Hi. I recently ordered a pair of M50xs from Amazon with the intention of gaming, after seeing their fantastic reviews. However, when I told some of my friends familiar with audio equipment they informed me on open back vs closed back and how that effects gaming. I've since been contemplating returning them for something like the Beyerdynamic DT-990s or other open back headphones. I play a decent amount of FPS games and will be playing a lot of GTA V following its PC release. My question is if it's worth returning my M50xs for something with a better soundstage, or will they work just fine? Thanks.
if you want something "neutral" then both the sennheiser hd598 and dt880 fit that role. the 598 requires no amplifier but can benefit from a good soundcard or amplifier if you do have one, the 880 definitely requires one. both are open back (no sound isolation). the 880 may have a slightly larger soundstage and be slightly more bright.
if you want more highs and mids and do not care about bass the audiotechnica ad500x/700x/900x lineup may be up your alley. great soundstage and positional audio. really crisp bright highs and sharp punchy mids. almost completely lacking in the bass department though which makes them great for an "advantage" in fps games since you hear footsteps easier but also a bit less "fun" sounding unless you prefer a bass light sound. the akg k701 and similar akg cans will be similar to the series i mentioned before and are known for being bright.
in general the audiotechnica ad series and the beyerdynamic dt series have large earcups and are pretty legendary for comfort.
open cans breath and will be less hot over closed cans which do not breath. similarly cloth or velour pads are cooler than pleather or leather pads however the leather pads often hold up better and are easier to clean while velour can sometimes get a bit grimy if you dont clean them up right away.
if instead of a neural soundscape (which while the most accurate sounding can also sound a bit less fun and a bit dull) you'd think about a v-shaped soundscape (called the "fun" profile since it accentuates highs and lows and drops out the mids a bit) you may want to consider the dt990 as they have both decent bass and pretty sharp bright highs. again, open cans.
the dt770 would fulfill your need for isolation but may (eventually after an hour or two) start to get hot due to not being an open design (this is true with ALL closed designs). while not bright, highs will be fairly crisp and they are known for great lows as well. due to the v-shaped sound profile mids will be subdued so they arent neutral. for the 80ohm you'd want a fair soundcard for the 250ohm you'd want a good amp.
if you want completely neutral: i'd look at the hd598 and maybe a soundcard.
if you want high/mid focused with almost no bass: i'd look at the ad700x or similar.
if you want isolation and something just a bit better than the m50x, perhaps the dt770 though its a v-shaped profile.
just some thoughts, you might want to report back your thoughts on the above before making a final decision.
i will say that the price of the m50x is not worthwhile as it is rather expensive for what you get. the m50s and m50 can be had for $100-120 and are a much better deal for practically the same cans.
i bought my m50s (the straight cable version) at least 4 years ago (and not at the cheap prices nowdays either) and they are a nice set of cans. good sound quality, good bass, they are built like tanks and the cable is almost unbreakable. their flaw is the very small soundstage even for closed cans and the somewhat smallish earcups. i dont regret my choice at all and they have worked great for me. however, the dt770 beats them out in pretty much every area. given the very slight difference in price between the dt770 and m50x the dt770 is a sure win.
the m50x CAN be used for gaming if you want lots of bass and want noise isolation, but the dt770 would be better since it does all that AND has a fair soundstage for closed headphones.
generally YES open back cans are suggested for gaming due to the larger soundstage. however not all people want them because they leak sound in and out (you can hear everything in the room around you as they are NOT noise isolating) and generally they tend to be lighter onbass (except the dt990 which has a fair bit for open cans).
keep in mind that the dt990's WILL need a higher end amp to drive them well (schiit magni is good). you can power them on less but you wont get the full potential out of them. the dt770's (80ohm ver) can be powered by a decent soundcard (or cheaper amp) while the 250ver would need something more like the 990 does.
what other open cans are there? if you want a neutral sound signature without requiring an amp, the hd598 is a good choice. its not too bass heavy though and wont hit as low as the beyers.
the dt880 is basically a neutral (flat eq) version of the dt990 with less bass.
before making decisions, lets hear a bit of what you expect out of the headphones.
what kind of sound signature do you like, what are your preferences, do you wear glasses, do you absolutely need sound isolation, etc.
with this info we can see what would work best for you.
Thanks for the reply. For sound I'm looking for something relatively neutral, or maybe a bit bright. Bass isn't too big of a deal for me. I don't wear glasses. Some sound isolation would be nice, as my game room is just off the cornor of the living room. This would be strictly for in-home use. I wouldn't want to go too far over $200 in price. Another concern is how comfortable my headphones will be after an hour or two of play.
I'm looking at getting the HD598. It's open back so I'll be comfortable after an hour or two of play. From what I understand its soundstage is pretty decent, which is why I made this post in the first place. Also, they're neutral so I won't completely miss out on bass. Finally, and the big reason for me, is that they don't require an amp, which for now isn't something I want to invest in. Again, thanks for the help.
i would like to note that the hd598's respond very well to a cheap amp or more powerful soundcard so in the future if you want to push them just a bit harder to get a bit more quality sound a little more low end out of them then you always have a cheap amp or cheap soundcard (fiio amp or something like xonar dg) out there as an option.