The right headphones for gaming and watching streams

Hello community and audio friends!

Before I start, I am really sorry if this topic doesn’t belong in here or if there is a better section for it. I am generally pretty new to forums as I am to audio! I have never considered to register on any website for seeking help but I was so stunned of how helpful everybody is, that I literally had to register.

To begin with:
I have been reading several topics now for the past 2 weeks and gained a little experience from it. I have tried to find a topic of someone searching for the same setup, but unfortunately I couldn’t. Nevertheless I could narrow the options down to a few in thanks to a lot of you guys, especially Falenkor and M0N!

What I am looking for:
I need heaphones mainly for competitive gaming, mostly for COD Warzone which I play 95% of the time. I also enjoy stuff like Darksouls, Fallout and similar games, but don’t really care so much about audio in these games. The rest of the time I spend the most part of it on Twitch or Youtube.

What is my budget:
I would say €400-450 for the headphones and then what is needed to drive them properly (amp/dac).

So I came up with these Headset/Headphones:

  • Kingston HyperX Cloud Orbit: which is a gaming headset and to be honest, I would rather get away from gaming headsets, but it appeared to be good according to some reviews

  • DT 990 Pro/Edition: They have pretty solid imaging and soundstage. What I have read, I need to be careful with what edition and furthermore it should be the 600Ohm version. Also maybe different pads due treble.

  • DT 1990 Pro: It is mentioned in nearly every topic. It has great imaging and a good soundstage and is a step up from the 990’s. The only thing is that I don’t really know if I am treble resistent enough for this headphones. I have read that I can switch to Dekoni pads in this case, but could be wrong.

  • HD600/650/660S: I know that Sennheiser is doing a great job, because I have always had Sennheisers in the past, but not for gaming. As far as I know now, they have also pretty good imaging, not as much as beyers but pretty solid. Don’t know about the soundstage though. I am currently watching someone who uses the HD600 and he is awesome at localizing footsteps.

I am open to any suggestions since I am super new to audio. I would also need some tips for amp/dac, since english is not my main language and sometimes I have some hard time translating. What I have read, I can pair the asgard3 with modius in case of the beyers, but don’t know for the others.

Furthermore I would need a microphone. I thought of pairing it with a microphone arm…

I am really thankful for every help since I am so indecisive which one I should pick. At some point it was the 990, then it was the 1990 and somehow I tend now to the 660S. It feels like I am stuck and need some input from somebody who has actually an idea of all this stuff.

Thank you for reading and wish you all a nice day!

Greetings, wquazzi!

Although I am comparatively new, here. as well, I do find this topic to be fitting in this section as it does technically fall under the categorisation of; ‘Gaming audio’. So, please rest assured, you’re currently in the right field.

While I do see that you have a sizeable budget, perhaps you should look at something slightly less as what you are looking for maybe under your current budget and purchasing something in that range could be somewhat overkill.

Anyway, based on my observations and what I hear, the DT1990 owns a stupendous soundstage and imaging. Detail retrieval is just there for me. The DT990 Pros, while they can be good for gaming, at times can get piercing due to their sharp high-end. Pad-swapping could minimise that but it still will remain prominent. As for the Sennheisers, the HD600 is, as this aforementioned ‘someone’ says, is exceptional for gaming. For the HD650, as I stated in the previous paragraph, going to that extent in pricing may not be too ideal. Perhaps you can have a look at the HD6XX. Which is so incredibly close to the HD650 that the difference is minimal. I, unfortunately, am not too knowledgeable on the HD660S and HyperX Cloud Orbit, however, from what I hear, the HD660S is quite the stellar pair.

Here are some suggestions/products worth considering if you don’t mind referring back to the second paragraph on cheaper options:

  • Sennheiser PC38X
  • Audeze Mobius

I sincerely hope that this response was informative and resourceful and if it wasn’t, then I profusely apologize for my lack of knowledge and incompetence. Gaming isn’t really in my field though I wanted to share my thoughts regardless.


If you stream, and depending on your microphone you might not want open backs. The sound leaking will be picked up through the mic.

I you want something open, but “less open” that don’t require much power check out the new Grado SR80x but make sure you get the larger G pads.

