Best immersive experience: K712pro vs Sundara vs Fidelio X2HR

Hey I am using a SoundblasterX G6 Amp/Dac (chose this for the console support - ps4/ps5 and couldn’t buy the mayflower arc mk2 in my country) to power my headphones and looking for the best immersive audio I could get within these 3 options that I have narrowed down from a much wider list of headphones.
(Disclaimer: I will also be getting the HD660s down the road in a few months for a much more controlled and vocal focused listening experience, so I would like one of these to be in contrast with the Hd660s so I could have two different listening experiences )

My top 3 Options/choices :

1.AKG K712 Pro
2.HiFiMan Sundara
3.Philips Fidelio X2HR

My use case:

GAMING: An immersive (cinematic) experience with a really good wide soundstage with great separation in Single player games such as Witcher 3, cyberpunk, doom, doom eternal, Mass effect series, RDR2, Last of us 2 and every other Horror game (big horror game genre fan) etc… And good imaging and good treble response in games such as COD: Warzone , Apex legends and Valorant (I’m in no means looking at these in a purely extreme competitive perspective, I would define myself as a someone who’s semi-causal/competitive looking for an edge in games in terms directional audio (horizontal and vertical, so a balance of wide soundstage and good imaging with good treble to catch them footsteps). And in terms of bass (I’m not a basshead) I would like pleasant and fun bass that is natural not overwhelming.

MOVIES and MUSIC:A great cinematic experience with a wide soundstage and of course with good separation and good pleasant and natural bass for an immersive experience ( In short I WANT TO GET LOST IN THE MOVIES and REDISCOVER MY MUSIC)

So out of these three options which are in my price range and use case which ones would you recommend and what do they outweigh each other in - soundstage, imaging, treble response and separation). Please do share your experiences with these headphones and help me make and informed decision. Thank you.

I have played games in both the Sundara and the X2HR a significant amount. I cannot comment on the 712.
Personally if you are going to be doing a significant amount of gaming, I would recommend the X2HR for sure. The Sundara’s have some advantages. Mainly they just sound better in terms of detail and all that, which makes sense for a headphone that is double the price and requires an amp. However, the in game imaging on the Sundara has some issues; the center image is really narrow in front of you. For example, if you were playing apex and someone was 10 meters in front of you and literally a meter to the right, they end up sounding like they are standing directly to your right. It’s like the headphones are overly eager to push sounds to one side or the other, or like they separate too much to create an accurate 3d sound. In music, you can’t really tell but in game it is obvious and often disorienting that the sound is just coming from the wrong place.
The X2HR on the other hand is great at imaging, and has a big wide soundstage that feels more immersive than the sundara despite the loss of detail. It’s also a bit more bassy. I never had any issue with them playing Apex, Valorant, etc when they were my main headphones. Also, they are a much better product than the Sundara in terms of build quality and comfort.
In short, save your money and have a better gaming experience with an X2HR.

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Havent heard the akgs yet.

Sundara: had them for a month. honestly the best and most detailed headphone ive heard untill back then. the soundstage width wasnt all that much wider than on my 990 pros, but they had more going height wise. with that bigger planar driver i was getting more like a bigger picture of the sound, if that makes sense. for gaming i only used them playing Squad a couple times. i didnt find them significantly better or worse than my 990 pros tbh (for gaming). im not sure if theyre the best value wise for your use cases. the soundstage for me personally wasnt all that immersive when compared to the x2hr.

X2HR: i actually had them 2 times lol. they are aggressive with somewhat muddy bass. based on memory, midrange wasnt particularly bad nor good - it was ok. highs where piercing quite often, because they really lack in clarity. its their biggest flaw imo, its just not all that great. ive played a couple hours of Insurgency: Sandstorm with them (i was used to my 990 pros for games). imo the soundstage ruins the imaging in semi/competitive multiplayer fps as it is just too big and overdone. nowhere near as sharp and pinpoint as they beyers i was used to. but would be fine for casual id say. the soundstage makes them good for movies but thats pretty much all the have going for them i feel like. “Sloppy Fun” is a good description. note: they are great with doom eternal btw, was really immersed with rip and tearing.

if the akgs were to come close to the x2hr’s width but with better imaging then id pick these.

