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Some help with a new headset and possible AMP? PS4/XO  (Read 7996 times)

Offline 3MIX_Edge

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Hi guys, I'm looking to buy a new headset only really for gaming, movies and music are not important here. A new AMP too if it's needed.

I currently have an Astro Mixamp and the AudioTechnica ATH-ADG1 but I want something better, that can allow me to hear enemy footsteps from further distances, reloads and even when claymores are set...

I had a few I was looking at but have no idea if my current Astro Mixamp would be able to drive the headsets I'm looking at, I'm all ears/eyes for recommendations and price would be based around the same prices of the items I have in mind, I can't give a figure because every country sells these headsets at different prices and these are affordable for me.

The headset I'm really liking is the Sennheiser PC363D but I'm not sure if my AStro Mixamp will drive the headset correctly/loud enough.

One of the other headsets were the; AudioTechnica ATH-AD500X (no mic but it's not the most important factor).

I just want something that would be better than those Astro's, TurtleBeach's and my current AudioTechnica.

I appreciate anyone who can help me out, clarity for FPS games really is what I want here. I'd love a headset and AMP combo that could even allow me to hear enemy footsteps in COD:AW and I know that would be hard but not impossible.

I'm all ears, thank you.
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Offline Koteric

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Re: Some help with a new headset and possible AMP? PS4/XO
« Reply #1 on: 02:04 PM - 09/13/15 »
If you're wanting the best positional queues and subtle game sounds, you won't really find better than the Audio Technica Ad700s (discontinued), but replaced with the Ad700x.  Ridiculously large sound stage, with almost no bass.  There are no better headphones on the market for what you are looking for. 

Mixamp would be more than enough to drive them as well. 

Offline antithesis

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Re: Some help with a new headset and possible AMP? PS4/XO
« Reply #2 on: 03:28 PM - 09/13/15 »
Creative Sound Blaster X7. Philips Fidelio X2. Best pairing ever, I couldn't be happier with the purchase. They make my Astro A50s sound like el-cheapo tinker-toys by comparison. I also own the original MixAmp and wireless MixAmp 5.8 - neither have been touched since purchasing the X7.

If you want to chat, add a V-Moda BoomPro and Creative BT-W2 to connect the mic to console via BlueTooth. I'm yet to buy the BT-W2 but will soon and will post my thoughts. I can however state that the BoomPro's 3.5mm stereo audio cable to connect the X2 to the X7 is of lesser quality than the Zeskit cable I purchased, so much so there's about a 10-20% loss in audio quality, hence the hesitation to commit to the BoomPro permanently.

To date, I've kept my Astro A50 MixAmp daisy-chained to the X7 via TOSlink and can simply swap between the X2 and A50 headsets when I want to chat. Whenever I do, I cringe at how poor quality Astro really is compared to audiophile-level gear.

Check out MadLustEnvy's gaming thread at http://www.head-fi.org/t/534479/mad-lust-envys-headphone-gaming-guide-5-31-2015-beyer-cop-and-shure-1540-added. Weigh up the pros and cons of each headset and you'll find the answer.

I did a tonne of research before settling firstly on the X2, then on the X7 DAC. I wanted an all-rounder set of cans with a solid soundstage for gaming positional cues, but also with the capacity to extend to music and movies. You'll find it very hard to beat the X2 for the price and they come very highly recommended by a lot of folks at Head-Fi. The build quality is excellent, as is comfort, as is soundstage and the X2 pairs exceptionally well with VSS, which makes up lost ground to detail-whoring cans like AD700.

The difference between connecting the X2 to a MixAmp or piping it through the X7 DAC is night and day - I would not game without Dolby Digital for positional cues (both X7 and MixAmp support DD) regardless of headphones, yet the X7 makes a joke of the MixAmp. The X7 will drive any cans up to 600 ohm. The X2 is only 30 ohm, so the MixAmp will handle it, but I found that I had to max the MixAmp's volume and it still came up way short of the X7.

