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Best audio setup?

Skeletor_118
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Alright so I've learned that for the best sound quality, it's best to get headphones without a built-in microphone, and then a separate, standalone mic. However, I don't know what headphones to get. Currently, I'm using a Razer Man O' War headset with a built-in mic, and I do use Razer Surround Pro because it makes everything much clearer and makes it easier to differentiate sounds, not just in games.

For a new sound setup, I'm looking at most likely getting a ModMic, as I do have limited space, as well as a desk that's less of a desk, and more just a foldable table stuck in the corner. But I'm not sure what headphones to get. I want over-ear headphones, and while I'm looking at some headphones that seem amazing (like the Massdrop Sennheiser 6XX), they have an open back, which I'm afraid will limit my immersion and isolation within whatever I'm doing. I personally like to be kind of isolated and able to focus solely on whatever game or video I got running. I've also looked and found Sennheiser's HD 300 Pro and HD 569. I'm not really one that knows the differences very well between headphones, so I was wondering if anyone here might be able to help me there. Out of the ones I've found, would there be one you guys would recommend the most for me? Or is there another pair of headphones? If possible, I'd like to stay under about $200 with what I'm looking for, as I still would have to get the microphone.

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Would you mind elaborating on your situation in regards to open-back headphones. I'm assuming you want a closed-back headphones because your environment is noisy.

I personally believe games are more generally more immersive with open-back headphones, because they tend to have wider soundstages and more accurate imaging.

 

I few good closed-back headphones you may want to consider:

 

- Audio Technica M40X  (In my opinion, these are better than the M50x's, in terms of its sound quality and signature.)

- Sennheiser HD598CS (I actually own a pair of these, but am loaning them to a friend who is on a trip to vietnam at the moment. I got them brand new for only $120 off craigslist, and my first impressions were positive.

- Shure SRH-840 (I've used these in the past, they're quite good closed back headphones, but the build has been known to have issues with cracking, so be warry.

- Audio Technica A700x (I've never tried these before, but I've read positive things about them, you may want to see if you like them.)

 

Although, one of my personal favourites are the Beyerdynamic DT770 Pro's.

 

I own these and I still use them occasionally, which really is a compliment.

 

They have a v-shape type sound signature, basically their lows and highs are bit more forward and emphasized than the mids are. This really comes down to personal taste and the genres of music you listen to. BUT, these don't slouch when it comes to mids either, they aren't as recessed as some may say they are. The bass is extension is quite fantastic for the price range. I don't find the highs/treble to be fatiguing, but mileage varies, as I'm personally not too sensitive to brighter sound signatures

 

The comfort department is top notch, they will definitely feel better than your Razer's. They may be a bit tight at first though, as the clamping force is quite strong new. It makes up for it with the nice pleather headband, and very very comfortable velour pads.

 

You won't have issues with build quality, german tanks tbh, just doesn't have a detachable cable sadly.

 

Oh, and I can't forget to mention that they have an impressive soundstage for a closed back headphone.

 

It's very difficult to find closed back headphones in the $200 price range, that are comfortable, with solid bass and have a good soundstage all together.

 

If you need me to elaborate on anything I've said, feel free to ask man.

 

 

 

 

 
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6 hours ago, BoltActionWaffle said:

Would you mind elaborating on your situation in regards to open-back headphones. I'm assuming you want a closed-back headphones because your environment is noisy.

I personally believe games are more generally more immersive with open-back headphones, because they tend to have wider soundstages and more accurate imaging.

 

I few good closed-back headphones you may want to consider:

 

- Audio Technica M40X  (In my opinion, these are better than the M50x's, in terms of its sound quality and signature.)

- Sennheiser HD598CS (I actually own a pair of these, but am loaning them to a friend who is on a trip to vietnam at the moment. I got them brand new for only $120 off craigslist, and my first impressions were positive.

- Shure SRH-840 (I've used these in the past, they're quite good closed back headphones, but the build has been known to have issues with cracking, so be warry.

- Audio Technica A700x (I've never tried these before, but I've read positive things about them, you may want to see if you like them.)

 

Although, one of my personal favourites are the Beyerdynamic DT770 Pro's.

  

I own these and I still use them occasionally, which really is a compliment.

 

They have a v-shape type sound signature, basically their lows and highs are bit more forward and emphasized than the mids are. This really comes down to personal taste and the genres of music you listen to. BUT, these don't slouch when it comes to mids either, they aren't as recessed as some may say they are. The bass is extension is quite fantastic for the price range. I don't find the highs/treble to be fatiguing, but mileage varies, as I'm personally not too sensitive to brighter sound signatures

 

The comfort department is top notch, they will definitely feel better than your Razer's. They may be a bit tight at first though, as the clamping force is quite strong new. It makes up for it with the nice pleather headband, and very very comfortable velour pads.

 

You won't have issues with build quality, german tanks tbh, just doesn't have a detachable cable sadly.

 

Oh, and I can't forget to mention that they have an impressive soundstage for a closed back headphone.

