Need help choosing headphones!

gex230

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So recently i had problems with my old HPD12 and i wanted to buy new headphones and i cant decide there is a lot to choose from and i need your help :D i don't want to pay a fortune for a pair of headphones two!
I mostly use headphones for gaming. But i like to listen to some music as well!
 
@cons, to avoid mudding up this thread either have your own thread about the issue or pm me about it.

@lag, no worries, i figured you meant that but thought it was a bit open to misinterpretation. agreed that virtual distorts the audio (which is why i dont like it myself) but some people are obsessed with it. remember that "true" surround headsets also use smaller drivers which often dont sound as nice as higher quality larger ones.

@gex,

if you want the advantage in fps games (such as the audiotechnica ad-series has, akg cans or grados) you would lose out on bass. if you wanted bass you have to give up the advantage (basically not having bass = advantage). your choice to make!

going with a closed can for noise isolation also means reduction in soundstage and positional audio generally. while it could help with ambient noise certainly you would be making a tradeoff to get this as well. your choice to make.

not sure if the dt770 is worth it for you or not. its a bit on the bassy side (not a bass cannon) and doesnt give you any sort of advantage for hearing footsteps due to this. it does however have a fairly wide soundstage despite being closed, decent treble response and is comfortable. the 80ohm version is the most bassy, the 250ohm the best sounding, the 32 the most easy to drive. generally unless you plan on using portables it would be ideal to use the 80 or 250 and use a soundcard with them.

it is worth noting that the dt990 is a good price - worthwhile if you could also add an amplifier or soundcard to your setup but that might end up pushing you over budget.

if you wanted closed cans yet a lighter on bass sound perhaps the akg cans are midway between good gaming cans like the ad-series and closed designs. you would get sound muffling and likely the same signature akg is known for which might be what you want.

if you absolutely want surround sound (and i will say that large soundstage headphones sound fine without this generally) you would want virtual surround sound processing as an option. if your motherboard doesnt have it you could use razer surround however this does not sound as good as having either dolby headphone or cmss3d/sbx which you could get from a sound card. the xonar dg is a cheap way to add not only better than onboard audio and a stronger amp but also virtual support if its not included.

we gave you quite a few options so far. i think you need to start making a few choices or decisions.

 

Cons29

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it would be helpful to tell us your budget.

please note that i am not an expert on this, i have just recently got into these and i don't have much to spend also.
right now i have the audio technica athm50xBL (limited edition), and i am looking to get my first open back which will probably be HD598 of sennheiser. you can check those for reviews and feedback.
of course there are lots of other options like AKG's, grado, etc so it will depend on your budget.

also, if you noticed, these are not gaming headphones. and as one gamer to another, i would suggest you buy headphones and not headsets. they have better sound quality than headsets.
i have been through 2 5.1 headsets, one from CM and another from corsair (2100), sure they are fine, those i mentioned are just better.
my suggestion, try them out, if you have a place where they let you test them, go and do it.

i have recently tried the hd598, and wow, could not help but close my eyes while listening :)
 

gex230

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Well i don't want to spend more then 200 euros on headphones and if i'm buying headphones i might need a microphone two any suggestions for one ?
Basically what i'm trying to say that i want great sound but at lower cost!
 

Lag

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I use a Fiio E10K amplifier, and I frequently switch between Sennheiser HD 558 and the Beyerdynamic DT 770. They are both fantastic headphones, but also quite different. The sennheiser hd 558 is an open back headphone, which means a more open sound stage, in addition to a flatter and a more neutral sound signature. This also means better sound positioning, which is better for gaming. The sennheiser hd 558 is a really great headset for gaming if you can afford it. While the DT 770, also being a studio monitor, is a closed back headphone. Which means that the sound position isn't as great as with the Sennheiser HD 558, but in return, you get a lot more bass (which is fun when you listen to music). You also get sound isolation, which is great if you live in a noisy environment.

Edit: under two hundred:

Headset:http://www.amazon.com/Sennheiser-HD-558-Headphones/dp/B004FEEY9A/ref=sr_1_1?&ie=UTF8&qid=1437946444&sr=8-1&keywords=Sennheiser+hd+558

Amplifier: http://www.amazon.com/FiiO-E10K-Headphone-Amplifier-Black/dp/B00LP3AMC2/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1437946481&sr=8-1&keywords=Fiio+e10k

Mic: http://www.amazon.com/Connectland-CL-ME-606-Goose-Desktop-Microphone/dp/B0028Y4DCC/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1437946500&sr=8-3&keywords=mic


Total: 192 dollars for a very good setup.

Edit: if Amazon doesn't work for you, please tell us which site you are going to be ordering your headphones from.