My audio setup is pretty much at the end-game (once I get the BoomPro working which will penalise audio quality, so I'm not settled on it yet) and I have no need to upgrade to anything else, regardless of price-range. I also looked at Senn, AT and AKG based on soundstage alone, but each model of equivalent or lesser price to the X2 had issues, like fragility, or comfort, or were just plain butt-ugly. I strongly considered AD700X and K701, but the comfort is seemingly "love them or hate them..." and usefulness restricted to detail-whoring, whereas I wanted immersion and depth as well as positional cues for gaming.
« Last Edit: 04:17 PM - 09/13/15 by antithesis »

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Offline 3MIX_Edge

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Re: Some help with a new headset and possible AMP? PS4/XO
« Reply #3 on: 10:34 PM - 09/13/15 »
Creative Sound Blaster X7. Philips Fidelio X2. Best pairing ever, I couldn't be happier with the purchase. They make my Astro A50s sound like el-cheapo tinker-toys by comparison. I also own the original MixAmp and wireless MixAmp 5.8 - neither have been touched since purchasing the X7.

If you want to chat, add a V-Moda BoomPro and Creative BT-W2 to connect the mic to console via BlueTooth. I'm yet to buy the BT-W2 but will soon and will post my thoughts. I can however state that the BoomPro's 3.5mm stereo audio cable to connect the X2 to the X7 is of lesser quality than the Zeskit cable I purchased, so much so there's about a 10-20% loss in audio quality, hence the hesitation to commit to the BoomPro permanently.

To date, I've kept my Astro A50 MixAmp daisy-chained to the X7 via TOSlink and can simply swap between the X2 and A50 headsets when I want to chat. Whenever I do, I cringe at how poor quality Astro really is compared to audiophile-level gear.

Check out MadLustEnvy's gaming thread at http://www.head-fi.org/t/534479/mad-lust-envys-headphone-gaming-guide-5-31-2015-beyer-cop-and-shure-1540-added. Weigh up the pros and cons of each headset and you'll find the answer.

I did a tonne of research before settling firstly on the X2, then on the X7 DAC. I wanted an all-rounder set of cans with a solid soundstage for gaming positional cues, but also with the capacity to extend to music and movies. You'll find it very hard to beat the X2 for the price and they come very highly recommended by a lot of folks at Head-Fi. The build quality is excellent, as is comfort, as is soundstage and the X2 pairs exceptionally well with VSS, which makes up lost ground to detail-whoring cans like AD700.

The difference between connecting the X2 to a MixAmp or piping it through the X7 DAC is night and day - I would not game without Dolby Digital for positional cues (both X7 and MixAmp support DD) regardless of headphones, yet the X7 makes a joke of the MixAmp. The X7 will drive any cans up to 600 ohm. The X2 is only 30 ohm, so the MixAmp will handle it, but I found that I had to max the MixAmp's volume and it still came up way short of the X7.

My audio setup is pretty much at the end-game (once I get the BoomPro working which will penalise audio quality, so I'm not settled on it yet) and I have no need to upgrade to anything else, regardless of price-range. I also looked at Senn, AT and AKG based on soundstage alone, but each model of equivalent or lesser price to the X2 had issues, like fragility, or comfort, or were just plain butt-ugly. I strongly considered AD700X and K701, but the comfort is seemingly "love them or hate them..." and usefulness restricted to detail-whoring, whereas I wanted immersion and depth as well as positional cues for gaming.

Thanks for the feedback, sadly both those items would cost me $1,000 Australian dollars and that's about what I paid for the XO and PS4 combined.

Do you hear enemy footsteps in Advanced Warfare with that combination, I can hear team mates footsteps easily, as well as my own but I was wondering because if there's a lower classed Sound Blaster (than the X7) that would still drive the X2's I'd consider it perhaps...
Be humble

Offline xSundown

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Re: Some help with a new headset and possible AMP? PS4/XO
« Reply #4 on: 10:38 PM - 09/13/15 »
I can hear all that you posted with the Sennheiser HD558's. The thing is that the mixamp us utter trash. I tried using it, picking up the astro a40's with mixamp 2013 or 2014 pro edition or some @#$%. $70 through a price match and quite frankly. The entire astro a40 package isn't even worth that... Marketing is great though. Casuals SOAK it up.

