Looking for a good headset or headphones and a mic

Psycho Mantis

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Hello, I bought a Logitech G930 today but I'm not impressed. The sound quality on my friend's 60 dollar turtle beach headset was much more impressive than these. I care much more about the audio than the microphone, which makes these a waste to me.
I am wondering if instead of getting a "gaming headset" I should just purchase headphones just dedicated for music and have a mic separate and use those while I game. My budget for the headphones was 100-120, and I ended up buying the G930 with a 100 dollar gift card to Best Buy. I will most likely return it.
So what I would appreciate help with is finding a good pair of headphones with excellent audio, and if there are cheap microphones that won't take up much space, a recommendation of those as well.
Thanks for any help in advance :)
 

Death Adder

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Simple answer: Rocckat Kave 5.1, but ... Sound Card Quality 1st

Long answer: (This is from my own experience) I bought several Sound Cards & Headsets over the years and here is an interesting observation:

My last bought Headset was/is the Rocckat Kave 5.1, I installed it on my main machine which got a Creative SB X-Fi Titanium ... I was mind blown by the quality of the sound, the separation & especially the bass was amazing ... yes yes, everyone says that about "anything" they buy, but take it from me, this one is surprisingly & unbelievably good

But here is the thing, I took it to work to show it to friends there and the sound was much much flatter than at home ... I then tried it on several PCs & Laptops but it never could give an output like the one on my main machine ... I even pulled out an old Creative SB Audigy 2 Platinum & tried it out, it was good but not like when it was connected to the X-Fi

The moral of the story is: don't invest in a high quality Headset unless you got a high quality sound card ... I know, it is a "money pit" as usual, but that is what you pay for this kind of "entertainment"


Few things you should know about the Rocckat:
- it is a bit on the heavy side and it grabs tightly on your head so you will "feel it" almost all the time
- the cord is a bit shorter than expected
- build quality is very good, the plastic does not squeak and it is some-what mailable, but do not abuse it then complain that it is weak, I got mine for over a year now and it is still in mint condition
- it is very very good in both gaming and movies ... and music :D
- if you want a real "eargasm", in the attached audio control, turn the channels to 50% & the bass channel to 75-80%
- can't comment on the mic, I never used it, but most reviewers say it is quite good

Hope this helps :)
 

ssddx

Glorious
Moderator
as per your pm it seemed that you might have a slightly higher budget than $120 since you mentioned $50 for just the mic.

with that said a few of the options here might be out of your budget but it might be worth stretching for.

i've posted quite a few answers to headphone/mic questions lately so i hope you dont mind if i use some quotes in this first response to get some information out of the way.

this information posted below was for someone with a higher budget than yours however you might be able to look at a few of the items and see if you were interested in any of the products

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

some common and good mics:

blue snowball
blue yeti
at2020usbplus
at2020usb (version without headphone jack)
atr2500

what i said about them in another thread. you can ignore the behringer one (i just copied the text from the other thread and he had listed that as a possible)

a few notes about each:

behringer c1u
-usb
-decent quality however in general there is lots of talk about the volume levels just being way too low.
-lacks a headphone jack so you cant listen to your voice in headphones without lag
-only has cardioid pickup pattern

audiotechnica atr2500
-usb
-great quality (comparable to the more expensive 2020)
-has a headphone jack for lag free listening to your voice on headphones as you talk
-only has cardioid pickup pattern

samson c01u
-usb
-good quality which is comparable to the blue yeti (though i have to say i prefer the sound of the yeti over this one)
-lacks a headphone jack so you cant listen to your own voice without lag
-only has cardioid pickup pattern

blue snowball
-usb
-good quality. not as nice as the at2020, blue yeti and others but not bad
-lacks a headphone jack so you cant listen to your own voice in headphones without lag
-has 3 pickup patterns for multiple recording scenarios.

