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What is the best audiophile headphones that don't need a amp to drive them

KAL2006

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So I have decided I want a headset for gaming, movies and even some music.

The main things that matter for me is
- comfort, use for long gaming and movie watching sessions
- no amp needed to drive it, I don't want to waste money on something too good and you need a amp to get the most out of it. Yes it's a contradiction to the thread title and most headphones that are audiophile quality require an amp. So I'd like to know the best headphone that I can get without taking into consideration how much an amp improves it. I'd like my tablet or DualSense controller to drive it and sound good enough.

Things I don't care about
- How stupid it looks, I'm wearing it in doors
- how loud it is, if it's open back, Im not worried about disturbing people around me as long as it's not loud enough to go through walls which most likely is not
- wireless, I will be using wired connection to the TV, dualsense, tablet, phone and etc
- Mic, I don't play games online much and if I do I'll get a separate mic or just use my other earphone that has a built in mic. Headset will be used exclusively for single player immersive games and movies.
 
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Ecto311

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I have 2 pair of PortaPro headphones and the SHP9000 - Both are good but the portapro fit better and are huge in the head fi forums. Can't say they are audiophile level but at $30 or so they are hard to beat. I have some sennheiser 590 headphones too but these are better to me and 1/3 the price.
 
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-Shodan-

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Philips Fidelio X2.

They would benefit from a good (dac)amp but they would be fine on their own - iirc they sport a 32ohms impedance.
Great comfort, one of the widest soundstages in hifi headphones, engaging and accurate enough for critical music listening.

Audio Technica M40x would be an excellent low budget option, despite being closed back their soundstage is surprisingly wide - they massively benefit from deeper pads, though - and they punch far above their weight on music listening. No amp required.
 
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KAL2006

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Philips Fidelio X2.

They would benefit from a good (dac)amp but they would be fine on their own - iirc they sport a 32ohms impedance.
Great comfort, one of the widest soundstages in hifi headphones, engaging and accurate enough for critical music listening.

Audio Technica M40x would be an excellent low budget option, despite being closed back their soundstage is surprisingly wide - they massively benefit from deeper pads, though - and they punch far above their weight on music listening. No amp required.

Before I made the thread I was actually leaning towards a Phillips Fidelio X2HR after the small bit of research I have done. It's going for £120 on Amazon right now which is heard it's been discounted quite a bit.
 

DonJuanSchlong

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Before I made the thread I was actually leaning towards a Phillips Fidelio X2HR after the small bit of research I have done. It's going for £120 on Amazon right now which is heard it's been discounted quite a bit.
I'm telling you. He-400i. Fidelio ain't be at all, but these will have a wider soundstage and being open back as well as planar magnetic, will have better "decay" on the sound.
 
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KAL2006

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I'm telling you. He-400i. Fidelio ain't be at all, but these will have a wider soundstage and being open back as well as planar magnetic, will have better "decay" on the sound.
Those seem pricier and not on normal websites like Amazon.
 

-Shodan-

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Before I made the thread I was actually leaning towards a Phillips Fidelio X2HR after the small bit of research I have done. It's going for £120 on Amazon right now which is heard it's been discounted quite a bit.
Yeah, that price is decent for the X2s. They sometimes go for just under £100 but for a 20 quids difference I'd pick em up right now.
I've had them for 3 years now, and they still are my favorite "entertainment" set of cans. They're just good, good fun.

I'm telling you. He-400i. Fidelio ain't be at all, but these will have a wider soundstage and being open back as well as planar magnetic, will have better "decay" on the sound.
I've had the 400i for a time. I've used them for musical listening before getting back on the HD6xx train and they pull their own weight just fine.

I'd still recommend the Fidelios over the He in this case though, as OP is mainly looking for a pair of movies/gaming centered headphones. You just can't beat the X2s at that, not under £200/300. Their soundstage is just something else, without compromising their tonal performances. I'd never use them for critical musical listening but heh, that's for another topic.
 
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DonJuanSchlong

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Those seem pricier and not on normal websites like Amazon.
They are pricer, but quality ain't free. I bought a pair to venture into planar magnetics, and I was floored at the openness. You in the states?


Yeah, that price is decent for the X2s. They sometimes go for just under £100 but for a 20 quids difference I'd pick em up right now.
I've had them for 3 years now, and they still are my favorite "entertainment" set of cans. They're just good, good fun.


