Headphone and amp recommendations?

FM_Fixxxer

Limp Gawd
Joined
Mar 2, 2012
Messages
303
Hi guys.

I've been considering the jump to a decent set of headphones and an amp to go along with it as my Turtle Beach HPA2's are starting to get long in the tooth. I'm currently using my onboard 7.1 (Gigabyte X79-UD3) But I'd also like to get a decent sound card as well.

I've been just happy with onboard for quite a bit but recently I find it's the least enjoyable part of my system. These headphones sound really good and I've been happy with them, but they're really showing their age, and are starting to crackle, etc.

I enjoy deep bass, and I've tried a lot of new gaming headsets and they're all not even remotely close to this set. I recently read about the Tiamat 7.1's for weeks and how everyone loved them, I hooked them up and was beyond disappointed, returned them the same day, they couldn't touch these bass wise, and everything was so tinny.

So what do you guys recommend? Where should I start looking? Price range is 250-300$ tops for the headphones, amp I have no idea what their price range even is, and sound card I think 100$ would do it, maybe a xonar or something?

I look forward to hearing your opinions. Thanks everyone.
 

Kueller

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
Jun 19, 2001
Messages
5,981
HD 650's here: http://hardforum.com/showthread.php?t=1826971
Not the most bass heavy headphone, but the best overall package. Just silky smooth top to bottom. My desert island headphone.

Philips Fidelio X1
Flavor of the month, haven't tried but sound tasty!

Mr Speakers: Mad Dog
Bass? This one! If you're going closed, go Mad.

Beyerdynamic DT 880 (or DT 770)
I'd tend toward the DT 880's of these two. A nice set of headphones comfortable and lively, being semi-open compared to the DT 770's being closed they do lack a little of the bass impact, but more than make up for it in accuracy and balance.

Edit:
Honorable Mentions
Hifiman HE-400: Never been terribly impressed personally (and I own a pair), but others rave. Planar Dynamic drivers.
Audio Technica ATH-A900x: Best $75 headphones I ever bought. But they didn't fit right, silly floating wing design.
 
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Joined
Nov 13, 2006
Messages
2,777
Skip the sound card. Spend a total of $400 and get this:

Objective2 + ODAC Combo ($~280)
Audio-Technica ATH-M50 Headphones (~$120)

The above will blow you away as to sound quality.

Later on down the road, if you want even more, upgrade to a pair of Sennheiser HD 650's.
 

FM_Fixxxer

Limp Gawd
Joined
Mar 2, 2012
Messages
303
Skip the sound card. Spend a total of $400 and get this:

Objective2 + ODAC Combo ($~280)
Audio-Technica ATH-M50 Headphones (~$120)

The above will blow you away as to sound quality.

Later on down the road, if you want even more, upgrade to a pair of Sennheiser HD 650's.

This is the kinda advice I'm looking for. On board sound won't be an issue at all?

Thanks for the response!
 

spaceman

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Jan 7, 2005
Messages
14,763
This is the kinda advice I'm looking for. On board sound won't be an issue at all?

Thanks for the response!

No bc the dac just bypasses it.

However, for gaming, a soundblaster z series will give you better directional sound. The Odac will sound better for music and great for games but not quite as good as the Z series.

Only really applies if you play a lot of fps games. If you are mmo or rpg etc, just get an odac or something like that.
 

drklu

2[H]4U
Joined
Jul 15, 2013
Messages
2,453
Skip the sound card. Spend a total of $400 and get this:

Objective2 + ODAC Combo ($~280)
Audio-Technica ATH-M50 Headphones (~$120)

The above will blow you away as to sound quality.

Later on down the road, if you want even more, upgrade to a pair of Sennheiser HD 650's.

+1 for the O2 + HD650. Amazing combo, feels like I am hearing all those old songs for the first time again. Also, one other thing I love about the headphones is I can wear them for hours on long gaming sessions without my head getting sore or any fatigue. They are open eared phones so your head can breath and they sound amazing. Highly recommended combination.
 

