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THX Panda vs Audeze Mobius or HyperX Cloud Orbit & Others

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Posted · Original PosterOP

I've been looking at getting new headphones for a while. Have been rocking Audio Technica ATH-M50 cans since 2011 and the headband has degraded to the point where every wear leaves black flakes all over the place. To top it off, they do not sound great by comparison anymore. It's amazing what 9 years and a budget change can do for your appreciation for more expensive headphones.

My needs are really 2 fold:

1) I want to use my headphones for listening at home and gaming. Of those two, it is mostly gaming that I will be doing with these when at home.

2) It would be nice to also be able to use these on a plane wirelessly and to potentially game wirelessly. I fly probably once a month and spend that time watching high quality programming like Doctor Police on netflix on my ancient tablet, but for now the M50 is suitable enough to just always pack on a plane.

I have tried these headphones out both with a selection of different music styles and in game:
HiFiMan  HE-400i
Beyerdynamic Custom One Pro Plus
Beyerdynamic DT 990 Pro (250Ohm)
Audio-Technica ATH-AD700X
Audio-Technica ATH-M50 (2011)
Philips SHP500
Philips Audio Fidelio X2HR
Audeze LCD-3 Fazor (lol, like this is a real option)
Bose QuietComfort 35 II
Sennheiser HD 58X Jubilee (arrives today)

Of those the LCD-3 Fazor is the best, fullest, and clearest headphone with an incredibly airy sound-stage when needed without lacking in the mids... as it should be coming in around $2500.00 but I am not going to spend that much on a set and was just borrowing from a friend to see what the top end can sound like.

I have narrowed down the others to the Philips Fidelio X2HR and the HiFiMan HE-400i right now. Both have excellent sound stages. The Fiedlio has a bit more low-mid range sound and slightly louder bass while the 400i  sounds maybe even a bit more open and detailed. Both are very similarly priced and I will probably be happy with either longer term.

I do have a Sennheiser+Drop HD 58x Jubilee arriving today for another comparison and form what I have read, this might be a great combination of the two i have narrowed it down to... but this leads me to the title of this post.

The LTT Review of the Panda makes it look incredible. Wireless Bluetooth 5, so very low latency is possible making gaming wirelessly a real possibility, Planar Magnetic drivers and a flat amp potentially leading to a closer-to-open-back sound from a closed can headphone. Combined with my Modmic Wireless, this option might check all of the boxes. 
Wireless Gaming - Low latency makes this possible
Plane usage - Closed back makes this possible
High detail and quality - the review makes this seem like a reality - (i disliked the pressure feeling from the QC25II, and the lag in those cans was significant enough that gaming wasn't really an option, but they sounded okay..)

Another contender is the Audeze Mobius a.k.a. HyperX Cloud Orbit (Cloud orbit doesn't have the wireless connectivity of the Mobius, but the drivers are the exact same). Mobius is obviously designed for gaming and supports Bluetooth 4.2 codecs that could be nearly lag free enough to game wirelessly with, also has planar magnetic drivers, and is made by a well known headphone company. (in)Conveniently none of these are available nearby to test 

Has anybody tried the Mobius or Cloud Orbit? Used the Mobius to game wirelessly? Compared either to any of the above headphones?

Can anybody from LTT chime in and offer a comparison of the Panda to the Mobius or Cloud Orbit? Or speak to any perceptible latency between a PC and the headset when gaming? Or compare them to an open set of headphones?

I am really trying to figure out if 1, the panda would work for gaming,  2), if it sounds as good as or better than any of those listed above, and 3) if there is enough of a difference in quality and latency compared to the Mobius that waiting would make sense.

Thanks for looking! I can also leave my reviews of the other headphones listed above as a response to this thread if requested.

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Posted · Original PosterOP

Might as well pop in some short reviews of the others while I am thinking about them. Obviously these reviews are all opinions and will vary based on users as all headphones will because nobody's ears are the same.

