And Audio, of course

New PC. Splurged for a new keyboard. But I'm not quite done yet.

I've been looking at headsets for nearly a year, even since I saw the Turtle Beach XP400 at a local Gamestop. My office at home is on the main floor, but sound carries. And I have 2 children who are often watching TV or playing Xbox or with friends, so headphones are as much for me as for everyone else.

So....research time. Only hard requirement was over-the-ear, comfortable cups. I usually wear reading glasses when using the computer, so around the ear headsets are more comfortable for me.

Turtle Beach makes some well respected headsets, but mostly for consoles. The XP line is really for Xbox (and PS3) and while some work with the PC, it's not the best fit. Hunting around I turned up the Astro A40, which gets great reviews and apparently is the official headset of Major League Gaming. More research on the better ranked headsets on TopTenReviews and I was almost convinced. Good sound, comfortable to wear for long periods of time, and I already expected to drop $200 so no shocker there.

I was almost ready to pull the trigger, when I stumbled over this comment and then this one. So apparently, 'gaming' headsets are crap, relatively speaking, and price wise you'd be better off getting a good audiophile caliber headset.

I'm not an audiophile and barely recognize names like Denon (good) or Bose (not so much, by those who know). But how intriguing. Names like Sennheiser, Beyerdynamic, Audio Technica, Ultrasone, AKG, Shure, Grado, Bowers and Wilkins were new to me.

More research...

I finally settled on Beyerdynamic. Their DT-770 and DT-880 sounded promising. Comfortable looking, and supposedly quality German engineering. The DT-770 gets high marks on Amazon and it's less than I expected to pay ($165), but looks like it's superseded by the DT-880. Comparable (styling's more silvery than black), also high marks on Amazon, though a tad pricier ($275). Snooping through Beyerdynamic's website (gorgeously laid out and worth a peek for its style alone), I learned the MMX 300 is comparable but made for gaming - comparable to the DT-880 if you added a microphone. Beyerdynamic's list price is $415(!) though considerably less on Amazon ($295).

Pricey, but I was already planning to drop good coin. Already had. And I don't do this often and to last, so what the hell. This video review sealed the deal.

Amazon Prime delivered quickly as usual, and after almost a week all I can say is - WOW!

They are absolutely and utterly comfortable. You'll need a break for a bathroom sooner than you'll need to take this off.

And the sound is outstanding. Borderlands 2 makes good use of sound, but smaller and more subtle sounds I never noticed before are clearly recognizable with the headsets. I tried out some music, movies, YouTube videos and all in all, I now understand the difference between a headset and an audiophile caliber headset.

I haven't tried the microphone yet, but purely for the sound, the MMX 300 have been worth every penny.

Highly recommended.

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