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  1. #1
    Network Hub slick_101's Avatar
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    headset recommendations... again......

    A friend of mine is looking for something robust and really meaty. so meaty in fact that it needs to be "man enough" to survive a rather large head fall asleep with them on.

    Other than that it is a text box case. They must be at least 5.1 surround sound a price range between 50-100, 100 being the MIGHTY cut off and preferably USB.

    I did recommend my Roccat kave because to me it feels quite "beefy" with the size it is, but he wasn't sure about having to use all the plugs/pins in the back.

    So please RPS, what are your thoughts?

  2. #2
    Lesser Hivemind Node Nullkigan's Avatar
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    Do not get a surround sound headset (5.x, 7.x) because the audio source is right by your ear anyway - it's a gimmick.

    Whilst many may recommend a good set of headphones and a clip-on mic, I find that the cheap clip-on mics are extremely poor quality as they're not directional and move around a lot. Desk mics are atrocious for picking up keyboard noise.

    Do not get a Steelseries 7H, they have a design flaw despite being awesomely modular. Don't buy a headset with bulbous can enclosures, because they will amplify e.g. cables scraping over deskts/shirts/etc. People seem to love the Siberia series, though.

    Headsets with detachable cables are basically non-existant. Detachable mic booms are more common.

    I did not notice a sound quality difference between a Fatal1ty (hey it was cheap) headset and my current Senn 350s, so I'd go for another 30 pair of those next time.

    If he's really going to be sleeping in them, he'll probably want pleather (easier to clean; extended headset usage will cause a lot of ear infections!) and wireless.
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  3. #3
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    Steel series Siberia series are expensive but long lasting and robust. I've had my current headset for about 2 years now and it's still going strong, which given the amount of ab/use it's suffered during that time is pretty remarkable. Most headsets I've had upto now have generally lasted a few months to a year at best.

    http://www.google.co.uk/products/cat...ed=0CGMQ8wIwAA

  4. #4
    Moderator QuantaCat's Avatar
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    I bought some for 20 euros a month or so ago, they are fantastic. Seriously, great. I cant remember the name, but they have "GAMING" written over them. They have a built in microphone, which can be "hidden" in the side of the headphones. All in all, fantastic headphones. They are built to isolate sounds so you dont hear outside, but inside. And are noisy when turned up for "outsiders". All things which I do not care for! Huzzah!

    Bought them on amazon. EDIT: Found them!
    - Tom De Roeck.

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  5. #5
    Obscure Node NixonInnes's Avatar
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    I bought Corsair HS1 USB Gaming Headset about 6months ago, and they are nothing short of awesome.
    They feel well built, solid big and chunky, and could no doubt take a head bashing. The cans cover your ears entirely and swallow your head, unlike some of the other headphones I've tried which just rest on your ears.
    The sound from them is great, I use them for both music and gaming. The surround sound I was sceptical of the speakers being strapped to my ears but it works terrifyingly well.
    Above all they are damned comfy on my globie-dome, which is apparently larger than average! :D

  6. #6
    Activated Node TimA's Avatar
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    I have the Speedlink Medusa 5.1 USB. I think they sound pretty good, though the inline volume control is a bit naff, the best part is that they are super-comfortable. Easily the most comfy headset I've ever had, I can wear them for ages.

  7. #7
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    Might be a bit late for advice but anyone else reading this might not make the horrid mistake of buying a gaming headset, they are all almost universally crap - and those that are not garbage are vastly overpriced.

    But a good set of audio headphones for half the price and then a mic separately - your ears will thank you.
    Last edited by starky; 22-12-2011 at 11:17 PM.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by starky View Post
    Might be a bit late for advice but anyone else reading this might not make the horrid mistake of buying a gaming headset, they are all almost universally crap - and those that are not garbage are vastly overpriced.
    Call me a stickler but I'm not sure saying 'don't buy a gaming headset' when someone asking for a gaming headset recommendation actually constitutes advice tbh. Surely out of all the crap and overpriced headsets you've tried there must be one that is the lesser evil?

  9. #9
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Rii's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kadayi View Post
    Call me a stickler but I'm not sure saying 'don't buy a gaming headset' when someone asking for a gaming headset recommendation actually constitutes advice tbh.
    But he's right: as any headphone expert will tell you, the entire product category is fundamentally flawed.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kadayi View Post
    Surely out of all the crap and overpriced headsets you've tried there must be one that is the lesser evil?
    No, not a single one of them is worth the money IMO - and I've tried and tested many from most of the major brands. It's a bit of a personal gripe of mine, but when I go to a LAN or something I usually end up converting many gamers away from their 80+ headsets, when my 30 headphones blows them out of the water.

    --------------

    I'll expand on that half post posted by accident and forgotten about...

