Looking to upgrade from Cloud Alpha

Hi all,

I have owned my Cloud Alphas for almost three years now. This is how I feel about them:

I never found them particularly comfy, and often had to take breaks because I cannot use them for long sessions. I am guessing I am very sensitive to their clamp or to their lack of swivel, or a combination of the two.

Now that Working From Home is a thing, I also use them for videoconferencing with my colleagues and clients, and they do look silly in a professional environment.

They are not particularly portable either (not a big deal but it would be “a nice to have”)

Other than that, they have served me very well for gaming. I mostly play competitive FPS games, I would say I spend 80% of the time playing COD warzone and Apex Legends, and the other 20% mostly open-world games like the witcher 3 and cyberpunk.

So based on what I don’t like about the Cloud Alphas, and what I use them for, I have decided to do some research and oh boy, there is so much out there. I have read really good guides in this forum so I decided to look for some extra guidance.

I live in the UK, so that makes Drop+Sennheiser products almost impossible to find. Now with the brexit, I wonder how much more expensive would it be to import things from Europe.

My budget is ÂŁ200, no AMP, I would like them to be closed back, I am pretty sure open back leak a lot (am I wrong here?) still I am willing to try some open backs just out of curiosity.

I ordered the MH752, it looks like it solves all the problems I have with my Alphas. I read their comfort is exceptional, stealthy design, mic quality seems to be excellent, they swivel. It almost sounds too perfect to be true.

My question is, is there anything better in terms of sound profile for competitive gaming (neutral bass, decent mid and highs), and in terms of imaging/soundstage?

I also ordered the M50x (I know you guys will kill me but I have to know what is it people hate about these), I ordered the DT 770 pro 32 ohms too, if I like these I’ll go for the MMX 300 gen 2. These are not considered good for gaming because of their V shape signature, still wanted to hear how they sound given that they are very very popular below the £200 mark. I will also order the SHP9500 to see if the tradeoff of the open backs are worth it (my wife might force me to return them if they leak too much XD)

Thanks in advance!

If you’ve never delved into the world of open back headphones, all it’ll take is one decent pair and you’ll never put up with closed back again. Unless your wife is sitting tight next to you while you’re gaming I doubt sound leak will be much of an issue. If you lose the mic possibilities really open up.

Do you game on console or pc?

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@Pokrog I game on a high-end PC but I want to avoid an Amp.

I have been told over and over the same thing about the open back. I am ordering the SHP9500 tomorrow, I am very curious now.

I am hoping the sound leakage is not as bad as people say, otherwise I am sure my wife will throw them away. I have read in many places that people can hear a PC38x from another room easily, that’s pretty bad imo.

As much I would like to get rid of the mic, I do use the mic a lot for communication in games and even at work. As I said, I use my Cloud Alphas for videoconferencing with clients.

I ordered the DT 770 pro, if I like the imaging, soundstage, and sound profile on those, I’ll probable get the MMX 300 just to avoid a ModMic. From what I have gathered, they are not the best for competitive gaming due to being a bit heavy on the bass and the high mids are notoriously recessed. I should have them by Thursday and check that by myself and form my own opinion.

The MH752 should be arriving on Tuesday. This should be a solid option as well.

I am not an audiophile by any means, but I have been playing competitive games for years and years, but I never really had the money to get a decent pair of headphones, now that I do, I want to give them a go.

this is just straight up a bad idea, you limit yourself to a ridiculous degree without an amp. Motherboard audio does not sound as good or perform as good, and in most cases will not properly drive most headphones even in some cases the shp9500

lol, what no, That’s rather false less your walls are made of paper and you have the headphones blaring… Granted yes, depending on the open back they leak like crazy pc38x does leak alot as does sundara.

so, just get a modmic…

mmx300 is not worth while less you find them much cheaper, it is a variant of the DT 770 but the mic quality is a bit sub par and not as good as a mod mic, you also will save money going with 770 + modmic as you can get a 770 at $100 while mmx300 are $300. The only issue is that mmx sounds good in low ohms the 770 does not… and 770 will require an amplifier meanwhile in some cases mmx300 will also require an amp depending on the motherboard

it’s alright, just extremely entry level. Not as good as the 770 or mmx for sure

If your contending with the idea of a mmx300 I would just recommend getting a 770 250 ohms around $100, grab a modmic ranging from $40 - $120 these do come with cable clamps too to make the cable a solid piece and modmics have some of the best attached mic quality, grab an amp… since your not an audiophile… just grab a Soundblaster G6 and call it a day these drive 600 ohm headphones and have gamer options too such as voice morph for fun, an equalizer, 7.1 surround, and recon mode which emphasises your footsteps… g6 can be found from $80-$130, if you shop right you will spend less than a mmx300 and get more out of your setup… if the cable bothers you grab some cable loom whichever fabric you prefer and put it over the wiring to make it a solid piece

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@Falenkor thanks for answering.

would the shp9500 improve with an amp with such low impedance? would the improvement make a difference for competitive gaming? I honestly have no idea.

