New headphones, and related setup?

Maarsch

Honorable
Sep 14, 2012
60
0
10,610
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Hello,

My Steelseries Siberia V2 lost sound in the left can.
It's outside of warranty and while I might hobby may way into fixing it at some point, for now I want to buy something new and better.

I am currently looking at AKG 612/712. I am still visiting stores to try out sound and comfort atm, hope to find a place that does Sennheiser at least.

However, I have an audio setup I may need to consider.

Currently I have 5.1 sound coming out the of the back of my computer and my headphones plug into the front. VAC and voicemeeter makes that I have sound coming out of both at the same time.

I also stream/record stuff (or, hopefully will return to doing this when my schedule frees up a bit), currently though a USB Blue Snowball. If I do go back to this and grow it I may upgrade this to something non-USB that would require a pre-amp (and having a physical mute button wouldn't be horrible).

Considering the back of my computer will continue to put out sound to the speaker setup it appears to be recommended to have an amp for the headphones.

Summary: Need new headphones for gaming, streaming, music and movies. Plus possible amp/thingy (the amp/thingy is where I am really uninformed. I don't even know if the mic and heaphones would go through the same device.)

Questions:

1) Headphone recommendation around the €150 mark (yes, I know the 712 goes for 220, but it does sound so very nice)
2) should I be looking at a mixer/amplifier/thingy and if so: which one? (Consider that separate from the €150)
 

ssddx

Glorious
Moderator
the output on souncards or onboard that goes to the front audio jack is generally amplified more than the rear. this might be desirable if connecting an amp up to lower distortion but quite honestly is mostly a moot point given the numbers we are talking about.

the m50 is a closed can with v-shape, heavy bass and very small soundstage. i own a pair myself and its not bad though not what you would be looking for given what you seem to like.

the 770 is a step up from the m50 in all ways anyways. if you wanted something like the 990 but with less treble bite and less bass extension the 880 fills that role. its a little tamer.

there are certainly complicated formulas and explanations such as
http://nwavguy.blogspot.com/2011/02/headphone-impedance-explained.html
http://auditry.blogspot.com/2014/02/headphone-amp-power-calculator.html
etc...

but keeping things simple, the things you need to know are impedance (resistance of the circuit) and sensitivity (volume output per watt voltage input). high impedance headphones can be harder to drive in some cases but sensitivity has a bigger effect. low sensitivity cans can often be hard to drive. also, headphones with heavy bass output can require substantially more power to sound good and produce such bass.

akg cans can certainly be used without a dedicated amp (any decent soundcard or even some onboard is fine) but often they sound better with one. akg cans tend to be very picky about having good equipment. they can sound excellent or can sound horrible if playing bad quality files or using bad equipment. the reason is that they are very detailed so either broadcast songs in all their glory with intricate details or pick out every little stutter/buzz/distortion in the file. any detailed treble focused can tends to do this though so its not just akg.

the k7xx is basically a revamped k712 for $150 less in price making it a good deal if you are into it. not that the beyerdynamic products are bad either.. if buying in europe stores i'd buy beyer given the cost savings i see on online markets.

i'm not going to say the 2i2 is excellent but its okay for the money spent. there are certainly better options out there but often they are more expensive as well making it a moot point. people often mention behringer as an alternative but you will find people complaining just as much about them. honestly, its a crapshoot and unless you can find people directly comparing products (often impossible) its hard to know for sure. i will say that i do not use one as i do not record so i'd certainly seek out some other review or information before settling on one.

of course you dont have to use an interface. you could certainly just get a better usb mic like the yeti, nt-usb or at2020usbplus. sure, an interface offers you more options for mixing (at greater cost) but whether or not you need/want that is your choice.
 

ssddx

Glorious
Moderator
why do you want 5.1 playing out via speakers at the same time you listen to it with headphones? A) that only makes trouble when recording with mics B) you can not hear the audio well with headphones on C) with open headphones the sound leaking in and mixing might sound odd.

