My humble gamer review of Beyerdynamic DT990 600ohm headphones

A Word Before We Begin

If you're looking for an audiophile's review of these headphones, you can find many opinions from your preferred search engine. I am reviewing these as somebody who is fond of beautiful audio from all mediums and genres. I have used many headphones from friends and owned some high-end IEMs (earbuds) in the past such as those from Sony's MDR line and Ultimate Ears from a few years ago. I gave up on IEM's for fear of hearing loss and decided to upgrade from the cheap-but-good Koss KSC75 Clip-On Headphones. I bought the Beyerdynamic DT990 600ohm version from Amazon for $250 shipped, but it has since increased to $330.

The Setup

This is a Tritton AX720 Control Box I got from eBay for $18. It converts Dolby 5.1/7.1 audio to Dolby Headphone. The in-line remote cost me $30. Instead of buying the complete AX720 package for $130, it makes better sense to get it cheaper piece-by-piece if you already have a stellar headphone. To hook up my PS3, 360, and Xbox 1 simultaneously, an optical audio switcher with 4 optical cables can be bought for around $20 shipped from Amazon.

There are alternatives to the AX720 control box, such as the Astro MixAmp or the control box from Turtle Beach EarForce DSS. These are slightly more expensive than the setup I described.

The Sound

Unbelievable. Speaking as a former gadget freak, I am very hard to impress. The bass is strong and present, but not overpowering the subtleties of delicate instruments. Highs are quite high and may be too high for some. They were perfect for me. If highs were any higher, vocals would sound artificial. Fantastic headphones are a double-edged sword because any poorly ripped media you were once content with will have flaws that stand out much clearer even to laymen ears. When I first used these headphones with Dolby 5.1/7.1 in games, I was in utter shock. Initially, I bought a Denon 7.1 receiver with all the bells and whistles, but I ended up sending that back for a refund.

PS3 and 360 games take on a whole new life of their own. Granted, some games do surround sound better than others. While everything sounded fantastic, here's a list of what blew me away:

  • Mass Effect 3 Demo
  • Final Fantasy XIII-2 Intro and first gameplay before getting to control Serah
  • God of War 3
  • Eternal Sonata PS3
  • Otogi 2

That's just a small sampling. As you can see, this setup has inspired me to replay original Xbox games. Also, I've yet to hook up my PS2 and try games like Okami.

The 600ohm version is said to be very difficult to drive, but they sound exquisite even without a "required" amplifier. The decoder box arguably acts as an amplifier already, and I didn't hear much of a difference when I borrowed a FiiO E7 to use with my laptop audio. Maybe someday I will try a good dedicated amplifier to pair with these headphones, but they are more than adequate for now.

Conclusion

There's something to be said about headphone gaming that puts it in a separate tier from home theater surround gaming. Among parties, you'll wow your guests with bowel-dumping bass and positional audio from a dedicated speaker setup. But when you're gaming on your own, headphone gaming becomes a very personal affair. I strongly urge you to at least try a phenomenal pair of headphones from any brand you can get a hold of (Sennheiser, Grado, hell even the expensive Monster's Dre Beats).

If you already own a high-end pair of headphones, you probably won't see a worthwhile difference by getting the DT990. I will say this: You owe it to yourself as a gamer to at least give this setup a try. Minus the cost of the optional switcher, the cost of entry to auditory gaming nirvana was a meager $300.

It will change the way you experience games, and I wholeheartedly recommend it.

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A special blog in celebration for reaching 50 followers

My first "contribution" to a thread

After roughly 1500 posts and not once asking for a follower, I finally reached 50 active followers. If you're reading this, you're 99% likely to be one of them!

I'd like to extend my heartfelt gratitude to you, yes you, for being crazy enough to want to follow my self-amusing forum one-liners and general stupid trolling. That is why from now until Friday I will be holding a secret giveaway. Yes!

First, you're going to need a Steam account and an e-mail address.

Second, you're going to need to guess my favorite ice cream flavor. Don't worry, I'm giving you a list of choices.

Finally, either Private Message or reply to this blog your guess along with your e-mail address.

First person to guess correctly will get this Steam "new release":

Yay if you like moeblobs and that kind of shit. If you don't, well, you better hope you're the second to fifth correct guess because the prize for that is this:

Rules: Only one entry per person. I have no guarantees I'll be fair in this giveaway but c'mon I'm not a dick like that as you should already know.

