Looking for Competitive Gaming Headphones

I gotta admit I love bass and warm sound signatures, but I would be lying if I said I can focus on what’s important while playing.

With that said, I’m looking to get a pair of headphones that will help me position the enemies and their footsteps.

I don’t know if soundstage would be important or what my priorities should be when looking for a competitive set of cans.

I use the JDS Labs Element 1 AmpDac
Budget is around 600usd

All the help is appreciated greatly!

For the record bud, wrong thread location for this one, this topic would go in the respective competitive gaming tab. As for ideal sound signature? I did write up a rather lengthy write up that explains that sound rather early on…

the fact you love bass but want competitive makes me just want to tell you grab the tygr300r to save you some money… laser accurate imaging placements, very large soundstage, has bass but doesn’t get in the way of your placements(literally teeters on too much so it’s near perfect), touch of brightness, excellent build, and comfortable… Only issue is that it’s hard to get. Since you prefer warm signatures I would think this headphone would be perfect for your use case. The headphone costs $200 less you get it used or modded with like a detached cable, and it doesn’t need an amp(amps just help it sound a little better). Taking into account that you have an amp, a potential cut above that… probably DT 1990 which is quite brighter but has the balanced pads and analytical pads that let you switch from V signature and neutral bright signature. Would recommend the T1 but I am not sure if the element 1 can drive 600 ohms. If you want a darker fuller signature that may suit you as well… nighthawk carbons do work well but again are hard to find

To explain though on competitive and it’s sounds from fps… your ideal sound would be either recessed bass or somewhere around neutral, rather you just don’t want rumble as that’s what clouds footsteps, upper mids raised while not mandatory it does help quite a bit, and lastly treble raised again not mandatory but this pushes those more subtle sounds forward and allows them to be heard much better. In other words… bright signature headphones and in some cases V signature and Harman tunings. The other things to worry about is your imaging which is your placements of sound in game and how accurate it is in placing a sound, Soundstage which is the size of the field of sound around your head so the bigger your soundstage the further your headphone can place sounds that are rather distant this goes hand in hand with imaging in game but also keep in mind not all soundstages are the same as some things like headsets aren’t great at diagonal above below and behind on the soundstaging or a headphone will be great at left right and center but awful in every other direction, lastly Seperation which is really only important if you play heavily congested fps style games where there is just a ton of things going on… without seperation it sounds like a garbled mess and while it may place them due to imaging without seperation it just makes things complicated.

I could recommend some others, but I think you would feel more comfortable in your preferred signature and there isn’t that much that best tygr in that range of current that can perform as well in gaming. Least, not to my knowledge. If it was just bright signature recommendations you’d also have Hifiman to consider as Sundara and Ananda would be in that, HarmonicDyne Helios would be there, among many others.

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Want a crazy recommendation that I found. I have ThieAudio Legacy 3. I’ve been using them on the xbox series X…

I haven’t finished up the review but the title is “one word, presence”.

They are triple driver, with an in your head type sound with solid imaging.

They have been my gaming goto the last week or so…
Especially if you enable windows sonic or Dolby atmos on PC or Xbox… Should be good with the new playstation 3d audio (I’d imagine, don’t have a PS5 to test on yet)

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Apologies for not posting in the right channel, will keep that in mind for the future, thanks for the reminder :slight_smile:

Also, thank you so much for all the information regarding the recommendations and the concepts I was unfamiliar with!

As for the Tygrs, I checked some reviews they really do seem to hit all pf the checkmarks, I might pull the trigger on those if I decide to save some money.

Keeping in mind the recommendations that you gave me, I’m thinking the dt1990 might be a good buy, mainly because of the pads and the ability to tweak the sound a bit. I’m just scared about it being too bright. How do those headphones do separation?
And also the Sundaras, I’ve been looking to get those to try out their “airiness”, I know they’re good for music but how does that airiness translate for gaming?

I’ll look for your post of recommendations for competitive gaming to get some ideas too!
Thank you so much for the help!

