Need help choosing gaming headphones + DAC

Hey everyone, I read Falenkor’s guide and am thinking about the beyerdynamic DT 990 600ohms or the Massdrop x Sennheiser HD 6XX Headphones 300ohms -

for either of them i know ill need a DAC - but do i also need a dedicated sound card in my computer or will a DAC be sufficient? i have a z370-a-pro motherboard. Any recommendations on what would go well for the headphones i mentioned?

This would be my first audiophile style headphones - previously ive mostly used “gaming” headphones like turtlebeach. i play typical fps games and story games like witcher 3 and cyberpunk 2077. I also listen to classic rock and symponies like beethoven’s symphony 9.


You don’t necessarily need a dac for those, although one is recommended, but you will definitely want an amp for those. You won’t need a dedicated soundcard.

I also found out about the TYGR 300 R - which do you think is better for overall gaming and surround sound locating enemies out of the 3?

In terms of gaming I would largely disregard the 6xx its utter lack of imaging and lack of soundstage on a solid state ampakes them more lacking than many open backs in regards to gaming performance . I would look for an external option soundcards suck for the most part only one that doesn’t is probably the most expensive which is the ae 9 but for the price an external solution will sound better. The tygrs are our safest bet in regards to easy to drive beyerdynamic. But both the 990 and tygr perform pretty similarly in gaming it’s basically a toss up at least to my ears granted I don’t own the tygrs and had very limited time with them… But many prefer the tygr over the 990 in many ways and

Thanks bro I appreciate the input. Tygrs it is! Think i should get a amp for them?

a dac will help but not necessarily a requirement. an amp however should be purchased. While you can use your pc as a dac it will help to have both units purchased. You do not need some kind of sound card. Using onboard audio can lead to some issues and will more than likely not be strong enough to properly drive the headphones. Especially the 600 ohm beyers you need an amp.

like rice mentioned I would agree here with skipping this. You would be better off lookingat 58x jubilee… it’s better for gaming and used quite often. Keep in mind headphones have different sound signatures and Sennheiser tend to be more mid centric or close to neutral. Some signatures can be seen to some people as very enjoyable or very boring depending on the person

appreciate the read.

This requires a few things. One of which it needs a powerful amp at least in the $100 margin and a respectable dac does help however the amp also has to be able to roll off the treble a bit to deal with the potential sibilance. In other words, it’s setup is pretty picky if you go just buying a random amp and end up grabbing something such as a THX amplifier your in for a bad time as some amps like that will make a headphone brighter. If you plan to pick up the 990 though keep in mind it’s unforgiving and has a lot of bass. It’s a very special headphone but only if you can tolerate that brightness. Make sure theres a return policy just incase on that one. I’d recommend using the starting amp I started with which was the liquid spark it pairs fine for the beyers, other than tygrs. You can use your computer as a dac or get something like a topping D10 and be fine.

Sounds like we have the same taste in music and games. You will definitely notice a very large difference leaving your turtlebeach and other gaming headsets behind.

well this is due to the fact these two headphones are using the same driver except the tygr has the low ohm variation and 990s well you generally buy the 600 ohm. Tygr has the bass provided by the 990s but without all that brightness. It still has that incredibly laser pointer accurate imaging but an even larger soundstage due to some changes in design. It’s fantastic for those who can’t tolerate brightness however, not the best for someone who likes brightness or mids as both of those are slightly recessed falling under neutrality. It’s a warm headphone as such not for everybody but still great for an all rounder.

Depends, if you end up getting the bundle that comes with the fox mic, the fox microphone(while I think is personally a garbage microphone) has a preamp inside of it that allows you to properly drive the tygr without worry. Tygr’s aren’t the most demanding of headphones so you will probably be fine without an amp… however, amps and dacs can help offer more power, headroom, and sound qualities. In tygrs case it can sound a bit muffled if not driven right as well as lose some bass. I would say just try it without an amp if budget is a big concern… otherwise depending on if this is for console or pc just get a amp and dac of the entry variety. Most gamers really don’t need one of the very expensive amps and dacs and it’s an invest ment so you have great audio… you will be looking at $200 minimum for a dedicated amp and dac and around $120-ish minimum for a combo unit however combo units will lack some power and not be as good as the dedicateds.


Thanks bro, someone else said I should get the AKG 371 and use oratory1990’s list of EQ Presets on reddit

“For competitive gaming, all else being equal, closed backs are the better option, and I think the K371 are the best headphone of the bunch, with their removable cables, great balanced sound even before EQ, noise isolation, and higher sensitivity than the Beyerdynamics, meaning you can get away with a $10 DAC amp instead of something more expensive.”

Any thoughts on that?

Okay wow where to begin on my thoughts with this lol. AKG 371 isn’t a bad headphone but it’s not all that great for competitive but lets separate this into sections so I don’t write a book here.

there is no equality among products. All products from headphones to amps to dacs to even the cables will react differently, provide different sounds, comforts, etc. Even in terms of gaming you stand to gain massive different results based on everything in your setup.

“for competitive gaming… closed backs are the better option” No offense to this person but I am not sure they honestly know what they are saying here, but let’s take this for a grain of salt and elaborate a bit on why I think this is extremely far from the whole truth. This is completely based on preference and case by case. Closed backs are good if you plan to go into tournament venues this is because we are given absolute trash gear to begin with without care of proper sound signature so really you can play with whatever you want as long as its properly closed backed and isolating as going with an open back can hinder your skill as you grow reliant on the more open signature. Closed backs are great for bass and isolation however they lack in sound stage and in some cases imaging and the added bass can extremely hinder footstep placement as closed backs tend to have much more rumble. It boils down to what competitive gaming your playing and your own personal preference. If your playing something such as battlefield you stand to have more variety of choice from an open back and the larger soundstage really shines. If your playing fortnite you stand to gain better soundstage and imaging from an open back as you have a more 3D field of sound around the head due to the nature of an open backed headphone. However, closed backs isolation of sound is good for linear fps as well like cod, valorant, counter strike etc. There is no “better option” or even a “best” option. It goes on a case by case basis.