I've had the 400i for a time. I've used them for musical listening before getting back on the HD6xx train and they pull their own weight just fine.

I'd still recommend the Fidelios over the He in this case though, as OP is mainly looking for a pair of movies/gaming centered headphones. You just can't beat the X2s at that, not under £200/300. Their soundstage is just something else, without compromising their tonal performances. I'd never use them for critical musical listening but heh, that's for another topic.
I actually switched from the Phillips to the hifimans lol, but this goes to show you its all about preference. I'm rocking Audeze Lcd2c's now. But that's a different price range. And i prefer them to the phazors as well like lcd3 etc.
 

DonJuanSchlong

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I have the 5xx. The don’t need amping but planars sound much better amped.
Amped will always be better, but you don't need an amp for these. They can run off any motherboard released in several years. I'm not sure how they would be on consoles though. But very similar impedance if I remember correctly. They aren't like 600ohms or any crazy resistance. Although ive ran my subs at half ohm (0.5ohms), but that's a whole different story.

I'm glad we can agree on some things for once FrankWza FrankWza
 
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FrankWza

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I'm not sure how they would be on consoles though. But very similar impedance if I remember correctly

I’ve tried them on PS5 and the soundstage doesn’t open enough. It’s close to the X2hr using the same mixamp but not even close when plugged into dualsense. The low impedance numbers on planars are misleading to me. It’s not even just a matter of volume, it’s the fullness. But on a pc, yeah, it would sound way better.
 

DonJuanSchlong

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I’ve tried them on PS5 and the soundstage doesn’t open enough. It’s close to the X2hr using the same mixamp but not even close when plugged into dualsense. The low impedance numbers on planars are misleading to me. It’s not even just a matter of volume, it’s the fullness. But on a pc, yeah, it would sound way better.
Yeah they may be a little more power hungry than others, compared to what a controller can provide. In that case, everyone disregard my he-400i comment. I never factored in the amount of power provided by the dualsense.
 
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-Shodan-

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On that note, @OP:

Keep in mind that the headphones mentioned in this thread will work fine without dedicated amplification, but they can reach their full potential only when properly powered. Especially given that the DS4/5 at the end of the day are Bluetooth driven sources, limited in range and raw power. Whatever you choose you will enjoy them regardless the source, but do consider getting a dedicated power source down the line.

The Fidelios are easy cans to drive but the difference between sources - volume, separation, low end performance, detailing - can often be night and day.


Driving them is one thing, driving them well is another.
 

FrankWza

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no amp needed to drive it, I don't want to waste money on something too good and you need a amp to get the most out of it.
This post below nails it. If you want to get a small fiio or portable amp for $20 your headphones will sound better when plugged into the dualsense as well. They’re rechargeable and give it enough extra juice without interfering with the sound or adding hiss or feedback. It’s not usually recommended, but I have done it with the dualsense and they sound much better using the x2. Also easier for you since a mic isn’t a necessity and you can use the dualsense mic in a pinch.
On that note, @OP:

Keep in mind that the headphones mentioned in this thread will work fine without dedicated amplification, but they can reach their full potential only when properly powered. Especially given that the DS4/5 at the end of the day are Bluetooth driven sources, limited in range and raw power. Whatever you choose you will enjoy them regardless the source, but do consider getting a dedicated power source down the line.

The Fidelios are easy cans to drive but the difference between sources - volume, separation, low end performance, detailing - can often be night and day.


Driving them is one thing, driving them well is another.
 

TeezzyD

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Get the best pair of Sony headphones you can afford and call it a day

Sony doesn't make a single bad pair
 

TeezzyD

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Depends on your preferred sound profile

I've tried Sony, Sennheiser, Audio Technica, and Bang & Olufsen

I stick with Sony for a reason
 
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I’ve been using Sennheiser HD 558s as well as Audio-Technical ATH AD 900Xs, both are really good and I recently picked up a schiit hel, and they sounded even better. They ran pretty well off my onboard sound through my PC. I haven’t tried them on console though, I have a soundbar, works well enough for me.
 

Ymir

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I just picked up a pair of Fidelio X2HR to replace my X1s after the screw for the headband fell out and Phillips made it painful to fix.

What are some good amps that don't cost a fortune to drive them? Looking for something decent but also something that doesn't cost an arm and a leg.

Thanks!
 

