Sennheiser 595s and Astro Mixamp?

Discussion in 'Ask The Experts' started by alexmcleod, Oct 14, 2011.

  1. alexmcleod

    alexmcleod New Member

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    Messages:
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    Hi there,

    I'm looking for an amp for gaming on the 360 and also for use with my iMac. I'm also planning on buying a pair of Sennheiser 595s from yourselves, I can't imagine they underperform, but is there another pair around the same price point you might recommend?

    As for the amp, Google tells me that my best option is an Astro Mixamp, but I can't seem to find any for sale outside of America.

    Mixamp Pro | 7.1 Dolby Digital Mixamp | AstroGaming.com

    The Mixamp is also fairly pricey (paying for the name and the ability to mix the levels of voice chat with the rest of the sound I presume, or is that what I should expect to pay? Most other amps seem considerably cheaper). Do you sell a product that would fit my needs? I also found this, which is more in my price range but I've had bad experiences with Turtle Beach gear.

    Turtle Beach Ear Force DSS 5.7 / 7.1 Channel Dolby Surround Sound Processor for Stereo Headsets (Xbox 360/PS3/Windows XP/Vista/7): Amazon.co.uk: PC & Video Games

    I'll be using the optical out from the Xbox and I will need voice chat, and will probably be using a clip on mic.

    Maybe I'm going down the wrong route with the 595s, and should be looking for a headset with attached mic, but I don't want to compromise sound quality when using the headphones with my iMac (music production). I saw the Beyerdynamic MMX300s recommended, but they're out of my price range.

    Anyway, sorry for the bombardment of questions there and thanks in advance!

    Regards,
    Alex

    P.S. do you ship to Ireland and if so, how much for the 595s all in?
     
  2. RobinHiFi

    RobinHiFi Super Moderator

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2010
    Messages:
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    Hi Alex

    We don't do a huge amount of stuff with voice but the Astro Mixamp looks really good, it is basically a 3 channel mixer and soundcard with input and output (mono voice in, Stereo sound out). Having the nice big blend button would probably work extremely well but I agree it does seem a little pricy. Not being a big gamer (I love computer games but I am already too busy without anything else filling my time:)) I couldn't really rate the difference between 5.1/7.1 amps. Sometimes you have to defer to others with a closer area of expetise - I think you could find a much better and far more wide ranging opinion on a gaming forum.

    Onto the headphones - Unfortunately the HD595 have departed to the big Audio demo room in the sky. They are end of life and only old stock is available. Their replacement is this

    Sennheiser HD598 Open Back Dynamic Headphones (HD 598)
    £184.96

    A little big more capable but not my first choice for your needs.

    It sounds like Open Backed headphones are what you are looking for. Open backs should work really well for your purposes, they might spill a little sound but they really will make the most of the spacial nature of 5.1 and 7.1 sound.

    I am not sure what you are planning to do about a mic? I don't have a great suggestion for this but if you have this is an excellent place to post it!

    Here are some headphones which would fit really well with Surround sound gaming.

    AKG K-240 MK II Semi-Open Studio Headphones (K240 MK-II)
    £97.96

    Beyerdynamic DT990 PRO Open Headphones 250Ω (DT 990)
    £129.96

    Sennheiser HD558 Open Back Dynamic Headphones (HD 558)
    £139.96

    Beyerdynamic DT880 Premium Semi-Open Headphones 32Ω
    £209.95

    GermanMAESTRO GMP 435S Open Back Headphones (GMP435S)
    £219.00

    We do ship to Ireland and you can find out the shipping charge for any item or group of items really easily. Simply add them to your basket and pick your country from the SHIPPING country drop down, delivery cost will then be displayed.

    Hope that helps:D
     
  3. alexmcleod

    alexmcleod New Member

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    Oct 14, 2011
    Messages:
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    Hey, thanks for the response!

    Yeah I've been browsing a few gaming forums, and head-fi.com have a pretty in-depth discussion on the Mixamp but as I plan on buying from you I thought I'd stick my questions in here! :)

    Ah, so you have no more 595s? I agree the 598 seems a little excessive but I am a sucker for Sennheiser. I had the pleasure of testing out the 555s and quite liked them, albeit they were a little flat, would there be all that much difference between them and the 558 as listed in your post?

    As for the microphone solution, the Mixamp's headphone out and microphone in are the same port, so with one of these (included with the Mixamp) you can plug in any microphone alongside your headphones, be it a lapel or desktop mic or a headset mic.

    Startech.com 3.5mm 4 Pin to 2x 3 Pin 3.5mm Headset Splitter Adapter - M/F: Amazon.co.uk: Computers & Accessories

    For example, I plan on picking up one of these:

    Zalman Microphone Zm-Mic1 High Sensitivity Headphone Microphone Retail: Amazon.co.uk: Computers & Accessories

    I haven't found any non-Mixamp microphone solution. They seem to pretty much dominate the market :/

    Thanks again!
    Alex
     
  4. RobinHiFi

    RobinHiFi Super Moderator

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    The Mixamp does really seem to be the favoured bit of kit! I know a lot of similar but much cheaper items are pretty much despised due to poor reliability and build quality. I guess the Astro people are very happy with their decision to build a solid and reliable unit!

    HD558 is considerably better than the HD555. Similar but better, more detail at the top, mids are more lush, bass is improves and the redesign looks better. They are cleaner and more solid sounding, it is a real improvement.

    Thanks for posting about the mic, I'm sure someone will find that really useful.:D
     
  5. alexmcleod

    alexmcleod New Member

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    Oct 14, 2011
    Messages:
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    Hi,

    Thanks for the information. One final question: 558 or 595? For gaming competitively, less bass is preferable, as quite often bass-heavy headphones/speakers can drown out the other frequencies too much (explosions, gunfire etc). However my music production is quite bass-oriented, so I'm looking for a happy medium between my two needs.

    Thanks again!
    Alex
     
  6. RobinHiFi

    RobinHiFi Super Moderator

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    My personal preference (especially for mix!) would be the DT880 - Out of the two Sennheisers though the HD598 is more refined. It might even be a little more bassy, or certainly kick more, but the balance on offer should not allow the bass to mask the mids. The warm Sennheiser sound seems to be pinned on the extra chunkiness on offer where the Bass meets the mid range, I cannot see this headphone distorting in normal use though. The DT880 is what Dolby use to mix Surround when the space is too small to build a mix room (with the Headzone Pro).
     
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