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Pyro
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#1
03-07-2008
Thumbs up HEADPHONES Scott's Headphone Info / Recommendation Thread

I think he should make one, anyone here agree with me? He is basically the headphone guru around these parts and whenever someone creates a thread asking about them, he goes in and pwns their nooby sh.t. This is how I think the thread should work: he could make recommendations for serious people willing to spend the big bucks and want top notch quality. Then, he recommends headphones for people who want good quality headphones for a cheaper price and everything in between the two categories.

Post here with other ideas that you think could help this thread, if he makes it, and if you agree with me or not. Obviously, other headphone experts could give him a hand at picking the recommendations. I think this would turn out to be one of the most helpful threads on this whole forum because people are always asking what the best gaming headphones are and I never see a straight, consistent answer.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Scott
If you want a recommendation from me I'll need:

1. Budget
2. Uses percentage (e.g 80% music, 20% gaming)
3. Music taste
4. Preferred sound signature (optional, but would help)
5. Open or closed style


Alright, after many requests I'm going to make my own big headphone thread in which I'll post as much info as I can to hopefully slow down the amount of headphone recommendations threads and generally inform people. This is all my opinion so take it with a grain of salt if you wish, but headphones and audio in general has been a hobby of mine for over a year now and I know quite a bit about the subject.


Firstly, a word on headsets.


I don't use headsets; I have no interest in them. I have tried a few of them and from what I've found, they're crap. I don't know much about Astro's, other than their sound quality isn't worth their price, so I can't really tell you much about them. In my opinion you should stay away from headsets as they're very poor value for money and usually sound crap.


5.1 Headsets


OK, I think everyone needs to know this about "5.1" headphones.

Let's put it simply - it does not work.

Take the already discussed Sharkoon X-Tatic 5.1 headset. As per the specification sheet: "8 speakers for perfect surround sound". 8 speakers, in a headphone. Can you not see the problem there? There's two big things wrong with this. First of all, the whole idea of surround sound is that you have multiple speakers surrounding you. There is simply not enough speaker separation inside of headphones to give any sort of surround sound effect. The only way this is going to work is if some company invents a headset where the speakers are put on little metal arms and dangled around your head -- how silly is that going to look?

Secondly, let's divide up the price here. 75 - let's put aside 15 for the housing and cables. 60 for the drivers, the most important part of the headphones. Threre's 8 drivers, so what's 60 divided by 8? 7.50. The drivers cost 7.50 to make. Have you ever heard 7.50 speakers? They don't sound very good do they? I can't see how a load of such cheap drivers can possibly sound good.

This is a bit speculative of me, but oh well.

Headphone Terminology


Some of you probably know all of these things but it’s worth explaining for those that don’t.

Open headphones – Open headphones have an open grill at the back of them, leaving the driver exposed and allowing the sound to leak out from the back of the headphones. This of course means that other people within 10-15 feet will be able to hear what you’re listening to, and you will be able to hear your surroundings to some extent. Open headphones typically have a more airy and open (see: soundstage) sound, and more often than not weaker bass.

Closed headphones – I think you can work this out by reading the above; it’s basically the opposite

Soundstage
– This is what makes headphones good for gaming. Soundstage is basically the “area” of separation between drivers/speakers. Speakers have a physically soundstage, where as headphones have a virtual soundstage. A headphone with a large soundstage means that the sound can feel more “3D” and airy – this makes it good for gaming as you can gauge the distance between the centre point (your character while gaming) and the object (a gunshot, for example).

A good way to see if your headphones have a large soundstage is to watch THIS YouTube video. The further away the two dudes sound, the larger the soundstage. For a reference, my Sennheiser HD650 amped with a good quality amplifier makes the first dude as he walks in the door sound about 10 feet away, to my right. If you didn’t know, they are called binaural recordings and they’re very fun to listen to, just Google “binaural recording” to find more.

They’re the most popular terminologies I can think of. There’s tonnes more but I don’t think they’re relevant just for gaming purposes.


Recommended Headphones by Budget


If you want, I can give short reviews on these headphones. But for now I’m just going to list them and give a brief description.

Less than 30


Koss KSC75 – These are a bit strange, I don’t know what Koss did here because these 5 clip-ons sound better than everything under 30. You’re not going to find a better sounding pair of headphones under 30 so these are the only ones I’m going to put in this section.


