The SteelSeries Arctis Pro is compatible with the SteelSeries Engine 3 software, which means it's open to a range of other tweaks, customisation and personalisation according to your needs. The addition of the GameDAC though means that you don't need that software to enjoy the headset in its full glory. On a desk the DAC offers the ability to change settings on-the-fly and it as a separate unit it means PlayStation gamers can enjoy all those settings too without needing to plug into a PC.
This design means the SteelSeries Arctis Pro sits tightly on the head, while the deep earcups manage to successfully block out a lot of surrounding environmental noise. Though certainly not an active noise cancelling headset, it is one that reduces distractions significantly. We found that we were using mic sidetone settings here to be able to hear ourselves think while playing or listening to music if we had to talk to friends or family members, which is a testament to the quality.
The Audio-Technica Open Air (ATH-ADG1X) and Isolation (ATH-AG1X)—functionally the same headset, though the former is an open-back model and the latter is a closed-back version—were without question the most comfortable headsets any of us had ever tested. But they’re voiced to appeal to audiophiles, with lots of emphasis on high frequencies, which doesn’t play well for games.
One thing I really like about the headset is the headband; it's more robust than it looks, springing back into place after we bend it up so that the headband is nearly flat. Creative did this by using steel underneath the padding instead of plastic. While doing this with other headsets often makes me cringe, the Sound BlasterX H5 happily takes the bending in stride.
For mic testing, we record clips of ourselves speaking in quiet and loud environments, both with any noise canceling or enhancements toggled on and off. We use the headsets over multiple days, wearing them while gaming, watching videos, or listening to music to test the veracity of battery life claims, as well as appraise their long-term wearability and comfort.
That said, you’re going to get a lot more distance and freedom from a wireless headset, which makes them best for large living room setups where you’re going to be sitting on one side of the room and your console or PC is at the other. Keep an eye out for battery life ratin, as well. Most headsets can survive for at least a few straight hours of play, but there’s nothing worse than having to stop in the middle of an intense match to plug in your headset’s charging cable once the batteries are tapped.
Here’s another high quality gaming headset that’s also considered to be pretty affordable. You get some on cable controls (volume or mute) for convenience, some 7.1 surround sound (Dolby), rotating ear cups, and decent quality ear pads (not necessarily memory foam but they’re soft and won’t hurt after a long time of use). Lastly, the mic has some noice-cancellation tech built-in so you’ll be clear as day to who you’re speaking to (or yelling at). The frequency response isn’t quite as wide as the previous pair listed but they still get the job done. Since they’re a bit cheaper we can sacrifice quantitatively because bigger drivers doesn’t always mean better sound quality. It has over a thousand reviews for a reason.
Your choices range from basic wired earpieces and boom mics you can pick up for $20 at a drug store (or are included with your game console), to expensive, simulated surround sound, e-sports-oriented, wireless over-ear headphones available at enthusiast sites. You should get the one that fits your budget and needs. You don't need a ton of cash for a solid headset; about $50 can get you started if you don't want to jump into high-end features and connection options.
Desktop devices using Bluetooth technology are available. With a base station that connects via cables to the fixed-line telephone and also the computer via soundcard, users with any Bluetooth headset can pair their headset to the base station, enabling them to use the same headset for both fixed-line telephone and computer VoIP communication. This type of device, when used together with a multiple-point Bluetooth headset, enables a single Bluetooth headset to communicate with a computer and both mobile and landline telephones.
Coming in at $300, the headset is three times more expensive than most other options, but its audio quality is superb. We also liked its "MixAmp" feature, which is a toggle on the headset's side that you turn to find the perfect balance of chat levels and in-game sounds. The A50 provides 15 hours of battery life, a 30-foot wireless range, and Dolby Digital 7.1 Surround Sound. It comes in two configurations — a blue-accented one for the PlayStation 4 and PC, and another with green accents for the Xbox One and PC.
If you’re looking for the best value for your money when getting a gaming headset, then you can’t do much better than the Steelseries Arctis 7. They are comfortable and well-built gaming headphones with a lot of connection options, making them suitable for most devices in your home. Their USB transmitter has a regular AUX input that will work with your TV, audio system and consoles.
