Perhaps most importantly, the HyperX Cloud is impressively comfortable—you can wear it for hours on end without cranial distress, plus its aluminum construction makes it durable despite its light weight. That, plus the headset’s great audio performance, made it a clear winner in our tests. It features a nice balance of atmosphere-enhancing high-frequency sounds, a clear sense of the direction that sounds are coming from, and good low-end rumble.
This is a headset that features a funky design that's certainly comfortable. It can also be customised to some degree as you can choose between oval and round earcups depending on your preference. We were slightly disappointed with the feel of the headset in the hand, as the silver outer band that you can see on the earcups is actually plastic, not metal (as you might expect at this price point). This doesn't impact comfort, but we wonder about long-term durability.
In-game audio comes through as crisp and clear as you might think. On one end, the insanity of a Battlefield 5 match will percolate perfectly, with explosions and gunshots ringing all around you. On the other, the epic music of 2018's God of War will be even more booming and entrancing thanks to the MMX 300. That clarity even translates to the microphone, so you won't have to worry about how clear you're coming in on your end.
The Audio Technica ATH-ADG1x is one such headset. This is open-air, high-fidelity stereo gaming headset that's designed to deliver a comfortable gaming experience with light, open and natural sound delivered straight into your ears. If virtual surround sound isn't your thing, but the idea of impressive audio experiences, with a superior frequency response appeals then this might be the headset for you.
For ease of use, there's a mic mute button and volume wheel on the headset's cable. This is always a welcome addition, especially when the design means you cannot easily fold the mic out of the way and there's no automatic muting for doing so. We did find the volume controls a little finicky, in that they were very sensitive and would suddenly deliver loud audio when we least expected it, but otherwise it's a great design that works well.
You can tell HyperX mean business with this one. The headset is premium, with its high-quality, lightweight aluminium frame, fixed firmly to the closed back, memory-foam-lined cans. The headband creates enough tension for you to know where your money's gone, but not so much that a certain scene from Total Recall is likely to be re-created. No, not the one with the three boobs…
Closed-back dynamic gaming headset with newly designed 53 mm drivers and improved 3D Wing Support system. Double air damping system (D.A.D.S.) for deep, resonating bass. Built-in supercardioid gooseneck microphone for in-game communication with outstanding rejection of ambient sound. Equipped with 1.2 m (3.9') attached cable and 2.0 m (6.6') extension cable. Includes windscreen.
As for audio fidelity? It’s not quite equal to the G933, but the differences are minimal. The G533 lacks a bit of oomph, especially at lower volumes, and its 7.1 support is subpar. Those are hardly reasons to stay away, though—most people will run the headset loud enough to counteract the headset’s lack of presence, and virtual 7.1 is (in my opinion) pretty much always bad. The G533 is worse than the average, but the average is still something I choose to avoid day-to-day.
And yes, SteelSeries maintains a place on the list, with the new Arctis Pro Wireless bumping its predecessor, the Siberia 800. Though the Astro A50 sounds better, this headset’s been a favorite of mine for a while—mostly because of its battery system. Rather than charging the battery in the headset, the Arctis Pro Wireless instead allows you to swap between two removable packs. One can power the headset for up to 12 hours while the other charges in the side of the base station. There’s literally no way you can run out of battery in the middle of gaming.
The build quality is exceptional at this price, with a design not dissimilar to our favourite HyperX headset. It’s comfy, lightweight and it doesn’t clamp down on your head like an alligator snapping turtle, unlike some headsets we’ve tested. The built-in controls on the left earcup are a welcome touch – preferable to in-line controls – and keeps the cable nice and light. The mic is removeable, sounds decent enough for party chat, and features great manoeuvrability.
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.
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.
In our latest round of testing, we really found ourselves torn over the RIG 800LX. The lift-to-mute mic is nice, and we found the performance of the mic to be superior to the HyperX Cloud Flight. Audible voice cues about battery life were also much appreciated, as was the headset’s modular design, which allows you to tweak the fit. Unfortunately, the 800LX is tuned to deliver more bass than its drivers can really handle at any appreciable volume, which led to a lot of distortion when we played action games.
The design is pretty out-there on this one. Two giant owl eyes emanate from each ear cup, on a Pan’s Labyrinth vibe. Combine that with the amazing bass response these kick out, and things going bump in the night could well have your neighbors calling the police. ASUS claim the dual antenna feature provides a faster response time than Bluetooth, and although we can neither confirm nor deny this statement, we can confirm that the signal never dropped.
That’s pretty impressive as wireless gaming headsets go, and certainly a lot more convenient than most of its wireless competition. Its detachable microphone also puts in a good performance, and you also get a wired 3.5mm audio cable in the box for use as a wired headset, too. The only downside to using it wired is that you can’t then take advantage of its onboard volume controls, which is a bit of a pain. Still, as wireless headsets go, there’s plenty to like here.
When it comes to sound quality, this headset is fully capable and delivers a superb audio experience with deep bass notes, a good range and an impressive positional audio experience thanks to the DTS Headphone: X 7.1 surround sound technology. Although perhaps not as impressive as some of the other headsets on this list, the sound here is certainly high-quality and accurate.
Although a good gaming headset usually costs a little more than dedicated headphones that deliver equivalent audio performance, most gamers I spoke with in the past year or so expressed a preference for the convenience, the often-enhanced bass, and in some cases even the aesthetic of gaming headsets with built-in microphones and easy access to volume controls and microphone muting.
In addition to a fast processor and a clear display, gamers of every skill level recognize the need for great sound to get the rich, immersive gaming experience desired. Though similar to headphones, the best gamer headsets are different in two important ways. First, they have outstanding surround sound capabilities that add realism to the console- or PC-gaming session, providing the competitive edge needed to react instantly to even subtle sound cues, such as footsteps coming up behind you. And second, gaming headsets allow you to communicate with as well as listen to fellow gamers from around the world.
As we’ve already mentioned, the speakers inside your headset are called drivers. The most common distinction between a driver (and one you’ll find plastered over the box of your latest purchase) is its size in millimeters. The most common in gaming headsets being 40mm. Some use 50mm, some 30mm and true surround sound headsets even use 20mm as rear left/right additions. It is important to note that a larger driver does not mean a louder or higher quality sound. There are many more factors at play including the mass of the driver, the material the driver is made from, how the driver has been tuned and the size of the enclosure (ear cup) that the driver is placed in.
At the moment, there aren’t many viable solutions for in-game and voice chat with the Switch because Nintendo has gamers download a smartphone app for voice chatting. This means that the audio of your friends talking is separate from the in-game audio. To remedy this and combine the two audio streams, Nintendo sells a headset and adapter that comes with a trio of 3.5-millimeter aux cables. One cable goes from the Switch's headphone port to the dongle, one runs from your smartphone to the dongle, and the last one connects the dongle to your headset. It’s very complex, so we recommend just holding off until Nintendo releases a better headset — or an update that allows wireless headphones' microphones to work.
Astro’s A50 is the wireless update of the company’s previous flagship, the Astro A40, and sports all the same hallmarks as its last-gen brethren — but we’re not complaining. If you can justify the dent to your savings account, the Astro A50 will grant you 5.8GHz wireless technology and virtual 7.1 surround sound within a solid, over-the-ear design. The headset’s unidirectional mic helps isolate your voice from ambient noise, and features an intuitive quick-mute feature. A selection of distinct EQ modes and cross-platform support further boost its appeal.