---

not included on your list:

audiotechnica at2020+ usb
-usb
-great quality similar to atr2500 and blue yeti
-has a headphone jack for lag free listening to your voice on headphones as you talk
-only has cardioid pickup pattern.

blue yeti
-usb
-great quality similar to atr2500 and at2020
-has a headphone jack for lag free listening to your voice on headphones as you talk
-has 3 pickup patterns for multiple recording scenarios

notes:
-cardioid pickup pattern is typically best for picking up voices for commentary as it is limited and helps block out background noise.
-in order to listen to a your voice as you talk in the headset with a usb mic you need it to have a 3.5mm headphone connector
-generally the most respected microphones for youtubers are the at2020 and blue yeti. the blue snowball is often used for upstarts however since it lacks a headphone jack may be outgrown quickly.

if you can manage to stretch your budget a bit the blue yeti is a great microphone and will last you a long time (you shouldnt outgrow it).

if that is out of reach then i would say the atr2500 is a good choice (though it has less options than the yeti). if you dont care about being able to listen to your voice in your headphones then you could likely make do with a blue snowball.

keep in mind you will want to get a pop filter (or make one by stretching pantyhose over a wire frame and putting it in front of the mic).
if you will only use it for voice.... then you only need cardioid mode.
if you want to listen to your voice on your headphones while you talk then you need the 3.5mm headphone plug on the mic
i would highly suggest a shock mount (its mounted in a frame with bungees)
a stand with a moveable arm is the best type to get since its isolated from the desk and can be placed/moved just about anywhere. not as cheap as desk stands though.

my personal favorite is the 2020 but the yeti is very nice too.
on a tight budget the snowball has lots of options but the 2500 is a strong competitor.

---

what i said in another post

again, if you dont mind stereo sound i'd go with some nice studio headphones and a desktop mic. a budget of $500max certainly allows that. i'll list a few products to look into. these arent 7.1 units but with the right pc software you could get them to act just like those gaming headsets. the razer gaming software is supposed to do this but i never had it working right (then again my setup is a bit more complex than average).

a few microphones to look into:

blue snowball (somewhat cheap but with alot of features and decent audio quality)
blue yeti (great quality audio and lots of features.
audiotechnica atr2500 (great quality audio but not as many features as the yeti)
audiotechnica at2020 (the 2500 is based on this model. its a great mic but the 2500 is better for value)

a few headphones to look at. keep in mind that closed headphones will isolate you from the outside world as well as preventing people from hearing what is on your headphones and that open headphones will not isolate you from the outside world and people can hear sound leak from them. closed headphones generally have a smaller soundstage while open headphones have a wider one. basically they sound more airy or 3d. open designs will also be cooler to wear than closed ones which may make your ears sweat (the same holds true for headsets too).

open
sennheiser 598 (good soundstage, somewhat low bass, generally good reviews for non bassheads)
beyerdynamic dt880 (good soundstage, decent bass, gets high reviews for gaming)
audiotechnica ad700 (legendary soundstage, not well known for bass, generally good reviews)

closed
beyerdynamic dt770 pro (decent soundstage for closed cans, good bass, great reviews for closed cans)
audiotechnica ath-m50 (small soundstage, great sound for the price, good bass output, very well built)

you could use an external DAC+AMP or soundcard if you're a real audiophile.

even with a mic these options arent likely to top $300-350 total but are good quality equipment.

i didnt mention the dt990 ($350 headphones) but they are a completely open design so have excellent soundstage and great sound. you will be needing an amp though (since i'd go for the 250ohm version). a great set of cans... but not sure if you wanted to spend that much.

i personally own a pair of m50s which are great and i love them though probably not the most ideal choice across the board for gaming unless you wanted something budget friendly. they have great sound and i personally have no qualms with them howver some people say the soundstage is small and they arent good for 3d locating of sound. not a problem i've ever had... but thats what reviews say anways.

also of note is the modmic found here http://www.modmic.com/ which is inexpensive and attaches to studio headphones. generally audio is considered to be good however its not at the same level as some of the better desk mics ($30 compared with $80-150 so you cant really compare)

---


in general to pick a mic: do you need to listen to yourself in your headphones? if yes you need one with a mic jack. if no then any will work.

i would say the blue snowball, atr2500 or modmic are all good choices.

