Budget Gaming Headphones w/ great [surround] sound

subterminal303

Prominent
Oct 13, 2017
3
0
510
0
Howdy, folks!

I'm looking for input on a great budget (<$100) wireless headset for gaming. I'm happy to sacrifice microphone quality for sound quality. I especially want surround sound for the directional reference in games.

I was looking at the Logitech G533, but read a PCMag Review that took off points because the headset simulates 7.1-surround sound and therefore isn't fantastic at creating directional sound.

If anyone has any input, it would be greatly appreciated!
 

True Buie

Commendable
Aug 29, 2016
83
0
1,710
35
Heyo subterminal303

I'd like to clear some things up.
Pretty much ANY competent made stereo headphone will crush a true 7.1 surround sound headset. It's not really an opinion, but most gaming headsets are made cheaply and aren't tuned rightfully ie. the sound suffers alot. The SHP9500's you've been looking at yourself would be an amazing choice as of a pair of stereo headphones. They're cheap and deliver performance way above their price class. I have used them myself in the past and I'd like to compare 'em to the Sennheiser HD650's, however with a bit more treble.

Any day of the week I'd go for a headphone + mic setup instead of compromising and going for some gaming headset. However, when that's said. There is actually some competent made gaming headsets, but again these cost around $200+. Here I'm talking about fx. Audio Technica ATH-ADGx1's. Those are basically a pair of AD700x's with a mic slapped onto them. Great concept, but way more expensive that just taking a knock-off pair of headphones a attaching a mic.

Going back to the whole 7.1 surround thingy. Virtualized 7.1 is Imo better than the true 7.1. I say this because VERY rarely are the true 7.1 headsets drivers tuned right and this means that they're out of harmony. This means when you turn fx. in a game the drivers won't coop and create a 3d sound effect as desired. When virtualizing it you have the ability to fine tune the EQ for the 7.1. This gives more flexibility and is cheaper for the manufacturer.

Now that I've cleansed my soul (lol) I'll put something I'd recommended for you. I will actually be putting some gaming headsets, however these will be based on an already established headphone that just got a mic slapped on.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Kingston HyperX cloud II
https://www.amazon.com/HyperX-Gaming-Headset-Nintendo-Switch/dp/B00SAYCXWG/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1523428725&sr=8-1&keywords=cloud+2

These are basically some Takstar Pro 80's which has the mic. A fine entry level headphone which got "upgraded" to a gamer headset.

Phillips SHP9500/s
https://www.amazon.com/Philips-SHP9500S-Precision-Over-ear-Headphones/dp/B00ENMK1DW/ref=sr_1_1?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1523428885&sr=1-1&keywords=shp9500

There's literally no difference between the 9500 and 9500s. The thing they changed is just the cable to something of slighty lesser quality. But who cares. There's a standard 3.5mm AUX port for custom cables.

Audio Technica M40X w/HM5 pleather pads
M40X's
https://www.amazon.com/Audio-Technica-ATH-M40x-Professional-Monitor-Headphones/dp/B00HVLUR54/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1523428991&sr=8-1&keywords=m40x

HM5 pads
https://www.amazon.com/Brainwavz-Replacement-Memory-Foam-Earpads/dp/B00MFDT894/ref=sr_1_cc_2?s=aps&ie=UTF8&qid=1523429027&sr=1-2-catcorr&keywords=hm5+pads

I personally find the M40X's to be crumbled by their comfort. The sound is great for the price, however the comfort makes them unbearable. Therefore I REALLY suggest to get some other pads on them. You could start with some HM5 pleather pads.

Sennheiser HD559
https://www.amazon.com/Sennheiser-HD-559-Open-Headphone/dp/B01L1IIEKM/ref=sr_1_1?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1523429156&sr=1-1&keywords=hd559

Open-back Senneheisers. Love this headphone for what it is. The sound isn't really flat, so it won't be a huge leap from anything else you've tried, however the clarity is miles ahead of most gaming headsets.

Sony ECMCS3
https://www.amazon.com/Sony-ECMCS3-Omnidirectional-Stereo-Microphone/dp/B0058MJX4O/ref=sr_1_1?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1523428798&sr=1-1&keywords=sony+lavalier

A fine lavalier mic that will serve you fine until you decide to get something better.

Fiio E10k
https://www.amazon.com/FiiO-E10K-Headphone-Amplifier-Black/dp/B00LP3AMC2/ref=sr_1_1?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1523429423&sr=1-1&keywords=e10k

This a Amp/DAC combo. The amp part really isn't important in this case, however the DAC would likely increase the clarity of you sound since you DAC comes out of a noisy environment.
This is not needed, however would be a nice addition.

Cheers.
 

Lutfij

Splendid
Moderator
1| You cannot have surround sound in a headset unless you have multiple drivers in each ear cup.
2| Most, if not all, headsets wired or wireless rely on two drivers in their headset, one in each cup.
3| If you want true surround, you could look into the Rzer Tiamat headset.

If you want my opinion, even the Corsair Void 7.1 headset rely's on a USB driven sound car that emulates/simulates 7.1 audio over a single 3.5mm chord.
 

JalYt_Justin

Prominent
Jun 12, 2017
59
0
610
19
You won't really find true surround in a headset under $100. I personally have the Corsair Void and it's better than most for directional sound, considering it also emulates 7.1, but it won't even come close to real 7.1.

My recommendation is Corsair Void for your budget, but there are better options out there if you're willing to spend more.
 

subterminal303

Prominent
Oct 13, 2017
3
0
510
0
I should have done more research before making this post. I'm going to change some of my criteria.

