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  1. #1
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    [Test] The headphones thread

    It is known that I am a big music lover and always seeking for quality/price equipement, especially headphones. So I decided to list here the latest products I've been using these last years. I'm mainly going to feed the category of high end hifi headphones below 300€/$.

    The best: Beyerdynamic DT990 Pro (250ohm) [130€]
    https://www.amazon.fr/Casques-tradit...amic+dt990+pro

    Those headphones are worldwide renowned for its sound quality - and I understand why. The bass accuracy is a real surgery and the global sound rendering is very clean overall and the distortion is almost inexistent. In terms of comfort it is great, nothing hurts you at all, the headphopnes are super light and are well stuck on your head without compressing it. The cushions are replacable/cleanable aswell.
    It has an impedence of 250 ohms, so a headphones amplifier or good audio sound card will be necessary, the headphones are quite hard to set because it's soo accurate that you will hear every single mistake in your EQ settings, and it doesn't forgive any mastering mistake too. The sound scene is decently wide and gives you a correct - if not great gaming experience with any surround DSP.

    + Sound rendering
    + Sound scene
    + Replacable components
    + Weight and great comfort


    - Perfectible finish, not as great as many concurrence, disapointing for a German product.
    - Could have a better design


    Heart on: Philips Fidelio X2 [200€]
    https://www.amazon.fr/Philips-Fideli...ips+Fidelio+X2

    I've been using those headphones for a while now, I bought them after reading a lot of review and what people said was quite well matching with what I was waiting from my headphones. However the fact this product was made by Philips made me unsure about it. After all I decided to buy it and I can say this was by far my best investment of the year. Those headphones are pure marvel, examplary built quality and finish, perfect comfort and amazing sound rendering. Add to that the replacable/cleanable cushions and the detachable jack cable that allows you to use your headphones everywhere and on any device (32ohm). You can even plug a bluetooth jack adapter to turn those headphones wireless.

    The sound is warm but doesn't exceeds in the bass, it is very pleasant to listen and the sound scene is the best I knew so far. I'm amazed that Philips was able to make such a top end audio product despite being a basic electronics brand. They did really put real engineers on the designing.

    + Best build & finish quality
    + Amazing sound rendering
    + Certification Hi-Res Audio*
    + Greatest comfort
    + Replacable/cleanable cushions


    - Heavier than the average

    * the Hi-Res Audio label was created by Sennheiser and certifies the headphones covers the entire sound spectrum. It is more of a commercial label since all headphones covers the whole spectrum - besides those with a 20 - 20000Hz frequency range.

    Disapointing: AKG K/Q701 [150€]
    https://www.amazon.fr/AKG-filaire-Di...words=AKG+K701

    AKG is well known for making high end headphones with unmatched neutral sound signatures, which makes them perfect for studios and music production. The problem is that AKG sells those products for regular listening too, and they are not quite enjoyable at all. The bass is almost inexistent, you have to boost it through the EQ but even it is clearly lacking something that catches your ears. The scene was very large though, they performed great in any videogame and the most amazing was listening classic music. Sadly I don't listen to classic everyday and the lack of bass quickly made them boring for me.
    One year later, the small elastics that are on hoop were used and the headphones were not properly standing on my head anymore. It is quite bad for a product that was originally sold 450€ if you ask me and it is impossible to change these. The cushions were replacable aswell but the price was a shame: 40€ for one... while 2 costs you 35€ for the DT990.
    Those headphones were good but too disapointing for the regular listener, I don't know why so much people talks about it as if they were the best headphones, because it's simply wrong. If you want all that the Q701 doesn't have, then buy a Fidelio X2.

    + Sound scene
    + Unmatched neutrality for music production
    + Weight
    + Removable cushions

    - Not for the regular listener
    - Shameful built quality, not durable
    - Lacking comfort, correct but the hoop hurts you the first days you use it


    I hated: Sennheiser HD598 [180€]
    https://www.amazon.fr/Sennheiser-HD5...nnheiser+HD598

    On the paper, the 598 is very similar to the Q701. It features a technology that Sennheiser calls "EAR". It's how they turn the speakers in a way the sound goes dirrectly in your ears entrance (the Fidelio X2 also features this technology but doesn't have this name). What goes wrong there is that I didn't feel a proper sound diffusion, the sound didn't feel natural to me and I was constantly trying to place the headphones on my head to listen better - in vain. The sound overall was pretty great but the scene was much smaller than what I was used to, it didn't feel good in game as shooting with a gun sounded like done from behind a wall. The comfort was okay but I hated the cushion. I don't know what kind of mesh they put on it but it was scratching my ears as fuck. It felt like those low end chinese cushion you can buy on ebay for 5 bucks... and they weren't replacable - not acceptable for a product sold around 200€.

