Can different amps change a games sound?

I’ve been reading and listening to reviews between several headphone amps lately.
Take the Magni 3+ and Asgard 3 for example…

I’ve seen many reviews stating that the Asgard 3 has better soundstage and imaging over the Magni 3+. Would this translate into games assuming that decent headphone and decent sound engines were used in the game?

Or would the differences be so minimal it wouldn’t really matter?

The smallest sound stage I’ve gamed with was the SMSL SP200 with the Khadas tone board. The Magni Heresy by comparison with the TB I never noticed it feeling squeezed in like with the SP200, same with the JDS Atom Amp with it. Pairing them makes a big difference though, not just the amp. Personally if gaming and music are equally important then the JDS Atom original DAC and Amp, if music is the more important then the Magni Heresy and Khadas tone board. I’ve had both and now getting the Heresy/Khadas back again because I miss music with it more than the Atom stack with it’s smooth and accurate delivery of game sound effects.
The THX was not fun for me, the treble isn’t natural and that’s where a lot of game sounds happen. Cymbals and high hats sounded like someone had a finger pressed on them, making a tink more than a splash. Bass dynamics were amazing on the SP200, but in games it drowned out the subtle sounds you want to keep track of.
The Topping L30 was ok with the E30 for games, but I didn’t enjoy playing with it as much as when I contacted JDS labs and they had the original DAC in b stock, so I got it and the Atom amp. I play Destiny 2 so it’s got a really good sound engine for stereo.
For pure gaming accuracy the best I’ve heard was the Soundblaster AE-9 with the SBX on 90% with a pair of Audio Technica ADA-1000x and I could hear behind be clear as day. Also with the Sennheiser HD800 the sound stage made me feel like a S.O.N.A.R. operator in games.
I’d avoid the THX, I’ll never get one again after trying several DAC’s with it, just didn’t feel I could hear that far away with it in games. The Topping L30 was middle of the road for stage too, but not as small as the SP200. I’m sticking with the Heresy just for the value, haven’t tried the Asgard yet, but sure there’s some others here who’ve gamed with one. Might get a Modi 3+ to try before assembling another tone board.

Hi Nick,

Thanks for the information. All great stuff there and glad you threw in some comparisons.
I’ve been swaying back and forth between a Magni 3+ and Asgard 3 for around a week now. Most reviews seem to say the Asgard sounds more natural and has a much better sound stage and positioning.

If they weren’t that drastic a difference for gaming, I would have likely just went for the cheaper option but after reading the reviews and member feedback, It seems to excel in games and music so I think I’ll give that a shot!


I just got a Drop THX One 789 in today. I test everything with my trusty Gen1 MMX300 and Khadas Tone Board. The Drop One has a much better soundstage than the SMSL SP200, I would game with this combo all day long. I have another Heresy coming in tomorrow to do a blind test and side by side comparison. I have a trusty assistant and she knows how to swap DAC’s, but more importantly she’s devious enough to know when not to and see if I notice I’m listening to the same one twice in a row.
The L30 was middle of the road for sound stage in games, the SP200 was claustrophobic, and the Drop 789 One is really good. I’ll fire up Destiny 2 tomorrow when the Heresy comes in and do a comparison shootout. There’s a place in that game that’s perfect for testing how far you can hear sounds just by how close I have to get to hear it.

Hi, Thanks for the heads up.
I did look at this amp actually so good to hear that it is a good performer. I’ve seen it recommended quite a bit actually.
I have actually placed an order for an Asgard 3 but still on the lookout for a used Magni 3+ which I may take to work and leave there.

If you don’t mind, It would be interesting to hear your thoughts once you have compared the THX 789 to the Heresy.

I mean if your comparing 789 to asgard 3 they are very different. 789 is. Clinical and clean while asgard is neutral and a bit warm with some colored tonality. Spatial wise asgard is absolutely better. Side note here, destiny definitely isn’t the best benchmark for testing… If possible tarkov would be better in that regard

I actually tried to buy Tarkov a few weeks back but they wouldn’t accept any of my email addresses. Gave up in the end and not going to bother making an email address for one game.

