Headphones for gaming

The place to sound off on all things related to audio, from sound cards to speakers.

Moderator: Captain Ned

Headphones for gaming

Postposted on Thu Jul 23, 2009 2:54 pm

Hi. Long time lurker, first time poster.

Anyway, what headphones do you guys think would be good for FPS's, such as COD4 and CS? I need something so I can hear footsteps clearly and also to be able to determine from where they came. Comfort is important.

Some headphones that I am currently looking at: Senn PX100, Senn HD-555, Ars Technica M50, Ars Technica A900, Sony MDR-V7506.

Oh, even though I heard open headphones have better sound quality than closed headphones, should I get closed headphones instead to block out all ambient noises? Or even IEM's?

Thanks for your help.
monkeydude21
Gerbil In Training
 
Posts: 4
Joined: Thu Jul 23, 2009 12:07 pm

Re: Headphones for gaming

Postposted on Thu Jul 23, 2009 3:15 pm

If positioning is so extremely important, then you'll want to look for surround headphones.
Let me Newegg that for you: http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductLi ... es&x=0&y=0

You see two Turtle Beach offerings right off the bat, at 50 and 100 USD respectively.
Meadows
Grand Gerbil Poohbah
Silver subscriber
 
 
Posts: 3188
Joined: Mon Oct 08, 2007 1:10 pm
Location: Location: Location

Re: Headphones for gaming

Postposted on Thu Jul 23, 2009 3:21 pm

Surround sound headphones are useless. Completely and utterly useless.

The best closed headphone under the $100 point right now is the Denon AH-D1001, you might have to do some work to find it under $100 (the price has risen since I last checked). Amazon has them at like $120.

You really don't want IEMs. Cheap IEMs have little to no sound stage, all of it will sound like it is in the middle of your head.

Check out www.headphone.com. Their reviews are honest and their return policy is tremendous if you buy a phone and you end up not caring for it.
Skrying
Gerbil Jedi
 
Posts: 1792
Joined: Wed Jul 09, 2008 1:37 am
Location: Missouri

Re: Headphones for gaming

Postposted on Thu Jul 23, 2009 3:24 pm

article here:
http://www.overclock.net/sound-cards-co ... dsets.html

don't get a 5.1 set. They're nothing more than a worthless gimmick.
l33t-g4m3r
Gerbil Jedi
Silver subscriber
 
 
Posts: 1977
Joined: Mon Dec 29, 2003 2:54 am

Re: Headphones for gaming

Postposted on Thu Jul 23, 2009 3:35 pm

Hmm, fine. In that case, get something from Denon with circumaural (full size) cushions. Their atrocious frequency curve will make "boom boom" action games more fun.
If you want actual sound, stick to Sennheiser (stay with circumaural cushions for comfort).
Meadows
Grand Gerbil Poohbah
Silver subscriber
 
 
Posts: 3188
Joined: Mon Oct 08, 2007 1:10 pm
Location: Location: Location

Re: Headphones for gaming

Postposted on Thu Jul 23, 2009 4:20 pm

I've got the AudioFX Pro 5+1. I didn't install the software but they're a pretty nice headset for ~$60. Only issue I had was the mic wiring wasn't very secure in its housing and kept falling out and broke, but if that's an issue some tape or glue would handle it fine. I *love* them for COD4, which I play far too often. And they have a silly vibrate feature that's actually way more awesome and less gimmicky than it sounds. I'm thinking about buying another pair to get the mic back. (Oh, and the mic sounded really good until I killed it.)
But then again I've never used any other headsets, so maybe these are pieces of junk and all expensive headsets are awesome enough for me?
Core i7 920, 3x2GB Corsair DDR3 1600, 80GB X25-M, 1TB WD Caviar Black, MSI X58 Pro-E, Radeon 4890, Cooler Master iGreen 600, Antec P183, opticals
SNM
Emperor Gerbilius I
 
Posts: 6206
Joined: Fri Dec 30, 2005 10:37 am

Re: Headphones for gaming

Postposted on Thu Jul 23, 2009 4:34 pm

Meadows wrote:Hmm, fine. In that case, get something from Denon with circumaural (full size) cushions. Their atrocious frequency curve will make "boom boom" action games more fun.
If you want actual sound, stick to Sennheiser (stay with circumaural cushions for comfort).


