of music, (Various electronic genres, folk, metal, punk, orchestral, classical) and play games such as Planetside 2 and Subnautica. I'm also in a fair few skype calls. Because of the music I listen too, I'd like some headphones that are fairly balanced in the bass, mid-tones, and treble. But because of the games I play, I wouldn't mind some headphones with a large sound stage for the sake of immersion. I don't really care about the competitive edge as much as I care about immersion. The more I can feel like i'm actually there, the better. Open or closed back aren't really an issue as my office space is fairly quiet, but I do have people coming in and out of the space a couple of times every hour.

If I had to choose between music quality and immersion, I would lean towards immersion.

I'm currently looking at the Audio-Technica ATH-AD500X headphones because of the size of their sound stage. The only downside I can think of with them is theyre "Okay bass", how open they are, and the fact that absolutely everything I listen too can be heard by the outside world.

As stated above, my budget is around $200.00 Canadian. Does anyone have any other suggestions for me?

Thanks :)

~Will
 

wildfire707

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Both headphones have excellent quality. Audiophile is more of a category than anything else. The Plantronics headset is the most flexible (you can even remove the microphone if you do not want it), but the graphics equalizer on the SteelSeries one has an edge (the microphone on it is retractable). Both headphones come with large bass drivers and will be leagues better than the Sony unit that you mentioned. True audio enthusiasts would probably want concert quality headsets that have full bass reproduction, and that is difficult to get with headphones that are less than $300 USD.

The Plantronics unit has excellent bass response, down to 40 hz. The SteelSeries unit has larger woofers, so it can manage down to 28 hz before the responsiveness drops.

As far as overall sound goes, the Plantronics unit has the best out of the box sound reproduction. But the equalizer for the SteelSeries can easily fix the high and low end peaks that I see with it. Most gamers prefer the SteelSeries, since the built in sound peaks make it sound more "live" for the average person.

If you are looking into what a true audiophile would purchase, that would probably be a Turtle Beach unit. I have their i60 wireless headset and the sound output is amazing. The ear pieces on it are rectangular, though, so it is agonizing for me to wear them for more than an hour (I guess I have big ears). They are out of the price range that you mentioned, at $300 USD. The frequency response on them is incredible at 20 hz to 20 Khz.

The big drawback with the Turtle Beach units is comfort. They do not have any headsets that use the dual band suspension system to keep the weight of the large headphones under control. Plus, some of their headsets use rectangular cup designs (including mine) which cause problems for people who do not have small ears.

That is why I honestly cannot recommend that anyone use the Turtle Beach headsets. That is just my opinion, of course.
 

wildfire707

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I would personally recommend the Plantronics RIG 500E for $150 CAD:

http://ca.pcpartpicker.com/part/plantronics-headphones-rig500e

There is a review of it here:

http://www.trustedreviews.com/plantronics-rig-500e-review

I personally think that it is pretty ugly, but it is excellent when you wear it.

Some people who game with it most of the time use a Creative E1 USB sound "card" with it instead of the included USB adapter.

Another headset to consider would be the SteelSeries Siberia 350. It is also very comfortable and has the suspension headband. It is a USB headset that includes a software based 5 band graphic equalizer.

I did not like the standard sound output on it, but the equalizer gave me the ability to customize it to my taste:

https://steelseries.com/gaming-headsets/siberia-350

There is a YouTube review here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZSnn0PKLCJ8

It is available for about $160 CAD, the only real problem is that it is in limited production right now. It will be a month or so before it is generally available.

Good luck!
 

Will Reierson

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Thanks for the link, although it's not really what I'm looking for. I already have a desktop mic, so I'm not to interested in getting a headset that trades off sound quality so that it can have a boom mic attached. :)
 

Will Reierson

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Thanks for the link, although it's not really what I'm looking for. I already have a desktop mic, so I'm not to interested in getting a headset that trades off sound quality so that it can have a boom mic attached. :)
 

Will Reierson

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Do either of these match up to the quality of an audiophile pair of headphones? I already have a desktop mic, so I don't need a boom mic attached to the headset. :)

 

wildfire707

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Both headphones have excellent quality. Audiophile is more of a category than anything else. The Plantronics headset is the most flexible (you can even remove the microphone if you do not want it), but the graphics equalizer on the SteelSeries one has an edge (the microphone on it is retractable). Both headphones come with large bass drivers and will be leagues better than the Sony unit that you mentioned. True audio enthusiasts would probably want concert quality headsets that have full bass reproduction, and that is difficult to get with headphones that are less than $300 USD.

The Plantronics unit has excellent bass response, down to 40 hz. The SteelSeries unit has larger woofers, so it can manage down to 28 hz before the responsiveness drops.

As far as overall sound goes, the Plantronics unit has the best out of the box sound reproduction. But the equalizer for the SteelSeries can easily fix the high and low end peaks that I see with it. Most gamers prefer the SteelSeries, since the built in sound peaks make it sound more "live" for the average person.

If you are looking into what a true audiophile would purchase, that would probably be a Turtle Beach unit. I have their i60 wireless headset and the sound output is amazing. The ear pieces on it are rectangular, though, so it is agonizing for me to wear them for more than an hour (I guess I have big ears). They are out of the price range that you mentioned, at $300 USD. The frequency response on them is incredible at 20 hz to 20 Khz.

The big drawback with the Turtle Beach units is comfort. They do not have any headsets that use the dual band suspension system to keep the weight of the large headphones under control. Plus, some of their headsets use rectangular cup designs (including mine) which cause problems for people who do not have small ears.

That is why I honestly cannot recommend that anyone use the Turtle Beach headsets. That is just my opinion, of course.
 

Will Reierson

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Alright, I think that answers my question. Thanks so much for your help! I'll get onto looking into some comparisons between the Plantronics and steelseries. Thanks again :)
 
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