Purely competitive fps headphone

woo quite a read already here.

lol, we do get questions on this quite often and I try to get to them and help people when I can.

just as long as you come to realize and are ok with the fact that a headphone is going to help push you along… it is not going to be like some kind of wall hack… there are limitations to a headphone but there are also bigger limitations on the games we play… take for example Call of Duty Warzone… that particular games sound engine is pitifully garbage and has a world of issues even on some of the best headphones you can get… lots of inaccuracies, weird soundstage placements, garbled sounds off in the distances, lack of being able to fully utilize much larger soundstage headphones despite being quite a large game, etc.

“faster” will not happen outside of just larger soundstage… your enemies will hear you just as fast as you hear them if capable. Your own reaction times will come into play here… a headphone will not give you some crazy edge on your opponent outside of pinpoint accuracy and how far/close they are. The biggest edge a lot of headphones will provide though is being able to easily pick up sounds such as reloading, med kits, etc which can allow you to have a jump on the target.

That motherboard I can only assume definitely struggled with that 770… its no surprise it was a bit on the fatiguing side of things as beyers do tend to lose their bass and become very sibilant without the proper amount of power.

youll see ad700 a lot because it is still one of the few budget kings alongside shp9500… its not bad by any means its just built… well put it this way its flimsy enough to snap lol same as the shp9500 neither one scream build quality but the sound is good I just wouldn’t call them anything exceptional. Though it definitely depends on the game

K702 brothers all share a similar sound signature with 702 being the bright analytical one… imaging inaccuracies but very large soundstage and a more balanced out sound slightly being recessive in the bass and sub bass. Not a bad match build is decent should last but they can be deceptively expensive and are found on the used markets in mint condition usually for a hell of a lot cheaper.

Sundara, verticality champion in its price budget… imaging exceptional but not full laser extremely airy yet large soundstage. Exceptional fps gaming headphone but is riddled with company quality control problems and built rather cheap being known to break on people… Still if you have one post warranty or one that just works they are fantastic cans but this headphone 100% demands an amplifier

you tried a beyer connected to a motherboard that could not handle a beyer… this is a common misconception as this misleads a person due to the change in signature traits. Not all beyers are obscenely bright but most of them are quite a bit up there… 770 is quite forgiving in comparison to say the 990 and 880 has the most balanced approach of those three. Tygr is a 990 with much less treble yet all the aspects you want from 990 such as laser imaging and the very large soundstage… tygr is easily one of the budget champions due to just what its capable of in practically any of the FPS titles top that off with its comfort and built qualities being well known from being a beyer as all beyers headphones are built like tanks typically and use the standard beyer velour pad.

any form of EQ will demand more power… if your planning to do any of this your going to need an amp… you can’t just plug any headphone into a motherboard and expect it to run properly or sound correctly. EQ creates the need for more power through the form of preamplification to keep the sound balanced out.

rather surprised at this honestly but it does depend on the game and by person basis… 560 definitely isn’t bad.

If I had to rate the beyers as long as they have the proper amp and dac going for them in a game that can actually make full use of them… it would go from best to least… T1 2nd generation, DT 1990(less needing more aggressive placements in which 1990 is first), DT 990, Tygr 300R, DT 880, DT 770, Custom series.

as for levels of brightness? most to least. DT 990 is most apparent, DT 1990, T1 2nd gen due ot less in your face nature and curved drivers, DT 770, DT 880, Tygr 300r, and some of the custom series

I am rather curious on your setup that causes you to find the 560s better and what game… not to come off as aggressive just rather curious… I do appreciate the 560s I just found it a bit of a boring listen… too neutral for my taste so to speak.

so the g6 will drive a beyer to full as long as you have its software setup properly and placed into the higher gain modes… at the same time g6 has its own eq presets which can mess up a headphones sound signature… its software eq, crystallizer, scout mode, and 7.1 all tinker with a sound profile for the headphone… Nonetheless, g6 isn’t what I would call the best for “sound quality” as its just a good item for budget levels of powering good headphones. Its enough to get you what you need and thats about it… you’d need a good setup to get the better sound qualities.

