Multi Purpose Audio Setup: Gaming, Youtube/Videos

I am planning to upgrade my audio for the first time and need advice, I did some research and at first, settled with the HyperX Cloud II Wireless however, I am not sure what direction to go in after hearing that “Gaming Headsets” are basically trash. Do you agree on this statement and do you think HyperX Cloud II Wireless are not really that good compared to the ones you recommend?

Currently, I own Steel Series 5 Gaming Headset, these are very uncomfortable for me and my ears I believe do not fit and start hurting after using. But I think the audio sounds alright but due note I have never had any other “headset”, I do own Airpods Pro though.
Current Headset: Steel Series 5
What I am Looking To Due: Gaming Mostly and Watching Movie/Youtube Videos
What Games: Fortnite, Apex Legends, Minecraft, FPS/BattleRoyale.
Why Is This Tagged Casual: While I believe I am somewhat competitive when it comes to gaming I am not looking for a headset so tailored to gaming that it completely affects sound when doing other things such as watching youtube videos/movies. I am looking for a more versatile headset but still great for gaming.
DAC: I do not own one and have never had one before, however, if I need one please let me know when recommending headphones and let me know what the difference is if I didn’t have one. Like does having one make a world of a difference and fully unlock the headphones’ potential and offer more setup options and tuning?
Open/Closed Headphones: I am looking for Closed, from my understanding Open lets audio out and people will be able to hear it and I will be able to hear things on the outside also and I just really don’t want that. Just to make sure though with an open would you be able to hear my keyboard and outside noise and such and would the headphones be like a speaker on the outside so everyone could hear it, if so then I don’t want an open headset.
Budget: Reasonable (Less Than 400 Overall)
Headset Or Headphones: I understand allowing headphones really opens up the choices and improves quality so that is perfectly alright.

with open headphones you can definitely hear your keyboard and if someone is in the same quiet room as you, they’d hear some sound leakage for sure. do you need a headset or headphones? if you don’t need an attached mic the options open up a lot or even if you’re willing to get a mod mic.

How much leakage are we talking? Like can someone in the same room hear clearly what is going on in the headphones? I am not really looking for that if so but I do know there are benefits, could you kinda elaborate on all that. As for headset or headphones I understand that allowing headphones opens up a lot of options so I am ok with that and will edit my main thread to include that, so yes in the end I still need a mic but I am ok with a external mic if it is worth it.

Was that me? Probably. They have their uses… still bad though lol

Hyperx clouds are a revision to the takstar pro 82 a much cheaper headphone… hyperx are decent but if you compare headphones even with a $50 margin many can easily out perform the hyperx

There is quite a few that do well here. By chance do you know what kind of sound your more comfortable with? You mention more casual than fps so itd help us narrow things down if you had a preference. For example some people love bass while others treble heavy detail

Depends on what you go with for the setup but amps and dacs can really make things clearer, sound bigger, more engaging, and bring a headphone to life. In some cases a headphone may sound terrible on one setup but very good on another

So depending on the open can, yes it will leak sound… like a speaker? No… some headphones like hifiman leak an absolute ton while others can be marginal. Can you hear your keyboard? In some cases yes it depends on the switches in use on the keyboard honestly. You will hear things outside more during more quiet games or scenarios though granted some open backs offer some very high isolation from this. Do keep in mind semi open backs exist as well that offer much better isolation while still giving that large spacious feel

That’s not too bad to work with…

I’d say itd help if we knew what kind of sound your looking for, level of imaging, do you have a mic to go with this, large soundstage or intimate, pad preference such as size and material since you have issues with the steel series? Lastly pc or console?

Outside of that you can get away with around $100 for the amp dac that can drive a 600 ohm headphone and can put the rest towards the headphone itself

Yes that was probably you haha.

  • I feel like I am more comfortable with bass, I say this because I like subwoofers and have always like feeling bass and such which is why I would probably have a preference of that. But I don’t need extreme bass that will interfere with anything. Note: That is really just a guess as I always liked bass/subwoofers from any other speaker but never really experienced it in headphones, so take that with a grain of salt.

