Headphone recommendations for gaming and music

Hello guys,

I’m looking to get a pair of headphones for FPS gaming and music. I have a budget of around 250 USD for the headphones and I would get an amp. Most likely a Fiio K5 Pro or Topping A30. I’m in South East Asia and most amps recommended on here are pretty pricey or hard to find.

As for music, I listen to a mix of rnb and rap mostly. Sampha, Flatbush Zombies, Skepta, Tom Misch . These would be my first “proper” pair of cans, I’m open to the idea of having a pair of open backs, but I’m not too sure if it suits the genre of music I listen to? I don’t live in a noisy environment and I’ll be using the headphones in my room. My country is still under lockdown so I can’t try headphones at the moment, I had a look around and a couple of headphones within my budget are HiFiman HE400SE (100 USD), Beyerdynamic DT770/990 (2OOUSD), Sennheiser HD560S (250 USD), SHP 9600 (100 USD)

what impedance are the beyers?

They all cost the same, but I was thinking of getting the Pro 250 Ω

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i would go with the 250ohm given your situation. if you go that route. the beyers are going to be the best all around at the fps end of it.

for the music side, the he400se or the 990’s are going to be your best bet given what you listen to, as the others are all bass lite.

Hi @Yernamean and welcome to HiFi Guides Forum !

We have a large number of gaming and audio enthusiasts in the community who have plenty of experience to help guide you in your quest. Our community is active with people all around the globe and I am confident that someone will be able to offer suggestions that are available in your area.

I hope that you are able to find a solution that works for you and that you hang around and keep us current with what you decide on, and also what games and music you are playing.

Good luck!

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Make sure if you go for the he400se you get the $150 international one. The $100 Chinese version is basically the 400i from the info I’ve found.

Have you considered the beyer tygr 300r? Would that be within your budget?

A good candidate for fps games/music with good sub bass, pretty good impact, mids arent recessed compared to closed backs or the dt770/dt990 and are pretty smooth. I enjoy tom misch with them. If you have any treble sensitivity, the tygrs are smooth and shouldn’t be an issue.

Have you tried any other headphones or iems in the past that you enjoyed or would be upgrading from?

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Open backs would give your ears some ventilation compared to closed. I enjoy hip hop and rnb with open backs especially in a quiet environment with the tygr and i also take them outside with me.

We do? :thinking: lol

hmm, I think the first question would be is it for console or pc. This sounds primarily for pc gaming and music listening? If so, I am not very fond of Toppings amps they are a bit too sterile for my taste so I would have to place my vote towards the K5 over there but it primarily will depend on what your trying to drive. Just for the record though, while I am not a avid supporter of it… if this is just for primarily gaming use not so much audiophile levels of sound quality… you might be able to find the soundblaster g6 at cheaper prices than the k5… g6 can power 600 ohm beyers just fine and isn’t particularly a bad unit for a gamer.

hmm, lots of brighter tones in those may pose potential sibilance… Gave them a listen through my T1… lots of emphasis so I would be concerned in this case.

so open backs will provide good ventilation and there are some open backs with good bass tones for example nighthawk carbons are semi open and yet quite bassy and dark, audeze have expensive headphones but are open and have good deeper sounding bass, argons are another expensive modder headphone but has some extremely good low end for semi open back, T1 3rd gen is warm as all hell, etc.

However, open backs are also good in mids and highs and help provide a sound that encompasses your head instead of pushing the sound to the center of your head like closed backs will. They also breath a lot better so if you have a hotter environment an open back can be wonderful to have.

As for the headphones. lets cover those real quick

400se: make sure its the international… not the chinese variant as they are different and the chinese version as mentioned by pok is not worth it in comparison. bass recessive much like all the hifimans excluding a very select few, designed with mids and highs being the focus point. Build quality is a joke(but I say this about all of hifiman… good sound awful build quality). Not a bad headphone by any means, good comfort but if you have rather large ears your ears may touch portions of the driver on top and bottom or rub on the top of the ear. Imaging is good above the average and soundstage is that large airy spacious sound you tend to hear from a hifiman much like the Sundara but this would be a more aggressive sound in comparison to a sundara. Its not bad but if you like your bass thumps in your music this may not be your best choice