 

It's very difficult to find closed back headphones in the $200 price range, that are comfortable, with solid bass and have a good soundstage all together.

 

If you need me to elaborate on anything I've said, feel free to ask man.

 

 

 

What I was talking about with my hesitation with open-back headphones isn't as much about a noisy environment, but more so that I just like to be kind of isolated. But I guess it doesn't really matter too much. I've never used open-back before, so I was more just wary of it because it's something I've never encountered before. But if you say that games are more immersive with them, I won't doubt you, you definitely seem to know what you're talking about.

 

With all that you're talking about with sound signatures and stages, I'm kind of lost, to be honest. I've never really researched anything about it, and I wouldn't know what to listen for to notice either property.

 

Comfort is definitely a factor, as I tend to be at my computer wearing my headphones for several hours at a time. I also have glasses, so softer pads would definitely be nice so the frame isn't pressed into my head. I can understand breaking in a pair of headphones, though, so I'm not worried about that.

 

If you could possibly explain what soundstages and sound signatures are, I think I could understand what you were talking about much better. 

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soundstage is referring to the perceived environment that the sound seems to exist within. A wide/large sound stage will sound like you are really in that environment, rather than just noises. It's a much more immersive experience.

 

If you're wanting to try out a great setup without going crazy with audiophile gear, I would suggest picking up the AKG K7XX headphones on Massdrop and see if your motherboard audio can handle them well. If they sound weak or not awesome you can pick up decent DAC/amp combo units that connect via USB and are fine for pushing those headphones for about $75 to $100 (I can only recommend a Schiit Fulla 2 from experience).

HEDT: i9 10980XE @ 4.9 gHz, 64GB @ 3600mHz CL14 G.Skill Trident-Z DDR4, 2x Nvidia Titan RTX NVLink SLI, Corsair AX1600i, Samsung 960 Pro 2TB OS/apps, Samsung 850 EVO 4TB media, LG 38GL950G-B monitor, Drop CTRL keyboard, Decus Respec mouse

Laptop: Razer Blade Pro 2019 9750H model, 32GB @ 3200mHz CL18 G.Skill Ripjaws DDR4, 2x Samsung 960 Pro 1TB RAID0, repasted with Thermal Grizzly Kryonaut
Gaming Rig: i9 9900ks @ 5.2ghz, 32GB @ 4000mHz CL17 G.Skill Trident-Z DDR4, EVGA RTX 2080 Ti Kingpin, Corsair HX1200, Samsung 970 EVO Plus 2TB, Asus PG348Q monitor, Corsair K70 LUX RGB keyboard, Corsair Ironclaw mouse
HTPC: i7 7700 (delidded + LM), 16GB @ 2666mHz CL15 Corsair Vengeance LPX DDR4, MSI Geforce GTX 1070 Gaming X, Corsair SFX 600, Samsung 850 Pro 512gb, Samsung Q55R TV, Filco Majestouch Convertible 2 TKL keyboard, Logitech G403 wireless mouse

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1 hour ago, Skeletor_118 said:

What I was talking about with my hesitation with open-back headphones isn't as much about a noisy environment, but more so that I just like to be kind of isolated. But I guess it doesn't really matter too much. I've never used open-back before, so I was more just wary of it because it's something I've never encountered before. But if you say that games are more immersive with them, I won't doubt you, you definitely seem to know what you're talking about.

 

With all that you're talking about with sound signatures and stages, I'm kind of lost, to be honest. I've never really researched anything about it, and I wouldn't know what to listen for to notice either property.

 

Comfort is definitely a factor, as I tend to be at my computer wearing my headphones for several hours at a time. I also have glasses, so softer pads would definitely be nice so the frame isn't pressed into my head. I can understand breaking in a pair of headphones, though, so I'm not worried about that.

 

If you could possibly explain what soundstages and sound signatures are, I think I could understand what you were talking about much better. 

I actually forgot to ask your location. I was mentioning headphones for a $200 Canadian budget. Only now realizing you mentioned the HD6xx, which are obviously more than $200 CAD.

 

You'd have a few more closed back options in the $200 USD price range, but I still stand by my 770 pro (80ohm version) recommendation.

 

It's difficult to really explain soundstage to someone new without comparing headphones in person, although @Kalm_Traveler1 describes it well. It gets complex, as it is subjective and lacks quantifiable graphs to actually show its performance.

 

Let's say you're playing Battlefield V, which has really good sound design, a headphone with a smaller soundstage will sound close to your ears, without much separation in distance of sound; It creates a claustrophobic sound. Headphones with wider soundstages have better separation and will sound "larger", better simulating an experience of being your character's shoes. It will basically sound less like you're wearing headphones, with all of the sounds coming from those two drivers right next to your ears. Headphones, in general, have a limitation on how well they can produce soundstage compared to speakers, but most Open-backs will outshine closed-backs, such as your Razer's.

 

Sound Signature is just how people describe the headphone's flavor of sound. For example, your Razer headset is most likely possesses a bass-heavy sound signature, which tends to bleed into mids and make it sound muddy or "underwater/congested".