ENTRIES WILL BE ACCEPTED UNTIL FRIDAY AUGUST 5, 2011 AND THE PRIZES WILL BE AWARDED SOME TIME AFTER THAT. I am hoping to award at the same day but given my hectic life circumstances I may not be able to do that. WINNERS WILL BE ANNOUNCED IN A SEPARATE BLOG ENTRY UPON AWARD.

Should there be less than five correct guesses I will accept my next best favorite ice cream flavor for the giveaway.

THE FLAVORS ARE...

Vulva Vanilla Bean Speck

Bitchin' Blueberry

Puss pounding Pistachio

Dirty Rocky Road Sanchez

Moanin' Mocha

Purple Yam Orgasm

Good luck, everybody! Don't take my trolling too seriously now :)

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So it looks like Steam jumped the shark for its "news" page


After running my Steam app to update my games, I noticed GTA4 got a quickie download. Naturally, I wanted to see what it updated so I right clicked on the game and went to "View News" so to speak. 
 
When I skimmed the first few "news" entries, I couldn't help but notice the amateur, unprofessional, and simply mind-numbingly nauseating excuse for news I've ever seen. The lackluster format and incoherent style looked all too familiar when I confirmed my disgust looking underneath the header "Heavy Rain Needed More Grand Theft Auto (And Ass-Grabbing)" lay that dreaded word... 
 
Kotaku 
 
Why did Steam have to resort to this? Steam is a PC application. My PC has internet and if I wanted to peruse insipid and banal website hit-bait, I could open up a browser to do that myself. I didn't mind Penny Arcade teaming up with Steam because they're actually funny sometimes and I never had the displeasure of accidentally viewing them on my Steam client. However, having this tripe show up in my "News" tab really put Steam down a notch for me. 
 
Is there a way to filter out the news page? Can I replace it with something marginally more legible, like Joystiq or something? Hell, Sankaku Complex would be a better choice. Urgh
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Goodbye, hardcore gaming!


Do you remember the time that you were roaming the halls of Price Club amidst the mile-high crates full of Tang and between the showcased electronics? Inside, do you remember the clips of Short Circuit being played in the Video Cassette Recorder? Or on one of those TV's there was a NES setup playing Super Mario Bros. and your dad handed your 6 year old hands the controller? How about holding said controller and not knowing what it's for or what to do, having never hearing the phrase "video game" in your entire life? 
 
Everybody remembers their first. 

If you're like me and was growing up a hardcore gamer before the internet was mainstream, you'd remember wearing your badge of hardcore-ness in some form or another. The bus rides or walks to school were spent with your GamePro friend because you were his EGM friend and you traded issues. During recess, playground chatter would be about that one kid who said he knew codes how to play as naked Chun-Li. Then during lunch you'd be passed a xerox copy sheet of how to do Mortal Kombat fatalities and you frantically scribble them down on the school's history book before giving the sheet back. On the way back from school, appetites would whet as you'd daydream of future consoles with crazy 32-bit power as advertised by a "Video Game Buyer's Guide" magazine.  

I was gaming's target demographic. Life was sweet.  

Fast forward to whatever age your parents stopped buying your toys (and if your parents couldn't/didn't even get this far, I am truly sorry). Your tastes in gaming "matured" past the obvious marketing gimmicks. You thirst for gameplay, immersion, and escape from the real world. The likelihood of a game to take you back to the feelings you had as a kid are dwindling with each passing game release. In this stage, you're probably scrutinizing games for things you wouldn't have as a hardcore gamer kid.  

Here is where most hardcore gamers probably exit.
 
Some could argue that, with the success of the Wii, gaming has a new focus: mainstream appeal or "non-gamers". I think that's always been gaming's focus. As of today, the industry seems to be gearing towards a mainstream I have no part in. Social network or massively multiplayer gaming. Gimmicks I fell for as a kid that new kids will fall for like enhanced realistic graphics, violence, and sex. Involving, original single player? Split screen co-op? Thought provoking game endings? When they're proven profitable, we'll see more of these. Until then, have fun wading through the latest cookie cutter, adrenaline charged, "realistic" abomination. On the bright side, you'll be busy with quite a backlog of last-gen games to satiate your gaming appetite.  

There is that occasional game that comes out that is catered to me. When it sells poorly, I blame the mainstream gamer. On another angle, I now know that making games outside the mainstream is a big risk that is usually funded from profits of past mainstream success. The mere fact that the game exists, I should probably thank the mainstream gamer.   

Even though I grew up with gaming, gaming hasn't grown up with me.  

With this, I bid farewell to hardcore gaming. I am both saddened and relieved.    

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