Yet another headphone thread

Guys, do you have any recommendations for comfortable computer headphones (with a mic, of course)? I looked at a few pages here but the discussion seems to be more about "mobile" headphones for music.

Hedinn wrote:

Guys, do you have any recommendations for comfortable computer headphones (with a mic, of course)? I looked at a few pages here but the discussion seems to be more about "mobile" headphones for music.

Need a budget or it's really hard to throw out any recommendations.

What's a good option in the $50 range (could go higher if I have to) for headsets / headphone and mic? My cheap $20 special recommended by Gaald for a super cheap option some years ago, is flaking out at the in line volume control. I am looking for over the head style, headphone jack, adjustable (I wear glasses) so that it doesn't pinch at the top of the ears. I do not require surround.

Just some casual looking brought me to this Logitech G430.

I have been using these for years:

http://www.amazon.com/Plantronics-65...

They work like a champ and having the volume control on the earpiece is incredibly handy.

So, I see that is a USB only set. Is that going to be the requirement for any of the sets with controls on the earpiece? That seems to be what I'm seeing. I've got a ton of USB items already plugged in, and would like to avoid if possible. But then again, I did move the 360 wired pad to the back and that means I do have 2 up front free, so taking 1 might not be a deal breaker... (I wonder to myself out loud)

What are the benefits / drawbacks of USB headsets? I've honestly always avoided them.

Yeah, you'll need USB for the headphones to talk to Windows for control. Analog headsets can have an in-line attenuator and microphone mute toggle on the cable though.

As far as I'm concerned there are only pluses for USB headsets.
* You can set them as the default audio device, which then automatically happens when they're plugged in and it reverts to the prior default device when they are unplugged. Great when your regular audio output is HDMI.
* It moves the DAC outside of the EMI noisy interior of your computer case.
* On-device controls as mentioned
* Depending on the device, status LEDs showing mute state. At least on some Logitechs.

I've been using the Turtle Beach PX headphones for quite a while now. I had the PX21's until the cord eventually shorted out. Now I'm using the PX22's.

The PX22's actually connect via both USB and the headphone jack. It gets power and can do basic sound from just the USB connection, but they sound like crap in this mode. Plug in the 3.5 inch jack, and all your EQ stuff becomes activated and they sound pretty good. They have a little control box on the cord that you can clip to your shirt.

They also work with consoles, but I haven't tried that with the PX22's. I used to use the PX21's with my PS3 and they sounded great.

I've tried a few headsets over the past year or so, including the Z60's and the Megalodden headset from Razer. Interestingly, the Megalodden didn't sound all that great on Windows 7, but for whatever reason sound much better under Windows 10. The sound is a lot fuller and the bass comes out more.

I've taken a look at all of these headsets on my YouTube channel if you're curious. I hope the cheap plug is OK to post here. This is just the Hardware Reviews playlist.
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?lis...

I also do a few mic tests separately, if you want to hear what the different headsets' mic quality is like.

I hope this helps.

LiquidMantis wrote:

Yeah, you'll need USB for the headphones to talk to Windows for control. Analog headsets can have an in-line attenuator and microphone mute toggle on the cable though.

As far as I'm concerned there are only pluses for USB headsets.
* You can set them as the default audio device, which then automatically happens when they're plugged in and it reverts to the prior default device when they are unplugged. Great when your regular audio output is HDMI.
* It moves the DAC outside of the EMI noisy interior of your computer case.
* On-device controls as mentioned
* Depending on the device, status LEDs showing mute state. At least on some Logitechs.

Thanks, for setting me straight. I still get this nagging feeling that dumb old straight audio jack would somehow be better as it would be one less thing that could go wrong, but that's just because that was my perception for so long. I guess a few of the headsets work in USB with no extra software required.

So, oddly enough, I do use HDMI to pass sound to my TV, but that is only used occassionaly, and to make sure it works right, it is the default device. My headphones, which get used all of the time at the desk (and so, most of the time for the computer) are always plugged it, but not default.

