how is the sound compared to regular 5.1 speakers ? What make/model is good (for cost under1K$)?
A good set of headphones are great.... for stereo sound.
I'm not convinced that you can get the same 5.1 experience with headphones (even actual 5.1 headphones) than you can with speakers. And a lot of "surround sound" speakers use virtual surround sound, which games can go "lolnope" to it. I tried my Platronics GameCom with a few games and only Bioshock was convincing enough. Games like Half-Life 2 don't even support virtual surround sound.
Headphones were meant to listen to music and movies and gaming ones just make me chuckle inside.
And before you go "But you got a GameCom!"... I wanted headphones with a mic.
I disagree if you get good headphones with a good DAC/Amp it is basically like wall hacking in FPS games. This is a good guide for headphones: http://www.head-fi.org/t/534479/mad-lus ... q701-added
He just added his review of the Q701's which is what I use although I use a different DAC than him which is aimed more for audio http://www.ibasso.com/en/products/show.asp?ID=77
while he uses one aimed at gaming http://www.astrogaming.com/mixamp/mixamp-usb
. Although the Asus Xonar DX is also good it is noticeably less detailed than my iBasso but it does have the 5.1 emulation. What a lot of people do because the q701s like a lot of power to drive them is get a gaming card like the Xonar or an X-fi then go optical out to an dac/amp.
And if you want headphones with a mic then the Sennheiser pc360 are the only choice really but they are not the same quality as the AKGs. But I do have to warn you that AKGs are very detailed headphones and they reveal the faults in a lot of music files (especially mp3s) and for music that was horribly mastered. But for the most part you won't notice that. But I can play games and literally hear people walking around a room and know when to shoot before they even have a chance to see me in most games. But the problem with headphones after a certain price point is that you need to upgrade a lot of other components to actually use their full potential, even the AKGs will be limited somewhat by most pci-e soundcards.
And another thing to consider is that this is really pointless unless you play competitively, or are an audiophile, and even then you likely won't notice the differences, plus with these "studio" headphones you are really limited to where they can be used because of they are open and they need higher quality dacs and amps than you can find in most mobile gear (unless you feel like carrying around a brick with you). For general all around use I would probably get these headphones - http://www.crutchfield.com/p_039K550/AK ... l?tp=36775
portable, closed, made of metal.
TL;DR - Headphones are a bottomless rabbit hole with many factors that make it difficult to recommend a single pair. I recommend spending some time on head-fi if you actually want to invest in a good pair.