Regardless of the price, what could be the best headphone for competitive FPS like CSGO, OW, APEX, COD besides the HD800s?

I’m really curious about it…I know the HD800s is an amazing headphone, but I’ve seen people complaining about its “too immersive” soundstage when PC gaming(I guess they can’t catch the details enough). So besides the HD800s, what are some other high end options that perform as great as the PC38X or HD800s in comp. FPS? where positional audio really matters.

Abyss 1266 phi tc, if you don’t mind the bulky build.

I mean honestly if you are going for an abyss I would actually rather take the diana phi mainly because while the 1266 does have better spatial recreation overall for music, when you compare in a game, the diana phi’s more traditional headspace actually tends to work better with game engines than the 1266 does imo. So even though for music the 1266 has easily better spatial recreation, imo the diana phi actually might pull ahead for most games. Also that smaller and more traditional stage might also help emphasize more spatial queues imo.


I’d say the Aryas no? Better than hd800s in my opinion… hell I’ll take the clears too but they don’t have that level of staging lol.

LCD-GX could be a shout.

Hmm…but they are all too heavy…How about the ADX5000?

I mean, personally if you ask me… there us zero reason to use any of these for competitive gaming… especially like hd800s over there since most of the fps games(especially like cod and overwatch) quite literally cant even make use of most of that soundstage… you can get close to those same results from the dt 1990 at like $400. That’s me being completely honest on it… now for sound quality and like music? I really love the clears for all around use and their mids, arya completely destroyed the hd800s in my book of preferred higher end headphones, as for adx I haven’t gotten around to that one as I don’t typically go towards that brand for headphones. Only reason I’d say yes sure go for it is if it was music first gaming second as it’s just an added benefit…

Then again, you still need a higher bracket of amp and dac as well…

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What’s the difference between the DIana V2 and Diana Phi? Also, what are some other options as great as the Diana? The ADX5000? Focal Clear? Which one do you think is the best for gaming and music(I listen to Hip-Hop, EDM, R&B, Pop, and Rock)…

Can I use the G6 as a DAC if I go for such options?

if your going with something in the $1k+ region for a headphone, I would definitely not recommend that. You can but it more than likely will not sound right. Pairing cheap setup items to a $1k+ headphone just doesn’t work well unless it’s like… off the top of my head T1 3rd gen(very bassy headphone not good for competitives) over there where it has practically zero scaling and has an impedance that could be driven off a phone.

Though if you mean like with the 1990s of sorts? yeah, it would work but I’d still definitely recommend an upgrade at that point. Going with anything in the $1k+ for mainly gaming is just crazy in my opinion… yes they sound good but you can get just as good placements in those competitive shooters with something like the Tygr 300R over there which is only $200 yet has very large soundstage and a laser accurate imaging or like ad700x which no, isn’t the most comfortable but its like $70 and still does an amazing job for competitive shooters. Finding a great headphone for competitive is quite easy… much more complicated for music and casual gaming

However, as far as the title is concerned… the best headphone I tried for strictly competitive was definitely the Arya. I cannot speak for abyss though, I doubt I will ever be able to get my hands on one of those as the stores don’t even carry them and they are insanely expensive. I have tried the focal series and they don’t measure up, that does include stellias, utopia, clears, etc. despite clears being fantastic Arya definite was one I felt came out above in strictly competitive granted I definitely like the feel of the clears more they aren’t so bulky and unwieldy and are comfortable to the point I can wear them for hours on end. HD800S just doesn’t fit me well like at all… I hate the design of it not to mention being a bit of a one trick pony headphone I liked it at first but quickly grew out of it that brightness fatigues the hell out of me.

as for best bang for your buck for competitive gaming? I will give that win definitely to Tygr and the DT 880 for not just being great for gaming in both casual and competitive but in 880s case it’s just so damn good for music and scales to a ridiculous degree

What are some other headphones that have those 'traditional headspace" at the price range above the HD800s?