absolutely this ^ lot of people mess up here especially with g6 due to all the internal enhancements… these can massively screw things up.

id hope not? senn are neutral as hell but more in the line of mid forward… granted 560s is definitely on the brighter side for a sennheiser.

leave 7.1 never use this on a beyer… anybody who claims a beyer is easy to drive either has too much money and lost some brain cells or just has no idea what they are talking about. Beyers use an older driver. they are absolutely not easy to drive… you cannot feasibly just plug a beyer 250 ohm into your motherboard and have it run at full… it just will not happen the special exception is those motherboards that have op-amps installed onto the mb but these are more expensive… even then they alter the sound signature of a beyer making it bassier and brighter than it has any right of being… top that off with potential distortion screwing up the levels of clarity.

they are not higher versions but different headphones. 560s is of the 500 series it has larger soundstage and good imaging… the 600 series while are incredibly good are very intimate on soundstage making them a harder recommendation to gamers who want to hear far away… nonetheless something like the 660s over there have incredibly imaging and sound fantastic as long as your okay with the signature.

from a sennheiser? speaking from experience? no. Sennheiser 560s or HD 660s are the ideal candidates with 58x jubilee being the center ground there. The step up from there is either the very expensive HD800S(endgame $1k+ headphone) or the Focal brand like the Elex

eh, more than likely recommend the padswap like pok mentions for this nonetheless yeah… it does work well. Better for vertical placements than the beyers and definitely isnt bad.

560s is just the good all rounder honestly. which is why I am surprised to see someone mention better than the 1990 which is designed to be as aggressively analytical as possible. the hifiman is definitely going to win out on vertical placements and air quality of the sound as is customary of their house sound… sennheisers though have a similar signature just more intimate to the ear… either one will work and its more of a side grade in this particular use case depends on what you need.

depends on the use case really… but yeah in most cases if allowed(as tourney regulations dont allow eq and other things like this) they will tinker with it to get the best picture and best sound placement.

lol cause most of those that are so great for gaming are bassy as hell or just suck big time for imaging or soundstage… most gamer headphones have practically nothing when it comes to staging so something simple like just ksc75 or shp9500 can wreck havoc on many gamers when it comes to placing a fps location.


not what I meant! just phrased badly. the sound being highlighted faster by the sound generated in the headophone, easier to pickup, more detailed, easier to isolate from other sounds in the environment.
As you mentioned with the amp as well, sound signature being distorted. Not a direct quote here but same principle information is lost/obscured on the way to the ear due to mmhmhm inadequate hardware.

still scared of the beyers though.
So i will reduce it to the:

• he400se • slightly worse than sundara in every aspect id assume
•Sundara • low qc on the manufacturer, great for vertical imaging
•hd560s • same relation as the he400se to sundara?
•hd660s • not sure on this ones build quality but, better horizontal imaging and soundstage than Sundara?

Last questions would be ok, can any of these take a drop on the floor? the hifiman poor qc sure wouldnt help also if take good care of these, id assume they can last you quite some time.
For amps what are we looking at here, do I need a amp or a dac/amp?

SOund hardware is the last thing i need to complete my pc setup so im willing to spend to be done with it or am i shooting myself in the foot for trying to go overboard?

gotcha, well if treble is an issue its safe to skip the beyers… the only other one I would say would be more than likely fine since its really not that bright whatsoever is the tygr over there… actually I can help show what I mean on this with the graphs of these…

that 770 250 ohm at top… tygr 300r bottom there… big difference on treble presence. Know that tygr does out perform 660s in fps games bout even on imaging… 560s is a toss up between the two… tygr has better capabilities than the sundara outside of sound quality, texture, some detail on the upper frequencies, and of course soundstage.

pretty much but its not as relaxed sounding in my opinion, I prefer the Sundara handsdown between the two.

