Of all the headsets we tried, the Razer Tiamat 7.1 created the most convincing surround experience, which didn’t surprise us since it includes five distinct drivers in each earcup: a 30 mm front-channel driver, a 30 mm center-channel driver, 20 mm surround and surround-back drivers, and a 40 mm low-frequency effects driver. Still, the surround-sound experience wasn’t entirely convincing, and the Tiamat 7.1 failed to create a satisfying front soundstage.
Wireless range is clearly another important factor when considering your headset purchase. SteelSeries say the Siberia 800 is capable of around 12 metres range, but in real world use we found it was more like five metres. This headset seems to struggle with passing through walls and floors where other wireless headsets we've tested managed just fine. This isn't necessarily an issue if you're gaming in a large room, but it is an issue if you want to carry on listening while you pop to the fridge for a snack or to the bathroom for a comfort break.
If you don't baulk at the price (as it's over £200), then the SteelSeries Siberia 800 should certainly be a consideration. In terms of wireless gaming headsets, this one is the cream of the crop. It's packed full of features, including cross-platform support for Xbox360/One, PS3/PS4 and mobile devices, as well as analogue, optical and USB inputs for PC that allow you to take advantage of the Dolby Digital and virtual surround sound processing power inside the box.
The first thing that strikes home about the Turtle Beach Elite Pro Professional headset is the build quality. There's a flex and bend here which allows it to fit nicely on your head. Incredibly deep leather earcups are supported by a large and comfortable headband which includes a tension adjustment system that allows you to tweak the way the headset hugs your head.
If you are on a tight budget and don't like the look or style of the HyperX Cloud Stinger, you should definitely check out the HS50 from Corsair. They are the same price as the HyperX Cloud Stinger, and extremely close in performance and comfort (for our reviewer it was as close as it gets in these type of comparisons). It's a stereo headset so there's no fancy surround sound, but that's typical at this price.
Although not technically a noise-cancelling headset, the design of the headset does deliver a passive noise-isolation which helps block out a lot of the external noise which might interrupt and ruin your gaming immersion. Another highlight of the design of the Turtle Beach Elite Pro Professional headset is the ProSpecs Glasses Relief System. This is a unique design we've not seen elsewhere, which allows you to adjust the fit of the earcups to create a small channel in the cushioning to account for the arms of your spectacles and reduce the pressure on your head as you game. A nice addition and an extra level of comfort.
Build quality also plays a part in our choices. If we’re going to invest our hard earned dollars into something, we expect a return. A big one. It has to be comfortable too. Gaming for hours on end in the comfort of our own homes, means it’s only right that we’re, err, well, comfortable. Finally, any additional features the headset provides. This could be Bluetooth connectivity, so you can choose to ignore calls mid game, charging wireless headsets whilst in use or customizable EQ options. Our Buying Advice guide below will help you tell your Dolby 7.1 from your DTS:X, so be sure to check that out for the full scoop.
The Asus Strix 7.1 offers a fantastic surround sound experience with "true" surround sound delivered from 10 drivers that is as close to the proper surround sound experience as you're going to get without actually buying a full speaker setup. The quality of the audio is superb whatever you're doing and we found this headset to be comfortable even after hours and hours of wear.
The new SteelSeries Arctis 3 and Arctis 5, which were designed to mimic the aesthetic of less flashy headphones, impressed us with their light weight, though not necessarily their build quality and high price. The Arctis 7, meanwhile, is priced very attractively for a wireless headset and gives the LucidSound LS30 and HyperX Cloud Flight some stiff competition, but in our tests we found its microphone frustrating, and long-term comfort was an issue.
The small control center features an OLED display and lets you tweak everything about the headset with simple, intuitive controls. It's a slick way to handle making adjustments, and the audio output is stellar as well. On top of that you have a super-premium design that's exceedingly comfortable, customizable, and just feels perfect. The fit and finish are top-notch and it even has RGB lighting (which you can turn off).
