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We buy our own products and put them under the same testing methodology so that you can easily compare them. Unlike most websites, we do not get our products directly from the manufacturers, which means our units aren’t handpicked and actually represent what you would buy yourself. We spend a lot of time comparing the products side-by-side to validate our results and we keep them until they are discontinued so we can continually go back and make sure our reviews are always accurate.
The headset design includes glowing Strix owl eyes. These can either bit set to static, breathing or off, depending on your preference. This lighting is impressive and unusual, it's also very much the Asus flavour and we like it, but if you don't it's easy to turn off. After all, you're more likely interested in the sound than the looks of the headset you're using.
If everything about the HyperX Cloud sounds appealing but you just need some extra oomph in your action-gaming audio, you’ll find a lot to love about Razer’s revamped Kraken Pro V2 with oval ear cushions. That distinction is important, by the way, because the Kraken Pro V2 comes with round ear cushions in its default form. The larger oval alternative, whose opening measures 60 mm by 70 mm, gives the headset more room to breathe and makes it more comfortable on a larger variety of heads. And if you’ve purchased the Kraken Pro V2 in its default form, with its 56 mm round cushions, the oval replacements add an extra $20 to the price. So if you’re at all concerned with long-term comfort, and especially if you have larger ears, we cannot stress enough the importance of purchasing the oval-equipped model from the get-go.
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.
The small control center features an OLED display and lets you tweak everything about the headset with simple, intuitive controls. It's a slick way to handle making adjustments, and the audio output is stellar as well. On top of that you have a super-premium design that's exceedingly comfortable, customizable, and just feels perfect. The fit and finish are top-notch and it even has RGB lighting (which you can turn off).
But perhaps more important for the purposes of this guide, I’ve been a hardcore gamer since 1980. I’m primarily a PC gamer these days, although I do dabble in consoles from time to time (when a new Gran Turismo game is released, for instance, or for the occasional round of Worms). And whether I’m playing massively multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPGs), strategy games like Civilization VI, shooters like Doom, or the latest version of Magic: The Gathering, chances are good that I’m logged in to my private Ventrilo chat server, either to coordinate group attacks or to chew the fat with my gaming friends and guild mates. Granted, I’ll probably never break the personal record I set back in October 2011, when I played Rift for 24 straight hours during an Extra Life charity event, but I tend to spend at least 15 to 18 hours per week wearing a headset.
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.
To make sure a headset can handle lighter instrumental tracks, I use a combination of Final Fantasy XV’s Piano Collection soundtrack, Austin Wintory’s Transfiguration EP from Journey, Ace Attorney’s Gyakuten Meets Orchestra concert, and a light sprinkling of my Breath of the Wild: Sound Selection CD and the Bravely Default soundtrack. I also listen to regular bands and songs, including the likes of Turin Brakes, Queen, Maximo Park, a bit of David Bowie and the opening themes to space anime Knights of Sidonia and grim naked giant anime Attack on Titan, again testing for overall balance, clarity and general toe-tapping grooviness.
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 design is pretty out-there on this one. Two giant owl eyes emanate from each ear cup, on a Pan’s Labyrinth vibe. Combine that with the amazing bass response these kick out, and things going bump in the night could well have your neighbors calling the police. ASUS claim the dual antenna feature provides a faster response time than Bluetooth, and although we can neither confirm nor deny this statement, we can confirm that the signal never dropped.
Next, I record myself talking for a bit in Audacity to see how its microphone performs, and I also try to wear the headset for as long as possible to see how comfortable it is over long periods of time. Admittedly, a lot of headsets tend to struggle in this area for me, as I’ve either got a head that’s secretly shaped like a Minecraft block underneath all my hair, or every headset manufacturer on the planet has a mysterious grudge against me and they’ve collectively designed each of their headsets to only last for about 30 minutes before they start to press down and pinch the top of my head. Obviously, the longer I can wear one without this happening, the better.