I have a pair of dt990 600 ohm being powered through a THX AAA 789 fed by a smsl m300 mk2 and I gotta say after the noise floor is completely gone thanks to the clean signal the smallest bit of noise comes through them so flawlessly that you can hear within an inch of where someone is 3 rooms away in COD. I love my pc38x on the same setup. They’re fucking amazing. I don’t know which I would say is better overall, but I will say that the detail on the dt990s is quite a bit higher and for what it’s worth that level of clarity is probably where the precision comes from in spatial imaging. I’m going to be doing an XLR mod to them soon to see if I can eek anymore clarity out of them but its almost at the point where they’re outperforming my ears already. If they made a pc38x without the mic I’d say that is the best headset out there, something about the positioning and that little bit of warmth makes it feel natural but still crisp and perfect. I’ve seen a lot of reviews saying to use the velour pads but the woven stiffer fabric ones really make the direction of sound noticeably more clear. The dt990s are every bit as good but a little too much sometimes and are a little fatiguing with how crisp some of the digital tones and sounds are in shooters. The pc38x is pretty much perfect all around but I wish they’d lose the mic. The dt990s are a different level of perfect that I think would be maybe better for total perfect accuracy but if you’re playing for 8 hours a day on them it might get pretty fatiguing unless you play with a little EQ settings and remove some of the unnecessary highs. And for what its worth, I’ve gamed on hd800s and both of my current headphones are drastically better for shooters.

So the diana phi is a technical step up from the v2, but with a different signature. The v2 is warmer, wider, and a bit more relaxed and full bodied, generally the phi is more neutral/natural and more aggressive, a bit smaller stage but more depth, more forward overall. Both are going to be fairly amp demanding though and their performance will heavily depend on how they are powered and their source chain, the v2 is less picky but it’s still picky in general lol. The reason I mention the phi over the v2 for gaming is that it’s a bit brighter and more forward than the v2, and also sharper imaging than the v2 as well.

While I wouldn’t say the 5k or the clear are competing on the same level as the phi or v2, I would say both of those are great options for gaming imo (moreso the 5k since the focal presentation can sometimes clash with game engines), but I think generally the 5k doesn’t preform all that well with some of the things you would listen to due to being a tad deficient in the bass and being very revealing of poor recording quality. The clear would work well as long as you didn’t mind a more neutral sound overall

I mean there are a good amount of them, I would also say the final d8000 pro is pretty great for both comp and fun gaming, and I think an estat setup like a 007 can be super sharp and accurate when it comes to placement in games. I would also look into a susvara actually if you power it correctly, it can actually be pretty great for games. I would say these cans also would align with the music you listen to as well

The big caveat to all of this though is that they would for the most part all require a fairly substantial source gear overhaul, a good amount of these would sound pretty poor quality on a thx amp and entry level dac. For how much the source gear needs to be upgraded would depend on what headphones you went with

Also, what headphones have you tried before and how did you feel about them? If you haven’t tried anything above the midrange level I would highly recommend against jumping to the 2k+ range before trying something around the 1k range imo

Wait, is there such a “clash” between the headphone’s presentation and the game engine itself? I’ve never heard of that…

So when you get a headphone with unique staging, the in game audio might not be well optimised for it. For example, on the clear, the clear tends to recreate a smaller spherical stage around your head, and is pretty accurate in that stage in both x and y axis, but it doesn’t necessarily sound realistic for all music. For games this can yield good results, but depending on the engine, at times location can feel inaccurate, mainly because the way the game processes sound might cause some sounds to feel misplaced where it might become distracting

This isn’t an issue with something like csgo as that’s a fairly simple sound engine and generally tends to place things well with the clear, but imo with something like apex, the clear can sometimes feel horizontally or vertically misplaced to where things are coming from at a distance, and that’s mainly because most headphones don’t really stage like the clear do, and the audio engine wasn’t really designed around a headphone like the clear

Another example might be the arya, solid for gaming but for games where you would want to be listening above you often, the arya can over exaggerate verticality to where it might seem like something is above you when it’s really not. To be fair these are small nitpicks and I don’t really think anyone besides like a highest level pro player would really complain about using most high end headphones for gaming.

