In addition, the HyperX Cloud performed admirably when we fitted it with its mobile adapter cable and paired it with my iPhone. Bass-heavy tracks such as Björk’s “Hyperballad” and Beastie Boys’ “3-Minute Rule” have nuances in the lowest octaves that most game soundtracks simply don’t deliver, and this Kingston headset proved to be more than up to the task of delivering them faithfully.

Can you hear that? No? Can’t say we’re surprised. Unless you’ve experienced a great gaming headset first hand, you won’t even realize what you’re missing out on. But just like the HD revolution a few years ago, once you sample it for yourself, you’ll wonder how you ever gamed without it. If you thought looks were everything, you must have heard it wrong. Whether you’re a gaming audiophile with money to burn, or a gamer who’s already burnt all their money, we’ve got you (and your ears) covered, in our list of the best gaming headsets of this year.


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. 

Pulling them from the packaging I was a little concerned about how they might sound. My prejudices were quickly dismissed as soon as I started using them. The 50mm directional drivers deliver an impressive, balanced sound, with a decent amount of separation in the audio. The Stinger, then, is a well-priced headset with a surprisingly detailed sound.


Let us start by saying this headset is one of the best-sounding on the list. Its build quality is next to none. Its mic although very compressed, sounds clear and solid in the mix. The surround sound might not be on the level of the ASUS ROG Centurion, but it’s head and shoulders above Razer’s ManO’War 7.1, delivering one of the better virtual surround experiences we encountered. We like the aversion from stereotypical gamer designs found on headsets such as Logitech’s G633 and it is right up there on the comfort scale. In fact we love this headset. It’s fantastic.
Another issue for surround sound, aside from space for the actual drivers, is space within the ear cup to allow that sound to disperse proportionately and create the intended sound. Now this is where you need to be careful, because some headsets do it much better than others. More often than not this is dictated by price. If we’re being frank, surround sound is kind of gimmicky in headsets. Although enjoyable for single player games or movies, for any online or competitive play you will want to use stereo, as it creates a much easier sound to distinguish in a space as confined as ear cups. That said we’ve highlighted the surround sound achievers in our list, so if you’re unsure be sure to check that out. And if you want a more music-focused headphone, check out our list of the best high-end headphones of this year.
SteelSeries' line of gaming headsets consists of a wide range of models — Arctis 3, Arctis 5, and the Arctis 7, which is a much more affordable wireless option than the Arctis Pro models we previously mentioned. The Arctis 7 feature a sleek design, high-quality audio drivers, and exceptionally comfortable ear pads and headband pieces. The latter is self-adjusting and inspired by the elastic bands found in ski goggles — you can even accessorize the headset by swapping headbands.
When deciding between wired or wireless headsets, there are a few things to think about. You might find that wired headsets generally have a lower price point than a wireless option, offer less chance of interference from other devices, and will never leave you in the lurch because you forgot to charge them. On the other hand, wireless headsets don't have cords to tether you to your computer or console or trip you up and get disconnected during a critical game mission.

If you’ve got money to burn and want the absolute best of the best, look no further than the Steelseries Arctis Pro + GameDAC. Not to be confused with its more expensive wireless and cheaper GameDAC-less Pro siblings, this middle offering in Steelseries’ Arctis Pro line-up is arguably the best of the lot – if only because it’s the only one to have proper Hi-Res audio support.
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.
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 headphones function to convert sound by way of a soundcard, from digital (computer) to analog (headset). USB headsets connect to the computer by way of USB, and so sound conversion occurs in the headphones themselves or in a control unit. Inside the ear cups is where the magic happens. This is where the drivers live, and drivers are to headsets as gasoline is to vehicles. The larger the driver, the better sound will be produced.
Our only gripe with this headset design is the sidetone appears to be constantly on and you cannot turn this off in Windows settings. This means you have to put up with the sound of your own voice coming back at you through the headset. We assume this is necessary due to the all-encompassing nature of the earcups otherwise you'll likely find yourself shouting, especially when playing louder games. 
No roundup of gaming headsets would be complete without a look at Astro’s offerings, so we brought in the A40 with MixAmp Pro, the A30 with MixAmp Pro, and the A50 Wireless for the first iteration of this guide. None of us were overly fond of the on-ear design of the A30, but I was smitten with the hard-hitting sound of the A40 and A50, especially with games like Dying Light. But noisy mics and the MixAmp Pro’s constant background hiss bothered all of us. After we wrapped up our original round of testing, Astro introduced a new digital MixAmp and a new version of the A50; we plan on giving them a listen for a future update to this guide.
All our testers liked the Turtle Beach Elite Pro. It’s comfortable, with a hard-hitting, visceral sound, and it boasts a solid mic. The problem is that if you want to get the most from this headset, be prepared to be nickel-and-dimed half to death on accessory upgrades. If you already have a powerful headset amp, you might consider the Elite Pro, but just know that the box doesn’t even come with a pink-green 3.5 mm audio splitter.