Anyway, I can talk about that all night and day. The mixamp causes audio to sound unclear, distortion, and all that nonsense. I have better sound coming out of my samsung galaxy s3...

OP. Pick yourself up a nice amp/dac. Or even a PC soundcard with optical input. Just make sure that soundcard has  volume adjustments for the optical signal input if you go that route. I have the Philips Fidelio X2, HD700, and tried numerous of other headphones. The HD558's are hard to beat for price and sound quality.

Your ADG1's should be based off the AD700X (Black) Which sound very good as well. However you're feeding them a @#$% input source. Have you tried connecting your headphones into your phone (samsung galaxy, htc, and iphones) have great sq. If so, listen to yours, or anothers recorded gameplay. You can hear what you're wanting. I have mine plugged into a Denon AVR and powers my headphones fine. I've had the AD900X and they sound pretty similar to the HD558. If I can hear things with a cheaper headphone, with less soundstage, you must be using a weak signal input source such as that mixamp. Hell. Even plugging the Astro A40's into the pc headphone realtek input sounded much better than the mixamp lol. Try that.
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Offline 3MIX_Edge

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Re: Some help with a new headset and possible AMP? PS4/XO
« Reply #5 on: 10:51 PM - 09/13/15 »
I can hear all that you posted with the Sennheiser HD558's. The thing is that the mixamp us utter trash. I tried using it, picking up the astro a40's with mixamp 2013 or 2014 pro edition or some @#$%. $70 through a price match and quite frankly. The entire astro a40 package isn't even worth that... Marketing is great though. Casuals SOAK it up.

Anyway, I can talk about that all night and day. The mixamp causes audio to sound unclear, distortion, and all that nonsense. I have better sound coming out of my samsung galaxy s3...

OP. Pick yourself up a nice amp/dac. Or even a PC soundcard with optical input. Just make sure that soundcard has  volume adjustments for the optical signal input if you go that route. I have the Philips Fidelio X2, HD700, and tried numerous of other headphones. The HD558's are hard to beat for price and sound quality.

Your ADG1's should be based off the AD700X (Black) Which sound very good as well. However you're feeding them a @#$% input source. Have you tried connecting your headphones into your phone (samsung galaxy, htc, and iphones) have great sq. If so, listen to yours, or anothers recorded gameplay. You can hear what you're wanting. I have mine plugged into a Denon AVR and powers my headphones fine. I've had the AD900X and they sound pretty similar to the HD558. If I can hear things with a cheaper headphone, with less soundstage, you must be using a weak signal input source such as that mixamp. Hell. Even plugging the Astro A40's into the pc headphone realtek input sounded much better than the mixamp lol. Try that.

I've spent a couple of hours looking around online for an AMP/DAC and I'm not sure if i should go all out and get myself a DAC, AMP and even an EQ for extra tinkering... lol ~ I've gone crazy. :D

Right now I'm just thinking, what about getting a DAC/AMP and testing it with my ADG1's and if I see an obvious improvement but not enough, then fork out some more cash on either the Fidelio X2's or maybe even higher end Sennheisers?

This was the DAC/AMP I had in mind.
https://www.asus.com/Sound/Xonar_Essence_STU/
« Last Edit: 07:59 AM - 09/14/15 by 3MIX_Edge »
Be humble

Offline xSundown

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Re: Some help with a new headset and possible AMP? PS4/XO
« Reply #6 on: 05:21 PM - 09/14/15 »
I can hear all that you posted with the Sennheiser HD558's. The thing is that the mixamp us utter trash. I tried using it, picking up the astro a40's with mixamp 2013 or 2014 pro edition or some @#$%. $70 through a price match and quite frankly. The entire astro a40 package isn't even worth that... Marketing is great though. Casuals SOAK it up.