Kueller

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
Jun 19, 2001
Messages
5,981
Skip the sound card. Spend a total of $400 and get this:

Objective2 + ODAC Combo ($~280)
Audio-Technica ATH-M50 Headphones (~$120)

The above will blow you away as to sound quality.

Later on down the road, if you want even more, upgrade to a pair of Sennheiser HD 650's.
My concern with this suggestion is simply that the M50's (at 38Ω) don't exactly need to be amped in the first place, so they're not going to properly highlight the amp+DAC upgrades, which are the majority of the cost here.

I also think you can get an acceptable DAC or sound card cheaper than the ODAC, which is money that could be put towards headphones.

The Objective2 amp on the other hand is a great value.
 

Haunted

n00b
Joined
Aug 3, 2010
Messages
27
I've had a decent amount of experience with low-mid level gaming headsets so I'll post my impressions here. They are listed in order with the most recent pick ups at the bottom. (aside: I wear glasses, always with plastic frames, and comfort is one of my primary concerns)

Turtle Beach X11 - wireless, not comfortable, convinced me to stay away from TB forever

Titan AX 720 - ugly, felt cheap, sold almost instantly after purchasing

Koss Porta-pro - (Not a headset), these are my work headphones. They are supra-aural, very comfy, and have great sound.

ATH-AD 700 + Zalmin clip mic - most comfortable setup by far, awesome sound, tight but not super deep bass. the main problem with this setup is the mess of cables and they are a very open set of cans. these are still my go to for single player gaming

Steelseries 5XB - These were actually not bad and very inexpensive. Unfortunately, the right ear cup audio cut out awhile back right after the warranty was up. It seems this is a common problem with this headset.

Razer Blackshark - fairly comfortable, but clamping after a shortwhile. deep bass, but that's about it. the rest of the sound is pretty muddy

HyperX Cloud Pro - my current headset I use for multiplayer gaming on PC and PS4. Great quality, very comfortable (although not AD700 level) and comes with lots of accessories and both leather memory foam and velour (not memory foam) pads. I prefer the feel of velour but the memory foam on the leather pads actually puts less pressure on my glasses.

There were a couple others in there but that's just what I recall off the top of my head. Let me know if you are interested in more detailed impressions about any of the sets listed.
 

Haunted

n00b
Joined
Aug 3, 2010
Messages
27
Also, I have a FiiO E5 (baby amp) that I use at work, and a Asus Xonar DG with the built in headphone amp in my home desktop.
 

dandragonrage

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Jun 5, 2004
Messages
8,298
Beyerdynamic DT 880 (or DT 770)
I'd tend toward the DT 880's of these two. A nice set of headphones comfortable and lively, being semi-open compared to the DT 770's being closed they do lack a little of the bass impact, but more than make up for it in accuracy and balance.

For bass being a specific requirement, the options are DT770 and DT990 for Beyer moreso than DT880. Personally I recommend DT990 unless you like a downright "boomy" sound in which case DT770. DT880s are great and are more neutral, though you could use equalization on them. DT770 are a good choice if you love bass and want closed headphones.

I had ATH-AD900s and they had a lot less bass than my DT990s (not saying they're bad otherwise... other than being incredibly uncomfortable). I currently own the DT990s and AKG Q701s and the DT990s have a lot more bass as well.

My overall recommendation is the DT990.

I have not heard any Sennheisers over ~$150, though, so I can't offer a ton of advice on that. I just gave away some HD555s that were really nice for what they cost (which was under $150, just so there is no confusion). I hadn't listened to those or the AD900s for a while so I don't remember how they stack up but I think the HD555s (which are the cheapest by far of all these) would be #2 out of the 4 I've mentioned owning. It's possible the AD900s could have had enough excursion to crank the bass up with decent volume, but they definitely were light on the bass without that.
 
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ThinJ

Gawd
Joined
Jan 20, 2007
Messages
733
Rather than the ODac route I went for some stuff from Schiit Audio.