    + Build quality


    - Good sound quality but ruined by EAR
    - Good comfort but ruined by these low end cushions
    - Sound scene
    - Not replacable cushions


    Maybe someone could handle a gaming headset category or talk about the product(s) you currently own?
    Last edited by Skyward; 28.03.2018 at 00:32.


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  2. #2
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    AKG K553 Pro
    I love them, they are top quality. Cushions are very soft, even the headband is covered with same material, laying nicely and weight spread perfectly. The sound is flat which i love - bass isnt deep, but it makes you hear all the sounds from the mid-range crisp and detailed. High tones whisper to your ear instead of shouting HEAR ME!!! The sound is very balanced and i can really tell the difference when i put on some other headphones, even the expencive ones, that they have some shitty sound quality with weirdly boosted tones. Crystal clear sound 5/5 i mean it.
    I'll add that boosting bass on some legit software makes you more satisfied than your woman after having sex, no downgrades regarding other tones and quality.

    I used to wear them 5 hours straight and the only bad symptoms were hurting ears because of compression. Dont understand me bad, they dont squeeze your head like your bartender a lemon, i think the pressure is just right. The headphones were designed to wear them over ear, they are closed, so nobody hears what you are listening to, but they sound like open headphones. Mind blow.

    Negatives? Long unattachable cord.
    I have these headphones for few years now and i am not changing anything soon, and if i would, it'd be same company with same grade quality. I dont know their price, back then i paid like 350$ maybe, but it was worth it.



    People who lead a very successful business, usually tend to have extremely low freetime which results in depressions.
    The only thing that matters is personal happines and health, money can destroy both.
    ~Amco 2016

    It doesnt matter what you look like, or what stereotype you fulfill as long, as you're modest
    and respectful towards everyone, and feel comfortable about yourself.
    ~Amco 2020

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by GraphX View Post
    AKG K553 Pro
    I love them, they are top quality. Cushions are very soft, even the headband is covered with same material, laying nicely and weight spread perfectly. The sound is flat which i love - bass isnt deep, but it makes you hear all the sounds from the mid-range crisp and detailed. High tones whisper to your ear instead of shouting HEAR ME!!! The sound is very balanced and i can really tell the difference when i put on some other headphones, even the expencive ones, that they have some shitty sound quality with weirdly boosted tones. Crystal clear sound 5/5 i mean it.
    I'll add that boosting bass on some legit software makes you more satisfied than your woman after having sex, no downgrades regarding other tones and quality.

    I used to wear them 5 hours straight and the only bad symptoms were hurting ears because of compression. Dont understand me bad, they dont squeeze your head like your bartender a lemon, i think the pressure is just right. The headphones were designed to wear them over ear, they are closed, so nobody hears what you are listening to, but they sound like open headphones. Mind blow.

    Negatives? Long unattachable cord.
    I have these headphones for few years now and i am not changing anything soon, and if i would, it'd be same company with same grade quality. I dont know their price, back then i paid like 350$ maybe, but it was worth it.
    How is your K553 now? I'm curious since the Q701 that was supposed to be AKG's flagship turned out being a total failure in terms of build quality. I really wonder how are your headphone's cushions now, and if the hoop is still good, if the headphones are still taking place firmly on your head


    from my side, i'm still using the DT990 Pro, they're simply amazing. Though the trebles are still a bit agressive in badly mastered electronic tunes (it's a common issue with EDM anyway, they tend to drown the song under trebles just to mask the silence... shows bad production skills). I had my eyes on the Amiron Home from Beyerdynamics but it's one step higher and I can't afford it now. However, next year I will try to get my hands on the Sennheiser HD650 to put the light on if they are really that good as lot of people pretends.


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  4. #4
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    Cusions look like this (attachment), but didn't lose it's ability to dampen outside sounds. Can't really feel the shed leather when wearing them, it's so thin layer that it had to finally break. Foam inside cusions didn't deform, always back to original state and didn't lose any quality.
    It's still comfortable as hell, i can wear them all day long and forget they are on my head. They press surely to the head as on the beginning, not too firm so no headache and not too weak to fall of head when dancing to the music . If the hoop is the top part that's laying on your head, it's in perfect quality, leather have few minor bends but no breaks, foam inside didn't deform at all, and still have same suspension over those years.
    I bite the cable often (don't ask) and miracously it didn't break yet, no signs of bites even.
    Didn't notice any difference in sound quality, it's still perfect for me, crystal clear sound. Any other headphones i tried (prolly all mainstream, and some expencive meinstream alongside) they are worse in sound quality.