bad qc just with the company so any of their products can be a bad egg which is troublesome but their natural sound trait makes them good for vertical placements, since you mention apex I can see this as a potential good thing in your case… not so much for warzone though.

similar signature, less air and less soundstage, bit better on imaging placements, more in your face or head rather than a big encompassing sound like hifiman like to have.

imaging? absolutely. Soundstage? hell no, the soundstage on the 600 series sennheisers as mentioned above are very very narrow or intimate. Senn 600 series are awful for games that need a large stage to produce results… they can still be used though at the least. 660S just sounds great, performs exceptionally well to tube amps for casual use, and has extremely good imaging. However, its price tag is close to an elex and its due to this that I would take the elex over the 660s if budget would allow… otherwise if it was gaming id take the 560s

sennheiser? yeah, you will scuff them up a bit if you do that but they won’t typically just outright break on you… they are made of plastic though so its not like they aren’t capable of breaking. Hifiman has a more metal or aluminum frame on them but they are immensely fragile. I did infact drop my sundara before and it took out the right speaker completely.

depends on budget but I would encourage one… at the very least a basic setup… something ranging between $120-$200 which is the usual entry level.

if you mean amp and dac. its good to get a good setup for that so its a one and done… amps and dacs are more investment than the headphone as the headphone will probably not outlast the amp/dac… probably

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so the tygr is really flat compared to the dt 770.
Also what do the tygs do better than sundara? imaging and? as in what is there besides “sound quality, texture, some detail on the upper frequencies, and of course soundstage”, as you couldve or now can tell my view on audio quality is not very nuanced.

Im looking for performance within 550-600 euro lets say with an amp as well, not bang for buck . However its not like im against getting the tygrs or the 560s because they are cheaper.

Ive got a razer nari right now and im absolutely certain its gonna get blown out of the water by any of these.

warmth for starters as sundara is very bass light or rather a bit recessive. Tygr is of a different signature which is a rather Subtle V shape while Sundara is a recessive bass brighter headphone where the mids and highs are the focus point. Soundstage they are both very large but Sundara has better air while tygr is more aggressive and upfront. Sundara has a more relaxed laid back signature and tygr has the typical aggressive beyerdynamic shove your face into the music type sound. Sundara isn’t the best on imaging meanwhile tygr is extremely laser accurate. Separation is fine on both, granted Sundara is airier about it. Texture of sound comes from the fact Sundara is a planar magnetic. Quality of sound isn’t so good on tygr compared to say the 990 as its a low ohm driver variant of the 990 so it lost some of the edge and scaling… its still a great headphone nonetheless.

The only main other thing is that tygr is quite light in comparison but its mader cheaper than other beyers typically… more of a hardened plastic like a sennheiser at the same time unlike sundara which is power demanding tygr actually is one of the very few that can be ran ampless provided the motherboard has the power to do so… otherwise you only need a cheap amp/dac to really push the tygr.

Sundara + a respective amp and dac your looking at around $349 for the headphone plus at the least $200 for an entry level amp and dac potentially more. Both 560s and Tygr are cheaper and tygr may not require an amp but even if it does it won’t need the entry levels as something as simple as a e10k from fiio can power that thing and those are like $60

I think il get the sundara(should be in stock within a week), they have some ampdacs going with it the ZEN DAC V2 or the ZEN CAN, would either one of these two work well with it? (if not please do recommend something for the sundara)
Sort of the way id like to look at it from imaging is these shitty Nari pinpoint pretty well, dont have issues where sound is coming from but its muffled and muddy, no separation, i see it as a win if its better than this and would be a definitive upgrade in all other aspects.