That sounds hilarious considering Sennheiser is widely know as having a "veil" and being a very dark sounding headphone. They're certainly not flat either. Most Sennheiser's have a large rise in the mid-bass area. Denon's are also hardly "boom boom", they're slightly dark sounding as well and really for the most part I'd call them the closed back version of most Sennheiser phones without the spike in the highs, though slightly better for rock music because of impact. My two favorite headphones are the Denon AH-D1000/1001 for its pure value and Sennheiser's HD580 when it could be bought used for $100 (last year, now it likely can't be had that cheap). AKG's more audiophile-centric series (601, 701/702) are known for being much more flat, as well as Beyerdynamic's DT880. If you really want to talk about how wild each phone can get just compare Beyerdynamic's DT770, DT880, and DT990. Those go from extreme bass, very flat response, to highly colored. All from the same company.

http://graphs.headphone.com/graphCompar ... =0&graphID[]=243&graphID[]=713&graphID[]=573

The DT770 is "boom boom" the Sennheiser not so much and honestly the Denon only favors the lows slightly more (because it extends better more than humps).

None of this really matters at all. It is about what sound you like. Which is why Headroom (headphone.com) is so great. They typically cost slightly more but if you're unsure about what you might like you can try a few pairs and settle on which sound you like. Some people love Grados, some hate. Some love Sennheisers, others hate. It is about your ears.
Last edited by Skrying on Thu Jul 23, 2009 4:37 pm, edited 2 times in total.
Skrying
Gerbil Jedi
 
Posts: 1792
Joined: Wed Jul 09, 2008 1:37 am
Location: Missouri

Re: Headphones for gaming

Postposted on Thu Jul 23, 2009 4:35 pm

I have the Koss SB40 headset. They are circumaural and get quite warm in a warm room. But they are generally very comfortable and have good sound quality. I rarely use the mic much, so can't really comment on its quality.

They are a great bargain. I don't think that you can beat the sound quality for the price and I find them to be really good for positional cues in FPS games. Quite frankly, reading the reviews of a lot of surround sound headphones, I was not impressed and the sticker prices tend to be very high.

I do use them with an X-Fi Extreme Music, not onboard sound. Game mode and headphone mode both do help sound quality in games quite a bit.
Image
[SDG]Mantis
Gerbil XP
 
Posts: 351
Joined: Wed Oct 27, 2004 5:39 am

Re: Headphones for gaming

Postposted on Thu Jul 23, 2009 5:29 pm

You may find that a dedicated headphone amplifier does at least as much for you as any good set of headphones. In my experience, for gaming it is more beneficial to have the extra dynamic range (some headphone jacks run out of power and muddy things up), and a local volume control that you can adjust on the fly, than to have a hugely expensive headphone set. Just get something decent and comfortable.
He who laughs last, laughs first next time.
ludi
Gerbil Elder
 
Posts: 5452
Joined: Fri Jun 21, 2002 10:47 pm
Location: Sunny Colorado front range

Re: Headphones for gaming

Postposted on Thu Jul 23, 2009 5:48 pm

looks like you are spending around 150$?
pretty much any set will be fine, just stay away from wireless. this is a rule, not a suggestion.
Do you have a sound card? I hope you do or have a current gen motherboard.
you need to decide if you want a closed headphone or open.
potatochobit
Gerbil Elite
 