Also, a usb headset would be device #8 (just counted, and it seems I have 10 rear USB ports and 2 front) with a permanent usb connection to my computer.

BGFH, Thanks, I'll check out your review of the PX22's when I'm not so tired.

Hedinn wrote:

Guys, do you have any recommendations for comfortable computer headphones (with a mic, of course)? I looked at a few pages here but the discussion seems to be more about "mobile" headphones for music.

If it's good for music, then it's good for anything if you ask me. I've got a pair of midrange Sennheisers(HD 558s) that I've had for a year or so now, and they're comfortable for untold hours. For a microphone, I've used cheap $10 Zalman clip on mic in the past, but picked up an Antlion Modmic last year and would say it's worth the $40.

Thin_J wrote:
Hedinn wrote:

Guys, do you have any recommendations for comfortable computer headphones (with a mic, of course)? I looked at a few pages here but the discussion seems to be more about "mobile" headphones for music.

Need a budget or it's really hard to throw out any recommendations.

Similarly to Mrtomaytohead, around $50 would be ideal.

In regards to USB, I also have reservations. My understanding is that USB headphones will require drivers, which means extra chance for the manufacturer (or Windows or whatever) to screw up something. Like BGFH's issues with his Turtle Beach headphones reported in the Win 10 thread. Or the issues reported by someone else with some Logitech headphones under Win 10. With "dumb" headphones, you just plug them in and they work.

Still, I am not really opposed to USB headphones if they are really good.

Turtle Beach PX22 looks interesting but the aforementioned Win 10 issues give me pause and so does the price. I need headphones for me and my son, so paying ~$100 for each is kinda too much, especially considering the CAD exchange rate.

Yeah I'm no help in that budget range. Sorry

Hopefully others will have some solid recommendations.

So, nothing I'm seeing mentions this, but it seems the PX22's have a 3.5mm connection. Would that just turn them into really dumb headphones with no hardware volume control?

mrtomaytohead wrote:

Just some casual looking brought me to this Logitech G430.

We have a bunch of these around the office and they have been pretty good. I also owned the previous G330 model myself and really liked that they provide the option of both USB and analog use. The quality of the USB adapter they provide is above average and AFAIK just uses the default windows audio device drivers and is confirmed to work on Windows 10 in the Q&A.

Cathadan wrote:
mrtomaytohead wrote:

Just some casual looking brought me to this Logitech G430.

We have a bunch of these around the office and they have been pretty good. I also owned the previous G330 model myself and really liked that they provide the option of both USB and analog use. The quality of the USB adapter they provide is above average and AFAIK just uses the default windows audio device drivers and is confirmed to work on Windows 10 in the Q&A.

ohh thanks. +1 for the $50 option...

It looks like they lack a pop filter on the mic. Have you had experience listening to voice chat from one of them?

A while back I tried some dedicated gaming headsets. I just couldn't put up with the loss of sound quality and comfort I get from my usual audio headphones + a Zalman clip-on mic.

As far as mic quality is concerned, judge for yourself (I start blabbing at about the 1 minute mark, and there are no spoilers in the introductory part of the video):

The voice quality on my G330 was fine, I guess? It didn't leave much of an impression on me. The foam covering around headset mics isn't a pop filter, but a wind shield to help cut down on noise from you exhaling directly onto the mic. That's usually a problem that can be avoided by simply positioning it below your mouth, or even below your chin for overly sensitive mics.

The PX22's have a little EQ box along the cord that clips to your shirt. Here's how the connections work. Plugging in the USB cord by itself powers the headset and gives you some rather crappy audio, but the mic works fine. At this point, you don't have any EQ control. This confused me at first. Once you also plug in the 3.5 jack, Windows seems to switch playback to your primary sound device, but keep your headset as a communication/mic device. Your little EQ box then can separately control volume, mic volume, bass treble, mic mute, etc. I have no idea why these don't activate when just connecting the USB cord. Also, keep in mind that these are multi-purpose headphones that are meant to connect to consoles and PC. I haven't used them with my PS3, but used to use the PX21's quite a bit this way.

