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Good headphones for gaming?

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August 30, 2004 4:50:27 AM

what are some good head phones for gaming? do i have to be concerned with 3d positioning etc or just a decent pair...

Sometimes I think I'd be better off dead. No, wait, not me, you.

More about : good headphones gaming

August 30, 2004 7:42:56 AM

Cant really help you as I have no experience with this yet but I am also interested in other responses.

Basically you dont need more than two speakers, one for each ear, as you only have the two ears anyways, but it depends on how the environmental audio is coded in the game. Because when there's a sound from the right, it should also hit the left ear some but with a proper delay and reverb (which depends on how the sound travels in a certain game location). So depending on how well or bad they do this, you might need a setup, that accepts a 5.1 (or better) signal and translates it to proper output for the two ears. There may even be 5.1 headphones that do have multiple speakers in one earpiece (I saw a Zalman model once) but then I wonder how well this holds opposed to listening to a normal 5.1 speaker setup.


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September 2, 2004 4:52:01 AM

Another vote for Sennheiser.

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I poo on you!
September 2, 2004 5:03:06 AM

thanks for the replies guys. i was talking to a couple sound guys this week and a lot of them recommended the grado sr 80's.

Sometimes I think I'd be better off dead. No, wait, not me, you.
Anonymous
a b 4 Gaming
September 2, 2004 5:28:48 AM

I reccomend Labtec headphones, they're designed for computers and have long cords if you don't have front mounted sound ports. I'm a dumbass and break them a lot so I buy two or three of the $20 ones.

<font color=blue> When in doubt, rock the fu*k out </font color=blue>
September 2, 2004 11:53:06 AM

<A HREF="http://www.akg.com/akg_structuretree/powerslave,id,186,..." target="_new"> AKG</A> I'm very happy with these headphones, and would recommend them to anyone. (I have the K141 model) I tried the K1000 model in a store, and was blown away, but it was really, really expensive, and not for gaming anyway.

<font color=blue>The day <font color=green>Microsoft</font color=green> will make something that doesn't suck is the day they'll start making vacuum cleaners.</font color=blue>
September 2, 2004 5:46:15 PM

I had a pair of Grado SR-100's (discontinued) which sounded great, by far the best sounding headphones in the under $100 category, very neutral. Beautiful midrange. Solid bass and not boxy or boomy. Sounded great for gaming or music.

Unfortunately they are very uncomfortable.

I still used the Grados because they sounded so good but that was until they fell apart. Both yokes snapped, apparently a very brittle plastic (could be my fat head). I patched them up a couple times (this was about a year beyond warranty). I used super glue and later epoxy but the yokes kept cracking. Eventually the yokes crumbled beyond repair. At that point I just fastened the ear pieces to the headband without yokes (long story).

Later the right side of the the Grados stopped working. Opened up the ear piece to find that the strain relief had failed and the wires had pulled out of the driver element. I resoldered the wires but I got an intermittent connection which eventually failed completely. I guess I botched the soldering and damaged the driver.

I've been thinking about getting a pair of SR-60, a little cheaper than the 80, but I keeping thinking about the problems I had with the 100. I don't think the 60 uses the yokes that the 100 had but the disapointment still lingers.

In the meantime I ordered a pair of Kinyo KY-100 5.1 headphones (I'm a sucker for gadgets especially when they don't cost too much, $34 at BUY.COM + shipping + tax).

For music I'm now thinking about getting a pair of Koss 3AA or Studio 4AA if I can find them for a good price. I wasn't impressed with Sennheiser, not in the sub $100 price class anyway. I don't really like lightweight portable headphones.

<b>56K, slow and steady does not win the race on internet!</b>
September 2, 2004 8:18:24 PM

so 5.1 headphones are different from "regular" headphones?

Sometimes I think I'd be better off dead. No, wait, not me, you.
September 2, 2004 11:48:33 PM

Don't yet know if its just a gimmick but yes they are different.

These so called 5.1 headphones generally have two or more drivers per ear (but I don't know what the Kinyo's have). I guess this would make them 4.0 not 5.1 but they are meant to connect to a typical 5.1 sound card, using the left/right, center/sub, surround connections, hence the 5.1 claim I guess.

I've seen a few messages from people claiming the Kinyos actually do OK with surround sound but I like the versatility.

