Yet another headphone thread

I second the vote on the AD700s. They are a fantastic headphone for both music and gaming and they are very cheap (relatively).

Speaking of gaming headphones...

I sold my Trittons and Turtle Beach headphones and I put an order in for the A30 with the wireless Mixamp. Should be in my grubby little hands tomorrow.

So AD700s would be better for gaming than similarly priced Grado SR80i's or Sennheiser HD555's?

I've never listened to any of these in person. I'm thinking I'm going to get a set and the new wireless Astro Mixamp, probably with plans to mod in a mic.

Well, the big bonus to the Audiotechnicas to me is still the comfort and how well they do with positional audio.

The HD555's should sound fairly similar to my 595's, so I'll say they do *almost* as well with positional audio and actually do better with music.

I've never liked a pair of Grados. They're uncomfortable and the sound is harsh and overly bright. Listening on them for more than a few minutes is a chore.

MannishBoy wrote:
So AD700s would be better for gaming than similarly priced Grado SR80i's or Sennheiser HD555's?

I've never listened to any of these in person. I'm thinking I'm going to get a set and the new wireless Astro Mixamp, probably with plans to mod in a mic.

If you are going for a dedicated gaming headphone, it might make sense to just go with one of the Astro systems. The A30 wireless system is $200 right, so it falls within your budget (HD555/AD700 + Microphone + Mixamp = ~$200). It is a simple elegant solution and if you decide in the near future to go with a third party headphone, the A30/A40 headsets have a pretty high resale value. The A30 headset, for example, sells for around $90 used on eBay. So if you do not like how it handles music, you can sell it and get the HD555, AD700, or some other similarly priced headphone.

Were I to do a combination of things we've talked about for the kind of money we're talking it would absolutely be the Mixamp + AD700 + Mic setup.

There's a reason it's such a popular combo everywhere.

heavyfeul wrote:
MannishBoy wrote:
So AD700s would be better for gaming than similarly priced Grado SR80i's or Sennheiser HD555's?

I've never listened to any of these in person. I'm thinking I'm going to get a set and the new wireless Astro Mixamp, probably with plans to mod in a mic.

If you are going for a dedicated gaming headphone, it might make sense to just go with one of the Astro systems. The A30 wireless system is $200 right, so it falls within your budget (HD555/AD700 + Microphone + Mixamp = ~$200). It is a simple elegant solution and if you decide in the near future to go with a third party headphone, the A30/A40 headsets have a pretty high resale value. The A30 headset, for example, sells for around $90 used on eBay. So if you do not like how it handles music, you can sell it and get the HD555, AD700, or some other similarly priced headphone.

I don't want dedicated, and I definitely don't want the on ear style of headphones like the A30s. One of the biggest things I don't like about my X41s is the ear cups are too small.

what about Turtle Beaches HPA2 for a PC headset/microphone combo? i just put them on my wish list after i realized that i can't use the x41's (wireless) on anything but an xbox.

Cayne wrote:
what about Turtle Beaches HPA2 for a PC headset/microphone combo? i just put them on my wish list after i realized that i can't use the x41's (wireless) on anything but an xbox.

You can use X41's on PC, 360, or PS3. You just have to have a cheap USB sound card for the PS3 (TB sells one themselves), or a cable splitter on PC (assuming your sound card has optical out).

I use mine on PC and 360 all the time. Don't really chat on PS3, so haven't bothered to buy the sub $10 dongle USB sound card.

EDIT: I think I misunderstood, do you mean you still have to have a wire if you are using a PS3 or PC? That's true for the mic, but you can still make it work.

well that's good information on all accounts, but yeah my question lies more in your edit. I was looking at the controller on the x41's and i didn't see a spot for the microphone plug in, unless it did mixing inside it and it just used the optical cable to run all sound into the back of my pc. although the convenience of not having a device in between the headphones and the pc is nice for when i want to take a laptop to a lan party and still get audio.

This might help:

http://www.turtlebeach.com/products/...

Problem is, you have to wire your wireless headset.

When I had my X41 hooked up to my PC, I just used the webcam mic. so I didn't have to use the jury-rig solutions described above.

yeah forget that i'd rather just have the intentional cable. that said what do people think about the HPA2's i like them for the price point and the general review i've seen for them online. that and Tritton being owned by Mad Catz and generally being poopooed by people who's opinion i respect (Garnet Lee and Brian Layhee of weekend confirmed comes to mind) makes me lean more towards Turtle. but don't want to drop the $200 Astro's seem to require plus the extra mix device bugs me for some reason i want simple not ultra control.

Cayne wrote:
well that's good information on all accounts, but yeah my question lies more in your edit. I was looking at the controller on the x41's and i didn't see a spot for the microphone plug in, unless it did mixing inside it and it just used the optical cable to run all sound into the back of my pc. although the convenience of not having a device in between the headphones and the pc is nice for when i want to take a laptop to a lan party and still get audio.

All it takes is the optical from the PC to the base unit, then the headset cable goes from the headset jack into something like this splitter, then into the mic input on the PC. On the PC, you don't have to use the extra USB sound card dongle.

