A noobs guide to immersive gaming

First of all thanks to this Forum and all the help I found here.

This is by no means intended to be a be all and all guide. This is purely my experience and I hope it may help someone looking for the same things.
So I started this journey coming from a soundblaster g6 and DT990pros. It just wasn’t enough for me so I looked into newer (falsely seemingly) better options like the Steelseries Arctis nova pro (a 369€ wireless setup) for example.

Well long story short here is what I did with help from this Forum and a lot of YT Videos and which is by far the best gaming audio I have ever had.

DAC/AMP: iFi Zen DAC v2 (plenty of power and a good DAC for 199€ where I live) It’s the combo unit not the Stack
Headphones: HiFiMan HE400SE (great entry level Planars for just 129€)
Balanced 4.4 Pentaconn to 2x3.5mm Cable: Tripowin GranVia from Linsoul (sale 49€)
Software: Dolby Access 18€

Total: 395€

I set the Zen DAC v2 to high gain and Truebass to on

Dolby Access settings:

Games tested:
Cyberpunk setting Headphones
Tiny Tina’s Wonderland setting Headphones
Hypercharge unboxed setting HiFi
Horizon Zero Dawn setting Headphones
Forza Horizon setting Headphones

They all sound absolutely amazing thanks to the wide soundstage and the clear Sound of the HiFiMan Headphones.
I also compared Dolby Access to Equalizer APO with HeSuVi and I found the Dolby Virtualization better than HeSuVi although the Equalizer is more powerful so this depends on preference.
Also you don’t need any taxing software like Soundblaster Comander or Steelseries Sonar running in the Background.

So if you want high quality immersive game audio for under 400€ this is the way to go imho. Sure you can always go bigger but it’s a very good start :smiley:
I hope this will help some fellow gamer. If you got any questions or recommendations fell free.

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So, personally less the person absolutely wants a combo unit and the bass button(though you can just EQ for this) I wouldn’t encourage the zen… I would instead just ask if they would be okay with purchasing a dedicated stack instead since typically that is the cheaper route and even if it’s not you actually will gain more power and usually a more clear sound(better dac and what not) this way for whats typically slightly more expensive(maybe $20 extra? but you gain a lot more)… Zen dac is strong, but it still isn’t as strong as say the Liquid Spark from monoprice as a dedicated amplifier

I don’t really think one can go wrong with this headphone if trying to get into planars… I haven’t used a better cheap planar yet so I think it would be okay to essentially call this the best bang for the buck in terms of driver

can also look into Hesuvi and Peace APO both of which should be free

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Thanks for the recommendations. I think if you’re a complete noob to this whole audiophile buisness and just want a good desktop solution a Combo Unit is absolutely fine.

I compared HeSuVi to Dolby Access and prefer the latter but I explained this in my Post