Anyway, I can talk about that all night and day. The mixamp causes audio to sound unclear, distortion, and all that nonsense. I have better sound coming out of my samsung galaxy s3...

OP. Pick yourself up a nice amp/dac. Or even a PC soundcard with optical input. Just make sure that soundcard has  volume adjustments for the optical signal input if you go that route. I have the Philips Fidelio X2, HD700, and tried numerous of other headphones. The HD558's are hard to beat for price and sound quality.

Your ADG1's should be based off the AD700X (Black) Which sound very good as well. However you're feeding them a @#$% input source. Have you tried connecting your headphones into your phone (samsung galaxy, htc, and iphones) have great sq. If so, listen to yours, or anothers recorded gameplay. You can hear what you're wanting. I have mine plugged into a Denon AVR and powers my headphones fine. I've had the AD900X and they sound pretty similar to the HD558. If I can hear things with a cheaper headphone, with less soundstage, you must be using a weak signal input source such as that mixamp. Hell. Even plugging the Astro A40's into the pc headphone realtek input sounded much better than the mixamp lol. Try that.

I've spent a couple of hours looking around online for an AMP/DAC and I'm not sure if i should go all out and get myself a DAC, AMP and even an EQ for extra tinkering... lol ~ I've gone crazy. :D

Right now I'm just thinking, what about getting a DAC/AMP and testing it with my ADG1's and if I see an obvious improvement but not enough, then fork out some more cash on either the Fidelio X2's or maybe even higher end Sennheisers?

This was the DAC/AMP I had in mind.
https://www.asus.com/Sound/Xonar_Essence_STU/

Sure. Plug the headphones into the amp/dac and plug the microphone part in where ever you need to for the console to hear it. You won't be disappointed. There are a variety of amp/dac's for all price ranges. Check out head-fi for a community all about headphones. :)
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Offline antithesis

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Re: Some help with a new headset and possible AMP? PS4/XO
« Reply #7 on: 09:18 PM - 09/14/15 »
Thanks for the feedback, sadly both those items would cost me $1,000 Australian dollars and that's about what I paid for the XO and PS4 combined.

Do you hear enemy footsteps in Advanced Warfare with that combination, I can hear team mates footsteps easily, as well as my own but I was wondering because if there's a lower classed Sound Blaster (than the X7) that would still drive the X2's I'd consider it perhaps...

I'm in Australia too. I've spent far more than a grand on decent screens over the years, but you're only getting half the experience by short-changing the audio. The way I saw it, spending $1000 on a solid set of headphones, AMP and DAC is not only a good investment in my entertainment, but also in my sanity. After a hard day's work of dealing with idiots, I need to shut my brain down for a couple of hours just to start feeling 'normal' again.

I wear my X2s for up to 8 hours a day (I work from home), not only because I have 4 sleeping kids to consider at night, but I want the sense of immersion you just can't get without a good set of cans on your melon. I also suffer from tinnitus after years of working in nightclubs in my early 20s and it helps to have any form of audio take the edge off the constant ringing in my ears. The X7 + X2 combo causes zero aggravation with no underlying hiss or other background noise.

On the DAC / AMP front, I tossed up between a Magni Shiit stack and the Creative X7 before deciding that the X7 offered a better overall package more tailored to gaming. My Mac, PC, consoles and TV all pipe through the X7, then out to X2 headphones and a set of 5.1 Logitech Z5500 speakers (I only use them when home alone). I can also connect to the X7 via BlueTooth to stream from my iPad and iPhone. That's a lot of flexibility for a little box.

If you don't want to spend that much, maybe wait for the Sound BlasterX G5. It will support 7.1 VSS, whereas the older E5 is stereo only. The difference between 5.1 and 7.1 is software-based and negligible at best - I get better positional cues using the 5.1 X7 than the 7.1 MixAmps due to the much larger and cleaner soundstage.