Perhaps the most significant feature that sets the Game One apart from most of its competition is that it sports an open-back design. The earcups of the headset are vented, leaving the back side of its drivers open to the air instead of encasing them in a solid shell of plastic or metal. You’ll often see this design in high-end headphones such as the Sennheiser HD 5XX series, from which the Game One derives its drivers and “Eargonomic Acoustic Refinement” sound-channeling technology. But you rarely see the design in headsets in general, primarily because it comes with one disadvantage: Open-back headphones and headsets don’t offer a lot in the way of noise isolation, either incoming or outgoing. Anyone sitting in the room with you can hear what you’re hearing to some extent, and you can hear, to a lesser degree, the sounds of people and things in the room with you.
With PC desktop speakers going the way of the dodo and the speakers inside your monitor often unfit for anything more than the briefest of email pings, finding the best gaming headset for you and your budget has never been more important. They’re often the best way to play games without disturbing other people around you, and with more and more games utilizing online play and various types of co-op bits and bobs, they’re also one of the easiest ways to communicate with fellow players without having to resort to a separate mic setup.
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.
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.
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.
When it comes to getting the best surround sound experience for gaming, there's no real substitute for a proper speaker setup with seven (or more) speakers and a subwoofer correctly positioned to deliver sound from the right direction at the right time. Virtual surround sound headsets do a reasonably good job as an affordable alternative, but what if you want closer to the real thing without clogging up your room with speakers and cables?
So, in the words of Cypher from The Matrix: “Ignorance is bliss”. Yes? Well no, not always. It will come as no surprise that some of the best sounding in our list also have the highest impedance. The HyperX Cloud Alpha comes in at 65Ω, Sennheiser 373D at 50Ω amd Astro A50’s at 45Ω. Of course impedance isn’t the only thing that affects sound quality, but it’s an interesting spec to take note of in a space that doesn’t require it, especially when making informed decisions.
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.
“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.”
As with all of our gamer peripherals, we rigorously test each headset before fully reviewing. If a device is compatible with different platforms, consoles as well as PC, then we’ll be sure to try it out on the lot. Wired or wireless, we check that the audio quality is good enough and that features such as surround sound support work as expected. We also make sure the mic clearly picks up your voice, even in a noisy environment, so your online pals can hear every zinger and sick burn.
Some phones only have a mechanical means of switch hook operation. The lifter allows cordless headsets to be used remotely with such phones. The phone user presses the appropriate headset button to either answer a call or terminate a call. The headset's base station's interface with the handset lifter will take the appropriate action - lift or replace the handset.
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.
The SteelSeries Arctis Pro features premium drivers which the company claim are capable of delivering double the audio range of most standard headsets (at 40,000Hz). This has a number of implications in the use of this headset. Firstly, if you're a PC gamer this means that you can dive into the settings on the GameDAC (Digital Audio Converter) and switch over to Hi-Res audio. Doing this means the little control box then does the leg work and transforms sound into High-fidelity 96kHZ/24-bit audio. You can then open up Windows sound settings and see the full glory of the high-end audio.
The Turtle Beach Elite Pro Professional is a gaming headset that offers superb quality surround sound audio, an excellent microphone and, most importantly, a comfortable gaming experience for a reasonable price. If you're a glasses wearer or a gamer that loves long gaming sessions and wants an encompassing and immersive sound that's as comfortable as it is enjoyable then this is the headset for you.
The plush ear cups and double strap headband provide a lot of comfort, however the 10 hour battery life was disappointing especially considering the Astro A50s have a lot more tech to power and last 33% longer. Considering the lack of RGB, we can only assume it relates to the dual antenna tech. The audio quality is decent and fully-customizable via ASUS’ Sonic Studio software, and we enjoyed using the headset in-game as much as we did whilst listening to music. The surround sound was impressive at this price point and although it wasn’t as well-executed as the ASUS Centurion, it’s definitely in contention for best value surround on the list due to costing less than half the price. The only real negative aside from battery life is the sheer volume of competition at this price point. If you’re looking for a wireless headset that won’t drop out when you need it most and want a beefy bass response with awesome 7.1 surround sound, this could be for you.