If you want another option that I have that I need to review is the Drop THX Panda with the optional boom mic. That’s going to be close to the top of your budget.

They are closed back, have good staging and imaging for closed backs. Planar impact and slam for Immersion in games.

The sound ID app allows you to set personal preferences, oh and they are fully Bluetooth if want to use them on the go. The boom mic requires them to be plugged in. The built in mic are good enough if you just chatting on discord and you can basically use them as a Bluetooth gaming headset when you don’t need the best of the best mic.

I used them connected to my Xbox series X controller to play Fortnite and couldn’t turn the volume up all the way. So they get loud Bluetooth or plugged in.

Only problem with the Panda is the QC. My first set had to go back due to not want to pair right, but sounded fantastic. Second set perfect so far, I have them on right now

I will say I have more than a couple headphones and the sinn 6 series are super comfortable once you stretch the head band a few times before putting them on. They kind of disappear on your head.

The Beyer Dynamic DT880 have fantastic imaging as well.

Something like the HD6XX and Beyer will really need an amp, where the Grado I listed and the Panda won’t. Of course you’ll also need a separate microphone with the Sinn and Beyer.

Side note: the dt880 are called semi open back and won’t leak as much sound as the Sinn 6 series

Should also note the Drop Panda have THX amps built in for Bluetooth use

My picks…

  • HyperX Cloud 2 - actually have decent/good sound, but too small/tight fitting for adults.
  • DT880 or 300 R - The most balanced, best DT’s I’ve heard. Circle pads suck for comfort tho, and they have a very dry sound.
  • Mobius - Excellent sound! These impressed me, except for getting so hot so quickly, and all the stupid, unnecessary buttons.


  • HD660 - Much more spacious and clear sounding VS HD600(terrible for FPS). Amazingly light & comfortable, these are my fav here for FPS and comfort. Sound quality not as good as Mobius or Sundara, technically speaking, but much more enjoyable and natural than Sundara. Mobius has the best sound here, I would say.

I use ModMic to attach to my AD900X/Erupt/whatever. Desktop/PC player.

Hello Goosestuff!

thank you very much for your response and honesty on this! I am not really aversed to look into a cheaper category of headphones if they would suit me well. I should have mentioned, that I live in a part of europe, where it can be difficult to get certain items. For example, I have had a look at the PC38X and the Mobius before, but the PC38X is unavailable for me and the Mobius would be but I would rather do without wireless headphones. I also forgot to mention, that I play tournaments as well, so I don’t want to miss out on anything and I came to the conclusion that it is time to really improve my audio setup. Unfortunately I don’t have the option to test the headphones beforehand, so I need to rely on your feedbacks and I really appreciate your answers. It is always helpful to me.

Thank you for your suggestions and your feedback!

Best regards,

Hello epic225,

thank you also for your suggestions! Never heard of the SR80x or the Panda so far. Maybe because I am trying to avoid wireless headphones, even though there might be some good options… Thank you for recommending these. If I change my mind about Bluetooth headset I will take these in consideration!
I also might have used a bad wording in my title, since I meant to watch streams on Youtube/Twitch - I will change it shortly after my answer to you. Sorry for the confusion!

Therefore open backs are not a problem at all for me and are welcomed due to soundstage if I am correct.

Thank you too for your input about the sennheiser and the beyer and also for letting me know about the 880’s. I was aware of these semi open backs but could not figure out if they would be better for me than the 990’s…

If I do decide for beyer or senn I am aware that I have to spend probably the same amount for amp/dac to really drive them. Therefore I am quite curious if there is other options as well since I have never had such expensive headphones and don’t know the difference to my actual one which is a really old cloud alpha I…

Thank you for your answer!

No problems. The Grado SR80X are a new revision of a classic SR80 and SR80E. They sound fantastic and worth more than they actually cost if you swap the pads.

The Panda are said to be the best sounding bluetooth headphones available, and I’d have to agree. They do however come with the 3.5mm cable to be used with a phone or amp. They were tuned physically and with the amp that using an THX AAA external amp makes little difference, they are that good.

The 6XX sound fantastic and have grown on me but need specific amp to be all they can IMO.

