Immersive gaming and music listening / My story so far :)

First of all: Hi, this is my first post on this Forum, but to my excuse :slight_smile: , I just found it through Zeos Videos.
I just love this guy,been basically bingeing his Videos for the last couple of days.

Why you ask ? Well let’s get into it.

Whenever I look up good gaming Headphones or good gaming Amp/Dac it usually comes down to either dedicated gaming Headset and / or the topic of competitive gaming.
So I have tested A LOT of gaming Headset overr the last couple of years and imho none of them do a really good job when it comes to immersive gaming. That’s why I started looking into audiophile equipment. So for the longest time now I’ve been using the old DT 990pro 250Ohms with a soundblaster G6.
Now the G6 gave out on me in a very strange way…when using virtual surround Sound the back right Channel is completely distorted. I don’t know how that is even possible since it’s virtual…?

However I started looking for something to replace it and after watching countless Videos and reading a lot of articles I decided to go with the iFi Zen Dac v2. Which I love. Imho it’s way better than the old G6. Thanks for the recommendation @ZeosPantera.

I’m using Dolby Access on Win 11 to do the EQ and virtualization and it does a way better job than the Soundblaster Software did. Plus it’s way less taxing on your PC.

So now, you know how it is, you update one Piece of equipment and suddenly you’re asking yourself what about a different headphone :smiley: #thebug
Now I’m thinking about getting the Hifiman XS.
What’s your opinion on those especially for immersive gaming and use with the Zen Dac v2 ?
How’s the Soundstage / Surround on these ?
Will they be a worthwhile upgrade to the DT 990 pro ?
Are there other in the 500$ Price Bracket I should consider ?

Sorry for my bad English and the long first Post.

Thanks for any and all input

1 Like

Welcome to the forums and community.

There are quite a few different opinions you will get on here which is what I love about this hobby. So take it all in and then make your informed decision is always my advice.

With that, my personal experience for the 500 or less price range is the Harmonicdyne Zeus at 350 and sometimes less. Now, I must say this, if you are just looking for immersion then this is my recommendation. If you are looking for immersion but also something you can hone in some competitive skills, then I would not recommend them (they have some rumble which can get in the way of hearing those footstetps).

I have not heard the Sundara myself, but that is another solid choice albeit a Planar Magentic.

I’ve seen many good things about the Hifiman XS also, just do your research on some of the comfort and QC issues that do pop up with Hifiman.

Are you wanting isolation or are you good with open backs? Another thing to consider.

Are you sensitive to sibilance and/or high frequencies would be another thing to consider. As I know the DT1990 are going to get recommended to you but that is something you will want to be aware of. Someone else on here that has heard both the 990 pro and 1990 I am sure will be a better resource then me for that.

Congrats on the upgrade from your SB G6. I grew up with soundblasters pretty much every PC build I did. I always enjoyed them until I discovered actual dac/amps made for full audio experiences. You are correct in that there is a difference…again if that is what you are after.

Hopefully those are a couple of helpful nuggets of info!

ah the paid advertising of them hollering how these headsets are the BEST FOR GAMING and so on… even when you search headphones they tell you a headset. It is indeed quite obnoxious lol

Well they aren’t going to, they are built cheap so they break over the course of a year or two and have no interest in proper sound quality as long as they sound decent enough to appeal to a gamer. The higher up models like steel series do have benefits but even then… comparing them to something in the smaller headphone budgets like shp9500 most of them lose out big time its rather pitiful. Gaming headsets are really only useful, excluding special cases like mmx300 or audeze penrose, if your heavy on budget and absolutely need a headphone + mic though thats really only if you can’t afford like… $120 since shp9500 + v-moda boom pro is around that price tag

Virtual surround sound never seems to want to work right but it sounds like your unit may have turned defective unfortunately

I don’t like casting shade but I will caution following the Z man, hes big on the hype train and tends to be very vague on his descriptions in sound. As for the ifi Zen over there, not particularly very strong but will drive 250 ohms just fine it just can’t push higher than that without using balanced and the balanced port has a weird connector for it 4.4mm pentaconn. If you want a step further for the zen dac though also grab the zen can and place it on top of the zen dac connected to each other… the zen can is much stronger and a better amp by a good margin

Dolby and Hesuvi are both a hell of a lot better than any of that other junk. You can also use PEACE APO for EQ as well if you want since its free.

its good just… heavy like most planars. If your into lighter headphones like that beyer it may not fit well or you will need to get acclimated to it… at the same time caution is required for hifiman as you may need to issue warranty early on it since many of their products suffer from terrible quality control. Doesn’t make the headphone bad, just ignorance within the company that’s gone on for years. As for use with the zen dac, it may push that zen dac quite far but should get the job done…

I will say this… you very likely will not need virtual surround on a hifiman like that… they are extremely open and also leak a lot of sound due to their build… they have an extremely airy presentation to them

Well they aren’t V shaped so not particularly an “upgrade” just different. If you want an upgrade to that signature different headphones would be recommended within that area such as HarmonicDyne Zeus(granted this is more of a Fun headphone rather than analytical and detailed)

Absolutely! Never deadset yourself on one right away… far too many choices to do that especially within that price bracket. Would be best to figure out what your sound preference is that your looking for and go with the best case result on that.

