Typical "I need a headset" post, just wanting some advice if you can share it.

Killerdoom14

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Hey, Long story short I need a new pair of headphones, I have been using the Turle Beaches X12 for a few years, I loved them like a man who loves getting a free six pack of beer with every purchase of bullets for his gun.

So with that being said I have no budget per say, I dont want to spend 500 dollars, but I will if need be. Most headsets come with a warranty of 1 year and I cant stand that, so thats why im willing to spend more, ive heard the MMX300 headphones have a 5 year warranty. So for 400 bucks that would be worth it.

Also if your going to recommend a headset over 100 dollars, please tell me if I need a soundcard, I do not have one but if I was going to spend hundreds would it be worth it for just casual use and gaming?

uhh, I think thats it. The only things I really want out of it is a good Microphone, good audio quality and a good warranty if possible.
 

DookieDraws

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The Kingston HyperX Cloud II Gaming Headset may be worth looking at. Has gotten some pretty favorable reviews around the web. There's also a few video reviews on Youtube, just search for HyperX Cloud II Gaming Headset for more info. You can purchase these headphones for around $99 on Amazon and Newegg and a few other places around the web. Give them a look.
 

ssddx

Glorious
Moderator
the mmx300 (and similarly the pc363d) are both rather bass light headsets based on headphone designs. they are also both very overpriced for what you're getting. while they might serve you well, i'd investigate some other options before you make a decision.

my recommendation would be to go with a quality hifi headphone and use an add on mic like the modmic (or use a quality desktop mic).

for under $500 you have quite a few options available depending on the sound profile you most enjoy.

the dt990-250ohm ($200) paired with a good amplifier like the schiit magni ($100) is going to be pretty stellar in terms of performance. good highs, decent lows for an open headset, comfortable, wide soundstage... in general many of the things sought after. if you wanted virtual surround, you can use this setup on the line-out jack of a soundcard which supports virtual (or just use it on the line-out of any soundcard if you dont care about virtual). another option (if you dont care about virtual surround) is an external dac (like the schiit modi $100). they do have a V shaped sound profile (more highs & lows with recessed mids) also called the fun profile and can be a little harsh on the highs at times though can be adjusted out if wanted.

a good add on mic is the modmic ($50) though if you're wanting to step up your game and go desktop mic then i'd look into the at2020usb, or if you want something more budget friendly then the atr2500 is similar to the 2020 but only about 80% as good.

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other nice headphones you could go with:

ad900x (huge soundstage, great positional audio, clear detailed highs and mids. not much of a bass response at all though)
hd598 (decent soundstage, decent positional, punchy but not deep bass)

or, you might want to look at the sennheiser hd600 ($300) or hd650 ($330) which though a bit more expensive really are some nice cans from sennheiser. it has a more neutral sound than the 990's and more midrange (since its neutral not v shaped profile) and suprisingly good bass from a set of open cans. sound is going to be smoother than the 990s though perhaps not as articulate and detailed on the highs.

just a few things to think about at least.
 

Killerdoom14

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Ive heard about them abit myself, and to be honest I didnt give them a second look because anything under 100 dollars is on my dont touch list. I dont want to sound like a dick because even 100 bucks would be quite a massive hit to my wallet, but I just dont want cheap. Ill give it a looksie though. Thanks for the recommendation.

 

Killerdoom14

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From the way you speak no headphones can supply a good bass and high, I wish I could go into a store and try these headsets out, but unfortunately in Canada its slim pickings everywhere, you would be lucky, LUCKY to find anything other then Beats at the most computer oriented store in town :(

Lets be honest, i dont WANT to spend 500 dollars, because at my current state thats probably 20% of my life savings XD with that being said, it may be worth it. That mod mic is 50 dollars alone, not counting a pair of decent headphones :l have you used it, is it just a common mic or is it something special? Ill look up reviews tonight when I can.

Im not familiar with sound profiles, how do I know what sound profile I like, and what one im willing to spend money on? Is there anything that could help me?

Do I want virtual surround? I dont think so, I care not for it and ive heard its not exactly the most wanted thing ever. But I could be talking about 5.1/7.1.