But would these make any major difference in games to point where it would be really noticeable or you just cant go wrong?

the zens can power the sundara but the sundara will most likely need a balanced cable terminating to 4.4mm pentaconn for the zen balanced port… I would ask for clarification from others on that just to be sure… the pairing though Isn’t bad as it can make up for the lack of warmth in a sundara and give it a much needed bass bump.

regardless on the one you choose the nari isn’t all that good in comparison like whatsoever… then again closed back vs open back is a whole other story as well.

the gaming headsets cut far too many corners to be worth me even considering whats good and whats not… razer especially is guilty of this. They focus on cheap “good” sound and good comfort but cut as many corners as possible. Will you notice a difference? yeah absolutely, the difference will be pretty extreme actually considering youll be going from a closed back gaming headset to a open back headphone with a completely different signature topped off with an amp/dac which will clear up the sound as well.

Gaming headsets can pinpoint but most of them have very little soundstage and will either lack clarity or be very muddy in the bass making it hard to really rely on them to begin with. Top that off with the cheap build that makes you buy more of them later…

I will note though, keep in mind that Sundara is another bright headphone… if your having treble intolerance to a 770, then a Sundara may not work for you… I would recommend making sure you have the ability to return the headphone if necessary.

Well, im as suprised as u are. I will definitely will do some more testing in the future to be able to exactly tell why im prefering the Sennheisers (im curious about that myself), but for now the HD560s just feel better to play with for me.

I mostly play Overwatch and some Apex. The headphones are powered by a SMSL SP200/M200 Stack or an GoXLR-Zen Can Signature “Stack” (i didnt really notice a difference in sound between them).

If I would have to describe now, why i prefer the HD560s: For me it just feels like, that the soundstage of the HD560s is a lot bigger than the one of the DT880 as well as DT1990, wich makes it way easier for me to judge the distance of an enemy. With the smaller soundstage and the aggressiveness of the DT1990, it pulls so many details close into my ear, which distracts me more than its usefull. In comparison to that, the HD560s feels way more relaxed, it plays the sounds, which are close to me, loudly and sounds wich are further away a lot quieter and more distant, but still loud enough to hear them. With the DT1990 i have the feeling that distant sounds and environmental sounds are interfering with the sounds i actually need to hear to have an advantage over the opponent which is close to me, the Sennheisers just has the better balance to my ears.

Well, i didnt say that the Sennheiser isnt a bright headphone, but for me it feels way less fatigueng than all of the Beyers i tried. The DT880 comes close, but i still think the HD560s has a bit less treble to my ears.

I even ordered some of foam discs now, which are in the tygr and aventho wireless, to dampen the treble of the beyers a bit, just to make sure that the advantage i feel with HD560s doesnt only come from reduced treble. However, i have “mained” the DT990 for like 2 years, so i think i can handle some treble. ::


You’ve done a very good job explaining everything!

One last question, what would you get? or what do you reach for when playing a game and want to win(assuming you have a lot more headphones to choose from).

Typically it would depend on the game but more than likely I use the T1 2nd gen for my competitive use… I normally don’t reach for hifimans or sennheisers less it was gonna be like Apex where I want a bit more in the case of verticality but in apex’s case it’s definitely not the best case of place this fps sound for competiive advantages. I used to have 560s, 58x jubilee, and 660s till I traded them in going towards focal all of these perform exceptionally well and there is nothing wrong with using these… my issue with sennheiser personally was that the oval shaped of the ear cups, again for me personally, was more of an on ear and made them very uncomfortable after some time… I mainly used them because I just liked their sound alot. If I had to choose to rely on one headphone between the three brands there though… its going to be a toss between beyer and senn with hifiman getting thrown out the window… I have had way way too many QC issues with Hifiman over there to really contend with the thought of buying much more from them let alone relying on their products… mind you I do own their arya and love it but thats another story.

considering the amp/dac isn’t the best on spatial recreation to my memory of those ones in particular and the games of choice there really don’t need a larger headphone like the 1990 I can see the 560 being a more solid option for sure. Then again, I definitely didn’t get more soundstage than my beyers from the 560s its just a good size… one of those jack of all trades headphones. Could definitely be attributed to my fitting of sennheisers though since they don’t full seal on my ear

which one should i get though ZEN DAC V2 or the ZEN CAN. As in do I need a dac for Sundara?
Rn im still deciding.

