Question Advice - Audiophile Openback Headphones for Immersive Gaming- £1300 Budget

Wesley85

Standard Member
Hello Guys and Gals,

I'm after a pair of open back headphones which will be used for both music and gaming on a very highend PC.
I have to stress I'm not an online competitive gamer. I do not need a mic. I game for fun and the experience.
Gaming fidelity is priority for me.

To help give an idea of where I stand with quality preference, my current set up contains;

77" LGC9
KEF R 500 5.1 Surround with R50 Atmos speakers.
Denon AVR X-7200wa
RTX2080TI Graphics Card.

I currently use a closed back Oppo PM-3 with a Chord Mojo amp.

Whilst I know audio is a personal preference, any input on helping me decide on a pair of open back headphones would be great.

Budget is around £1300

Headphones must have a good soundstage for atmosphere and imaging for location of enemies etc.
I like a powerful inpact sound for guns.
Massive sub bass is not a priority as long as its clear and defined.
I do like trebles to be detailed for glass breaking and ammunition shells hitting the ground. But I am sensitive to over bright trebles where sibilance is overbearing.

Sorry if I'm asking for too much 😂

I've trawled the internet for reviews on headphones I'd like for music but can't find any reviews where people used them also for gaming.

Currently on my radar.

Focal Clear
HD800S
T1 Gen 2

I would like to continue to use my Chord Mojo for the next 2 years so ideally suited to this dac/amp.

Sorry for the long post and thank you in advance.
 

Steven

Senior Moderator
You may even find better value picking up the original HD800 although as Seen seems to have discontinued it that may be second hand only

From a gaming perspective I would go for the imaging of the Senn over the Beyer. Your mileage may vary. For my taste the Beyer has a fuzziness compared to Senn but not everyone hears the same. Not heard the Focal to comments. As for music you are better demoing in person - you may not even like the Senn signature for music
 

gibbsy

Moderator
you may not even like the Senn signature for music
That will be noticeable from the planars, certainly on high female vocals. But the Senns look cool in a teenager sort of way. :)
 

Steven

Senior Moderator
That will be noticeable from the planars, certainly on high female vocals. But the Senns look cool in a teenager sort of way. :)
Good point, may be informative to know what is "lacking" with the oppo for gaming and music

Could still be to get a cheaper gaming set. Gaming is about location cues, hearing footsteps. Not necessarily concerned with neautrality or sound signature traits
 

gibbsy

Moderator
Good point, may be informative to know what is "lacking" with the oppo for gaming and music

Could still be to get a cheaper gaming set. Gaming is about location cues, hearing footsteps. Not necessarily concerned with neautrality or sound signature traits
I don't game. All my headphones have been bought purely with music in mind for which the my Oppo PM1s are chocolate. I would imagine though that the best gaming headphones are noted for their speed and peripheral sound qualities.
 

Wesley85

Standard Member

Good point, may be informative to know what is "lacking" with the oppo for gaming and music

Could still be to get a cheaper gaming set. Gaming is about location cues, hearing footsteps. Not necessarily concerned with neautrality or sound signature traits

Thanks for your advice so far Steve.

Nothing lacking per se, however it's the open back sound I'm after to try and mimic my speakers for night time gaming. Sound leakage isn't an issue but speakers on at 95 db is at 11pm 😂
 

dollag

Well-known Member
The HD800's are great for gaming and have a serious soundstage.

The T1's are great but wouldnt get them for gaming.

The focal clears imo are overpriced and again, not the best for gaming.

One question, what amp and dac will you be using? the chord mojo?

Personally I'd look at:

Audeze LCD-X

HD800 (second hand and do an sdr mod as better than 800s) (best soundstage for gaming)

hifiman arya (best imaging for gaming)

Audio technica ADX5000 (i got a pair ex demo for £1000 from AT direct on ebay with warranty)

All 3 of these headphones are great but also, all very different.