These headphones come with a control module which let you control the volume. Having audio bypass you can switch between headphone and speaker sound, no cable swapping necessary. And, the KY-100 comes with a good assortment of cables. Of course you get the 1/8" mini connectors that all sound cards use but you also get discrete RCA connectors. This lets you connect directly to some DVD players and also console games. For stereo-only sound sources there is a special pigtail allowing you to use the kinyos like any other headphone, that is without the control module. One last feature is dual headphones. If you or a friend own two KY-100's you can plug both headphones into a single control module so you can both listen to the same sounds.

I'll let you know what I think when I get them.

That won't be until Tuesday, the 7th.

<b>56K, slow and steady does not win the race on internet!</b><P ID="edit"><FONT SIZE=-1><EM>Edited by phsstpok on 09/02/04 07:52 PM.</EM></FONT></P>
September 3, 2004 4:46:20 AM

im looking fwd to your review on the 7th.... dont forget!!!

Sometimes I think I'd be better off dead. No, wait, not me, you.
September 3, 2004 5:31:47 PM

I won't forget.. but if I do then remind me. LOL

<b>56K, slow and steady does not win the race on internet!</b>
September 6, 2004 9:53:32 PM

Hello!!
I Have Zalman 5.1, and yes they are great!! get freaked with sound in doom3.
The sound is very clear, and have a good bass, it has 3 speakers per ear, so you have 6 spk, two in the front that also simulates de center, two on the back, and the standard left right for bass and complement, the rear are little low when speaker testing (sblive!) but once in a game you can cleary not it.

Great for DVD and music listening.

So I may not be an expert, but im not desapointed and im very happy and satisfied ($55 US) with Zalman's
September 8, 2004 5:14:37 AM

These Kinyo headphones are a real mixed bag.

For music they are only OK. I've heard both better and worse for the money ($44 including shipping by the way).

For surround sound, specifically positioning, well I can hear only the smallest of difference vs regular headphones. All the sounds still appear to be in my head. That's not a pun. The sound cues move from about behind one's eyeballs to about 1 foot behind one's head. It's actually a disturbing sensation.

That's using a surround receiver. Unfortunately, I haven't been able to make 5.1 work on my cheapo sound card in my PC. (I've only used 2.1 up until now and I don't have any documentation) . When I try to enable multiple speakers all channels shut down. (It's not the Kinyos with the problem. I've confirmed the issue with real speakers).

With just 2 channel sound the Kinyos do a fair bit better in gaming than they did with music. Doom 3 is downright creepy.

Without the subwoofer channel working fully. I'm only getting average headphone bass performance on the PC. (Do sound cards support Dolby Digital LFE, Low Frequency Effects?) Audible bass levels drop off rapidly below 68 Hz with nothing below 40 Hz. (I discovered this using a test disc with warble tones).

By contrast, with the Kinyo's working in 5.1 mode on my surround receiver have a very different response. Subwoofer signals are handled by a transducer in the headphones. This is the best aspect of these headphones. You feel the bass more than you hear it. It's a little weird because the sensation is on the earlobes and skull, not deep in the chest like you would feel it with a real subwoofer. When listening to explosions you expect the sound to blow your eardrums out but that doesn't happen. There's a strong vibration, like force feedback but less prounounced than that. You can crank the LFE without risking your hearing. I'm impressed. Ordinary headphones don't compare in this regard.

Too bad these headphones are far from audiophile quality. They are no match with music compared to my poor defunct Grados.

I did discover a problem. Kinyo supplies numerous cables and adapters but one set is messed up. The set that is mini phones on one end and male RCA on the other end is wired incorrectly. Three of the RCA connectors are wrong (at least on my set). This crossed up the left rear, center, and subwoofer channels.

The sound was awful until I found the problem. Hopefully, it's just a one time mistake with only my set of cables.


<b>A mind is a terrible thing</b><P ID="edit"><FONT SIZE=-1><EM>Edited by phsstpok on 09/08/04 01:30 AM.</EM></FONT></P>
September 8, 2004 1:17:25 PM

Sennheiser>=HD570

the story of 5.1 (you stick the 0.1 under your shirt or what??!) is pretty weak, you'll be much better off getting a proper set of regular headphones

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September 10, 2004 1:17:40 AM

I've changed my opinion of the Kinyos. They are great gaming headphones.

