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What are the best gaming on PC ONLY headphones?

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Hi, What are the best gaming on PC ONLY headphones? Using a Soundblaster X7 due to multiple simultaneous outputs. Currently have hifiman he4xx but open to options. Open or closed back. Thanks
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HanyuXu
9
Mar 22, 2020
What is your budget? If you have about 500-1000 to spend I would recommend Beyerdynamic T1 2nd or HD800, if you have less than 300 to spend, I rec. Audio Technica R70X or ATH AD900X
Evshrug
2399
Mar 17, 2020
Best Headphone = Best Color of the Rainbow As the first reviewer of the Soundblaster X7 on Head-Fi, Amazon, and the web in general as far as I’m aware (got it right at release, spent a long time with it everyday after work, bunch of prior experience with Creative products), I’ll just tell you that you’ve got a solid platform to drive almost any headphone. I’ve gamed with the X7 + an HD 700, HD 800, and even a Stax electrostat headphone connected to the speaker taps on the back! If you ever feel like buying a new $500 amp or something to take off a bit of tinny/cold sound, I recommend first looking at the price of upgrading the four OpAmp chips inside... effects the headphone outputs and rear outputs. Search EvShrug on Head-Fi if you want the full review. As I hinted, “best headphone” is up to personal taste, and there are many good options. If I could pick one headphone as “best” by any metric, I would say the Sennheiser Orpheus (HE-1) is truly a life-changing experience and an all-out engineering effort, the headphone equivalent to a Koenigsegg Agera exotic hypercar. It makes me giddy to imagine someone using it to play games, but no offense, I doubt gamers can afford it. In the sub-$1000 category, I’d recommend researching Sennheiser (several available here on Drop), Mr Speakers (Now renamed Dan Clark Audio, but most reviews of the ÆON and Ether will use the old company name), Audeze (and their HyperCloud cousins), AKG (like the K7XX here on Drop), Audio Technica and their AD or GD series (these would benefit from the Soundblaster’s bass boost settings), and more. I game with an HD 800 or an HD 660 S (lately been using the latter), but my go-to recommendation for most gamers who don’t mention a budget is the Sennheiser PC37X and it’s special price here on Drop. Just a killer deal, supremely comfortable, and a full sound that has plenty of bass and a balanced amount of mids and treble. Even though it’s less expensive, I think it’s sound is more natural than the HiFiman you already own, and easier to wear for hours and hours. If you’re looking to upgrade from the HiFiman and spend MORE money, check out the ÆON open or closed headphone, also there are incredible deals on HD 800 and HD 800 S.
(Edited)
Evshrug
2399
Mar 19, 2020
BTW, bypassing your Soundblaster X7, the best PC only Gaming focused headphone I know of right now is the Audeze Mobius (and it’s HyperCloud rebranded brethren, with all the same features except Bluetooth). With a USB-C connection to a computer, the Mobius will accept 7.1 Surround feed, process a binaural Headphon Surround mix, use headtracking to keep your brain calibrated to the out-of-your-head feeling, has a number of EQ presets, and a boom microphone. However, you can also unplug the microphone and USB, and then it is a pretty amazing Bluetooth planar magnetic headphone for listening to music in stereo. The HyperCloud versions cost a bit less and don’t have Bluetooth, there’s also another step down in price to cut out the headtracking feature (but IMO the headtracking is worth it... even though we sit in a chair in front of our computer screens, we make small shifts in our seat to stay comfortable, and it’s just enough to make the sound seem to come from a persistent location). Generally speaking though, the best sounding Gaming Headsets are audiophile headphones. The exceptions to that are models like the Sennheiser PC37X and Beyer MMX that are based on audiophile headphones (HD 598 and DT770) with a microphone added. The Audeze is also a bit of an exception, because it was designed from the ground up by an audiophile company.
(Edited)
Philips SHP9500 and a Vmoda boom pro
Evshrug
2399
Mar 17, 2020
Not a bad headphone, but less performance than the HiFiman HE 4XX he already owns. It is possible he might prefer the SHP9500’s lighter and brighter sound signature over the HE 4XX’s v-shaped sound signature... but to go with his $300 Soundblaster AMP/DAC/DSP, he might be better suited with a Philipps X2 (which can also use the VMODA BoomPro) if he can find one.
ridhuankim
640
Mar 15, 2020
You will need to share more on what types of games you play and what are your priorities you are expecting from the headphones. I am no serious gamer so I won't be able to recommend (HD-6xx works for me) but others may recommend if you share your requirements.
Evshrug
2399
Mar 17, 2020
Well, he has an Amp/DAC/DSP that launched at $400 (but he probably got it on sale for $300), and he uses a HiFiman HE 4XX right now, and that tells us some things about his budget and taste. Also, he’s a gamer, so either he likes to be immersed in another world/life, likes excitement, or he’s pushing for performance and competitiveness. The HD 6XX is essentially on the same quality tier as the HE 4XX. Many people read reviews about Planars and conclude that they have amazing bass, but I agree with you... the HD 650 (same as HD 6XX) works better for me, less bass impact but tighter, overall the HE 4XX sounds to me more v-shaped with a recession in the mids, and somehow both more strained and yet softer crispness than the HD 650. I guess the best way to explain that is the HD 650 (and HD 6XX) is better dampened. However, some people prefer the He 4XX’s V-shaped sound and find it more exciting than the HD 650’s balance, which might sound “plain.” Neither are particularly competitive or great at creating an out-of-your-head soundstage (though the X7’s DSP helps), though they both offer some aspects of immersion: the HE 4XX provides some extra excitement, while the HD 6XX provides more fidelity and realism. So, I agree with you, I would rather have the HD 6XX than the HE 4XX for my taste, but they’re priced about the same and so I say they’re about equal until personal taste sways your choice. In regards to a next step (at a higher price) upgrade, the HD 660 S and ÆON Flow both control airflow more precisely and take another step into realistic immersion, while the HiFiman Edition XX (basically my favorite HiFiman, but I don’t have one) is really exciting and elicits an emotional response in me. While I would say the AKG K7xx is like a baby HD 800 with the performance brought down to HD 6XX and HE 4XX price levels, the HD 660 S is like a halfway point in every respect between the HD 6XX and the HD 800 S. Of course, then there are the HD 800 and Hd 800 S themselves... since they’ve been in production for over a decade, you can find them at bargain prices compared to the original $1500 or so they launched for. Speakers and headphones progress much more slowly than computers, the HD 800 still sounds like an elite headphone, and for gaming they are supremely competitive while also being quite immersively realistic/holographic.