I need a pair of good headphones : will be used only for gaming at home.
I will be hooking them up to the headphone socket of logitech Z-2300 2.1 speakers, which in turn connects to an audigy 2 zs soundcard.
I have narrowed my search to the following and appreciate any advice choosing from the following :
HD 280 $100
HD 555 $150
HD 580 $150
HD 590 $160
I dont really want to spend $150 if there is no appreciable difference compared to HD280 ($100) for gaming. All prices from newegg.
With all things audio there are diminishing returns. Accuracy wise I would put the 280s on the same level or slightly higher than say a set of 2-way PC speakers. The 580s and 590s are about the level studio monitors, saying in the $200 range.
I personally have the Sennheisser HD477's, they are cool for games but I use them for mixing too.
Personally, I'd say you would do more than fine with the HD280's.
However, do you really need headphones with Sennheissers reputation for sonic accuracy if its intended for gaming?
For games, your money may be better spent on something like the Zalmann 5.1 surround headphones. Less quality, sure, but would be great for gaming.
Oh, and I strongly recommend you do NOT connect your headphones to the 'headphone' out jack of your speakers, the preamplification (if present) will likely be noisy and audio quality degrades the more links you have in the chain. You will get better quality connecting directly to your soundcard's output(s).
If you have an Audigy X-Fi you could always go with the shure E2C or E3C headphones. They are sound isolating and are amazing when combined with an X-FI. I have a pair of E3C that are just flat out crazy. Best headphones I've ever had/used/heard. Just my 2 cents, and a possible alternative
Although sennheiser makes great studio moniters, I believe you will enjoy something with fuller sound a lot more, especially in gaming. If you're preapred to spend about $190, I'm sure most people in the industry will agree that the Ultrasone HFI-550 are the best headphones for your intended purpose. Their base response makes most sennheisers (especially at that price) seem quite thin by comparison.
Further, plugging such good quality headphones into a set of speakers instead of directly into the sound card will decrease quailty (not dramatically, but certainly audibly) becuase the volume control units on both logitech and creative speakers add quite a bit of resistance. I suggest using a headphone splitter, plugged directly into your sound card, and plug the speakers and headphones into each seperate connector it provides. (These are available quite widely and cheaply...at radioshack, for example).
The 580s are the best out of all in this roundup but they have a bit higher impedence, so unless your amp is up to the task, it's probably better to stick with any of the others.
i'm going to agree with astralite here. your going to want the 580s. I have a pair that were purchased back in 1996 and I'm just now going to replace them (I've broken the headband on them twice now). One word of praise for this set over the others is the material used around the ear and top of the head. It is the most comfortable pair of headphones you will ever experience. Also that fake leather junk that is on the HD280s will rip apart within a year (give or take on how much you use them), always does.
I have a pair of HD-212 Pro's that I got for $60 at Best Buy and I think they sound great. Bass is strong as hell and the clarity is great as well. I use them all the time. Actually I'm wearing them right now haha. I wouldn't know how those other ones sound, but I'm guessing if it's better than these just pick whichever you're most willing to spend the money on.
The 280 might be the best for that application: as it's closed.
All the others are open or semi-open, and therefore leak in sound.
Just for games, the 280 is the best choice.
Beyond games, the 580 sounds far better. It's the little brother of the 600 - they share the same drivers. $150 is also a very good price for them.
IMO: buy the 201s and the 580s. The 201s will be okay for gaming, and they are cheap @ around $20, yet they sound decent (though lacking in bass). They have some punch and detail, that is useful in games. However, their isolation is weak.
If you want to listen to music, switch over to the 580s.