    I tested few sennheisers in shop and only 1 model was kind of okay, rest was crap.
    I've heard something about this company Bayerdynamics, idk any models tho.

    I understand what you say about EDM xD true
    1540507301282.JPEG



    People who lead a very successful business, usually tend to have extremely low freetime which results in depressions.
    The only thing that matters is personal happines and health, money can destroy both.
    ~Amco 2016

    It doesnt matter what you look like, or what stereotype you fulfill as long, as you're modest
    and respectful towards everyone, and feel comfortable about yourself.
    ~Amco 2020

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by GraphX View Post
    Cusions look like this (attachment), but didn't lose it's ability to dampen outside sounds. Can't really feel the shed leather when wearing them, it's so thin layer that it had to finally break. Foam inside cusions didn't deform, always back to original state and didn't lose any quality.
    It's still comfortable as hell, i can wear them all day long and forget they are on my head. They press surely to the head as on the beginning, not too firm so no headache and not too weak to fall of head when dancing to the music . If the hoop is the top part that's laying on your head, it's in perfect quality, leather have few minor bends but no breaks, foam inside didn't deform at all, and still have same suspension over those years.
    I bite the cable often (don't ask) and miracously it didn't break yet, no signs of bites even.
    Didn't notice any difference in sound quality, it's still perfect for me, crystal clear sound. Any other headphones i tried (prolly all mainstream, and some expencive meinstream alongside) they are worse in sound quality.


    I tested few sennheisers in shop and only 1 model was kind of okay, rest was crap.
    I've heard something about this company Bayerdynamics, idk any models tho.

    I understand what you say about EDM xD true
    1540507301282.JPEG
    the good part about those headphones is that you can remove the cushions and buy new ones, it shouldn't be too expensive and you'd be ready to go for another 3 years at least. If you prefer closed acoustic headphones, you should definitely give a look to the Beyerdynamics DT 770 Pro, it's the closed version of the DT990. They are so great and yet so cheap, those products were made more than 15 years ago and are still almost unmatched today on the affordable price range.


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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Skyward View Post
    the good part about those headphones is that you can remove the cushions and buy new ones, it shouldn't be too expensive and you'd be ready to go for another 3 years at least. If you prefer closed acoustic headphones, you should definitely give a look to the Beyerdynamics DT 770 Pro, it's the closed version of the DT990. They are so great and yet so cheap, those products were made more than 15 years ago and are still almost unmatched today on the affordable price range.
    I checked few months ago, ear cushions over 100$, i think it is some special foam



    People who lead a very successful business, usually tend to have extremely low freetime which results in depressions.
    The only thing that matters is personal happines and health, money can destroy both.
    ~Amco 2016

    It doesnt matter what you look like, or what stereotype you fulfill as long, as you're modest
    and respectful towards everyone, and feel comfortable about yourself.
    ~Amco 2020

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by GraphX View Post
    I checked few months ago, ear cushions over 100$, i think it is some special foam
    you got plenty of adaptive cushions on Amazon https://www.amazon.fr/Coussinets-amo...words=AKG+K553


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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Skyward View Post
    you got plenty of adaptive cushions on Amazon https://www.amazon.fr/Coussinets-amo...words=AKG+K553
    yeah, i'm still afraid it's gonna lose some of it's insulation, they are closed headphones who sound like open ones



    People who lead a very successful business, usually tend to have extremely low freetime which results in depressions.
    The only thing that matters is personal happines and health, money can destroy both.
    ~Amco 2016

    It doesnt matter what you look like, or what stereotype you fulfill as long, as you're modest
    and respectful towards everyone, and feel comfortable about yourself.
    ~Amco 2020

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by GraphX View Post
    yeah, i'm still afraid it's gonna lose some of it's insulation, they are closed headphones who sound like open ones
    For having true open headphones and used a K550 4 years ago, I can tell you the K500 series are nowhere near sounding open, however it's still better than closed headphones. It's true that those 5€ cushions are utter chinese crap but I'm sure of you find a decent product between 15 and 30€, it should be just fine


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  10. #10
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    It seems to me that this topic of headphones is not disclosed. Good headphones for music are often not the same concept as good headphones for computer game. And this difference is even more important for FPS games. For such games, spatial positioning of sound source is very important.
    These headphones are available on the market in large numbers from different manufacturers. And prices for these headphones are also very different, from $ 15 to $500. The connection is also very different, wired, wireless, minijack, USB, and even there are headphones with digital optical inputs. And they also have different surround sound standards.
    I am sure that many of the forum members use such headphones and would like to know their opinion and evaluation of such products.