While the HyperX Cloud is a great headset for most gamers, no headset is perfect for everyone. If you’re more discerning when it comes to sound quality in games, movies, and music, or if your gaming sessions run a little longer than the norm, consider the Sennheiser Game One. This headset was by far the favorite of all our testers (even our online helpers) due to its stellar audio performance, exceptional long-term comfort, and fantastic noise-cancelling microphone, but you’ll pay at least 50 percent more for that performance. Also, you might need to upgrade your sound card or headphone amp.
Mobile (cellular) phone headsets are often referred to as handsfree. Most mobile phones come with their own handsfree in the form of a single earphone with a microphone module connected in the cable. For music-playing mobile phones, manufacturers may bundle stereo earphones with a microphone. There are also third-party brands which may provide better sound quality or wireless connectivity.
Amazon.com Return Policy:You may return any new computer purchased from Amazon.com that is "dead on arrival," arrives in damaged condition, or is still in unopened boxes, for a full refund within 30 days of purchase. Amazon.com reserves the right to test "dead on arrival" returns and impose a customer fee equal to 15 percent of the product sales price if the customer misrepresents the condition of the product. Any returned computer that is damaged through customer misuse, is missing parts, or is in unsellable condition due to customer tampering will result in the customer being charged a higher restocking fee based on the condition of the product. Amazon.com will not accept returns of any desktop or notebook computer more than 30 days after you receive the shipment. New, used, and refurbished products purchased from Marketplace vendors are subject to the returns policy of the individual vendor.
For older models of telephones, the headset microphone impedance is different from that of the original handset, requiring a telephone amplifier to impedance-match the telephone headset. A telephone amplifier provides basic pin-alignment similar to a telephone headset adapter, but it also offers sound amplification for the microphone as well as the loudspeakers. Most models of telephone amplifiers offer volume control for loudspeaker as well as microphone, mute function and switching between handset and headset. Telephone amplifiers are powered through batteries or AC adapters.
Shopping for gaming headphones is typically a very different experience than when looking at normal headphones for a commute or for office use. Gaming headphones tend be flashier and bulkier, with less thought given to portability or critical listening and more emphasis given to the microphone quality and active features. We’ve tested over 225 headphones and 107 wireless models and below are our top 5 recommendations for wireless gaming headsets.
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.
Turtle Beach’s professional gamer grade headset is comfortable. Beating out the Astro A50s for most comfortable in the list. This is thanks to their ComforTec fit system which allows adjustment of headband tension as well as ear cup position. Aerofit ear cups, comprised of spandex fabric and gel-infused foam also contribute to the cause. Turtle beach have thought outside the box and created a ‘glasses relief system’ that allows you to create a small channel in the ear cups for your glasses’ frames to sit in. Genius. And it really works. So 10/10 for comfort. But what about the sound? Well that’s top notch too. Similarly to the Arctis 7s, the sound is full and rich, but punchy and crisp enough to pick out individual footsteps and gunfire in the heat of battle. Music sounded decent, although, unlike the Arctis 7s, without a flat EQ profile available, it was slightly muddied by the bass.
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.
If you already have a favorite pair of headphones that either has a cheap inline microphone or no mic at all, consider the Antlion Audio ModMic 5 (pictured above). It's a boom mic that attaches easily to your favorite pair of headphones, and can be removed when not in use thanks to a two-piece magnetic mount. You won't get any of the gaming-specific features of dedicated gaming headsets with the ModMic (and wireless is right out), but it lets you use your beloved old cans for voice chat. Just make sure you have the right connection or adapter to use it with your preferred game platform.
If listening to well-recorded music on the HyperX Cloud revealed one sonic downside, it’s that some high-pitched sounds in certain songs tended to be slightly overemphasized. This effect didn’t bother all our panelists. And the issue didn’t crop up with any of our games, so since the HyperX Cloud is a gaming headset, we couldn’t really hold that against it.
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.
The HyperX Cloud Flight boasts an incredibly lightweight and comfortable frame, which, combined with up to 30 hours of battery life, results in a cozy wireless PS4 headset that you can truly wear all day. The Flight also delivers rich, accurate sound for competitive and immersive games alike, features a crisp microphone, and touts slick LED earcup lighting. The USB-powered Flight offers easy plug-and-play compatibility with any PS4, and doubles as a great PC headset.