A bundled audio transmitter with OLED display delivers relevant information about your audio experience, such as volume, battery life, and audio source. It’s also used to charge the headset’s batteries. The Arctis Pro’s 40-millimeter stereo drivers deliver plenty of power, and the attached noise-canceling mic is retractable and does a good job at picking up your voice. We just wish the headset were a little cheaper and was compatible with the Xbox One.
What a relief! A gamer-focused, sub-$50 dollar headset, without colors bright enough to blind us. Not only does the HS50 appease the gods of visual subtlety, its audio quality is pretty heavenly, too. While it doesn’t quite transcend to HyperX Cloud Alpha levels, games sound full, bright, and balanced. Music and movies sound natural, avoiding the typical low end boost of gaming headsets, but clearly lack definition across the upper mids and highs. Fear not, as any discomfort caused from the harsh highs will soon be alleviated - thanks to the super plush, faux-leather cups that are so plush that glasses-wearers won’t even realise they’ve got their specs on. Just remember to double check you’re still wearing them before leaving the house.
Secondly, it means the quality of the sound is on a new level. We found the audio range of this headset to be mighty impressive. It opens up your ears to new sounds you might not have heard in game before, but also delivers a wider range in music too. The bass notes are excellent, the highs and lows are a joy and there's no denying the high-fidelity audio is certainly impressive.
The Void Pro RGB also has an excellent microphone, and is usually my headset of choice when I put in the occasional appearance on The RPS Electronic Wireless Show. It’s a great sounding headset as well, but its virtual 7.1 surround sound effects aren’t the best, hence its position as ‘runner-up’ rather than our overall winner. You also need to fire up Corsair’s Cue software to use it, as there isn’t a dedicated button to enable it on the headset itself.
If you are a gamer and you need to communicate with other players you need a built-in microphone in your gaming headset. Our headsets come with a signature microphone in a class of its own. It provides high-end noise cancellation, so you can chat to fellow players with crystal clarity. If you want to enjoy your valuable me-time without communicating with other players, simply raise the boom arm in vertical position and you are off the air.
Granted, it’s a lot of money to spend on a pair of dedicated gaming headphones, but this time Audio-Technica has brought its audiophile origins to bear in its design, making the sound reproduction of the AG1x fantastic. Like the HyperX Cloud, we’re talking about 53mm drivers, but the AG1x offers a slightly wider frequency response, ranging between 15Hz and 35KHz, adding extra clarity to the high tones.
Because 2.4 GHz Wireless Headsets cannot directly "talk" to any standard cordless telephones, an extra base-unit is required for this product to function. Most 2.4 GHz Wireless Headsets come in two units, a wireless headset and a wireless base-station, which connects to your original telephone unit via the handset jack. The wireless headset communicates with the base-station via 2.4 GHz RF, and the voice signals are sent or received via the base unit to the telephone unit. Some products will also offer an automatic handset lifter, so the user can wirelessly lift the handset off the telephone by pressing the button on the wireless headset.
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.
“I have owned a number of Mpow products. They all have been good products at great prices. When I got them I found them comfortable and the audio surprisingly good for the price. However, the biggest surprise was the 7.1 [surround sound] audio. While gaming, I was surprised to hear gameplay all around me! I could pinpoint the direction of other players by sound. It’s amazing and something I had anticipated spending five times as much to experience! The headset is full over-ear and comfy. So far the spring-and-cable-adjusted sizing has worked perfectly and the audio is beautifully balanced for gaming.”
Mobile headsets come in a range of wearing-styles, including behind-the-neck, over-the-head, over-the-ear, and lightweight earbuds. Some aftermarket mobile headsets come with a standard 2.5 mm plug different from the phone's audio connector, so users have to purchase an adapter. A USB headset for a computer also cannot be directly plugged into a phone's or portable media player's micro-USB slot. Smartphones often use a standard 3.5 mm jack, so users may be able to directly connect the headset to it. There are however different pin-alignment to the 3.5mm plug, mainly OMTP and CTIA, so user should find out which settings their device uses before buying a headphone/headset.