 

Bass/Lows - These are basically your lower frequency sounds, think of sub-bass which is what makes your ears rumble or the lower frequencies of a kick drum.

 

Mids - A lot of instruments and sounds fit within this large range. Both Male and female vocals, guitar, piano etc etc.

 

Treble/Highs - These are high frequency sounds like a high hat on a drum, or the "SSSS" sounds from speaking 

 

In the case that you'd consider open back headphones, there are a lot of options in the $200 price range. 

 

- Sennheiser HD6XX aka HD650 (These are just a rebranded pair of HD650's, which are fantastic. I own a pair of HD650's, they excel with mid-range, which makes vocals really shine for when I'm listening to ballads for example. Treble is competent, avoids being sharp or piercing, and the Bass has a nice texture and sounds quite controlled. It's a relatively warm leaning sound. Soundstage isn't super wide, but it's definitely sufficient and natural. These are also very very comfortable headphones, more so than the DT770's i've talked about before. Since they're open-back, the design doesn't cater to isolation, allowing for the choice of earpad material to be much more breathable. Be aware, they can be a bit harder to drive/power than some others headphones, ie. you may need an amp depending on your motherboard.

 

- AKG K7XX aka K702 (I don't have too much experience with these headphones, but many people love these headphones. I've read that they have a very wide soundstage, wider than the HD650's, and it has a bit of a vshaped sound signature, with some recessed mids that sound a bit distant.

 

- HiFiMan HE-4XX or HE400i (I own the HE400i's, which I believe shares the same characteristics as the HE-4XX. I've heard that the 4XX's are a pair of 400i's with better comfort and build quality. These are planar-magnetic headphones, which is just a different technology used to produce sound. This allows them to have very nice and extended bass. These also have a wider soundstage than the HD6XX's. Mid-range is good, but there is less detail and aren't as forward as the 6XX's.

 

There are other great options as well, but massdrop has really lowered the price points on these previously mid-range $400 headphones making them a great value.

 

Hope I didn't just confuse you more!

 

 

 

 

 

 
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28 minutes ago, BoltActionWaffle said:

 

 

- Sennheiser HD6XX aka HD650 (These are just a rebranded pair of HD650's, which are fantastic. I own a pair of HD650's, they excel with mid-range, which makes vocals really shine for when I'm listening to ballads for example. Treble is competent, avoids being sharp or piercing, and the Bass has a nice texture and sounds quite controlled. It's a relatively warm leaning sound. Soundstage isn't super wide, but it's definitely sufficient and natural. These are also very very comfortable headphones, more so than the DT770's i've talked about before. Since they're open-back, the design doesn't cater to isolation, allowing for the choice of earpad material to be much more breathable. Be aware, they can be a bit harder to drive/power than some others headphones, ie. you may need an amp depending on your motherboard.

 

- AKG K7XX aka K702 (I don't have too much experience with these headphones, but many people love these headphones. I've read that they have a very wide soundstage, wider than the HD650's, and it has a bit of a vshaped sound signature, with some recessed mids that sound a bit distant.

 

 

 

 

 

I agree with your statements on these as an owner of both the AKG K7XX and Sennheiser HD6XX (purchased in that order).

 

The Sennheiser's are great all around and I actually prefer them for music over the AKG's, but it's very obvious swapping between them that the AKG's have a wider soundstage which makes them more ideal for gaming.

 

I ended up going crazy and importing an Oppo HA-1 DAC/amp and their PM-1 headphones as my music-only setup but to be totally honest the $200 headphones with a $100-200 dac/amp setup are really the sweet spot for quality VS price.

HEDT: i9 10980XE @ 4.9 gHz, 64GB @ 3600mHz CL14 G.Skill Trident-Z DDR4, 2x Nvidia Titan RTX NVLink SLI, Corsair AX1600i, Samsung 960 Pro 2TB OS/apps, Samsung 850 EVO 4TB media, LG 38GL950G-B monitor, Drop CTRL keyboard, Decus Respec mouse

Laptop: Razer Blade Pro 2019 9750H model, 32GB @ 3200mHz CL18 G.Skill Ripjaws DDR4, 2x Samsung 960 Pro 1TB RAID0, repasted with Thermal Grizzly Kryonaut
Gaming Rig: i9 9900ks @ 5.2ghz, 32GB @ 4000mHz CL17 G.Skill Trident-Z DDR4, EVGA RTX 2080 Ti Kingpin, Corsair HX1200, Samsung 970 EVO Plus 2TB, Asus PG348Q monitor, Corsair K70 LUX RGB keyboard, Corsair Ironclaw mouse
HTPC: i7 7700 (delidded + LM), 16GB @ 2666mHz CL15 Corsair Vengeance LPX DDR4, MSI Geforce GTX 1070 Gaming X, Corsair SFX 600, Samsung 850 Pro 512gb, Samsung Q55R TV, Filco Majestouch Convertible 2 TKL keyboard, Logitech G403 wireless mouse

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