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Is an audiophile gear good for gaming?

tamask01

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Hello,

Lately I've been trying to get a proper audio setup for my PC, even posted a few threads around here asking for advice.
I use it for coding and gaming mostly, sometimes I listen to music while working, all kinds of genres.

I have a Fiio K5 Pro DAC/AMP.
I tried the following headphones (with and without EQ, using Amir's profiles):

Hifiman Sundara, Deva Pro wired: detailed sound but extremely fatiguing ingame due to metallic high pitched effects (especially gunshots). Beautiful for classical music.
Sennheiser HD660S: detailed sound, okay ingame but the clamp force made my ears numb :(
I'm trying the AKG K702 now, same as Sundara. Overamplified effects in game that make my head hurt, but sopranos in music is excellent, perfect for listening to violin and female vocals.

My question is, are any audiophile headphones in this price range good for gaming / casual use or will all have the same problems as the ones I already tried?
At this point I think that for my use case I shouldn't buy audiophile gear. I just thought those are the best for sound quality so I went with them.
Also what headphones would you recommend for a good gaming experience?

Thanks guys.
 
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maverickronin

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Couple questions.

Are you asking specifically about headphones?

What kinds of games are you playing?
 

Booker

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Get some BOSE from the QC series. They are very comfortable with pleasantly tuned sound out of the box.
 
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tamask01

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Couple questions.

Are you asking specifically about headphones?

What kinds of games are you playing?
Yes headphones, I think I'll sell my Fiio K5 and get a cheaper gaming soundcard.
As for IEMs, I read something that they might damage the hearing more in case of loud sounds due to being put in the ear canal (and vibrating the eardrums?? don't quote me on that one). And also for the same reason, if I buy a pair that doesn't suit my needs, I have no means to return them. Here in EU, we can return goods within 14 days if purchased online if it is not a hygiene product.

I sometimes play Overwatch and mostly single player games, recently the Little Nightmare series, Dying Light 2, Plague Tale, that sort of thing.
I don't think I'll need crazy soundstage for multiplayer games. Skill is what matters the most, a decent enough pair will do just fine as long as it's not fatiguing, comfortable and has okay sound.
 
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Booker

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Just using QC25 during competitive in Overwatch 2 now :)
 
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tamask01

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I didn't mention, the headphones do not have to be noise cancelling or wireless. A wired pair with no noise cancel would do just fine as I use this at home only, in a quiet room.
 

maverickronin

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Yes headphones, I think I'll sell my Fiio K5 and get a cheaper gaming soundcard.

I sometimes play Overwatch and mostly single player games, recently the Little Nightmare series, Dying Light 2, Plague Tale, that sort of thing.
I don't think I'll need crazy soundstage for multiplayer games. Skill is what matters the most, a decent enough pair will do just fine as long as it's not fatiguing, comfortable and has okay sound.

OK. I'm pretty much all single player too and was exclusively headphones for more than a decade before I finally made room for a decent pair of speakers. My current headphones are the OG HD800 and the Dan Clark Aeon 2 Noire. The HD800's are basically the most comfortable thing ever with their giant cups and super open design, but they are expensive.

The excessive clamp on the Sennheiser series is actually fixable and the Drop HD6XX version is back to $200 right now.

A budget choice would be the Phillips SHP9500. With a little EQ they turn into baby HD800s.
 

Trell

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Have you tried to EQ to your headphones to taste?

As for comfort you’ll just have to try out yourself. In some headphone reviews there are measurements of clamping force and that can be helpful to select headphones for trying out.
 

Booker

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Even with an integrated sound card (due to mic use) I cannot complain in comparison with others headphones that I own.
Well-balanced, with no painful sharpness at all. I would describe them as mild.
 
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tamask01

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Have you tried to EQ to your headphones to taste?

As for comfort you’ll just have to try out yourself. In some headphone reviews there are measurements of clamping force and that can be helpful to select headphones for trying out.
Yes I did, first used Amir's EQ settings as reference and then I tried to tweak it to suit my needs.
The problem was that once I managed to make it work in e.g. Overwatch, for the next game some other effects were too loud and something else too quiet. For example in Dying light when I critical hit a zombie the hit sound is the problematic one.
At that point I'd have to find EQ settings for every game and desktop use and I won't put that much effort into this thing, rather look for another option.
 