I finally got surround working on my soundcard (but not center channel or sub, not sure what my problem is). In games I get a sense of depth and direction. The direction isn't razer sharp at all times but I can tell when something is shooting at me from behind. As the sound source moves a little toward one side or the other I know exactly where. I can turn right toward the source. It's just straight on when it's hard to pinpoint.

As for music, the stock Kinyos are only OK (like I said) but I have some good news. One thing I noticed they sounded veiled. I had to strain to hear subtle details. They play plenty loud but the level of detail wasn't where it should be for headphones, even inexpensive ones. Upon close examination the fabric which I thought covered the drivers (there are 3 drivers for each ear by the way) turned out to be 1/8" foam instead. Once I removed the foam the sound really opened up.

The Kinyo's were literally "veiled".

They sound darn good now, smooth extended highs and clear vocals. Bass is strong with good impact but not terribly deep. (That vibration gimmick only occurs with 5.1 sources and it's can be controlled with your surround system's LFE adjustment).

<b>A mind is a terrible thing</b>
September 10, 2004 7:51:15 AM

I myself use the SONY MDR-V700 Headfones for about $150
they haul so much ass, i've never heard anything better than these.
September 10, 2004 1:59:47 PM

$150? Now we are talking about a different league of headphones. I'm still looking for a pair, purely for music. Sony is a name I don't hear very often, for headphones that is.

Have you listened to any Grado headphones if so how do your Sonys compare?

The Grados are the best that I have heard but comfort is a factor. I've listened to some Sennheisers (sub $100, full cans only) but they don't compare to Grados in sound quality. I was beginning to think that I need to start looking toward true studio quality headphones to come close to the Grados in sound quality (or settle for less).

<b>A mind is a terrible thing</b>
September 10, 2004 7:24:48 PM

Look at AKG. The sound is pure awesomeness, but some people complain about the comfort level.

<font color=blue>The day <font color=green>Microsoft</font color=green> will make something that doesn't suck is the day they'll start making vacuum cleaners.</font color=blue>
September 10, 2004 11:05:53 PM

Quote:
Look at AKG. The sound is pure awesomeness, but some people complain about the comfort level.[Look at AKG. The sound is pure awesomeness, but some people complain about the comfort level.]Oops, comfort is important for listening to music. I can tolerate a little discomfort for gaming because I never play for very long and I'm too busy to pay attention. With music it's different. I can't enjoy music when I'm thinking that my headphones hurt or they itch or they don't stay on right. That's why I like full sized cans, well for comfort and the isolation aspect. If they fit well I can completely forget I'm wearing them and just enjoy the music.

Everyone seems to say Sennheiser or AKG. I need to find some people that have owned Grados, people who can recommend something that sounds similar.

The Grados are a little bright (and that's not bad when you are getting a little older) but they are not at all tinny and they have extremely dynamic bass. Not super deep but lots of fast punch, like good monitor speakers.

<b>A mind is a terrible thing</b>
September 11, 2004 8:01:20 PM

For me personally, the AKG 141S I own are very comfortable. The only problem being the heat sometimes(sweaty ears). From all the headphones in the store at around the $100-150 range, they had the best sound (for me). Plus they're very robust (I think they are the most widely used headphone in recording studios, certainly in Europe, and I think the US as well)

<font color=blue>The day <font color=green>Microsoft</font color=green> will make something that doesn't suck is the day they'll start making vacuum cleaners.</font color=blue>
September 11, 2004 8:41:42 PM

Really the only way to go about it is going to a good audio store and trying all the phones in your price range to see which you like best.

<font color=blue>The day <font color=green>Microsoft</font color=green> will make something that doesn't suck is the day they'll start making vacuum cleaners.</font color=blue>
September 12, 2004 3:43:56 AM

Talking to yourself?

Yeah, it's been years since I've been to my favorite audio store. They used let me borrow gear. Headphones are such a personal preference thing. I hope they will lend me a couple pair.

I really have to get something for music. These Kinyos just don't cut it. They have tremendous punch but lack musical accuracy.

I definitely enjoy gaming with them and watching action movies but that's about all. Too bad because they are perfectly comfortable.



<b>A mind is a terrible thing</b>
September 17, 2004 2:36:55 PM

What did you decide for headphones?