Within the settings, you can also adjust the "Chat Mix" which basically allows you to change the volume levels of the games you're playing compared to those from any chat programs you're using (Discord, Mumble, Teamspeak and the like). This sort of flexibility allows you to easily setup the audio quality and volumes to match your personal preference. 


The other drawback of its closed-back design is that the Custom Game isn’t as breathable as the Sennheiser, which means that it gets a bit warmer after hours of wear. Still, the spacious ear cups and ample padding were appreciated by all of our testers. As long as you’re not planning on wearing your headset for more than three or four hours at a time, comfort shouldn’t be an issue. Thankfully, the headset also feels as durable and well-built as its $200-ish retail price would suggest. And if you should happen to wear out or otherwise damage the padded headband, it’s easily replaceable, which is an appreciated feature that we don’t see nearly often enough.
While it's strictly stereo on the PS4, using the H7 on the PC opens a nice world of audio software options, including the BlasterX Acoustic Engine Pro. This is a great way to get some impressive virtual surround going. With the Sound BlasterX H7, users can expect to have both a nice analog stereo headset and a good onboard USB option for both the PC and PS4. That USB option is good for when a pricey DAC doesn't make sense or isn't available.The H7 then is a very good headset that does several things well, including gaming, and is worth being on a shortlist of headsets to consider picking up in 2016.
The other drawback of its closed-back design is that the Custom Game isn’t as breathable as the Sennheiser, which means that it gets a bit warmer after hours of wear. Still, the spacious ear cups and ample padding were appreciated by all of our testers. As long as you’re not planning on wearing your headset for more than three or four hours at a time, comfort shouldn’t be an issue. Thankfully, the headset also feels as durable and well-built as its $200-ish retail price would suggest. And if you should happen to wear out or otherwise damage the padded headband, it’s easily replaceable, which is an appreciated feature that we don’t see nearly often enough.

The Custom One Pro Plus was a crowd favorite thanks to the ability to tune its bass performance on the fly without resorting to software equalization. We liked, but didn’t love, this pair in tests for our best over-ear headphones guide. Out of the box, however, our pair’s mic cable had a short in it, causing the sound to cut out if the cable wasn’t positioned just right. Judging from owner reviews, this problem is disturbingly common.

Headsets are available in single-earpiece and double-earpiece designs. Single-earpiece headsets are known as monaural headsets. Double-earpiece headsets may support stereo sound, or use the same audio channel for both ear-pieces. Monaural headsets free up one ear, allowing interaction with others and awareness of surroundings. Telephone headsets are monaural, even for double-earpiece designs, because telephone offers only single-channel input and output. For computer or other audio applications, where the sources offer two-channel output, stereo headsets are the norm; use of a headset instead of headphones allows use for communications (usually monaural) in addition to listening to stereo sources.
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.
Another term you’ll see accompanied by a smattering of numbers is sensitivity or SPL (sound pressure level). Essentially, this is a measurement of how loud a headset will produce sound at a particular power level. Now, it’s worth taking this stat with a pinch of salt as due to variance in power sources (amps, interfaces etc.) the measurement of sensitivity is not always a true representation of how loud the headset will sound for you. Also as sensitivity is measured in decibels per milliwatt and power from your PC (and every other electrical device on the planet) is delivered in volts, the methods used by companies to arrive at their value of sensitivity can be inconsistent, which doesn’t really help anyone in deciding whether or not a particular headset is right for them.
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.[5] 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.
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.
It's also true that if a headset doesn’t sound good, then spending a single cent on it is a waste of money. But what is ‘good’ sound? Well, that depends entirely on your taste. Some people like bass heavy sound that reverberates through everything in a ten-mile radius, others prefer a natural more balanced sound, and a few have been known to prefer a bit of both. Therefore, if you’re dead set on a specific sound it’s probably wise to choose a headset that comes with EQ software, which enables you to manipulate the sound to your taste. (Surround sound is another consideration, but we’ll cover that a bit later.) Finally the price. This should be thought of in three distinctions. Firstly, what is your budget? Second, what are other companies offering for roughly the same price? And finally, what reputation does the company have, especially surrounding warranties and customer service?
But as much as I’ve been rather blown away by the audio quality I’m not such a fan of the overall design. The wing support concept is a little too wacky for my tastes and means the headset doesn’t feel like it’s sat too securely on your head. There’s no real headband, just two tensed paddles which rest on top of your bonce. It’s definitely comfortable, and I’m not saying I want my headphones to have a vice-like grip on my skull, but a robust brain-cuddle is certainly more reassuring.
The Arctis is also extremely comfortable thanks to its lightweight alloy frame and Airweave fabric ear cups. Its adjustable elastic ski goggle strap means finding the perfect fit is dead simple. And the design is slick. So slick we wish we could wear them outside and make real people jealous. With its combination of USB and 3.5mm inputs the headset has more platform versatility than a gymnast and its retractable microphone really compliments the stellar build quality. For a wireless headset, the mic’s sound quality is top tier, and the wireless transmitter features the ability to play your audio through your desktop speakers as well. Nice!

