Gaming headphones.


floppybootstomp

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I actually had a complaint about the noise me playing CoD4 2with my Auzentech Prelude soundcard and Hercules 5.1 loudspeaker system made.

Damn.

Ok, I have to 'fess up, the bass was kinda thunderous and it was loud.

And I don't want to be selfish so I'm going to go for headphones.

This machine only used for office and gaming so no worries about other media.

Damn shame about not using the sound card through external speakers, perhaps, but that's life, kiddo.

So, what I'm after is headphone reccomendations, prime criteria: comfort and sound placement/quality.

Not too worried about wired/wireless, either will do though wireless would obviously be a convenience.

I read many mixed opinions, some say '5.1' headphones are a waste of time, just go for quality stereo, others say pseudo 5.1 headphones are worthwhile in gaming.

My own gut feeling is to go for a pair of quality stereo wireless headphones, a nice pair of Sennheisers fitting the bill cost around £120.00 but obviously wired headphones of good quality (for gaming) can be had for less.

For me, comfort on long wearing sessions is as important as sound quality so I'd be interested to hear if anybody has any preferences or dislikes in this field.

I'm using a pair of Beyer stereo headphones atm and the volume level from Auzentech sound card direct to headphones isn't high enough so I'm going to buy a headphone amp from Richer Sounds for 40 quid.

Seems a bit of a waste for the Auzentech card (best soundcard I've ever owned) but that's life I guess.

Advice/recommendations/mickey-taking welcomed :)
 
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Quadophile

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Flops,

I could not resist this thread :D

Do not buy the headphone amp yet! You can decide on it later for the following reasons.

What is the sensitivity of your present headphones? Is it over 100 Ohms or under? What is the SPL on the headphone? That will give a good idea of why it is not a working out with the sound card. In order to get the maximum potential from the sound-card you would ideally need a headphone with impedance of 32 Ohms. SPL of 110 or above to have a blast.

As for choice of headphones remember that wireless (as a rule of thumb) will cost you twice to achieve the same sound quality. The decision would obviouly have to rest on you and your pocket.

As for comfort Shennheisers are almost impossible to beat head to head with others in same price bracket.

Stereo will please you much more than any 5.1 gaming headphones. If you go for it in the initial stages it may be very exciting and thrilling but that my friend in time will wear off and you would be cursing yourself for having gone for it. I have known you now for good ten years and we have had scores of discussions on the subject of audio so I am very optimistic about knowing your tastes to some extent and how you may perceive the sound.

I will be very keen to know what your reaction to this post would be.
 

floppybootstomp

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TriplexDread said:
Personally I like their stuff mate

http://www.behringer.com/EN/home.aspx

All depends as you say how much you prepared to spend
I have one of their mixers and it's very good indeed This one

I'd never considered headphones by them, they have three studio models at £13.00; £22.90 & £29.00 (Prices inc VAT from Dolphin Music who I have an account with) and two DJ models costing £21.00 & £33.00, all wired.

Certainly cheap enough and they look well made, I'll look into it, thanks for the suggestion.

Quad: Excellent points. The headphone amp I mentioned isn't really good quality, I'd have to spend at least £120.00 before getting into the 'decent' league.

My Beyer headphones were given to me by an AV guy at a college about ten years ago and I rarely use them (my main valve amp doesn't even have a headphone facility). They're labelled 'Pro-Luxe PX921'. They're discontinued but here's a link: PX921.

As yet I haven't been able to find any technical information on them.

I notice that headphones specifically manufactured for gaming often have in-line volume controls which may be a handy feature to have instead of relying on software to control volume (I'm using Win 7).

I have These in mind, the Sennheisser RS160 wireless headphones but will have to seek out reviews and hopefully be able to try a pair. SPL on these is 106db and impedance is 32 ohms.
 

Quadophile

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Flops,

The Sennheiser RS 160 has very good reviews and is "over the ear" so extremely comfortable indeed for those long listening sessions. The model RS 170 is a step higher and has surround sound capability. From the reviews one could tell that the RS 160 is a better buy. If you are able to listen to them in a store you can get a good idea of what they have to offer. The link you provided for the store is selling it at higher price so you might be better off getting them from Amazon should you decide to go for them.

