Hifiman Sundara, Dt 1990, Or HarmonicDyne Zeus for gaming?

I have a DT 1990 along with my Schiit Asgard 3 amp and Schiit Modius dac, but I kind of want to upgrade to a Schiit Jotunheim 2 and dip my toes into balance amps. I’m most likely going to sell my Asgard 3 on ebay to compensate the cost, but I’m wondering if I should sell my DT 1990 and get a Sundara or Zeus as my gaming/movie/edm/rap headphone, since the DT 1990 use a balance cable. I know I can still use the single ended output for the Jotunheim 2 but from what I’ve heard, to make the most out of the Jotunheim 2, you have to run it balance.

I keep hearing mixed opinions about the soundstage and imaging of the HarmonicDyne Zeus. Some people like DMS say it’s a “concert hall on your head” with laser imaging, and others say it’s pretty average and you should just get the Sundaras instead.

Should I get the Sundara or Zeus, or just keep my DT1990 and use the Jotunheim 2 in single ended? I mostly care about imaging over soundstage, and for non edm/rap genres I use a HD 6xx with a darkvoice for an easy casual listening session.

Well this is something I can definitely chime in on lol. Welcome to hifiguides,

I will break this into multiple quotes to cover the most on it…

In my opinion, while the new jot 2 is a very good amp… unless you have a few balanced headphones laying around this really is kind of pointless… in this particular regard with the 1990 in consideration I would sooner tell you to look towards an RNHP, Lake People, or Violectric amplifier depending on certain particular sound aspects that your searching for… these particular amps aren’t relying on a balanced port.

It’s an idea for sure but they are drastically different in terms of signature and sound traits… you mention gaming but I don’t see which kind of gaming in this regard… the 1990 is a very strong contender in the competitive gaming area but not so great in more casual ended use and like you put it with movies… its not the best choice considering just how hot that treble is. However, the 1990 does have its pad swap capabilities going for it which dramatically changes its signature and makes it very versatile fitting into different areas with the dekoni suede being quite popular(use it myself actually) as it drops the treble alot and raises up the bass giving you more of a warmer V shape.

Sundara on the other hand while large spacious and airy does have more recessive bass tones, built definitely cheaper than your 1990, company has quality control problems, and many have reported that it didnt fit well with them comfort wise… as far as my opinion on them they are fantastic cans but in this case with gaming potentially casual involved and your mention of EDM this is probably not the best fit for you seeing how the beats from your music will be rather recessive… though it is quite nice post EQ and rap is nice with them

Unless modified to be balanced, no the 1990 does not use a balanced cable… it uses a standard 3.5mm / 1/4th inch termination with a 3 pin mini xlr that plugs into the headphone itself… if it was a 4 pin mini xlr like the beyer 177x go uses then yes it would be capable of balance.

Zeus I will get into in a minute here…

I am not sure who in the world claims a zeus is average and I will think either they didn’t drive it correctly, have a faulty unit, or their ears may be broken… the zeus’s soundstage is massive but it doesn’t have that airy sparkling treble presence that a sundara has instead its a more warm V shape thats definitely catering more towards a fun aspect instead of anything timbre related or measurement wise…

I don’t think the sundara will fit this use case very well… 1990 is overly analytical and bright… both 1990 and zeus to my ear image better than the sundara as the sundara may have a great stage but imaging is only above average. As far as soundstage goes… I would say sundara appears slightly larger than zeus due to how it presents itself but its only slightly… and 1990 has the smallest of those 3… all of which are quite large staging.

Personally, I would recommend crossing off the sundara… zeus would be fine and probably fit you quite well however, its not a good fit for competitive gameplay due to its rumbling bassier nature it does fit extremely well into other areas though and the comfort is quite something. 1990 has versatility the others don’t when it comes to pad swapping and has the most analytical approach to sound…

To be fair though? If its just these particular headphones, theres little need for a balanced approach… Zeus doesn’t respond that much if at all in some cases to a balanced setup… 1990 cannot be balanced outside of modding and it gains pretty much nothing other than using the particular amps better circuitry which can give it better sound only because of how the amp works… sundara works fine balanced and does gain noticeable improvement but not something I would say is needed when you have an asgard 3 already… If it was like a higher end… T1, ananda or arya, some of the focals… etc I would say yeah itd be more worthwhile in my opinion at that point as they gain a bigger noticeable improvement with the more balanced amps approach(though I would argue the focals sound ridiculously good on the RNHP)

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