DT 770 and DT 990: both V signatured, closed vs open back, 770 is slightly more of a U shape in that it has a bit less recession in the mids in comparison to the 990, 990 is extremely sharp and bassy… this can pose very serious complications in terms of treble if you are treble intolerant which varies on a by-person basis. Imaging exceptional, soundstage for the price? extremely exceptional. These are older headphones as such can be found floating on used markets for like $100 however, their sound qualities absolutely depend on which ohm variation you get them in. 990 absolutely sounds its best in 600 ohms in its “premium” or “edition” variation however 770 only comes in 250 ohm at highest since 600 ohm was discontinued unless specially ordering an mmx300 in 600 ohm through beyer manufaktur. These headphones are definitely not the best choice for mids(vocals) and if you wanted essentially the most balanced sound between these two you’d want the DT 880 instead which can be in 600 ohms and highly encouraged to have it at that ohm value. The 990 though does have a less bright alternative that can be ran ampless usually at the same price if you can find them which is the Tygr 300r this is a more warm sounding dt 990 thats more subtly V shape instead so the signature is a bit more balanced out… at the same time its lighter. Tygr may be harder to find on its own as typically you have to order this directly from beyerdynamic to have the headphone by itself outside of the fox bundle or you can search used markets. Regardless, tygr shares the imaging and soundstage of the 990 but without that pesky sibilance problem.

560S: the proper variation of the pc38x and while I consider this kind of boring its just because its like super reference grade. Very very neutral with some brighter treble, above the average staging, and above the average imaging… its extremely jack of all trades master of none… it doesn’t particulaly excel in anything but it doesnt really fail anywhere either. My only issue with this headphone was comfort as its more on ear to me due to larger ears. Other than that, if you want something that just kind fits anywhere much like the dt 880 this is a very solid option. The alternative to this would be the 58x jubilee which is a bit warmer and balanced instead of the brighter tones this offers.

Shp 9600: let this die in a fire and don’t bother looking back at it. This headphone honestly made me quite upset at phillips. This is a reskinned Shp9500 altered to have a slightly warmer less brighter signature than the 9500… However, since you can find 9500’s for like $50 and just modify them with better pads and some adapters… you can essentially get the exact same signature plus better comfort out of just a modified 9500 for the same price or cheaper. I would encourage the 400SE before I recommended this hands down. Skip this one, and phillips should honestly be ashamed for even trying to pull this crap.

In the case of strictly fps? ^ this and the hifiman yeah… I agree. I say the hifiman though because the issue with beyers and verticality… the more I have had experience with airier headphones like the hifimans and others the more I realized that beyers arent the best choice for those gamers who need more verticality sound placements. That aggressive in your face nature of the beyerdynamic headphones instead of the laid back airier approach causes this to be a potential issue with verticality placements


The tygr 300r is sold in a bundle with a mic at all the beyer retailers here, and it’s sold out everywhere as well. The bundle is 425 USD and none of the retailers seem to sell the headphones individually.

As for past headphones and iem’s, I’m really new to the whole audio scene and I’ve not had the chance to try out a lot of headphones. I’m coming from a pair of gaming headphones, HyperX Cloud 2 and it’s on its last legs. I’ve only started reading more because I got into vinyl’s recently, I know this might sound contradictory as I’m coming from gaming headphones, I know I wont get it right with my first pair, but I also don’t want something that doesn’t suit the genre of music I listen to if that makes sense?

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Thank you for your elaborate reply, I really appreciate the insight.

I would be using these primarily for PC gaming and music listening, as for amps, I see the schiit and JDS Labs amp recommended a lot, but they’re like 200 USD in my country, which is slightly out of my budget. The G6 and K5 cost the same however and I don’t think any of the retailers carry the 600 ohm beyers.

I can’t find any 600 ohm beyers in my country and the Tygr 300r seems to be a myth, I can’t find any in the used market and it’s actually cheaper to buy 770/880/990’s brand new than used. Most used ones are only 50 USD cheaper and need pad replacement. I had my eyes on the Meze 99 Noir, but I highly doubt those would work for games but I think they’d be solid for music.

I think at this point its kinda between the Beyers and the Hifiman. I’m coming from gaming headphones so I guess I cant go wrong with either one, I’d just like something “safe”, in the sense that it will go well with the music I listen to. I’m sorry if I come across somewhat ignorant to some audio terms, I’m still kinda dipping my toes into the audio scene.

You have to search for them most likely in 600 ohm… the 600 ohm variants look different and are labelled either edition or premium instead of “pro”. Another reason to not roll the pro variant is that pro has a coiled cable while the alternative has the straight cable. If k5 and g6 are same price either will work… k5 has better sound qualities g6 has more gamer type options such as voice morph, 7.1, scout mode, equalizer, etc

interesting, yet unfortunate. Still worth the money if its $200

very narrow soundstage, warm signature, good well rounded headphone for music listening, Not so much for gaming.

Actually this makes perfect sense. In this regard, I would more point you towards a DT 880 if you want a beyer as it has less issues with potential sibilance while maintaining a very good detailed sound, HD 560 is you prefer that more neutral approach, and the hifiman if verticality is more important in your gaming.

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