So do I need all these extras? The amplifier and the soundcard and possibly the external Dac? They will probably run me up 50 each at the cheapest, :#

I have a desktop mic, the Blue yeti, but its more of a proffessional mic, I dont like the way they get in the way so I think I will be going witht he modmic if anything, just nice to have the mic right beside you at all times :p Sucks to have the extra cable flopping around :l

Im going to check out everything in your comment now, Feel free to respond to this one if you want, you have already helped so much :3

Question, do I want open ear headphones? I just saw the ones you mentioned were, are they ok for gaming? and for in general stuff like that? I think I prefer the closed ones but I cant say as I didnt know there was a difference.



 

ssddx

Glorious
Moderator
a note on the hyperxcloud II.... they received quite alot of negative feedback due to many issues which is why the original hyperxcloud (not II) is recommended over them. for the money it certainly is a good pair of cans however for your budget you can do much much better (though this is your choice of course).

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i am not saying that no headphone is capable of providing both good highs and bass, only that certain designs accentuate certain areas of the spectrum or excel more in certain areas.

now, you will not find a headphone which provides both earth shattering eardrum rupturing bass-head sub-bass levels and still remains articulate and clear on highs, but if you want to keep things in moderation then yes, you have headphones which can do both.

the dt990 for example has great (though sometimes piercing) detailed highs and fairly decent bass for a set of open cans like i said before. it will not generate excessive bass like bass-head cans but certainly enough to be considered enjoyable.

the hd600 is much the same way except it is more neutral and you can really hear the mids shine more than the 990's since this is more of a flat eq profile instead of peaked in the treble/bass like the 990s are.

the ad500/700/900x and many akg cans are all rather bass light and focus more on large soundstaging, positional audio and treble/mids. some people (especially competitive gamers) find this to be great as it gives them an advantage though perhaps not as enjoyable as some other models athough i do know some people do love the bass-light sound (typically people who care about subtle nuances and details in sound).

the hd558 or hd598 bring up the middle of the path. fair all the way around without excelling in one area.

honestly i'd need to know what kind of "sound profile" you are expecting out of them and some of your tastes if you want more than just a few ideas thrown out there. i know nothing about what kind of cans you're looking for right now other than you want to game with them (which is why i'm suggesting all open cans... though perhaps you dont want open?). basically what i mean by sound profile is how you like your sound to well... "sound" to you. compare it to eq settings you may change on your portable devices. for example:

-do you want a pair which is very detailed, articulate and focused on highs and mids but not so much on bass?
-do you want a pair which is more focused on really punchy bass but still alright for highs/mids but not quite as detailed?
-do you want a pair which is a good all rounder which has a neutral sound profile so excels in no one area but gives a balanced sound?
-do you want a set which is more detailed but may be a bit harsh, or one which is a bit smoother but may lack certain nuances or details?
-do sharp, detailed highs hurt your ears or cause fatigue?
-do you care if the headphones leak sound in/out? (if you do care and dont want this, going with a closed can is the fix but hurts soundstage alot)
-do you care about soundstage? basically how open the headphones feel. you can compare it to listening to a band in an open-air park and inside a bar. at the park you will have an airy quality to sound and you can tell distance and location. in the bar sound is more up-front in your face, direct and it will sound close to you though you can still tell direction. this is why many gamers like open headphones since they may give you an edge.
-do you wear glasses or have large ears or a large head which would affect comfort? some models are better for people with such prerequisites.

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no, i do not have a modmic myself though it is the single most popular add-on mic currently and gets rave reviews. if i did have a pair of headphones that i used for gaming and wanted a mic it would be my first choice (i use a hifi speaker system instead of my headphones for gaming and generally do not like using a mic... call me oldschool if you will).

you could use the blue yeti for gaming if you did not mind it sitting on the desk in front of you. its an exceptional microphone (on par with the at2020usb i listed earlier) and sound quality is certainly good for the price. your choice, but if that is not an option then i'd go with a modmic yes.

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want to know about virtual surround? put on any pair of headphones or earbuds and give the below a listen. if you dont have ANY headphones at all then you can listen with speakers but you may not get 100% of the effect.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y6ROujJ8Ae8

this compares stereo sound with dolby headphone with sbx. personally when i do rarely game with my headphones on (i use the m50s which has a small soundstage, closed design and more bass.. since it fits my taste profile best while perhaps not being ideal for gaming) such things as virtual surround dont bother me. typically games have enough visual and auditory clues to know whats going on around you to not require such software. virtual surround also distorts sound a little bit and i prefer to listen unaltered even if i do not gain any small advantages for positional audio. keep in mind some of the larger soundstage headphones have great positional even without this software.