For something a bit more simple, the Megaloddens are pure USB, and the box sits on your desk next to your keyboard. these are 7.1 headphones vs the PX22's stereo. Originally, I wasn't impressed with the audio quality of the Megaloddens under Windows 7, but they got better in Windows 10. Why? I have no idea. No drivers need to be installed for either headset. The other thing I found with the Megaloddens was that the mic seemed to have a little hissing sound when recording. Going under Recording device properties, and lowering the levels seemed to help this a bit.

It's actually quite hard to find a perfect headset. That's why my channel seems to have so many headset reviews, both for PC and mobile Bluetooth use. Not many stores have models to try on, especially on a PC. You kind of have to research, buy, and hope for the best.

Part of my mistake when upgrading my new computer was not paying attention to the integrated sound card ports. My new rig doesn't seem to have all the connections for my 5.1 speakers setup I was using with my other computer. So I'm exclusively using headphones. It doesn't bother me much because even with my old rig, I found the 5.1 stuff to kind of be a pain in the ass because some games supported it, and others didn't. I was mostly not satisfied with the rear channel mix either. Plus I live in an apartment and find that not blasting the neighbors out is probably a good thing. I use headphones for a lot of stuff, consoles and PC now much of the time. If anything, they maybe just hear someone talking to themselves, as I'm recording.

The other thing that I've noticed when trying these virtual 5.1 or 7.1 headsets compared to stereo is that I tend to prefer stereo. Again, the virtual surround sound often doesn't work as expected, and kind of sounds gimmacy. I also sometimes find that games have a weird echo when playing this way. If your stereo has a good sound stage, I almost find that more effective. This is especially true if a game supports binaural audio. There are some pretty cool audio games on IOS that do this, and I hope, especially with VR coming soon, that mainstream games start including this more often.

I liked my older style of the Razer Carcharias for about that kind of money. Extremely comfortable, and above average sound for the money, if not really audiophile level. Decent mic.

Haven't used the newer version, but my old ones were about $30 or so as a refurb set and are still in good shape after maybe 3 years of use. If you notice on that page I like, the refurb is $22 right now.

I made the mistake of demoing a pair of Audeze LCD-X cans while my wife was shopping. Holy soundstage, Batman.

Audeze's are on my "Potential maybe someday just sell every pair of headphones I have and some other stuff too and buy one pair to rule them all" list.

MannishBoy wrote:

I liked my older style of the Razer Carcharias for about that kind of money. Extremely comfortable, and above average sound for the money, if not really audiophile level. Decent mic.

Haven't used the newer version, but my old ones were about $30 or so as a refurb set and are still in good shape after maybe 3 years of use. If you notice on that page I like, the refurb is $22 right now.

Judging by the Amazon reviews, the new version has terrible hissing/buzzing issues.

I am thinking about getting Plantronics GameCom 780: http://www.amazon.com/Plantronics-Ga...

The price seems to be good, reviews seem to be happy and my friend who has them swears by them. Has anyone tried them?

Hedinn wrote:
MannishBoy wrote:

I liked my older style of the Razer Carcharias for about that kind of money. Extremely comfortable, and above average sound for the money, if not really audiophile level. Decent mic.

Haven't used the newer version, but my old ones were about $30 or so as a refurb set and are still in good shape after maybe 3 years of use. If you notice on that page I like, the refurb is $22 right now.

Judging by the Amazon reviews, the new version has terrible hissing/buzzing issues.

I am thinking about getting Plantronics GameCom 780: http://www.amazon.com/Plantronics-Ga...

The price seems to be good, reviews seem to be happy and my friend who has them swears by them. Has anyone tried them?

I seriously considered these when doing my research, as I too heard good things about them. If you decide on the 780's, let us know how you like them.