The headphone isn’t bad per say but it’s by no means all that great for competitive gaming… the soundstage is slightly under average for a closed back and is on the level of closer to narrow. if you were to compare this to the DT 770 the k371 loses in spades in terms of soundstage and sound signature outside of the 770s added bass which can be equalized out. Removable cables are nice and all but you have the shp9500 over there that can stand above this headphone and that particular headphone can be bought for $50 and has the more ideal competitive signature. Balanced signature? yes but its by no means anything special It’s as neutral as a 58x jubilee(mostly) of which this headphone loses to big time in terms of competitive gaming since they are the same price. K371 has added bass and can be a bit muddy at times, it is one of those jack of all trades but master of none it doesn’t excel in any area it’s just relatively decent in all categories due to neutrality however, in many cases neutrality can be deemed extremely boring. It does respond well to equalization but so does a great many other headphones.

anyone who tries to tell me that is a fully balanced out neutral headphone? I honestly will be concerned

image above here is 58x jubilee in comparison

Just because the headphone is capable of not needing an amplifier or dac does not mean by any regard that an amp and dac will not help with your sound quality. $10 dac amp would be worse than your own motherboards onboard audio. That isn’t to say you need an expensive setup… hell maximum I would say would be the $400 spot but really technically you only need to place about $60 for an amp/dac(E10k came to mind when I wrote this price) and you will be fine less your trying to power a 600 ohm headphone. At the same time headphones such as the lower ohm DT 770, Shp9500, some cases 58x jubilee, Takstar Pro 82, Tygr 300R, among a great many other headphones really don’t need an amp to be driven in most cases it just helps by a large margin.

Balanced sound is not the ideal competitive sound… its just neutral. Like I have in my write up. The ideal competitive signature is a bright headphone with the upper mid range raised as this helps with the more subtle fps sounds… outside of that no rumble should be present… This is of course ideal situation… outside of that you want as accurate of imaging as possible and the bigger the soundstage generally the better. Balanced signatures are great for all rounders as the more ideal signature can be a bit much for those who are sensitive whereas balanced can be used for casual, youtube, movies, etc as well… but this is also what makes something like tygr 300r over there shine as well as 58x jubilee as they are also all rounders and do a fantastic job in competitives.

Of course you don’t have to go with the ideal signature or neutrality signature either… Tygr 300r proves that… your main concern is your imaging, rumble, and soundstage.

at the same time neutral or just bright headphones can be just deemed very boring for those who want excitement in their gaming… which is where warm signatures with good imaging and V signatures come in

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For a super entry level and someone who just doesn’t care as much? Yeah, I would recommend k371… its not bad honestly… but I definitely feel there is better options… if one can tolerate some brightness I would immediately tell them to grab the 770 if they really needed a closed back as you can find lower ohm 770s pretty cheap. If one wanted more of a subtle V signature with options to be a bit fun and a good size soundstage… m40x is quite nice post pad swap. At the same time if you still wanted an akg and an open back instead… hell the k7xx over there is amazing as a warm headphone with very large staging and good imaging… you can find those selling by others around $150 - $200 and doesn’t need an amp

Thanks man I appreciate your input - im gonna get the stand alone tygr 300r

I looked at a few of the under $150 amps your guide mentioned - what exactly makes an amp a “gaming” amp compared to others? prebuilt 7.1 surround sound? What do you think would go best with the tygrs?

I need to rewrite that guide, it’s a bit all over the place lol. Those “gaming” amps either will have the mic port such as schiit fulla and Schiit Hel or in soundblasters case they will have the mic port yes but also 7.1 and recon mode… in other words just some added extras that are really unecessary. Best for tygrs? Depends on budget and if your going with a console for gaming… not sure on the new gen but current gen consoles need an optical port so soundblaster g6 in that regard as for pc? g6 would still be okay, fulla would be nice but I think you’d be better off just buying a Magni 3+ or JDS atom at that point and using the pc as the dac with some particular cables and buying a dedicated dac later in the $100 region. E10K would work fine for just regular lower power units up to around 250 ohms and is very cheap.

Thanks a ton dude, you’ve helped me out so much.

Pc Master Race - definitely getting the jds atom and E10K! Do you know what cables I would need to utilize those?

When it comes to surround sound I know you mentioned Hesuvi - did you end up using it with the tygrs? I’ll probably try it with and without just wondering what your thoughts are about that

not recommended. E10k is a combo unit. would sooner recommend saving up slightly more money and buying a dedicated dac unit like the jds’s dac or something lke topping d10 considering that e10k is like $60 - $70 and the dedicated dac unit like d10 is $100 and you gain cleaner higher quality sound from the dedicated unit

basic cheap rca cables like this

I normally don’t use that sort of thing but I have dolby atmos instead. Tygrs staging is already massive… it kind of screws with the headphone.

worth a shot.

I am very pleased with the Atom dac/amp stack. When ordering the Atoms, I also picked up a set of “Stack Cables” (6" RCAs) they have listed, to use as interconnects between the DAC/AMP. To connect from the amp to my speakers, I actually bought the exact same set that Falenkor linked above. They work well. The headphones I’m using, X2HRs and SIVGA 004s, sound great with the atom stack.