Thank you for your picks! What are you usually playing and are you happy with your AD900X or would you switch to anything else if you had the possibility?

The DT880 600ohm are the ones to get and will require a reasonable amp, the atom, Schmitt Magni, liquid spark, geshelli Archel 2.5 will all drive it.

I think the 6xx/650 sound the best on the liquid spark and if you want you can get a cheap tube buffer/preamp and stick in some decent tubes I’ve had decent results with that.


My brother reviewed these for our website, they rank high for playing games but to be honest don’t sound all that for anything else.

I’ve posted this before but he prefers to game with koss KPH30i vs the 700x.

The koss have better bass, lighter, decent enough soundstage, don’t get hot on his ears and have a built in mic on the wire. If he’s not gaming on those he has a set of decent gaming headset that he randomly use.

If your not looking to roam with the headphones, the sinheiser game one are a fantastic sounding gaming headset with one of the best built in mic I’ve ever heard. They also sound good more viewing content and music, but a amp does make them sing. So something like a Schmitt Fulla or 1 off the $100amps above is way more than enough

Hey there welcome to hifiguides,

This is the right forum location then so no worries.

Hifiguides is a very good website for those who like the particular hobby gamers and music lovers alike who want the most out of their sound. In most cases there is someone floating around that can help.

M0N probably has some of the most experience with equipment that I have seen… but he does tend to be quite busy. He helped me get further into hte hobby when it came to higher end equipment so he is definitely someone to talk with if you need help further down the way.

is this budget including both the headphone and the amp/dac or are they separate?

it is good for a headset… not the best choice but I wouldn’t write it off as bad really… the newer brother to this is known as the audeze penrose which is a low latency wireless headset… both are good for what they are but are easily bested by the MMX300 in terms of soundstage and imaging

If you want the fully open back beyer yes… but you also have the Tygr 300r which is a low ohm variation to the 990 just without as much treble issue… still V shape but not as bad and not as power demanding. The treble is the biggest potential problem with the beyers after that it just becomes the fact that in the 990s case there is a bit too much bass for certain games and the mids are recessed which can annoy some people

There are quite a few ways to tame a beyers treble to where it nots that big of a deal but these come with added costs… switching a beyer pad can also mess with your placements too so something to keep in mind… 1990 is quite sharp but not as sharp as the 990 can tend to be. I would encourage trying an 880 or 990 before going straight to the 1990… if you can manage a 990 but find it lacking in places like the mids… the 1990 is the correct step up… you also have the T1 2nd gen which is what I use this has a different tuning and is at 600 ohms…

the HD600 series of sennheisers have very good imaging with 660s over there having the best of the bunch… however the issue with these is that the soundstage is extremely narrow… its hard or next to impossible to place things far away… depending on the game will depend on just how truly useful this headphone can be… the 660s and 6xx are known to compete with beyers in terms of imaging just not soundstage and separation and especially not the higher treble advantage(though not everyone needs more treble… it depends on your own hearing and experience).

I think you are on the right track here personally… and all of these excluding the orbit will perform exceptionally well inside of Warzone with 1990 performing at the absolute top(which is to be expected honestly…)

as for amps and dacs… you can go to asgard 3 and modius sure… if asgard 3 is a bit too expensive as it may be hard outside of the USA to obtain you can swing for a lake people G103 instead which is a good solid alternative.

outside of that you could always save in money(though you lose in technical performances) by going straight entry levels… by these I mean the magni/modi, jds atom stack, zen can and dac stack, etc… the entry levels work just fine just not as good as of course the more expensive units… though for a gamer they work just fine… you can always go super budget if need be to like the soundblaster g6 or k5 pro which can push the 600 ohm beyers… though I wouldn’t recommend these for use with the T1 2nd gen as they sound quite terrible

Since this ones brought up I will issue a bit of forewarning on this one… its good as a gaming headset and that is all… its musical capabilities are quite poor as is its ability to separate sounds and 9 oclock, 11 oclock, and 6 have issues with sound placements. The correct step from this is the HD560s which is almost the same headphone just without any of the aforementioned problems… though it loses its microphone

hard skip this to the penrose instead… the mobius had massive issues especially in terms of bad latency, the ear would break with all the buttons or just be defective, drive rattle, among many other problems… these issues were addressed with the penrose.

