Need recommendations for good competitive FPS headphones

So for the past 2 days I have been looking for new headphones that are good for competitive FPS gaming and for casual music listening. I mainly listen to House, Rap, Hiphop. The current FPS games that I play are CSGO and COD.

I am looking to spend around 300 euros (350 USD) for the headphones combined with an amp/dac if needed. The options I have been looking at are the Sennheiser HD 58X and the Beyerdynamic DT series, but I am open for anything.

Currently I have the Logitech G Pro Gaming Headset which I have owned for about 2 years now. Before that I owned a pair of Logitech G633’s. I am really looking to upgrade my audio experiences with my future headphones. I have kind of a large head so I will need headphones that are suitable for people with slightly larger heads :slight_smile: (My Logitech G Pro headbands are fully stretched, otherwise they won’t fit / feel comfortable).

Looking forward to your suggestions, thanks in advance.

@Hidden Hey there, welcome to Hifiguides,

I wrote a quick write up for headphones like these for those who want good sound but play competitive… over here Falenkor's Competitive Headphone Write Up. Now with added Hardware explanations! few guides on there as well as a good list of headphones and some explainations on hardware and what sound is the most -ideal- for competitive gaming while not required it helps.

As for amps. Depends on the headphone. Generally I would recommend just an Ifi Zen Dac, schiit fulla 3, fx audio x6 if its a really weak headphone, or soundblaster g6 if its on the console as you need an optical port for that one.

All rounder, neutral in sound, decent enough levels of soundstage though still fairly narrow however this won’t be that big of an issue since you play more narrow fps games if it was Tarkov or Battlefield on the other hand I would definitely say otherwise. Great headphone with a great sound. May need a small yet weak amp to drive in some cases. Consoles are too weak to drive this headphone properly and some weaker motherboards struggle.

DT 880 would be the best here for competitive gaming and is more neutral. 770 is closed back with a lot more bass but this causes issue in competitive its also very bright and can cause some issues the alternative however to this is beyerdynamic Custom Studio which is more flexible thanks to a bass slider allowing it to be used in both casual and competitive gaming. 990 is an open back and extremely sharp on it’s treble and definitely not for everyone plus it has a ton of bass no true alternative to this one here from beyerdynamic outside of Tygr 300 R however this still has quite a bit too much bass for ideal competitives granted still great for all round use. Beyers definitely need an amp

If your looking to save money while having a very adaptive headphone setup. Look into picking up a cheap shp9500 as you can find them for like $50, I bought mine for $45 actually, upon grabbing the shp9500 you have two options you can remove the pad look up a video about how to scrap the glue off the current adapter or go to MODHOUSE AUDIO and purchase the pad adapter($10). After this you have a choice of signatures for bright and competitive go velours brainwavz are decent enough for pads and cheap dekoni are really good and my recommendation(this will range between $20 - $40). For Bassy warm and casual go either suede or perforated leather for still having a touch of brightness or for a lot more bass and just a warm signature go straight sheepskin/cowhide/ leather whichever your preference is(these again will run around $20 - $40). After this look into a microphone called “V-moda Boom Pro” it’s a 3.5mm connection mic since the shp9500 has a detachable 3.5mm cable you can use this microphone for gaming and it has some of the best quality sound of any boom mic for headsets(these will run around $30). just pop on the adapters and pads plug in the mic and your good. You can of course buy someones already fully set up unit in some cases. All in all your looking at around $150 maybe less for this headphone setup and it doesn’t technically need an amp but it can help so tag on a ifi zen dac or soundblaster g6 and your fine bringing you up to around $250 or so max.

So from what I have been reading, the DT 880 and DT 990 are the 2 best options, since I am not really into modding the SHP9500. Regarding the DT 880 and DT 990, are we talking about the regular series or the pro series and why would you choose them of the other series. Now what would your final recomendation be, the DT 880 or the DT 990 and how many Ohms would be ideal and why?

EDIT: Missed the part of your guide where you say the 600 ohm is better for the 880, still curious about the rest tho.

