Digital headsets: Featuring an integrated DAC (digital-to-analogue converter), digital headsets offer cleaner sound, higher volumes and software integration. USB-connected headsets will work on PC/Macs and PlayStation consoles, while optical-based headsets will work with Xbox and PlayStation consoles, plus PCs with optical ports either on the motherboard, internal sound card or USB sound card.
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.
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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.
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.
“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.”
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.
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 gaming headset is one of the biggest beasts of them all. If budget isn’t in your vocabulary, stop right here. You have pro studio quality, wireless connectivity (some debate whether or not you should use a cable or immediacy when you game, however), 50 mm drivers, “Scout Mode” which apparently allows us to hear enemies before us (which we wouldn’t take completely serious but at the same time, if you’re concerned with audio quality and having an edge, this is the pair to get). If you’re not a fan of wireless headphones, especially for gaming, you can still use a cable here. However, the convenience is amazing (they market it to be lag and static free, so you can always be the judge of that). This thing is one of the best out there. This made it into PC Gamer’s best gaming headset article under the best high-end model.
As we've said before, the microphone quality of a gaming headset is clearly important for the modern gamer. The good news then is that this headset has a capable microphone that delivers a reasonable audio quality. As you'd expect it includes noise cancelling features which reduce the ambient noise from the surrounding environment to ensure you're heard clearly when you need to be.
Audio is the Void Pro Wireless’s only weak spot, which you could argue is not a great weak spot for a headset to have. Playback is very bright, with a small-sounding and treble-heavy mix that’s tiring to listen to long-term. You can’t do much about the first, but spending some time with an EQ can mitigate the latter—I recommend adding a touch of bass and bringing down the high end a bit.
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.
This headset uses the Razer Synapse software which offers masses of options including equalisation controls, settings for mic noise control, voice clarity, ambient noise reduction and lighting effects too. The lighting here is subtle and understated, unlike the majority of other RGB capable products out there. The Razer logo on the side of the earcups lights up nicely with tweaking available in the software.
The Cloud Revolver S from HyperX is one of the most versatile headsets we’ve tested. It comes packed with three separate connection types — 3.5mm, dual 3.5mm, and wired USB — which, in aggregate, enable the headset to be connected to just about anything. This isn’t entirely unique to the Cloud Revolver S, but the headset takes things a step further by eliminating the need for any extra software or driver downloads, making it a truly plug-and-play peripheral. This integrated nature is especially important with the USB connection, which features a built-in sound card and a control dongle for features like Dolby 7.1 virtual surround sound and EQ settings.