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.
Here at the Strategist, we like to think of ourselves as crazy (in the good way) about the stuff we buy (like pillows), but as much as we’d like to, we can’t try everything. Which is why we have People’s Choice, in which we find the best-reviewed (that’s four-to-five-star reviews and lots of ’em) products and single out the most convincing. While we’ve written before about the best gaming mouses and external hard drives, and our favorite virtual-reality headset, here we’ve found the best-reviewed gaming headsets on Amazon. (Note that reviews have been edited for length and clarity.)
*While most USB headsets can be used on PS4, many are specifically made for PC and will require drivers or extra software to enable features like surround sound, EQ settings, and even mic support in some instances. Because of this, some USB headsets will have limited functionality on PS4. For those wanting a USB headset on PS4, seek out headsets that list PS4 compatibility explicitly, such as the Cloud Revolver S.
The best examples are the 7.1 surround sound and 3D audio. The surround sound will provide a rich audio experience to help immerse you in whatever game you're playing. The 3D audio will bump up the quality on select PS4 games by providing directional differences in sound. The best example of this is on PSVR, where the sound adjusts with your head movement.
As with all of our gamer peripherals, we rigorously test each headset before fully reviewing. If a device is compatible with different platforms, consoles as well as PC, then we’ll be sure to try it out on the lot. Wired or wireless, we check that the audio quality is good enough and that features such as surround sound support work as expected. We also make sure the mic clearly picks up your voice, even in a noisy environment, so your online pals can hear every zinger and sick burn.
The lightweight build encases 50mm drivers capable of an impressively broad 10 – 40,000Hz frequency response – far and away beyond what any non-audiophile headset on our roundup can produce. They live up to the expectation, too. The headset offers rich and crisp sound which is plenty capable of producing solid bass without sacrificing a complete soundscape of more than acceptable mids and highs along the way.
After thoroughly testing nearly 70 headsets for over the course of two-and-a-half years, our testers still agree that Kingston’s HyperX Cloud is the right gaming headset for most people, thanks to its excellent long-term comfort, great sound quality for the price, light weight, exceptional build quality, and fantastic durability. After roughly thirty months of nearly constant use and abuse, including several road trips in which it was thrown into a backpack sans case, our original test unit still looks like we took it out of the packaging yesterday.
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.
Do you even need a dedicated gaming headset at all? If audio quality is the be-all-and-end-all for you it might be interesting to note there’s a growing trend of using audiophile headphones, coupled with discrete desk-based microphones, so you can still yell abuse at your gaming buddies while enjoying the absolute best aural experiences money can buy.
Having a higher-end gaming headset is great because 1) you have high-quality sound that can give you an edge in your game (especially if foot steps or FX are critical, such as when we played Counter-Strike because hearing the enemy before they heard you was an obvious advantage). Not only can you hear footsteps\sound FX quicker than the others but also the direction they come from can also be easier to decipher if your headphones are built well.
The HyperX has a history of delivering reliable gaming headsets across the board, and the Cloud Stinger is no different. Admittedly, the build quality of the headset isn't going to be anything special. It's an unassuming headset that, while all-plastic, doesn't feel cheaply made. The Stinger is also fairly comfortable for the price, though the ear pads could be a bit thicker.
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.