However I might get the he400se or 560s. I assume I might benefit from having some level entry amp or amp/dac to drive these as well?

The he400se stomp the 560s in everything. It’s just not debatable. They annihilate them with a pad swap. Anything that brings them further from your ear will help with soundstage and while I wouldn’t recommend them for everything they don’t lose anything at all for gaming by dragging the soundstage out at all with pads like some headphones. Dekoni suede, brainwavz XL micro suede gaming pads are great and aliexpress has leather 110-120mm pads that are great but have a brutal shipping time right now. Stock they’re amazing but with pads they beat sundaras handily and sundaras don’t respond nearly as well to pads.

@pokrog well i’ve read @50% of the he400se thread. Noticed you and pk500 getting excited over them, to put it mildly :D.

well with a new cable(that stock cable tho) and pads would sum up to sundara, that feels off, regardless what amp or ampdac would you recommend for them?

zen can is amp only… yes you want a dac… zen can and dac go together as a full stack.

yep… hifiman being the more picky of those two though bit more on the demanding side.

Sorry, I am gonna have to chime in on this and stop this here. This is purely subjective viewpoint while I am glad you enjoy the headphone to this extent they are quite different headphones in multiple ways enough to differentiate the two to be potential side grades depending on what a person is after from build, to comfort, to soundstage, etc.

I did not have these results admittedly upon trying the pad swaps on the 400se… claiming they are better than the sundara is one hell of a claim and it doesn’t hold up as I own both headphones mentioned as well as a 560s. 400se is well worth the money but nothing so glamorous as being better than its older brother granted it can get you quite an experience regardless.

wrote that real fast on my phone, apologies if that came out wrong pok. As for my experience with the pad swaps… the slightly larger pads will increase the soundstage but they alter the sound signature in varying ways… something such as full leather caused muffling on my end… infact the only pads that really got along were suedes and other hybrids… velour caused them to teeter into too bright territory.

I get it but the 560s are straight garbage. Im done letting people recommend them. They blow. Soundstage isn’t anywhere near as good as even the hd598s and even those didn’t have much going for them other than sound signature being good for gaming. As for sundaras i get them being ok, but they absolutely do not have a good forward imaging profile. Sundaras and Anandas both have it and its just not even subtle. It’s like an imaging choice by hifiman to bring the center image forward to counteract the dip they have and it results in a poor transfer from left/right into center image and the only way I can explain it is with an image. At around 30° the center image straight up loops back and towards you and then back to center. Here’s my horrible paint drawing of a sundara front imaging

and i’m not exaggerating how it comes back from left to right to narrow into the center. It’s there and if you cant hear it that’s great. Game with a sundara. I don’t care. It’s wonky and it’s there on the ananda too and not a single other hifiman. Not, HE1000v1, v2, edition xx, arya, he400se (or any 400 series for that matter), he6 4 or 6 screw, he6se v2, he5, he5xx, or deva. It’s only the sundara and the ananda. I’m not gonna pretend like its irrelevant, it’s bad imaging. HE400se with deep suede pads stomps a sundara. Without pads its better still. At least the imaging is spot on. Like every single bit as good as any beyer spot on and with better vertical imaging. I’ll recommend the he400se with suede pads over 880s, 990s, 1990s, and even t1.2s. If i was playing counter strike, i’d choose t1.2s for being more in your face but thats it. Stage size on the 400se is a serious force to be reckoned with and its stage depth and accuracy is second to very few. 560s don’t deserve a rec. They’re bad. Sundaras are better than nothing but are also specifically bad. They can be ok for a close shooter but they are straight up not accurate for depth and forward imaging. I’d put the 560s before them if for nothing other than frontal consistency.

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I found them close to evenly matched honestly…

I mean, I am not the biggest fan of senn’s headphones… but I definitely wouldn’t call the 560s garbage… its just probably not for you lol. Sometimes people really dont like those headphones meant to be like super reference grade.