in general to pick headphones: how much does "soundstage" matter to you? if you want more 3d-ish sound then open types are best. how much does sound isolation and sound leakage matter? if you want zero leakage and lots of sound isolation then closed are best. what kind of sound profile do you like? some tend towards being bright while others tend to be warm and a bit more bassy.

i personally own ath-m50s and they sound very good for the price (available as low as $99 on ebay) but some say they have a bad soundstage. from the very little gaming i've done on them (they were bought for mostly music) i havent heard any real issues.

the hd598 is highly recommended for gaming because of its wide soundstage but some find the bass a bit weak however perfectly fine for gaming. its an open design though.

if you need closed headphones but want a somewhat wider soundstage then the dt770pro fills that need. its more cost than m50s but has a bit more depth to soundstage. it comes in 3 models (32,80,250ohm) the 250ohm needs an amp or good soundcard but hits the hardest with bass notes.

you can hear a bunch of different headphones here http://www.sonicsense.com/blog/category/open-back-headphones/ to compare how they sound in relation to eachother. scroll down to see the other list (they are divided into open and closed sections)
copy of the text sent via pm in case others find this post and are curious on what sets to buy...

i've heard from another user on here that they greatly enjoyed their g930. then i've read reviews about how people dislike it. honestly i'm not sure what to believe in terms of quality. it seems like one of those products which either fits your needs or it doesnt. still nowhere near what you can expect from good headphones though.

i'm not sure how they will work with all of the interference you mention (i'm guessing you are moving to a college dorm?). they could be fine or they could act up. i cant promise you anything in that regard.

--

first i would like to say... since you mentioned amazon.ca i take it you are from canada. be aware that you also have ebay.ca you can deal with. also you can probably have items shipped from the usa to canada correct?

--

for clarification the audiotechnica model numbers ATH-
M50X: new version which has removeable cables and comes with 3 styles.
M50S: old version with long straight cable (this is what i have and the cable is really long... but thats good too)
M50: old version with short coiled cable

as i said i personally own this pair of headphones and i definitely do like them however as i said before some people might not like that the soundstage is supposedly a bit narrow. i suppose this is the reason why it sounds like all the sound is coming from close around you however to me i always felt that it was more immersive that way. i'm not sure what your feeling are on that.

i do like the sound they produce. they are slightly warm sounding and dont have sharp ear piercing highs like some sets do. while not the bassiest headphones around they are more than capable in that regard. some say that they focus more on mids and highs and that mids are a bit weak however i've personally never thought they sounded bad in anything i've pushed through them.

they are easy to power with any device so you shouldnt need an amp of any sort.

they are built very sturdy and are foldable. this makes them nice for traveling back and forth to places. mines been through a knapsack for several years without breaking so far. i also love the cable. its thick! and it has a solid metal end with a metal spring strain relief (not a rubber molded one).

the only cons i can say about them are the soundstage (covered earlier) the fact that they get a bit hot if you wear them a long time (all closed headsets are like this) and that the pleather pads will eventually need replacing if you wear them alot (sweat hardens them... but this is quite common for most headphones)

a great set of headphones if they fit your need.

--

an alternative would be the dt770. its really not out of budget... please see this link http://www.ebay.ca/sch/i.html?_sacat=0&_from=R40&LH_BIN...

they look to be shippable from the usa to canada for $185 free shipping (take your pick of the 250 or 80)

they are available in 32, 80 (both which compete with the m50) and 250 ohm models (the 250 may need an amp but it sound great).

they have a wider soundstage than the m50s do and are probably one of the wider soundstages you will find for closed headphones in your budget range.

they get as much praise and hype as the m50s do for quality of sound. the 250ohm version also can hit pretty hard. i've heard it highly recommended from someone who tried all 3 versions out.

they are not foldable like the m50s but i've heard they are very comfortable.

this would be a great set as well and might be better suited for gaming (although this all comes down to personal preferences... audio is a very personal thing).

--

as far as microphones are concerned... the 4 choices i would suggest are:

blue snowball, audiotechnica atr2500, samson co1u or modmic.

(what i didnt mention is the blue yeti or at-2020usb+ because of cost... but i'll come back to that in a moment).

--

a few factors to help narrow it down?