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tamask01

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OK. I'm pretty much all single player too and was exclusively headphones for more than a decade before I finally made room for a decent pair of speakers. My current headphones are the OG HD800 and the Dan Clark Aeon 2 Noire. The HD800's are basically the most comfortable thing ever with their giant cups and super open design, but they are expensive.

The excessive clamp on the Sennheiser series is actually fixable and the Drop HD6XX version is back to $200 right now.

A budget choice would be the Phillips SHP9500. With a little EQ they turn into baby HD800s.
Unfortunately the Dan Clark and HD 800 are far out of my budget. I was willing to spend 1K$ on a GPU that I use for gaming and 3D rendering but for headphones, I wouldn't be comfortable with that purchase.

But the Phillips looks great and very well priced, I'll probably put that and the Bose pair mentioned on my list.

How to fix the clamp force on the Sennheisers safely? I wanted to stretch them but as I mentioned, I can return any and get a full refund within 14 days, provided I didn't damage the goods. I was afraid that if I stretch it and it cracks, I lose that money completely.
 

maverickronin

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How to fix the clamp force on the Sennheisers safely? I wanted to stretch them but as I mentioned, I can return any and get a full refund within 14 days, provided I didn't damage the goods. I was afraid that if I stretch it and it cracks, I lose that money completely.

There are two ways.

You can extend the earcups out all the way and gently and slightly bend the metal sliders holding the earcups outward. Make sure to hold both ends of the metal so you just bend the slider and don't put pressure on the plastic where it attaches to the cup or headband.

The second which takes longer, but is probably less mistake prone is to take the pads and cable off, stretch the headphones across some books which are as wide as your head, warm up the headband with a hair drier, and leave it overnight. That change the elastic "memory" of the plastic headband so it won't snap back as tightly. If you don't heat it up enough the headband will return to it's original tightness after a day or two, but a hair drier won't get hot enough to damage the plastic so just get it nice and warm and let it sit.

Now that I type that out, it might sound a little scary to try on a brand new purchase, but I figured out the hair drier trick on my own HD650's a few years ago.
 

jae

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All depends on your goals really. If you are 'serious' about gaming and want an advantage via audio you are probably want to have game-specific EQ for games you are competitive in that will accentuate certain sounds based on how they are important to the gameplay. If you are playing a multiplayer game where voice comms are essential you might want a mix that doesn't mask midrange as much to maximise intelligibility. If you don't care about doing that best advice I can give if just find a headphone you can wear for extended periods of time and correct low end to taste or situation. Since you are complaining about fatigue I would look at headphones that have less energy after around 5 khz. Honestly I've been gaming on a HD650/6XX with various amounts of EQ for nearly 14 years and have never had much of a problem. Out of the box I feel most open headphones have too little bass for gaming, but I feel Harman bass is also probably too much for competitive gaming, although it is probably fine for more cinematic 1-player AAA games. Fiddle with EQ especially <200 hz and also 4-5 khz+ and see what seems best for you, and either be satisfied with EQ or find a headphone that comes similar to your correction. Sennheiser PC38X is also a gaming-specific headset with a good FR which comes with a headset.
 

Dunring

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My question is, are any audiophile headphones in this price range good for gaming / casual use or will all have the same problems as the ones I already tried?
At this point I think that for my use case I shouldn't buy audiophile gear. I just thought those are the best for sound quality so I went with them.
Also what headphones would you recommend for a good gaming experience?

Thanks guys.
I've had all the ones you mention and been gaming for decades. The best I've had is the Audio Technica ADH1000X which are so easy to drive, you can use onboard sound or a gaming controller with a 3.5mm jack. The Grado 325 have such good driver matching (within .5db) they're really accurate in games too. Sennheiser 598 is another good one. Also the ADH1000x has the best female vocals I've heard at any price. You can also hear behind you better than any headphones I've gamed with, and the soundstage is great. Finding one in the U.S. is the biggest problem. They're made in Japan, and ordering on eBay is usually the only option from dealers there. You don't need fake surround with those, good quality stereo is perfect.
 

