Nice write-up, @Falenkor! It’s a nice guide for competitive gamers in general. Haven’t been able to try out all of them yet. I’m still trying to find the best for me.
I’ve wanted to add my thoughts on some of these headphones, especially for those who play Rainbow Six Siege. In the past few weeks, I’ve been able to test the Beyerdynamic DT880, DT990, Philips SHP9500, Sennheiser GSP 300 (not on the list), and the Audio Technica ADG1x (basically the AD900x with a boom mic).
So simply put, the SHP9500 and the ADG1x were definitely the best overall (for siege).
SHP9500… Pros: Good imaging and soundstage, great price, quite comfortable, boom-pro compatible, not too much bass that could otherwise be distracting, and not too bright like the Beyers
The only con I found with them was the amount of sound that leaks. They’re very open and it is possible for a boom mic to pick it up at a loud enough volume
ADG1x (compared to SHP9500) : Better Imaging and soundstage, Less comfortable (pad material, pad depth, and 3D wing support system may be a problem for you as it was for me), attached boom mic, and nice sound signature overall for gaming (again, none of that rumbly bass or harsh brightness as with the Beyers). I REALLY wish there was an option that sounded exactly like the ADG1X, but with a “normal” headband. The earpads I could probably switch and fix the comfort issue I was having after long periods of time, but I’ve heard from others that the 3D wing system may not be comfortable for everyone. It seems gimmicky to me. It was comfortable for me but having short hair, whenever I took the headset off it pulled a hair or two. Otherwise, you may not have a problem at all with the wings. Head shape and size also plays a role.
A minor con with these was that when you turn the mic mute switch on or off, there’s an audible popping noise
For me, the Beyerdynamics were pretty bright. Although the DT990 was a bit more bright and sibilant, the DT880 were still a bit bad in that regard. Maybe I’m more sensitive than others (I’m relatively young and take good care of my hearing), so your experience may differ. To give an example of what I was experiencing: anytime I broke or walked through barbed wire, or when a concussion grenade went off, or when I used Amaru’s hook, the brightness was so bad I had to turn down the volume or actually remove the headphones from my head. None of the others (Audio Technica, Sennheiser, Philips) had this problem. Other than that, they’re comfortable, have good build quality, good imaging and soundstage (although not quite better than the ADG1X), and are not too expensive.
The GSP-300 is comfortable, has decent imaging but not enough soundstage (being closed back), bass can sometimes cover up some audio cues, and is less than $100 like the SHP9500. So in that price bracket, I would choose the SHP9500 over the GSP-300. Though I do like the “flip-up to mute” feature on some of the Sennheiser gaming headsets.
Again, these were my observations and sound is subjective and whatnot. So it’s best to try before you ultimately make a purchase decision. For example, I read the section about the DT880 and thought I would love them, but that harshness that I experience in the treble region is a big problem for me personally and I can’t play like that (having to turn down the volume whenever I do certain things in the competitive game that I play the most).
P.S. My testing was done using the SoundBlaster G6 as either a DAC/Amp, or as a decent DAC with a line out to the Aune X7S 2019 Class A amplifier. I also tried the Aune amp with no external DAC and it seems to smooth over some of those rough edges in the treble region when using the Beyerdynamics. You could probably use EQ but I don’t like messing with it.