“My 11-year-old son uses these strictly for PS4 gaming online with his friends. He loves the look and comfort of them. The audio works well with game sounds and chatting with his buddies. From my point of view, these headphones are made very well and I was impressed with build quality for the price. I was also impressed with the audio quality when listening to music to check them out. Usually for this price point, you greatly sacrifice build quality or audio quality, but that is not the case with this product. Great overall!”


One final caveat: The Game One reaches its full potential only with extra amplification, so it’s not the best pick if you game exclusively on consoles. When powered by the onboard analog audio output of my wife’s computer, it sounded good enough to become her favorite headset by far in terms of audio performance, and it was even better with the onboard sound card of my computer, although we had to crank the volume quite high. It didn’t reveal all of its nuances or its powerful bass capabilities until we connected it to the Creative Sound Blaster E5 DAC/amp with the amp’s high-gain mode engaged. In other words, the more power you give the Game One, the better it sounds, so if it seems like the right headset for you, consider adding a dedicated sound card or an external amp to your gaming PC.

It’s worth noting, though, that this is only the case with PC and PS4 platforms. For Xbox and mobile devices, you have to use the included 3.5 mm audio cable, and that does disable the headset’s chat functionality. Since we’re only really concerned with PC performance for the purposes of this guide, that wasn’t an issue, but it’s still worth noting.
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.
The headset’s design is…interesting, and like the G633 wouldn’t look out of place on the holodeck of your favorite star cruiser. But these aren’t meant to be pretty. They’re meant to be devastating, machines of inner ear destruction. The high price tag means you’ll also be destroying any chance you had of getting a mortgage, but owning a pair of these means being homeless never sounded so good. They are heavy too. Without the chunky cable connecting them to the amp, they weigh in at a whopping one pound. But when was being cool ever comfy? Outside of that, the provided software and amp affords massive customization and more presets than all the headsets on this list combined. So if you want the most immersive audio gaming experience available and don’t care about anything else, then these are for you.

The one downside is the microphone, which feels fiddly - it’s hard to get a good position in front of your mouth. But that’s the lone disadvantage, and it’s offset against the incredible sound, the superlative comfort, and the quirky and creative design. You also get 7.1 sound, if you need it; we think the Creative Sound BlasterX H7 Tournament Edition does that particular aspect a little bit better, but it’s very minor. As a whole, the soundstage is still excellent, and it’s very easy to pick out the positioning of particular elements in-game. And with the EQ settings packed in, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a more likeable pair of cans. For gaming audio, this headset is the best available right now.


There are plenty of quality wireless headsets that work with Xbox One, but few are as fine-tuned for Microsoft's console as the Turtle Beach Stealth 700. This set of cans sports built-in Xbox Wireless technology, meaning it can sync directly to your Xbox One without the need for any dongles or transmitters. It's also simply a great headset, with rich, bassy audio, a clear microphone and a healthy amount of sound customization options.


There are plenty of quality wireless headsets that work with Xbox One, but few are as fine-tuned for Microsoft's console as the Turtle Beach Stealth 700. This set of cans sports built-in Xbox Wireless technology, meaning it can sync directly to your Xbox One without the need for any dongles or transmitters. It's also simply a great headset, with rich, bassy audio, a clear microphone and a healthy amount of sound customization options.
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