    First 5.1 or any kind of "surround" headsets are a con - humans only have stereo hearing - the brain calculates sound direction based on the audio differences it hears between the left and right ears. Which is why surround sound speakers work, the speakers are actually physically spaced around the listener. Headphones are not spaced, and thus it makes no difference at all.
    Stereo headphones however are fully capable of doing 360 degree sound, see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IUDTlvagjJA for an example of this. It's done using simple spacial recording (2 microphones set up at about the same space as human ears and then recorded around that), games have been badly simulating this for years.

    Second, almost every single gaming headset is just plain bad, do your self a favour and just don't.

    Buy a good set of Audiophile headphones, you can even get some pretty awesoem sets for really low prices.
    For example the Superlux HD 681's cost almost nothing (20) and are superior to every single gaming headset I've ever trialed (and with a really easy filter mod can be made excellent).
    Superlux HD668's (35) are a slightly more expensive set but are excellent out of the box.
    You probably need to spend an extra 20 to get some better earpads for them (or make them yourself like I did) but you'll be getting a pair of headphones that are on par with 100 sets from big names like Sennheiser.

    Anyway more general advice:
    You want to buy open backed circumaural (full size) headphones.
    Closed headphones are ONLY required if noise isolation is required (if you game in a noisy environment or if any leakage is an issue) - open backed headphones sound more natural, more open and just plain better.
    They don't leak that much, and not enough to cause feedback on a mic, unless you have them at deafness causing volume.
    I use open backed at noisy LANs, and don't have an issue with it - but if you LAN a lot and you like to drown out the crowd noises (I kind of like it) then you might want to get closed headphones.

    Closed headphones are basically for DJ's and sound booths where they need isolation from outside noice, or need to prevent leakage from the headphones themselves.

    How granted the reason most people want a "headset" is to have a mic too - but you can get a good clip-on, deskmic separately - and then have the added advantage of no heavy breathing sound going down the mic.
    Last edited by starky; 22-12-2011 at 11:38 PM.

  11. #11
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    Oh as for a clip-on mic, I've heard the Zalman's are decent enough:
    http://www.amazon.co.uk/Zalman-Micro...dp/B00029MTMQ/

    Personally I prefer a decent desk mic, you don't get any movement or cable rustle, and a decent desktop mic is only about 20, hell I've used poundland desktops to pretty good results before.

  12. #12
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus sabrage's Avatar
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    If you spend $100 on a headset, you're getting a $50 pair of headphones, $5 for a mic, and $45 for the convenience of having it on your head. I've been using Logitech boom mics for years and I've never had a problem with them. (Should be easy enough to find online; I don't think Newegg ships internationally)

    As far as headphones go, as others have said, 5.1 headsets are a gimmick. Again, I'm in the states, so I'm not sure what the pricing is like overseas, but typically the thing you want to shoot for with gaming headphones is soundscape; that is, the headphones' ability to reproduce the in-game environment. Generally, the bigger the soundscape, the better, and with really high-end headphones you should get to the point where you can pinpoint where an enemy is based on where a shot was fired relative to your position. To this end, I'm going to recommend two brands: Beyer Dynamic and Ultrasone. I can attest that both have excellent imaging capabilities.

    Here's my personal pick:
    Ultrasone HFI-2400
    The Beyer DT990 Pro is another great choice, but its 250 ohm impedance renders it somewhat hard to drive if your soundcard doesn't have a dedicated headphone amp. (my Xonar DG was about $20 and it has one) If those are out of your price range, both Ultrasone and Beyer's lineups are scalar to price so you can't really go wrong. Hope this helps!

  13. #13
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    That is one of the reasons I recommend the Superlux to gamers, the HD681's are only 32 Ohm, and the HD688B's are 56 Ohm - which makes them really easy to drive off anything, no amp required - hell even an Ipod can drive them to decent volume.

    And they seriously compete with top brand audiophile headphones that cost 5 times as much (including the Bayer DT990's which I own a pair of and actually prefer the 668B's [with velour pad])- google some reviews on them on head-fi.org.

  14. #14
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus sabrage's Avatar
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    I had actually never heard of Superlux until just now, I might actually buy a pair when Christmas stops hitting me so hard just to try them. There's definitely been some upstarts in the last year that challenge the balance of power in terms of price points - the AIAIAI TM-1 being another.

    Can you give me a quick comparison of the 688B and 681? Personally I hate the Audio Technica-style band on the latter, does it really sound that much better?

  15. #15
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    Better is subjective as is pretty much true for any headphone discussion (and lets face it some audiophiles take subjective to faith based religion complete with epic myths and legends);
    Still I can give you my utterly subjective opinions on em - the 668B's are studio monitor phones, they've got a very balanced, neutral sound, ideal for EQ'ing and general use but not very exciting - that said it's easy enough to jack the bass in software EQ and get all the clubby bass in your ear you could want.
    In fact they are designed to produce basically the same frequency response as the DT990's so if you like that sound, the 688B's get really close. Check: http://www.superlux.com.tw/upload/fu...8B_view_en.pdf

    The 681's are a little bit brighter on the treble, and a bit heavier on the bass, some people find the treble a bit too bright and fatiguing to listen too - there is a filter mod (really easy to do and costs like 50p in components in components) which will passively reduce the offending frequency spike (or you can do it in software/hardware EQ if you like, Drop 7.25 kHz by about 5-6 dB).