Sennheiser RS 160 at Amazon


Plenty of expert review links here for the RS 160

As for your current headphones the have the impedance of 32 Ohms but could not find out their SPL rating. I am very surprised that these phones having the lowest of impedance is difficult to drive by your sound card and if our understanding is correct you will need the headphone amp for sure or something in between to achieve realistic levels to be able to enjoy the experience.

It looks like your sound cards op-amp does not have enough oomph to drive even the most sensitive headphones. This is certainly intriguing.

I have the 32 Ohm Sennheiser PX200, can be easily driven by any sound card, currently giving great service on my IBM laptop. I also have the 300 Ohm Sennheiser HD-600 which could fry any sound card if connected directly due to the load it would put on the op-amp so a dedicated amp is a must. I use the Headroom amp for this.

Let me know what you think about the RS 160 after you have read some reviews from the link provided.
 

V_R

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Hey Flops,

I'm surprised that the volume isn't loud enough with that card, I cant turn up the volume here its too loud, maybe it will be better with a new set of cans? :)

Not sure if this is the kind of thing your looking for or not, but....

I've got and have had for a while the Sennheiser pc151's
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Sennheiser-PC-150-PC151-Headphones/dp/B0000DCRHA

Very good headphones with a built in volume control and mic if needed.


Please dont get a set of 5.1/7.1 'phones for gaming. you will be disappointed! IMO, a good sound card, which you have and a good set of headphones will give a far better directional sound that a set of surround phones.


That said, i think your on the right lines of going the hifi headphone route rather than the gaming headset style if your not needing a mic, as they almost always come with them.

The RS 160's look rather nice. :)
 
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floppybootstomp

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Thanks for the input V_R, the Sennheissers you've mentioned would be a contender but I've never used a mic in online gaming and don't really want or need one. I've also really rather taken a shine to a wireless set.

Quad, I have a pair of PX200 headphones, bought 'em in 2006 for my iPod at your recommendation. I tried them and they were louder, the volume at max was acceptable.

I had been plugging the headphones into the 2.1 socket of my Auzentech Prelude sound card with the Creative software putting volume to max, selecting gaming mode and designating headphone mode in the Creative console (the Auzentech is built around the Creative X-Fi chipset).

As the lead on the PX200's was too short to go round the back of the computer I plugged them into the headphone socket on the front of my case which is connected to a header on the soundcard.

Nearly blew me frikkin' head off :eek:

So, plenty of volume, it seems :)

And the quality is good as well.

Amazon charge a tenner less but if I buy them locally from Richer Sounds it means I don't have to wait up to a week for delivery and also that if ever they go wrong under warranty I don't have the hassle of sending them back via courier and waiting forever for a repair/replacement.

A small consideration perhaps but where possible I always prefer to buy from the high street (a bricks and mortar store as our colonial cousins would refer to it) for those reasons.

I'm going to the dentists at Guys Hospital at London Bridge on Friday where there is a branch of Richer Sounds so may just pick up a pair if they're in stock.

The Auzentech, incidentally, is easily the best sound card I've ever owned and before I bought it I used a Creative Fatality soundcard briefly but it went faulty on me so I got a refund from Scan (after quite a bit of hassle I might add but that's another story). It really brought my Hercules 5.1 loudspeakers to life and they were very loud. Too loud, it seems, for one of my neighbours :(

When I bought the Auzentech it was £150.00 and that's without a case front connector panel. That particular model is no longer manufactured but it's equivalent now only costs £98.50 and imo is worth considering if you're in the market for a quality sound card.

Not many online suppliers stock them however, and I bought mine from Kustom PC's, based in Scotland.
 

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Flops,

Thanks for the update and now I know that there is nothing wrong with your sound card, infact the older headphones may have become faulty since they do not sound right as I understand it. Now that you connected the PX200 it did give you the correct picture.

The RS 160 should give you goose bumps to say the least when you connect them as your sound card is high quality and they would be able to do justice to it. Not that PX200 is low quality but at the price point the PX 200 are you can not expect anything better.

I fully appreciate your way of thinking about buying from brick and mortar store, it does make sense to me.

When you are at the dentist make sure you tell him not to mess with your audio nerve as you would be on your way to buy the headphones :D

Good Luck with your purchase and let us know how they sound.
 

floppybootstomp

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I bought the RS160's yesterday and have been using them quite a bit, have been playing CoD4 online; FEAR 2 SP and Arma II: Arrowhead.

