Need help for Full audio setup for $1000 AUD/ ~$700 USD

I have set a budget of 1000$ aud for a full audio setup which also includes a mic and maybe the accessories, but I’m not sure yet. I would also like recommendations for mic accessories.

For the headset, I’m looking for a something that is both good with gaming and music. I’ve never had a dac and amp before so I don’t know what is good etc.


Welcome to Hfiguides,

Do you by chance know what type of sounds you enjoy in your headphones and music? You placed this in casual gaming so I assume you don’t intend to make use of this for competitives or do you need an all rounder? Do you prefer open back or closed back headphones? Lastly, for microphones what would you find more ideal a microphone like streamers used attached to a boom arm or something that’s attached to your headphone itself?

I don’t have a type of sound I like rn, but the kind of music I’ve been listening to are R&B such as joji, cuco, also rich brian and a little bit of kpop.

I would want an all rounder. I play alot of fps shooters, so I need footsteps to be accurate but I also listen to music alot. I dont have a preference between closed or open.

I’m not really sure what kind of mic I want. Maybe a mic that I can control gain with a knob of some sort. My friends and I sometimes eat our mic as a joke, so I would want a mic setup that can easily become loud so I dont have to ruin a mic by screaming into it.

Hmm, So lets see. Let’s start at microphones. So, the general choice of microphones would be a boom setup utilizing either a USB microphone or XLR microphone which requires an audio interface. I don’t think you would prefer to really utilize this particular setup though it offers the best in mic sound quality I can’t particularly touch on this as I don’t have as much experience in that department and would have to rely on others to touch on that particular area. However, the other mics would be something like Antlion Modmic which works very well and has different versions with varying prices. Personally, I would recommend either the USB or Wireless as they sound better than Uni. Outside of this if you pick up a headphone that has a 3.5mm or 2.5mm single connection detachable cable you can pick up a microphone like a V-moda for the 3.5mm or alternatives for the 2.5mm connections and these sound fine. These will run you around $20 or so for the v-moda but for antlion your looking at around $50-$120 depending on which version you go with. Please keep in mind though that if you decide to go with the streamer boom mic setup that using a Dynamic microphone is better than a regular condensor. This is because condensor mics pick up a ton of background noise and are designed for someone in a sound proof room while dynamics are designed more for live concerts so they tone out the background noise instead.

For amps, if you are looking for budget you can get away with buying the Schiit fulla,$99, for less demanding headphones or the Schiit Hel,$189, for better sound and a lot of power these are more budget options however they are both an amp and a dac together You also have the IFI zen Dac and Soundblasters X3 and G6 I will post a guide to some other combos that zeos recommends below. In seperate dedicated units for budget amps like the JDS Atom, Monoprice Liquid Spark, or the Schiit Magni 3+ / Heresy are all incredibly solid good sounding amps in around the $100 range pair though in your price range if your wanting to spend more I would say you’d be pretty good with something like an Schiit Asgard 3 + Topping E30 or Schiit Modius if you want a stack and more expensive option though the stack will cost you $400 and with the E30 your looking at $300. If you were to pair one of the budget amps listed above alongside an E30 you would be looking at around $220. All are good just some sound better than others.

In terms of headphones since you want to hear footsteps this makes things fairly limiting and will depend on some certain factors. To explain Competitive gamers typically go by the fact of wanting either neutral or recessed bass with mids and highs being forward alongside a larger soundstage and accurate imaging and if the highs are raised it’s even better as added treble helps you pin point sounds in the game a lot easier. The bass needs to be neutral or recessed so their is no rumble getting in the way of footstep sounds and other fps cue cards which is why this makes it fairly limiting in terms of headphone suggestions however you want an all rounder so let’s look at some that have a little bit of bass or are relatively neutral. Let’s start with more budget friendly options.

Philips SHP 9500: this doesn’t require a ton of power to back up and can make use of the V-moda microphone as a plug in which saves money fairly bright and is considered really good in gaming but also sounds pretty good. Has some bass but well rounded. The headphone can be seen sound around the $100 margin alongside around $20-$40 for the v-moda boom pro microphone makes this an incredibly good contender for budget gamers.

Beyerdynamic DT series: Beyerdynamic is known for having very bright headphones. In this particular case the DT 880 is the most ideal for competitive gaming since it lacks a bass presence with the 600 ohm being the best sounding these will go around $200 maximum and are semi open back. It’s cousins are not ideal for gaming, the 770 and 990, due to too much bass presence. A step up from here would be the DT 1990 which is something I consider the king in competitive gaming

Sennheiser HD 5xx series. This particular series is very well rounded. 58x jubilee is a very commonly used gaming headphone for being just very balanced all the way around and may be what you are looking for. Nothing stands out in the mix here but it has a nice open soundstage this particular headphone due to it’s soundstage is better for fps that have more close quarters so they can make use of that smaller more linear sound. In comparison you have the HD 598 and HD 599 virtually similar but these have more soundstage meaning they can place sounds from further away though these are discontinued you will have to find them from an alternative sell otherwise you will end up shelling out around $300 despite only being worth around $100. A bassier alternative here is the HD 558. The 58x jubilee is the only one here that uses duel sided plugs therefore has to make use of a modmic while the HD series can make use of a 2.5mm microphone detachable cable.

