Virtual surround headsets feature ear cups that cover the entire ear. This type of headset uses only two discrete speakers, one on each ear cup, to create surround sound. Virtual surround headsets tend to have higher-end driver components which experts and consumers believe to be more durable, as well as have larger speakers which deliver more powerful and dynamic sound quality. Virtual surround headset achieves surround sound by using external or internal pre-amplifier or mix-amplifier modules, as well as several different algorithms, to convert stereo or surround sound signals into surround sound. The sound is divided and sectioned so as to deliver it in such a way that it creates an auditory landscape, thereby producing surround sound.
The SteelSeries Arctis 7 is the complete package; a well-made, super-comfy wireless headset with 7.1 surround sound that lets you attach a 3.5mm cable so you can use it with other devices as well. You don't get the surround sound unless you're using a PC, but we all know it's the superior gaming platform anyway **sniff**. It fits snugly on your head with a unique "ski goggle" band, and you can even buy replacements bands with different colors and patterns to customize things a bit.
Aside from those models, the list of headsets that we chose not to test is too long to spell out in much detail. Broadly speaking, we avoided models from Arctic, Asus, CM Storm, Corsair, Gamdias, Klipsch, PDP, Polk, Roccat, Rosewill, and Tritton, as well as other models from companies included in our roundup due to issues with performance, build quality, and comfort raised in professional reviews, owner reviews, and forum discussions.
Voyager 6200 UC is a Bluetooth® neckband headset with earbuds that has the versatility to go beyond the office. Transitioning to your next conversation is easy: Connect with colleagues working remotely, listen to music to focus distraction-free or drop an earbud to tune in to the conversation around you. You can count on Voyager 6200 UC for outstanding audio every time.
While it isn’t perfect, the new HyperX Cloud Flight is our new top pick for cable-haters for a number of reasons. It delivers good audio performance, fantastic range, exceptional comfort, fantastic battery life, and simple setup. We would prefer to see more intuitive controls, as well as audible notifications for things like battery life, and the lack of a replaceable battery is a bit of a bummer. But the pros outweigh the cons with this one, especially for the price.
As for audio fidelity? It’s not quite equal to the G933, but the differences are minimal. The G533 lacks a bit of oomph, especially at lower volumes, and its 7.1 support is subpar. Those are hardly reasons to stay away, though—most people will run the headset loud enough to counteract the headset’s lack of presence, and virtual 7.1 is (in my opinion) pretty much always bad. The G533 is worse than the average, but the average is still something I choose to avoid day-to-day.
We also found this model less fatiguing for long gaming sessions than any other headset in its price range. Only the more expensive Sennheiser Game One seriously outmatched it in that regard. The HyperX Cloud features genuine viscoelastic memory foam in its earpads (both the leatherette and velour options), not the cheaper foam found in many other headsets and headphones. Our panel agreed that having a choice between the two kinds (and the ability to so easily switch them) was a nice touch. And neither of the HyperX Cloud’s earpad sets caused me any amount of appreciable discomfort when I wore my thick, cellulose-acetate-framed glasses, whereas many of the other headsets in our roundup did. Even the company’s new HyperX Cloud Alpha, which bests the Cloud in terms of bass performance and aesthetics, is no match for the original in terms of long-term comfort.
Whilst you might expect some sacrifices at £35 it didn't feel like that with the audio quality. Across all types such as music, movies and gaming the audio sounded very good indeed. On one of our favourite piano based tracks (from Lost) we could even pick up the sound of the pedals on the piano which we can't recall hearing before. Bass is present without being overpowering and we have to admit to being pleasantly surprised at just how good the audio sounds.
The Arctis 7 is more expensive than other wireless gaming headsets on this list, but it does come with a couple of extra handy features, such as its ChatMix slider. This lets you filter out all game music to focus solely on your multiplayer chat, and it works vice-versa as well, helping you drown out those screaming 11-year-olds who can’t believe you didn’t make that headshot from half way across the map.
Even without the benefit of surround sound, the HyperX Cloud did an admirable job of creating a nice sense of space for all of our games. With shooters such as Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus, Star Wars Battlefront 2, Doom, and Dishonored 2, I always felt like I had a good idea of where my enemies were and in which direction I needed to focus my attention. The addition of Razer Surround software (which we discuss in detail below) enhanced that effect even more.
This is great if you already own lots of Hi-Res audio tracks or subscribe to something like Tidal, but as for gaming… it’s currently unknown how many, if any, actually support Hi-Res audio or whether you get any extra benefit over non-Hi-Res audio headsets. Personally, I’ve never been able to tell the difference between Hi-Res and CD, and that’s after multiple demos and tech PRs doing their darnedest to convince me otherwise. As a result, it’s probably worth it if you’re into Hi-Res audio stuff outside of gaming, but don’t go paying extra if you’re only going to be using it for games.
Many of the differences between gaming headsets have to deal with comfort, or cosmetics as opposed to function; and anyone looking for in-depth reviews is already past the point of merely looking for a general something to fulfill a general function. They want something specific, that does specific things very well. The point is that the base technology to communicate through video games, to immerse oneself in a virtual experience, and to do so simultaneously with remote players is already here.
Beyerdynamic’s Custom Game is a delicious sounding headset that’s second only to the Sennheiser Game One in terms of detail and spaciousness. It delivers wonderfully dynamic sound, with bass that can be acoustically tuned via sliders on each ear cup. While we still prefer the sound of the Game One overall, if you tend to game with other people in the room and you don’t want them hearing what you’re playing, this one is a great alternative.
Their battery life is very good, but somewhat situational; if the LEDs are turned off they have almost 30 hours of continuous playback and can recharge in as little as 3.6 hours. However, with the LED on, you will only get about 12 hours at most. On the upside, they have a good wireless range and very low latency (20ms), great for gaming and watching videos.
While we have dedicated lists for the best PlayStation 4 headsets and Xbox One headsets, we don’t have one for Nintendo Switch. There’s a reason for that: Using a headset with the Nintendo Switch can be a bit of a mess. Sure, you can plug in any pair of headphones (rather than a headset), or even sync up a Bluetooth pair, but the Switch’s lack of an on-console voice chat function renders the headset question moot — if you can’t use the mic, then why bother? In order to use voice chat at all, you must download an app for your smartphone. Then you’ll need to connect to both the Switch and your smartphone via a splitter. This can result in a tangled mess.