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€]
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€]
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€]
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
+ 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€]
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?