With a decent mic, one of the strongest wireless signals in its price range, and a very rich-sounding default audio, the ManO’War 7.1 from Razer really curb-stomps most of the competition. You get virtual 7.1 surround sound, custom EQ options, and a retractable mic. That mic doesn’t sound as good as the HyperX Cloud Alpha, but is still solid - and easy to position. And as a whole, the headset is noticeably comfortable, thanks to its huge leatherette ear cups. More cushion, however, inevitably leads to more pushing in terms of size and weight, and after extended periods the plush leatherette cups became hot and sweaty. This is definitely in-part due to the round shape of the cans, something the Logitech G430 (below) avoids for considerably less cash. Keep that in mind when you buy.
Hi-Res audio isn’t the be all and end all for games at the moment (see our buying guide below for more info), but if you’ve got lots of Hi-Res audio tracks that you listen to at home or subscribe to services like Tidal, this could be a handy solution that meets both your home and game listening needs without having to buy a second pair of headphones.
Digging through the hundreds of currently available gaming headsets in search of the right model is a daunting task. I know this because it took me more than 40 hours just to compile a list of currently sold gaming headsets and weed out the obvious losers by reading owner reviews on Amazon.com and posts on /r/pcgaming. I then turned to expert sources such as Tom’s Guide, Digital Trends, PCWorld, PCMag, TechRadar, and the forums at Head-Fi.org for help in whittling down the 237 potential candidates to the 37 headsets we listened to in the first round of testing in 2015, plus another 12 in 2016, 11 new models at the beginning of 2017, and 10 at the beginning of 2018.
A year old now, and surpassed by the far superior Arctis Pro - but still well worth picking up. With amazing audio out the box and complete EQ customization available through the SteelSeries Engine 3 software, you can tell from the first utterance of noise that you’re on to a good thing. The surround sound packs an immersive, directional punch, and while music sounds impressive, setting up some EQ profiles really unlocks the unit’s potential. Stick to stereo though, as the DTS surround made directional noise harder to pinpoint. No competition for the Astro A50’s Dolby 7.1 solution.
Flawless wireless functionality is just the tip of the iceberg for the SteelSeries Arctis 7. This attractive headset boasts excellent sound, deep customization features and an innovative headband that assures a perfect fit every time. You can also hook up the Arctis 7 to mobile devices via a 3.5 mm audio cable. No matter your platform or your genre preferences, the Arctis 7 is one of the best choices for it.
The Razer Synapse software felt intuitive with familiar presets making it clear how to achieve the sound you want and the ability to individually control the type of sound and volume in each program was a nice touch. With a $110 Amazon price at the time of writing, the ManO’War isn’t pulling any punches. But it’s swings and roundabouts when looking at the ManO’War’s build quality. It feel’s surprisingly light for its chunky design, which although not necessarily a bad thing on its own, started to concern us when we realised how much flex there was in the frame. It lacks the solid feel that companies like Sennheiser are able to deliver on the Sennheiser PC 373D. We wish Razer had swapped the RGB lighting out for a 3.5mm jack or a more slim line design. Still, for the price - and if you don’t mind the chunkier design and lack of a hardwire option- the ManO’War could be the one to lead you to victory.
The Logitech G35 Surround Sound Headset and G430 Surround Sound Gaming Headset were among the first models we researched for this guide, since my wife and I have owned them for years. The two of us agreed that we would trade them for the HyperX Cloud and HyperX Cloud Stinger, respectively, due to those models’ superior audio and build quality, even though both Logitech headsets boast superior microphones.
We liked a lot of things about this headset, one of which was the simple design of the audio connections. The Turtle Beach Elite Pro Professional headset boasts a long cable which made it comfortable to use. It connects to the headset via a micro-USB jack on the cable meaning that if the cable gets snagged on anything (your chair, for example) then it will simply disconnect itself rather than risking damaging the headset connection. This sort of simple design feature is very welcome in our opinion as it's not only comfortable, it's practical.
