Analogue headsets: These use one or more 3.5mm headphone jacks to transmit audio to and from the headset, and are often universally compatible with PCs, consoles and mobile devices. The sound quality will rely on your individual device however, and they won’t support surround sound out of the box. Keep in mind that on PCs with separate mic and headphone jacks, you’ll need a splitter. Some headsets will come with one, but not all. Check before you buy and pop one in your basket if you need one.
If you’re primarily looking for a practical headphone for everyday casual use that also has a good enough mic for voice chat when gaming, then get the Logitech G433. They deliver a well-balanced sound, on par with much pricier headsets and they’re sufficiently versatile to use outdoors while commuting without attracting too much attention, unlike most gaming headsets.
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.
So why is it number nine? And below the Razer? Well, it just doesn’t go above and beyond in any area aside from its cost. We know the A50’s from Astro cost an extra $100 more, but they are pushing boundaries with their tech. The 373s just do everything you’d expect from a well-established audio company selling wired headsets at high price points. On top of that, they are USB only, which pretty much limits them to PC use. So although a brilliant headset, we can’t give the 373s a place in our top five because they’re priced too high. Also, we’re all for understated design, but we can’t help but feel the 373s are teetering on the wrong side of dull. That said, if you want one of the best sounding, well built and most comfortable headsets available just to use on your PC...and money is no object…this is the one we’d go for.
We designed every feature with the serious gamer in mind -- from the large-diameter drivers for outstanding sound quality to the innovative construction for long-lasting comfort, no detail was overlooked. Fully adjustable, state-of-the-art microphones with muting capability enable crystal-clear in-game voice communication, making it easier than ever to take control of your gaming environment. And with both open- and closed-back models to choose from, you can opt for a natural or fully immersive sound experience.
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.
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.
On the upside, they have a decent sound quality, an above-average microphone that captures speech well and a comfortable enough design for longer gaming sessions. They have a decent battery life that lasts about 10.8 hours and only take about 3 hours charge fully. They also support Bluetooth, which as a better range than using them with their USB dongle, but it also has more latency.
Surrouding Stereo Sound: 57mm Hi-Fi driver brings super clear and superior sound effect when playing games. Noise cancelling Microphone (you can adjust microphone to 120 degrees up and down base on your own) and Surrounding stereo design is superb that you could feel in gaming environment once using, like shooting environment, drastic gaming situation. Perfect for plenty of games like World of Warcraft (WOW),LOL, Call Of Duty, GTA Series, Assassins creed etc.
We run the risk of appearing to be in the tank for Kingston, but even before I pointed out the brand of the HyperX Cloud Stinger, all of our testers agreed that it was the new budget gaming headset to beat. Unlike the company’s previous low-cost headsets, the Cloud Stinger isn’t just a neutered version of the original Cloud. This model includes a fantastic new lift-to-mute mic that sounds great, and it’s big enough to fit the largest of noggins comfortably for hours on end. Despite its all-plastic construction, the Cloud Stinger feels more solid and durable than many of its high-priced competitors. And while its sound isn’t as neutral or impactful as our pick’s, the results are far better than you might expect, with good detail, solid bass, and midrange that doesn’t sound nasal or quacky.
But, if you stop to think about it, we're already in the future. It's hard to deny that the recent developments, and future possibilities in virtual reality technology are exciting. With big money from the likes of Facebook and Google now committed to the enterprise, virtual reality is suddenly becoming more than the pipe dream of some indie developer working out of a garage.
What game you mostly play – You don’t have to constrain yourself to just one game obviously, however it is still important to keep present when shopping for a headset. Is your game of choice based a lot on sound and how accurate you need the foot steps and FX to be? If so, you should pay particular attention to headphone sound quality, which we will highlight if applicable (although may cost a bit more).
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.
We primarily relied on two PCs for testing: a custom-configured Maingear PC, which is built on an MSI Z97-G45 gaming motherboard with an integrated headphone amplifier, and a highly upgraded Frankenstein machine, which started its life as a Dell Inspiron 560 and whose onboard sound performance can best be summed up as pretty average. We also added Creative’s Sound Blaster E5 high-resolution USB DAC and portable headphone amplifier to the mix just to ensure that any power-hungry headsets had sufficient amplification. For USB headsets, we relied exclusively on direct back-panel USB connections rather than routing through hubs.
Virtual surround headsets feature ear cups that cover the entire ear. This type of headset uses only two discrete speakers, one on each ear cup, to create surround sound. Virtual surround headsets tend to have higher-end driver components which experts and consumers believe to be more durable, as well as have larger speakers which deliver more powerful and dynamic sound quality. Virtual surround headset achieves surround sound by using external or internal pre-amplifier or mix-amplifier modules, as well as several different algorithms, to convert stereo or surround sound signals into surround sound. The sound is divided and sectioned so as to deliver it in such a way that it creates an auditory landscape, thereby producing surround sound.
This design means the SteelSeries Arctis Pro sits tightly on the head, while the deep earcups manage to successfully block out a lot of surrounding environmental noise. Though certainly not an active noise cancelling headset, it is one that reduces distractions significantly. We found that we were using mic sidetone settings here to be able to hear ourselves think while playing or listening to music if we had to talk to friends or family members, which is a testament to the quality.