Posts: 919
Joined: Mon Dec 01, 2008 4:56 pm

Re: Headphones for gaming

Postposted on Thu Jul 23, 2009 6:04 pm

I don't know who Ars Technica is, but if you mean Audio Technica, then I'll recommend the A900. I have the A500, the A900's cheaper sibling, and I found the positioning to be excellent while playing CS 1.6. Sound quality is probably better than any of the "gaming" headphones. In fact, if you're not an audiophile, then the A500 will more than meet your needs and it'll save you $100. Just a warning though, the A500 and A900 both have the same stock earpads and the thin pleather layer will start tearing and flaking off after 1-2 years. Mine are currently flaking off now and if becomes unwearable, I'll replace them with HP-A1000 pads, which should last a lot longer.
Zoomastigophora
Gerbil Elite
 
Posts: 613
Joined: Tue Nov 11, 2008 7:10 pm

Re: Headphones for gaming

Postposted on Thu Jul 23, 2009 6:08 pm

To the OP, in the hope that this makes things clearer:

There is no such thing as a set of "gaming" headphones. There are headphones. There are some nice headsets, obviously oriented for gamers due to the presence of an attached microphone (hey, I'm even lusting for the new Logitech headset myself!). But there are no distinguishing qualities in a set of cans that places them in "gamer" territory (say, unlike mice). Surround sound in cans is a gimmick because you only have two ears and the effect surround speakers take into account distance, which you don't have with headphones.

So the question you're really asking is "I have $150 burning a hole in my pocket, which heaphones do I get?"

Personally I am a fan of Sennheiser, though it's hard to go wrong with any of the brands mentioned here. Just stick to well-known audio brands (Senn, Denon, Koss, AKG, etc), and avoid anything that even looks like a fashionable gimmick. You will be _amazed_ at how good the sound quality is with a proper set of cans.

As others have suggested, if you're going upmarket, might as well get an affordable headphone amplifier while you're at it. As a rule of thumb you up the volume, especially with bigger headphones, the jack can't put out as much power as you're asking and you tend to lose clarity in the sound, hence the usefulness of a small headphone amplifier. They're not necessary, but certainly recommended once you go to town with that kind of dollars.
There is a fixed amount of intelligence on the planet, and the population keeps growing :(
morphine
Grand Admiral Gerbil
Silver subscriber
 
 
Posts: 10023
Joined: Fri Dec 27, 2002 8:51 pm
Location: Portugal (that's next to Spain)

Re: Headphones for gaming

Postposted on Thu Jul 23, 2009 8:07 pm

"Surround" headphones are a complete gimmick.

You have two ears. The headphones are strapped to your head and keep the same position relative to your ears. There's zero positional information to be gained with so-called "surround" headphones. 3D positioning is accomplished in software, before the sound is sent to your headphones.

Not only do so-called "surround" headphones not provide better 3D than stereo headphones, they actually create a much worse 3D audio experience than stereo headphones. A 5.1-channel headphone provides a completely screwed-up sound stage, since the delays for the 5.1 audio tracks are calculated for normal room placement, not for drivers located just a couple of inches from your ears.
i7-4770K, H70, Gryphon Z87, 16 GiB, R9-290, SSD, 2 HD, Blu-ray, SB ZX, TJ08-E, SS-660XP², 3007WFP+2001FP, RK-9000BR, MX518
JustAnEngineer
Gerbil God
Gold subscriber
 
 
Posts: 15485
Joined: Sat Jan 26, 2002 7:00 pm
Location: The Heart of Dixie

Re: Headphones for gaming

Postposted on Thu Jul 23, 2009 9:47 pm

Thanks for the replies, guys.

Since they seem so popular, I guess I'll get a pair of pair of Sennheiser's, either the PX-100 or HD-555.

Do the PX-100 have good soundstage?

Is the extra money worth it for the HD-555?

Currently, I have a Gigabyte GA-P45-DS3L motherboard, and also a Creative Soundblaster Live somewhere. If I get the HD-555, will I need an amplifier? Or will they just sound just fine with what I've got?

