High end headphones for gaming etc

distro99

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Oct 21, 2018
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Hey there! I've been recently thinking about buying a proper pair of headphones instead of the cloud II's I've been using, they're great but I feel like I could have a much better experience with a standalone headset and mic combo, I've already been thinking about getting the blue yeti but I'm trying to research some good high end headsets, I've never had open back before but from what I've heard I think it's what I'll want. I spend most of my time playing games of all genres, listening to music and watching tv shows so an all rounder of sorts would be perfect, I don't really have a budget I want to get something worth it for the long run and don't know much about amps and stuff but don't mind spending extra if you all think it's worth it, one pair I've already got my eye on was the sennheiser HD558 but any recommendations would be perfect thanks again
 

distro99

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Oct 21, 2018
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Haven't really got a budget trying to pretty much get something that I won't want to replace for ages, and pretty much every kind of music hahaha so that probably doesn't help much sorry
 

anort3

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Without investing in an amp and DAC I'd suggest the HD599. It's basically a slightly updated HD598 with better bass and that's a good thing. I still use my 598s for gaming despite having 'better' headphones.

Metal571 is one of the best headphone reviewers online. He's not as entertaining as some others but you can trust his ear.

[video="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HORNc3QQ9mc"][/video]
 

distro99

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Oct 21, 2018
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I wouldn't mind investing in an amp and DAC I don't know much about them but if it means better quality overall then i'll spend the extra bucks for it
 

anort3

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Once again I need to know a total budget. The rabbit hole is DEEP. lol

Also really need to know your musical preferences. EDM / hip hop would be a different recommendation than say classical and jazz.

If you're looking at 558s the 599 is an upgrade and a great place to start. The 599s are comfortable, neutral and great for a good all around headphone for both music and gaming. The older HD598s were my entry level headphone. Now they're one of six and the cheap ones. :lol:
 

distro99

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Oct 21, 2018
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Haha alright well we'll just say for the sake of it that including both the headphones and amp/dac whatever I probably don't want to spend over 800 usd all together, and even though I listen to everything lets just go with edm/hiphop for now
 

ChumP

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Sep 16, 2014
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I have 2 pairs of headphones: the Sennheiser HD 650 and the AKG K712 Pro.
Amplifier: Fiio K5
DAC: NuForce uDAC-5

For gaming the HD 650 feels a little too intimate... the sound stage is not that big + the imaging (means how accurate the positioning of the sound is... really important in fps games) it's a little vague. Don't get me wrong they are good on gaming, but compared to the K712 they lack quite a bit.
As for the Music the bass on the HD 650 feels accurate, but misses a bit of oomph.
Mids are the highlight of these headphones, the vocals and guitars sound so lovely on these, accurate, clear and pronounced.
Highs are also a strong point for these, they're not harsh at any volume and they're accurate.

The AKG K712 Pro are a better option when it comes to gaming. Sound stage is far wider and imaging is pinpoint accurate. I can find the exact position of my opponent in fps games.
Bass is fuller,more powerful, but still accurate on these.. soo this is certainly a strong point on them.
Mids are not as good as the HD 650... they are shoutier because of the 2k peak and not as clear as the HD 650.
Highs are harsher and also more defined... that's what's bringing the more accurate imaging on these.
For gaming I recommend the K712 Pros. You'll need a DAC/AMP combo to drive them... I'm recommending the Schiit Stack or for lower budget a Fiio e10k.

Also... you might want to look into the Philips Fidelio X2s... the bass and sound stage on those is incredible... also they are priced lower than those 2 above.
 

anort3

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The HD 650s ( Massdrop HD 6xx is identical except paint and cable) are an audiophile staple. If you're willing to spend $300+ on an amp for them they live up to their reputation. I have HD 600s and HD 650s. With lower end equipment up to an O2/ODAC I like the 600 better. Feed them with my class A Aune X7S with a balanced cable and the HD 650 takes the lead. Neither the 600 nor the 650 does well with bass heavy music though.

If you want neutral - warm with about the most amazing bass you can get in a headphone then check out the Massdrop x Fostex TH-X00 Ebony. The only slight weakness is soundstage but the imaging is amazing and makes up for it.

[video="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3pFM_hW33bw"][/video]

https://www.massdrop.com/buy/massdrop-fostex-tr-x00-ebony-headphones

I have both the Mahogany and the Ebony and in my opinion the Ebony plays with headphones that cost twice as much. It's as good with London Grammar as it is with Liquid Soul. The Mahogany is more V or W shaped and the vocals can get lost in the sub bass and treble. Both are very easy to drive but will really come alive when amped correctly.