I am buying those Philips anyway and assess how bad the leakage is. I’ll tell my wife to give her opinion here XD. I am struggling to find one from a reliable seller in the UK tho’. I might have to import one from the US.

The mmx300 sells for ÂŁ175 and the DT 770 pro 32 Ohms sell for ÂŁ109 here in the UK, considering I would need another extra ÂŁ50 for the modmic, looks like the mmx300 at that price is a better deal.

If you tell me the mmx300 is a tweaked 770 that sounds better at 32 ohms, then I am sold to those.

Now, isn’t the sound profile of the 770/mmx300 v-shapped with the high mids considerably recessed? does the bass rumble on the mmx300? As far as I understand that’s not particularly the best for gaming.

Once again, thank you for your insight, it is appreciated indeed.

Depending where you come from, you might find them “okay”.
Or you instantly need to take a careful walk at fresh air.

Not all open backs are created equally. How noticeable the leakage is depends a lot on how noisy your environment is and how loud you listen.

Like @Falenkor said, you will be missing out on the good stuff.
Impedance is an indicator of how hard an amplifier has to work to make noise, it does not indicate how well a headphone is driven.

Their entirely OK headphones, the issue is there are many better including the M40x.
The reason they get “hate” is largely historical, it’s mostly backlash from the fact they were massively overrated on the internet at one point.

@MazeFrame I genuinely ordered a bunch of headphones, the M50x included. I am absolutely ignorant when it comes down to “audiophile” territory. I do like to investigate and form my own opinion, I will sure give it once I sit down with each, and then I’ll return all but one (or two, who knows).

I am really intrigued by open backs, I will give my feedback too once I get my hand on an shp9500.

Thanks for taking the time to answer.

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@Polygonhell I live in the UK but I am not from the UK. If there is something that I have learned from my British colleagues at work is when they say something is OK, it is in fact a polite way to say something is bad.

Jokes aside, from what I have gathered recently you are correct, it seems some sort of historical hate that is typical when something becomes mainstream. Anyway, I am a gamer, with zero relevant knowledge about music or any audiophile topic.

it’s not so much a concern about making them better for competitive as much as making sure the headphone is powered properly to even have good volume and the correct signature… lacking power could do a lot of different things that mess with the sound such as very low volume, bass being completely missing, veiled sound, forms of distortion, etc.

would not recommend dt 770 at 32 ohms… it sounds awful in my opinion. When it comes to beyers it’s pretty easy to find others selling third party for a lot cheaper especially with something as commonplace as the dt 770. 80 ohm is acceptable… 250 ohm is preferred both require amplification…

pretty much yeah, the biggest issue with the 770 is just how much bass is there for competitive… not the best choice but they do work.

Considerably recessed? no, it’s a decent amount but not heavily scooped out in sound like the 990s can sound to some due to just how sharp that V is. Mids aren’t really what your looking for outside of upper mids in competitive but your primary sounds are in the treble. Bass will indeed be an issue there as I mentioned earlier… you’d need an equalizer(which again, you need an amp for) to properly adjust this.

I see what you mean about the amp. Logic tells me that a 32 Ohms impedance wouldn’t require an amp to be properly powered by a decent motherboard. I would say even a modern smartphone could easily power something like that. I might be wrong, however.

This is the mobo I have

It comes with a Nichicon NE5532 Amplifier, it says Supports up to 600 Ohm headsets, very likely marketing bs. I am not well versed in this so I couldn’t really tell.

The mmx300 and the dt 770 will be arriving this week, so I’ll be able to give my opinion on the matter relatively soon.

depends on the motherboard and the headphone. Impedance isn’t the only thing you need to look at… you also need to take into account it’s sensitivity and how many watts per channel at that impedance it needs. Put it to you this way… Tygr300r over there is 32 ohm, I have ran into 6 pc’s that could not propely drive it and it does not run well on the consoles either without some form of amplification, the sound signature is a little off on the consoles and it lacks volume.

marketing BS yes, but it should be able to drive at least 250 ohms anything past that is probably pushing it

So I finally sat down with this 3 headphones, M50x, DT 770 pro 32 Ohms, MH752, and my old Could Alphas of course.

Played COD and Apex legends mainly during the last two nights, and my opinion will be purely based on my experience on this games that I play 80% percent of the time. Also played Assassin Creed Odissey a bit with these.