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I’ve been fortunate enough to review affordable headphones, speakers, receivers, and home theater gear, as well as high-end audio gear, for more than a decade now. I served as East Coast contributing editor for Home Entertainment magazine and editor in chief of HomeTechTell, and in the past I’ve contributed to Electronic House, Big Picture Big Sound, Digital TV & Sound, and Home Theater magazine. I write about all manner of audio gear here at Wirecutter, as well as at Home Theater Review and Residential Systems.
The software that comes in tandem with your latest and greatest headset has many options for changing the type of sound it delivers, often in the form of presets. As an example the most common preset would be bass boost. Now bass boosting would involve increasing the levels (in decibels) within the 60 – 250 Hz frequency range. Sounds simple in theory, but how do we do that? The answer: equalization, or EQ.
Digital Enhanced Cordless Telecommunications (DECT) is one of the most common standards for cordless telephones. It uses 1.88 to 1.90 GHz RF (European Version) or 1.92 to 1.93 GHz RF (US Version). Different countries have regulations for the bandwidth used in DECT, but most have pre-set this band for wireless audio transmission. The most common profile of DECT is Generic access profile (GAP), which is used to ensure common communication between base station and its cordless handset. This common platform allows communication between the two devices even if they are from different manufacturers. For example, a Panasonic DECT base-station theoretically can connect to a Siemens DECT Handset. Based on this profile, developers such as Plantronics, Jabra or Accutone have launched wireless headsets which can directly pair with any GAP-enabled DECT telephones. So users with a DECT Wireless Headset can pair it with their home DECT phones and enjoy wireless communication.
Every Arctis headset supports 7.1 Surround Sound, though the Arctis 3 and Arctis 5 also feature the more upmarket DTS Headphone audio protocol, and the Arctis 7 is the only model of the three that has steel alloy elements in its build. The 7 is compatible with every major gaming console and gaming computer. Unfortunately, the Xbox One only supports a wired connection with an included cable. We recommend the Arctis 7 for its impressive 15-hour battery life, extremely comfortable fit, and top-notch sound quality. Plus it's a lot cheaper than other wireless options, but sounds extremely good.
With many desk phone models and softphone programs available, compatibility is one of the biggest challenges when it comes to selecting compatible headsets. Headsets Direct has numerous compatibility guides and resources to take the guesswork out of the selection process. We always ask our customers about personal preferences and their environment to ensure the headset fits perfectly for all-day wearing comfort, has excellent incoming and outgoing sound levels and quality, and meets the needs for maximum performance within the customer’s specific work environment. We have our popular Headsets 101 Guide available online, which is regularly updated, and each year we publish our Headset Buyer's Guide, displaying the best headset options for specific applications.
The Void Pro RGB also has an excellent microphone, and is usually my headset of choice when I put in the occasional appearance on The RPS Electronic Wireless Show. It’s a great sounding headset as well, but its virtual 7.1 surround sound effects aren’t the best, hence its position as ‘runner-up’ rather than our overall winner. You also need to fire up Corsair’s Cue software to use it, as there isn’t a dedicated button to enable it on the headset itself.
This headset is surprisingly comfortable for its low price point. Thanks to an adjustable headband, plush ear cups and lightweight build, the G430s felt nicer to wear than both Razer’s and HyperX’s headsets. That said, the G433’s lacked the noise cancelling properties of both, which may put some off, but in our opinion, that’s a small price to pay for this level of comfort
There are also cues to let you know when the battery is running low. Regular beeps when the battery level is getting low and a flashing light on the earcup next to the charging port to warn you in plenty of time and give you the choice to either start charging early or have a rough idea of how much gaming time is left before you run out. It's certainly nice to have the option to switch between the wired and wireless modes with ease though.
When it comes to getting the best surround sound experience for gaming, there's no real substitute for a proper speaker setup with seven (or more) speakers and a subwoofer correctly positioned to deliver sound from the right direction at the right time. Virtual surround sound headsets do a reasonably good job as an affordable alternative, but what if you want closer to the real thing without clogging up your room with speakers and cables?