Setting it up that way works great for me. I've got a 3.5mm extension cable I have attached to the back of the desk to get the mic input to the back of the PC easily when I move mine from the Xbox to the PC.

Thin_J wrote:
Were I to do a combination of things we've talked about for the kind of money we're talking it would absolutely be the Mixamp + AD700 + Mic setup.
There's a reason it's such a popular combo everywhere.

I have a Creative X-Fi extreme soundcard (24 bit). I am looking into a nice headset for PC gaming, what advantages does the Mixamp offer? Would it still be recommended to pick up?

If the mixamp isnt recommended, is there a good (re: streamlined) way to switch between headset (like the AD700) and speakers (currently using an older logitech 5.1 setup)?

Probably a stupid question, but what the heck, never stopped me before. So I just ordered a X-Fi sound card (PCI only as I'm all out of PCI-E slots) and AD700 headphones. If I just plug my regular ol' 3 speaker set to the soundcard and then plug the headphones into the headphone jack on the speakers am I going to lose any sound quality or surround sound features? Do I just need to run the headphones straight to the soundcard for any reason? I've just never paid much attention to the audio on my PC before.

If you plug into the headphone jack on the X-Fi, it'll mute the speakers for you (the speakers probably would also), and may enable the 3D mode for headphones, which it won't do if you plug into the speakers.

I'm not sure how much that'll actually matter on Vista and later. The new model for sound cards is for them to be very stupid, and almost entirely software-controlled, so I don't know if the 3D hardware acceleration on the X-Fi will buy you anything.

Thin_J wrote:
The HD555's should sound fairly similar to my 595's, so I'll say they do *almost* as well with positional audio and actually do better with music.

Saw this after looking around:

MannishBoy wrote:
Thin_J wrote:
The HD555's should sound fairly similar to my 595's, so I'll say they do *almost* as well with positional audio and actually do better with music.

Saw this after looking around:

That's pretty interesting. I still wonder if they are the same speakers, though. I suppose there's a good chance.

Bean wrote:
Thin_J wrote:
Were I to do a combination of things we've talked about for the kind of money we're talking it would absolutely be the Mixamp + AD700 + Mic setup.
There's a reason it's such a popular combo everywhere.

I have a Creative X-Fi extreme soundcard (24 bit). I am looking into a nice headset for PC gaming, what advantages does the Mixamp offer? Would it still be recommended to pick up?

If the mixamp isnt recommended, is there a good (re: streamlined) way to switch between headset (like the AD700) and speakers (currently using an older logitech 5.1 setup)?

If you don't do any console gaming the Mixamp probably isn't worth the extra cost. Just run the headphones and the mic to the soundcard and be done with it. The Mixamp's real strength is applying Dolby Headphone to a 5.1 signal.

tuffalobuffalo wrote:

MannishBoy wrote:
Thin_J wrote:
The HD555's should sound fairly similar to my 595's, so I'll say they do *almost* as well with positional audio and actually do better with music.

Saw this after looking around:

That's pretty interesting. I still wonder if they are the same speakers, though. I suppose there's a good chance.

The drivers are identical. The only other differences are in the design of the enclosure. Most people consider the 555's to be even brighter than the 595's after that mod. Whether that's a good thing or not is entirely subjective. It's worth a try if you already have the 555's though. You can always just undo it if you want the old sound back.

heavyfeul wrote:
Finally, I plugged my HD600 into the Mixamp for a session of gaming and they performed impeccably. Quick, accurate, smooth, and the surround field was expansive and open feeling. It made the A30's sound like tin cans.

Well there goes $100 bucks. GOODBYE X-FI YOU PIECE OF sh*t.

[Edit] Hmm, so I guess there's no mic support on PC with the Mixamp 5.8 though

heavyfeul wrote:
It does via USB.

Oh excellent, so it's its own audio device for PC, no need for the toslink connection?

NM, I RTFM. So it uses an optional 1/8" to USB cable that must contain an ADC. I wonder if I could just hook up an 1/8" M/M cable to my sound card then.

LiquidMantis wrote:
[Edit] Hmm, so I guess there's no mic support on PC with the Mixamp 5.8 though

It does via USB.

http://www.astrogaming.com/manuals/MixAmp58_Manual.pdf

You just have to make sure that playback goes through the optical out/soundboard after connecting the USB voice cable, which can do both playback and recording.

You need the optical connection for multi channel input, I believe (not sure?), and you definitely need it if you want to use the voice/playback mixing capabilities of the amp.

Yeah, I'm with you on the toslink connection as being mandatory because the sole purpose of getting this would be for the Dolby Headphone functionality. I was just wondering if I could skip their USB cable since it's optional and not even listed in the options sidebar. But yeah, I'd lose the mixing capability then.

I have had the A30 + Wireless Mixamp for a couple of days now, so I thought I would post my impressions.

To begin with the wireless connection is excellent. Very clean and quiet. It is head and shoulders above the Ear Force X41. You can hear some hiss at very high volume levels, but turning the volume up past midway was too loud for my ears, so I never heard any hiss with normal use. Plugging in the XBL voice connection adds a little more noise, but it is minimal.

