Aug 17, 2016

thoughts on gaming vs. normal headphones

Hi peeps
I'm thinking about buying new headphones, and did some research. Quickly I came to the conclusion that normal headphones are better. What do you think about it?
And do you have a recommendation on which headphones to buy?
-not too expensive (I can't spend over 200 on it)
-mic is handy, but I can buy that apart too
thanks in advance :)
ps: sorry for bad english :s

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I agree about how some headphones with great soundstage enhances the experience. But games these days are programmed with exaggerated sound effects in terms of positioning to work with any headphone. I use earbuds hooked to an amp for gaming. Although the soundstage is not wide but it's enough to make out where stuff are. Although open headphones have better spatial performance, I do find explosions underwhelming.

Perhaps if anyone can give a recommendation for a headphone with a balance of soundstage and impactful bass, I'd switch.
Best gaming headsets for 200 dollars is the Monolith M560 Planars from Monoprice they are easy as crap to drive you just need a basic amp if you need one at all . You want to hear foot steps these are the all around king for music,movies, and games.
Usually these kinds of threads make me cringe, and rightfully so for the stuff people recommend. But here’s my two cents: Stop reading anything here that doesn’t have soundstage as a factor. Natural soundstage with an open-back headphone is the most vital thing you could use in most FPS games. Assuming you’re going to be playing something like PUBG, CS:GO, Fortnite or anything of the sort, you’re going to need some headphones that have great width, depth, soundstage and imaging.
The best option that I’ve come to for budget (and even non-budget for people that consider this high-end for choices in headphones, even though it’s really not), are the AD series from AudioTechnica.

YUCK, AUDIOTECHNICA, RIGHT? Wrong. AD series are some of the most accurate headphones (sub $300 I‘d say) you can get for imaging and soundstage + detailed highs and mids. iirc, the higher you go up the better soundstage, vocal presence, and general neutral frequency. I’d recommend these three for you:
AD700X + Modmic (mute switch and newer version): $172
AD900X + Modmic (non mute switch, older version): $198 (best bet)
AD900X + Modmic (mute switch and newer version): $218

The newer Modmic sounds better, by the way, as the old one is generally more nasally and doesn’t have as good of a freq response, plus the mute switch for convenience.

For gaming, you can’t beat these. They’re also pretty good for music if you want accuracy, but I wouldn’t find these enjoyable for listening to music since they’re just too bass-lite for me. Amazon prices below as of 10/27/17.

If you’re doing any other type of gaming (non-shooters) by the way, forget everything I just said and just get something like SHP9500 with a V-Moda since you don’t need spatial positioning.

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It is compatible, since you don't have high impedance and you can get a y-split -> 4 Pole 3.5 mm converter that will make it work with the PS4 input on your controller. Just don't expect as much as performance as you would on PC, but it'll still be exceptional since you're getting naturally better headphones with open-back headphones and accuracy unlike other most other open-backs in the price range, too.

Here's a link of the adapter that's suggested:
As long as you buy a Y adapter for the controller, yes
Philips SHP9500 with a Vmoda Boom mic. $80 total

5 stars > %80
I bought this headset for light gaming, and then got some remote jobs so I've ended up using it mostly for work. I use it 8+ hours a day for audio meetings 2-6 people at a time, is super comfortable (I forget that I'm wearing off calls), and the mic has very good sound localization. The earpads are soft and comfortable. The top is padded and comfortable. The cable is braided and *long*, so i can pace around the room when tired of sitting.

A slight con for me is the blue light can't be turned off.

I generally use audiophile headphones with a solid DAC.

If your doing tourneys then i highly recommend the Direct Sound Ex29 plus is my personal recommendation. They isolate noise really well and that is huge at tournament time.
I would think for gaming where source/position is so critical to survival and winning, these would be the game:
In the past, "gaming" attached to a product meant "let's slap on some LED lights, some slick graphics and sell cheaply made shit to fools." e.g. Razer keyboards with crappy Kailh mechanical switches.

Less true these days as some products with "gaming" on them are very good- many mice, for instance.
Still, it's a good practice to look at anything sold as "gaming" from a critical perspective. Ask what the "gaming" features are, and if these features are just buzzwords or acronyms rather than things that have been engineered across the industry for years, you're probably better off avoiding it.

Headsets specifically? Gaming versions are probably overpriced, worse preforming alternatives to a good quality headphone coupled with an Antlion Modmic.

Maybe inexpensive Senns (HD471, 569s) plus a Modmic.
A great in-depth post on the subject. Worth a read.
Get an semi or fully open back regular headphone. I have no idea about the mic or whatever.
Gaming Headphone vs 'Normal' Heaphone comparison is difficult to do since they're made for almost entirely difference purposes. This comparison is furthermore troubled by posting it in an audiophile forum where 'Normal' consumer headphones are mostly never part of the conversation. That said, I'm going to continue this with the assumption that by 'Normal' you mean high-end.