HiFiMan  HE-400i - Currently tied for first with the Fidelio X2HR, these cans sound incredible. Very detailed sounding and in game, the positioning is spot on. I found myself looking exactly where the sound came from when playing, moreso than really any other set on here save the super expensive LCD-3s which are not an option. Very clear, but sometimes lacking a deeper bass hit when there are explosions or something really meant to rumble. The cabling is short, but removable so it can be replaced. Also, these require a plug to each can, so while they sound nice, removing them with a single hand is cumbersome and not really an option

Beyerdynamic Custom One Pro Plus - Sound better than the M50 and the SHP500 below, but the top end was really lacking. The bass adjustment slider is nice, but really only have 2 of the 4 positions available that provide a good balance to your sound. Not as muffled sounding as the M50 or as boring as the HSP500, but for the price, not nearly as good as they should sound. As a bonus they come with a variety of custom ear cup covers so you can change your look to any one of maybe 100 total combinations. Davie504 doesn't sound any better or worse with these headphones on.

Beyerdynamic DT 990 Pro (250Ohm) - For me, I found they had a peak in the highs that was ear piercing and painful. Everything from cymbal hits to even just switching and reloading a weapon had a very high clicking sound that was unbearable. I know these are popular among youtube gamers, and outside of that ear piercing high they sounded pretty amazing. But I do not want to damage my own hearing and be in actual pain when gaming just to feel like a pro-tuber.

Audio-Technica ATH-AD700X - A ridiculous headband system makes these strange to wear. The band that goes across your head (same on the AD900X and other open can sets) is not connected to the band on the other side, so it is completely reliant on the spring pressure on that side. I found myself constantly feeling like these were going to fall off my head. They were always drooping down and had to be re-adjusted. They sounded ok, but a bit tinny and lacking on the low end beyond what I was expecting even from open cans. Being unable to comfortably wear these, though, meant they were passed on immediately.

Audio-Technica ATH-M50 (2011) - A great set of headphones for a budget. These have lasted me a good long while. The carrying case that comes with them is nice but barely fits the cans when folded appropriately. The included cable is super long and not phone or tablet case friendly, so a short extension is necessary unless you want to remove a corner of your case to plug in (irrelevant if you have to connect through a USB/DataPort dongle) Really heavy bass and fairly muffled sounding on most things compared to the rest on this list, but hard to go wrong with most music. Better than most wired beats of skullcandy that I have tried in the past. Flat exterior earcups makes attaching the Modmic Wireless a breeze. Headband leatherette cover wears out after a while, far earlier than the earpads do.

Philips SHP500 - Sound better than the ATH-M50 set, but only just. Still a bit of a muffled sound coming out of these. Removeable cable is nice (and available with the ATH-M50x if you like that sound better)

Philips Audio Fidelio X2HR - Right off the bat, I did not think these would sound as good as they do. The price is pretty good, and about what I paid for my ATH-M50 9 years ago, but the sound and sound stage are incredible. These are just dynamic drivers, but they still sound relatively neutral across the board, maintaining a realistic sound with their open backs helping me locate where most sounds are coming from. Right now in my decision making process, these are in a dead heat with the HiFiMan HE-400i cans. The set is comfortable, but the way they adjust to fit is just with a tension band stretching from can to can under the large looping frame above my head. The pro in this is I never have to actually re-adjust the cans because someone else used them, but the con is that these feel like they could wear out sooner rather than later as this band gets fatigued over hours of being partially stretched. Claming pressure is good, bordering on the 'maybe a bit too much' side of things. Single sided headphone wire that is removable is a huge plus. Enough exterior surface area to mount the ModMic pro without turning one can into a closed can. High quality look and feel of the materials helps to make this feel like a premium product. I was truly shocked at how nice these sound. Bass is a bit fuller than the HE-400i, and the high-mids are a bit more lacking, so it will come down to individual taste here.

Audeze LCD-3 Fazor (lol, like this is a real option) - Incredible full, flat sound from even hard hitting bass to warm mids and clear, detailed, and sometimes airy sound. These cans set the bar for what is possible from headphones. Their price is about 10x+ what any of the rest of these cost so casual listeners need not apply (myself included). Shockingly, these can be driven well enough from even a Dualshock 4 to make gaming anywhere a possibility. They are pretty heavy, though I could still last over a couple hours wearing these things before my neck would need a break. If you have the budget and don't need the extra $2500 for a 2080 Ti, AMD Ryzen 3950X w/ Motherboard, and 32 Gigs of RAM, I would totally suggest these. 😐

Bose QuietComfort 35 II - Uncomfortable high pressure feeling when ANC is on, sounds good otherwise, but the pressure feeling is to jarring for me to really listen to it more than a few minutes.


