Multipurpose headphone recommendations (Gaming, Music, Videos, etc.) with some stipulations

Aristo_

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Dec 5, 2015
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Hi, folks!

The title is pretty self-explanatory; I'm in the need of a set of cans that'll perform adequately with music, film scores/sound effects and PC games. However, there are a couple stipulations that I have in mind for an ideal set. The first is immersion - I'd like to have a set of headphones that you can put on and 'feel' like you're right inside the action on the screen. This probably comes down to a few things; directional sound and minimal leakage in or out being the first that come to mind. Closed headphones seem like a practical choice, since I don't want to annoy others nearby, or have outside noise break the 'immersion.'

My other concern is comfort. I usually spend a couple hours at a time using headphones, and I'd like to leave irritation around the ears or top of the head at a minimum. The less I have to worry about comfort, the more I can focus on the sound!

For the time being, I don't plan on using an amp. Perhaps I'll look into them when I bite the bullet and go 'full-phile,' but since I'm just starting to appreciate HQ products, I'd like to limit the hassle.

I don't have a hard budget in mind, as the holidays are drawing near, but I'll be happy if the phones don't break the bank.

As far as music genres I listen to - if it matters any - I'm a fan of synthwave; real retro, 80's-inspired stuff. I listen to most varieties of metal on occasion, and also enjoy orchestral, ambient noise, and even k-pop as a guilty pleasure.

I've looked around some other threads and sites for comparisons and recommendations for versatile cans, but I figured I'd narrow the search down by adding my own particular needs to the equation.
 
if you're in the usa...

best buy sometimes has a few popular headphones for trial. depends on store.

stores like guitar center should have more and there are some in your state. might want to look these stores up too http://www.storeslike.com/similar/Guitar_Center and give them a call to see how they feel about trying headphones out and what they have on display for listening to. some stores encourage AB testing while others are more sticklers.

heres one in CT

https://www.google.com/maps/place/The+Audio+Store/@41.6848327,-72.7095712,15z/data=!4m2!3m1!1s0x0:0x864bf1d63eb089a6?sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjPssLUr8jJAhVHkh4KHZksBbgQ_BIIbzAL

ordering online is a good idea [discounted prices!] but its going to be a good idea to at least listen to many popular headphones [even if they dont have the headphone you're thinking about] as it will give you more of an idea what you like and do not like.


 
one thing to keep in mind, open cans will have a wider soundstage. what this means is a more airy 3d-ish sound. closed cans will have a smaller soundstage. so, its a tradeoff.. an airy 3d sound vs sound isolation.

many people seem to think headphones with a v-shaped soundstage are immersive given the nice bass response and still little details of treble. mids are recessed though compared with other frequencies.

want v-shaped and noise isolating? perhaps the dt770pro. you will want either a decent soundcard or perhaps an amp though to get the most out of them. they are fairly bass heavy (bassy headphones but not bass cannon level) so i'd suggest wanting more than average bass if you look into them. the 80ohm will be bassiest while the 250ohm will be a bit more quality.

for cheap (i would not spend more than $130-140 on a pair) the m50s have good quality. similar to the dt770 but a bit cheaper and easier to drive with smaller earcups. the dt770 is all around the better can. i have a pair (previous gen m50s not m50x) and quality is good without too sharp of treble response. soundstaging however is bad as everything will sound very intimate and in your face. personally i like that about them but not everyone will.

small soundstage will sound more like that - in your face like you're at a bar room with a band 5 feet from your face. open cans with large soundstages will sound more like listening to a band outdoors or in a larger enclosure.

the k271mkii isnt a bad choice for closed cans but will sound a bit light on bass. likewise the a-500/a-700/a-900x series will be light on bass but with soundstage.

a note about amplifiers... in some cases they are optional and in some cases they are required. certain headphones (like much of akgs lineup) are hard to drive so need an amp. others, like the m50 do not need one nor sound much better amped. some like the hd598 normally do not need an amp but do sound a bit better on one. the beyers sound best with a good amp but a good strong soundcard or onboard can drive them in most cases just not to their fullest.
 

