Best amp and dac for gaming

So we get a lot of questions about headphones for gaming, and decent amount about value amps and dacs for gaming, but not much on the “best”. Thoughts on best for gaming for a bit more? i do not wanna say money no object, because well 10k+ exists and is out of the range of 99.9%. lets go with best under 5k and best under 2k.

5k for the big spenders seems reasonable, 2k for those of use who want to show some restraint lol. plus 2k anyone can save up for in a couple years for instance for endgame.

Very interested in people’s thoughts on best soundstage, dynamics, immersive, competitive. i think there will probably be many different ones that will work, but some will be better for immersion for instance, and some better for soundstage and dynamics for FPS titles.

So you are at the point where you would want to put careful attention into matching an amp and dac to a headphone, so that’s really hard to say without knowing the headphone and desired sound. Also is there a best lol?

i agree, i should of put " " on the best part in hindsight lol. For the sake of the thread, lets go with generic headphone A that has good dynamics and a relatively neutral tuning.

That’s not enough lol, I need an exact model, there are so many different variables that a headphone has that you want to take into account for pairing with an amp and dac at this range

got ya lol, ok ill throw a few out that i am interested in once i get my house repairs finished(house is 127 years old and everythings starting to fall apart lol lucky me).

kennerton thror
audeze LCD-24
Diana v2

These are off the top of my head and not the most thought out stuff, off the top of my head so I could most likely refine these pairings more

(I will go off previous used pricing here)

In the 2k range I would pick up a violectric v281 and a bifrost 2 dac, that would be great for low end control with a bit warmer sound, a champ for spatial recreation, and also great for a natural yet neutral sound. Slightly smoother with great control. If I wanted something more bright and analytical, I would look for a used gsx mini with a soekris dac1421 imo, this would be quicker, more forward and aggressive, and a bit analytical leaning (the 1421 also pairs well with the vio)

For 5k, I would consider a dac like a lampizator amber 3 and an amp like a mass kobo 433 if you wanted a very engaging pairing imo. A pass labs hpa1 is also a great amp for that pairing, both would be neutral with a side of fun with very excellent timbre, naturalness and spatial recreation. For a more studio reference pairing I would go with something like niimbus us4 and a dangerous music convert 2, it would be pretty damn flat sounding but still pretty enjoyable

The 24 actually isn’t that picky from my experience so that’s nice. For most just fun, going with something like a ifi pro ican, and an ares ii would give great slam and a really forward and fun sound, would be sweet imo. For something more analytical I would go with something like … Gimme more time on this one, brain fart.

In the 5k range, for fun I would go with something like a cavalli liquid glass or a micro zotl mz3, that would be sweet, with a dac like the aforementioned amber 3 for the mz3 or the spring 2 kte for the liquid glass. For a different pairing, I haven’t tried this one myself (I’ve tried all these components but not all together) but a questyle cma800r monoblocks and a dac like the mhdt pagoda balanced or wyred4sound dac 2v2 might be pretty interesting imo

So for 2k, I actually liked the liquid platinum and a borderpatrol se-i which is a strange combo but was good lol. I also liked the burson conductor 3x but that’s too much so let’s go for the conductor 3x performance + a bifrost 2

For 5k, I really liked the manly absolute headphone amp on this for crazy fun, and I would actually pick a chord qutest here to balance it out. A more speedy and neutral setup would be the sparkos aries and a berkeley alpha dac series 2.

As you can tell I got lazy writing this as I didn’t really give sonic explanations, so if you are interested just ask (this took too long to think about because I have a lot of stuff to do today lol, too many things to balance)

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Also is this really for gaming now that I think about it lol? Well more immersive/casual, I don’t think I would rec any of the 3 headphones for competitive (perhaps the diana v2 but idk)

could be lol and no worries, no rush on thinking about it. I have no real idea what headphones in that range are good for competitive gaming, i just am pretty sure i would like the sound sig of the 3 mentioned headphones. kind of hard to find gaming performance on 3k headphones, people just don’t really mention gaming in reviews of anything in that price range.

Very true lol. It really depends on what type of gaming you would be doing, those cans mentioned are great for casual or more fun immersive gaming, but for pure competitive I think there might be other options in the price range

FPS’s mostly, though tbh at my age i am not all that competitive lol. i enjoy playing them but do not really care anymore how i do. so i suppose the 3 would be good at all the other games i play. suggestion when you have time for an FPS setup with around 3k cans then. no rush at all, food for thought for me to look at reviews designs ect over the course, i will not be buying any of this anytime real soon personally. and i am very patient :slightly_smiling_face: :+1:

edit: i used to do a lot more sports and biking and hiking, but my body is worn down. have been switching hobies the past few years and have rekindled my love for music and audio.

I mean for comp fps, something like the stax 007mk2 or 009 with an amp like the headamp bhse or something from mjolnir audio, with like a naim dac v1 or benchmark DAC3 HGC for extra aggression would be pretty sweet. This would really work well for comp gaming but might be too intense for casual listening. Something simple that I also think does will with comp gaming that is less would be a sonoma m1 system actually, that would be solid and all in one.

Going for something less extreme, you could just also pick up a different pair of headphones alongside one of the systems I mentioned in a previous post like a dt1990, hd800s, adx5000 for mainly comp gaming

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those higher end stax look better and more comfortable. the sr-009 makes me want to trace the interior lines of the driver housing onto the grill in red…reminds me of rebel symbol :slightly_smiling_face:

edit: im dumb, not rebel but old republic

Now just do a youtube video for that called “How to get the best sound for Fortnite” . :rofl:

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Im using the beyerdynamic custom studio 80phm. I have the the budget of atleast $200. What dac amp would be best for my gaming use if I will mostly play Battlefield games. (i am quite competitive and i really want good imaging and clearl and detailed bass) i was thinkinh about the xduoo xd 05 basic or a $200 schiit stack(i think its magni 3 and modi 3) though are there better options out there within my budget? Is the xduoo xd 05 basic better than the schiit stack?

I would say magni 3+ and modi 3+ stack over the xduoo for sound quality, but if you plan to go portable the xduoo has that obvious advantage

I heard the difference between the magni 3+ and the heresey is that the 3+ has better “smoothness” and the heresey has “more detailed” sounds. Is this true? And if so, if i listen to pop music and game most if the time should i go for the heresey? (btw i use the beyerdynamic custom studio)

I’d say they are equally detailed, but the heresy is more forward and sharp with that detail. The heresy is a bit sharper when it comes to imaging but not by much. If your goal is maximum competitive then going with a magni heresy and an earmen donald dac would be good but for mixed usage the 3+ stack really should serve you well for both music and games (again as long as you aren’t trying to be the most competitive person out there)

What’s the difference between the heresey+ modi 3 vs heresey+earmen donald dac?

Btw should i do the hersey+modi or the topping d30+a30 stack? What are the pros and cons of each for their specific uses and which one would be best for my use?

The earmen is more clean and a bit leaner, so that’s going to be more optimal for competitive, but personally I wouldn’t pick that combo for music

Personally I would do the schiit stack mainly because I think the a30 and d30 just isn’t up to the same standard imo, it’s not as refined nor technically proficient. The e30 + l30 would be the current gen topping stack that would rival performance, but imo I find the l30 to be a bit oversmoothed and dulled in comparison to the heresy so I do prefer the schiit here slightly