I appreciate the quick response and help!
PS: I will only use the headphones for my PC which has a MSI X470 Gaming Plus MOBO

Best would of course be subjective, but they are very good.

Mainly the difference in series such as the 990 is the difference in design aesthetic, ohms can be at 600 and sound better in edition, and that “edition” comes with a straight cable while “pro” comes with a coiled cable. Generally 600 ohms is just more refined overall and sounds better to the ear.

Between those two? If it’s for general use purposes plus hardcore competitive… DT 880. If you want more bass and are more along the lines of just enjoying competitive games and don’t care for the most ideal DT 990 is fine but its so sharp I would sooner potentially point to the Tygr 300R in that regard as it can cause a lot of issues if someone does not know if they are sensitive to treble. Example of ohms is like the 990 250 ohms is brighter and not as smooth as the 600 ohm variation. 600 ohms sounds better, tighter bass, bit more detail, smoother on the highs so it doesn’t have as much sibilance, and in some cases people have found it more comfortable due to the difference in headclamp.

General consensus is that you should pick up an amp as onboard audio is just never really good. Can’t seem to find specs on that particular onboard so I can’t really say for certain if it can drive it based on it’s onboard.

So the only difference between the 880 and 990 Pro vs regular series is the design?

I am open to more options, like I said, but these seem to be the ones within my price range that are suitable for my desires right?

I will definitely buy an AMP/DAC, feel free to list your personal favorites ( I will buy a seperate desktop mic like a blue yeti for example, not sure if this is important)

Sorry for being an absolute noob when it comes to audio, I am new to this and trying to learn and understand the whole concept.

design, head clamp, and different style of cable.

they are indeed very suitable to what your looking for yes. A lot on here have picked up a dt 880 and called it a day. However do keep in mind you still need a mic

depends on your budget on whether you go with a 600 ohm unit. If your looking to save on money still then grab the 250 ohm and pair it to a Ifi zen dac or Schiit Fulla 3. I personally like the zen dac for 880 as it has that extra warmth and bass button to it so it lets it be a bit more versatile in it’s use. If your looking at combo units though? $200 maximum then go with a 600 ohm variant if you can as well. Grab a liquid spark from monoprice(they range from $80 - $100) and a Topping D10( same price as spark). I recommend the spark as it does a fantastic job at not only really making the bass and mids sound great but it rolls off the treble making the headphone less painful / sibilant(meaning the S sound you hear won’t be ear screeching)

Maybe I can help explain a bit here. So as you seen in the guide theres a ideal sound… this isn’t a -mandatory requirement- so to speak but it helps in competitive. Warmth generally means more bass and better lower vocals or mids. With bright headphones or Treble Raised headphones the word sibilance comes into play and it’s your worst enemy. Sibilance or the SS sound as well as other sharp sounds like cymbals or annunciations being so sharp or higher pitched to the point it can become painful to a person who has sensitivity… however a person will not particularly know if he/she is sensitive until picking up a bright headphone. A good example though is use a car stereo system and go into your settings… max the treble and listen to some vocals with a like of S sound… then turn the treble down… you will hear the change in sound. Generally speaking I will definitely tell someone to grab a DT 880 for a first time bright headphone when it comes to the Brand Beyerdynamic as of the 3 it’s the least bright and most neutral sounding(neutral meaning bass vocals and treble are more towards a flat line so all rounder in other words)

Keep in mind that 880 and 990 are completely seperate in sound signature… they sound worlds apart. Though for competitive I would point immediately to the 880 before I did a 990

Okay so I am leaning towards buying the 880’s then, but what 880 series would you recommend for optimal comfort, considering I will wear these for long periods of time (5-6 hours). From what I have been googling, there is the DT 880 ‘‘regular’’ series, the Pro series and I found these on the beyerdynamic website as well ( some sort of special edition, but they have 250 Ohms intead of 600) https://europe.beyerdynamic.com/dt-880-black-special-edition-250-ohms.html?___store=en

The special black edition is more appealling to me then the other 2 series, but comfort is priority.