    The 681's with the filter make a really damn good club and dance music pair of phones - but I prefer the 688B for general use, movie watching and such - So much so that my 5 times the price HD 518's mainly gather dust.
    The default fake leather can make your ears sweat, so it is worth buying the AKG k-240 velour earpads, or making your own (which I did).

    I can tell the/a difference between the 688B's and the DT990, but it's small (990's are slightly crisper, and slightly punchier) but for a price of 30 ($50) compared to 130, getting as close as they do is a feat.

    Oh and there is a new range of superlux which are apparently better all-rounders, but I don't own any (yet).
    Last edited by starky; 23-12-2011 at 06:36 AM.

  16. #16
    Moderator QuantaCat's Avatar
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    So... everyone just skipped over the recommendation I made, or what? Which is both a gaming headset, and good?
    - Tom De Roeck.

    verse publications

    "Quantacat's name is still recognised even if he watches on with detached eyes like Peter Molyneux over a cube in 3D space, staring at it with tears in his eyes, softly whispering... Someday they'll get it."

    "It's frankly embarrassing. The mods on here are woeful."

    "I wrinkled my nose at QC being a mod."

    "At least he has some personality."

  17. #17
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus sabrage's Avatar
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    Apparently Superlux has a huge line that Amazon and their website just wasn't showing me; I'll have to do some more research at a later date. Working up my headphone lust on an empty wallet is never a good idea.

    @QuantaCat: It's really a matter of perspective. Personally, after hearing a high-quality pair of headphones, it's impossible to go back, and therefore really difficult to recommend low-end pairs to other people. But honestly? If you're happy where you are, hold on to it for all it's worth (and that's potentially hundreds or thousands of dollars, when it comes to audio equipment.) And I'm not trying to discount the set you recommended; I've never heard them, I've never heard of them. I just have a hard time believing that they would stand up to a mainstay, dedicated pair of headphones in the same price range like the JVC RA-X700 or Koss Portapros paired with a cheapo microphone.

    (God, that still sounds terribly elitist. Oh well.)

  18. #18
    Moderator QuantaCat's Avatar
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    Yes. Ive had expensive headphones. Ive had macbook pro with all the trimmings. I dont care for them anymore. I dare you to seriously check out headphones, without looking at statistics or whatever, and compare the cheap ones to the expensive ones. I know you could hear the difference, but seriously, feature wise? There is not so much difference between the sets. That and youre not making fucking music here, or designing the sounds of some new hollywood production or whatever. Youre listening to sometimes horrible sounds coming out of a standard PC audio jack of a mediocre game. Youre not even really listening to music, youre listening to "some kind of sound design".

    That and, for 20€..
    - Tom De Roeck.

    verse publications

    "Quantacat's name is still recognised even if he watches on with detached eyes like Peter Molyneux over a cube in 3D space, staring at it with tears in his eyes, softly whispering... Someday they'll get it."

    "It's frankly embarrassing. The mods on here are woeful."

    "I wrinkled my nose at QC being a mod."

    "At least he has some personality."

  19. #19
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    Those of us that do spend 100+ ARE using them for music production though, or other sound design, audio engineering uses.

    Still as i pointed out you can get solid headphones at a fraction of the cost that will blow any crappy gaming headset out of the water audio quality wise - so there is really no excuse.

    Feature wise? Seriously? It's a sodding speaker next to your ear, a moving coil transducer - there are no features, only statistics.
    Unless you mean features like 5.1 surround - which isn't a feature, it is a lie - there is no such thing in headphones. Having 2 or more little speakers in a headphone will probably always be worse than having 1 higher quality larger one (there is a reason no top and headphones do it).

    But hey, if you want to get angry go ahead - but the fact is at any price-range a pair of music headphones from one of the quality manufactureres will ALWAYS be better than a gaming headset.
    You find a good 20 gaming headset and I'll find you a 3 microphone and a 17 headphone which would offer better quality.
    Last edited by starky; 24-12-2011 at 07:36 AM.

  20. #20
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus sabrage's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by QuantaCat View Post
    Vitriol

    That and, for 20€..
    I have a terabyte HD filled with FLAC that I either run through my USB DAC or my Yamaha CR-1020 receiver, but thanks for playing. If I can hear the difference, as you yourself put it, why would I settle for less?

    @Starky: Have you heard of the Samson SR850? Apparently it's a rebranded 688b with a better headband. I've decided that it's definitely going to be my next headphone.

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