Advice for headphones upgrade, 250$


I’d like to ask for some advice on open back headphones. I currently own the Sennheiser 598SR and I find them just ok. I’m no expert by any means but, while super comfortable, I feel like voices have good clarity (which I like) but the overall sound is a bit flat and boring. It’s like they lack sparkle. I’d like for something that is more fun while keeping clear voices (I don’t want them muffled).

My usage is 60% gaming and 40% music.
I don’t play multiplayer games, I mostly enjoy Rpgs and action Rpgs with good soundtrack (like Nier: Automata, Persona 5), visual novels and immersive sims (Prey, Bioshock).
I listen to most genres (in order: indie, pop, rock, lofi hip hop, jazz, orchestra, classical) but I don’t listen to metal at all.

My budget is around 250 for the headphones and, if suggested, I’m open to spend more for a dac/amp. I’m located in Italy, so even if Massdrop is an option, I’d like to avoid headphones with well known quality control issues since returning them would be quite the pain.

Thanks for your help!

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DT 880 600ohm paired with a Magni 3+ would work well…Schitt have an EU site and the 880’s can be had off of Amazon :+1:


This was gonna be my recommendation also


That sounds like a pretty great pick :+1:


Just gonna throw out the Fidelio x2 hr excellent for single player game imersiom has a laid back very bassy sound signature.


Thanks for all the suggestions!

I could buy DT880 for around 200 from Amazon. Would they be better than let’s say, a 58x for what I would listen to?

If I go with DT880, I can get:

  • Magni3+ from Schiit Uk store for 150 shipped
  • Jds Atom for 150 shipped

But I guess I would still need a Dac, right?
Otherewise, there’s the Fiio K5 pro at 180, shipped.

Fidelio X2HR seem interesting and I could have them for 99$ which is quite cheap. Do you think voice in music will sound clear enough, coming from a 598?

So a 58x would be an upgrade from what you already have while maintaining a bit of the Sennheiser house sound, the 880 600 ohm would be brighter and more neutral in comparison, it would also be less intimate than the 58x, with better detail and spatial recreation. I think the 58x might sound a bit more organic per se, but I think the 880 600 would give you that extra clarity and sparkle you are after.

So what you can do is run the magni 3+ from a PC or phone out for the time being, and get a better dac later on. The k5 pro can power the 600 ohm, but on quieter tracks you might run out of juice at times imo

Something else to consider might be the he400i, as they also seem up your alley. They will be very fast sounding with a slight v shape, extend well, and have good separation and an interesting presentation


Right, I’ll mull it over for the headphones. I’ll likely get the 880 600 ohm. I can’t find the he400i in Europe (there’s just a pair on the marketplace for like 380$, which sounds a tad too much). If I were to up my budget a little, would the Sundara be a good choice? There is an Italian store that sells them for 350$. However, I heard that the drivers are prone to failure.

Are there other good alternatives for the amp? I could buy the Magni 3+ but maybe I can find alternatives shipped from Italy.

And last question, what are some good dacs that I could pair up with the Magni 3+?

Thanks again for all the help, it has been invaluable!

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where there is an 880 rec, I’ll be there to warn against getting the black pads. 880 600 ohm is a super sick headphone imo, just make sure you get the silver pads! better comfort less bright (the headphone already leans a little bright)


yeah the sundaras definitely have QC issues and keep that in mind. but its not better than the 880 and 990 for gaming in my opinion

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The sundara is awesome, I think that would be a higher tier of headphone mentioned, clean, clear airy, spacious, and really enjoyable, def worth it if you have the budget imo. the 400i is only worth around 200 usd so yeah that isn’t a good deal (but the sundara is fairly priced)

Hmmmm, perhaps look for a monolith liquid spark, jds labs atom, archel 2.5 pro or a Lake People G103 S?

The topping d10 or smsl m100 are good budget picks

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TBH it’s not really anymore imo, it’s really not that big of an issue of recent, as the newer pad revision models have had little issues


but its a there are still bacth differences we dont exactly know when the storefront bought it and put it into their inventory so we dont know if its a early or more recent model

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AudioTechnica ATH-AD700x could also be an option to consider.

They are nothing super out there (except the floating head band flaps :slight_smile: ) and do well in genres that don’t need intense thumping base (but what open backs do?).

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Sorry for the late answer. In the end, I’m still figuring out what to choose.

Got a liquid spark for 99$. Do you think that a topping d10 would be a noticeable improvement over onboard audio? I have a decent mobo (x570 I Aorus pro).

As for the headphone, I’ve checked out some reviews. The 880 seems clear and nice but I don’t think I’m looking for neutrality, I’ve likely used the wrong word with sparkle. I’d like to try something more fun (maybe with more bass?) with clear enough voices. I could get the X2HR but the headband is made of real leather and that’s a nope for me.

What about the Nighthawks carbon? I could get them for 285$.

Depends on your sensitivity to these kinda things I noticed a pretty noticable improvement for me over my less expensive but modern motherboard. But hanging out on other forums and building PC’s myself motherboard price doesn’t really Improve audio quality. Cause more expensive motherboards tend to be more expensive for other features like oc capabilities better vrms and heat sinks and features like sli.

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The carbons are pretty sweet, really interesting, I’m surprised you can get them over there. They have a really interesting presentation, very good subbass to midrange response, and a bit not as present treble but its still pretty good

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Is the real leather deal breaker of the X2HR applicable to any set you consider? That’d probably be a pretty big factor in recommendations, and would also apply to the Nighthawks. Many lower price options may use PU leather or other synthetic, but moving into the $150+ range, it starts being more of a factor.

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The carbons are PU leather

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All right, thanks for the info! When I was using a cheap dgx sound card with my previous build my 598 sounded better. Not by a massive difference but I was able to tell. Amplification likely had a part in this tho’. Anyway, I’ll check the DACs too.

Yup, I can get them open box for 285 from Germany or 399 new from Italy. They sound great on paper, I think I’ll go with the open box offer, thanks for the help!

It is, I’d like to avoid real leather products, if possible. It is a bit of a pain to get info about this when looking at more expensive headphones but, from what I’ve been able to gather, the NH should be made of synthetic leather.