New budget "gaming" audio setup with upgradeability

Hey guys, first of all I’d like you to know that I’m new to this whole audio business so I don’t mind some critcism, any feedback is welcome.

I’ve finally decided to ditch my run-down Logitech G430 headset and invest in some better quality audio and after some digging I’ve come up with a setup that I think might work but I was wondering if I could get your opinions on it:

Decent pair of headphones + V-moda BoomPro addon mic + Behringer um2 or umc202hd

These are some the headphone options I have in Mexico:


  • Philips SHP9500 - $ 81.67 (Aliexpress)
  • PHILIPS X2HR Fidelio - $ 159.00 (JOYBUY)
  • Superlux HD668B - $ 36.99 (Aliexpress) Not compatible with mic addon
  • Sennheiser HD 598 SR - $ 128 (Amazon MX)
  • Audio Technica ATH-AD700X - $ 134 (Amazon MX)
  • Audio Technica ATH-AD500X - $85 (Amazon MX)
  • Fostex T50RP MK 3 - $ 150 (Amazon MX)
  • AKG K240 - $ 60 (Amazon MX)


  • Audio Technica ATH-M30X - $ 64 (Amazon MX)
  • Audio Technica ATH-M40X - $ 107 (Amazon MX)
  • AKG K92 - $ 62 (Amazon MX)

From what I´ve found, I think a pair of open air headphones with a good balanced soundtage would be the best and I’m mostly going for price to performance.

The idea is to be able to buy a condenser mic (like a AT2020 or AT2035) later down the line and not have to buy more equipment to drive it, until then I’d be using an audio interface as a DAC and plugging the mic directly to the PC. Will the um2 suffice or is the step-up to the umc202hd or some other interface worth it?

The G430’s are pretty bad even among gaming headsets and I don’t recommend anyone buying them but the one thing I liked about them was the surround sound they had with the included soundcard dongle thingy. Is there a viable way to add “digital” surround sound to this setup? I know there is software out there that serves this purpose like razer surround or dolby access but I was wondering if it’s possible to use them with a USB audio interface in between the PC and the headphones?

I’ve never messed with this kind of equipment so nothing is set on stone and I’d aprecciate if you pointed out any noob mistakes I might be making.

If you’re going to get a condenser mic at some point in the future, it might be worth having a look at USB versions, like the Audio Technica AT2020USB Plus, or Rode NT-USB. It would save you needing to get a general audio interface, and you could get an amp/DAC focused on just driving the headphones.

Personally, I’d stay away from any sort of digital surround software. Most games’ stereo headphone audio option makes the audio appear directional, anyway.

I sat and typed up a whole big thing, and JUST noticed, you can Fidelio’s for $159…do that.

I havent tried the new ones, but the old X2s were AWESOME, and they’re compatible with a boom pro.

If you don’t go that route, next on my list would be the AD700Xs followed by the 598s.

Didn’t know there was a USB version, it does seem like it would save me the hasssle but it’s $213 on Amazon MX and then I’d have to look into buying a DAC, as where the regular 2020 is only $75 and the UMC202HD is 70$, so it seems to me like I’d be paying more and getting less. You think the UMC202HD will be able to drive something like the Fidelio’s or do I need to look into buying a DAC anyways?

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My Dell laptop was able to run them fine. You should be fine without an amp/with the audio interface.

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I have the AudioTechnica ATH-AD500X on as I type this. Super comfortable, they feel much lighter than most other headphones. For $85, probably the best among the open back phones. If you want to invest more, go for the 700X.

Closed back, I have the ATH-M40X, they are decent.
Judging by the looks, the AKG K-92 are similar to the K-72 (wich I have listened to), meaning they will feel okay (a bit heavier than the ATH-AD500X) and sound thinner than the M40X or AD500X.
Here the AKG-K92 cost half of the ATH-M40X, wich is justified.

Audiointerface wise, Behringer is not the best, but price/performance is spot on (most of the time). The layout of the UMC202HD makes sense, if you ever used an interface, you will find your way round without looking in the manual.

USB mics are fine, however the instant monitoring of an audio interface comes in handy from time to time.

Heres the link to the $159 Fidelios BTW they have global free shipping but really long times…

The ATH-AD500X seem nice but after taking a closer look it seems like the wire is fixed which makes them incompatible with he BoomPro, you’ve had any experience with the Fidelio’s? Because for $159 I could buy both the AD500x’s and the AT2020.

I don´t think I ever had a headphone by Philips in hand.

If boom pro is a requirement, both the open back ATs are a no go, and the 598s have a locking connector that’ll also have issues.

T50RP (my current daily drivers) are also incompatible.

Well, I ordered the Fidelios and will be buying the boompro and umc202hd on black friday, hopefully at a discount.
Thanks for all of your feedback, I will be posting an update once everything gets here.