30 - 100

Audio Technica AD700 – Best overall headphones under 100 in my opinion. Their gaming capabilities far surpass that of the HD555 in that their soundstage is much wider and they are more detailed. I also prefer their sound signature for music, to the other headphones in this price range.

Sennheiser HD555 – The most popular choice amount the Halo community, for some reason. If you really can’t spend more than 50 then these are the ones to go for – they’re the cheapest headphones with a half decent soundstage.

Sennheiser HD595 -- These are much better for HD555s for music. After hearing the HD595s I couldn't go back to the HD555s because the HD595 just do everything better, except for one crucial thing; their soundstage is the same. For this reason, I don't recommend getting HD595s over HD555s if you're only gaming and don't care about music performance. If you want a step up from the HD555s, go with the AT AD700s - they are actually better than the HD555s, the HD595s aren't.

AKG K501/K601 - I haven't heard these but from what I've read, these are the epitome of airy headphones. Judging from what I've read their soundstage is absolutely huge, so I imagine these are one of the best gaming headphones you can get. I've also heard people say that they have an incredible midrange, which sounds better than headphones in a much higher price range. The K601 are still in production but the K501 aren't anymore.

Beyerdynamic DT770 Pro – I’ve never heard anyone talk about these but oh well. They’re closed headphones, but their soundstage is still quite wide and their imaging is excellent considering. They’re known as “bass monsters” because they have huge amounts of bass. If you like bass then these are the headphones to get. I’d say these are very good for casual gaming because they’re very fun to listen to. Perhaps not so good for competitive gaming because they’re not very detailed and the bass overpowers the midrange.

Grado SR60/SR80/Alessandro MS1 – I thought I’d just say a few things about these. They aren’t gaming headphones by any means as they have no soundstage, but if you’re looking for excellent music headphones then these are the ones to go for. Their sound may not be for everyone, but they have an upfront and “in your face” sound, they’re very dynamic and have huge amounts of detail and speed. They’re perfect for rock and metal; their sound signature just fits that genre of music. Though be warned that they are quite uncomfortable. I’m not sure why Grado and Alessandro continue to make uncomfortable headphones because it really puts a lot of people off. Though I guess the sound makes up for it.


100+

Right I’m going to be honest here – headphones over 100 aren’t worth it unless you plan on listening to a lot of music. Gaming doesn’t use headphones to their full potential anyway, so going any higher than AD700s isn’t going to bring many benefits for gaming purposes. Also, as you get this high up the chain, you’re soon going to have to invest in a decent source and headphone amplifier or else they’re going to sound worse than low-end headphones due to their transparency and dependency on a good setup.

If anyone is looking for advice on 100+ music headphones, then I will continue this section. For now, stick with the under 100 headphones if you’re just gaming.

This is all I can be bothered to write at the minute, but I’ll add more to it whenever I feel like it. If you have something you’d like me to add or elaborate on, just let me know.


"I am tired of Earth. These people. I'm tired of being caught in the tangle of their lives."

Last edited by Scott; 07-17-2008 at 06:36 AM.
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#2
03-07-2008
Default

I agree.

Scott is the man
low strife
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#3
03-07-2008
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Based on the general knowledge of the community, I think Scott is the foremost expect on all things audio related who frequents this forum.
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#4
03-07-2008
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Lies
No wait
low strife
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#5
03-07-2008
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by RVideo View Post
Lies
No wait
So, you know audio and such?

This is news.
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H3F Carnage
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#6
03-07-2008
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Yoda View Post
I am at a loss... headphones... why headphones... what are sooo special about them...?
Nothing, these kids are nerds.
I started a Kobe Bryant meme



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#7
03-07-2008
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by low strife View Post
So, you know audio and such?

This is news.
Stop

Scott is the man for audio questions.
(Ps 4th Heineken - saluting Scott for audiophile excellence)
RVideo
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#8
03-07-2008
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by H3F Carnage View Post
Nothing, these kids are nerds.
One word, my young and clueless friend

Walshy
Pyro
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#9
03-07-2008
Default

We and Scott need to get this thread on lockdown, A.S.A.P.


"I am tired of Earth. These people. I'm tired of being caught in the tangle of their lives."
RVideo
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#10
03-08-2008
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by OrIGInalPyRO View Post
We and Scott need to get this thread on lockdown, A.S.A.P.
Woot thoo bloodie fook R U tooking aboot

Bloody right (6th Heiniken -salute again)

Scotty -wake up already.

Last edited by RVideo; 03-08-2008 at 12:12 AM.
 

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