  • Regarding Open/Closed, I really just don’t want anyone to hear anything outside of my room (I have the door closed but I don’t want the headphones to basically be a speaker), and I also don’t want to hear too much outside noise like keyboard and mouse, if that is possible then I might consider open, and what is semi-open and how much of difference is there. What is your experience with all this also?

  • I feel like my level of imagining I am looking for is good/great, I don’t want laser accurate precision if it causes having to sacrifice sound quality or affect me when I am not gaming.

  • I do not have a mic to go with this yet however his will allow me to match a good mic and such after I have picked my headphones.

  • As for sound stage, I am also looking for a good/great. I stated my games above so you can try to match that with sound stage to help. I know that if I go closed this will not be as good but it might be what I have to do.

  • I do not have a pad preference and so far have only used stocks, however I can tell you the one that came with the steel series 5 are too small so maybe you can base your size from that and give you a idea of what size is best for me. As for materials I am not experienced with that at all so it is whatever you recommend. Could I not just use the stock pads that come with it?

  • I am PC :slight_smile:
    Thank you so much for the help so far, let me know if you need anymore info or clarifications.

So something with some kick is preferred over something recessive as long as it doesnt interfere with other aspects. That rules out quite a few actually

In regards to this, the chances of them hearing a headphone through a closed room is practically impossible… it leaks but it’s not that loud. Mind you they will hear it if they come into the room potentially but itll still be rather quiet. Condenser mics will not pick it up in most cases. Its not particularly something I would worry about less isolation is a big focus point for you in this case

So the thing here is you most likely won’t hear the mouse but if the keyboard is loud enough you will hear that in some cases of typing… depends on the switch like if your using red silent linears you most likely wont hear it at all but if your using regular browns you will a bit. As for outside sound depends on how loud it is really. The purpose of the open back for gaming is the encompassing sound around the head giving you a more 3d feel instead of a centralized sound to the center of your head. If you’ve never used open back I’d encourage trying one if at all possible just to see what you think… open vs closed is vastly different.

Semi open is a mix between the two and theres a big change at that. Let’s take the dt 990 compared to dt 880 for example. 880 is semi open and 990 is fully open. The change there is very noticeable In the level of isolation as the sound heard outside depletes by I want to say roughly 20-25% but the soundstage also drops noticeably and brings the sound much more intimately to your ears. Then again let’s look at a more expensive headphone for example known as the aeon, the aeon is touted open back and it is but its level of isolation makes it feel fully closed. This same semi open factor is seem in nighthawk carbons and argons. It really depends on your environment in the end and only you can figure which is a better fit. Keep in mind closed semi and open all will have different sound traits and presentation such as closed back innately being a harder hitting bassier style of headphone or open backs knack for airier sound and higher treble clarity

Then we can most likely cross off akg within budget since they have some issues here.

Modmics will work otherwise a dedicated mic is always nice like you can find a yeti used but mint for around $60

Most of those are pretty narrow so any form of average staging will work. Though Apex is a but rough as that takes verticality into the equation… still if you want a rather large stage that will remove sennheiser since they are typically pretty average. Up to you on this.

I honestly hate steel series pads they use a cloth like material that’s a bit scratchy and just isn’t form fitting or soft enough.

You can always use the stock pads just do keep in mind some headphones have alternatives that can not only make them exponentially more comfortable but change the sound signature. Take the dt 880 for example if you change its pads to suede its bright treble will recede towards neutral and dramatically have its bass increased becoming more of a warmer signature. It gives you interesting options and some people tend to find a pad preference. Mine is absolutely velour and suede but I know some love leather(real leather not that fake bs).

Oh ok, I am actually starting to consider Open headphones due to the increase of quality for certain things, and from what you are saying it is not as bad as I was thinking. I also didn’t want my mic constantly picking up the sound so I am glad it won’t do that. From what you have already stated “Less isolation is a big focus point for you in this case”, do you believe I would benefit a good amount by going the Open headphones path and do you believe it is worth it?

Well, I won’t be able to try one sadly however from what you are saying here this will help pinpoint targets in games and make it sound a lot better with Videos?

I agree I am looking into a dedicated mic however I don’t want a mic getting into my view when mounted with an arm so maybe a mod mic will be better if they sound somewhat similar and not like a “Gaming Headset Mic” that sounds like you are in a garbage can.