Hmm, while I can agree the imaging isn’t the best… I don’t have this issue to such a severe degree… infact my Sundara is practically even on imaging capabilities as the 400se but with more sound qualities such as better detail retrieval, texture, etc it just sucks at bass in comparison.

curious if you had a bad sundara or something… potentially possible all considering…

That’s one hell of a biased look towards that headphone but least we can say your definitely a fan of the headphone lmfao.

I would never EVER rate a 400se over my T1… not ever, not happening. Provided you have a good synergy amp and dac… just not happenin.

eh? but the T1 is practically the only beyer that’s not built to be in your face… curve drivers and relaxed signature plus the largest stage of the beyers all that jazz is the whole reason I stay with the T1 really over a 1990… that aggression never sits right with me.

this though… lmfao. makes me think of the pc38x imaging

for me and just for me personally, the Sundara out perform the 400se is almost every perceivable way… better air, better control, better texture, higher detail retrieval, better mids since they are more transparent and sound clearer. The biggest issues with the Hifiman are the imaging, lack of bass, and pad swap capabilities

my thoughts exactly. sound signature on the 37x and game one make it less noticeable but its there on the gsp series too. also a little bit on the cheaper audio technica and the razer trash does the same thing to the most extreme degree.

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I am aware, this why I am asking. I am assuming if i dont need the dac, i will get the zen can(since they are @same price im assuming the zen can might perform better).

Also as I can see audio is mhmhmh subjective, very subjective.

we all hear things differently but at the same time theres a lot of agreements in many ways… especially when it comes to gaming peripherals… such as the common knowledge that gaming headsets are really just god awful budget headphones with a mic slapped on lol. Basic like $50 headphones can actually best even Steel Series in terms of sound qualities… just not build quality

if its the 400se that ones super low requirement on power so you should be fine with just zen dac… if its sundara… Sundara scales pretty hard so you’d more than likely want both units and utilize the balanced cable approach from that setup… 400se is the more forgiving one though definitely making it more accessible to those on a budget.

@Pokrog for the record though… the 400se is going into the write up guide… definitely by no means a bad headphone in this use case… not for the money whatsoever.

I get questioned about the 38x… nonstop all the time. Later on it was gl2k but at the very least I can actually say some good things about gl2k.

absolutely but I definitely think the he400se isn’t nearly as forward. The t1.2 has a near perfect linear distance but closer sounds are a lot more forward in the best way possible and I don’t mean it as a bad thing and I don’t mean to say the t1.2 has a small stage just that closer sounds on the he400se aren’t nearly as forward. The vertical imaging makes up for it as most times with them if the person you’re hearing isn’t dead already in close situations they’re either very clearly above or below you and though they do fall short of the t1.2 at extreme close distance (they seem to have a firm cutoff at around 6-8 feet or closer of distance for depth) the vertical imaging more than makes up for it for me personally. I still would pick the t1.2s on a lot of stuff over the he400se but apex, siege, battlefield in tall buildings, arma, tarkov, splitgate, all of them I’d give the edge to the 400se purely because of vertical separation and cod multiplayer, csgo, valorant, and to some extent quake I’d give the edge to the t1.2. The 400se definitely don’t have it all but for a lot of the newer style BR shooters and really wide open games they really shine. They could use some serious work in stock form and I do think they need pads and grills to be where they compete well, but even then compared to every sub $500 headphone I’ve heard I’d pick them. Elex is a maybe but if I remember right you had the same problem I had with a DOA driver and even though I’d say they’re better at some closer games I still cant stomach the rec because of what I’ve seen in terms of QA problems and I’d still only put them as marginally better than 990s imaging wise and 1990s being a firm step down from them in stage size while having every bit as good of imaging. IF the t1.2 can be had for sub $500 its a no brainer and they’re stout as fuck unlike the hifimans. Though I have had a t1.2 driver die on me once and also a 990 600 ohm as well (thousands of hours of use each though) and never had a hifiman driver die on me so while anecdotal at best that’s my experience with quality surrounding them.