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Can you say a word or two about the 990 vs X2HR in this regard? Like soundstage, immersivnes, 3-dimensionality etc. I would greatly appriciate it.

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so the x2hr sounds a significant amount wider and goes further away from your head, but the 990 is in no way a slouch when it comes to that either. i like to think about it in this way: the x2hr puts you in a staged listening environment while the 990 kinda stuffes your face inside the music (generally speaking, on the right recording the can achieve decent depth).
for pure immersiveness/three-dimensionality id choose the x2hr, but if the use case also is for competitive/semi competitive gaming, the 990 is the far better choice imo. bass response also goes to the 990s imo. the x2 has more in quantity but less in quality. its not as clean as the beyer to me.
when i had the x2hr i was often a/b testing for myself. honestly i feel like the x2 is quite a downgrade from the 990, only worth if you want a huge soundstage and more bass quantity. i probably wouldve kept them if the clarity was better.

edit: midrange & treble: cannot comment too much on the x2’s midrange as i dont have that many memories left, maybe the x2s midrange was had slighty more body to it than the 990. the 990s midrange generally sounds thin, underemphasized and sibilant. for treble, the 990 has better clarity and detail. x2 is alot more grainy in that area.

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k712 has recessive bass tones, good for mids and highs as they are the more emphasized frequencies. Soundstage is very large but not very good on depth. Comfort is very good and pads are quite large. Build quality is on the more fragile side but is fine as long as you take care of it. Imaging has inaccuracies so be warned this can screw with some things in competitive gaming… its not terrible but its worth noting that all the k7 series has this issue. has pad swaps and can be EQ’d just fine

Hifiman sundara is a bright headphone. It has recessive bass tones like a lot of planars from hifiman but again mids and highs are fantastic. Soundstage is incredibly airy and wide with a good amount of depth. Imaging is just fine on this one… it could be better but it doesn’t compete with say a beyerdynamic headphone in this regard. Regardless, this is most likely the best bright sounding headphone in this price bracket next to a beyer but beyers don’t have this much air let alone aren’t so smooth and relaxing to listen to. bass can be fixed through the use of EQ or something like an IFI bass button.

X2HR, I am going to probably be the negative guy in this room here. This headphone isn’t good, plain and simple. It’s good for the price as you can snag one for like $80 but outside of that… the bass is flabby, uncontrolled, and quite muddy. Mids lack in terms of clarity and presence and the highs while smooth are on the grainy side. This headphone is entirely for “Fun” and nothing more. It’s imaging is decent for its price tag but nothing to write home about. Soundstage is where it excels as its very wide and has great depth. Build quality is a bit of a joke imo but still better than a shp9500. Pads are alright but wear down after a while and feel a bit on the grainier side for such cloth material. I would not ever recommend x2hr for competitive gaming… the natural bassy signature destroys footstep placement… imaging isn’t everything

for treble? if your looking for brighter? absolutely the Sundara, sundara also wins on soundstage due to its natural signature and airyness presenting a more cinema like feel to its signature.

I used all three of these for a while as a gamer as someone who has tried a well wide variety of headphones for both music and gaming. k712 was alright but the imaging really could mess with things depending on the game… in many competitive fps the sound engines are already quite poor but when you have imaging inaccuracies on top of that? it really hurts your performance. I felt it was mainly at the 9 oclock, 11 oclock, and in cases of behind and above placements where it suffered the most.

Sundara for me was… harsh. I have very bad results. I love the sundara don’t get me wrong it sounds spectacular but that is no excuse for the company skipping on quality control. I went through 3 of these before finally snagging one in my collection that was good… granted I upgraded it to the Arya’s after the Ananda’s but Sundara in terms of sound quality is nothing short of phenomenal and well worth the money if you can nail one without any issues… they are however, very power picky. I will say that if you get one of these be very careful with it… if your prone to dropping your headphones or are rough with them I will highly recommend potentially passing on a Sundara… the drivers seem quite fragile due to the natural build quality being rather cheap and my 3rd one was dropped accidentally causing the right driver go out, looked like a bad sodering when i opened it up to check. Hifiman has great products but awful quality control… they do have warranties and rma though and once the product is fixed it seems to stay good for a long long time.