The risk of the G5 is you'll get a taste for something better and will want to upgrade to the X7, so maybe just bite the bullet and get the best possible solution up-front. Or buy the X7 from a local PC store (use www.staticice.com.au for price comparisons) and return it if you don't like it. It took me a few days of tinkering to get the X7 to play friendly, but all issues were ultimately solved by updating the firmware.

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Offline 3MIX_Edge

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Re: Some help with a new headset and possible AMP? PS4/XO
« Reply #8 on: 01:06 AM - 09/15/15 »
Thanks for the feedback, sadly both those items would cost me $1,000 Australian dollars and that's about what I paid for the XO and PS4 combined.

Do you hear enemy footsteps in Advanced Warfare with that combination, I can hear team mates footsteps easily, as well as my own but I was wondering because if there's a lower classed Sound Blaster (than the X7) that would still drive the X2's I'd consider it perhaps...

I'm in Australia too. I've spent far more than a grand on decent screens over the years, but you're only getting half the experience by short-changing the audio. The way I saw it, spending $1000 on a solid set of headphones, AMP and DAC is not only a good investment in my entertainment, but also in my sanity. After a hard day's work of dealing with idiots, I need to shut my brain down for a couple of hours just to start feeling 'normal' again.

I wear my X2s for up to 8 hours a day (I work from home), not only because I have 4 sleeping kids to consider at night, but I want the sense of immersion you just can't get without a good set of cans on your melon. I also suffer from tinnitus after years of working in nightclubs in my early 20s and it helps to have any form of audio take the edge off the constant ringing in my ears. The X7 + X2 combo causes zero aggravation with no underlying hiss or other background noise.

On the DAC / AMP front, I tossed up between a Magni Shiit stack and the Creative X7 before deciding that the X7 offered a better overall package more tailored to gaming. My Mac, PC, consoles and TV all pipe through the X7, then out to X2 headphones and a set of 5.1 Logitech Z5500 speakers (I only use them when home alone). I can also connect to the X7 via BlueTooth to stream from my iPad and iPhone. That's a lot of flexibility for a little box.

If you don't want to spend that much, maybe wait for the Sound BlasterX G5. It will support 7.1 VSS, whereas the older E5 is stereo only. The difference between 5.1 and 7.1 is software-based and negligible at best - I get better positional cues using the 5.1 X7 than the 7.1 MixAmps due to the much larger and cleaner soundstage.

The risk of the G5 is you'll get a taste for something better and will want to upgrade to the X7, so maybe just bite the bullet and get the best possible solution up-front. Or buy the X7 from a local PC store (use www.staticice.com.au for price comparisons) and return it if you don't like it. It took me a few days of tinkering to get the X7 to play friendly, but all issues were ultimately solved by updating the firmware.

You're tempting me so bad lol :)

How is the weight of the X2's as I read some people feel it's too heavy on their heads.

Any recommendations on who to buy the X2's from here in Australia?

I've seen thee guys here: http://www.expansys.com.au/philips-fidelio-x2-headphones-black-279425/ $372 and shipping is free they claim.

The X7 shows it's selling for $645 and although you're certain on its cabailities I really have never heard them in action to warrant the steep price, I really want to be able to hear the enemy footsteps from far distances and the inability to hear my enemies in Advanced Warfare drives me nuts.
Be humble

Offline antithesis

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Re: Some help with a new headset and possible AMP? PS4/XO
« Reply #9 on: 01:21 AM - 09/15/15 »
You're tempting me so bad lol :)

How is the weight of the X2's as I read some people feel it's too heavy on their heads.

Any recommendations on who to buy the X2's from here in Australia?

I've seen thee guys here: http://www.expansys.com.au/philips-fidelio-x2-headphones-black-279425/ $372 and shipping is free they claim.

The X7 shows it's selling for $645 and although you're certain on its cabailities I really have never heard them in action to warrant the steep price, I really want to be able to hear the enemy footsteps from far distances and the inability to hear my enemies in Advanced Warfare drives me nuts.