Making sure you’ve got the right aural setup for your gaming rig is absolutely vital to getting the ultimate experience, and a quality gaming headset has a massive part to play in the overall immersion of PC gaming. We’ve tested the latest and greatest from the top manufacturers in the land, from Turtle Beach headsets, Razer, HyperX, SteelSeries, Sennheiser, and more, all to help you figure out what the right set of cans is for you and the games you play.
If you want a gaming headset that you can use wirelessly with your PC, PS4/Xbox One and your phone, then the Bluetooth-compatible Turtle Beach Stealth 700 may be the right option for you. They’re noise canceling and they come with a USB dongle that has an optical input, which is rare for gaming headsets. However, like most wireless gaming options they’re limited to the console variant you choose to purchase, so they will not have mic support for both consoles.
The included USB transmitter dongle provides great wireless range, audio and chat support for your PS4 and PC. You can also use their audio cable and plug them into your console’s controller and have audio and mic support for the Xbox One that way. They’re also an excellent choice for watching movies or listening to music wirelessly when at home, since the transmitter has an input for a regular AUX cable that will work with your TV, receiver and most audio devices. It also has very little latency (20ms).
Where this headset falls short is with its requirement for the Tactical Audio Controller (sold separately) to get to the EQ presets. It costs an extra $150, which in our opinion is ludicrous. On top of that the microphone is average at best. A real shame as the headset is amazing as standard, and if it afforded the EQ preset options and a better mic, it could easily be in our top 5. As it is, we’ll include it, but it needs some serious rethinking.
If you want to use your headset with last-gen systems like the PS3 and the Xbox 360, you'll need to see if the headset supports their own unique connections, or if adapters are available. PCs are the most flexible with gaming headsets, since they can work with USB headsets (which are generally only compatible with PCs), 3.5mm analog connections (though you might need a splitter adapter if your headset ends in just one plug), and often optical audio.
When you’re shopping around for a new headset, you’ll first have to consider what kind of functionality you need. First up, do you want to go wired or wireless? We love the freedom that a Bluetooth headset offers, although not all platforms support them and you’ll have to remember to keep them charged. Meanwhile wired devices often deliver more premium sound quality. And if you grab a digital pair with a built-in DAC, that’ll take the pressure off your motherboard for producing crisp, clean-sounding audio.
It sounds great, too, and is completely wireless, allowing you to keep your gaming desk nice and clean without another tangle of cables in the mix. What’s more, its wireless transmitter isn’t just a little USB stick – it’s got its own cable, so you can position it wherever you like for the best signal. You also get a regular 3.5mm audio cable so you can use it as a wired headset as well if you prefer.
Steelseries’ premium headset is considerably more expensive than the Arctis 7, yet offers unrivalled audio quality and customisation in return. The Siberia 840 boasts a quietly understated design, rather than flashing lights and flair. Wireless support works perfectly with no pesky lag and the hot swappable battery system keeps you powered up at all times. Plus full Dolby 7.1 surround sound support means you get a truly immersive experience.
Here’s a higher price point model that competes with the best in terms of overall quality. Memory foam earcups, deep and rich sound to where they be fine for watching movies or even listening to music leisurely, and the overall fit is superb due to the suspended headband. There are also some rotating dials on each earcup to adjust the volume and mute the mic (one on each). You also have adapters for PC, Mac, PS4 and mobile along with the package, so if you’re a multiple system gaming like us, you’re good to go no matter what. Tech Radar loved them in their Siberia Elite Prism review.
You can read our best headphones for gaming as well as best USB microphone articles if you want to go the route of two high-end models in one. However, the biggest benefit of a high-quality gaming headset is convenience. We have our headphones and microphone all-in-one, ready to take action as we slip them onto our head. They’re also great for traveling if you plan on playing at a friend\team’s house. At the same time, there’s always the route of having separate entities as well.
