Best audiophile headphones for gaming?

DankDuck

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Nov 13, 2015
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Hello!

I have had many "gaming headsets" in the past including the Logitech g633. But now i want to get something better. I want to get some audiophile headphones that sound better than the overpriced gaming headsets. So which headphones are good for gaming? Are audiophile headphones just as good as gaming headsets in terms of surround sound (like hearing footsteps in game)? And what is better; open back or closed back? I am very new to this sort of thing, so any information is highly appreciated :)
 

doolittle

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I much prefer a semi-open or open-back set, the wider soundstage makes a big difference especially if you are using v-surround modes in games. I am using a Samson SR850, an entry level studio set and it rocks. Also have a Philips SHP9500, sound incredible (once broken in). Here's a few open-back choices I would go for at varying prices (low-to-high):

Samson SR850 $33
LyxPro OEH-10 $45
Philips SHP9500s $55 (once you break these in for ~30h, these actually sound as good if not better than all the more expensive sets until you hit $200+, best bang-per-buck choice IMO!!)
Audio Technica ATH-AD700X $105
Sennheiser HD 579 $110 (killer deal on sale, very good choice!)
Beyerdynamic DT 990 PRO $152 (250-ohm so you will probably need a dac/amp to drive them, another very good choice!)

Only downside, open back is not really environment friendly as you get high leakage / no isolation like closed back sets, so if you are on the go or in a noisy envrionment, a closed set is not bad to have around.

Any of these are more than enough for gaming, and combined with a decent mic like the Samson Go, you will get podcast quality input - far better than any gaming headset IMO.
 

doolittle

Distinguished
I much prefer a semi-open or open-back set, the wider soundstage makes a big difference especially if you are using v-surround modes in games. I am using a Samson SR850, an entry level studio set and it rocks. Also have a Philips SHP9500, sound incredible (once broken in). Here's a few open-back choices I would go for at varying prices (low-to-high):

Samson SR850 $33
LyxPro OEH-10 $45
Philips SHP9500s $55 (once you break these in for ~30h, these actually sound as good if not better than all the more expensive sets until you hit $200+, best bang-per-buck choice IMO!!)
Audio Technica ATH-AD700X $105
Sennheiser HD 579 $110 (killer deal on sale, very good choice!)
Beyerdynamic DT 990 PRO $152 (250-ohm so you will probably need a dac/amp to drive them, another very good choice!)

Only downside, open back is not really environment friendly as you get high leakage / no isolation like closed back sets, so if you are on the go or in a noisy envrionment, a closed set is not bad to have around.

Any of these are more than enough for gaming, and combined with a decent mic like the Samson Go, you will get podcast quality input - far better than any gaming headset IMO.
 

DankDuck

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Nov 13, 2015
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Thanks for the detailed reply :) What do you think about the Sennheiser HD598/599? I have heard that you don't really need and amp/dac for them, which is convienient.
 

doolittle

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The 598/599 is a very good pick - excellent sound and build quality as well, the addage you get what you pay for absolutely applies. Once you get in the ~$200+ range you definitely see the quality stuff standing out and a vast amount of options really open up. The biggest difference between the 599 and the 579 on sale I linked to, the 599s have the higher quality driver for less distortion. Well there is the color of course too, that would be the biggest visual difference lol - and the 599s come with an extra cable as well.
 

SkyBill40

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There are no shortage of choices available depending on the size of your budget since I didn't see a reference to one. As has been mentioned, the differences in open vs closed back mostly involve the sound stage and audio imaging or presence in general. While I don't mind open backed cans, I personally prefer closed back as they don't bleed sound out and don't allow outside sounds in to intrude over what I'm listening to on them.

Open backs tend to be a bit more "airy" due to their design; closed backs tend to have tighter and more consistent bass response. That said, those elements will vary across manufacturers and what you would get from a comparison of several similarly designed cans might all sound very different. To add another variable, you would need to decide from on-ear versus circumaural (over ear). When you introduce that into the mix, other factors are then added to the ones you've already learned such as general comfort, driver size, and ear pad materials.

I just recently bought a pair of Audio Technica ATR-MSR7 over ear headphones ($250 USD) which I use at work to listen to music. They're excellent and worth every penny without a doubt. I would have zero issue using them to game but already have a gaming headset that does fine and sounds good enough for what I need.

 

DankDuck

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Thank you very much for your input :)
 

anort3

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That's the wrong question. It should be can gaming headsets be just as good as audiophile headphones at imaging and positioning. ;)

Most gaming headsets are cheap drivers with boosted high and low frequencies so games are exciting. Some, not all, good headphones do it better and still sound good with music.

The Audio Technica ATR-MSR7 mentioned above is one of them. HD 598s are a great choice. I still use mine for gaming. They're light, comfortable and have an amazing soundstage. They sound great with music as well. The AKG K7XX from Massdrop or the K712 Pro are worth considering but they're harder to drive and would need an amp. The HD 598s will benefit from an amp/DAC but it's not necessary.

The MSR7 is closed back and the others I mentioned are open back. Another alternative is the Sennheiser 569. It's the same headphone as the 598 CS which is a closed back 598. Closed backs will isolate better. With open backs others can hear what you're doing and you will hear outside sounds.

Oh those SHP9500s are worth looking at. I haven't heard them but they're a great value by all accounts. They get compared to the Sennheiser HD 600 quite a bit which I have and love.

Too many choices? It gets worse from there. :lol:

My personal advice is to pick open or closed from here and be happy. :)

https://www.amazon.com/Sennheiser-HD-598-SR-Open-Back/dp/B06WRMZZ45/ref=dp_ob_title_ce?th=1
 
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