I’ll definitely look out for these as well! Thank you!
I don’t really know if turning on dolby atmos for windows is a good idea for the headphones though. How does it work out for you?

it’s hard to recommend any brighter headphones as brightness goes on a person to person basis involving sensitivity to it… 1990s are quite bright but that brightness can be equalized and it responds well to just pad swapping it to dial in that brightness as well if you want… as for seperation? both do just fine in that regard.

the overall spaciousness is great for really getting into gaming such as like rpgs and other larger scale games. It’s an incredibly gorgeous sounding headphone, but may not be in your line of preference due to heavily lacking in bass.

still working on the updated version of the listing, so do keep that in mind… skip the things like the headsets on there. It’s just a general write up for the time being.

The Legacy really make you feel like your in the game from the audio perspective. If you do mainly FPS then leaving it in stereo maybe a better option. However atmos in games is much better now. Atmos is dolby’s version of 3d sound… So when it’s implemented well it should be easier to hear exactly where some on is in space… even above or below you. But I’ll try it out in warzone later and let you know it works

Another easy to buy cheaper but fantastic headphone is the kph30i

I also have the 880 they are easily the most comfortable headphones I have a solid overall choice for music as well…

If you want some more focused gaming headphones that sound ok music, but top tier for gaming check these out.

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For what it’s worth my brother stop wearing the Audio Technica above in favor of the KPH 30i.

Said the bass was better, lighter, didn’t get as hot, and in gaming he didn’t feel like he was missing out on performance.

Another question are you on pc or console. Do you have an amp and DAC or just using the 3.5mm output.

These will make a difference in useful suggestion. My dt880 are 600 ohm and on pc I game with DAC and amp. Console wouldn’t be able to drive the 600ohm

these are quite bassy, not something I would recommend for competitive gaming really… cheap yet good but not the best in this particular use case imo.

The legacy has decent imaging, but very narrow soundstage… for competitive gaming this isn’t the best use case… while for sure they are great sounding I wouldn’t depend on atmos for your general dependencies as not everything is good with atmos and such software can screw up some games as 7.1 virtual is known to do. It’s not the worst idea using an iem or earbud for gaming… but you will in most cases gain more imaging and soundstage from a regular headphone.

not a warm signature so doesn’t fit his preference… this is a neutral bright signature. Granted more balanced out overall between the 3 of the beyers.

Extremely common recommendation, cheap build, subjective comfort on the headphone, large soundstage, good imaging, budget. Not top of the tiers but a good step in the right direction for headphones as a gamer imo. Better than headsets at the very least. After owning and using ad500x, 700x, 900x, 1000x, and 2000x I can definitely say I would take the beyer for gaming performance… The alternative to these is the AKG k7 series which while they have much more soundstage and a better build with better comfort(subjective) they have some imaging inaccuracies granted not that big of a deal in this regard… However, none of these properly fit his preference in side which his caters more towards the warm spectrum and these are all very recessive in the low end.

he mentioned he has the jds labs element 1 amp/dac

Consoles, phones, and motherboards all cannot drive the 600 ohm… even if your motherboard was strong enough to get it loud, it’s not properly driving them. Being loud doesn’t mean properly driven and you need an amp for the 600 ohms respectively… only the 250 ohm can be properly driven off a stronger high end motherboard… however consoles are like a god awful motherboard as their sound cards are trash and they barily can run anything at 32 ohm or higher. He has the element so for the most part he should be alright, reading up on the unit it should be able to power up to 600 ohms

I’m used to Grado…lol so I wouldn’t call the 880 warm. They all more so than other headphones I have…lol

And true about the 600 ohm and PC. I should have clearly stated that. I was asking if used an amp/DAC… and the atom will play the 600ohm but the volume may need to be turned up a bit. That said the atom is a pretty clean amp and shouldn’t have any noticable negative from having the volume up a bit.

I don’t game as competitively as I used to but if you want a completely honest take.