 

Lag

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Well, the amplifier makes sure that the headphones are receiving enough power, while making sure they are performing as well they can. They also help avoid all the electrical noise from inside your computer, which can cause hissing and/or crackling. It also comes with a DAC which helps convert your sound from digital to analog (decoding the audio so the speakers or headphones can produce sound). And the dac in the amplifier is usually of better quality than the motherboard dac. But the Sennheiser hd 558 can be driven without an amplifier, it's just that I prefer to use one, because of volume control, sound signature and shielding from electrical noise .
 

gex230

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i'm really not worried about an amplifier even tho it dose sound cool but my motherboard has Purity Sound™ - Bask in the Music something like that that maybe why i never really heard any electrical stuff or computer working on the headset i have.. i dont know if its that or just i dont hear it :D
 

Lag

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Yes, well it is more noticable on older motherboards, as newer ones come often come with separate circuitry for the audio, which helps remove a lot of the noise. Its like driving in your own lane so to speak. No additional traffic to create extra noise.
 
since i'm perhaps a bit more well rounded in headphones i thought i would jump in. keep in mind that its hard to be familiar with all headphones so there are many more obscure choices (which may be just as great) which are not recommended here but i've highlighted many of the common ones.

what type of headphone is best for you depends on what you expect in terms of sound signature:

headphones like the audiotechncia ad500x/700x/900x, akg k701 and grados are tuned for treble and mids and will all have near zero low bass response but fair mid bass response. the ad series is known for its huge soundstage and great positional audio. the akg and grados will be more shrill/bright over the ad series. this type of headphone is good if you want to game with an advantage (hear footsteps easier in fps) or if you dont like bass. these are all open cans.

cans like the audiotechnica m50x, beyerdynamic dt770, sennheiser hd280/380 or v-moda are all more bassy cans with reduced soundstage, v-shaped sound signature (more treble and bass than mids) and more bass than neutral. while not as ideal for gaming, they are nice for users looking for something which muffles outside noises and is on the bassy side of things. the m50x (i own a m50 myself) is fairly poor in soundstaging and positional audio (but otherwise has good sound). the dt770 is much better in all regards. these are all closed cans.

the sennheiser dt990 is both an open can for the large soundstaging and great positional audio combined with a v-shaped sound profile for a more exciting sound. despite being open cans which normally lack bass they are also suprisingly bassy but still have nice crisp bright highs (some might want to tone the highs down a bit). basically sort of a best of both worlds. the dt880 is a more neutral version of this more akin to the section below - but less mellow.

the sennheiser hd518/558/598 are more neutral with a fairly flat sound. the 598 is closest to neutral with the biggest soundstage with the 518 the closest to peaking a bit on bass and the least soundstage but not by a huge degree as all of them use the exact same drivers and the differences are due to design only. they are also fairly easy listening and are more mellow and not as bright as some choices.

amps - generally not needed unless you specifically have a pair of headphones which is hard to drive (the beyer dt series) or if you're looking to tone down the brightness of a headphone with a more warm amplifier (such as dt990, akg cans, grados). otherwise, a good soundcard is likely a better option overall. depending on what you wanted to get... something like the xonar dx, creative z or xonar dg would work. if you did need an amplifier, fiio makes some good budget amps which would work and add a more warm sound signature to warm up cool or tone down bright headphones just a tad.

as for microphones, the best boom-style microphone for attaching to headphones is the modmic bought from their website. i believe they ship worldwide. an alternative is the not-as-nice moovemic, getting a stereo lavalier mic and using an adapter or going with a nice desktop mic - preferably with boom arm.

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to suggest a headphone for you what do we need?

-prices. let us know how much you would pay for the various models discussed.
-preferences. let us know which sounds the most appealing to you - if you can listen to them in person that would be MOST ideal but not always possible
-equipment. if you need to purchase a soundcard, amps, etc. we would need to factor this in. see what things like the soundcards discussed or amps discussed would cost you
-comfort. let us know if you have large ears, a big head, glasses or other things which could influence comfort.
-other. let us know if you need them to block out noise, need more than standard bass, want virtual surround sound or other such needs.

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what has been discussed so far:

the hd598 and hd558 are both good, common choices and you usually cant go wrong.

akg and grado cans are more of a like it or hate it scenario.

the m50x while being good sounding is not ideal for gaming. if you wanted one, get the dt770 instead.