Alright, I will go with average staging then and also bring Sennheiser back into this.

Interesting, well if I do get pads for the headphone I don’t want leather, and from what you are saying suede pads might be something I could look into, however, the stock probably will be fine for me unless you recommend I get some?

Depends on the mic mostly. Something like the snowball usb mic is so sensitive itll pick me up from my kitchen. So just try to be a bit choosy on the mic and your fine.

Depends on what your looking for in particular. I like the bigger surrounding sound as it feels more like speakers to me while not being loud in the house. Open back typically knocks closed back out in fps since open can place sounds further out easier but in narrow fps this really doesn’t matter. In the long run it will boil down to your preference and what your searching for.

Absolutely, though videos will be more preference since that boils down to how the sound is presented

Lmao, modmic will be fine but they are a bit sensitive. If your worried about placement you can get a condenser mic as they are more forgiving and can he placed further from you just take caution as condensers are rather sensitive. You can definitely get some recommendations from people here on that.

Something to ponder on later but brainwavz for cheap, dekoni for very good pads and what I swear by, and something like zmf… alpha dog… or audeze vegan if you want the absolute ridiculousness… though these damn things range from like $80-$200 depending on which one.

You can find people willing to sell dekonis for like half the price in extremely good condition alot of times mint

I’ll throw some recommendations for all this later on when I get some time to sit down

My suggestion would be to get the Dt 990 premiums they are more semi open and have way less clamp… At first the should will be very v shipped and a bit harsh buy they break in and relax and are very tough and can be use to watch movies from a distance on a tv possibly or reclined at a desk… The imaging is very good very comparable to the Sennheisers… Good for fps games and movies and are one of the most comfortable headphones I own! They are built better then my 1700 dollar hifimans…! And come with a better case! 20211020_180513|281x500

Oh alright, thanks for the tip, I have a few ideas in mind and plan on avoiding the snowball USB mic anyway but will still likely ask on the forum here later for help and ideas.

Yeah to be honest I will probably enjoy having the better feel and experience with open back however I have heard that certain headphones have different amounts of how much audio is leaked and how open it is. So could we stick a little more on the not as opened but not considered semi I guess you could say? Basically, I don’t want them to be a mini speaker or anything like that but reasonable. If that is possible then I suppose I will give open back a try. :smiley:

Sounds good I think I have given the correct info and figured everything out so far so hopefully you can recommend me a good pair of headphones and DAC (If you think I need one or recommend it) and future pads for it. However, if you have any more questions to help or want to make sure of something let me know and I will clarify.

Interesting, I am liking how you said they are more semi-open yet still considered open which is what I am looking for.

What do you mean by v shipped? Could you go more into detail?

Oh nice, I will look into those, thanks for your suggestion. :slight_smile:

V shape means on a frequency graph where they show measurements of db of different frequencies the graph looks more like a V shape because it’s frequencies are boosted in the low end bass and less mid Range and boosted again in the high range… It’s take quite a long time to fully break them in they get better with age in my opinion…

Definitely dont sound semi to me. I guess compared to like a hifiman sure. However, 990 is obscenely sharp and may cause him to be uncomfortable if hes treble intolerant

Absolutely encourage that .

This is true. Headphones like hifiman leak a ton but its what gives their sound. Regardless they arent blaring loud

All headphones to my knowledge with that level of isolation are outside of budget In this case unfortunately.

Unless you have that headphone blasting your ears off then this in most cases will not be an issue for a closed room. Itd be different if this was like the living room or something

The beyers have very good isolation to them despite using velour pads… I just find it hard to recommend the 990 in particular as it’s a very large hit or miss due to the treble… while you can dial the treble back some people are obscenely sensitive… it may help if you check that yourself. You can do that through any form of audio that let’s you tweak the treble. Look up the frequency response on the 990(diyaudioheaven has a good one) make sure its 600 ohm then push up the treble at that frequency. If you cant pick frequency and it’s like a radio you will get a good general idea by just pushing the treble setting itself up for what very sharp sounds like. If you wince or feel uncomfortable during high treble then you know you have some intolerance.