  11. #11
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    Hi-Fi Stereo headphones >>>>>> Everything else. Why?

    what matters in games or movies is the way you listen to the sound, and this every specialized hardware for that matter can do it easly, but good hi fi headphones can literally do everything, if not with a better and clearer sound. 40 to 50mm neodym magnets covers the whole frequency range and brings an wide scene (especially with open acoustic) that gives the feeling of listening the sound from front speakers.

    Sound always comes from left and right, no matter if you're 5.1, 7.1 or 1373647674.193. The idea of using multichanel for it being multichanel is plenty stupid, I mean really stupid as fuck. The interest of multichannel in headphones is that it brings a low cost surround experience, without having to buy expensive hardware (such as a sound card) that features proper surround technologies as Dolby (Pro Logic, Atmos etc) or DTS Surround. Nowdays even the newest models of gaming headsets are build with Stereo and provided with Dolby Headphones and similar, because multichanel headphones divided the speakers into separated smaller speakers into each ears, which resulted an easy way to tune your sound frequencies (ppsst, everyone can do that with their graphic equalizer too...) but on the other hand, a very mediocre sound rendering for music. Ok you get good basses in games and movies but the music literally makes your ears bleeding.

    Hi -Fi headphones are build by pioneer brands of the sound industry (such as Sennheiser or Beyerdynamic who still manufactures their headphones in Germany, Focal in France, AKG in Austria or Audio-Technica in Japan) while gaming headsets are glowing chinese plastic toys sold a fortune not because its sound is qualitative but because it's "gaming". You can find plenty of good hi fi headphones for twice less the price of a "high end" gaming headset.

    The comfort between hifi headphones and gaming headset is not comparable, I mean NOT compareable at all, and I can say that after trying plenty of different models myself.

    Not all headphones sounds the same, and quality hi fi headphones are rather built with a neutral sound, more neutral for monitoring/studio purposes or warmer (slightly more bass) for listening. A neutral sound can be easly customized with the equalizer to make it sound as you want it (more bass, more trebles, more mediums if you're a weirdo ). Gaming headsets are, in 90% of cases, built with a very bass typed sound, it's good for gaming but once you realize it's too much for music, it's hardly correctible through the EQ, and forcing the change will result in a pretty distorded sound.

    in conclusion choosing your headphones is very important, you have to consider your budget, your needs, and the purposes you want to use them. The best choice for a gamer are stereo with built in Dolby Headphones or Atmos since it comes with a microphone too, but hi fi headphones will always remain a better choice, regardless of the price.


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  12. #12
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    Stereo hi-fi headphones are really good. There is no point in arguing with this. But I would still like to clarify the situation with spatial sound in games.
    A human hears through two ears, it's true. However, it is able to detect the direction of sound in both horizontal and vertical directions. Why? And because human is able to determine not only the difference in the amplitude of the sound wave, not only the difference in the frequency of sound, but also the difference in the phases of this sound wave coming from the left and right. Taking into account all these features, it is not really easy to deliver sound from just two dynamic heads. In fact, it is impossible. Thus, real, not virtual, surround sound is possible in the case of real multi-channel headphones. The situation with real multi-channel headphones is not just bad, but very bad. There are very few of them, and their quality is terrible.
    I know about availability in market of the of Asus ROG Strix, ASUS Centurion, and Razer Kraken.
    Razer Kraken produces a frankly garbage sound, at least in my opinion.
    Asus ROG Strix has a terrible build, worse than the most budget Chinese headphones for $ 15. At the same time, its external USB sound card is constantly buggy. Surround sound from these headphones can be estimated as good.
    ASUS Centurion ASUS Centurion also has unforgivable errors in design, they constantly break the wires in the cable and break the headphone mount. Surround sound from these headphones can be estimated as good.
    ASUS headphones are equipped with an external Hi-fi sound card. Both models headphones have 10 dynamic heads.

  13. #13
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    I never buy my peripherals from brands such as Asus, MSI, HyperX, Cooler Master or even Corsair

    Althought Corsair seems to do a pretty good job (with keyboards, their mouses got awful shapes) they remain computer components manufacturers for me and their peripherals are made by under treatment factories that works with lower quality standards.

    Logitech and Steelseries seems to do nice gaming headphones lately


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