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Best Dac Amp for FPS Gaming with HD 800s

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#1
I hope you are doing well. As the title suggests, I want your thoughts about an audiophile end game dac amp combo specifically for FPS gaming and ocationally for vocal music. I already own Sennheiser HD 660s paired with mayflower arc mk2 and I am determined in buying HD 800s as I have heard from numerous sources that it is an end game headphones for gaming. For the dac amp combo, I have a few suggestions based on some reading. I would like your opinions on these as well.
1) Monolith by monoprice aaaTHX 788
2) RME ADI 2 pro
3) 1 and 2 combo
4) massdrop 789 aaa paired with rme
Also, I want this combo to be useful for live streaming as well with mic inputs or having the abilities to plug mic mixers in it. Your contribution is highly appreciated. Thank you.
 

Hipper

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#2
I have HD800 for music listening only.

One thing you should note is that it does not grip your head as tightly as some headphones so if in gaming you do a lot of head turning it may come loose. I therefore highly recommend trying them before buying.

They are it should be said very comfortable and the ear pieces are larger then average and even cover my big ears so your outer ears are not distorted in shape.

I can't comment on DACs and amps - I use a T&A DAC 8 and Headamp GS-X Mk 2 for my PC music set up. The T&A DAC has a headphone jack output but I've no idea how good it is.
 
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#3
I use the HD 800S for that exact use case.

If you have the budget for the RME ADI 2 Pro, I couldn't recommend it high enough. For the HD 800 series, I find that they need eq to really shine and the RME has excellent build in eq. My RME ADI 2 Pro is part of my recording room setup so I don't really use it for gaming. My gaming setup uses the RME ADI 2 DAC and RME Babyface Pro (already had this for portable music recording and has high quality mic pres built in) and it works extremely well. Mics are the Shure SM7B or KSM32 depending on if the game is keyboard or controller based.

A fair warning with the RME ADI 2 Pro you will need a mic pre to power your microphones with this device. Also, like Hipper mentioned the fit of the HD 800(S) is unique so you should try them if at all possible.

Honestly the headphone out in the RME is of very high quality and gets the benefit of the digital volume knob for channel balance so I personally wouldn't see the benefit in a seperate amp for the HD 800(S). Further sound refinements can be achieved well through eq. In addition, the RME ADI 2 Pro is a studio grade piece of gear and if recording quality is of great concern few pieces of gear will match it.

All that being said, this is heavy overkill for a gaming setup and you might be just as happy with the Monolith, RME ADI 2 DAC or similar with a separate interface for the mics.

Sorry for the longwinded post, hope this helps.
 
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Thread Starter #4
I use the HD 800S for that exact use case.

If you have the budget for the RME ADI 2 Pro, I couldn't recommend it high enough. For the HD 800 series, I find that they need eq to really shine and the RME has excellent build in eq. My RME ADI 2 Pro is part of my recording room setup so I don't really use it for gaming. My gaming setup uses the RME ADI 2 DAC and RME Babyface Pro (already had this for portable music recording and has high quality mic pres built in) and it works extremely well. Mics are the Shure SM7B or KSM32 depending on if the game is keyboard or controller based.

A fair warning with the RME ADI 2 Pro you will need a mic pre to power your microphones with this device. Also, like Hipper mentioned the fit of the HD 800(S) is unique so you should try them if at all possible.

Honestly the headphone out in the RME is of very high quality and gets the benefit of the digital volume knob for channel balance so I personally wouldn't see the benefit in a seperate amp for the HD 800(S). Further sound refinements can be achieved well through eq. In addition, the RME ADI 2 Pro is a studio grade piece of gear and if recording quality is of great concern few pieces of gear will match it.

All that being said, this is heavy overkill for a gaming setup and you might be just as happy with the Monolith, RME ADI 2 DAC or similar with a separate interface for the mics.

Sorry for the longwinded post, hope this helps.
I believe the cost of your recommendation is 2000$. With this amount I can buy adi 2, a scarlet solo for the mic pre and shure SM7B.
The issue is I am already in the overkill territory for the HD 800s for gaming. That is why I want a dac amp that has the power to run them to their best in "gaming", wide soundstage, footsteps, etc and be able to a good quality audio video stream. I think your option would just overkill the overkill:) Thank you for sharing your knowledge.
 

escalibur

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#5
Consider Burson Playmate as well. Very good DAC and very neutral amp as well.
 