^ this is easily fixable… I use open backs while streaming even with hifiman that leak a ton of sound… it is not hard to adjust your gain settings and how the mic is picking up the sound… it depends on the microphones own sensitivity and which kind of mic you are using… Hell I have used my speakers at some points without my mic picking up on them

confused why the 880 and 300 r are in closed back for you there lol… 880 is semi open back while 300r is fully open

would depend on what kind of mic you want… You can just get a modmic that attaches to any headphone if you prefer an easy setup… otherwise it would depend on budget… but usually your fine with a good non overly sensitive condensor microphone.

While I won’t recommend the kph30i or the grados… this is well known for gamers… though its a budget option… this does not out pace a beyer but is a very solid option and alternative to like the shp9500… works fine… though it suffers from separation problems and the build is a bit of a joke imo

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Agree with adjusting the mic, I have the yeti and a Rode, both adjustable gain so no a problem for me, but I know a few with snowball etc that can’t really be adjusted.

The KPH30i was to show you don’t need a million dollar headphone or that the fancier headphones aren’t always better. Some times the cheaper models work. I do agree there are better choices though.

I’ve spend hours gaming in the Beyer 880 pro (black model with less clamp) 600ohm and they are super comfortable.

I’ve also game in the Drop Panda, clamp is still strong but close back allow me to focus more on the game when the house is loud. Sounds fantastic, get super loud if you need them too, and the optional boom mic makes communication clear.

Games more than a few hours in Focal Clears, sounds fantastic, solid slam, good sound stage and imaging, price is overkill if your only gaming or watching streams.

HiFi man he4xx have great sound stage, decent imaging… no real complaints. Solid impact from explosions fast enough for fine detail retrieval.

Grado decent sound stage, good imaging, good bass. SR80e(treble heavy on most amps)…,.SR80X( new version no big treble spikes, overall better sound)

KPH30i cheap, have mic, light weight easily Mod-able with Grado pads to increase the sound stage( KPH30i are technically an open back) the bass is more than you expect. On the go, Nintendo switch would be perfect with them.

6xx have great sound, super comfortable, but the sound stage isn’t huge… but in FPS you can still hear and place for steps when they are close enough to matter. So don’t let the sound stage fool you.

I’ve also used the game one they sound fantastic as you would expect, but need an amp to be best.

Vmoda crossfade m100-masters and focal listen. (Both closed backs) both work decently and sounded fine. Crossfade much more bass, listen more refined in the sound.

I know people with argue this but after using so many headphones on a consistent basis and gaming all the time, FPS mostly. I find a decent set of comfortable headphones work the best, normally if someone is close enough to do damage they are easy enough to pin point thanks to the built in 3D audio or the Dolby Atmos, even built in windows Sonic on pc or Xbox does a decent enough job of placing people in space.

Refresh rate on the monitor has made a noticeable difference in making shots and giving a more competitive advantage vs the audio. The next thing is keyboards with faster switch like Gateron speed silver switches on pc, and controllers with rear paddles on console.

Go for comfort so you will wear them, and they will be less distracting. Any small adjustment to imaging you’ll quickly learn to make up for.

I’m way too busy with school for games much lately(4 months of Hell left!!!), but I love PUBG and indie horror games, watching Quake Champions, and I try to play UT2004 weekly. For testing, I use a lot of PUBG(live play & recordings), and a variety of lesser known games, like SOMA, Penumbra, Stranded Deep, Generation Zero, 7 Days To Die, SS4, Mist Survival, SCUM… Whatever I can get my hands on that I know the sound of well enough. Variety is important when testing!

I’m keeping AD700X & AD900X and Erupt forever. Too unique and interesting of a sound to lose from the collection, as an FPS player. :slight_smile: I did not like AD1000X as much, because it was even BRIGHTER. Since I heard it and did a shootout with it about 2 years ago, HD660 is my #1 rec(or FD5 for IEMs) as a player, and overall for comp/casual/YouTube. AD700/900X is an unforgettable experience all FPS players should get to have, but HD660 beats the hell out of it for everything except their incredible, unique openness and better ability to pinpoint footsteps(but ONLY footsteps at higher frequencies - balanced headphones with actual bass, like Mobius, Cloud 2, will let you hear low frequency footsteps MUCH better, such as people crawling on the floor or crouch walking). If I were to try something above HD660, it would be LCD-GX or a high-end IEM(which I think out-do headphones for a lower price, and are more comfortable for myself).

