Ultimate imaging headphones for competitive FPS!

Hey everyone!

Such a great community you have here.

I am currently in the market for a headphone for 100% competitive FPS gaming. I am currently playing a lot of Call of Duty 4 and I would like a headphone that gives the best advantage at picking up sound cues such as footsteps. I already have a headphone for entertainment, so I am primarily only looking for competitive advantage with these new cans,

From my research it appears that I am after a headphone with:

  • Narrow/medium soundstage (certainly not HUGE)

  • Excellent imaging/separation (to precisely figure out direction of vital sound cues)

  • Not bass heavy (Things like explosions are not important and can perhaps distract away from footsteps)

  • Great mid performance and lower treble performance (I believe these are good for footsteps and to a lesser extent enemy reloading sounds, etc)

I have narrowed down my options to
sennheiser hd58x jubilee
beyerdynamic dt990 pro
sennheiser hd660s
beyerdynamic dt1990 pro

It would be great if someone could help me pick between these? Or perhaps suggest some better suited one for my needs. My budget is anywhere up to $500

I am aware that the first two are much cheaper than the last two, and would be happy to go for either of them over the last two if the difference is very minimal.

I apologise if I have posted any inaccuracies here, up until a week ago I didnt know the first thing about audiophile headphones.

Looking forward to hear your suggestions, thanks!

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So, will you be willing to also get an amp? Because if so, then I think you would really enjoy the dt990 600 ohm, really checks your boxes imo. Treble oriented and emphasis, great at resolving smaller details, bass light, excellent imaging and staging for the price point, and also very comfy overall. They can get fatiguing for some though because of the treble. I think if you paired that with a schiit magni heresy and a topping d10 you would be pretty set overall. If you are slightly worried about the treble, I think going with the dt880 600 ohm would yield a similar experience with less treble emphasis and a more neutral signature

I do think the 1990 would be a step up for sure, but I don’t know if that makes sense value wise, and would suggest you to start with the 990 600 ohm

Hey M0N,

I appreciate your reply. I have ordered FX Audio X6 dac amp combo, but can go for a higher spec solution if need be.

I only have the option to get the 250ohm version of the DT990. Will this be okay?

Regarding the treble, I have heard that this actually really enhances the competitive advantage so no problems with that.

The dt990 pro were certainly my top choice before reading about the sennheiser range - it seems the sennheiser sound profile is very much ideal for my needs.

You should be fine with that, but in the future I might recommend an upgrade to enhance the experience overall if you wanted more

Hmm, could you get a 600 ohm dt880? 250 ohm is more than fine, but getting a 600 ohm 990 or 880 would be preferred imo

For music I might agree, but I think the beyers def outperform the sennheisers for pure competitive gaming. The beyers have a brighter more clear signature with higher preforming imaging and staging, the sennheisers can get a bit muddled in comparison imo

Really? I’ve heard the 990 actually has a lot of sub bass, but it doesn’t affect the treble at all.

The 990 is around similar to the 880 with sharper and more treble, and a tad bit more subbass, but they are close enough where that slight bass bump really doesn’t affect the sound that much

Oh okay gotcha.
Yeah I think the 880 600 ohm might be the better choice here. Less bass, and more refined sound and possibly more accurate imaging than the 250 ohm version of the 990.

Yeah if he can get one, then that would be pretty nice, but I think if he wasn’t able to get the 600 ohms, the 990 250 would yield the greater competitive advantage over the 800 250 ohm

I can only get the 250ohm version of the dt880. I am buying from amazon UK and it seems that is all they have available.

I guess the dt990 pro 250ohm is currently my top choice.

Amazon US?

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Yeah, sometimes they go out of stock on Amazon. They tend to go in and out.
The 990 250 ohm version should be fine then.
Edit: Maybe M0N found them lol

Okay so it seems amazon UK has both the dt990 and dt880 in 600ohm too.

But I have a feeling these will be very hard to drive on my basic dac/amp setup (FX audio X6)

Buying a more expensive dac/amp could be done, but if the differences between 250ohm and 600ohm for competitive gaming are minimal, I would probably just stick with the 250ohm version

It could get the job done for the time being but isn’t optimal

IMO it’s a somewhat significant difference imo, the treble remains just as good but less fatiguing and more detailed, also imaging and staging gets a decent bit more precise

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I think you wouldn’t have any problem with the setup M0N suggested.
Also, if you want an all in one, the Fiio K5 Pro would have no problem pushing the 600 ohm.
I think with either of these setups, the 600 ohm would be totally fine.

Ah yes the k5 pro would also get the job done fairly well too

Another thing worth adding here, and one of the main reasons I was moving away from the DT990 and more towards the HD58x is the soundstage.

I do believe a narrow soundstage is what I am after, so despite the fact that the DT990 have superior imaging , i have read that they also have a bigger soundstage, and for more close quarter games like call of duty, a narrow soundstage helps a lot.

I was testing an ad700x recently, and despite it being highly recommended nearly everywhere for compettive gaming, the soundstage felt so huge that i found it difficult to pinpoint enemy footsteps with clear accuracy. I got the impression the ad700x were more suited to more open world FPS. but again i could be wrong here!

oh god, okay now leaning towards the 600ohm version paired with the fiio k5 pro lol

Interesting lol, I would say those are fairly intimate soundstage wise, not super wide

I think it depends, I think that the 990 has the better imaging, but also can recreate a space better to where I think the soundstage would be beneficial to more easily place sound. I think the added separation, treble extension and detail, and of course better imaging would end up outweighing the more intimate soundstage of the 58x

Thanks for the suggestion. I had not actually come across the dac amp, as I was mainly looking at the below 100$ options. But glad to know that these can power the 600ohm versions.

You have been a great help. Unless someone else can convince me otherwise, I am now set on the DT990 600ohm. They have been strongly recommended to me on other forums too.