Antelope

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PC38X on Drop. I’m very happy with them. They made Demon Souls come alive. They have a mic, but that’s more of a bonus. I also listen to music on them during the day and find the sound great.

Edit: Also, don’t get too caught up with audiophile reviews. Find a pair you think is good for you and buy it. Make sure you have a good return policy because everyone’s ears are different.
 
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three_muffins

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I have the steelseries acrtis 7x wireless and i dont regret it. Very, very comfortable to wear and full, rich sound, great surround sound too. They work perfectly with the ps5 and seriex via a usb dongle switch.
Music is just ok with these headphones, but for gaming they are very good. Highly recommended.
 

vaibhavpisal

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Beyer t1 3rd gen.




Price is fair for a flagship. $999
 
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CeeJay

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Another vote for Fidelio X2s here

A great feature about them is that they have a detachable lead using a universal 3.5mm standard headphone jack into the cans. This means that you have a really diverse selection of after-market leads to choose from. I have several different ones for mine that each serve a specific purpose. The one that comes with the headphones is really good quality but is also quite long and bulky, great for plugging into the hifi amp to listen to some music. I have a nice short flat cable that I can plug straight into my Xbox controller that is the perfect length at about 2ft with minimal bulk it's perfect for late night single player gaming sessions. I have a Vmoda Boom Pro mic that I can use when I want to voice chat on console or PC. The universal jack is a feature that makes the headphones so versatile and I just wish that all headphone manufacturers did this rather than either fixed cable or some crappy proprietary removable thing.
 
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Barry Burton

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These are the phones I have. I got them a few months back and use them direct from the receiver, and I think they're great. Price is very reasonable too.
 

FrankWza

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I just picked up a pair of Fidelio X2HR to replace my X1s after the screw for the headband fell out and Phillips made it painful to fix.

What are some good amps that don't cost a fortune to drive them? Looking for something decent but also something that doesn't cost an arm and a leg.

Thanks!

what are you connecting to? System, dualsense or a vss unit?
 

FrankWza

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What's the best pair of wireless headphones that i can use for gaming with excellent sound quality

the Penrose are great sounding but unfortunately it’s made for small headed people and there’s an annoying pressure on top of your head that makes wearing for more than an hour impossible as well as shallow ear cups. There were some issues that were fixed with a firmware update. It’s better but still far from perfect but they sound real good and open for a closed back headset with really tight bass. But ymmv. I’ve tried almost every wireless option and I’d rank sound quality
1.Penrose
2.platinum
3. Pulse and arctis 7. They’re pretty much the same but the arctis is more comfortable and the pulse has more PS5 features and sounds better with tempest. There’s a substantial gap between 1 and 2 and a big gap between 2 and 3.
 

MHubert

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You didn't specify a budget, but I would recommend the Grado Sr325e:



A 300$ headphone - 32ohm, Easy to drive and has an amazing soundstage - if you haven't had the chance to check out the 'Grado-sound' I highly recommend doing so. The comfortability with the standard cups can be a bit meh, but the they are easy to mod or replace. Open back, so a bit noisy, but worth it. This is the highest model in the Prestige Series and the ones i recommend, but you could also buy the Sr80e for 100$ and still get a lot of the 'Grado-sound'.

If your budget is higher, I highly recommend the brilliant Grado RS1e for about 700$:


Still 32ohm and should be easy enough to drive through the dualsense or your smartphone. Cans like these can be companions for life.

 
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Bartski

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FrankWza

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Mostly computer and controller audio input for headphones for video games
If it’s for dualsense you’ll need a portable amp. It’s going to sound better but not great. If you want something wired for both pc and ps5, that’s tough right now because you can’t get proper power output from the ps5 USB port for a wired connection. Bypassing the usb for optical is the only way to do that now and then you’ll route mic to ps5 usb. So something like the creative g6 would work but you’re going to use the optical workaround on ps5. It bypasses the internal vss of the g6 and gives you tempest access. When you connect to pc you’ll use usb and have g6 vss. So you’re covered both ways. But on the ps5 side, you’ll also need a spdif out so you’ll need something like this as well.