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.
I assumed at first that this effect would be a major downer for our testers, but we all ended up loving this aspect of the Game One. Sounds from around the house didn’t end up being nearly the distraction I worried they would. When we played games, we couldn’t hear the air conditioner, for example, nor the ceiling fan in my office. We could, on the other hand, hear the ringing of the phone or a knock at the front door. In other words, the only things that really distracted us from our gaming experience were the things we actually wanted to be distracted by. Keep in mind, however, that your non-gamer housemates may be a little annoyed by the game sounds leaking out of your headset if they prefer absolute silence.
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.
At this point we’d like to give you the best piece of advice out there surrounding headsets. Get your hands on them and try them out. Order some online and if you’re not happy with them, swap them for another set. That said though, every headset in our round-up bangs. Guaranteed. So if you’re not sure, have another read through our list, make your pick and sleep easy tonight.
The headphones function to convert sound by way of a soundcard, from digital (computer) to analog (headset). USB headsets connect to the computer by way of USB, and so sound conversion occurs in the headphones themselves or in a control unit. Inside the ear cups is where the magic happens. This is where the drivers live, and drivers are to headsets as gasoline is to vehicles. The larger the driver, the better sound will be produced.
If you game on the PlayStation 4, the Nintendo Switch, newer Xbox One models, or most handheld gaming devices, you can just plug a single 3.5mm headphone jack into the controller or system and start playing. The Xbox One works in a similar way, but if you have an older Xbox One gamepad you might need Microsoft's Xbox One Stereo Headset Adapter to use a wired headset with it. Most headsets on this list can connect to your preferred system one way or another.
The headset’s design is…interesting, and like the G633 wouldn’t look out of place on the holodeck of your favorite star cruiser. But these aren’t meant to be pretty. They’re meant to be devastating, machines of inner ear destruction. The high price tag means you’ll also be destroying any chance you had of getting a mortgage, but owning a pair of these means being homeless never sounded so good. They are heavy too. Without the chunky cable connecting them to the amp, they weigh in at a whopping one pound. But when was being cool ever comfy? Outside of that, the provided software and amp affords massive customization and more presets than all the headsets on this list combined. So if you want the most immersive audio gaming experience available and don’t care about anything else, then these are for you.
"Pretty amazing audio for a wireless headset in a super comfortable design. I work at my computer all day long, and there is nothing worse than throwing good money down on a pair of 'high-end' headphones and wanting to take them off your head because your ears are being pinched. This ski-goggle suspension strap carries the weight of the (already pretty light) headphones. And the ear pads are very comfortable. I also wear glasses, so I need to have pads that mold themselves around the frames without continuing to knock them off course."
This headset creates the most immersive audio playback on this list. Period. It has five pairs of drivers inside the ear cups, which inject ear popping audio directly into your cerebrum, while the noise cancelling tech reduces up to 90% of environmental sound. Which is probably more beneficial to everyone else in your house, to be honest. The provided amp is required to power these monsters, but they also deliver something that the SteelSeries Arctis Pro and Astro A50 can’t - true surround output. This allows you to hook your PC up to any other surround sound systems in your possession and get this party started.
Within the settings, you can also adjust the "Chat Mix" which basically allows you to change the volume levels of the games you're playing compared to those from any chat programs you're using (Discord, Mumble, Teamspeak and the like). This sort of flexibility allows you to easily setup the audio quality and volumes to match your personal preference.
Even without the benefit of surround sound, the HyperX Cloud did an admirable job of creating a nice sense of space for all of our games. With shooters such as Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus, Star Wars Battlefront 2, Doom, and Dishonored 2, I always felt like I had a good idea of where my enemies were and in which direction I needed to focus my attention. The addition of Razer Surround software (which we discuss in detail below) enhanced that effect even more.
It also, of course, leads to a sound that’s never quite as open or expansive as that of the Game One, nor as detailed. But compared with other closed-back alternatives, the Custom Game delivers smoother midrange, more natural-sounding dialogue and music, and superior dynamics that benefit virtually any genre of game, from music-driven offerings like the Civilization series to cinematic shooters like Battlefront 2.
If you're an audiophile that also loves to game, the SteelSeries Arctis Pro + GameDAC gives you the best of both worlds. This PS4 and PC headset features a premium metal version of the already-superb Arctis design, and includes digital-to-analog converter that supports 96-kHz/24-bit audio and a plethora of customization options. If you want to enjoy the same Arctis Pro design without being tethered to your desk, the $329 Arctis Pro Wireless is also an excellent option.
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.
While we have dedicated lists for the best PlayStation 4 headsets and Xbox One headsets, we don’t have one for Nintendo Switch. There’s a reason for that: Using a headset with the Nintendo Switch can be a bit of a mess. Sure, you can plug in any pair of headphones (rather than a headset), or even sync up a Bluetooth pair, but the Switch’s lack of an on-console voice chat function renders the headset question moot — if you can’t use the mic, then why bother? In order to use voice chat at all, you must download an app for your smartphone. Then you’ll need to connect to both the Switch and your smartphone via a splitter. This can result in a tangled mess.