-did you need to be able to hear the input from the microphone in your headhones? if the answer is yes then you want one with a microphone jack.

-did you need to record things other than a single voice? for instance a duet commentary or perhaps music? if the answer is yes then you might want to get one with multiple recording modes. however, for most things standard cardioid mics work fine.

--

the blue snowball is a highly respected mic for amateur youtubers. it has good quality and is fairly inexpensive. it also has multiple pickup patterns. it doesnt have a headphone jack though. this is a very good mic to start out with for youtube however some may outgrow it quickly.

the atr2500 is comparable to a cheaper built at-2020. its not built as nice but i've heard audio quality is pretty good. it also has a microphone jack but only one pickup pattern. if possible i would splurge for the full at-2020 (see my note about that later) but this might work.

the samson co1u is comparable to the atr2500 in quality and that it only has a cardioid pickup pattern but it doesnt have a headphone jack. also not a bad mic for on a budget.

then there is the modmic. this is a boom mic which attaches directly to your headphones. they are shipped from the modmic website and are rather hard to find anywhere else. the cost is rather low at $40 but they get good reviews. if you really would like to spring for a high quality mic (below) but are worried about budget right now you could always get a modmic now to use for gaming and recording then trade up to a better mic when you can afford it. then you can always keep the modmic when you're playing causal or when you are traveling (like if you went home for the weekend) and keep your full setup at your dorm.

if you went for the idea above about trading up in the future then the two i would suggest are the at-2020 and the blue yeti. both are EXCELLENT microphones with great quality. they sound better than the others i listed. as far as which you want... that depends on your needs.

the blue yeti has multiple pickup patterns and a headphone jack. the at-2020usb has only cardioid and no headphone jack while the at-2020usb+ (note the plus symbol or plus text added after the usb part) has a headphone jack. they are what some of the professional youtubers are using.

i've seen the yeti on ebay.ca for $120 and the 2020 for $140.

--

TLDR? or just wanted a recap?

the m50s is a nice pair of headphones but i'd be tempted to suggest the dt770 instead (if you get an amp the 250ohm version might be great!)

if you were game to get a high quality mic in the future or if you managed to fit it in budget now i'd go with an at2020usbplus or blue yeti in a heartbeat. if it was to be in the future i'd get a modmic for temporary audio. its no slouch and i've heard is quite excellent for the low cost.

if you didnt want to upgrade in the future or wanted something cheaper i'd spring for the blue snowball or possibly the atr2500 (though some question its durability).

--

as for what works best for you? thats hard to say but i've given you a few choices in your thread and recapped here.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

on a more limited budget i would suggest:

for microphones either the modmic for $40 which attaches like a boom mic to any headphones or the blue snowball $50 which is a desktop microphone with respectable value for the money spent.

as for headphones do you like open or closed? open sounds more 3d and airy but leaks sound in and out. closed sounds more confined but isolates you from sounds getting in/out so is good for high noise areas.

the audiotechnica ad700x are only $140 and have a wide soundstage for gaming. however, they dont have a whole lot of bass response if that is your kind of thing. these are open style.

the sennheiser hd558 is only $130 and has a pretty decent soundstage and fair bass response. the hd598 is considered better however its a good $180 at minimum. another open style.

the audiotechnica ath-m50s offers very solid bass response and warm sounding acoustics which are excellent for the price. you can find open box models for $99 brand new on ebay or unopened boxes for $120. the only con is that the soundstage isnt very wide. i personally own a pair of these. they are closed headphones.

the beyerdynamic dt770 pro runs about $160-180 depending on model and has audio quality like the m50s however a slightly wider soundstage. another good choice if you want closed headphones for not too much cash.

---

i know this might be stretching your budget a bit... but the sound quality is likely worth it.

keep in mind though that studio headphones are 2.0 stereo only not virtual surround (although with software you can emulate it). honestly with how most games process sound... virtual surround isnt needed at all.
 

Psycho Mantis

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Wow thank you so much for that, that helps so much. The good thing is that best buy does sell a lot of what you mentioned.
I'm not too sure what soundstage is though, is it like hearing sounds behind you/ to the side of you?