Audiotechnica series. These are fairly cheap in my opinion but if you search around you will see the words AD700x floating about. This is one of the gods of the competitive gaming world due to it’s budget price, they are like $70 or something now. The reason for this labelling is that the bass is heavily recessed and mids and highs are forward in other words this has one of the perfect sounds for competitive fps yet has it’s drawbacks. It has little seperation of sound, little brightness in comparison to some other headphones, bass is quite a bit recessed which may throw some people off as the headphone can be deemed to sound boring, and build quality leaves much to be desired as it’s pretty cheap plastic and the headband is pretty awful. A step up from the ad700x that fixes ever issue other than build quality is the ad1000x which is brighter and has full seperation of sound. The other headphone thats good is the M40x but you need to change the pads immediately and it has more bass presence still a good all rounder.

AKG series. The only one I can really recommend here is the K702 for competitive and k712 / k7xx if you want more bass and fun in the headphone. K702 again little bass but a extremely wide soundstage that offers some innaccurate sound placements though this is one of the other “best” gaming headphones usually seen in the $200-$300 price range they can be pad swapped to a yaxi pad to help with comfort and the build quality is much better than the audio technicas in my opinion.

Hifiman: be wary of this company as I recommend them as this particular headphone brand has issues with quality control. Anyway, He4xx from massdrop is really good but the one that really stands out in this budget is the Hifiman Sundara the main issue with this is it leaks a LOT of sound for being a open back and may feed through mics like the modmic without adjustments. However, in it’s pricepoint it’s hard to be beat and if you search in the right areas you can find these around the $250 margin. Not very bassy but lots of details and good highs

That’s about all I can think of at the top of my head right now and all I feel like typing at the moment lol. Heres a couple guides that may help as well.


So right now, looking at the hifiman he4xx, senn 58x and the beyer dt880. Which of these are the most comfortable?

For amps, which would you recommend more? jds labs atom for the magni heresy?

I personally find the beyerdynamics the most comfortable followed by the sennheiser then the hifimans. However, those sennheisers have a skull crushing clamp force out of the box… they gotta be stretched out first

Usually the magni 3+ or heresy. Heresy is more analytical if i recall correclty and the magni 3+ is a warmer amp, audiophile term of warm not meaning hot lol. I do like the atom but not so much for beyers I think this would be a good choice for the sennheiser though. Keep in mind you generally want a Dac with this too which is going to raise your price tag a bit…

Planning to get the topping e30 with an amp.

Since comfort is high on the list. Might be looking to get the beyer dt880.

So list rn is dt880 + topping e30 + heresy.

just looking for a mic. As an example, could you recommend a mic + boom arm setup?

Also can the heresy run the dt880?

Yes, it can power the 600 ohm variation which sounds the best. However, the 600 ohm will sound better with more expensive setups so you can buy it and if you wanna upgrade your setup later it will just make this headphone sound better down the road.

Very solid dac especially for it’s price I think you will be fine with this.

Unfortunately, no. Like I said not particularly my expertise in that area. However, if you wanted an XLR microphone for the best quality the best budget option would probably be the Behringer UM2 audio interface which won’t run the very expensive microphones but you will stand to be able to use a good mic in around the $100 range just fine. The one I started with was the Samson Q2U microphone which is a hybrid mic usb and xlr this is a budget friendly option for those who want to delve into this area and pick up an interface later. Best USB mics if you wanted condensors though would be something like a Blue yeti, snowball, or Hyperx Quadcast. Feel free to ask the others on this forum for some mic recommendations they can definitely help more than me on that front.

In the mad list envy guide, he reccomends the dt990 over the dt880. I’m not that set on a competitive headset. Which ones will be better for music?

Honestly, the dt 990 is one of my favorites but be warned that it’s sound signature is extremely sharp V signature. It can be ear piercing to those who are more treble sensitive. Personally, I think both headphones are great but for more along the point of a persons preferences. DT 880 more neutral sounding less bass yet bright very detailed nice open soundstage and accurate imaging great seperation in comparison dt 990 incredibly sharp V signature mids are recessed very bassy yet very sharp and ethereal like treble again very detailed with a larger soundstage just as good imaging and seperation. DT 880 is the semi open back while dt 990 is the fully open back. Both have a 600 ohm variation that makes them sound much better than their alternative low ohm counterparts and in dt 990s case the treble becomes less peaky and much more refined, as is a seen issue with this headphone quite a lot of people have issues with it’s treble.