The X2s are very, very comfortable. Anyone who complains about the weight must have an eggshell for a head.

I imported my X2s from Amazon for about $450 AU inc shipping, so you're getting a good price there.

$645 is too much for the X7. I think I bought mine for around $550. There is no better AMP/DAC for gaming for the price. I was very hesitant to spend that much money, but 5 months down the track and I don't regret it for a second, after some initial teething issues. Just compare it to the cost of a video card for a PC and it takes the sting out of it ;)

The only thing I didn't like about the X7 is the flimsy coathanger-like headphone stand on the top. I threw that straight in the bin and used the headphone stand I bought from Astro years ago instead.

I've recently been tempted to get one of these to hang under my desk - https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00P31BMHG/ref=ox_sc_sfl_title_3?ie=UTF8&psc=1&smid=A28Q38CRNPX1WD

Sound-whoring is going to be game-dependant. All I can really say is the X7 slays the MixAmp and I've been using MixAmps happily for years. To make the most of the X7, you'll need to ensure Dolby Digital is being passed from the console to the X7.

Creative's SBX VSS engine can be stacked on top of DD to customise your soundstage even further. I haven't found Scout Mode particularly useful, but that's another option on the X7 (apparently you can hear enemies from further away), along with an Equalizer I've never bothered touching.

And before I forget, the X7 will happily mix multiple audio sources - I frequently listen to music or a Twitch stream or watch a YouTube video on Mac while gaming on console and don't need to switch between sources.
« Last Edit: 01:32 AM - 09/15/15 by antithesis »

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Offline 3MIX_Edge

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Re: Some help with a new headset and possible AMP? PS4/XO
« Reply #10 on: 02:22 AM - 09/15/15 »
Where did you buy it from for $550?

Forgive the ignorance, but is Creative's SBX VSS engine a hardware or software addition?
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Offline antithesis

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Re: Some help with a new headset and possible AMP? PS4/XO
« Reply #11 on: 04:06 AM - 09/15/15 »
Where did you buy it from for $550?

Forgive the ignorance, but is Creative's SBX VSS engine a hardware or software addition?

I'm assuming SBX is software-based given it's virtual surround sound, but it's on the X7 hardware. You can turn any of their surround sound stuff on or off, including Dolby Digital (on-board decoder), SBX and Scout Mode. SBX and Scout Mode is one or the other, but both stack with DD.

I bought my X7 from www.gamedude.com.au. Just checked the price and it's $595 there, but I vaguely recall picking it up on sale.

Static Ice has almost nothing listed for the X7 and it's all more expensively priced. Shop around and you'll find it cheaper.

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Offline 3MIX_Edge

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Re: Some help with a new headset and possible AMP? PS4/XO
« Reply #12 on: 05:16 AM - 09/15/15 »
Thanks a lot mate, I mean it, I appreciate your and xSundown's help a lot.
 
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Offline 3MIX_Edge

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Re: Some help with a new headset and possible AMP? PS4/XO
« Reply #13 on: 02:22 AM - 09/22/15 »
Next week I should have enough cash to order me the headphones and SB X7.

I wanted to ask if the flashing of firmware was difficult with the X7?
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Offline xSundown

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Re: Some help with a new headset and possible AMP? PS4/XO
« Reply #14 on: 04:52 AM - 09/22/15 »
Next week I should have enough cash to order me the headphones and SB X7.

I wanted to ask if the flashing of firmware was difficult with the X7?

I received some Philips SHP9500's last night. I have to say, the sound is much clearer than the HD558's I recommended. They're cheaper, but not as comfortable.

I also have the X2's. Not sure if I mentioned it. They're great as well, but for $80 for the SHP9500's vs $300 for the X2's.. the 9500's are a better buy. Comfort is good with the x2's, just a bit heavy, and ink bleed from pad dye on my set. ehh

Here are forums to talk about such things.
https://www.reddit.com/r/ZReviews/
https://www.reddit.com/r/headphones/
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