I think the mod mic is what i'll get to put on my headphones i'll get.
For open/ closed, I think i'd prefer closed. I"m not too sure though as i've never used open headphones.
 

ssddx

Glorious
Moderator
soundstage is how "3d" the headphones sound.

its a hotly debated topic for both definition and how much it actually matters.

i would suggest testing them out in person if you can. if best buy doesnt have them on display then you might want to go down to a guitarcenter to try them out. its a national chain.

however... to purchase... i would buy online as you could save ALOT of money over buying retail. however, if you bought at best buy you could just return a product if you didnt like it also... your choice honestly.
 

Psycho Mantis

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Okay thank you so much :) I will return these G930s at bestbuy and listen to displays to see what soundstage is, then i'll see if they have any you mentioned. Thanks again so much
 

ssddx

Glorious
Moderator
no trouble... but they very well might not have any of the ones i listed. they seem to focus more on crappy audio like "beats" and overly expensive bluetooth speakers than anything half decent.

thats why i mentioned guitarcenter. i suppose any other big audio or electronics store might have some things as well.

good luck... let me know what you find out.

oh and... in case you find it hard to find anything to listen to... you can get a good idea about how different they sound from eachother here..
http://www.sonicsense.com/blog/category/open-back-headphones/ but keep in mind that since they are playing over your speakers... its not a perfectly accurate example of how they sound.
 

Psycho Mantis

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Now its just a debate between the m50s and the sennheiser hd558s, i prefer the 3d sound for gaming that the sennheisers seem to offer more of but i wonder if the lack of bass will make the music sound poorer than the other headphones.

for the open headphones, im wondering if while im playing my games and talking with friends, will the mic attached to the headset pick up the sounds that the open headphones leak out, therefore always having background noise in the mic?
 

ssddx

Glorious
Moderator
unless you have volume blasting in your headphones then leakage out isnt really that bad in most cases. if you like your volume loud then maybe it will be an issue but other than that probably no.

as far as bass... that depends on your own prferences. i listen to alot of heavy bass music so a set light on bass would not be good for me. i like heavy hitting bass however still require clear highs. the m50s fit this profile as they provide clear lows and highs and even have a slightly warm feel to the sound which i like. while not the bassiest of all headphones they hit hard enough for my tastes. from what i've heard the sennheisers (talking about the hd598 here) have enough bass for gaming. they also sound good for music but if you're a basshead then you might want to look elsewhere.

while open headphones seem to be preferred for gaming... its not required. there are plenty of people who game on closed headphones since they want the sound isolation properties. whether one works or the other works is a personal call and isnt mine to make.

as i have said before.. i own the m50s and while i dont use them much for gaming (since i have a really nice sound system) i have used them for gaming a few times when i was traveling with my laptop. despite what is said about the small soundstage i really never had an issue. i dont want to easily hear the world around me when i'm wearing headphones which is why i prefer closed.

as i listed before if you wanted a slightly better soundstage than the m50s but still wanted a closed design you could get the dt770 pros. great sound but a bigger soundstage than the m50s. its not as good as some open headphones (and the hd598's i listed below are considered one of the best soundstages) but fair enough that people mention its pretty good for a set of closed cans.

another option you have is to use ebay and try to win a bid on some HD598's (step up from the 558). you might be able to get them for a good price closer to what you will pay for the 558's. http://www.ebay.com/itm/Sennheiser-HD-Headphones-598-Headband-HD598-Brown-w-Burl-Wood-Accents-/281341384527?pt=US_Headphones&hash=item418140d74f (there are multiples on there). most people feel its well worth the jump to get the 598 if you can manage to do it for a good enough price.
 

Psycho Mantis

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How poor is the bass on the sennheisers? I love to hear the bass in the music but I don't listen to bass heavy music. I like all sorts of rock and metal and instrumental rock. I'm always gaming and I'm always listening to music too. I don't listen with the volume loud so I guess I won't have to worry about the sound leakage.

If the bass isnt so bad and the sennheisers will still sound great for rock/ metal.. I'll get them. If the M50s make music sound better i'll probably get those then.