They sound very good indeed to these ears and they're comfortable. They have a volume control on the receiver and also a stepped up and down buttons volume control on the headset. I just turned the headset to max and use the transmitter volume control.

So yes, me happy. Must admit I'm still curious as to what those Behringer headphones sound like, corded or not. May just try a pair and use them for the disco perhaps. But which one? I think I'd probably go for the most expensive studio set These ones at £29.00.

But that's for another day :)

Thanks to everybody who chimed in here, apreciated :thumb:
 

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Glad all was sorted out and that you got the RS 160! Give them a little time and they should come on their own, that's what we call breaking in and conditioning the drivers to reach their maximum potential. I'd say 50- 100 hours should do the trick. You will get more volume and also extension, the dynamics should improve a whole lot.

How many hours you reckon you have already done by now? 5-10 hours?
 

floppybootstomp

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Quadophile said:
How many hours you reckon you have already done by now? 5-10 hours?
I'd estimate 5 hours or perhaps a little less.

I shall listen out, I'd forgotten about the breaking in period, applies to loudspeakers as well doesn't it?
 
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It sure does apply to loudspeakers and in a big way, as loudspeakers have a lot more going than the tiny headphones.

If you recall I did a review of the PX-200 and I quote what I had mentioned in it about breaking in.

The lack of sheer extension in the bass region is I am sure attributed to them being brand new and need adequate burn-in time before they really start to give out their best. While I had been listening to them, the sound sort of slowly was opening up, particularly the high frequencies, which were becoming smoother and the low end was very slowly getting to give me an impression of having a bit more extension. I would reckon these headphones should come on their own after about 20 to 30 hours of use. Thus, making a judgment about sound quality immediately after putting them on, when brand new, is not really the right thing to do, give them time, they will make you more than happy.
More or less what I wrote about the PX-200 should apply to the RS 160, however the RS 160 have a much bigger driver compared to PX-200 so it will take a bit longer in my personal opinion. You should be able to tell once you pass 30-50 hours.

Enjoy your new headphones and if possible take notes as they will help you write a review later on RS 160 ;)
 

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Flops,

What are you listening to on your headphone? How about an update? ;)
 

floppybootstomp

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Quadophile said:
Flops,

What are you listening to on your headphone? How about an update? ;)
Um, Youtube clips, FEAR 2 and Borderlands :)

As I mentioned in PM, haven't listened to any music on them yet.

I now have some rechargeable AAA cells for them which is just as well as a pair of ordinary Duracell AAA cells only lasted two days :eek: A DC splitter lead is supplied to go with a mains adapter which powers the receiver and plugs into the headset to recharge the batteries.

I'm liking them a lot :)
 

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floppybootstomp said:
Um, Youtube clips, FEAR 2 and Borderlands :)

As I mentioned in PM, haven't listened to any music on them yet.

I now have some rechargeable AAA cells for them which is just as well as a pair of ordinary Duracell AAA cells only lasted two days :eek: A DC splitter lead is supplied to go with a mains adapter which powers the receiver and plugs into the headset to recharge the batteries.

I'm liking them a lot :)
I am sure you know that the standard batteries are 1.5 volts versus rechargables which are 1.2 volts. I have the battery driven Headphone amp which actually sounds louder when standard batteries are used (alkaline type) compared to rechargables. This proves that the amp is voltage driven. I am not sure if this will have any bearing on the volume of your headphones or not but just thought I's mention it here based on my experience.
 

floppybootstomp

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Nope, rechargeables or standard cells - makes no difference to volume.
 
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Quadophile

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floppybootstomp said:
Nope, rechargeables or standard cells - makes no difference to volume.
In that case you are certainly better off using them rechargables:D
 

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Looks like im a little late. :p

But if your ever in need of a solid all around set of phones, Sennheiser 280HDs are good stuff. As I have been using them for a while now and they havent let me down yet.
 
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floppybootstomp

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Thanks for the input Alf.

I've been using these a while now, lengthy gaming sessions - Fallout New Vegas :thumb: - and they are comfortable, I sometimes forget I have them on.

The big advantage with wireless 'phones is not having to take them off to get up and get another beer :D
 

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