There are also cues to let you know when the battery is running low. Regular beeps when the battery level is getting low and a flashing light on the earcup next to the charging port to warn you in plenty of time and give you the choice to either start charging early or have a rough idea of how much gaming time is left before you run out. It's certainly nice to have the option to switch between the wired and wireless modes with ease though.
Compared with the results from its larger siblings, the Cloud and the Cloud Revolver, the overall tonal balance of the Cloud Stinger isn’t quite up to the same standards. In our tests the bass wasn’t quite as rich and impactful, and the treble exhibited a comparative lack of smoothness that two of our testers described as “slight harshness.” That said, this slight edge to the higher frequencies wasn’t as bad as what we heard from some other headsets costing considerably more.
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.
The Audio Technica ATH-ADG1x is one such headset. This is open-air, high-fidelity stereo gaming headset that's designed to deliver a comfortable gaming experience with light, open and natural sound delivered straight into your ears. If virtual surround sound isn't your thing, but the idea of impressive audio experiences, with a superior frequency response appeals then this might be the headset for you.
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.
The SteelSeries Arctis 7 is the best all-round headset. It offers a super-comfortable fit and all the bells and whistles you’d expect from a top-end product, including wireless support and virtual surround sound. The Razer Kraken Pro V2 is great, easy to use and – most importantly – affordable. It doesn’t offer more advanced features such as wireless support or virtual surround sound, but for the money you’ll struggle to do better.
Make no mistake about it, though, this is probably too much bass for games that rely on atmospheric music or have a lot of dialog. While all of our testers loved the effect with big dumb action games like DOOM, we found that the deep bass tended to make dialogue in games like Battlefront 2 a little too chesty, and it did no favors to orchestral game soundtracks, like those of the Civilization games. Tweaking the EQ settings in the Razer Surround Pro software helped a lot, and also brought out a good bit more detail, but access to that feature does add another $20 to the cost of the headset.
The other option worth looking into is Windows Sonic for Headphones, a free feature included in the Windows 10 Creators Update released in 2017. While not quite as convincing as Razer Surround, Windows Sonic does add a nice sense of space to games, and also allows for more precise positioning, which we very much appreciated. Windows Sonic can also be upgraded to support Dolby Atmos for Headphones for around $15. We found the latter to sound slightly more processed and unnatural, but if you want to try it out, there’s a free trial available.
The Logitech G35 Surround Sound Headset and G430 Surround Sound Gaming Headset were among the first models we researched for this guide, since my wife and I have owned them for years. The two of us agreed that we would trade them for the HyperX Cloud and HyperX Cloud Stinger, respectively, due to those models’ superior audio and build quality, even though both Logitech headsets boast superior microphones.
These large round ear cups are designed to be comfortable and pleasant to wear, but they also give space to house the large 53mm stereo drivers. These drivers are where the action happens. They're designed to deliver an audio experience that's unparalleled and indeed, we were impressed with the quality of the sound coming of these cans. They open your ears to new sounds you might not have otherwise noticed in games and music and we couldn't help but be impressed with the quality of the sound, no matter what we were doing.
The advantages of having a gaming headset may be pretty apparent, but to introduce our article we thought we’d give some thoughts. For one thing, you obviously need some sound to hear the footsteps of those enemies. You’ve also got that microphone handy to communicate with your team (or enemies!), which is obviously the biggest component of multi-player games. Having a gaming headset for your adventures is pretty self-explanatory when it comes to benefits, but what about investing in a headset that’s above the norm for a few more dollars?
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.
The Plantronics Blackwire 3200 Series includes corded UC headsets that are durable, comfortable, easy to deploy and come in a variety of connectivity and wearing options. Add insights from Plantronics Manager Pro, an additional Software-as-a-Service offering, and you've got a future-proof solution. Blackwire 3200 Series with Plantronics signature audio provides top notch features at a price you can afford.
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.
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.