After looking around, it seems like the best way to go is with stereo headphones and a clip-on mic. That means sacrificing my wireless-wants for quality. That being said, I have found two that people seem to like. However, I have some questions.

Philips SHP9500S - On Sale for $50 from NewEgg

Audio-Technica ATH-M40x

First, does stereo headphones == surround sound (multiple drivers)? Are open headphones super audible to other people around me (ie the wife in the same room)? And, do the higher data/sound quality necessitate the need for a wire, or can they be wireless?

 

JalYt_Justin

Prominent
Jun 12, 2017
59
0
610
19

Stereo headsets are two drivers, two channels. One driver in each cup. Open headphones are definitely noticeable to someone in the same room as you, but the sound stage is WAY better. And as for the wire, yes, as you can find if you look at Sennheiser headphones, nearly all of their high end headphones have wires to achieve the quality of sound available in the high end range.
 

subterminal303

Prominent
Oct 13, 2017
3
0
510
0


Sorry, the more I read around, the more all-over-the-place I am. Back to the 'gaming' headphones - what other options would you recommend that are better? I've been looking into the Arctis 7 and Cloud Flight, both of which are around $120-140. For the price point, are the wireless Corsair Void better, or very comparable?

Edit: also looking at Logitech G533.

I weighed out the better price and soundstage of the open-back, but not sure that my wife (non-gamer) would be very keen on it.

 

True Buie

Commendable
Aug 29, 2016
83
0
1,710
35
Heyo subterminal303

I'd like to clear some things up.
Pretty much ANY competent made stereo headphone will crush a true 7.1 surround sound headset. It's not really an opinion, but most gaming headsets are made cheaply and aren't tuned rightfully ie. the sound suffers alot. The SHP9500's you've been looking at yourself would be an amazing choice as of a pair of stereo headphones. They're cheap and deliver performance way above their price class. I have used them myself in the past and I'd like to compare 'em to the Sennheiser HD650's, however with a bit more treble.

Any day of the week I'd go for a headphone + mic setup instead of compromising and going for some gaming headset. However, when that's said. There is actually some competent made gaming headsets, but again these cost around $200+. Here I'm talking about fx. Audio Technica ATH-ADGx1's. Those are basically a pair of AD700x's with a mic slapped onto them. Great concept, but way more expensive that just taking a knock-off pair of headphones a attaching a mic.

Going back to the whole 7.1 surround thingy. Virtualized 7.1 is Imo better than the true 7.1. I say this because VERY rarely are the true 7.1 headsets drivers tuned right and this means that they're out of harmony. This means when you turn fx. in a game the drivers won't coop and create a 3d sound effect as desired. When virtualizing it you have the ability to fine tune the EQ for the 7.1. This gives more flexibility and is cheaper for the manufacturer.

Now that I've cleansed my soul (lol) I'll put something I'd recommended for you. I will actually be putting some gaming headsets, however these will be based on an already established headphone that just got a mic slapped on.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Kingston HyperX cloud II
https://www.amazon.com/HyperX-Gaming-Headset-Nintendo-Switch/dp/B00SAYCXWG/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1523428725&sr=8-1&keywords=cloud+2

These are basically some Takstar Pro 80's which has the mic. A fine entry level headphone which got "upgraded" to a gamer headset.

Phillips SHP9500/s
https://www.amazon.com/Philips-SHP9500S-Precision-Over-ear-Headphones/dp/B00ENMK1DW/ref=sr_1_1?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1523428885&sr=1-1&keywords=shp9500

There's literally no difference between the 9500 and 9500s. The thing they changed is just the cable to something of slighty lesser quality. But who cares. There's a standard 3.5mm AUX port for custom cables.

Audio Technica M40X w/HM5 pleather pads
M40X's
https://www.amazon.com/Audio-Technica-ATH-M40x-Professional-Monitor-Headphones/dp/B00HVLUR54/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1523428991&sr=8-1&keywords=m40x

HM5 pads
https://www.amazon.com/Brainwavz-Replacement-Memory-Foam-Earpads/dp/B00MFDT894/ref=sr_1_cc_2?s=aps&ie=UTF8&qid=1523429027&sr=1-2-catcorr&keywords=hm5+pads

I personally find the M40X's to be crumbled by their comfort. The sound is great for the price, however the comfort makes them unbearable. Therefore I REALLY suggest to get some other pads on them. You could start with some HM5 pleather pads.

Sennheiser HD559
https://www.amazon.com/Sennheiser-HD-559-Open-Headphone/dp/B01L1IIEKM/ref=sr_1_1?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1523429156&sr=1-1&keywords=hd559

Open-back Senneheisers. Love this headphone for what it is. The sound isn't really flat, so it won't be a huge leap from anything else you've tried, however the clarity is miles ahead of most gaming headsets.

Sony ECMCS3
https://www.amazon.com/Sony-ECMCS3-Omnidirectional-Stereo-Microphone/dp/B0058MJX4O/ref=sr_1_1?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1523428798&sr=1-1&keywords=sony+lavalier

A fine lavalier mic that will serve you fine until you decide to get something better.

Fiio E10k
https://www.amazon.com/FiiO-E10K-Headphone-Amplifier-Black/dp/B00LP3AMC2/ref=sr_1_1?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1523429423&sr=1-1&keywords=e10k

This a Amp/DAC combo. The amp part really isn't important in this case, however the DAC would likely increase the clarity of you sound since you DAC comes out of a noisy environment.
This is not needed, however would be a nice addition.

Cheers.
 
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