I prefer a DAC/AMP combined and the Zen Dac and Schiit Fulla 3 seem like great options. Will most likely lean towards the Zen Dac based of your recomendation.

I do still have spare budget for a mic, currently doing some research on what mic would be a good option for me. Again, recommendations are welcome.

black special edition 250 ohm has a seperate tuning that has more bass and not as ideal for competitive. Go with the edition for the straight cable.

Will work just fine in this case.

Lavalier mics attach to your shirt may work, DT series can be modfied by someone to have a 3.5mm detachable cable allowing access to v-moda boom pro… otherwise a desktop mic or Modmic. Entirely up to you in that regard.

Before I buy the headphones, are there any extra cables that I will need to buy in order for it to work with a DAC etc.

Depends on your length from the pc but you get a pretty good size cable along with the headphones… You should be fine. Ifi Zen Dac comes with its usb cable for the pc as well… You can later on buy it’s respective power supply as it will help the sound a bit more but its kind of expensive… soo I really dont recommend that route less you need more power and less noise(rare occurance you will hear a faint buzz in some computers just depends… more than likely the dac will clear it up)

Recommend you also go and pick up Peace APO. Two Downloads they are free. It’s an equalizer program. Lets you configure your sound even more. Bass, vocals, treble, and a preamp(you want a bit of preamp if you alter your settings a bit anyway).

Others you could look into are Dolby Atmos and Hesuvi. Atmos costs a few bucks but its permenant after its purchase and gives you that 7.1. surround sound software if you feel you need it.

Thank you for all the advice and help, it is greatly appreciated. Ilistened to some sound demo’s of the dt 880’s and the HD 58x from Zeos and Oluv’s gadgets and I actually prefer the way the Sennheiser HD 58X sounds for some reason. I can’t seem to make up my mind haha, but would the HD 58X work fine with the ZEN DAC or is there a better alternative?

Sorry for me being an absolute shit show when it comes to making decisions. The HD 58X were the first pair I set my eyes on while looking into suitable headphones and they seem to have gotten to me.

Again, massive thanks for the fast and helpful advice.

Works just fine. However, Sound demos should be taken with a grain of salt as they are never fully accurate less you are listening their in person due to video recording reasons.

It’s quite alright no big deal. 58x is commonly accepted as a fantastic headphone for just general purpose. gaming in both senses casual and comp and regular listening this is due to it’s neutral sounding nature. 58x has more head clamp to the point it’s skull crushing out the box and you definitely need to stretch the metal band, the pads are relatively shallow and cannot be changed without adapter or respective pads made for it iirc massdrop has a seperate set for it. The soundstage is narrow while fine for cod, csgo, and other smaller fps stages anything of a larger fps such as battlefield, arma, planetside, pubg, etc is going to be a bit lackluster due to how small a range the staging has. To explain think of your soundstage as the distance you have from your character and its surrounding environment… the bigger that stage the more your going to hear far away to a limit of course based on the games engine. Imaging is the other importance because this allows you to pin point the sounds… if the imaging is bad you will get bad placements and essentially will get you killed of course in an fps. The other importance is seperation though is only important in larger scale battles as it allows the sound to be more seperate instead of melding it all together this way it allows better tracking in game. 58x isn’t a slouch on anything except soundstage it’s extremely well rounded. DT 880 is the better competitive gamer headphone however, this is due to a few reasons. 1. better imaging while the 58x isn’t bad in this case 880 is close to laser accurate, larger soundstage so despite the dt 880 being a semi open back headphone the staging is just naturally bigger which can give an edge primarily in larger fps scenarios, both are pretty damn good at seperation and its a toss up for me on which one comes out on top there, beyers can be seen as potentially more comfortable and are built like tanks with high quality materials sennheiser while built well isn’t as good in that regard and the pads tend to be more shallow alongside the headclamp out of the box that needs stretched that isn’t to say their bad just in terms of overall build quality and strength beyers win in that regard in terms of comfort though its subjective. Sound signature though is where it really comes into play… as you read in my guide for the ideal sound… 880 has it’s treble raised and bass and vocality are relatively more neutral while the 58x is close to being a flat line with nothing in particularly is raised. I will post a couple graphs of the two to show you what I mean by this…

image

58x Jubilee ^ from left to right low frequency mids highs or bass vocals treble

^ dt 880 at it’s 600 ohm easy to see that the 880 is much brighter in comparison.