My final word on the Kinyo's are they are impressive for DVDs, pretty good for gaming, and good/mediocre for music but I have several caveats.

For gaming, I can't give a complete impression. I never did get 5.1 working fully on my generic sound card. I believe this is partly due to the fact that the WDM drivers don't produce any sound at all so I'm using antiquated VxD drivers (I'm talking Windows 98SE here).

The sound direction queues are there but I can't say it's much better than a good set of stereo headphones.

The sound is very dynamic. These are not "layed-back" headphones and this IS GOOD for gaming. However, without the .1 in my 5.1 sound card. I am unable to use LFE. (I'm asking again, "Are 5.1 sound cards supposed to produce LFE in games?")

For music, at first the Kinyos were terrible but then I discovered multiple problems (and resolved them), some Kinyo's and some mine.

First, there were cable problems. The center channel and the right surround channel were crossed on one set.

Next, is another cabling problem. The Kinyo headphones use a mini-DIN connector to connect to the amplifier module (or rather headphone pre-amp). A straight adapter is provided should one wish to use these headphones like normal stereo headphones, that is without a pre-amp. Unfortunately the adapter splits a stereo signal into all the drivers in the headphones. (There are three in each ear by the way, front, surround, and center/sub). Splitting the signal just sounds awful though. Sounds very "phasey".

Avoiding the stereo headphone adapter and going with the ampfier module but using only Front-in is the way to use these headphones in stereo mode. Done this way they sound very good. This does, however, elimate a convenience factor and makes these headphone not for portable use (not that full sized cans are very portable anyway).

Then there are all the quirks.

-unwieldy 18-ft cord (maybe some people will like this).

-surround channel has limited bandwidth. Cuts off the high frequencies, reminicent of Dolby Prologic surrounds, but this should be handled by the decoder/sound card. Doing it in the headphone/pre-amp is not optimal for use with Dolby Digital/DTS sources (just my opinion, maybe I'm wrong about this).

-center/sub channels are mono even though there is one driver for each of two ears. Being mono sounds obvious but in headphones this kills the stereo separation for stereo sources. IMO, these headphones sound best with a receiver/decoder/sound card configured 4.1 not 5.1.

- The foam covering the drivers kills the high frequencies. I removed the foam. I hope this not a mistake but I don't care. The highs are now much more extended though reticent to my ears. Reminds me of non-metalic dome tweeters of loudspeakers, a little on the warm side kind of sound.

- lack of adequate documentation. Good cabling instructions are provided but how does one configure 5.1 properly with headphones? What are the proper time delays or does one just use 0 ms? (I'm using 0 ms for fron and maximum for surrounds). What is the correct level for LFE? My HT reciever only allows 0 dB and -10 dB. The former is too much and the latter seems too little. (O db makes the headphones litterally dance on my head. Way too real!)

In conclusion, if one is willing to work at it, these headphones sound pretty good. They definitely are wonderfully novel when playing DVDs. Supporting low frequency effects (LFE) really does add to the movie viewing experience. Music is passible.

<b>A mind is a terrible thing</b>
September 20, 2004 3:56:28 AM

damn, its still a tossup. i really think im leaning toward the grados though b/c of the music quality. i am going to make a decision this week so i will let you know. i am going to a dealer and im gonna a/b as many decent pair as i can. very informative post. thank you for the help.

Sometimes I think I'd be better off dead. No, wait, not me, you.
September 20, 2004 12:36:01 PM

Trying/listening is the best way.

Don't forget to test for movement. Headphones have to stay on while gaming.

<b>A mind is a terrible thing</b>
October 20, 2004 10:21:52 PM

AMAZING Headphones, I know they don't look like much, but trust me, you won't believe how awesome these sound.

http://www.epinions.com/Koss_KTX_Pro_Headphones_Headpho...

This is the "newer" model, supposedly more advanced.. I bought this one also and found the sound quality also excellent, but I couldn't tell if it was really better or not... but it's not as comfortable with the first version, so I would recommend that you buy the KTXPRO over the KTXPRO1.
http://www.epinions.com/pr-Headphones_Koss_KTX_PRO1_Sem...

However, I just checked and couldn't find the non-1 available.. but for $15, it's a REALLY excellent sounding headphone. Just read the reviews for the first version, it's all true for the newer one except, slightly less comfortable, but still decently comfortable.
!