Quick other notes:
Best Cable (PC) - Beyerdynamic Custom One Plus - Nonbraided, easy to tame, long enough, but not excessive, mobile case friendly plugs
Best Cable (Controller) - HiFiMan HE 400i - Short enough to not get tangled anywhere.
Worst Cable - Beyerdynamic DT 990 Pro - Too heavy as a coiled cable, always pulling unless you are close enough to not need any extension on the coil, non-removable so could easily break and ruin your headphones.
Most comfortable - Beyerdynamic DT 990 Pro - soft large earcups fit really nicely and a comfortable adjusting band takes a lot of the pressure off of other places on your head 
Least Comfortable - Philips SHP500 - Earcups were not deep enough to fit my ears without smashing them against the speaker. Didn't fit well with glasses for me either.

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Posted · Original PosterOP

2nd  Update:

My Sennheiser HD 58x arrived and I was able to check out an Audeze Mobius, here are my impressions:

Audeze Mobius - I expected more from a company that makes thousand dollar headphones as far as the sound goes. They are closed back and they sound closed back. Have about the same soundstage as the other closed back sets I tried. Positional audio was mildly better, but overall, probably not worth the pricetag. They are planars, so the sound is accurate, and the closed back gives it a fuller sound, but i was expecting more response from the top end and it just wasn't really there. Both the Philips Fidelio and Sennheiser HD 58x are comparable in sound quality but both of those are better at positioning sound and have better top end sound as well, imo. Frequency charts show these to be mildly worse than the Mobius, but I could not get the EQ set to where this was true.

Speaking of EQ, there are 24 different listening combinations. You get 2 Channel, 2 Channel HiFi, and 7.1 Surround settings as well as different EQs that you can set to Default, Flat, Warm, RPG, Racing, Music, Ballistics, and Foot Steps. 24 total different combinations to find one that works well with your application. Good luck cycling through all of them before giving up. I found default and flat to give me the best sound and RPG did help give it that open feeling, but cut out a lot of the midrange. Sure you can make adjustments manually to an EQ as well.  When you plug in an AUX cable like you are gaming on a PS4 or XBox, you get stuck on 2 Channel audio mode, and can only change the EQ.

Speaking of gaming on console, the mic quality is terrible and has a buzz that cannot be eliminated. There is side tone, and that works really well. I had to adjust the mic volume nearly all the way down in the PS4 menu to make the volume i was speaking at bearable for my teammates, but nothing i could do would get rid of the constant buzzing on the other end for all players. It was constantly intermittent, that is, it buzzed 90% of the time, stopping every minute or so for a few seconds. All of these time intervals were random and unpredictable. I even had someone tell me that if I decided to stick with this headset, that they would stop playing games with me. On PC you can drop the MIC gain in the control panel to fix this, but not an option on PS4.

Finally, the comfort of this was not great. The top band sat squarely opn the crown of my head giving me a small area to support the heft of this model. The light density memory foam was no match for it's own weight so this got uncomfortable fast. I am bald, so you might not have this issue at all.

Overall, not worth the price at all, imo. You would be better off adding a Boom Pro, or Modmic to the Bose or Sony noise canceling headphones if you want high quality wireless sound.

Sennheiser HD 58X - This sounded incredible out of the box. Comparable in sound to the Philips Fidelio X2HR. More midrange emphasis than the Fidelio, but the difference is slight. Fidelio has slightly more bass and sub-bass present when listening. The openness of the 58X is less than that of the Fidelio, which i was a bit surprised by. It still sounds good and open. The slightly less openness made the soundstage a bit smaller and positioning was maybe a little worse in the few games I tried, but testing continues.

I am currently torn between the Fidelio and the 58X. So similar in many ways, different in others. It might come down to something as simple as the convenience of using a standard cable connection to one ear as opposed to cables to each ear cup with proprietary connections. 

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