Hedinn wrote:

I am thinking about getting Plantronics GameCom 780: http://www.amazon.com/Plantronics-Ga...

The price seems to be good, reviews seem to be happy and my friend who has them swears by them. Has anyone tried them?

One of my teenagers used those for about a year. I can't vouch for sound quality but I know that the microphone was decent because he always sounded clear on comms.

The main problem with them was the cord. If you get a pair you need to be really careful not to let the cord twist. It's rather thin and rubbery and kinks itself into knots very easily. By the time he replaced them the cord was half the original length thanks to all the kinks that got permanently bent into the cord, and in a couple of spots the inner wires were starting to show through where the outer sheath had split.

hmmm, just looked after looking at my headset and realizing it is a Gamecom 1. It seems the Plantronics Gamecom 380 is the same as the 780, minus the USB and 7.1. Honestly, after a bit of the Win 10 stuff people mentioned, and the fact that I'm just now replacing a 6 year old $18 headset, I might consider 3.5mm jack a benefit, especially since I notice no noise now while plugged into the front, nor any noise on the back jack with Klipsch 2.1 speakers. The 380's also seem to be the only on ear volume control headset that uses a 3.5mm connection.

I have a friend that said he didn't like the Logitech's voice quality from a bunch of people he knows, so I'm leaning away from that one now.

mrtomaytohead wrote:

hmmm, just looked after looking at my headset and realizing it is a Gamecom 1. It seems the Plantronics Gamecom 380 is the same as the 780, minus the USB and 7.1. Honestly, after a bit of the Win 10 stuff people mentioned, and the fact that I'm just now replacing a 6 year old $18 headset, I might consider 3.5mm jack a benefit, especially since I notice no noise now while plugged into the front, nor any noise on the back jack with Klipsch 2.1 speakers. The 380's also seem to be the only on ear volume control headset that uses a 3.5mm connection.

I've heard that Surround Sound on the 780 is quite good and the 380 does not have it. Probably not critical though, most people I know usually disable surround sound emulation for their headphones. YMMV.

Thank you for bringing up the 380. I've already ordered the 780 to try them out for myself (arriving next week) but I will probably order the 380 for my son. The price is nice, the quality is great and I appreciate the simplicity of no USB.

BTW, according to the Plantronics' forum, there is no official Win 10 driver for the 780, but if you download the Win 7/8.1 driver and run the setup directly as an admin, it works fine. http://soundingboard.plantronics.com...

Edit: Sold

My Gamecom 780 arrived yesterday, I've tried out a bit and I like it so far. Installation was a breeze (I am still on Win 7 though) and everything works great. The Dolby stuff can be enabled/disabled by a button on the fly and I don't really see much difference to be honest. With Dolby on, the sounds sound a bit richer, I guess, surround sounds worked well in MGS 5, I could tell where sounds were coming from, didn't hear any artifacts or anything, so I am leaving it on for now.

Haven't had a chance to try the mic, it will have to wait until Friday night. The headphones are fairly comfortable (none of them are 100% comfortable for me unfortunately, maybe my head is shaped wrong or my ears are to big), seem to be built well, the cable is plenty long. They are not sound isolating AT ALL though, so don't buy them if you are looking to lower the noise level. They are plenty loud and the game will "override" the outside noise but headphones by themselves don't really block any noise.

During a Rocket League rage win last night I broke my headset. I've been wanting an open back set for a while, so I guess here's my reason to buy them. Anyone have any recommendations?

How about the Audio Technica AD700X? I have the now discontinued AD700, but the AD700X should be comparable. I know people have talked about the differences before, but it's been a while and I don't recall what they were. As for the AD700 though (the purple cans), it's an excellent headset for gaming. The bass is a bit weak, but that's common to all open ear headphones. Most important is that they're unbelievably comfortable, and the sound quality is excellent.

I saw those, but I didn't see where they had a mic. I found the ATHADG1, but I want to try to stay around $100.