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Thread Starter #7

ZolaIII

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#8
At least read the review and some of the comments. DAC is CS43131 & it's rather transparent when volume is a step or a two down. This is not a site based on hippe or boutique fancy empty phrases but rather actual measurements so don't expect me to recommend you something which whosent tested hire. Drivers are what they are (typically Creative) but at least you get long term support and community which you certainly won't get with "audiophile grade" advertisement.
 
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#9
If price is of concern, I would recommend looking at getting a high quality dac/amp or dac and amp separates with an interface. My general budget gaming recommendation for the recording side would be a Focusrite with a Shure SM57 or SM58 and a pop filter. I also highly reccomend the DBX 286s here if budget allows for a higher quality preamp and effects. You more than likely will want a dynamic mic for the background noise rejection. Time tested equipment that can produce strong results with some recording fundamentals and not too hard on the pocketbook. This would open up additional budget for your headphone gear. Almost every professional I know has a SM57/58 in their mic cabinet.

My go to recommendation at a budget is almost always the JDS Labs Atom/Atom Dac. Both are excellent pieces of kit and the service from JDS is top notch. Combine this with some software based eq and you should be able to get a great sound. The Monolith by monoprice would also be a nice option for more money if you are set on the combo unit. Most stuff on Amir's recommended tier will all also be excellent so this part will be flexible. I like over 100 milliwatts into 300 ohms to allow for some eq overhead on the HD800(S)

For overall performance with budget in mind, you will have better luck separating your dac/amp from your interface. Getting stuff piece wise also allows for more convenience swapping gear in the future should you change your mind about any of it.

In summary,
Budget Recommendation
Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 Gen 3
Shure SM57 (or 58) and a pop filter (If you prefer condenser the Rode NT1 is a strong offering for the price)
JDS Atom and Atom DAC(separates) or Monoprice Monilith(combo), or any other high performing kit with 100 milliwatts+ into 300 ohm
Software eq of your choosing a free recommendation would be Equalizer APO with the Peace GUI plugin

Optional but Recommended for Budget
DBX 286s mic pre and processor (has nice preamp, compressor, de-esser, etc)


Higher price Recommendation
RME ADI 2 Pro FS
Shure SM7B (SM57/58 could work here as well to save a few bucks)
DBX 286s mic pre and processor (has nice preamp, compressor, de-esser, etc)

I guess I like to type a lot. Hope this might provide a little clarification and a much more budget friendly option.
 

ZolaIII

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#10
@Maes Hughes when you combine great pure DAC with great headaphone amplifier you get absolutely nothing as you will lose 5~6 dB on wiring. If the amp is to strong you lose even more by dialling volume down. Those can's are fairly efficient (102~103 dB SPL) so i think 60 mW is enough to get out of them all you need. I already told what I find a best fit for use case and those headphones. We may argue that couple of dB would make a difference or not for healthy price difference. Meh the Samson Go Mic is perfectly sufficient enough (with pop filter) for "Gaming" and room response EQ-ing & will work regardless of the rest of the system as it's USB with it's own ADC.
 
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#11
@ZolaIII Sorry about that. I wasn't directing the post against your recommendation I was just clarifying my original recommendation with a more budget friendly option. The Samson Go Mic is a lovely piece of gear for the price and I don't have personal experience with the soundblaster gear so I can't really comment on that. The most I can say is that from the measurements it looks a worthy contender for the price. My recommendation was aimed at my understanding of the original post looking for endgame (for me normally means studio grade gear) dac/amp setups and the ability for mic inputs (was assuming XLR) with external mixer compatibility for live streaming (probably for money) and mentioned gear such as the RME ADI 2 Pro.
 
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ZolaIII

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#12
@Maes Hughes it's OK. Well ADC side of G6 is nothing to write home about and regarding the drivers general OS lv is fine, ASIO and Wasapi will be fine in professional apps but really bad in usual audio/media player's (why? ask Creative, it whose always like that) which is not a big deal as recommendation is to use universal ASIO/Wasapi drivers anyway. Regarding build quality Creative is very good and not bad at all regarding product support. The 106~112 dB (when dield down two steps) is there regarding what you would like to call "end game", basically anything with SINAD of 110 dB or more is. CS43131 is a rather great design, if property implemented it shines. So far G6 is a only solution that I am aware of with serious enough amplifier to drive HD800 (more than sufficient enough including EQ, DSD volume difference, with dialing its volume down so that it returns its max SINAD and cetera) with it, the scaut dedicated mode is definitely a plus for gaming (footsteps and cetera). The DSD playback is limited to DSD128 if that's of any concern. It's a simple portable peace of gear which is more than suitable.