I personally like more thump in my bass and am okay with a very sharp treble so I chose the dt 990, I wasn’t a fan of the dt 880. Choice is yours however, if you choose the dt 990 please make sure you pair it to an amp and dac that can help dial back the treble or keep it from going sibilant. Amps like the thx 789 and others have a habit of actually increasing it’s treble causing it to go full blown sibilant. While I don’t think you’ll have issues with the heresy still it’s more analytical I found the liquid spark pairs beautiful with the dt 990 either should work but I personally think the spark does better by the sharp treble of that headphone in particular.

There are ways to tame the treble of the 990 though. Through amps and dacs in particular, however you can also modifiy it by putting extra foam or toilet paper cut to size behind the foam of it’s driver though this will reduce the bass it will also dial in the treble, you can buy a cable filter for the headphone which should fix any form of sibilance. I do recommend if your going to get into beyers consider the purchase of Dekoni Elite Velour. From my experience these are known to deal with the higher treble beyerdynamic headphones by a very great deal and are real comfortable as well. Lastly, the dt 990 does respond okay with equalization though I recommend this as a last resort if your dialing back treble as it can sound a bit off doing this method from my experience. If you are on pc you can utilize the program called PEACE APO it’s two downloads completely free takes a small amount of setup and a potential restart to the pc and your set. This will allow you to tune your sound as well as the quality of the microphone as well if you so choose. If you are looking for 7.1 surround sound like some gamers like look into Hesuvi and Dolby Atmos

If you are unsure on the treble perhaps look more into the new Tygr 300r. I recently reviewed it I will post a link on my own review that you are free to read and decide if perhaps that is more to your liking. It’s more casual more bassy and warm. 🔶 Beyerdynamic TYGR 300 R a good alternative to this particular signature however is like I mentioned previously one of the philips headphones which you will see me mention in that review. For gaming the philips fidelio x2hr is an amazing headphone as it pairs to the V-moda Boom Pro making it incredibly ideal for the budgeting gamer though incredibly bassy while the shp9500 is the alternative with less bass and more brightness.

This is an edit but I see this is as a subjective question. Though if you want a flat response as some people seem to want. I like the dt 990s more for music and gaming both, yes that includes competitives, but in some genres the brightness can be a bit tiring.

Whats the difference between the black and grey version?

this version is the only one available in my country

as far as I am aware the different versions are purely aesthetic much like the Manufaktur variation seen here

which is where you can order a customized kind of version to your own preference. I believe people have reported some difference in the pads but I didn’t notice any difference personally as far as dt 990. However, the dt 880 special black edition has a different sound. More bass but lacks body just like its original though it sounds a bit more like the dt 990. Their black editions are only in 250 ohm respectively meanwhile only the white edition can be in its more refined 600 ohm

Would you still recommend the topping e30 + heresy?

E30 most definitely, heresy is a bit debatable. I think it’s a good amp but the Magni 3+ may be a bit on the warmer side and in the long run I found the Liquid spark to sound the best alongside the dt 990 due to that incredible treble peak. Though heresy is powerful without a doubt I haven’t personally ran into a lot of issues with the spark or magni 3+ for that matter. Though like the dt 880 600 ohm this headphone will perform and sound better with more refinement on more expensive setups provided you upgrade. It appears the rule of thumb is in the $200 range on the amp to bring them to their best

Scratch that on the comment on 600 ohms just noticed there looks to be a black version of it for the dt 990s. I would assume then yeah just aesthetic. Go with whichever you prefer on looks or can obtain.

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The liquid spark isnt avaliable in my country, is there any other amp your recommend?

Then you should be fine with a Magni 3+ less you wish to go heresy. Only other I would bring up would maybe be Schiit Hel or Ifi Zen Dac which are combo units of amp and dac together. If you can afford it I would definitely say see if you can grab and Asgard 3 + Modius(not the Modi the modius is a new dac) or just pair the asgard 3 with the E30 as the asgard sounds really good and I find is a really nice step up from the others. You can find asgard 3 in B-stock sometimes for like $50 cheaper too making it cost around $150 but they are $200 new less you have the internal dac installed, Don’t particularly recommend this but it’s an option I suppose.

Other sites people say the difference between the 3+ and heresy are barely noticeable and they say to choose whichever you like the look of

Depends on the person and please take things you read when it comes to audio equipment as subjective opinions. Heresy is a bit analytical very clean but I found it brightened up some headphones which is why I recommend against it for a beyerdynamic such as the dt 990, and the reason I had sent it back, Magni 3+ is smoother, a bit warmer, though still similar, and I found it paired better with brighter headphones of course this is just my opinion.

How is the cable on the dt990? Is it durable? And do you have any tips on how to not make the headphone cable tangle?