M50x: The imaging is really good, directionality was spot on. The soundstage is so small that I was panicking all the time in warzone, thinking the footsteps were so close, but that also made me play really well because I was on the edge all the time. By far the least comfortable of all, maybe they require some time to break in. What I like the most is the versatility of these headphones. Very portable, the way they fold, etc, if that is important to you, then look no further because I don’t think there is anything that portable out there, and yes the V shape is real so no the best for competitive still imaging I found to be excellent.

DT 770 Pro 32 Ohm: They are not as V shaped as people say they are. If RTINGS frequency response are to be believed, I would say they nailed it there because I found these very flat relative to the M50x, maybe that is the caveat of this comparison, that I speak in relative terms rather than absolute terms. Anyway, I didn’t find the bass that offending or rumbly. Very pleasing and neutral sound overall. Soundstage was considerably wider that the M50x too, but that also made me feel that the imaging wasn’t as good, maybe is just a perception that the deeper you go, the least imaging I sort of capture in a directional sense that is. They are very light and comfy, I was surprised because they look rather bulky and old fashion. Portability is basically non existent. They don’t fold, the cable is not detachable, they are big in size, that is for sure the biggest downside to this pair. I also found the max volume to be rather low compared to all other headphones on this list, and it is the 32 ohms version, that is a bit puzzling. I kept coming back to this after a new match tho’, I don’t know what it is, but I like the way they sound.

MH752: they are EXTREMELY comfy, the lightest of them all, the smallest, super minimalistic, I love that. They also feel the cheapest. The mic sounds really good according to my colleagues, everything is detachable, that is a big plus. The sound is very different compared to the M50x and the DT770. I could tell who had the worst mic in today’s meeting. I can pick up details that kinda were there before but they were never as clear. I guess because the mids are not as recessed as the other two? don’t know but the amount of detail was considerably better. Soundstage was surprisingly big imo, imaging was spot on too, and I found them very loud, and yet no distortion whatsoever, same clarity in the details at 100% volume. Purely based on competitive gaming, this is the best of the bunch. I think I will keep these just because how convenient they are, really good for the money, and I can drive them with my desktop, laptop and even my phone if I want to. I read there have been some QC issues, however. EDIT: that braided cable is terrible, every time you it touches the fabric of your shirt, the sound goes straight to your ears, I’ll replace those.

My good old Alphas: I already wrote how I feel about them. I never said anything about the sound because I never had any other reference really. They sound v shaped too, I can clearly feel the bass booming, the mid recessed, soundstage is relatively small, imaging is really good, imaging is good in all of these really. Now that I think of it, they are more on the “fun” or “casual” side of things rather than in the “competitive” side of things.

The SHP9500 I had to import them from the US, they will take longer to arrive to the UK, they are estimated to arrive on the 14th. Can’t wait to see what the fuss is about open backs.

I will return the M50x and the DT770.

@Falenkor as far as I understand, beyond the SHP9500/MH752 I would need Amp/DAC for an upgrade to make sense right?

It just depends… 32 ohm I haven’t bothered much with but they are a v just more on the subtle side of things which is fine. Imaging and soundstage they should be better than the others you listed… 770 is known for its sound staging as a closed back. Then again mh752 is no joke either its imaging is very good and it’s a very very good headset one of the best for competitive imo it just lacks on soundstage mainly due to the fact its kinda oval shaped instead of a full circle. If the 770 isn’t driven properly though it could mess up its presentation of staging imaging and most definitely the bass will take a bit hit

Depends on the source. Consoles most likely yes, motherboards depends on the audio codec on the board, most like yea outside of special cases like 58x jubilee t1 3rd gen etc

@Falenkor thanks for your input, it is appreciated indeed.

I got the SHP9500 a couple of days ago. The sounds sound way more natural, I guess because of the sonudstage being considerable wider than the other headphones I bought (as they are closed back). They are very comfy, but the clamping force is close non-existent, they slip a lot (and I have a big head), I have to adjust them all the time. That is annoying really. Imaging is on point. I guess it’s really good for 70 usd. Many people don’t think the 58x aren’t two times better at 170 usd, what is the opinion of the people here about that?

Now, I never experienced open backs before. It’s like you are wearing nothing, I can hear literally everything of what happens around me. I thought my place was a quiet place. I was super wrong. I can hear the cars passing down the road, people walking around the house, etc. The sound leaks but it isn’t that bad according to my wife, she wouldn’t stay in the same room as I played tho’. I don’t think the trade-off is worth it in my personal case, and I genuinely think I live in a quiet place (no kids, no loud neighbours, not a main road, etc.) I wonder how different a semi-open would be in that regard, something like a dt880. is it like in the middle of a MH752 and a SHP9500? or more open than close?

depends on how you view “natural” sound… if you mean the spaciousness that the shp9500 provides? yeah, it has a good amount of air and is open back so you have a taste of that concert like feel.

this is one of the reasons people modify these by swapping out the pads… thicker pads of course are going to help it hold to your head… not much else for options unfortunately, I no longer use mine and going to probably be ebaying it soon since nobody grabbed it lol.