The Mixamp itself is still an excellent product. It has a wonderful 360 degree sound field with great detail and accurate positioning. Dolby Headphone continues to impress the hell out of me, particularly how well it handles sounds from behind. The re-design is beautiful as well and a lot cleaner than previous models. Not much more I can say about it, other than I can't think of a better alternative. This new wireless model is just wonderful. I highly recommend it. The only down side to the amp is the bass boost. It is terrible and is best just left off.

As for the A30 headset, I am mixed. It did a great job when gaming, but it is not a very musical headphone and it can be uncomfortable (earpad pressure on ears). Not only that, but the inline microphone is terribly designed. In its natural position, the microphone actually faces your shirt! How they let this obvious design flaw go unfixed is beyond me. The microphonic noise it creates rubbing against your chest makes it unusable as a gaming communicator, unless you want to piss everyone on your team off. The boom mic, however, worked wonderfully.

I feel like the A30 fails to deliver on the promise of versatility. It works extremely well with the Mixamp when gaming, but there are better and cheaper headphones out there for music and the inline mic. implementation is "broken." If your want to use it to take a call, you have to pick the mic. up off your shirt, otherwise the other person is going to get an ear full of noise. The sensitivity and voice quality is great, but until they reorient the microphone, it will never quite be the headphone they advertise. I will probably sell the A30's in favor of the Sennheiser HD238i, which has a four pole termination and an inline mic. it should kick the crap out of the A30 when it comes to music.

http://www.sennheiser.com/sennheiser/home_en.nsf/root/private_headsets_mobile_music_504165

My only concern going that route is how the microphone will work with the Mixamp. It should absolutely destroy the A30 in terms of sound quality, though.

Finally, I plugged my HD600 into the Mixamp for a session of gaming and they performed impeccably. Quick, accurate, smooth, and the surround field was expansive and open feeling. It made the A30's sound like tin cans. That for me is the nail in the coffin. When I compare the HD600's to other headphones like my old AD700's and HD555's, it didn't make me dislike them in any way whatsoever, which I see as a testament to their quality. I cannot say the same for the A30's.

The wireless Mixamp is a must buy, but Astro can keep the A30. I may be being a little hard on the headphones, as they sound much better when amped (if a bit too bright), but the appeal is the simplicity. If I have to tote an amp around with them, then the appeal is lost for me.

PS: They actually include an optical cable this time with the Mixamp. About time.

Thin_J wrote:
Bean wrote:
Thin_J wrote:
Were I to do a combination of things we've talked about for the kind of money we're talking it would absolutely be the Mixamp + AD700 + Mic setup.
There's a reason it's such a popular combo everywhere.

I have a Creative X-Fi extreme soundcard (24 bit). I am looking into a nice headset for PC gaming, what advantages does the Mixamp offer? Would it still be recommended to pick up?

If the mixamp isnt recommended, is there a good (re: streamlined) way to switch between headset (like the AD700) and speakers (currently using an older logitech 5.1 setup)?

If you don't do any console gaming the Mixamp probably isn't worth the extra cost. Just run the headphones and the mic to the soundcard and be done with it. The Mixamp's real strength is applying Dolby Headphone to a 5.1 signal.

Will a set of AD700s sound better with the mixamp on a PC or would the difference be negligible? I've been looking at different soundcards as well. If I was to upgrade to a soundcard with coax or optical, would it be a worthwhile expense? I notice the mixamp user guide they have online recommends COAX.

Any thoughts on a setup like that (AD700 - mixamp - COAX to PC) versus just the AD700 going into an older X-FI card?

AD700/HD555 + Mixamp = Gaming bliss.

I'll likely be making that purchase.
Lots of great information and helpful people in this thread, thanks!

How much of a gain would I get with a COAX or Opitcal input soundcard, versus standard?

heavyfeul wrote:
Someone can correct me if I am wrong, but you probably will hear no difference. I have used both with the Mixamp and I could not tell the difference. I do believe that coax. can send more information than opti., but I am do not think it really matters in this context (Mixamp). If you were connecting a DVD player or something to a home theater, you would want to go coax if available, since it would allow you to set your audio output to bitstream.

Yeah, other than some very well recorded/mixed CD's and movies with Dolby Surround tracks I could never tell any difference.

Gaming always sounded the same either way.

Someone can correct me if I am wrong, but you probably will hear no difference. I have used both with the Mixamp and I could not tell the difference. I do believe that coax. can send more information than opti., but I do not think it really matters in this context (Mixamp). If you were connecting a DVD player or something to a home theater, you would want to go coax if available, since it would allow you to set your audio output to bitstream.

NOTE: You have to be careful depending on which version you buy (wired versus wireless) they have different in/out configurations and come with different accessories.

Be sure to look at the "Package Contents" section of the manual to see what they include in the package.

heavyfeul wrote:
I do believe that coax. can send more information than opti.

It's the opposite. Optical has more bandwidth, but it probably doesn't matter here.

I thought the mixamp only accepted TOSLINK optical, though?