The arya are the best headphones i have heard/owned price no object and do pretty much everything very well, big soundstage, great imagine, planar bass, super resolving. their only downside is they need a lot of power. The mojo wont cut it. (this is from experience) Also, they are the most comfortable cans i have owned and great for long sessions.

For both music and gaming, they would be my go to.
 

Wesley85

Standard Member
The HD800's are great for gaming and have a serious soundstage.

The T1's are great but wouldnt get them for gaming.

The focal clears imo are overpriced and again, not the best for gaming.

One question, what amp and dac will you be using? the chord mojo?

Personally I'd look at:

Audeze LCD-X

HD800 (second hand and do an sdr mod as better than 800s) (best soundstage for gaming)

hifiman arya (best imaging for gaming)

Audio technica ADX5000 (i got a pair ex demo for £1000 from AT direct on ebay with warranty)

All 3 of these headphones are great but also, all very different.

The arya are the best headphones i have heard/owned price no object and do pretty much everything very well, big soundstage, great imagine, planar bass, super resolving. their only downside is they need a lot of power. The mojo wont cut it. (this is from experience) Also, they are the most comfortable cans i have owned and great for long sessions.

For both music and gaming, they would be my go to.

Hands tied I would prefer soundstage over imaging as I'd rather the world seem big as opposed to in my head. So based on that would you recommend HD800 with mod over every other headphone? Thanks 👍🏻


Edit:

I can budget for Arya. Are these the best overall gaming headphones you've used?

What are they like comfort wise? Ok for 4 - 6 hours use?
 

Zoea

Active Member
Can I suggest you get a pair of Sennheiser BeyerDynamic DT-990 600 Ohm and see what you think? I much prefer them to my closed back headphones. You can use them as a spare (if you are brave they are great for music outside the home) and it will give you a good idea of what an open sound should look like. I'm not really looking to upgrade mine until they wear out (if in my lifetime). The BBC gives live lounge musicians DT-770s.

Also, they are a good load to drive. You may need a headphone amp?

"but speakers on at 95 db is at 11pm"
This is the bane of my life too I have great speakers but I have to turn them off at 11 and living in a basement flat I stupidly told the guy above me I'd aim for a 10 pm cut off. This was a bad idea (I was drunk).
 
Last edited:

gibbsy

Moderator
hifiman arya

What's the build quality and comfort like? I always though that hifiman were somewhat lacking in that department. I do like planars though. I'm not looking to buy, after spending out on the Denon 2500 SACD player my missus will nail me to the big tree in the garden if I spend any more this year.
 

dollag

Well-known Member
Hands tied I would prefer soundstage over imaging as I'd rather the world seem big as opposed to in my head. So based on that would you recommend HD800 with mod over every other headphone? Thanks 👍🏻


Edit:

I can budget for Arya. Are these the best overall gaming headphones you've used?

What are they like comfort wise? Ok for 4 - 6 hours use?


The hd800's sound stage is unreal. The problem is they lack in other places and can sometimes sound artificial (to me)

The arya have a big sound stage too, just not on the same scale. they also also tonally more natural sounding than the hd800's and have a much tighter, cleaner bass.

4-6 hour gaming is easy for arya. tbf the hd800's are also very comfortable.

where are you based? i know headphones are hard to demo so if local, be willing to show you. I also know a few shops in london that may have them.

Also, you may need to invest in a better amp if you did go this route.
 

dollag

Well-known Member
What's the build quality and comfort like? I always though that hifiman were somewhat lacking in that department. I do like planars though. I'm not looking to buy, after spending out on the Denon 2500 SACD player my missus will nail me to the big tree in the garden if I spend any more this year.


They are defo built like hifiman, there is room for improvement but they are solid and do not feel like they are about to break or anything like that.

Their QC is no where near as bad as it once was. a few years back i wouldnt of touched them but now they re just pretty standard.

comfort, the most comfortable cans i have owned and i have gone through a few.