 

Kev Kev

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lol everyone is just going to post their favorite pair of headphones

in my (unpopular) opinion, dont spend more than $100 on headphones. there is no quality of sound that can come from any headphones or earbuds that is worth more than that. ive tried many different kinds and none of them make enough of a difference to justify their increasingky insane price tags. its a huge trend at the moment (check any teen or person working out at the gym, they all have headphones on or around their neck)

dont get me wrong, they do sound better, but its marginally better, like almost unnoticeable. people like to defend their purchase tho and, as we are seeing here ITT, promote the last pair of phones or buds they bought to justify how much money they spent on them. just focus on comfortability and aesthetics if your dead set on spending hundreds of dollars on them. but if you just have to have the latest and most expensive phones to show off to everyone while enjoying slightly better sound quality, sure go nuts and spend a grand, hell why not two? lol
 
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Rikkori

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Can't recommend the Sennheiser HD599 enough tbh, they're perfect for what you want. I would also say this - whatever pair you decide to get make sure it has detachable cable from the headset base because it's so stupidly easily to mess up any headset if you don't.
 
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FrankWza

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dont get me wrong, they do sound better, but its marginally better,
Depends on how you’re powering them. It’s a rabbit hole for sure but once you start amping and messing with different processing you see a difference. When you a/b and compare
you hear things in one you can’t in another. One may have better or tighter bass or one could be muddy. But there’s definitely a difference. Comfort and fit play a big part as well.
 

FrankWza

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Can't recommend the Sennheiser HD599 enough tbh, they're perfect for what you want. I would also say this - whatever pair you decide to get make sure it has detachable cable from the headset base because it's so stupidly easily to mess up any headset if you don't.

these come in headset form now too. The pc38 and pc37X.
 
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Con-Z-epT

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lol everyone is just going to post their favorite pair of headphones

in my (unpopular) opinion, dont spend more than $100 on headphones. there is no quality of sound that can come from any headphones or earbuds that is worth more than that. ive tried many different kinds and none of them make enough of a difference to justify their increasingky insane price tags. its a huge trend at the moment (check any teen or person working out at the gym, they all have headphones on or around their neck)

dont get me wrong, they do sound better, but its marginally better, like almost unnoticeable. people like to defend their purchase tho and, as we are seeing here ITT, promote the last pair of phones or buds they bought to justify how much money they spent on them. just focus on comfortability and aesthetics if your dead set on spending hundreds of dollars on them. but if you just have to have the latest and most expensive phones to show off to everyone while enjoying slightly better sound quality, sure go nuts and spend a grand, hell why not two? lol
I have bought alot of headphones in my life between 20€ and 2000€.

For traveling, just listening at and also for mixing and mastering my sound productions.

There is a huge difference between all of them! Sometimes in the qualitiy of the sound or the sound stage and sometimes just in the sound character.

To say that there is no difference in the quality of sound above 100$ is just nonsense.
If you truly belive its unnoticable then there is something wrong with your hearing perception.
A 100$ headphone can sound awesome for sure and is a good point to start of.
But even above 400 or 500 bucks there is still so much to gain!

Of course you dont need to spend 2000$ or more to have good sound. Leave that for the enthusiasts.

Also amplification plays a huge role.

My "budget" recommendation would be the AKG 712-Pro. Nothing fancy. Just good and neutral sound as it should be.
 
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MHubert

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in my (unpopular) opinion, dont spend more than $100 on headphones. there is no quality of sound that can come from any headphones or earbuds that is worth more than that. ive tried many different kinds and none of them make enough of a difference to justify their increasingky insane price tags. its a huge trend at the moment (check any teen or person working out at the gym, they all have headphones on or around their neck)
I really think it depends on a lot of factors. As in, how do you power your phones (and source it) to how do you perceive sound... Hell, some people identify sound quality with how loud and boomy the bass is, hence why you have some people claiming that the abomination that is Beats are good headphones.

I would say for a 100$ you can get a really nice pair of cans, and I would agree with you that beyond that price point you would see diminishing returns on the sound quality; but I can assure that to a keen ear, a 100$ and a 1000$ phone are galaxies apart. I think it is fair to compare it to how people perceive framerates differently.
 
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FrankWza

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Also amplification plays a huge role.
Not everyone is able to put the time in. It’s a lot of work and effort. Most people just want to have something they can plug in and play.
Just a heads up but low impedance does not mean easy to drive.
Yeah. And even when it is low impedance and easily driveable the headphones will always sound better and fuller with additional amping. I’m trying to amp planars right now and they’re a bitch. Low impedance is even more meaningless with planar.
 
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