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do you need an amp?

for some headphones like the hd598, hd558, and other low power cans.. no, you do not. onboard audio is fine and can power them fine. this is also mostly true with the ad500x and similar models. adding an amp or more powerful soundcard however can certainly improve sound quality a bit on them and give them a bit more low end.

some headphones like the dt990 you will definitely want to run with an amplifier since they are rather hard to drive. the hd600 can be ran with a powerful soundcard though it too likes an amp.

basically, the answer is "it depends" on the headphone you get. read the next section for additional clarification.

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so, confused about dac, amp, soundcards, etc?

onboard only: powers low power headphones easily. do not get virtual surround unless your motherboard supports it. some onboard is not quality and might give you buzzing, hissing, distortion or popping though it is highly dependent on your board and you need to test it out on your board so you know. some boards run great, others are not so great.

onboard + external amp: if you find that your onboard "sounds" good or has options you want like virtual surround but doesnt quite have the power output to get the most out of your new headphones then connecting up an external amp to the line-out will work great. or, you can double amp out of the headphone jack to the amp (at the cost of slight distortion) to use a lower powered external amp to get a similar effect as a larger amp since you're using both the motherboards amp and the external. or in the case of lower powered headphones even a small external works fine.

soundcard only: good for moderate to low powered headphones. sound quality increase over onboard and you can gain access to virtual surround if you wanted.

soundcard + external amp: if you wanted virtual surround as an option or if you wanted the processing to be done by a soundcard but it doesnt quite have the oomph to power your headphones this is a good option. connected up to the line-out with a decent amp is suggested though some people do double-amp if on the cheap at a slight cost of distortion.

external dac + external amp: for people who do not want or care for virtual surround and who want to pull all sound processing outside the pc for zero (or lowest possible) signal noise. great choice if you're an audiophile but an expensive choice if you are not.

notes: having an external amp with more demanding headphones (or having a small amp to just "boost" the bass on low or medium powered headphones) means that you can also use this portable for on-the-go use with portable devices. they also do make portable dac+amp units as well which can be used both in-home and portable though you did not stress any desire to do this.

while it depends on your choice of headphone.. i'm thinking either onboard only or soundcard (if you choose easy to power headphones or a soundcard +external amp if you choose something heavy.

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....i've run out of time to continue to work down your list of questions. if i didnt answer fully any of them feel free to respond below with any additional questions you have.
 

Killerdoom14

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You know so much Senpai ;-;

Ok, I have taken a lot of this and thought about it, this is more of a follow up, rather then a comment on everything you said, I read it all and its unbelievablly helpful.

So with that being said going in order to an extent, I think without knowing forsure, I prefer a deep punching bass, over extreme highs, So if I may, on a level of 1-10 for each.
Bass-7
Mid-6
High-6

if that gives you any idea, I dont think highs are important at all, other then basic, but maybe im wrong. Maybe my idea of highs are different then yours.

So is there any way I can listen to these specific soun profiles with my current headphones? I understand it will be different because of the sound profile im using, but maybe I will get a better Idea. A site of some sort?

sound staging may be nice, due to the beautiful airy sound, but im not sure if it will suit my needs as I love my bass and considering phycioligically I am more of a hermit and prefer to be secluded I wonder if the closed Cans may be better, but I cant say for certain, Ill have to look in town for a place to test each. (Random set of open/closed)

Im not a super competitive gamer, obviously I would like to be able to kick my friends ass and know where he is, but I wouldent give up the range of emotions that comes with a great soundtrack because it had a lot of bass in it.

Some of my tastes? Well for the sound profile, again, without sounding direct, Better bass, with a nice mid and high. An example of my tastes are this, While playing league of legends I main Nautalus, now I know you may have no idea what that is, but he has a very low bass ridden voice, I love to hear that at the start of the game, it makes it so epic, yet I also love the clang of the metal and each scratch when it hits... I really hope im making sense :p

I dont mind if they leak sound out, as long as it wont wake up another tenant in the next apartment in the middle of the night. Also as long as it doesent leak into the microphone, those people are worse then using the default xbox microphone ;-; Im not super itchy on the fact that other people may be able to hear my stuff, but it would suck if I was at the end of a game or movie and I was able to clearly hear another tenant dropping pots and pans in the adjacent apartment.