They need power though, I am running them balanced with 2w per channel. They remind me of kefs in a way, they thrive on power.
 

gibbsy

Moderator
They are defo built like hifiman, there is room for improvement but they are solid and do not feel like they are about to break or anything like that.

Their QC is no where near as bad as it once was. a few years back i wouldnt of touched them but now they re just pretty standard.

comfort, the most comfortable cans i have owned and i have gone through a few.

They need power though, I am running them balanced with 2w per channel. They remind me of kefs in a way, they thrive on power.
Thanks for the info. Power no problem with the Lehmann Linear in tow. My Oppo PM1 as so easy to drive with it and a good power supply makes all the difference no matter what headphones you have, they will always benefit.
 

dollag

Well-known Member
Thanks for the info. Power no problem with the Lehmann Linear in tow. My Oppo PM1 as so easy to drive with it and a good power supply makes all the difference no matter what headphones you have, they will always benefit.

I'd be more than happy to loan you them, to try. drop me a Pm :smashin:
 

gibbsy

Moderator
I'd be more than happy to loan you them, to try. drop me a Pm :smashin:
Thanks for the generous offer. I dare not. I'm too much of an impulse buyer and I don't think I've been forgiven for the Denon yet, especially with the dog's operation costing a small fortune.
 

dollag

Well-known Member
Thanks for the generous offer. I dare not. I'm too much of an impulse buyer and I don't think I've been forgiven for the Denon yet, especially with the dog's operation costing a small fortune.


I totally understand. if you ever change your mind, the offer is there :)
 

Steven

Senior Moderator
I'd stay away from audeze unless you have neck muscles of an F1 driver. That weight will not be enjoyable hours into a gaming marathon

I'd look at headphones on their own merits as a late night solution to minimise noise pollution for others. No headphone will replicate your speakers
 

psikey

Distinguished Member
I find my Audeze Mobius excellent and I normally game listening via my KEF LSX & Kube8b sub, so these may be of interest: Audeze LCD-GX

If you want some impactful base I wasn't impressed with the HD800. If not listening to my speakers I still prefer my Shure SE846's for music.
 

dollag

Well-known Member
Have you used the Focal Clears? How come you think they're overpriced??


Yes I spent a lot of time with them. I am generally a big focal fan as i grew up using their components in my car systems, however, i have been very disappointed with their cans.

Even the utopias were a bit of a disappointment, I mean they are good but not 3k good.

The clears are probably one of my fav looking cans too but to me they sound unnatural, metallic and just not a 4 figure can. Also not a great sound stage.

The only Focal can i actually like are the elex, but they are not great for gaming. fairly narrow sound stage.

As my original posts states, I personally think the best 3 cans for gaming are:

HD800 (but for me too anemic sounding)
ADX5000 (a better hd800 with nicer bass)
Arya (for me does everything well )

I like the LCD-X's too but they are heavy and not great for long gaming sessions.
 

Derek S-H

Distinguished Member
Thanks for the info. Power no problem with the Lehmann Linear in tow. My Oppo PM1 as so easy to drive with it and a good power supply makes all the difference no matter what headphones you have, they will always benefit.

Gibbsy - is that your review of the Lehmann on the Audio T website? Just wondering....

One other thing: the on/off switch is at the back! Do you leave yours permanently switched on or do you have easy access?

I don't think I could use this amp because of this design feature....
 

gibbsy

Moderator
Gibbsy - is that your review of the Lehmann on the Audio T website? Just wondering....

One other thing: the on/off switch is at the back! Do you leave yours permanently switched on or do you have easy access?

I don't think I could use this amp because of this design feature....
Yes, my review. I've always had good access with it sitting on top of the cabinet making it easy to switch off and on, it's small enough to be unobtrusive. Now I've moved it away from the Elicit and the main set up so it's just connected to the Denon 2500 player for headphone use. That is a perfect combination it's a class act.
 

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