But that's quite enough about G6 and from me in generally. That should have been just my modest recommendation. I don't see equipment by either propaganda materials or price tag attached to it nor ever will.

Best regards.
 
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Thread Starter #13
If price is of concern, I would recommend looking at getting a high quality dac/amp or dac and amp separates with an interface. My general budget gaming recommendation for the recording side would be a Focusrite with a Shure SM57 or SM58 and a pop filter. I also highly reccomend the DBX 286s here if budget allows for a higher quality preamp and effects. You more than likely will want a dynamic mic for the background noise rejection. Time tested equipment that can produce strong results with some recording fundamentals and not too hard on the pocketbook. This would open up additional budget for your headphone gear. Almost every professional I know has a SM57/58 in their mic cabinet.

My go to recommendation at a budget is almost always the JDS Labs Atom/Atom Dac. Both are excellent pieces of kit and the service from JDS is top notch. Combine this with some software based eq and you should be able to get a great sound. The Monolith by monoprice would also be a nice option for more money if you are set on the combo unit. Most stuff on Amir's recommended tier will all also be excellent so this part will be flexible. I like over 100 milliwatts into 300 ohms to allow for some eq overhead on the HD800(S)

For overall performance with budget in mind, you will have better luck separating your dac/amp from your interface. Getting stuff piece wise also allows for more convenience swapping gear in the future should you change your mind about any of it.

In summary,
Budget Recommendation
Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 Gen 3
Shure SM57 (or 58) and a pop filter (If you prefer condenser the Rode NT1 is a strong offering for the price)
JDS Atom and Atom DAC(separates) or Monoprice Monilith(combo), or any other high performing kit with 100 milliwatts+ into 300 ohm
Software eq of your choosing a free recommendation would be Equalizer APO with the Peace GUI plugin

Optional but Recommended for Budget
DBX 286s mic pre and processor (has nice preamp, compressor, de-esser, etc)


Higher price Recommendation
RME ADI 2 Pro FS
Shure SM7B (SM57/58 could work here as well to save a few bucks)
DBX 286s mic pre and processor (has nice preamp, compressor, de-esser, etc)

I guess I like to type a lot. Hope this might provide a little clarification and a much more budget friendly option.
So I should either get DBX or Scatlett? In case of Scarlett, wouldn't solo be a better choice since I will be using it for streaming? Can't I get both the DBX and scarlet?
 
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#14
@Brave91Heart Yes, you would use these units in combination. The Scarlett in this case serves as your ADC and you would use the DBX as both the mic pre and effects controller. The solo would also be a fine unit to save a few bucks, especially if you are going for the DBX as your mic pre. If you are only looking at one it has to be the Scarlett Solo or 2i2 as these serve as the ADC and have built in mic pres. The DBX does not have built in ADC. If you can get both that will yield the best sound quality, the DBX has a much better mic pre than the Focusrite and the effects on the DBX are those commonly used in professional settings for broadcast and voice over work.

Hope that helps.
 
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Thread Starter #15
What is the setup of these two? Should I. Buy expensive cables 200+ to get the best sound?
 
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Thread Starter #16
Does RME ADI 2 have balanced inputs? Should I use HD 800s with balanced cables? Which balanced amp would you recommend for HD 800s? The recommendations should be based on gaming.
 

Racheski

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#17
What is the setup of these two? Should I. Buy expensive cables 200+ to get the best sound?
No don’t buy into that audiofoolery. Nobody in their right mind on ASR is going to recommend buying expensive cables for DAC/Amp PC set up. Figure out the gear first and then we can help with the cables.
 

Racheski

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#18
Does RME ADI 2 have balanced inputs? Should I use HD 800s with balanced cables? Which balanced amp would you recommend for HD 800s? The recommendations should be based on gaming.
I think you are asking If the RME has balanced headphone outputs, right? The Pro sort of does with some adapters, but the DAC version does not. I wouldn’t worry about balanced outputs, worry about whether the amp can produce enough power to drive your HD800s.
 
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Thread Starter #19
I think you are asking If the RME has balanced headphone outputs, right? The Pro sort of does with some adapters, but the DAC version does not. I wouldn’t worry about balanced outputs, worry about whether the amp can produce enough power to drive your HD800s.
It is one of the best amp dacs under 1000 to drive the HD 800s.
 
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