Some headphones will defiantly be better. However, I’ve found that in generally visual awareness, and reflex will always win the day.

I’ve played with people that were used to playing with janky setups and they were better than people with nicer setups because humans adapt.

Shroud is a prime example of that we he came on the scene, he’s mentioned in interview that he didn’t even use high FPS monitors for a long time because in his prime, he was used to where the mouse needed to be on the lower fps…

Audio is basically the same way. As Falnkor has said feel is subjective, and the amount of warmth, unless REALLY warm is sort of a subjective.

Ex. If you were used to Grado, the 880 could sound warm.

I think if you want warmer though I’d suggest a liquid spark which is around the cost of the atom, it has a slightly warmer tone and it can push the 880 600 solidly and it will have a warmer tone vs the atom… Both of which are under the $600 price range.

Also another semi budget set with good sound stage is the hifiman he4xx…the atom will push them. It’s a planar and can be made balanced if you ever care to

most definitely not… 880 is definitely more on the balanced yet brighter side, still amazing headphone though even for gamers…

well it’s the element, not the atom… so I wasn’t sure. I know the atom can drive them but that element is a combo unit meaning it may have been on the weaker side… It’s not one I personally have sat with for sure.

well jds does have an ever so slight edge to it on the treble from my experience but nothing particularly horrible… great unit in my opinion especially if someone wants a nice clean sound out of their equipment.

skill and reflex’s will always win, 100% agreed but, I think we can agree that headphones can help as well. I mean, less your going to tournaments of which… either stick to the iem/earbud or junk closed backs as thats what the venues give their players.

well yes, some people are just generally better. We have competitions for this reasoning as it’s interesting and fun to compete. That doesn’t change the fact that a headphone with better characteristics for gaming helps you out. It definitely will not make you this “god gamer” or anything though lol… just makes you better at placing and may help you enjoy yourself a little more imo.

yeah, however other games are known and have been seen using other equipment… it really depends. A lot of pros focus on the junky equipment because either that’s what they are just used to for years on end or they just focus on that equipment to stay in practice or they use what their sponsors pay them to use.

I wouldn’t say warm is subjective… warm means it has low end… I wouldn’t say something such as AD700x is warm as the bass is quite literally recessed so it lacks big time in the bass department. meanwhile something such as the DT 880 is right around neutral but slightly on the more increased side… it’s not warm or anything but it has a good thump thats respectable enough. Tygr over there is more of a Warm signature… it has its bass noticeably increased with an ever so slight peak in the treble.

Technically yes, if you weren’t used to a wide variety of headphones and the like… this could indeed be categorized as such or if you were just making a comparison.

I think if he wanted to use the 880… while the 880 right out of the box is insanely good for general use and competitive gaming he could use the spark but I would mainly recommend just getting a set of dekoni pads for it instead. The pad swap can change a headphones sound by a large degree and 880 is no exception… some of the pads you can put on the 880 really make that one quite bassy so it gives you kind of a multiple use case in that regard, makes it rather nice and in some cases those thicker pads are more comfortable for people as beyers aren’t the thickest of pads.

I would say grab the 400i if he wanted competitive gaming over that one… better signature for it. Otherwise step it up and just grab the Sundara’s as they are excellant for sound quality as a bright planar. I wish hifiman had more bass though, they always sound rather bass lite which is unfortunate considering planars are known for speed and bass slam

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Yeah, I hifiman befit from a slight eq on the low end from something like equalizer APO.

and we can agree that better headphones are better and in the right scenario give you a slight edge.

You stated my point though, I’m the first person to always suggest great sounding audio gear. I play league of legends on the regular with Focal Clears, on a Rupert Neve amp…lol

I just wanted to point out that when it comes to a gaming edge a keyboard with faster key switches, etc might be a more cost effective edge… But I also wanted to point out get headphones no matter the price and enjoy them because if the sound stage is epic or is intimate like the 6xx/ hd650 you’ll get used to it adapt and be just as competitive…