Build quality also plays a part in our choices. If we’re going to invest our hard earned dollars into something, we expect a return. A big one. It has to be comfortable too. Gaming for hours on end in the comfort of our own homes, means it’s only right that we’re, err, well, comfortable. Finally, any additional features the headset provides. This could be Bluetooth connectivity, so you can choose to ignore calls mid game, charging wireless headsets whilst in use or customizable EQ options. Our Buying Advice guide below will help you tell your Dolby 7.1 from your DTS:X, so be sure to check that out for the full scoop.
When we tested the Beyerdynamic Custom One Pro Plus with Custom Headset Gear for the original iteration of this guide, we all loved its comfortable, roomy fit, as well as the fact that its bass performance could be tuned acoustically, without software EQ, via sliders on each ear cup. Unfortunately, the Custom Headset Gear shorted out on us right out of the box, and user reviews indicated that this was a startlingly common problem.
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.
This is great if you already own lots of Hi-Res audio tracks or subscribe to something like Tidal, but as for gaming… it’s currently unknown how many, if any, actually support Hi-Res audio or whether you get any extra benefit over non-Hi-Res audio headsets. Personally, I’ve never been able to tell the difference between Hi-Res and CD, and that’s after multiple demos and tech PRs doing their darnedest to convince me otherwise. As a result, it’s probably worth it if you’re into Hi-Res audio stuff outside of gaming, but don’t go paying extra if you’re only going to be using it for games.
Standard headsets with a headband worn over the head are known as over-the-head headsets. Headsets with headbands going over the back of the user's neck are known as backwear-headsets or behind-the-neck headsets. Headsets worn over the ear with a soft ear-hook are known as over-the-ear headsets or earloop headsets. Convertible headsets are designed so that users can change the wearing method by re-assembling various parts.
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?
Gaming can be an immersive experience as is, but the right headset can truly push it over the edge. So many games today have incredible sound and music, whether it's the booming beats in 2018's God of War or whizzing laser bolts in Star Wars: Battlefront II, the right headset can suck you deeper into the worlds you're exploring on the screen. But what is the best headset for you?
Virtual surround sound is by no means a bad thing. Yes, it’s not as good as proper 7.1 surround sound, but in some cases it can help make music feel more immersive and all-encompassing than regular stereo. However, poor implementations of it can often destroy any sense of intimacy or breathing-down-the-back-of-your-neck-style dialogue, and it can sometimes make your game audio feel like it’s been turned into one great big echo chamber, so don’t be fooled by what it says on the box.
Stereo simply means two channels, a left and a right, and is created with a pair of drivers. One in each ear cup. Surround sound, which in gaming headsets is almost definitely 7.1, refers to 7 drivers and a subwoofer. Now packing all those drivers into a headset isn’t always possible, so a lot of companies use their pair of stereo drivers mixed with some digital wizardry and recreate the impression of that sound. This is referred to as virtual 7.1 and is the case for 99% of the headsets in our list excluding the ASUS Centurion. Most either use Dolby virtual 7.1 surround sound or DTS Headphone:X surround sound.
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.
The Razer Thresher Ultimate packs everything you could want in a wireless headset. It's supremely comfortable, it sounds great and it has a 16-hour battery to last through a long day of gaming. The headset's 7.1 surround sound makes it easy to hear enemies coming, while its handy on-ear controls allows you to effortlessly balance game and chat audio. It doesn't hurt that the Thresher is one of the slickest set of wireless cans around, with stylish PS4 and Xbox One variations and an included receiver stand that'll make the peripheral look great sitting next to your console.
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.
While video games may once have been a niche hobby, today it’s a serious pastime engaged in by serious people and they need serious equipment. With the advent of online gaming, gamers need quality gaming headphones that will allow them to communicate with their teammates while not losing any of their in-game audio. Klipsch gaming headphones are built with high performance speakers making you feel like you’re truly in the game. In addition, the quality construction means they’ll remain comfortable even after long gaming sessions.
The H7 Tournament Edition is Creative’s flagship gaming headset, and although the high contrast colorway might steer some off course, what’s going on below deck will leave competitors with a sinking feeling. With its upgraded 50mm FullSpectrum drivers, the H7 sounds amazing: delivering a rich and full tone across games, movies and music, it truly is one of the better sounding sets in our list. It might not handle mids and highs quite as well as the Sennheiser PC 373D, but cutting half the price makes that an easy compromise to live with. The microphone is also decent, and, while it doesn’t hit the heights of a dedicated USB condenser, it’s up there with the slightly more expensive Arctis 7.
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.