Want to try something different for gaming - AKG 712 Pro or Philips Fidelio X2HR

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AntMan
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Want to try something different for gaming - AKG 712 Pro or Philips Fidelio X2HR

Postby AntMan » Sun Dec 03, 2017 9:04 am

Use case is predominantly gaming (FPS) with some music/video use as well. Currently run an Essence STX with AD900X and continue to be very pleased with this set up.

Would like to try something new/different just for a change and currently tossing up between AKG 712 Pro and Philips Fidelio X2HR.

Not looking to change sound card or grab an AMP/DAC currently since I think the STX will drive both of these just fine, although may grab something like a Schiit Fulla 2 in the future.

Any thoughts on either of these headphones?

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Re: Want to try something different for gaming - AKG 712 Pro or Philips Fidelio X2HR

Postby Marcus » Mon Dec 04, 2017 10:15 am

I wouldn't consider the K712 as an upgrade from the AD900X, more of a sidegrade (wider/smeared soundstage, less bass, slightly smoother treble).
The Fidelio I haven't tried myself.

I would consider the STX to be as good as some ~$600 external DACs so I wouldn't recommend a cheap USB option personally - it will be a complete waste of money.

Remember that gaming is one of the least demanding things for an audio setup. Unless you're really enjoying the high quality soundtrack (eg: Doom/Witcher 3 quality).

I guess the best question is : what do you want from your setup? You already have something that sounds as good as some $1500 setups for 95% of material and ~1/4 the cost IMO.
If you're looking for something different to compliment your current setup I'd suggest a pair of Beyer DT250 - they have quite a different sound vs the AD900X but this means they compliment each other really well.
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Re: Want to try something different for gaming - AKG 712 Pro or Philips Fidelio X2HR

Postby AntMan » Tue Dec 05, 2017 4:58 pm

Now this is exactly the type of advice I was looking for and haven't been able to get elsewhere. Thanks Marcus!

I guess what I'm looking for is just something different. The AD900X already sounds great and has a nice wide sound stage which is good for competitive gaming. Ideally I'd like something a bit more playful, maybe with a touch more bass (but not overpowering and still controlled), but without sacrificing too much soundstage either, which is what I'd heard the Fidelio X2 might offer, but definitely open to other options too.

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Re: Want to try something different for gaming - AKG 712 Pro or Philips Fidelio X2HR

Postby Marcus » Wed Dec 06, 2017 9:08 am

Ok "from the same house" are headphones like the DT880, AD900X, K7*** - airy, wide soundstage, lean bass etc.
A step sideways would be something like the Sennheiser HD650 or Beyer DT250 - relaxed, warm, more intimate soundstage.
There are a dozen other curveballs out there, but adding more options to the mix probably isn't going to help :)

People are probably sick of hearing me recommend the Beyer DT250, but they're what I'd recommend in your case. The DT250/AD900 combo is one of my favourites because they compliment each other very well. Where the AD900X is light and airy and bright sounding, the DT250 are warmer and heavier and more intimate. Where the AD900X pushes micro-detail to the front, the DT250 blends it better into the mix more.
People often look for a single solution headphone, one headphone to rule them all, but I find that 2x ~$300 headphones usually results in more fun than a single $600 pair would :)

As a footnote on the subject of soundstage: any decent headphone north of about $150 is going to have good soundstage; remember that you've been spoiled with the AD900, so it's probably the first thing you're going to notice when listening to any alternatives. Being a closed model the DT250 will naturally have a narrower field but it's not what I'd describe as "inferior", just different.
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Re: Want to try something different for gaming - AKG 712 Pro or Philips Fidelio X2HR

Postby AntMan » Thu Dec 07, 2017 5:58 pm

Thanks so much for your input Marcus. Really appreciate it.

So you don't think there'd be any point swapping from the STX to a DAC/AMP?

Only immediate benefit I'm thinking of would be external volume control.

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Re: Want to try something different for gaming - AKG 712 Pro or Philips Fidelio X2HR

Postby Marcus » Fri Dec 08, 2017 10:10 am

I've had a dozen or so customers over the years "upgrade" from the STX to external units only to be disappointed.
There's a certain economy of scale working in favour for the STX along with it being a barebones component without chassis/power supply etc.
Because of this you need to spend ~$600 on an external unit that offers similar levels of performance.
~$800+ will get you slight performance increases across all aspects, which means you won't notice a huge difference in any one area but you will hear some refinement across the board.

To give some perspective:
Lets say your souce has a possible score out of 100.
If a BAD quality DAC/amp gives you 20/100 (hiss/distortion/interference, eg: poor quality onboard sound) just cleaning that up will bring you to around 50/100 (ie: not poor quality onboard sound). Even a decent quality sub-$100 dedicated soundcard is going to bump that up to 70/100.
Your STX is giving you about 90/100 with "the best DAC in the world" giving you 99/100 and anything between about $700 and $2000 giving you between 95-99%. In other words - the diminishing returns are very strong and specs =/= performance.
Numbers just to illustrate my point btw, it's not something easily measured, but out of all the components I like testing the least, amps and dacs are top because the differences are often impossible to discern.
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