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Headphone Sessions 12/20/2011: beyerdynamic MMX 2

Budget gamers rejoice! beyerdynamic has created one of the best sub-$100 gaming headsets around. The lightweight on-ear fit of the MMX 2 provides amazing detail and clarity while still hammering you with a nice, tight bass response. Plush velour pads for maximum ear comfort plus fully adjustable mic that can swing out of the way when feeling not so chatty. All this for under $100, so bring it on! In essence, the beyerdynamic MMX 2 is a replica of the beyerdynamic DT 235 sealed headphone, plus added microphone feature. Considering the historically solid reviews of the DT 235, no wonder the MMX 2 is a big winner. Easily the MMX 2’s most salient point remains the amazing clarity and sonic detail in the upper frequencies. In fact, it’s hard to find many audiophile headphones with this much detail at this nice price. On the very uppermost frequencies, the sound is slightly rolled-off, making them appealingly smooth. This also prevents listening fatigue during long gaming sessions late into the night/early morning. Mid-range response is exceptional with a very natural tone. In fact, the MMX 2 offers near-perfect mids which provide a present and luscious feel to the overall tone. The bass of the MMX 2 also delivers serious slam, but stays fairly well-controlled. It can occasionally get a bit boomy and almost overwhelming, but those are good times when bombs are exploding or mass chaos erupts during a game. Some hardcore gamers may find the bass a bit much if you want less distraction during extra-intense head-to-head online matches. But we feel the sound of the MMX 2 should suit most gamers needs very well.

[caption id="attachment_2314" align="aligncenter" width="480" caption="beyerdynamic MMX 2"] beyerdynamic MMX 2[/caption]

Can this be a perfect headset? Well no, sorry beyerdynamic. It’s definitely not the sexiest headset around, but the fit ergonomics are possibly the biggest downfall. Velour earpads are soft enough, but the small, reverse-teardrop ear cup shape just won’t fit most larger-eared gamers very well. Isolation is not particularly strong since the MMX 2 are not 'full-size' headphones but a true 'earpad' on-ear size, so noise-blocking can be affected if the fit isn’t just right. The non-adjustable headband doesn't really help matters. Right out of the box, there can be a noticeable clamping effect on your head; some break-in should help them become much more comfortable with time. The only other issue we ran into is the fact these headphones are quite power-hungry for a such a low impedance can. The impedance is rated at 32 Ohms while the sensitivity is 110dB . Even though these numbers suggest the MMX2 to be an efficient headset, we found they need a significant amount of power to drive them properly. Right out of the computer at close to maximum volume, the sound still felt a bit dry and the bass just didn't hit those lowest notes. But give the MMX 2 a little extra power reserves from a dedicated headphone amp and listen to them kick noob tail! It’s hard to find such good sonic qualities in gaming headsets these days. Good thing long-time headphone maker beyerdynamic came along and filled that gap with the MMX 2. It may not be beautiful, but for amazing detail, natural mid-range, and tight punchy bass all in a gaming headset, it exceeds expectations... So what are you waiting for gamers, game on!

NOTE: PS3 / XBox CONNECTIVITY DISCLAIMER!

If buying the beyerdynamic MMX 2 headset for use with Sony PS3 or Xbox 360, prepare to be slightly disappointed. Plugging the supplied USB device into your PS3 -- or the headphone outputs into your Xbox controller -- will only provide the voice chat of other online players. It does NOT send the game soundtrack audio to the headphones. They only way to hear the actual game audio is to use a headphone amp and the composite (red/white) audio output from your console. Or the better option is to use the optical digital output of your console to a DAC/headphone amp for best sound quality. Some hardcore gamers take things even further and add a second headphone amp to combine the chat audio into the game audio for the very best seamless audio experience.

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