That isn’t to say something like well… this is just better so go with it… its going to boil to your preference. both will work just fine and of course what sounds better to you is what matters most. If you like the 58x go with it… its an extremely well rounded headphone and was my 2nd headphone I ever bought its quite something special.

I am lost right now lol, I can’t make up my mind. From what you have said earlier the DT 880’'s are a brighter pair of headphones compared to other headphones right? I basically need to find out if I like that ‘‘bright’’ sound to make a decision?

Also, availability wise the 880’s would be better, since the HD 58X ships on the 19th and from reading the reviews the shipping time is huge.

Also although this video is using the 250 Ohm version of the DT 880, this sound demo seems kind of BS to me, what do you think? > https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1ro9j7vGBEQ

Pretty much, takes a trial or find a stereo and turn up the treble. Your choice I can’t really make the call on that one for ya lol

Yeah, that’s massdrop for you. They take a while. Your call on that one wait it out or don’t.

No, thats actually pretty accurate actually its a touch off. You can hear the hiss sound from the 880s brightness in there. k702 is a beauty with a absolute massive soundstage but it’s biggest issue it that is has imaging issues and for some reason priced way the hell above what its worth right now(despite being able to be found in $200 or under) that headphone. 58x sings well and is the most neutral or rather potentially the most accurate on recordings. However, he did not list his amps and I didn’t see him say where he was geting the music from and the like which can alter sound… You can easily tell that 880 has that brightness and in some cases lacking “body” or the bass presence there one of the reasons I said ifi zen dac as the bass boost can bring that bass back the big issue is the brightness.

According to Zeos > https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YtyCRXizSeM you need a 200 dollar amp to actually get good sound out of the DT 880’s 600 Ohm, while my max for a DAC/AMP is around 100 dollars

I really seriously wish he would come back out and fix that. You do not by any means need a nuclear power plant modded amplifier to drive the dt 880 this has been proven several times over. Please disregard that. I have owned the dt 880 600 ohm I do not anymore as I have the T1 Gen 2 which is also 600 ohm. I used to run the dt 880 600 ohm off a liquid spark. The $100 amps spark, magni, atom, a30, etc power them just fine. Hell even the ifi zen dac can technically power it if you balance it or have the power supply attached or perhaps a bit of preamp to the single ended output.

The difference is that the higher tier amps do make the headphone sound better and can give it some more character especially if you pair them to tube amps as it really brings out the low end and fills in that lacking body sound it has.

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With that being said, since I will use my headphones for long periods of time each day, wouldn’t the electricity bill go through the roof? If so, what is stopping me from getting lower Ohm versions. Is the difference in audio that significant?

lol I wouldn’t say through the roof. It’s just an amp. 880 is just much more refined, not as bright, more detail, all around better in 600 ohms in my opinion though 250 ohms is fine as well if you prefer that route.

Soooo… I am back again :slight_smile:, I have made the decision that the HD 58X will not be an option for me anymore, mainly due the shipping time and the sound stage that the HD 58X lacks, which seems to be important for gaming. You mentioned this as well.

Now I have thought about how serious I really am when it comes to gaming and so to say I do ofcourse want to hear footsteps etc but I do want to have fun with these headpones end enjoy playing my games ( I will most likely buy the upcoming battlefield).

So, again, I think we are left with the 880’s the 990’s and maybe other options (from Audiotechnica or whatever). I think the safest thing for me to do is just go with 250 ohm headphones instead of 600 ohms, so I can actually use the headphones to their full potential with a (~150 euro DAC/AMP).

I am open to the ‘‘regular’’ version of the DT’s and the pro series, whatever series that does the best job at making footsteps (just an example) noticable while still having a blast with the sound while playing games.