Aristo_

Estimable
Dec 5, 2015
3
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4,510
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Thanks for the reply! Some folks at Head-Fi recommended the same phones (DT770) for similar reasons - comfort, isolation, etc. I did some snooping for reviews and got a pretty similar opinion from each: some emphasis on bass with recessed mids and occasional sibilance with highs at loud volumes.

I'll admit, I don't have much in the way of personal experience to compare reviews to - I've been using a Skullcandy SLYR for the past two years, which has a 3-position EQ. I toy with it from time to time while listening to music; often looping the same song and switching the EQs each time. I'm not sure how strong of an opinion this is, but I do enjoy prominent, crisp highs with synth-heavy music, which is what I primarily listen to. (here's an idea) I can have fun with bass, but I find it can muddy/diminish the other sounds a little, depending on the track. This might just be the SLYR's fault, since I don't have a real comparative basis to measure it to.

I'm definitely interested in the DT770, after having done some research. I'm only wary of the bass potentially being heavy for my liking and the sibilance in the highs. Otherwise, the fact that it has strong isolation and seemingly wide range for being a closed headphone are a plus. I have noticed that Amazon has the 80 OHM DT770 available in a bundle option with a Creative Sound Blaster E5 amp. I've never used an external amp, so I'm not sure what to expect from it, although I have a rough idea of what they do. I'm curious as to the extent of tweaking that could be done to the DT770's sound with this one.
 
if you feel that substantial bass can take away from the audio properties you enjoy, you could always go with something along the lines of an ad500x/700x/900x [a500x/a700x/a900x are closed versions] or q701 [k271mkii perhaps if you want closed] or similar can with more presence on treble/mids with fairly low bass response.

i gave the song a listen [actually i could listen to that :lol:] and its not at all outside of what i've listened to at times. generally dubstep though i also like acid, synthpop and most other forms of electronica. yes, even some chiptunes. i also like kpop and jpop - perhaps its a good thing i used to listen with closed headphones as not many might think thats legitimate music. i have an ath-m50 myself [dt770 is similar but all around a better set of cans] and i thought the m50 performed admirably. good bass response on such songs can really bring them out as long as its not overpowering and muddy. the m50 and dt770 are in the "bassy" classification of headphones. more bass than neutral though nowhere near bass-cannon level which is where things start getting really bloated.

i'll just throw this in here.... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=57mkfFdvREw given that you like electronica...

of course, this is my opinion and perhaps you prefer treb/mids over everything as a whole - i can only say my own thoughts. i used to rock out during work in an office for 9 hours a day on the closed m50's though and i was certainly happy with how they sounded for electronica of all flavors along with traditional genres - even vocalists despite them being v-shaped. if your tastes are anything like mine the dt770 should be fine.

the dt770-80 is the most bassy of them. if you want a bit less bass but still the 770 go with the 250ohm.

i cannot say anything about the e5 amp as i've never read up on it or used it. i'd suggest the fiio a3 if you want just an amp [can use with any input devices] or the e10k which is an dac+amp [meant for use with pc only]. relatively inexpensive but solid products.

agreed, its hard to form an opinion until you've heard at least a few headphones.
 

Aristo_

Estimable
Dec 5, 2015
3
0
4,510
0


The first thing that comes to mind is Best Buy. I live in southern CT and have things like Wal-Mart, Best Buy, a P.C. Richards & Sons nearby. I'm not against making online purchases, but I do agree that it'd be worth going to stores and trying out phones for fits and feels (at least when the store actually sets up the samples right and you can hear the music!)
 
if you're in the usa...

best buy sometimes has a few popular headphones for trial. depends on store.

stores like guitar center should have more and there are some in your state. might want to look these stores up too http://www.storeslike.com/similar/Guitar_Center and give them a call to see how they feel about trying headphones out and what they have on display for listening to. some stores encourage AB testing while others are more sticklers.

heres one in CT

https://www.google.com/maps/place/The+Audio+Store/@41.6848327,-72.7095712,15z/data=!4m2!3m1!1s0x0:0x864bf1d63eb089a6?sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjPssLUr8jJAhVHkh4KHZksBbgQ_BIIbzAL

ordering online is a good idea [discounted prices!] but its going to be a good idea to at least listen to many popular headphones [even if they dont have the headphone you're thinking about] as it will give you more of an idea what you like and do not like.


 
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