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Topic: $500+/- headphone for movies/casual gaming (Read 2236 times) previous topic - next topic
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$500+/- headphone for movies/casual gaming

Hello, I'm new and glad to be here and fairly new to audiophile. I found this site from NWAVGuy's blog. I seek advice and hope to receive helpful suggestions. Thank you!

After some googling here are some headphones I'm deciding between the following. I am considering trying them all out but I'd rather narrow down my choices to a couple or few.

$700 - Beyerdynamic T1 Tesla
$550 - Beyerdynamic T90
$300 - HiFiMAN HE-400i
$258 - Beyerdynamic DT 990 Premium/Edition (600 Ohm)
$215 - AKG K7XX Massdrop LE
$60 - Pioneer SE-A1000 (Comparable to $400 Sennheiser HD650, according to Head-Fi members)

My order of preference is comfort for long hours, bass for movies/games, soundstage for immersion, rock/metal music.

They will be powered by AC powered O2 desktop amp + Asus Xonar DX PC sound card.

Currently I'm using Beyerdynamic DT 770-80 (a few years old) mainly for bass-oriented music but it is closed-back and I want an open/wider soundstage. In the evening, without annoying others, I cannot watch action/adventure/war movies (and modern horror movies, i.e. "The Conjuring") and play certain games, that all have very low deep bass, where sounds in this range tend to be felt more than heard. I use my HT speaker system late at night (on dynamic volume) only for movies and games where there aren't much LFE (i.e. drama/thriller/comedy, TV shows).

What prompted me for a new headphone is that it will be used for late-night movies + casual gaming with prevalent sub-bass. I need it to deliver down to 20 Hz bass or below, where I can feel the vibrations from the LFE without hearing much audible sound, enhancing the overall sensation of the bass. I say this in full recognition that no headphones can replicate subwoofers' capability. My old headphone tends to crackle/clip at low sub-bass parts of an action/horror movie at high volume. But then again, it might be just me expecting too much from headphones.

Next, for movies and casual, non-competitive FPS/TPS gaming, I need a bigger and directional soundstage around me, where I am immersed within the environment, not inside my head. Although, I do not want an overly directional soundstage that is tailored for hardcore/competitive FPS gaming (i.e., hearing distant footsteps but lacking sub-bass), I want it to be large enough that the Dolby Headphone and Virtual 7.1 surround sound features of my Asus Xonar DX benefit from a wider soundstage.

I am also considering and sort of hoping, but not at all requiring, that the new headphone can complement rock/metal/indie music competently enough to be an improvement over the DT 770-80's closed soundstage without taking precedence over my bass preference.

$500+/- headphone for movies/casual gaming

Reply #1
I listened to both the DT 880s and the DT 990s before making my decision, and I found the 880s much more to my taste. Don't get fooled into thinking a higher model number means a better headphone, try them both out. I found the DT 990s to be very shrill in the treble range, where the DT 880s are still bright, but in a much more pleasing way.

Honestly, the 880s are the best headphones I've ever owned. They have a somewhat bright sound signature, but there's still plenty of low bass, it just isn't over-emphasized like in some "basshead" headphones. They're also the most comfortable headphones I've ever used, by a long shot.

I've had a fair number of different Sennheiser models over the years, and some AIAIAIs that had the most amazingly rich bass without being boomy (but they were horribly uncomfortable for me after ~15min). To me, the Beyerdynamic DT 23x series are the budget headphones to beat, and the DT 880s are the same for more expensive headphones. I have yet to find anything to beat them, for my tastes.

IMHO, don't bother with the expensive Tesla models etc., the pro/semi-pro DT series is where it's at.

$500+/- headphone for movies/casual gaming

Reply #2
I think when you are getting into that kind of price range you've got to decide for yourself (after listening and checking comfort, and appearance and "build quality", etc.).    It's a bit like asking if you should buy a Mercedes, Lexus, or BMW...

Like KozmoNaut says, higher price doesn't always mean better sound or better comfort...  Once you get above $200 or $300 USD, it usually comes down to personal preference and you might prefer a particular $200 headphone over anything more expensive in a "blind" test where you didn't know the price or brand.

$258 - Beyerdynamic DT 990 Premium/Edition (600 Ohm)
I don't know the specifics of that headphone or the 02 amp, but as a generalization, higher impedance headphones require higher voltage for the same loudness.    They are immune to amplifier impedance issues, which means you can (usually)  drive them directly from a soundcard without worrying about impedance-related frequency response variations, but you also won't get much volume from a soundcard. 

Personally I wouldn't buy 600 Ohm headphones, but if you've got the right headphone amp, and you are only going to use them with the headphone amp, it's OK.

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