Robbo99999

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Hello,

Lately I've been trying to get a proper audio setup for my PC, even posted a few threads around here asking for advice.
I use it for coding and gaming mostly, sometimes I listen to music while working, all kinds of genres.

I have a Fiio K5 Pro DAC/AMP.
I tried the following headphones (with and without EQ, using Amir's profiles):

Hifiman Sundara, Deva Pro wired: detailed sound but extremely fatiguing ingame due to metallic high pitched effects (especially gunshots). Beautiful for classical music.
Sennheiser HD660S: detailed sound, okay ingame but the clamp force made my ears numb :(
I'm trying the AKG K702 now, same as Sundara. Overamplified effects in game that make my head hurt, but sopranos in music is excellent, perfect for listening to violin and female vocals.

My question is, are any audiophile headphones in this price range good for gaming / casual use or will all have the same problems as the ones I already tried?
At this point I think that for my use case I shouldn't buy audiophile gear. I just thought those are the best for sound quality so I went with them.
Also what headphones would you recommend for a good gaming experience?

Thanks guys.
Hi, I'm a pretty big gamer, and also an "ASR audiophile", lol! I'd recommend you the Sennheiser HD560s. It's a really quite well balanced headphone for music without EQ, and it also has some great imaging and a good soundstage, which helps improve it's ability during gaming to help you accurately locate directional sound. The HD560s also has low unit to unit variation and good channel matching, which is one of the reasons why it has good imaging.....it's a very reliable headphone in a number of ways, and additionally on that point no reliability/longevity problems, good bass that isn't dependant on a perfect seal, so it's likely to be a very similar experience from person to person in terms of the bass. It's also a low distortion headphone overall, and also in the bass. I can pretty happily use this headphone without EQ, although I do use EQ for music. HD560s is on balance my best gaming & music listening headphone.

Additionally re gaming, I'd recommend the Creative SoundblasterX lineup. It's the only Virtual Surround technology that works for me. It's a real advantage having Virtual 7.1 Surround Sound in fps gaming as you can tell when someone is behind you, you can pinpoint sounds both front & back and of course left & right - basically you can pinpoint sounds around you in a 360 degree arc. How well you respond to Virtual Surround though is quite an individual thing & some people just can't experience it accurately, but it also depends which virtual surround tech you go for (I'm recommending the Creative SoundblasterX lineup), and it also depends on you setting up the Virtual Surround parameters correctly in the Soundblaster software. There's a thread about it here:
I use the SoundblasterX G6 DAC which has been measured here on ASR & measured well as long as you run it below -2dBFS. I'm fairly happy to recommend that one, it can sometimes be a bit buggy on some people's systems, but I've not had issues with it.
 

Waxx

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From my gaiming experience in the past, best is to use open back headphones. I used the Senheiser (don't remember the type) and Beyer DT990, and most liked the Beyer. But i'm not gaming like that anymore since over 15 years, so what is actually the best, i don't know. I used a dj mixer (Ecler Mac40) as headphone amp at that time.

Closed headphones are hard to listen two for hours while gaming, open headphones did not have that issue
 

jae

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Closed headphones are hard to listen two for hours while gaming, open headphones did not have that issue
I agree, I don't like the sensation of my ears getting too warm with closed headphones. Plus occlusion effect is a bit annoying if you have to talk with closed headphones or iems. I would only ever use closed headphones if the environment was noisy and called for it.
 

RosalieTheDog

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I use the Sennheisers 660s, they are fine except sometimes not very comfortable with my glasses ...

Using audiophile gear for gaming is fine. Only problem I find is that, just as audiophile gear is said to sometimes show the defects of bad recordings, this is true for bad sound design too. The Arcane games (Prey, Dishonored, ...) I love, but their sound design and sometimes even the recording quality is ... awful.
 

Trell

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Plus occlusion effect is a bit annoying if you have to talk with closed headphones or iems. I would only ever use closed headphones if the environment was noisy and called for it.
Using an audio interface that can mix the microphone input into an output is quite nice, as like you, I otherwise find using closed headphones not that pleasant.
 
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