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I’ve gamed with ThieAudio Legacy 3 and found them to be pretty nice. It’s something about how the image that makes them nice.

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ugh, snowball… I tried that initially when I was helping someone with their own setup… I was baffled with just how sensitive the snowball is compared to the yeti it picked up sound all the way on the other side of the house in the kitchen without much room for adjustments. I mean, it sounds good but yeah you need to really be careful with which mic you go with… though I have very good results with yetis, rode, the hyperx quadcast is good, at2020, and a few select others.

I would say the kph30i is just too warm is all… I would rather say like… a porta pro or ksc75 as they have a more well rounded signature to them. Plus you can get the drop versions that actually have a mic on their cable

love the 880s they feel like ear muffs on the head and are ridiculously comfortable… Personally I think the 880 has the best comfort of the 3… that mix of isolation and open it has is quite nice… but depends on the person I suppose… My T1 was chosen mainly cause I have very large ears and it was the one with the curved drivers… I couldn’t sit with the other beyers as long as the T1 due to this… as after a few hours my ears felt it lol

panda is nice but I personally think penrose is a bit better on gaming placements… panda is better for music though absolutely… and the panda absolutely has a better microphone

focal clear is absolute overkill. the imaging is so ridiculous… I would tell someone just grab the Elex instead as it gets like 90% of the way to the clear without being ya know… over a grand lol

oh absolutely… but it does depend on the game… the game itself sadly puts certain limitations… for example I wouldn’t say a 990 is better than a 660s in something like csgo as the main different other than signature there is the soundstage… but csgo isn’t one of those thats demanding on soundstage making this rather redundant and can actually be a bad thing… too much staging can be just as bad as too little making things harder on the player

I tried to like these in gaming but I would say more for casual… especially listen over there with its strange W shaped signature

I always say that I think it depends on the person really… like were not all going after the venues and big tourneys… so go with what is most comfortable. Though it is easy to tell that beyers and sennheisers are champs when it comes to fps gaming they aren’t particularly necessary… you can game competitively with anything hell even just ear buds and do fine…

I covered the importance of that when I wrote up my guide… it was baffling the differences I got from my monitor change, keyboard change, mouse change(I was using a pos logitech setup so this makes sense lol), and hell even my control mouse pad as it helps me maintain my aim a bit keeping my mouse from being too loose on my desk.

this could have been such a good headphone… pretty angry about this one really as its build is awesome but the silent changes they pulled and the price point just doesn’t equal its real worth… better options

I honestly despise this headphone… it requires, least imo, extensive EQ to get where it needs to be which annoys me… though for IEMS I usually just use final audios iems or just my moondrop starfields though I am one of those who can game with whatever and still come out near the top of the score boards… I still prefer my trusty beyers… However, I wish the harmonicdynes were a bit different on the sound profile to me as I absolutely adore the zeus but its much more of a fun headphone though I use it when casual gaming lol

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One of my favorite, large, spherical soundstages!! And totally smooth treble. Also the most snug & comfortable IEM I’ve had so far. Just great.

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I see. I apologise for my lack of knowledge in those pairs. Perhaps it would be, (assuming you’re taking the PC38x ‘route’) best to purchase the Sennheiser HD560S accompanied with a separate dedicated microphone. Additionally, I appreciate you informing me of these drawbacks and I will have be prominently kept in mind when looking at headphones in this respective category. I also wish to thank you for bringing up some other noteworthy alternatives that resolve the aforementioned fatal flaws of the two products.


This is usually what I recommend someone if they are looking into explicitly gaming and appreciate something like the game one, game zero, mh751, or hyperx clouds as they have a similar head design to them. 560s performs exceptionally well and is a solid alternative to the 58x jubilee just with a somewhat different sound signature. Glad I could help bring a bit of insightful information in.