Typo. He meant v shaped signature which means more bass very large amount of treble but recessive mids or vocals.

Hmm, since its pc what motherboard are you using? Curious if you can run some ampless

Oh ok, well I think I will go with open headphones :slight_smile:

I am using ASUS / MSI / ASRock (Intel H310 Chipset) (Up to 2x PCI-E Devices) motherboard
Audio Chipset: Realtek ALC887
Audio Channels: 8
And I of course have integrated motherboard audio.

Definitely going to need an amp of some kind.

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Personally I think the Sennheiser HD 58x a great headphone to start with if your willing to go open… They don’t have the massive sound stage but the have excellent imaging and great bass and midbass for shooters listening for foot steps… I think most COD games footsteps mostly range in the 200 to 500 Hz region mostly… The bass that not over powering but is still very present and clear for the price! The vocals have a nice forward presentation for videos and movies the dynamics are good even through it isn’t the widest sounding headphones u still feel some depth cause it is a open back design. Having a tighter sound stage also aids in competitive fps gaming in my opinion cause u need to know where the enemy is clearly the whole time and it’s easier to do that with the smaller sound stage!

Oh alright, well since we figured almost everything out what do you recommend for everything overall and what would work best for me?

Interesting, from what you are saying they seem like a good match for me and will work great.
I will look into it more though.
I am guessing I would need a amp and dac, so what do you think works best for that.

so a headphone with bass, well rounded, and within the budget.

Let’s see…

Nighthawk Carbon: Dark, bassy, discontinued but can be found, sounds excellent, has a cult following, unfortunately the pads are a problem as finding replacement can be a hassle due to discontinuation. meeds a decent amp to push, semi open back and doesn’t leak that bad

HarmonicDyne Zeus: can technically be ran ampless but in this case will need something to drive it, moire of a V shape warmer signature, extremely large airy soundstage, comfort is top notch, very well received despite being chi-fi, very good imaging, it is a bit too bassy for competition play but can be overcome, can leak quite a bit of sound. Would have to be found at a used price to fit within this budget approperiatly

Beyerdynamic DT 880: one of the reigning champs in many areas due to its balanaced approach this headphone demands an amp and should be ran at 600 ohms if at all possible. The bass is more neutral so if one wanted bassier on this they would just need something like an ifi bass boost button, tube amp, or a simple change in pads. Quite bright and extremely detailed, semi open back barely leaks much really and offers good isolation. Can be bought mint roughly $100

Beyerdynamic Tygr 300r: one of the current kings of the market in this price tag, doesn’t really need an amp but in this case youll need one, subtle V shape warm signature, good bass and controlled, extremely good imaging, large soundstage, the proper alternative to the DT 990 which is what this headphone stems from. Can be bought Mint or b stock around $145 and new at $200. Bundle is not worth purchasing

Sennheiser 58x: average soundstage, average imaging, jack of all trades headphone with some extra warmth for a sennheiser, just a good all around headphone that fits pretty much anywhere. needs an amp

DT 900 PRO X & 700 pro x: these have essentially the same signature just with teh closed back being bassier of the two… they are brand new but overall the signature is extremely balanced neutral with some brightness but not alot. Responds very well to something like bass boosting, pads out of the box are thick and comfortable, cannot be pad swapped just yet due to new pad insert

amps? IFI ZEN DAC will run all these while giving you a bass button as well and is on the warmer side of things. Soundblaster G6 for budget 600 ohm dt 880 running.

I can add a bit more later on, wrote this before I headed out

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I am trying to choose between DT 880 and DT 900 PRO X and the Sennheiser 58x, what do you believe would be best here, I was thinking the DT 900 PRO X would be better however I am unsure. What is your idea/experience between the three and which one do you think best fits me?

Regarding AMP/DAC. Do you believe this is the best choice compared to others for these 3 headphones?

Like what are your thoughts on the Sound Blaster X4, I have heard it has software to help control and manage things and thought that was cool. Does the IFI ZEN have that or is that not really needed and it performs better anyway?

Alright well, I think I have my choices narrowed down from what you gave me but I just need your opinion and thoughts to help get it down to what to choose exactly :slight_smile: