Help me decide what to get (ft. Beyerdynamic DT 1990 Pro and Hifiman Sundara)

Hello there,
I’ve been lurking since around December 2020 but ultimatively decided to make an account last night. I need some input on what pair of new cans I am going to buy. Here’s what I got so far:

  • JDS Labs Atom Amp
  • JDS Labs Atom Dac+
  • Sennheiser HD6XX
  • Moondrop Aria

I feel like some sort of backstory is necessary, but there is a TL:DR at the bottom.

I got the 6XX in Febuary and I’ve absolutely fallen in love with them for music. It was a huge upgrade from my HyperX Cloud 2 headset I had before and I really do enjoy listening to music with them for hours a day. I recently got the Moondrop Aria for on the go, and just for the fun of it I tried them out on my desk setup and was thoroughly impressed. I’ve never tried IEMs before, and they did not disappoint. If anything, they made me realize how bad the 6XX are for “competitive” gaming. The Aria’s imaging mop the floor with anything I’ve heard over-ear. I mainly play Valorant, Warzone and Cold War.

Anyways, that sent me off the quest to find better soundstaging / imaging cans to use for gaming. I have the 6XX for music, but I want something better for “competitive” gaming. With the help of countless reviews, Youtube, forum posts here, Mad Lust Envy’s thread and our lord and saviour Falenkor I narrowed it down to the Hifiman Sundaras and the Beyerdynamic DT 1990 Pros. I can get the Sundaras for 350€, the 1990s are currently on sale for 430€, which tops out my budget. From what I’ve heard, the stock cable that comes with the Sundara is pretty bad and combined with the fact that I usually route my cable under my desk and need about 3m (~10 feet) for that, I am going to have to get aftermarket cables. That wouldn’t be as big of a problem if I didn’t have to import them (I live in Germany). So that easily bumps up the price to around the same price as the 1990s.
What I want is a bigger soundstage than the 6XX and excellent imaging. The cans are going to be mainly for gaming, but not exclusively as I am looking to expand my musical horizon, if that makes sense.


  • Love the 6XX for music but not for gaming
  • Looking for bigger soundstage and excellent imaging
  • Budget max 450€
  • Beyerdynamic DT 1990 Pro and Hifiman Sundara are biggest contestors
  • Input, experience or recommendations wanted
  • I appreciate you for reading through :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes:

I would highly encourage trying a beyer before jumping to the 1990 over there. 880 is a good start or 990 if your okay with that much treble. The beyers are treble cannons and not for everyone… 1990 performs extremely well and depending on the game will out perform sundara on imaging. Soundstage is sundara as the winner as it presents itself very large and airy its just not as accurate… if you prioritize verticality then sundara would be a better choice… well that or a t1 2nd gen.

Still 6xx is not bad for gamers it has very narrow staging is the issue so it’s not the best for larger games

Also got a chuckle outta that.


@Falenkor second that the DT880 is such a great can. Soundstage, imaging resolution and if you get the 600ohm good bass character smooth

Also building on the DT 880 recommendation beyers are sensitive to pad swaps. Check out some of the possibilities:

I personally love the Dekoni choice suedes

Do not expect to drive the 600 Ohm DT880 Pro well with your JDS stack. Get something with a higher voltage swing to overcome the huge impedance, like a monolith liquid spark or a tube amp like Dark Voice. That will improve your HD6XX too, the HD6XX is known to be on the level of even ZMF Aeolus will paired with the right amp.

I’d personally get the Beyer TYGR 300R

Thank you all for your help. I am tempted to just get both the Sundaras and the 1990s and return the one I like least. I have thought about the TYGR, but from what I’ve heard they are more of a sidegrade than a upgrade from the 6XX. Decisions, decisions. A tube amp and the THX 789 are already on my shopping list for the unforeseeable future.

Cant say I had this issue honestly… drove them fine it’s just not as strong as spark

Tubes are the last thing you need for competitive gaming

Bit of a stretch imo… I like aeolus. Not the biggest fan of 6xx

In terms of sound quality? Perhaps. In terms of imaging and soundstage? Tygr demolishes 6xx


Oh yeah, I know the Tygr does certain things better than the 6XX, like imaging and soundstage (what i want, which is good), but I am also looking for an overall improvement in sound quality (which they are not). I probably wasn’t very clear on that, so I apologize

Try Harmonicdyne Zeus or Verum Audio Mk2

An “overall” improvement is hard to really nail down as it’s a more subjective viewpoint when its comes down to enjoyable sound quality… but if a step above 6xx is what your after look into focal elex. Sundara has rather recessive bass and 1990 while nice can be extremely hot on the treble. Elex is another similar to sennheisers but does have some bright tendencies, better stage and imaging

Sundaras sound is more floaty and airy gives off a more cinema vibe.

1990 is aggressive yet large and extremely analytical that will point out flaws in music to a fault

Elex is aggressive in that it forces your head into the music but is like crystal clear especially on vocals with some touches of hot treble. It soundstage is of good size but can be hard to notice with how it presents sound.

T1 2nd gen I’ll add is the relaxed larger soundstage brother of the 1990. Shares a signature that’s extremely similar to the hd800s. Mid centric and bright with a good amount of bass. Largest stage of the beyers and extremely accurate imaging. This is what I use personally. Its discontinued so you’d have to search a bit

Zeus is a very large stage, airy, yet very accurate fun headphone with a signature similar to tygr in that it’s a warmer v shape. Doesnt sound natural at all and absolutely caters towards more fun use

Verum is hard to get but reference timbre grade neutrality sums that one up quite well. It can be a bit boring imo… it’s well rounded though

Out of all of these sundara and verum have the least imaging. Sundara, t1, and zeus have the most staging, sundara and zeus have the most airy quality