The advantages of having a gaming headset may be pretty apparent, but to introduce our article we thought we’d give some thoughts. For one thing, you obviously need some sound to hear the footsteps of those enemies. You’ve also got that microphone handy to communicate with your team (or enemies!), which is obviously the biggest component of multi-player games. Having a gaming headset for your adventures is pretty self-explanatory when it comes to benefits, but what about investing in a headset that’s above the norm for a few more dollars?
The SteelSeries Arctis Pro features premium drivers which the company claim are capable of delivering double the audio range of most standard headsets (at 40,000Hz). This has a number of implications in the use of this headset. Firstly, if you're a PC gamer this means that you can dive into the settings on the GameDAC (Digital Audio Converter) and switch over to Hi-Res audio. Doing this means the little control box then does the leg work and transforms sound into High-fidelity 96kHZ/24-bit audio. You can then open up Windows sound settings and see the full glory of the high-end audio.
For under $200, you aren’t going to find a better gaming headset. We’ll go further: you aren’t going to find a better gaming headset anywhere. The Cloud Revolver S - which feels like the culmination of everything HyperX has released - is almost unbeatable. Only the SteelSeries Arctis Pro comes close. You could argue for either of them, but this is our pick, and we stand by it.
I assumed at first that this effect would be a major downer for our testers, but we all ended up loving this aspect of the Game One. Sounds from around the house didn’t end up being nearly the distraction I worried they would. When we played games, we couldn’t hear the air conditioner, for example, nor the ceiling fan in my office. We could, on the other hand, hear the ringing of the phone or a knock at the front door. In other words, the only things that really distracted us from our gaming experience were the things we actually wanted to be distracted by. Keep in mind, however, that your non-gamer housemates may be a little annoyed by the game sounds leaking out of your headset if they prefer absolute silence.
The sound quality is unbeatable at this price point. Directional noises are easy to pinpoint and bullets and explosions carry a certain amount of weight, however, the surround sound was less impressive and seemed thrown in. Custom EQing is available thanks to the Logitech Gaming Software, and although you can’t save individual profiles, it’s nice to see this feature included. HyperX Cloud Alpha take note. Music didn’t sound bad, but it wasn’t great. This could be fixed via EQ adjustment, and the lack of pre-set functionality makes it a chore. The mic quality is again unbeatable in this bracket, but with no noise cancellation those of you in noisy environments may lose steam friends quicker than you drop frames in Arma 3. That said, if you want a supremely comfortable, great sounding headset and mic for gaming at an unbeatable price, the G430 is a must buy.
From the company that brought you the Cloud Revolver, the Cloud Silver, the Cloud...you get the point. The Cloud Flight is wireless, but most importantly, it’s comfortable. Weighing in at a mere 10.6oz, and cushioned by the super plush, closed-back ear cups, the lightweight, all plastic design of the Flight is an absolute dream to wear. And as for battery life: provided you forego the questionable design choice of flashing LED lights (on an ear cup only the stationary in your room will see) you can expect up to thirty hours of audible pleasure. Choose not to forego the aforementioned, and your Flight will have to make an emergency landing after just thirteen. Splosh.
The Corsair HS70 is the best gaming headset available for less than £100. The headset is a breath of fresh air in the gaming market, which seems to be hell bent on adding RGB lighting and sharp corners to everything it can. It features a pleasingly unassuming, refined design and is one of a select few gaming headsets you’d be willing to wear in public.
These large round ear cups are designed to be comfortable and pleasant to wear, but they also give space to house the large 53mm stereo drivers. These drivers are where the action happens. They're designed to deliver an audio experience that's unparalleled and indeed, we were impressed with the quality of the sound coming of these cans. They open your ears to new sounds you might not have otherwise noticed in games and music and we couldn't help but be impressed with the quality of the sound, no matter what we were doing.