For me once you get used to how something stages it’s not that big of an issue, but I don’t really play competitive games anymore either. It’s just that when I wear a clear it’s great for games and won’t let me down, but when I wear a adx5k that makes me feel like I have a higher competitive advantage (because generally to me it tends place more accurate in games, even though I would say tier wise the clear and adx5k are on a similar level of spatial recreation performance), but I haven’t really tested both side by side to pin things down, but that’s just generally my thoughts

Oh and the reason the 800s is fine despite having a fairly expensive stage is that it’s still imo a traditional way of staging, just really large with sharp imaging, so it doesn’t tend to really sound off on most games (although some perhaps could complain that the width is exaggerated which I would agree, but that’s more a music complaint than a gaming one). Also the more treble oriented signature and forward signature works well for competitive as well.

And also I really wouldn’t call any of the aforementioned options the best, since there really isn’t a best, I would just say they are very high preformers, but it’s hard to really call anything best


Then how should the sound presentation be to work well in various FPS games? I mean both in narrow(CSGO, OW) and wide(Apex, PUBG)… What are those headphones that perform great in the over 1k$ range? What about the T1 2nd or 3rd?

Are there headphones that gives sharp directional/positional in both vertical. horizontal accuracy regardless of the distance besides the e-stat ones and the HD800s? My budget is about 2400$ and the music genres I listen to is EDM, R&B, Pop, and Rock. Can I get some advice? Seems that the 5k might be a bad choice in music…

Generally just not something overly weird or unique, which is the majority of headphones tbh

I guess for me it would honestly be stuff like the t1.2, adx5k, dianas, most of the stax stats, perhaps a sonoma m1, honestly th909 does a solid job, something like an ether c flow might be good (since it’s issues for music might actually beneficial for comp gaming), 800s of course, to me these are some that come to mind if I had to pick things for a comp gaming focus, but it will depend from person to person

I really like the t1.2 for gaming (and music), that’s a really great can. But I do think beyer kinda messed up the gen 3 imo, to where I honestly wouldn’t say it’s worth for either music or gaming

The t1.2 is an easy pick for the sound you are after imo, it has very sharp imaging and really good placement in games, would have a signature that would suit the music you most likely listen to as well. If you pair that with something like a violectric v280 or on the more budget side of things the rupert neve rnhp or lake people g111, that really should be quite nice (for the violectric and lake people going with a soekris dac would be prefferable, and the rnhp I would go with a schiit bifrost 2 imo). The 280 is a higher preforming amp overall and that would be a worthwhile investment if you liked the t1.2, the rnhp or g111 is still great though if you can’t get your hands on a 280 (the g111 + soekris would most likely be better for gaming where the rnhp + bifrost 2 would be a bit more of a music focus but still great for gaming)

The arya would be a solid pick despite it’s somewhat exaggerated verticality (as that’s something you can get used to and not as distracting as the clear to me), as it’s still got fairly sharp imaging and good separation, and it’s more neutral brighter signature is solid for games. I do think you would want to make the switch to either something like the auralic taurus mk2 or flux fa-10 to really give it more body and fullness in the bass, tame treble a bit, without sacrificing performance. I would mention the monolith liquid platinum as well which imo is pretty solid but that being said it might exaggerate stage a tad and loose some imaging sharpness.

And then the th909 would be a great pick as well, but slightly more music leaning imo, but still actually good in games although a bit more focus on depth than width for the stage (but that’s not really an issue). It does have a bit of a warmer signature but treble is still fairly clear and imaging is pretty tight as well, a bit impactful in the bass for competitive though but it’s not so much so where imo it would really cause many issues. For an amp, generally I do like them on something like a bryston bha-1 with perhaps a denafrips ares ii dac, but if you can’t swing one of those, a questyle cma twelve, cma 800i or cma 400i would be a good all in one that would balance music and gaming performance without tilting one specific way imo

If bought used all of these setups should be able to be had in your budget I think if I’m recalling fair used prices, although actual availability would depend on the used market


I’ll definitely take a look at them. Thanks!

Then do you think the Beyerdynamic’s T1 (Gen 2) might perform as well as the DT990 and PC38x?