I was originally rocking a Modi DAC and an Asgard 2 for the amp with a pair of HiFiMan HE-400's. I then bumped the Modi to my portable setup (it's perfect for it!) and bought a Bifrost Uber USB for my main rig. Currently I use my MrSpeakers Mad Dogs for all my gaming as I like the sealed cans for it better.

There's also a pair of Senn HD-600's that I tend to break out occasionally.

All are excellent options.

FWIW, Schiit's Modi DAC/Magni Amp combo is $200 together, that's $80 less than the ODac, and compares very nicely quality wise with it. It also looks nicer, if you care about aesthetics at all.

I do have a pair of DT-990's in the house as well, but they mostly just sit in the case. They're super fun headphones, but they're a bit on the "smile-curve" side of things. That can be fun sometimes, and they have a wider soundstage than you might expect them to have, but can still sound "forward" with certain recordings. I wouldn't recommend against them though, especially if you like big bass which they deliver in spades.
 

FM_Fixxxer

Limp Gawd
Joined
Mar 2, 2012
Messages
303
Thanks for all the info guys, I really appreciate it. I need to find something before my current ones bite the dust. I'll start looking into all the options given.
 

FM_Fixxxer

Limp Gawd
Joined
Mar 2, 2012
Messages
303
For bass being a specific requirement, the options are DT770 and DT990 for Beyer moreso than DT880. Personally I recommend DT990 unless you like a downright "boomy" sound in which case DT770. DT880s are great and are more neutral, though you could use equalization on them. DT770 are a good choice if you love bass and want closed headphones.

I had ATH-AD900s and they had a lot less bass than my DT990s (not saying they're bad otherwise... other than being incredibly uncomfortable). I currently own the DT990s and AKG Q701s and the DT990s have a lot more bass as well.

My overall recommendation is the DT990.

I have not heard any Sennheisers over ~$150, though, so I can't offer a ton of advice on that. I just gave away some HD555s that were really nice for what they cost (which was under $150, just so there is no confusion). I hadn't listened to those or the AD900s for a while so I don't remember how they stack up but I think the HD555s (which are the cheapest by far of all these) would be #2 out of the 4 I've mentioned owning. It's possible the AD900s could have had enough excursion to crank the bass up with decent volume, but they definitely were light on the bass without that.

With the DT770s, are you running an amp with them? If so any suggestions on which? Also I've come across 2 sets of 770s, an 80 and a 250 Ohms... which do you recommend?
 
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Joined
Nov 13, 2006
Messages
2,777
Looks like Massdrop has another group buy going for the integrated O2+ODAC combo. Shipped it is roughly $45 off the regular price if anyone is interested. I prefer one small integrated unit over Schiit's Modi DAC/Magni Amp two piece kit. Can't go wrong with either choice though really.
 

NukeDukem

2[H]4U
Joined
Feb 15, 2011
Messages
2,369
I use a Titanium HD sound card -> Objective2 amp -> AKG Q701 headphone combo and find it to be fantastic. The surround quality for gaming is wonderful. The AKG's really benefit from the O2 amp.
 

StoleMyOwnCar

2[H]4U
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Sep 30, 2013
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2,152
Personally if you're just looking to test the waters I would highly suggest jumping on that Monoprice dac+amp (and just buying it from the seller, not from Massdrop because Massdrop takes ages to ship and the savings might not be worth it) and then dumping the rest of your money into the headphones.

At about 300$ you can get almost anything decent that's out there, but you have to decide on the sound signature you want, and I think the best way to do it is to read through multiple reviews per headphone and then decide on the sound signature you want. Look for common features that everyone agrees the pair has and then use that to characterize the sound. For instance, I got these T1's because people said they were accurate and had tons of detail and were good for all types of music, and everyone agreed with that. Hence I was not disappointed because I did research and came to the conclusion that this is what I wanted. Though there are unexpected factors, such as my higher sensitivity to sibilance than most individuals.
 
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