For in-depth thoughts about the Razer Tiamat 7.1, see the section above about surround sound. We also tested the Tiamat 2.2, and we all found that headset to be way too bass heavy; all of us had concerns about its build quality, as well. I found myself unable to spend much time with the original Razer Kraken Pro or Kraken 7.1 Chroma at all—in both cases the earcups weren’t very comfortable, especially with glasses, and the bass was overwhelming, sloppy, bloated, and indistinct.
The Xbox One Stereo Headset is perfect for the Xbox One owners who want to rep Xbox pride in every aspect of their gaming life. Thankfully, it's also a reliable headset for Xbox gamers who may also be on a budget. It still delivers solid audio for the gamers who need some extra boom out of their headset. Given the $59 price point, it won't deliver the insane quality of premium ASTRO headsets, but it still outperforms most headsets around the same price.
Next, I record myself talking for a bit in Audacity to see how its microphone performs, and I also try to wear the headset for as long as possible to see how comfortable it is over long periods of time. Admittedly, a lot of headsets tend to struggle in this area for me, as I’ve either got a head that’s secretly shaped like a Minecraft block underneath all my hair, or every headset manufacturer on the planet has a mysterious grudge against me and they’ve collectively designed each of their headsets to only last for about 30 minutes before they start to press down and pinch the top of my head. Obviously, the longer I can wear one without this happening, the better.
The SteelSeries Arctis 7 is the best all-round headset. It offers a super-comfortable fit and all the bells and whistles you’d expect from a top-end product, including wireless support and virtual surround sound. The Razer Kraken Pro V2 is great, easy to use and – most importantly – affordable. It doesn’t offer more advanced features such as wireless support or virtual surround sound, but for the money you’ll struggle to do better.
The HyperX Cloud Alpha feels remarkably premium for a $99 headset, offering a striking and durable aluminum design in addition to a wonderfully cozy set of memory foam earcups that are perfect for marathon sessions. The Alpha delivers crisp highs and rich bass thanks to HyperX's new Dual Chamber technology, and includes a detachable cable and soft carrying pouch for easy travel.
The ear cushions are large and fit well too. They're made from a microfiber mesh fabric backed with memory foam to provide comfort while gaming. We found this mesh fabric to be a little scratchy when compared with leather or other styled fabrics on the other headsets we've tested, but it did mean that we weren't suffering with issues from sweating or overheating during long gaming sessions.
If you prefer single-player games and live alone, you don't need a headset at all. You can use speakers and enjoy the room-filling atmosphere, and shout into the inexpensive and mediocre monoaural headsets the Xbox One and PS4 come with. But the next time you're in a deathmatch, raid, or capture mission, make sure you're shouting into the boom mic of a good headset. To find the right one, check out our reviews below.
There are two types of Bluetooth headsets. Headsets using Bluetooth v1.0 or v1.1 generally consist of a single monaural earpiece, which can only access Bluetooth's headset/handsfree profile. Depending on the phone's operating system, this type of headset will either play music at a very low quality (suitable for voice), or will be unable to play music at all. Headsets with the A2DP profile can play stereo music with acceptable quality. Some A2DP-equipped headsets automatically de-activate the microphone function while playing music; if these headsets are paired to a computer via Bluetooth connection, the headset may disable either the stereo or the microphone function.
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.
Razer is huge among the gaming gear world especially their computers, keyboards and mice. So what about their headsets? This particular model is by far their best and is actually quite affordable. A big plus is the color choice which is always nice, but the specs include foldable ear cups, 2 m extension cable with audio/mic splitter, decent 40 mm drivers, a light weight for a comfortable fit and suitable microphone. What’s really a plus with Razer products is the sleek look, but for the price this headset is solid. It isn’t a beast or something considered top-of-the-line, but it gets the job done. We’d check it out if you want a medium price point, average specs but sweet looking headset.
By most measures, Razer’s ManO’War 7.1 — the wired, surround sound-equipped version of its wireless model of the same name — is a fantastic headset. Its virtual 7.1 surround sound is among the best on the market, the sound it pumps out of its large earcups is balanced, and its microphone is sleek and discreet, and yet outperforms most of the competition. The only real limiting factor is its size, which renders it a difficult choice for mobile use. But what it lacks in portability, it more than makes up for in performance.