The open ones sound great if I was playing battlefield, as it is a open enviroment and you can hear where the enemy is, but what about if I was playing a darker scary game? Where the ambient noise is very dark and gritty? just by pure thought im assuming open cans make Virtual Sound better?

Id use speakers more, but I am sure quiet and dont like the idea of turning them up as it might bother people :l

Listening in on that video was great, like.... I didnt notice the difference until I clicked the time stamps, wow... I deffinately thought the Virtual had more depth and sound then others, but it was about in line with Doloby audio, so I am not sure as to if it would be a worth upgrade if Dolby.. dolloby... uhh... was cheaper.

I wear glasses, but I dont really find they get in the way, and worse case is im looking at contacts/Lasik anyway, so it wouldent bother me as the ones I have now didnt.

The ModMic seems to be a good addition, and I love the boom mics, so its a win win. Costs 50 bucks though :( but Ill have to give a looksie around, maybe find it on sale or something.

I find they really get in the way of typing, but its always something to consider, maybe I will use it instead. (Blue yeti)

If I go to buy headphones will it say if I need an amp or soundcard to go with it? Or is it something I jsut need to know?

Im thinking I may go with a soundcard, depending on if its hitting double digits on my bank account in percent of my funds :p(A.k.a 10% may be a little much) it sounds like its worth it for the extra audio and features, hopefully :(

P.s. I really like the feature of being able to hear my own voice, like with turtle beaches they have the playback feature, that way I dont end up yelling. Im not sure if thats possible with these headsets though. Do these headsets have fast ways of turning up and down volume? I like being able to adjust on the fly, rather then alt tab out and change and then go back in and see if its fine.

Thank you for your posts, they help an unbelievable amount.




 

ssddx

Glorious
Moderator
you may want to give a listen to some sample tracks played through and recorded from the output on various headphones found at this handy site. it doesnt have all of them and it wont sound exactly the same but it will give you a rough idea how the headphones compare with one another.
http://www.sonicsense.com/resourcecenter/browse/headphones.html

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based on what you have said, it seems like you may be more interested in a neutral sounding headphone (not a v-shape profile since you value mids) or one that leans slightly towards bassy more than treble.

the hd598 remains open for wide soundstage with good mids and highs but has clean punch (but not deep) bass output. it improves a bit with a good soundcard or amp and is relatively inexpensive at $160. the hd558 doesnt quite have the quality or soundstage (its a cheaper model) but it does have a little more bass than the 558.

speaking of expensive options, the hd600 or hd650 also fit into this category of a more neutral set of cans.

if you're willing to give up soundstage and go with a closed set of cans the beyerdynamic dt770 are really quite bassy and very popular with people who love bass but dont want to sacrifice sound quality by going with a full blown basshead headphone. the dt770 still has decent highs and mids though not the precision and detail you will find on some other sets. for a closed set of cans the soundstage is actually pretty decent and they are known to be rather legendary for their comfort. available in 3 models: 32ohm (easy to power), 80ohm (most bass) 250ohm (most quality and detailed sound). the 80 or 250 you may want a good soundcard or amp for to power.

the dt990 i mentioned earlier has good treble and good bass for an open set of cans but is a bit lacking in the mids department. you can improve this a bit with EQ settings or some amps or soundcards improve this as well. they are however not really a flat profile and your mids will always be a bit more recessed than everything else.

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getting dolby headphone is cheap. the xonar dg is available for $27 and features it. the mid-level xonar dx at $80 also features it (though the dg has a more powerful amp than the dx). the creative z $80 has a powerful amp and sbx virtual (formerly known as cmss-3d).

generally yes, open cans may give you an edge with virtual but honestly you dont need to have open cans to enjoy it.

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i know the modmic is pricey however it is certainly worthwhile in terms of quality over the cheaper options (moovmice, zalman clip on, etc). your current mic the blue yeti will however have better quality (its almost 4x the price so it should!). there are not many clip on mics which are as easy to use and as nice as the modmic in terms of what it offers.. so there are not many choices.