If all you're doing is gaming, then gaming headphones are quite good. They serve the purpose of outputting sound with an emphasis on three dimensional imaging with assistance from some form of software or hardware digital signal processing (DSP). DSP is what gives you your perceivable, but ultimately fake 5.1 or 7.1 surround sound. As far as the ability to accurately image and resolve sound, gaming headphones leave a lot to be desired for the most part but it seems some gaming manufacturers are starting to take this into consideration.

Once your concern moves towards having a more universal set of headphones that are good for gaming and also good for critical music listening, the clear choice is what you would call 'Normal' headphones. There's a problem though. There are a ton of normal headphones that are not worth the money and are mostly gimmicky. That lot of gimmicky, crappy headphones is narrowed down to mostly good ones, once you move closer to audiophile class headphones. (This isn't to say that there are no gimmicks and lies in the audiophile world, but for the most part, the price is justified by the technology and the construction of higher-end headphones)

So yes. I would agree normal headphones are better, but which normal ones would you buy?

At the very bottom of the threshold, I would recommend the Koss Porta Pro. They don't look like much, they don't const much either, but they perform well and come with a built-in microphone. I would akin their sound to Beats headphones with a lot of improvements in the clarity of the highs, the presentation of its sound stage, and its bass response. They're super light which is great for gaming, and the microphone is clear as day. (The sound can get stuffy sometimes. It's the only negative and the main factor to comparing them to Beats headphones since those are muffled, muddy, and stuffy ALWAYS)

For a little bit more money, you can grab a pair of Fostex T40RP mk3 . These are great for gaming and sound awesome too. No mic, but that's easily fixed with a set of SONY ECM-CS3 or V-Moda Boom mic.

My favorite gaming headphones are the Philips Fidelio X2. To be honest, I have pairs of headphones that are sub $3k, but I always go back to my X2 headphones since they sound so great for all listening situations including gaming. I consider these my universal headphones and use them a lot for gaming and movies. I pair it with V-Moda Boom Mic. <-- This would be my ultimate recommendation.

Save a little bit more money and get these. Trust, fam.
Generally, gaming headphones sound worse for the money than a pair of alright headphones and a modmic
Someone else on here mentioned the Sennheiser HD598. I had those about 2 years ago before upgrading to the HD700s. I play first person shooters, and sound stage is EVERYTHING. Sound stage gives you directional hearing. It means knowing where other players are, and anticipating if they're about to come around the corner, are behind you, below you, or above you. For me, when I switched from Turtle Beach headphones to the HD598s, my performance improved GREATLY. If I could do it all over back then, I would have skipped "gaming headphones", and jumped straight to the Sennheiser HD598s ($100 approximately). They're open-back headphones, which means they can be heard by others in the same room as you, and you'll be able to hear background noise more than if you have closed-back headphones. For me, there is no comparison (open-back is WAY better), and for your budget, the HD598s are fantastic! If you want/need a mic, look for Ant Lion mic's on Amazon. You can get one for about $50-60. Combined, you're coming in under your budget, and will have a better headset than any "gaming headset" on the market. I don't know if you play on a PC, xBox, or Playstation. If you play on the xBox or Playstation, you might be interested in picking up an Astro mixamp (Amazon again). An Astro mixamp is great for giving you great surround sound, AND, more power for your headphones if they have an ohm rating above say, 50 ohms. The higher the ohms of a pair of headphones, the more power it takes to generated sound. While not required, those 598s would benefit from the Astro mixamp. I use the HD700s (150 ohms) for playing Call of Duty on xBox One, and they're AWESOME for first person shooters! It's like having echo location/radar. They've saved my butt many a time! The 598s will do the same for you! One of my first games with the 598s, I started out 30-0 in a match. The 598s made it easy. I could hear their footsteps before I could see them. I wasn't "camping", but I was always ready, because they gave me advanced warning. Good luck!
get AKG K7xx. and lavalier mic. :)
Have you considered the Razer Blackshark? I mean it's huge and all, but it really isn't as heavy as it looks. It actually sounds pretty good, with or without Razer's Surround software (Since you're using this for gaming, you're better off downloading their Surround software, it basically improves the already amazing sound quality, and since you're buying the headset, you get a FREE upgrade to Surround Pro).

I can't say it's 100% noise cancelling, but it certainly does block out most of the external noise when you're in-game.

The boom microphone is pretty clear (I tested the mic quality using Steam's settings) and is detachable (It comes with a small peg to plug the hole it leaves. I personally found this useful for my on-the-go music listening).

It uses the pretty much standard issue 3.5mm jack, a single one, in case you want to take it outside or something, but it does come with a splitter cable, in case what you're using it for doesn't support the single audio + mic style.

It goes for at the least $100 on Amazon right now.
No... The surround definitely doesn't make it any better. And if it's anything like other Razer headphones, then it's overpriced through the roof. There are better headphones for their budget.
Get a pair of Sennheiser HD598's, it's what I've got, and they're great for everything. They don't come with a microphone though.
Gaming HPs are a $20HP with a $5 mic and a $100 price tag, IMO. Get some decent HPs (ATH-AD900X are < $200 and great for gaming) and a $10 mic.