X2HR for me was an enjoyable listen… at the point in time I had experience with much better headphones and I could tell immediately the headphone had quite the many issues… the bass would bloat and bleed into its mids not to mention being very muddy, mids suffered but were warm… present but not enough, and highs had this grainy tone to them while acceptable still noticeable to me. The headphones not bad at all for the price and for casual games or movies they are absolutely nice for those but for competitive gaming they are absolutely dreadfully bad… I would take the shp9500 or a mh751 gaming headset over this actually in most cases. I had to eq the hell out of it to get it respectively good enough for competitive gaming depending on the game… I see a lot of others like on reddit recommend x2hr for competitive gaming… I absolutely don’t. If you need competitive gaming but a flexible signature… grab the shp9500 and modify it… you will get more out of it and it performs a hell of a lot better. shp9500 being $50 if you shop around… you can get pad adapter rings for $10 and some pads to swap its signature to a bassy as hell one if you wish for like. $30 so it becomes $90 the same price as x2hr with a better signature and more flexibility as you can just grab velours later and use that for competitives… makes it more well rounded.

hmm, so the 660s are a bit of a monster in terms of imaging. Not the best for warzone in particular but smaller fps like apex it works quite well. It’s very mid centric and its weak spots are its very narrow soundstage, bass is lacking(if you actually check its graph you will see it lacks with recessive bass actually but this is easily fixed) and it has some slightly under neutral treble response. Overall its very balanced sounding more so if you bring the bass into the mix, alot of people use tubes to add this warmth back into the headphone. I feel that the k712 pretty much does the same attempt as its more mids and treble as well so I don’t feel this is a complimentary headphone to a sennheiser as they fit more into the same bracket… x2hr is more of a warmer sounding headphone so that would be alright and sundara is brighter… though you can switch out a sundara for a beyerdynamic if you wish to go that route as those are the bright headphones as well with V signatures as well which would be quite different to the 660s. Personally if you can find one, I would recommend a nighthawk Carbon or T50RP Argon as these are very different… warm dark and bassy… since 660s performs fine in competitives you can use these as your relaxing laid back movie headphones and casual gaming.

x2hr will definitely win on the soundstage while 990 isn’t as wide but is still quite large… x2hr has that more large sound open room feel to it while 990 forces you into the music through aggression. In terms of imaging though, 990 demolishes x2hr completely same with separation of sound but beyers are quite well known for being laser accurate and extremely good analytical headphones. As far as 3d dimensionality I would give that a bit more to x2hr as the added space can discern things above and below and around the area a bit more but in terms of accurate reproductions the 990 will take that. In terms of signature though x2hr is a very warm fun sounding headphone but has issues such as bass bleed and muddyness, grain in the highs, and slight fuzzy mids meanwhile the 990 is a V shape signature extremely sharp and not meant for everyone due to this, raised yet controlled bass, and slightly recessive mids where the mids sound pushed back… so if someone loves mid presence the 990 is most likely not a good choice you would want the 880 for mids or just EQ the 990

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After seeing some other responses regarding the X2HR I have to say I’m a bit surprised at how negatively people view their imaging; I play on a DT 1990 Pro now, and I know that those are better, but I never really had any issues with the imaging on the X2HR. Even in “serious” gaming scenarios like Valorant I was always able to easily discern the locations of enemies with reasonable precision. As in, able to reliably prefire attackers as they push based on audio alone. Again, I’d put them a touch behind a 1990, but honestly it always felt good enough to me.

X2hr is very game dependent so it is hard to recommend. Games that are bass heavy ruin the imaging fot me. Also the X2HR are heavy which is an another down side.

its not the imaging thats the issue and it heavily depends on the game involved… its the bass thats the issue with them. While the imaging of an x2hr isn’t bad per say its not great either and can have some issues. The main issue is that its so bassy that it clouds up the clarity for your footsteps and really severely gets in the way of things… these particular aspects are very noticeable on more demanding fps but not as much on games like destiny, overwatch, csgo, etc.

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