Oh, a question about amplifiers: isn't amplification only needed if I find the headphones too quiet? The only thing I see an amplifier doing is providing higher voltages, but can't I get higher voltages by just turning up the volume in my taskbar? Or will amplification somehow make my headphones sound better, even though I can still turn up the volume using Windows? If there was someway to test this...
monkeydude21
Gerbil In Training
 
Posts: 4
Joined: Thu Jul 23, 2009 12:07 pm

Re: Headphones for gaming

Postposted on Thu Jul 23, 2009 10:18 pm

Headphone amps can make the headphones louder but that is not their purpose. It is about improving the sound quality of the headphone.

The Sennheiser HD-555 improves with an amp but not much. You certainly don't need one for the HD-555. The HD-555 and HD-595 are unique in Sennheiser's line up as they're more forward and bright (not overly so). I liked my HD-595 when I owned them, preferred the HD-580 but I like darker headphones.

I honestly wouldn't go with the PX series for gaming. Unless you want to also use these for on the go then you're much better off with the HD-555.
Skrying
Gerbil Jedi
 
Posts: 1792
Joined: Wed Jul 09, 2008 1:37 am
Location: Missouri

Re: Headphones for gaming

Postposted on Thu Jul 23, 2009 11:16 pm

My favorite brand of headphones is Grado. I have a pair of their SR-80's, and they sound great. When I purchased them, I did so because they sounded, to my ear, on the same level as headphones that cost twice as much (including Sennheisers). The SR-80's are about $100. They're pretty neutral, and reveal a lot of detail in the sound. When it comes to headphones (or speakers), it's really subjective, so what you should do is go to a store that sells high-end headphones and test them out. That way you can compare them and see which ones sound best to you.
Sheep Rustlers in the sky! <S> Slapt | <S> FUI | Air Warrior II/III
FireGryphon
Darth Gerbil
Gold subscriber
 
 
Posts: 7347
Joined: Sat Apr 24, 2004 7:53 pm
Location: the abyss into which you gaze

Re: Headphones for gaming

Postposted on Thu Jul 23, 2009 11:30 pm

For music, I really like the Sennheiser HD650s. But these are way overkill for games and similar multimedia use. The best headphones I've used for multimedia are the Audio-Technica A900. Absolutely da bomb in games out of my X-Fi with the DSP enabled. Better than those positional/multichannel headphones. If you want to save some cash, I think the A700s are almost as good (though never used them myself) and are much cheaper, at least in the US (Currently $113 at Amazon)
cynan
Gerbil Elite
Gold subscriber
 
 
Posts: 831
Joined: Thu Feb 05, 2004 2:30 pm

Re: Headphones for gaming

Postposted on Fri Jul 24, 2009 12:35 pm

monkeydude21 wrote:Oh, a question about amplifiers: isn't amplification only needed if I find the headphones too quiet? The only thing I see an amplifier doing is providing higher voltages, but can't I get higher voltages by just turning up the volume in my taskbar? Or will amplification somehow make my headphones sound better, even though I can still turn up the volume using Windows? If there was someway to test this...

Higher voltage does nothing if the circuit cannot deliver the required current, and this is where many computer soundcards fall apart, especially when trying to drive higher end units. Computer peripheral outputs are usually self-protected and will just clamp the output, but the effect is a muddying distortion. To get around this problem, some software equalizer effects may compress the audio so that everything can be heard within a narrow band of dynamic range, but this just has the effect of making everything uniformly loud (car dealer commercials and some pop music CDs do this), when your brain wants the full dynamic range in order to properly assess e.g. the distance of someone's approaching footsteps.

IMO a headphone amp is definitely worth considering. I've mostly been using $20-30 Sony and Koss headphones my entire computing career, and even so, I was impressed at what a decent headphone amplifier could add (once I got far enough into DIY audio to build a couple). So while a $150 budget can buy a really spectacular pair of headphones, I would be inclined to split it and get both pieces of hardware.
He who laughs last, laughs first next time.
ludi
Gerbil Elder
 
Posts: 5452
Joined: Fri Jun 21, 2002 10:47 pm
Location: Sunny Colorado front range


Return to Echo Vale

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests