"Fantastic headset for the price! The earpieces are very comfortable and can definitely drown out the surrounding noise when you've got them cranked at full volume. The intuitive microphone design is great too. Before this I had the PS4 wireless headset and sometimes my wife would come in and not know whether I was in a chat or just listening to my game, and now she knows if the mic is up, I'm good to talk, and if it's down...it's game time!"
A: Unfortunately, no. The Xbox One is the trickiest console to buy a gaming headset for. Previously, Microsoft required you to purchase a separate stereo adapter to use a 3.5-millimeter headset. Fortunately, the newest Xbox One controllers have a built-in 3.5-millimeter jack, just like the one you’d find on a PlayStation 4 controller or PC, so the adapter is no longer necessary. As for wireless headsets, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One headsets run at different frequencies, so make sure you're buying the correct one for your console. We recommend the ASTRO Gaming A50 wireless gaming headset for Xbox One users. You can read more about Xbox One headset compatibility here.
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.
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.
It goes without saying that when choosing a gaming headset, sound quality is king. Why else upgrade if not for better quality audio? Value for money is also important: we’re sure hearing Adele singing live in our living room would sound better than on CD, but we very much doubt we could justify singing to the note of her six figure fee (plus we only really know that one song…and just the chorus).
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.
I purchased the astro a50 over a year ago and I was impressed. I gave it away recently and am ready to buy a next pair. Wireless is the way to go for me but as I see you didn't include the a50 are you saying that it isn't good? I have been looking at reviews and was leaning towards another pair of a50's. How soon do you think you can review and compare them? PS4 gamer.
This headset is powered by the headphone amplifier control box that sits neatly on your desk. This little box of tricks is the hub for the audio and allows you to easily change between settings, adjust volume and even tweak lighting on-the-fly. It acts as the sound card and works to process the surround sound audio to deliver the accurate audio experience you'd expect from a headset of this quality.
“My 11-year-old son uses these strictly for PS4 gaming online with his friends. He loves the look and comfort of them. The audio works well with game sounds and chatting with his buddies. From my point of view, these headphones are made very well and I was impressed with build quality for the price. I was also impressed with the audio quality when listening to music to check them out. Usually for this price point, you greatly sacrifice build quality or audio quality, but that is not the case with this product. Great overall!”
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.
When it comes to sound quality, this headset is fully capable and delivers a superb audio experience with deep bass notes, a good range and an impressive positional audio experience thanks to the DTS Headphone: X 7.1 surround sound technology. Although perhaps not as impressive as some of the other headsets on this list, the sound here is certainly high-quality and accurate.
We brought in both the Beyerdynamic MMX 300 and the Beyerdynamic Custom One Pro Plus with Custom Headset Gear as potential upgrade picks. Although we all loved the comfort of the MMX 300, as well as its neutral, balanced sound and its overall design, we found that it required too much amplification to be a viable recommendation. The Game One delivered more bang for fewer bucks.
There are two exceptions. The first is another Razer product—Razer Surround—a software download that adds surround-sound processing to any stereo headphones or headset. It comes in two versions: a basic free download that offers surprisingly convincing “7.1-channel” surround effects, and a Pro version that adds selectable bass boost, adjustable dynamic range compression, voice-clarity processing, an equalizer with 11 presets as well as custom settings, and (most important) the ability to calibrate the surround-sound experience specifically for your headset, your head, and your ears. The Pro version is a free download for anyone who purchases select Razer headsets, or you can buy it standalone for $20 (at the time of this writing).
Will Greenwald has been covering consumer technology for a decade, and has served on the editorial staffs of CNET.com, Sound & Vision, and Maximum PC. His work and analysis has been seen in GamePro, Tested.com, Geek.com, and several other publications. He currently covers consumer electronics in the PC Labs as the in-house home entertainment expert... See Full Bio
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.
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.
And you would be missing out on some valuable gaming-centric add-ons, such as the dual 3.5 mm 2-meter extension cable with in-line volume control and mic mute, plus the easily swappable leatherette and velour earpads. The HyperX Cloud also comes with a short adapter cable (dual 3.5 mm to single 3.5 mm) for use with mobile devices, as well as an airplane adapter and a cloth carrying case. And since it’s an analog headset, it works just fine with PCs, Macs, and consoles alike, although you will need an adapter (sold separately) for the Xbox One.
The other drawback of its closed-back design is that the Custom Game isn’t as breathable as the Sennheiser, which means that it gets a bit warmer after hours of wear. Still, the spacious ear cups and ample padding were appreciated by all of our testers. As long as you’re not planning on wearing your headset for more than three or four hours at a time, comfort shouldn’t be an issue. Thankfully, the headset also feels as durable and well-built as its $200-ish retail price would suggest. And if you should happen to wear out or otherwise damage the padded headband, it’s easily replaceable, which is an appreciated feature that we don’t see nearly often enough.
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.
Optical connections, like USB, are digital connections and come with similar benefits. However, unlike USB they are designed for audio use only meaning if you have one on a device, chances are it will be free to use. That said, unless you have an expensive motherboard or an upgraded soundcard, it’s unlikely you will have one. The most likely place to find them is on any modern TVs or games consoles. This is due to the popularity of TV surround sound systems and gaming headsets on consoles. This is why the Astro A50 is such a versatile choice. Although expensive, it has USB and Optical connectivity meaning it can be used on 99% of devices around the home.
We also found this wireless headset to have the best battery life we've seen. We managed to squeeze out over 20 hours of use during testing, though we would recommend charging before it goes flat or you'll have an uncomfortable experience thanks to the short charging cable. A power light underneath lets you know when it's running low by changing colour with a traffic light system warning you when the charge is getting low. A red light is a bad sign and time to get it plugged in.
Larger drivers have been known to produce lower bass frequencies, however, the quality of the driver and its enclosure is more important than its size. Now this information is not always available, but companies such as SteelSeries often use the same drivers across multiple headsets, so a quick google will often tell you how good a certain driver is. A good example would be the SteelSeries Arctis 7, which uses S1 speaker drivers which are also found in their $300 headsets. Not bad for a $150 purchase.
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.
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We liked a lot of things about this headset, one of which was the simple design of the audio connections. The Turtle Beach Elite Pro Professional headset boasts a long cable which made it comfortable to use. It connects to the headset via a micro-USB jack on the cable meaning that if the cable gets snagged on anything (your chair, for example) then it will simply disconnect itself rather than risking damaging the headset connection. This sort of simple design feature is very welcome in our opinion as it's not only comfortable, it's practical.
You can tell HyperX mean business with this one. The headset is premium, with its high-quality, lightweight aluminium frame, fixed firmly to the closed back, memory-foam-lined cans. The headband creates enough tension for you to know where your money's gone, but not so much that a certain scene from Total Recall is likely to be re-created. No, not the one with the three boobs…
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.
Many wireless mobile headsets use Bluetooth technology, supported by many phones and computers, sometimes by connecting a Bluetooth adapter to a USB port. Since version 1.1 Bluetooth devices can transmit voice calls and play several music and video formats, but audio will not be played in stereo unless the cellphone or media device, and the headset, both have the A2DP profile.
Humanized Design:Since the materials of the beam Tungsten steel and also 7 teeth locked construction You can adjust self-adjustment beam to fit your size to make your comfortable wearing. You will have not oppressive feeling as the ear cover is protein super soft. It weights light that usually forget the headset on your head that bringing such wonderful experience when you are using it.
Looks-wise, the black, brushed metal cup plates really compliment the gun metal arms. However, although we’re fans of the high contrast red cables, we do wish Creative had reduced the aggressive styling of their X logo, which, in our opinion is far too prominent, and detracts from the slickness of the brushed metal frame. Oh, and it lights up - yay? That being said, the headset is super comfy, lightweight, and built in such a way that allows it to bend, flex and twist without ever feeling like it’s about to break. So, top marks for design. The BlasterX software provides presets for your favorite games (CS:GO, DOTA 2 etc.) as well as the ability to tweak custom profiles. Some of the presets worked better than others, but, as the ability to completely customize your EQ settings is available, we can’t really ask for more. In true gamer-centric fashion, there’s even a Scout mode, that lets you hear footsteps easier in stereo. The virtual surround will appease some but, while it does add a layer of immersion for casual gaming, serious gamers will notice its poor, rear directional sound representation. The only real issue we’ve seen are complaints of poor Windows 10 drivers causing the left and right channels to switch intermittently, although we never ran into this issue ourselves.
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.
If you want to use your headset with last-gen systems like the PS3 and the Xbox 360, you'll need to see if the headset supports their own unique connections, or if adapters are available. PCs are the most flexible with gaming headsets, since they can work with USB headsets (which are generally only compatible with PCs), 3.5mm analog connections (though you might need a splitter adapter if your headset ends in just one plug), and often optical audio.
Another term you’ll see accompanied by a smattering of numbers is sensitivity or SPL (sound pressure level). Essentially, this is a measurement of how loud a headset will produce sound at a particular power level. Now, it’s worth taking this stat with a pinch of salt as due to variance in power sources (amps, interfaces etc.) the measurement of sensitivity is not always a true representation of how loud the headset will sound for you. Also as sensitivity is measured in decibels per milliwatt and power from your PC (and every other electrical device on the planet) is delivered in volts, the methods used by companies to arrive at their value of sensitivity can be inconsistent, which doesn’t really help anyone in deciding whether or not a particular headset is right for them.
While it's strictly stereo on the PS4, using the H7 on the PC opens a nice world of audio software options, including the BlasterX Acoustic Engine Pro. This is a great way to get some impressive virtual surround going. With the Sound BlasterX H7, users can expect to have both a nice analog stereo headset and a good onboard USB option for both the PC and PS4. That USB option is good for when a pricey DAC doesn't make sense or isn't available.The H7 then is a very good headset that does several things well, including gaming, and is worth being on a shortlist of headsets to consider picking up in 2016.
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.
The new SteelSeries Arctis 3 and Arctis 5, which were designed to mimic the aesthetic of less flashy headphones, impressed us with their light weight, though not necessarily their build quality and high price. The Arctis 7, meanwhile, is priced very attractively for a wireless headset and gives the LucidSound LS30 and HyperX Cloud Flight some stiff competition, but in our tests we found its microphone frustrating, and long-term comfort was an issue.
Despite the less involved sound editing options (you’re stuck with basic software rather than the 800s’ desktop transmitter) and the aforementioned design issues, the Arctis 7s still manage to be a dependable and complete gaming headset. The mic is brilliant at cutting out sound, the effective range is outstanding, and considering their much lower price than the 800s they make a wise mid-budget pick.
Performance on games is more important than on movies or music: We looked first and foremost for usable representation of game audio more than realistic reproduction of music; we considered music performance only as a bonus. Only 18 percent of respondents to our initial survey said they cared how their gaming headset performed with music and movies at all.
Setting this headset up is as easy as plugging a USB cable into your PC or optical cable into your PS4 then plugging that into the control box with the other cable going to the headset itself. Then the GameDAC talks you though set-up depending on what device you're using and how to use the controls. Using this box is as simple as adjusting the volume wheel and click it in to accept settings to twisting to adjust with a separate button to go back or exit.
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.
Virtual surround sound is by no means a bad thing. Yes, it’s not as good as proper 7.1 surround sound, but in some cases it can help make music feel more immersive and all-encompassing than regular stereo. However, poor implementations of it can often destroy any sense of intimacy or breathing-down-the-back-of-your-neck-style dialogue, and it can sometimes make your game audio feel like it’s been turned into one great big echo chamber, so don’t be fooled by what it says on the box.
The lightweight build encases 50mm drivers capable of an impressively broad 10 – 40,000Hz frequency response – far and away beyond what any non-audiophile headset on our roundup can produce. They live up to the expectation, too. The headset offers rich and crisp sound which is plenty capable of producing solid bass without sacrificing a complete soundscape of more than acceptable mids and highs along the way.
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.
Comfort carries onto the design of the ear cushions. The standard cups make use of soft AirWeave material which we found to be more comfortable and less scratchy than other breathable materials we've tested, but not as nice as leather ear cups which are always our preference. You can purchase leather and velour ear cushions separately though, so there are plenty of options when it comes to comfort.
This sleek, minimalist headset has the versatility and simplicity that comes with a wired headset, but boasts excellent sound quality that rivals other headsets that cost two or three times as much. Because it’s a wired headset, you’ll be losing out on surround sound, but the stereo mix is strong enough that accurate positioning shouldn’t be an issue. The inclusion of a detachable mic adds to the HS50’s attractive-yet-unassuming design, and makes it possible for the headset to double as a quick pair of headphones, if need be.