Wireless headsets are generally more suited to those there console boxes that sit beneath your TV so you can lounge around on your sofa without falling over a string of cables every time you get up to make a cuppa, but they’re also a good choice if you want to cut down on the warren of PC cables you’ve got building up behind the back of your case. Just bear in mind that you’ll still need a free USB port for their wireless transmitter or dongle, as well as somewhere to charge them when they run out of juice.
Aside from those models, the list of headsets that we chose not to test is too long to spell out in much detail. Broadly speaking, we avoided models from Arctic, Asus, CM Storm, Corsair, Gamdias, Klipsch, PDP, Polk, Roccat, Rosewill, and Tritton, as well as other models from companies included in our roundup due to issues with performance, build quality, and comfort raised in professional reviews, owner reviews, and forum discussions.
If you want a gaming headset that you can use wirelessly with your PC, PS4/Xbox One and your phone, then the Bluetooth-compatible Turtle Beach Stealth 700 may be the right option for you. They’re noise canceling and they come with a USB dongle that has an optical input, which is rare for gaming headsets. However, like most wireless gaming options they’re limited to the console variant you choose to purchase, so they will not have mic support for both consoles.
This headset had way too many reviews (most positive) to not put it in here last. It’s worth looking at because of the feedback from others (can always trust a headset that has 2k+ reviews). It’s another budget-friendly pair that gives you average specs: 40 mm drivers, decent frequency range, pretty good microphone and audio quality, and a pretty nice look (in our opinion). Take a look at it and read the reviews yourself, it may convince you go with our last pick. Engadget’s SA-708 review rated them very positively.
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.)
Most high-end gaming headsets claim to offer some form of surround sound, but this isn't accurate. The vast majority of surround sound headsets still use stereo drivers (often a single 40mm driver for each ear) to produce sound. The surround aspect comes from Dolby and DTS processing technologies that tweak how the headsets mix sound between your ears to give an impression of 360-degree audio. It's an artificial effect that wouldn't provide a true surround sound image even if the headset had individual drivers for each channel; there simply isn't enough space for the sound to resonate to produce the impression of accurate directional audio. However, it can make things more immersive and improve your ability to track the direction sounds from left to right.
+Build Quality is very sturdy: This is the first thing i noticed when i got the headset out of the box, and it was extremely surprising. I did not expect a headset of this price range to have a build this sturdy. There are plenty of headsets more expensive than this one that feel super flimsy so to have a build like this at this price is really something i did not expect.
“This headset is perfect. First of all, it is super comfortable sitting on your head. The top of it has a little cushion as do the ears. Second, the sound quality is great for gaming. I talk to buddies in Discord often and the mic input is great, too — no complaints of not being able to hear me or hearing interference or anything. As for distance, I have no complaints. I can walk to basically the other side of my house and it doesn’t cut out.”
The HyperX Cloud’s frequency response is as true to life as you could hope for from a headset that sells for less than $100. Pitting this pair against the Sony MDR-7506 (our top pick for the best over-ear headphones under $200 four years running), our testers found that the HyperX Cloud wasn’t quite as neutral as the Sony model. We found its treble response slightly less even, its midrange a tiny bit less smooth, and its bass a touch fuller. But we liked its sound better with games and even with some music and movies. We also found the HyperX Cloud more comfortable over long periods of time, though not by a lot, and it offered better isolation from external noise.
Everyone knows us as huge Audio-Technica headphones buffs, and when it comes to high-end, this is as high as you can probably go when it comes to a headset worth looking at. If you have the cash, this is a game changer. Huge drivers at 53mm, their “core double air damping system (D.A.D.S.)”, an optional USB amp, deep bass and sweet highs to give you some top notch audio quality. The 3D wing-support system is extremely convenient for a comfortable fit, and the earpads help us out with that since they’re very soft. They’re so expensive because of the DADS structure (it’s a dual-layer housing structure built-in to the headset that dampens air to help with linearity of the audio — sounds fancy, but why not if you have the cash?). The microphone is also great with 100 degree range of motion. This thing is slick and worth the money if you’re up for dropping the cash.
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.
We brought in the V-Moda BoomPro Microphone to go along with my V-Moda Crossfade M-100 over-ear headphones. We all found the sound performance to be good, although not especially fun with more action-oriented games. More important, this pair was far less comfortable than much cheaper alternatives after hours of gameplay, and the mic was disappointing.
As mentioned above, the microphone is pretty useless (let’s blame that on Cougar’s Metal Gear-esque naming conventions), and its high/treble reproduction isn’t as good as more expensive headsets, but its overall audio quality is perfectly good enough for the money. If you’re looking for something inexpensive to give to your kids or younger siblings, the Cougar Phontum is well worth considering.
Digital Enhanced Cordless Telecommunications (DECT) is one of the most common standards for cordless telephones. It uses 1.88 to 1.90 GHz RF (European Version) or 1.92 to 1.93 GHz RF (US Version). Different countries have regulations for the bandwidth used in DECT, but most have pre-set this band for wireless audio transmission. The most common profile of DECT is Generic access profile (GAP), which is used to ensure common communication between base station and its cordless handset. This common platform allows communication between the two devices even if they are from different manufacturers. For example, a Panasonic DECT base-station theoretically can connect to a Siemens DECT Handset. Based on this profile, developers such as Plantronics, Jabra or Accutone have launched wireless headsets which can directly pair with any GAP-enabled DECT telephones. So users with a DECT Wireless Headset can pair it with their home DECT phones and enjoy wireless communication.
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.
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.
And SteelSeries leaps ahead in comfort. The Sibera 800 was a pretty bare-bones headset design. The Arctis Pro Wireless finally adopts the floating headband style SteelSeries is known for, with a comfy ski-goggle strap and generous ear padding that make it a great fit for all-day wear. The A50 is comfortable too in its own way, but the Arctis design might be one of the all-time best headset designs. (Read the full review.)
As a result, I’m currently limiting this article to gaming headsets ONLY at the moment. It sounds obvious from the title, but I’m sorry to say those after the best headphones for regular music listening or the best desktop speaker systems will have to look elsewhere. Instead, what you’ll find below is a list of all my current favourite headsets – ones I’ve tried and tested myself right here at Castle Shotgun. As with any kind of ‘Best’ list, none of this is set in stone – it will continue to change and evolve as I get new headsets in for testing, but for now, I hereby decree these to be the best gaming headsets available right now.
By most measures, Razer’s ManO’War 7.1 — the wired, surround sound-equipped version of its wireless model of the same name — is a fantastic headset. Its virtual 7.1 surround sound is among the best on the market, the sound it pumps out of its large earcups is balanced, and its microphone is sleek and discreet, and yet outperforms most of the competition. The only real limiting factor is its size, which renders it a difficult choice for mobile use. But what it lacks in portability, it more than makes up for in performance.