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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.
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 terms of battery life, the Corsair VOID PRO RGB Wireless managed somewhere around 15-17 hours before it needed charging. Not quite as good as the Steel Series Arctis 7, but still pretty impressive. The bonus with the Corsair headset though is the fact that it comes with a fairly long (1.5 metre) USB to micro USB charging cable, which means that when it does run low on charge you can simply plug it in and keep on gaming.
Beyerdynamic’s studio grade DT 1770 Pros are another beautiful-sounding set of headphones. Again, they sport a broad frequency range of 5Hz – 40KHz, and complement that with some of the crispest bass tones you’ll hear. That robust bass is so well controlled that it doesn’t touch the mid-range one jot. And they’re also considerably cheaper than the mighty Focal pair.
What keeps it from being the stand-out winner are several annoyances. For starters, the A50 uses the 5GHz band, which means the range isn’t great. Even sitting at my computer, I occasionally noticed interference. A built-in battery also means that if you do forget to charge it, you’re stuck attaching it to your PC with a MicroUSB cable while you play. And the audio, while quite good and superior to the Arctis Pro Wireless, still is easily outdone by $300 headphones. (Read our full review.)
For in-depth thoughts about the Razer Tiamat 7.1, see the section above about surround sound. We also tested the Tiamat 2.2, and we all found that headset to be way too bass heavy; all of us had concerns about its build quality, as well. I found myself unable to spend much time with the original Razer Kraken Pro or Kraken 7.1 Chroma at all—in both cases the earcups weren’t very comfortable, especially with glasses, and the bass was overwhelming, sloppy, bloated, and indistinct.
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.
Once we had our potential top picks in each category, we went on to use them in extended gaming sessions, during which we sometimes wore the same headset for as long as 12 hours at a stretch. Our testing panel, which included people with various head and ear sizes, tried the headsets on a variety of games from massively multiplayer online role-playing games like Guild Wars 2 to 4X games (explore, expand, exploit, and exterminate) like the Civilization series as well as on puzzle, strategy, and action games.
Some gamers simply love boosted bass, especially when playing shooters and other action-heavy games. If you fit that bill but find yourself disappointed by the fact that most bass-heavy gaming headsets also rattle and shake and distort far too easily, the newly redesigned Razer Kraken Pro V2 might be just what you’re looking for. The V2 delivers rich and robust bottom end and is also the most comfortable (and seemingly durable) Razer headset we’ve tested to date, especially with the optional oval ear cushions. While our testers preferred the more balanced sound of our top pick with a wider variety of games, the Kraken Pro V2 is a very compelling alternative if you want low end.
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.
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.
Headsets come in a variety of styles, such as color, head mounting, and ear coupling. Since headsets typically have two ear pieces, there is usually a connecting piece between the ear pieces, which allows the user to mount the headset on their head. That head mounting can be on top of the head or behind it. Ear coupling provides more options, such as over ear (circum-aural), on ear (supra-aural), earbuds, and canal. Finally, headsets are also available in wired and wireless styles.
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.
Not all telephone headsets are compatible with all telephone models. Because headsets connect to the telephone via the standard handset jack, the pin-alignment of the telephone handset may be different from the default pin-alignment of the telephone headset. To ensure a headset can properly pair with a telephone, telephone adapters or pin-alignment adapters are available. Some of these adapters also provide mute function and switching between handset and headset.
We also tested the HyperX Cloud II, Kingston’s updated version of our top pick, which features a USB sound card, surround-sound processing, a slightly superior microphone, and better padding on the headband. If you’re a laptop gamer without access to good analog audio jacks, it’s a smart buy. For most people, though, none of those enhancements justify the extra price.
Where do we start with Steelseries‘ magnum opus, the Arctis Pro? The highly flexible, crystal-clear mic that rivals even some professional-grade audio equipment? How about the sleek, professional design that mimics stylish audiophile headphones? Or maybe it’s the headset’s plug-and-play peripherals that push hi-res sound and enable users to fine-tune EQ settings and surround sound at a much more granular scale than the competition — all without the need for extra software or downloads.