When you have decided for the headset of your needs, you expect to have the gaming headset for many years. With our German engineered technology our gaming headsets don't just look great, they are built to last, too. Only top quality materials are used and the attention to detail is superb. The speakers are engineered and manufactured at our own facilities in Europe and the braided fabric cable ensures long-lasting durability.
So why is it number nine? And below the Razer? Well, it just doesn’t go above and beyond in any area aside from its cost. We know the A50’s from Astro cost an extra $100 more, but they are pushing boundaries with their tech. The 373s just do everything you’d expect from a well-established audio company selling wired headsets at high price points. On top of that, they are USB only, which pretty much limits them to PC use. So although a brilliant headset, we can’t give the 373s a place in our top five because they’re priced too high. Also, we’re all for understated design, but we can’t help but feel the 373s are teetering on the wrong side of dull. That said, if you want one of the best sounding, well built and most comfortable headsets available just to use on your PC...and money is no object…this is the one we’d go for.
In terms of sound, most of the Razer headsets that we’ve tested in the past have been quite bass-heavy, and the Kraken Pro V2 continues this trend. What sets it apart from its brethren is that it’s never overwhelmed by its own bass. We never noticed the distortion common to other Razer offerings, even when subjecting it to heavy explosions and raucous gunfire.
Gaming headsets are much more than standard headphones. They differ in a number of ways and are designed to ensure that every gamer has everything they need for comfortable, immersive gameplay. Gaming headsets are lighter and feature ultra-soft ear cushioning that allows you to play for longer in comfort. Most headsets also feature multicoloured LED lighting so you can personalise your gaming experience and match your customised gaming set up. Multi-system compatible, they’re also built to deliver stunning sound quality whether your playing via PC, Xbox 360, PS4 or PS3.
We remember our first gaming headset pair was made by Plantronics. This model is ranked pretty high everywhere because of it’s price-to-value ratio. You again have some 7.1 surround sound by Dolby, 40 mm drivers, volume controls on the ear pads (pretty convenient, more so than a cable in our opinion), comfortable ear cushions and a noise-cancelling microphone. If this headset is cheaper than the previous listed on certain websites, we would grab it for sure as it brings us similar specifications and features as most out there. There are also some cool spin joints to allow your headphone cups to lay flat on your desk if they’re not in use. Not to mention Plantronics is a brand name you can trust that will last you quite a while if you take care of them (aka not throw them at the wall).
This brand is a bit more unknown than most popular names, but this headset is rated too high to not include in this article. The audio quality is great but has a bass boost (some may like it some may not), microphone monitoring (hear it back to yourself to test how you sound), chat volume control, and is USB powered. It’s a lower price-point headset with great features for the cost, and if you want something with a bit more bass and solid build that will last you a while, this is a great headset to buy. It’s one of our picks for best low-cost gaming headsets. Gamers Radar had this in their best gaming headsets budget-friendly pairs list as well.
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.
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.
While video games may once have been a niche hobby, today it’s a serious pastime engaged in by serious people and they need serious equipment. With the advent of online gaming, gamers need quality gaming headphones that will allow them to communicate with their teammates while not losing any of their in-game audio. Klipsch gaming headphones are built with high performance speakers making you feel like you’re truly in the game. In addition, the quality construction means they’ll remain comfortable even after long gaming sessions.
“Wow, do I love these headphones! I got tired of subtitling every game I played just because the family was asleep. I decided to shell out for these, and now I prefer them over my speakers! Great sound clarity and good bass. The surround sound is spot on. Also, they do a good job blocking out external sound. They are very comfortable around the ears. I was concerned about the padding wearing down over time, but as far as I can tell after nine months, there is no difference in ‘puffiness.’ Lastly, good battery life. I just played for over six hours last night and they were still charged. Highly recommended.”
The ASTRO A10 serves as the company's entry into more "budget" headsets, but still lives up to the brand's name. This is evident in the sound quality. It comes through crisp and clear, supported with bass performance that wouldn't be expected from a $60 headset. Keep in mind, there is no surround sound feature in the A10, but that's somewhat expected given the price.