akg cans tend towards bass light or neutral. if you like how they sound then certainly try the ad500x and ad700x as well. you might also enjoy the dt880 or dt990. sennheisers will sound much more laid back. the k7xx massdrop is a very good deal if you can catch it.

if you get an xlr microphone, an audio interface like a scarlett 2i2 (or similar unit of a brand of your choice) are what you would want. an amplifier after them is required for any headphones which are a bit harder to drive. fiio makes some decent budget amps but i always recommend the schiit magni given it is a good price/power/performance option. yes, you can go cheaper if need be.
 

Maarsch

Honorable
Sep 14, 2012
60
0
10,610
19
Thank you

I don't play though both at the same time.
I just want to be able to put power on the speakers and have sound there. I used to switch between playback device and while win10 made this easier already, the solution I have now is really nice actually.
But I mostly meant to illustrate that the back plugs are taken. I've seen comments on the internet to use rear plugs for the headphones because . . . . for some reason it was better than the front plug or something (can't recall now)

I tried the dt770 and 990 on the way home. They were quite nice. Both in sound and comfort.
The place I went to didn't have the ad500x/700x, but did have the ATX-M50X/40X and I didn't like those.
There's a massdrop going for the 7xx for another 2 days. I'll see if that's feasible from Europe (didn't use to be)

I've heard a few people complain about the Scarlett 2i2. Most recently the co-optional podcast people. Anecdotal, of course.

How do you tell if the headphones are harder to drive? The dude at the store said I wouldn't need one for the k712, but I forgot to ask by what metric I could see that for myself.
 

ssddx

Glorious
Moderator
the output on souncards or onboard that goes to the front audio jack is generally amplified more than the rear. this might be desirable if connecting an amp up to lower distortion but quite honestly is mostly a moot point given the numbers we are talking about.

the m50 is a closed can with v-shape, heavy bass and very small soundstage. i own a pair myself and its not bad though not what you would be looking for given what you seem to like.

the 770 is a step up from the m50 in all ways anyways. if you wanted something like the 990 but with less treble bite and less bass extension the 880 fills that role. its a little tamer.

there are certainly complicated formulas and explanations such as
http://nwavguy.blogspot.com/2011/02/headphone-impedance-explained.html
http://auditry.blogspot.com/2014/02/headphone-amp-power-calculator.html
etc...

but keeping things simple, the things you need to know are impedance (resistance of the circuit) and sensitivity (volume output per watt voltage input). high impedance headphones can be harder to drive in some cases but sensitivity has a bigger effect. low sensitivity cans can often be hard to drive. also, headphones with heavy bass output can require substantially more power to sound good and produce such bass.

akg cans can certainly be used without a dedicated amp (any decent soundcard or even some onboard is fine) but often they sound better with one. akg cans tend to be very picky about having good equipment. they can sound excellent or can sound horrible if playing bad quality files or using bad equipment. the reason is that they are very detailed so either broadcast songs in all their glory with intricate details or pick out every little stutter/buzz/distortion in the file. any detailed treble focused can tends to do this though so its not just akg.

the k7xx is basically a revamped k712 for $150 less in price making it a good deal if you are into it. not that the beyerdynamic products are bad either.. if buying in europe stores i'd buy beyer given the cost savings i see on online markets.

i'm not going to say the 2i2 is excellent but its okay for the money spent. there are certainly better options out there but often they are more expensive as well making it a moot point. people often mention behringer as an alternative but you will find people complaining just as much about them. honestly, its a crapshoot and unless you can find people directly comparing products (often impossible) its hard to know for sure. i will say that i do not use one as i do not record so i'd certainly seek out some other review or information before settling on one.

of course you dont have to use an interface. you could certainly just get a better usb mic like the yeti, nt-usb or at2020usbplus. sure, an interface offers you more options for mixing (at greater cost) but whether or not you need/want that is your choice.
 
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