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clarification:

an amplifier does NOT remove electrical noise from an analog signal coming from your pc. an amplifier only increases the power level of the signal. if noise is present it will be still in the output.

a DAC (digital analog converter) however (and some amplifiers are paired up with a DAC in one box) will normally remove any said electrical noise as they are external to the system.

the negative to using an external DAC is that you lose out on virtual surround processing that many soundcards may give you. the benefit is that you get reduced noise (though soundcards also do this so its not really a win).

keep in mind that you might still be affected by usb noise or ground loop (dont worry about this, i'm just noting it for completeness and it doesnt normally happen to most people) even if you were connected via usb with an external DAC. this however is more of an isolated case-by-case basis scenario and there are ways to eliminate it.

which is superior? neither. both have their own benefits.

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if you absolutely needed a headset and did not want a headphone and separate mic solution what is out there which actually sounds good?

the sennheiser g4me zero, g4me one, pc363d. the beyerdynamic mmx300. the audiotechncia ath-adg1. all are based on headphone designs by the respective companies. all are also overpriced completely when you consider the price of buying the headphone they are based on and adding a mic (and sometimes a soundcard) to them which makes them not as nice price/performance wise but no less good sounding. most of them are fairly light on bass however (notably the mmx300 and adg1.. the senn's are not bass-heavy but not quite as weak).
 

Cons29

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about the amp, i suggest (no offense meant of course) that you don't think about it much for now. the one you will get will probably not require one. also, you can always buy an amp in the future.

listen to the good sir, ssddx. he knows more than most of us here. i am also a newbie just like you, maybe ahead just a little compared to you (meaning i have done some reading and watched some reviews in youtube)

my suggestion, personally, get a hd598 or choose one from the suggestions given to you, then get a mod mic.

to give you an idea, my setup: m50x heaphone (will get hd598), scarlett solo audio interface and at2020 condenser mic.
condenser mic is a whole other thing, as it has it's own pros and cons.
 

Cons29

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i am excited to get my first open back, which i think should complement my m50x which is a closed but with a bit more bass.
it would be ideal to visit a shop where they allow you to audiotion (test) these cans. i am lucky that we have one within the metro. they lots of them from cheap ones to hundreds of dollars worth of cans and amp/dac's, you can just plug them and hear for yourself.
also consider comfort please, this is important believe me, esp if you intend to use these for hours and hours. the 598 is very very comfortable, same with 990, 880, 770 i heard.
 

Cons29

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and oh, the hd598 is only 150usd, the dt990 is a good choice also (just too high for my budget)

grado is also good, but not comfortable for me, those foams, too rough for my ears. and their over-the-ear does't look too comfy also.
 

Cons29

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yes i understand, i am basing my prices on US though i am far from there myself.

actually i have a dilemma, hd598 is 150 in the US, i can buy it through a courrier and have it shipped here for around $195 which includes all taxes already, however the warranty is of course a risk.
but compare that to the local price, which is ~$275. do you think it's worth it?

to the OP, in addition to our input, i suggest you read reviews and watch youtube also. if you cannot test them then there's not much choice but to rely on those reviews and inputs.
 

Lag

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You are right. Was a little tired when I wrote this yesterday. I wrote this because the Fiio E10K, is not only an amplifier, but also has a built in DAC, which means it not only amplifies, but also removes noise. I should have clarified though, thanks for that :) And as for virtual surround processing, I find it really degrades sound quality. If he wants surround, he should go for a 5.1 system or true surround headphones. But to each his own. I find that my HD 558 already has a great sound stage and position for gaming and music (I use it for every music genre I listen to).The 558 is just a step under the 598 with a little tighter low end. You can always buy the 558 and perform the foam modification which some say make it perform similarly to the 598. But I personally haven't, as I like the sound as it is. the 598 does look a lot nicer though. If I could do it over again, I would buy the 598 for the looks alone :D
 

gex230

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Well i don't really want to spend more then 200 euros on everything i'm going to buy but prices in my country are much bigger then US or even amazon...
Yes the foot steps and stuff is really important for me because i play a lot of csgo and i have a huge advantage when i can hear foot steps and other stuff like a gun falling down you know... I mostly listen to music on my speakers. but it would be nice to have a clear sound on headphoens two
i don't need a sound card.
i have normal size ears there not small or big i don't wear glasses i have a normal head :D
well i need to have a good surround sound. bass isn't my nr1 thing i need but some would be nice :) well i live near a busy street and my brother is playing guitar or other music so it would be great if it would block the background noise but its not a nr1 thing eather
 

Lag

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Well then I would go for the Beyerdynamic DT 770, if you want something that is great for both music and gaming. While they don't have as great positioning as the 598 because of the closed design, they are definitely are an upgrade from the HPD12. There is a difference between the 32 ohm and 80 edition (besides that the 32 ohm is easier to drive). The 80 ohm version (the most popular one), comes with velour pads and are much more comfortable wearing for longer sessions, while the 32 ohm uses pleather, which means your ears might get sweaty after a while.



 

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