SURROUND SOUND READY FOR XBOX ONE - Xbox One’s Windows Sonic for Headphones delivers immersive virtual surround sound to bring your games, movies and music to life. *Windows Sonic for Headphones provided by Microsoft for Xbox One (and compatible Windows 10 PCs). Also compatible with Dolby Atmos® for Headphones (Additional purchase may be required.)
While any gamer would like to have a $300 gaming headset, it isn't always practical or affordable. Typically, it's the latter that is the issue, since most premium headsets cost almost as much as a new console. That doesn't mean you can't get a decent pair of headphones on a budget, though it might make finding some just a little harder. Thankfully, HyperX is here with a headset perfect for the conscious gamers out there.
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.
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.
A: Unfortunately, no. The Xbox One is the trickiest console to buy a gaming headset for. Previously, Microsoft required you to purchase a separate stereo adapter to use a 3.5-millimeter headset. Fortunately, the newest Xbox One controllers have a built-in 3.5-millimeter jack, just like the one you’d find on a PlayStation 4 controller or PC, so the adapter is no longer necessary. As for wireless headsets, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One headsets run at different frequencies, so make sure you're buying the correct one for your console. We recommend the ASTRO Gaming A50 wireless gaming headset for Xbox One users. You can read more about Xbox One headset compatibility here.
The one thing to be aware of is the overall setup. Unlike other wired headsets, the A40 headset plugs through the MixAmp instead of a controller. From there, you have to run a USB and optical cable to the system you're playing on so it can pull the audio. Pulling directly from the system helps produce that clear quality, but then you'll have at least three cables running around.
Turtle Beach’s professional gamer grade headset is comfortable. Beating out the Astro A50s for most comfortable in the list. This is thanks to their ComforTec fit system which allows adjustment of headband tension as well as ear cup position. Aerofit ear cups, comprised of spandex fabric and gel-infused foam also contribute to the cause. Turtle beach have thought outside the box and created a ‘glasses relief system’ that allows you to create a small channel in the ear cups for your glasses’ frames to sit in. Genius. And it really works. So 10/10 for comfort. But what about the sound? Well that’s top notch too. Similarly to the Arctis 7s, the sound is full and rich, but punchy and crisp enough to pick out individual footsteps and gunfire in the heat of battle. Music sounded decent, although, unlike the Arctis 7s, without a flat EQ profile available, it was slightly muddied by the bass.
So, in the words of Cypher from The Matrix: “Ignorance is bliss”. Yes? Well no, not always. It will come as no surprise that some of the best sounding in our list also have the highest impedance. The HyperX Cloud Alpha comes in at 65Ω, Sennheiser 373D at 50Ω amd Astro A50’s at 45Ω. Of course impedance isn’t the only thing that affects sound quality, but it’s an interesting spec to take note of in a space that doesn’t require it, especially when making informed decisions.
Larger drivers have been known to produce lower bass frequencies, however, the quality of the driver and its enclosure is more important than its size. Now this information is not always available, but companies such as SteelSeries often use the same drivers across multiple headsets, so a quick google will often tell you how good a certain driver is. A good example would be the SteelSeries Arctis 7, which uses S1 speaker drivers which are also found in their $300 headsets. Not bad for a $150 purchase.
The Razer Kraken 7.1 V2 is, as you might have gathered from the name, the second version of this headset. It's also another surround sound headset from Razer that offers an excellent audio experience in a beautifully packaged shell. This headset is available in black, gunmetal grey and mercury white. We felt that the white version was certainly the most appealing, unless you're the sort of gamer that likes to stuff cheesy crisps while you play.
The SteelSeries Arctis Pro Wireless is one of the most versatile and customizable gaming headsets you can buy, and it’s also one of the first to be Hi-Res Certified, but it comes at a steep price. It's one of the few headsets that supports Bluetooth, so you can easily pair it with your smartphone or tablet. Plus, it’s extremely comfortable and provides a sculpted sound with plenty of bass that’s perfect for gaming or listening to music.
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.
This headset connects to your devices with a detachable 3.5-millimeter audio cable, so it's compatible with the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC, Mac, and Nintendo Switch. It comes in black or white, and while we aren't the biggest fans of its all-plastic design, we appreciate how sturdy and durable it feels and are confident it would survive a drop off of your gaming station. It provides a comfortable, adjustable, and tight fit. You won't be disappointed with this headset.
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.
Where the Arctis 7s lose out to the pricier option are in their design. While the 800s rock a solid, comfortable headband, the Arctis 7s have a ‘ski goggle’ elasticated strap that gives you a sore head in long play sessions. And don’t get us started on the easily nudged wheels on the back of the cups ruining your volume settings every time you put them on…
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.
Optical connections, like USB, are digital connections and come with similar benefits. However, unlike USB they are designed for audio use only meaning if you have one on a device, chances are it will be free to use. That said, unless you have an expensive motherboard or an upgraded soundcard, it’s unlikely you will have one. The most likely place to find them is on any modern TVs or games consoles. This is due to the popularity of TV surround sound systems and gaming headsets on consoles. This is why the Astro A50 is such a versatile choice. Although expensive, it has USB and Optical connectivity meaning it can be used on 99% of devices around the home.
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.
After a combined 200 hours of testing over the course of nearly two-and-a-half years, including listening to 10 new models this year, we still think Kingston’s original HyperX Cloud is the best gaming headset for serious PC gamers. The HyperX Cloud offers the best mix of audio performance and comfort for the money. It’s beautifully built and comfortable on a wide variety of heads, and its sound quality holds up against some of the best dedicated headphones in its price range. You won’t find a more neutral-sounding and versatile gaming headset unless you’re willing to spend at least $40 or $50 more.
The most important feature, however, is the brilliant sound performance. The basic, out-of-the-box stereo mix, which is the baseline regardless of connection type or console, is excellent, with a snug balance and punchy bass that enhances gameplay and music. The surround sound and EQ features — specifically the bass boost — only serve to further enhance the experience. The cherry on top is that the headset is extremely comfortable, with a sturdy design, plush padding, and an auto-fitting headband. Sounds like a winner to us.