Odd, I just use gmail for it. Game needs more work in my opinion. I grow tired of it quickly

The Heresy arrived and I’m keeping it with the Khadas tone board. For me it’s the perfect match. The Drop 789 One is really nice but it’s too sterile sounding to compliment the Khadas. In games it’s just fine and the bass and mids are wonderful for music. The treble was a little sharp on the THX and with the Heresy it sounds smoother and just right.
The Drop 789 would be good for warmer headphones like the HD58x and HD65x sounded terrific, but I use a Beyerdynamic Gen1 MMX300 so the Heresy/Tone Board for me is the perfect combo so it all works together.
The only other one I liked as much was the Soundblaster AE-7 for internal cards (AE-9 was too analytical and the X7 is showing it’s age). For gaming I’d also get the original JDS Atom DAC/Amp, transparent but in a good way for gaming, very well rounded for high pitched gaming sound effects.
Going to keep this combo for quite a while, Adele sounds amazing as do the lower keys on the piano. I’m sure the Asgard 3 will be terrific.

I suppose I shall find out soon as it looks like my Asgard 3 has landed in the UK now. It only shipping less than 24hrs ago. Hopefully it clears customs quick enough.

Did you get the one with the DAC in it, or going to do them separately? It’ll probably get through customs unless someone sees the label and thinks there’s a Tesseract in the box…

No, I just opted for the amp itself. I had heard the cards weren’t the best so using my G6 as a DAC and mic input for now. I’ll look at getting a Modius in the future I think.
Ha, Its showing as Friday delivery but time will tell.

I’d give the G6 a spin on it, I’ve had several of those and the 5.1 mode was great for gaming (the 7.1 seems to lose too much detail) and direct mode was really nice at 79 percent volume. If you upgrade, they sell fast on eBay since console players like them too being external.

I’ve normally just left the 5.1/7.1 modes off really and used Dolby Atmos for headphones which seems to sound better to my ears. I’ll maybe try 5.1 again.
I have read the DAC is really quite good on the G6 so I would be happy to keep as is and just use that along with the Asgard.

With 79 percent windows volume the DAC measures really high on sinad. In overwatch Atmos was really good but in games that don’t support it I didn’t like it. Best time I had with that was in 5.1 for games and SBX turned up until the reverb got too much then I’d back it off a little. Nice for bumping out the soundstage on the Sundara which was great width but not a lot of depth front to back on those.

Works fine honestly but I’d say less you really wanna keep the gaming extra options something like modius will absolutely replace it.

I’ll keep that in mind then when I come to use it.
I think most of the games I regularly play use Atmos for headphones (Modern Warfare, Battlefield 1, Apex etc) I’m not sure if I have come across a situation in games that I play where it hasn’t been used yet but good to know for when I do.

It will be on the list for future upgrades I think. I’ll maybe hang back until I see a good deal on one locally but I think I’ll be pretty happy with the G6 and Asgard combo.

Nick, When you say 79% volume, I assume that is windows volume?

Yeah if you keep Windows volume on a G6 at 79% the Sinad score goes from 106 to 112 so it’s worth it if you have the headroom. I tested games last week and the SMSL SP200 had the smallest, the L30 was middle of the road, and I have a Heresy and Drop 789 One in front of me for testing now and they’re both good, about the same. With the G6 using 5.1 and SBX of even 12 percent will bump out the soundstage a good bit without causing reverb that happens at higher settings. Works really well on Hifiman like the HE-4xx I have on now and the MMX300 closed back too.
The best soundstage I’ve personally ever heard was the Sennheiser HD800 on a Sounblaster AE-9, it was both accurate and huge. Going to dive into Destiny 2 on both the Heresy and THX 789 One today and measure in game, there’s a spot I go when it’s quiet and can see how many steps it takes to hear the ambient noise inside a building or a marker beacon. They’re both wonderful amps but I think the Heresy has the edge on voltage, more power at higher OHM ratings when the THX goes down.

Ok great! Thanks for the tips. I’ll make sure its set like that from now on and just adjust from the amp itself.
I’ll possibly consider looking at buying a pair of HD600s one day but the prices are a fair whack. I do like the look of them though.