However, that deal on ebay is fantastic and I'd jump on that, but that seller seems like just a random seller which makes it tougher to trust that the headphones are brand new.
 

ssddx

Glorious
Moderator
as for bass on the hd598... they are not for bassheads. typical gaming sounds will be fine and music will be good and sound excellent but without any super deep bass drops. i wouldnt buy them specifically to listen to things like hip hop or dubstep if you get my drift. if you absolutely need "great" bass then you might want to look elsewhere but if you want "crystal clear highs, a wide soundstage and some bass then you might want to think about them.

as i said before... i prefer heavier bass genres of music. the m50s suit that perfectly to a T. they also have a slightly warm sound to them which i like. some metal tends towards high (like screamo) while some is dark and low. some rock also tends towards highs and vocals while others are deep and grungy which is low. its hard to say just how well the 598 will handle it as it could go either way. the most i can say is "if you arent a basshead then they are probably fine"

i just spotted and listed that deal for an example. you might be able to find other deals such as that as i just clicked on the first one that came up.

also, its quite easy to find $99 open box ath-m50s on ebay from very reputable sellers. considering the $180msrp (but in all actuality they normally go for $120 online) price its a good deal.

if you want a somewhat wider soundstage than the m50s... but need bass so the 598 isnt an option.... you could try the dt770. you can find them for $180 or perhaps cheaper in an auction.
 

Psycho Mantis

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I appreciate your answers so much man thanks a ton, last question and so far I'm leaning for the 558/ 598 if that deal turns out to be a good one (hard to trust seller, i found 1 similar deal). THe metal i like isnt screamo (high as you said) I wouldnt know how to describe it i didnt even know that screamo is considered high, but i'd consider it dark and low at times and the rest of the time just like average not high or low. WOuld the 558s be sufficient enough bass (as I wouldn't say I'm a basshead) to make the songs sound better than regular headphones? If the bass isnt like the same as a regular pair of headphones I'll get them because I like the soundstage a ton as well, plus room is always quiet so I'd like the open part of it.

Thank you :)
 

ssddx

Glorious
Moderator
bass output does not equal "better sounding songs". there is much more to it than that.

studio headphones sound much more refined. you can hear the individual notes in music not just a blend of sounds. the first time you have a truly good pair of headphones on you realize just what you've been missing. i went through this when i got my m50s and they arent even the most expensive pair you can get.

as far as the hd558 being sufficient in the bass department... i would say that they should be fine as long as you are okay with mediocre bass output.

they probably arent the most ideal for very bass heavy songs (the m50s or dt770 handle that better) but for rock and other medium level bass songs they should be fine for someone who doesnt require lots of bass output to be happy.

honestly you wont know until you've heard them (just remember to let all headphones break in for a bit before judging them)
 

ssddx

Glorious
Moderator
when i made that comment i was making a blanket statement to cover *all* good quality higher end headphones. what i was trying to convey is that theres a huge difference in audio quality between high end headphones and normal headphones.

i was emphasizing that you cant just a pair of cans just by how much bass it can output (as we all know beats are complete junk yet they have crazy bass).

 

Psycho Mantis

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Okay I was just checking maybe since the m50s are isolated or something they're considered studio just wonderin. I think i'll probably go for the hd558s then for the soundstage and comfort as there are days i go all day playing lol. Thanks a ton for your help :)
 

ssddx

Glorious
Moderator
i think the m50s and dt770 are specifically called out as "studio" but the sennheisers arent. no idea why really.

i havent heard the 558's myself but from what i've seen around the grapevine they should be fine.
 

Psycho Mantis

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I'd get the dt770s but theyre out of my price range unfortunately. Its a tough decision between the m50s and sennheisers... but im leaning towards the soundstage side of it plus the comfort
 

ssddx

Glorious
Moderator
the m50s are pretty comfortable.. they just get hot since they are closed. take them off for a few minutes every hour and its no issue though.

if you like soundstage... get the 558. while not the same as the 598 its still better than the m50 in that regard.
if you want bass and durability... get the m50s. excellent sound at a good price but its got a weak soundstage.
 
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