Best Competitive Headphones

PeDRo_O

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The best value sound <edited> in FPS seems to be the ATH-AD700x. However I'd like to find something similar but slightly more well-rounded and comfortable.

It appears the AKG K712 Pro is a nice upgrade from an ATH-AD700x, trading minimal loss of soundstage for more comfort and increased fun / bass. The orange color scheme is rather unfortunate though... Settling for the AKG Q701 or K612 Pro may be an option...

Do you have any alternative recommendation similar to the K712 Pro, but as strong in the "competitive" / soundstage department?
What would you recommend to drive these?
On a separate note, what's a good mic setup if you wish to steer clear of the Modmic solution?
Will an AT2020 on a desk mounted arm not pick up mechanical keyboard noises?
 

ssddx

Glorious
Moderator
onboard would not be ideal. while it certainly may drive them they will not sound as good as with better equipment.

at minimum i'd likely use an amp. schiit magni or jdslabs o2 would be good though you could use a warmer tube amp if you want to push for that type of signature. for cheaper the fiio a3 might work. if you insist on a soundcard, the creative z perhaps. as far as a dac is concerned, unless you have trouble with your onboard you can use the onboard's dac.

most of the cheapo desk mounts will work with the 2020. some come with a shock mount already which would be great - just check the diameter and reviews to see if people used it with the 2020.

pop filters: not mandatory but if its close to your mouth you will be getting alot of plosives (PUH sounds or similar) on consonants like the p (puh) in parrot which will get picked up or wind noise from breathing. a pop filter will help reduce this. a foam windscreen will do this to a degree as well.

shock mount: not mandatory but if you mount it on a desk with a pc or other source of vibration it could travel up the arm into the mic and cause rattling/buzzing/humming noises. likewise any banging on the desk will affect the mic more without one.
 

ssddx

Glorious
Moderator
want competitive? you are looking at a bass light headphone like the ad700x. the reason why it is competitive is because lacking bass means sounds like footsteps are not covered up and the bright detailed treble picks up all the small sounds. wide soundstages give a good feel of depth.

if you make it more v-shaped (more bass for fun) then you start losing out on this advantage and its no longer a competitive headphone. this does not mean that v-shaped cans are bad for gaming (many people like how games sound more exciting) but it should be noted you might not pick up on certain audio cues as easily.

ad700x has big comfortable earcups.. you arent likely to beat that in comfort. the headband however is a love/hate scenario. some people love it for being light and barely there while others think it digs in and is uncomfortable.

akg cans are going to be similar to the ad700x in that many are bright and not very strong on bass. probably the best deal on akg cans is the k7xx from massdrop if they ever bring it back. akg cans generally are very picky about source quality. bad dac/amps or poor quality audio will sound like absolute crap while good files and sources will sound wonderful. the schiit magni (and modi if you want a dac) can drive any of the akg cans though a decent soundcard like the soundblaster z might be good enough.

want bright, decent soundstage, comfort, v-shape, black color? dt990 may be up your ally. great set of cans under 200 but i'd suggest at minimum a decent soundcard (z) or fiio a3 amp. schiit magni would be suggested to get the most out of them.

modmic is likely the best choice if you want "on headphone" solutions. you could use lavalier mics (with power adapters) as well. a step up from that would be a desk mic. the blue yeti and at2020 are great, the atr2500 is like a cheap 2020 which is also good. on the cheap a snowball or even the neewer microphones arent bad. i prefer recommending the 2020 over the yeti and 2500 over the snowball because accessories are dirt cheap (snowball/yeti need special shock mounts that are $$ and also they are big and will be in your vision). if you plan to record live, stream or similar i'd go XLR and use an interface as it gives you greater control. if you dont care and just want to chat with friends usb is fine.

yes, any mic on the desk has a chance of picking up keyboard noises. i would very highly suggest a boom arm and keeping the mic very close to your mouth but slightly off to the side.
 

PeDRo_O

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Thanks for the quick response!

I just ordered the K7XX. Now remains the question of how to best drive them. Can I rely on the on-board audio of an Asus Z170I Pro Gaming or should I really consider an external soundcard?

I believe I will also be going the AT2020 USB route in the mic department. Just need to find a decent desk mount for it. Is a pop filter recommended or more or less mandatory?
 

ssddx

Glorious
Moderator
onboard would not be ideal. while it certainly may drive them they will not sound as good as with better equipment.

at minimum i'd likely use an amp. schiit magni or jdslabs o2 would be good though you could use a warmer tube amp if you want to push for that type of signature. for cheaper the fiio a3 might work. if you insist on a soundcard, the creative z perhaps. as far as a dac is concerned, unless you have trouble with your onboard you can use the onboard's dac.

most of the cheapo desk mounts will work with the 2020. some come with a shock mount already which would be great - just check the diameter and reviews to see if people used it with the 2020.

pop filters: not mandatory but if its close to your mouth you will be getting alot of plosives (PUH sounds or similar) on consonants like the p (puh) in parrot which will get picked up or wind noise from breathing. a pop filter will help reduce this. a foam windscreen will do this to a degree as well.

shock mount: not mandatory but if you mount it on a desk with a pc or other source of vibration it could travel up the arm into the mic and cause rattling/buzzing/humming noises. likewise any banging on the desk will affect the mic more without one.
 

PeDRo_O

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What do you think of the following setup?

  • 1) ATR2500 or AT2020
    2) RØDE PSA1 Swivel Mount Studio Microphone Boom Arm
    3) RØDE SM6 Microphone Shock Mount with Integrated Pop Shield
Do I need to check for compatibility between any of the Audio Technica mics and this SM6 shock mount?
Is there any difference between using the flat circular pop filters vs. the ones that are curved around the mic?
When it comes down to cleanliness of peripheral vision and overall audio quality is a boom mic really worth the jump from a Modmic 5.0?
 

ssddx

Glorious
Moderator
if you are going to be spending that much money on accesssories, i'd go with the at2020 instead of the cheaper version. actually.. another good alternative is the rode-nt-usb which itself sounds really nice and bassy for the price. i was impressed by a demo i heard.

that is a good boom arm. expensive but solid. you could make do with cheaper but you do get what you pay for.

yes, i'd check compatibility with the shock mount before purchase. some models are universal clamping styles while others are a bit more specific.

a pop filter just needs to be between you and the mic so as long as this happens no there is no difference. the nice thing about curved filters is that they stick out less so are not going to be in your vision if you stream games for instance and need to see the monitor while still having a pop filter out in front.

desk mic worth it over a modmic? depends on what you are trying to achieve. if all you need to do is talk to friends or record some non professional commentary a modmic is fine for many cases. if you want better sounding audio taken to the next level then yes a boom arm and proper mic is a better choice.

if you intend this to be a big deal with recording... i'd think about xlr or if you need to hear your voice while you record they have mics with 3.5mm jacks for this purpose. otherwise, using listen to this device on the pc might have slight delay. in short... interfaces (with xlr) or mics with 3.5mm headphone are good if you want to listen to your own voice while you talk
 
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