Add an Aune X1S for a VERY nice DAC/ solid state amp combo and you're golden. Massdrop is a one stop shop here. :p

https://www.massdrop.com/buy/aune-x1s-32bit-384-dsd128-mini-dac

Now if you're willing to maybe break that budget limit a LITTLE bit the Massdrop x Focal Elex is an all around headphone that's more refined then the Fostex. It's basically a Focal Elear with Focal Clear pads on it for less money. I don't have this one but I do have an Elear and it's beautiful.

https://www.massdrop.com/buy/massdrop-x-focal-elex-headphones

You could pair it with a cheap amp/dac now as it's not hard to drive and then get something worthy of it as your budget allows. And it wouldn't be wrong to spend an equal amount as the headphone cost or even more on an amp and DAC. It's not as 'fun' as the Ebony Fostex but it's more refined and detailed. Bass extends down to an insane 5hz. This is HiFi tier. I'd put the Ebony right on the cusp of HiFi as well. The HD600 and HD650 are probably HiFi as well but they require a good chain to give you that sound quality and even there there are holes in what they do well.
 

ChumP

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@anort3.. have you tried the hd 58x Jubilees?
Heard that with few mods you can make them sound like the hd 660s(they have the same drivers).
I don't know why I'm still trying to buy a new set of headphones really... I guess I'm feeding my obsession.
 

anort3

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Nah I haven't heard them. I have 598s, 600s and 650s so they'd be redundant. I trust Metal571's ear more than any other reviewer since Tyell at Innerfidelity retired. He says buy the 598/599 over the HD58X. MAYBE they have the same driver. Where they lack is grain in the treble. I know Zeos loved the 58X but he loves everything. I'll get the actual 660S when it comes down in price a bit.

Heh tell me about it, my headphones keep getting more expensive. I've only had the Elears a few weeks. They killed my toy budget for a while.
 

anort3

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I don't equalize at all. But generally my opinions mirror his.

Zeos....well he may or may not get paid to say good things about certain things. He's entertaining though.

DMS mostly has a good ear but he LOVES the Monoprice M1060. I tried them for 3 weeks and ended up sending them back. They just had a metallic thing in the mids that I couldn't unhear.

Joshua Valour is a new guy who's really good.

I also like Damir Franc who's channel is called The Nitpicker now.
 

distro99

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Oct 21, 2018
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Damn thanks for all that!
At the moment I think i'm still leaning towards the sennheisers because although with enough saving I could splash out on those others I might try save a little for a mic too, I still don't really know anything about Amps or DACs thought to be honest haha, from what I think I understand you can buy them as two seperate things or as one thing as a combo right and do the headphones I get change which amp/DAC I should get or is there a pretty good one that you can use for most headphones like the Aune X1S?
 

anort3

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The X1S combines a very good DAC and a very good amp for the price. It pairs well with the Sennheiser HD650/6xx. it's a very nice 'better' than entry level place to start.

Which Sennheisers? As I said above the Sennheiser HD650 is available as the 6XX from Massdrop for $199. The drops come and go but there is an active drop right now. It's one of, if not THE best value in the headphone market.

https://www.massdrop.com/buy/massdrop-sennheiser-hd6xx

There's a reason they've sold 56,950 of these. The ONLY downside to Massdrop is the wait on some items and that drops come and go. If the drop ends it will be back but it might be months.

 

distro99

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Oct 21, 2018
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Yeah maybe the 650s I've heard a lot of good things about sennheiser in general and they seem to be well priced, the problem with massdrop is that I live in New Zealand so they don't deliver here haha
 

anort3

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They certainly ship internationally. Certain items can be country restricted. Usually knives and things like that but I seem to remember seeing one certain item that couldn't be shipped anywhere but the US due to an exclusivity agreement. Most things can though.

You'll have to deal with taxes but even then some deals are still good deals. And their exclusive stuff can't be bought elsewhere. Like those TH-X00 headphones.
 

distro99

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Oct 21, 2018
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So would you recommend the 650s and the X1S? I've heard a few things about the 650s having a smaller sound stage compared to some other headphones but I honestly have no clue what to think :lol:
 

anort3

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A properly amped HD650 ( 6XX ) is a very good thing. It's a detailed yet warm and laid back sound signature that you can listen to for hours with no fatigue. It is NOT however something I'd recommend for electronic / EDM or rap and hip hop. There's good bass but it's more bass the instrument bass than EDM bass. And yes the X1S will drive them very well and it has a very good DAC section. The 650's ability to scale with better sources is legendary. It also loves tube amps. So there's always an upgrade path with them.
 
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