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I’m a beginner audiophile and I need some guidance

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I’m looking to spend under $500 on a pair of headphones and under $300 on a amp/dac. I’m looking for the best headphones and amp/dac that would also work well for competitive games such as call of duty, splitgate, escape from tarkov. I want the best of both world so I can enjoy listening and to hi res audio music and gaming. Im pretty new to being an audiophile but I think I want a pair of closed back headphones since I’ve heard the bass is better for gaming while the audio quality can still be great. I hope I can get some good recommendations and thanks to anyone willing to help. thanks, and I’m exited to join the audiophile community.
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nick_t
193
Oct 4, 2021
Hello I would like to add to the comment page as well. Regardless of which so called $500 and $300, any of these proper stereo audiophile accepted headphone can be considered as headphones can be used for gaming because of their sound quality compare to crappy gaming headphones. In gaming, most of the time, they emphasis on just highs and lows, with dynamic range and sound stage. Dynamic range refers to the ratio of the strongest, or loudest part to the weakest, or softest, part measured in dB which is important in games. Games either have great audio or bad audio in game engine and unlike music, where they are either compressed or non compressed, depending on the quality on the recording through analog recording where most headphones can determine sound signature and either good or bad audio based on recording compression. Point being is games are straightforward and any headphone works fine where its not worth going for headphones that emphasis on different sound signature because not going to make a difference in game especially since audio has a huge diminishing returns and audio engine in games. Indeed it is very uncommon to find a headphone that their sound signature makes a difference but one such example are the HD800S because of the very wide soundstage. Incredible dynamics and detail will make you go nuts in terms of immersiveness and pin point image clarity with incredible headstage, probably one of the headphone where you have less diminishing returns in audio. HD800S actually does not have great dynamics in music but since game engine are much more simple, the dynamics and low end can give you a great experience. Of course not anybody can afford HD800 level so $300 and $500 would do just fine since audio in games has a higher diminishing returns than music as you scale higher. So while there are many sound signature but more importantly games all sound the same however with varies with highs, lows, imaging and soundstage. The fundamentals are important. However, as someone point out, your question is very broad and it varies. But my whole point of comment is that it does not matter, any budget would do for gaming as long it fits the criteria. And of course, many typical comment as Fun (casual) vs Serious (competitive) gaming requirement applies as well. As for amps and dac, as long they are able to power it, good enough, its not the same as music in terms of synergy and scalability. That is why sometimes, even shitty headphones or even decent gaming headphone can sound good in games at times, varies according to individual of course as well as personal preference. One good example is HyperX Cloud, take something which is good from Takstar then just paint red and black with pointless gimmicky marketing. Am giving you the fundamental and knowledge, not recommending because since you come across many threads recommending different budget and and types of games required. Just a heads up, recommendation for pin point imaging with murderous treble would be DT 990 250 ohms and fun immersive bass cannon would be maybe Fostex TR series and Monolith M1060. Never did headphone research for such a long time. If you want best of both worlds, meaning have imaging but not the most natural and pin point accurate while having the best low end rumble experience such as gun explosion maybe something like HD58X would do for lower budget. I could list everything but I have to do research again but most important stick to the fundamentals, fun vs serious. HIGHS, LOWS, DYNAMIC RANGE, SOUNDSTAGE AND IMAGING. Neutral-bright and warm and bassy are some of the things you want think about in terms of stereotypes which could applies in music and the type of games or such. But since dynamic range is subjective to different individual and not often measured objectively, we can just focus on highs, lows and SS & imaging. If you can afford HD800 or AD2000X (holy crap) for gaming. By the way, there is a difference between pin point imaging to have competitive advantage and hearing natural imaging from the enemies are. For instance, you hear footsteps close by very accurately but you are unable to hear micro details and natural decay such as enemies reloading ammo and making noise, wooden floor creaking; birds chirping on the enemies footsteps location (sometimes making micro detail noise is distracting for image clarity where some players do not want to hear unnecessary noise, just enemies location as well, however that varies from game to game by the way). Or sometimes enemies can be hear 2 doors away but in actual reality its 3 doors away (natural and accurate imaging). But 2 doors away in distance, means players able to prepare a plan and knowing that audio cue comes from where but not accurate direct assessment on unnecessary audio cues such as glass breaking (how loud or soft-dynamic range), as long footstep are audible, good enough. That is my opinion. As for me, I tend to prefer low end rumble but not extra bass boost for that side effect immersive fun experience, I prefer the original game audio as the developers intended to be.
Not_E
0
Oct 15, 2021
I might be able to buy hd800s or ad6000x but I was maybe thinking of closed back lcd 2s but if I were to spend my entire budget on a pair of headphones I would have to wait a while to get a dac/amp and I also need to get a mic since audiophile headphones don’t have mics and me and my friend are thinking of starting a review channel and we need good mic quality. Thanks a lot for all your help, I might be able to spend 1k on a pair of headphones but I’m probably gonna find a more suitable pair and probably get hd660s and audeze, akgs, audio techica, grados, etc later.
nick_t
193
Oct 17, 2021
There is no AD6000X, its either 2000x or 5000x. However, both are bass lite, and the 5000x is very, very, very nuetral and probably not suitable for gaming but that insane detail and imaging is something to die for though too bad I never get to try. Also, its 400 ohms and its for serious critical listening and its over $2000 if not mistaken. My opinion is just go for the 2000x though does not fit your description. What review channel ? Anyway, the brands you mentioned are great, however am not so sure for grados. It has its own signature, love hate relationship. I would stay away from grado personally unless I know the specific model very well. And by the way, those you mentioned and HD660S, are kinda overkill as well but despite that, we wont regret.
In my opinion for competitive games imaging is more important then a lot of bass so i would lean to open headphones as they have generally an advantage at imaging. @raansire7 already had some good examples for open headphones, im just gonna add the Beyerdynamic TYGR 300R and the AKG K 701/2 to the list(though the AKGs really dont deliver in the bass department). As for dac/amps i like the ifi zendac(its truebass is pretty nice and would help the AKGs). Or maybe even the more gamery stuff from creative like the soundblaster x4/ SoundblasterX G6 with their "scout mode" and some other useful/interesting stuff
Creanus
8
Oct 2, 2021
Those should be fine.
Not_E
0
Oct 2, 2021
Thanks
raansire7
1339
Sep 30, 2021
You're asking a very broad question that only you could answer. First, everyone perceives sound differently. Second, there are no best headphones, DACs and amps. The ultimate arbiter of bestness does not exist. That people decide what is best of what they own is different, but everyone has different likes, so nothing is objectively best. I suggest you read lots of reviews, first the negative ones and then the positives. That way, you can separate user error from personal preference, and filter that from everything else. The puzzle of information is for you to put together. You will probably find that what people deem negative is precisely what you'll consider positive, which is why for me, glowing reviews are not enough. Do the work yourself and choose with your own mind instead of seeking forgein minds to choose for you: they aren't connected to your brain and ears. I hope this is of some help. It's how I choose equipment. 😀
nick_t
193
Oct 4, 2021
Hi, really recommend Dt 770 250 ohms and as for me would love to own the Dt 880 600 ohms like you. Just very curious, what amp and dac you power that 600 ohms ? Do you use it for gaming out of curiosity ?
nick_t
193
Oct 4, 2021
Actually to be honest and in my opinion, there is best. But no point arguing because more importantly is what people like and everything while we perceived things differently and more importantly how we appreciate audio and music as well as our requirements and lifestyle. If we were to recommend high end or our perceived as "best" that could be misleading to many inadequate in the knowledge of audio, for instance.