Wow thanks to both of you @skeeb23 @Falenkor for the long and descriptive Answers.
I don’t like closed backs. They mostly sound too narrow for me and also I tend to start sweating way more with them :smiley:

As mentioned before the G6 was fine for like almost 5 years and now it gave up on me, but like @skeeb23 said it’s a whole other thing with an dedicate AMP/DAC.
The Zen DAC v2 seem to power the 250Ohm DTs fine. On high gain I’m somewhere between 9 and 11 o’clock.

It seems like you both are recommending the Harmonicdyne Zeus. I’ll definitely look into them. The Hifiman XS would not be my preffered design choice :slight_smile: They look rather big and if they’re heavy like you mentioned than this is a no go for long gaming sessions.

sibilance or high treble is usually not a problem for me. On the other hand the DT990s seem to distort the Base quite a lot when you turn on the iFis’ True Base so I left it of for now and just pushed the EQ little.

I’ll will look into EQ APO tomorrow seems quite powerful.

Thanks again. I’ll let you know how the journey continues


If you do end up with the zeus I’d look into @ResolveReviews eq for them. Brings down the mid bass and helps make them sound more natural. I completely prefer it to the stock sound. I just added a lower/sub bass shelf to help with the falloff.

I’d say it depends on what I am doing as the stock sound for casual games in some cases is pretty killer

You could consider the PC38X from Sennheiser or the TYGR 300 from beyerdynamic. Both are considerably cheaper (around 200$) and will provide an excellent experience for gaming, while saving the rest for a “music” audiophile headphone if you don’t like them.(eg the 6XX).You could also look into the LCD-GX from Audeze(would not recommend) or the 800 series from sennheiser if money is not a concern, although their performance as a music driver is leagues below the competition. Also if you need a mic the value of the 38X is even better.

cheaper build, extremely small narrow ear cups that causes problems for many many people I have spoke too… they are actually smaller than most of the regular sennheisers, mic quality is pretty pathetic and has some bleed issues if the headset is too loud(not as bad as the 37x had though atleast), issues with imaging with a 3 blob effect, issues with separations of sound, issues with soundstage… while its technically one of the best of the headsets its still… pretty bad. Swap this to the 58x jubilee, HD 600 series of some sort like the 600 650 or 660s, or HD 560s which has a similar signature to the 38x but actually properly tuned

redone up DT 990 with the bass being slightly dialed back and much much less glaring treble and energy its also a bit lighter and sounds a bit more dampened. However, laser accurate speaker like presentation, large soundstage despite the dampening, very good comfort and pads are on the average 100-110 mm sizing, build quality is thinner plastic which makes it light but this is the weakest spot next to the attached cable. May require extra amplification

I personally despised this headphone compared to audeze’s other lineup… it’s imo just not worth the money whatsoever… I get more engaging sound from an lcd-x with a modmic or lcd-2. Granted audeze penrose isn’t too bad for its cheap price and offers good wireless if a gamers after a wireless headset

without a strong amp and dac this will sound terrible, I know many will disagree as its a controversial debatable sort of topic but the zen dac just isn’t enough to really bring this headphone to life… Its also a one trick pony as its treasured area is its ridiculously overly inflated soundstage… would not encourage this headphone at all its not at all needed despite all claims that its the “best” for a gamer theres atleast 25 other sets of cans I would take over these and I can probably buy at least 3 of those headphones for the price of 1 of the 800 series though again, speaking for gaming specifically… hd800s is quite something in terms of certain music

What about the dead cheap Hifiman HE400se ? They seem to play rather nicely with my Zen Dac v2. Would they still be an upgrade to the DTs ? Zeus still the better choice ?

NP :pinched_fingers:t3:

I do the best that I can. Also I only hype what I get hype about.

1 Like

Completely agreed, although I think you might be lowballing the 38X a bit-the build is better than it looks, same with all the cheaper sennheisers, the mic quality is definitely not studio grade but gets the job done fine. Also I’m not sure the rest of the sennheisers can be recommended for gaming-mainly due to the narrow soundstage.
On another note, the Zeus have really spacious soundstaging with great imaging and are also really fun for movies and such. Also they don’t require heavy amplification, you’ll probably be able to run them off of the zen v2.(Do look it up beforehand though).
As far as it being an overall upgrade I would say that it depends on the music you listen to, since they offer great soundstaging and bass a vast array of genres would be enjoyable(from bass heavy modern music to orchestral).
Lastly the XS, is more akin to audiophile territory and might be somewhat better, albeit less “fun”?, however you would require extra amplification(~100-200 extra $)

I ended up ordering the HE400SE. First impressions are really good, except the balanced cable I ordered are not working at all. Stock Cable is fine.
I’ll report on the weekend after more listening.

1 Like

Im comparing this to headphones within its price. Its not horrible but it absolutely isnt the best you can get if your creative with it or shop third party sellers.

The quality is slightly muffled, and bleeds a bit. It does have one of the better mics for headsets though.

Depends on the game and person. Some people actually perform worse with more stage. Though the 38x has roughly the same stage as the others of the 500 series… its the 600 series cans that have the very narrowed stage

Its just quite bassy… its definitely not a detail oriented super sound quality headphone… but it does sound great, incredible pad comfort, great stage, and very good imaging and separate

Agreed but more so if hes okay with that more V shaped tuning as its not for everyone… some people love those crystal clear energetic mids which just isnt there with zeus

Its shockingly well balanced despite being hifiman. Just too heavy imo for casual gaming over extended periods

Dont take it wrong, i love your vids more of just some constructive criticism is all

Glad you like them