This is a bit of a mixed bag opinion when it comes to the sennheisers… they have this weird love hate relationship from how I have seen things… some people say sennheisers have this “sennheiser Veil” to them meanwhile others love them to death and say they are clear as day. Me personally? The 58x Jubilee for a while there was my absolute go to “do everything” headphone for some time. Warm overtones, great present mids, nice even treble, average soundstage, very very good imaging, my major complaints were the initial skull crushing headclamp(this is a normal sennheiser thing though) and the pad were too oval for me as I have larger ears so it made things a bit uncomfortable… as such I eventually did away with my sennheisers. My opinion? I wouldn’t rate them as 2x better than a shp9500… they are of different signatures, build, etc but they are a very very nice headphone that fits pretty much anywhere and is one of those that when I do rate a headphone? I typically look at my old sennheisers in comparison on many occasions. In gaming, since that’s what this topic entails, the 58x jubilee is fantastic… the only place is really struggles is larger fps… and it fits just fine in casual gaming and music.

lol welcome to open backs, you get used to it… some open backs leak more than others… also the seal you have from your headphones helps too… shp9500 has like… zero clamp so your not going to really get a full seal on the head to begin with… plus they leak quite a lot.

yeah pretty much a bit half and half… it definitely doesn’t leak as much but you can hear it still… as I said though, depends on the headphone… like my aeons don’t leak anywhere near as much as my Sundaras those things well… I can hear the sundara from another room to be honest which is kind of annoying. Just depends on the headphone… 880 are nice, if you like the shp9500 though? You may absolutely adore the 880s as they share a signature but the 880 have a very good clamp to them with better bass and more emphasized mids… they just aren’t as spacious sounding due to being semi open.

you will however, absolutely 100% need an amplifier for a dt 880 they are picky on power and scale immensely. 250 ohm or 600 ohm only others don’t sound that good, go with edition as that one has the straight cable, do not go with black 250 ohm it sounds pretty bad(different tuning) all other variants are the original tuning and are aesthetic… yes that includes the chrome 250 ohm note: black versions will also have a different kind of pad on them and I believe chrome does as well with the black pads, $200 budget amp dac recommended… otherwise depending on which your going with will depend on the better budget… k5 pro can run the 250 ohm not sure on 600 ohms… ifi zen dac can run 250 ohms only can run 600 ohms if you mod the 880 to be balanced and use a 4.4mm pentaconn cable, soundblaster g6 can run the 600 ohms but has some of the lowest sound quality. Otherwise pick up one of the regular recommended amps and dacs on here… spark, magni, heresy, atom, etc and respective dac

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@Falenkor by natural I believe is that spaciousness you mention, like if sounds actually come from some distance, it’s really hard to explain. Maybe it’s because I can hear everything around me, what happens in the house, or the street, so the sounds from the headphones sort of mix with the real world sound, I don’t know how to describe what I mean by “natural” in this instance.

about the lack of clamping force on the SHP9500, if it becomes more of an issue, I might replace the pads. It’s not like I’m moving the head a lot whilst gaming, so I’ll see how it goes.

I have read that “veil” term in the research that I have done, some people actually show measurements of the veil etc. Anyway, anything from Sennheiser it’s really hard to get over the UK without skyrocketing its price. So I’ll have to pass on those.

The sound leaking in and out was shocking (mostly the sound coming in), I genuinely thought I lived in a very quiet place so it wouldn’t make a difference other than the sound leaking out and annoying my wife when she’s nearby, it turns out I was wrong about that. I think I could get used to that, but my first impression was “no, I don’t to be distracted by a car passing down the road”.

I am very tempted to try the dt880s, they were heavily discounted last week. If the price comes down again, I might get one of those 250ohm with a k5 pro.

some audiophile terminology is a bit hard to explain… natural can be mentioned in many aspects of the sound… natural or rather more realistic sounds such as the bass sounds natural meaning you can hear all the qualities from when the drums are struck like in a concert

I mean, I sure as hell replaced that lol. I couldn’t stand that it bugged me.

odd, I would think sennheiser would be easy to get in the UK considering it’s based in Germany.

lol, when you have a game going though you really shouldn’t hear much outside of the game itself… open backs aren’t for everyone but they are great for competitives and their soundstage

they are fantastic headphones but yeah, you definitely want that amp to go alongside them. May be a good option for you if fully open is too much… if that doesn’t work consider trying the DT 770 instead… as despite being closed it has a surprisingly large soundstage, comforts also superb