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the headphone packaging or site may not say it needs an amp, this is just something you need to know.

generally it helps to look at the ohm rating which can give you a good idea (generally headphones under 40ohm are fine, under 50ohm is typically fine) but perhaps more important is the sensitivity (less sensitive headphones are harder to drive) but this is perhaps not as easy to understand. if you are not sure just type in your headphone name and "does it need an amp" afterwards and you will find some answers. head-fi is a great source to look at for headphone information of such a nature.

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yes, you can hear your own voice. i'll quote someone elses post on this as they answered it perfectly:

"It is done buy right clicking on the speaker Icon for windows the selecting recording devices then right clicking the microphone in use and selecting properties. now select listen tab and check the listen to this device box and apply. now you can hear the recording device.

EDIT: this works even with a sound card installed. I have one too. many things are still controled through windows even if you have a sound card."

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.... unrelated to your question, but perhaps you are wondering what i myself use when i'm not gaming with my hifi speaker set (link in signature if you click "build" if you care).

i have a pair of ath-m50s which are not expensive ($100-120 though i paid retail $170 quite a few years ago). they are bassy (like the dt770 which is actually better sounding than what i have) with overall good sound quality and decent highs (but recessed mids in the "fun" v-shape profile) and one of the smallest soundstages you will find in hifi headphones, even for closed cans.

i can certainly notice that all sounds appear to be close and while i can tell distance by volume they are not very airy. however, this does not bother me since i wanted a bassy pair of cans with isolation (they get used in public places and i listen to rock, metal, electronica jpop/kpop and bassy music). in fact i sort of like how up-front they are and the fact that they are generally warmer sounding, not harsh like some cans are (warm = treble toned down a bit).

while i do not game on them much, when i have honestly i did notice how small the soundstage was but i really did not have a problem with it. though i am sure some others will find the soundstage unbearable (those people are better suited for open cans) its quite possible to game on closed cans.

the dt770 is in every way better than what i use with a wider soundstage, crisper sound and better quality with larger earpads for more comfortable use. likely what i'll be thinking about (if i dont just skip into even higher end cans) if i ever upgraded or my cans ever broke (though they are 4 years old now and still look brand new except the pads... they are built like tanks).

note: i'm not recommending the m50s for your purpose, just giving you my opinion on what i personally use and that you can certainly game on closed cans not just open.
 

Killerdoom14

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just a quick question before I answer all (Which may be tomorrow) The DT 770 PRO, the 880 PRO and the 980 PRO are all roughly the same price, is there a difference? Or just in one being open and the others semi and closed? Also, are more OHMS less money?

 

ssddx

Glorious
Moderator
dt770. pro available in 32, 250, 600ohm.
closed design. fairly bassy. v-shape sound profile.

dt880. pro only available in 250ohm. premium available in 32, 250, 600ohm.
semi-open design. fairly neutral / flat

dt990. pro only available in 250ohm. premium available in 32, 250, 600ohm.
open design. v-shape sound profile. widest soundstage.

perhaps best described by http://www.head-fi.org/t/513393/guide-sonic-differences-between-dt770-dt990-models-more

i believe that all of them (at the very least the 990 and 880) are based on the same design and drivers with a few minor design differences which give them the different properties.

the "premium" versions are basically just overpriced and give you more options on resistance (ohm) and a more aesthetically pleasing look. otherwise, you arent getting much for the extra cash. they do sound a bit less bassy and more airy than the pro but unless you have tons of cash floating around arent worth the money over the pro.

the dt770 should be below $200 (often about $170ish) though on amazon prices seem to be jacked up lately. no idea why but you should still be able to find them somewhere for a decent price. the 880 and 990 are always up around 200 though it looks like the 990s are cheaper right now. the premiums are always expensive.

now that i think about it, if you're looking for a neutral sound profile the 880 may fit as well. you can add that to what i said in the above post.

 

Killerdoom14

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Hey, just an update as to why ive taken a while to respond. I am trying my best to keep my eyes on this information but I have a few IRL things right now, trying to get ice shacks off the ice before they melt through XD Sorry if you think me not replying was disrespectful.

 

Killerdoom14

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Okay, Ive done some reaserch and ive found I think I may want the 990's, with that being said (If you still are able to answer questions considering ive not replied in a while) What would I need with it? If I was to get it, what amp/Dac? Would you recommend and also, how much are these normally? You mentioned the 770's should be 170 roughly, is this in canada or us funds? What would the 990's be priced at, as I see a website is offering as low as 299 but thats Canadian (roughly 240 american I suppose) and I havent really looked for pricing all that much.

also p.s., What is the status on a open ear set of cans being used with a mic? Would there be sound leakage into the mic?

 

ssddx

Glorious
Moderator
http://www.amazon.com/Beyerdynamic-DT-990-Pro-250-Professional-Acoustically-Applications/dp/B0011UB9CQ/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1431700061&sr=8-1&keywords=dt990pro

$199us

despite being connected to us, canada gets screwed on pricing. import from usa might be cheaper possibly depending on import fees.

you can somewhat power the 990's from a higher end soundcard or cheaper external amp (at lower volume levels) though to get the most out of them i'd recommend the schiit magni amp ($120) if you want virtual surround i'd then either use your onboard soundcard (if it supports virtual), razer's virtual surround software ($free), or a soundcard like the xonar dg ($26) which supports it.

if you want virtual surround you might be able to get away with just the xonar dg paired with a fiio e10k ($76+$26). you might not be able to blare them at eardrum bursting volume but they should be able to power them fine. again, a better choice would be the schiit magni if you wanted more power but this solution would likely work for you.

unless you are blaring sound out of your headphones, a mic shouldnt be an issue. many users use the ad700x/ad900x and dt990 paired up with products like the modmic and have no issues with noise pickup. having noise-cancelling or a cardioid pickup pattern is certainly suggested. the modmic is generally the go-to product for adding a mic to headphones though you do have some other options.

this is one guys test with speakers being used at loud volume levels stress testing the cancellation properties of the modmic3 (modmic 4 is current) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D2hjjfW-dQ4 as you can see even with speakers it performs admirably. i dont think with open headphones you would be getting ambient noise even at his low speaker volume test.
 

Killerdoom14

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<edited>, you did reply... But it said nothing in my feed or emails. GAHH.

Ya, we get <edited> hard. The current dollar is a little low so even importing it may be more expensive, but granted if I imported it and it broke wouldent it be difficult to adjust the warranty or return it?

My biggest fear of this, is just spending all the money and being unhappy with something. its a risk I must take but I wish It wasent so risky. The possible sound leak into the mic worries me to no end as nothings worse then "Those folk". But ehh, I guess we will cross that bridge and see about it. 15% restocking fee would kick me right in the ass.

How do you get a cardioid pickup on the modmic? I know they have noise canceling.

So your saying I should be getting the DT990s, Schiit Magni Amp, and the mod mic? No sound card?

P.s. I thought about the mod mic cable and if it would be an issue, but if I got the coiled cable Im assuming I could just threat it through and it would be mostly fine. Right now my headphones have the worst cable twisting, the DT990's dont get that over time?

p.p.s. It seems as though the schiit magni amp is not available in Canada, I havent found anything yet but am still scouring.

....mod edit: please watch the language. thanks.






 

ssddx

Glorious
Moderator
there is nothing i can do about local currency and prices, other than you listing what *is* available in your canada at decent prices. given that canada borders us, i would imagine importing shouldnt be crazy.

also there is nothing i can do about "but i dont like it so get charged a restocking fee" as i can only describe how a few headphones sound but everyones ears and preferences are different so what others like you may not and vice versa. if you have local hifi shops or places to listen to headphones i always suggest doing that if at all possible.

a soundcard *is* generally better than onboard, the xonar dx would be perfect. however, i'm not sure how thats going to come out with budget. you might be able to fit it in if you go with a cheaper amp like the e09k or e10k but they wont quite have the power of the more expensive amps.

some of the modmic designs were cardioid, some are omni with noise cancelling. generally any of them are good though.

actually the o2 amp is a little better for the dt990 since they warm them up a bit and make them a bit bright (but its more expensive than the magni). for a bit cheaper the fiio amps can be used as well such as the e09k, e10k and also have the habit of warming up sound a bit. the magni doesnt warm up sound but its a powerful amp for the good price so is well liked.

i'd go with a standard cable for the modmic and standard cable on headphones then sleeve the two with cable sleeving.

 
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