The only thing bigger than the size of this beastly headset is its sound. Out of the box, the ManO’War 7.1 has a spacious mix, giving the upper register room to breathe on top of bombastic, rich bass. When connected to PC via USB, the 7.1 further enhances the size and space the headset’s drivers create. The result is a fantastic auditory experience.
Two other new Logitech headsets, the G433 and G233 Prodigy, promise a comfortable, lightweight experience with the support of high-quality Pro G audio drivers. Both headsets offer removable microphones, but only the G433 headset comes equipped with 7.1 surround sound, an extra pair of earpads, and a USB cord featuring volume control. The prices for these models fall around and above that of our top pick. When we test these headsets, we’ll examine the durability, the fabric finish, the removable mesh earpads, and the differences in quality across PC, console, and mobile device use. Logitech claims its G Pro headset—designed in collaboration with pro gamers—has ear pads with “50 percent more sound isolation than other ear pads” and a pro-grade microphone designed for improved clarity.
Most external microphone designs are of either omnidirectional or noise-canceling type. Noise-canceling microphone headsets use a bi-directional microphone as elements. A bi-directional microphone's receptive field has two angles only. Its receptive field is limited to only the front and the direct opposite back of the microphone. This create an "8" shape field, and this design is the best method for picking up sound only from a close proximity of the user, while not picking up most surrounding noises.
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 HyperX Cloud Stinger redefines what you should expect from a $50 gaming headset, offering a sturdy design, incredibly comfortable earcups and convenient on-ear audio controls. The Stinger's 3.5mm connection makes it ideal for consoles and mobile, though there's also an included headphone/microphone splitter if you want to use it on PC. It doesn't hurt that the sound quality is pretty good. If your budget is tight, you won't be cutting many corners by picking up a Stinger.
Given its price point in comparison to the other wireless headsets we’ve reviewed, we can forgive a slightly cheaper feel - so long as the audio is on point. Which it is. The sound produced is excellent for games and alright for movies and music. Our only gripe would be that the soundstage on the latter two can feel very narrow at times, and it doesn't help that the EQ options in the software suite are pretty limited. However, they do include custom presets for movies and games, as well as a single custom EQ profile for your meddling. Inside Corsairs Utility Engine (CUE) you also have access to the virtual 7.1 surround settings, which, although they work well, can cause sound to become muddled, hampering directional awareness. In our opinion, stereo is where it’s at for the Void. If you have multiple Corsair RGB products, you can also have them operate in unison, like some psychedelically infused lighthouse - or you can just have them pulse white. Either way, your battery life is the main victim here. Reduced to a useable sixteen hours, just don’t forget to charge them after every use. Or buy the Astro A50s. Your choice.
Simply put: the Arctis Pro Wireless sounds spectacular. It features a naturally flat and well-balanced sound, accurate reproduction, and offers a vivid soundscape that makes for an incredible listening experience – good enough to make even a die-hard audiophile crack a smile. The microphone isn’t your run-of-the-mill unit either, and eliminates background noise exceptionally well.
It's also true that if a headset doesn’t sound good, then spending a single cent on it is a waste of money. But what is ‘good’ sound? Well, that depends entirely on your taste. Some people like bass heavy sound that reverberates through everything in a ten-mile radius, others prefer a natural more balanced sound, and a few have been known to prefer a bit of both. Therefore, if you’re dead set on a specific sound it’s probably wise to choose a headset that comes with EQ software, which enables you to manipulate the sound to your taste. (Surround sound is another consideration, but we’ll cover that a bit later.) Finally the price. This should be thought of in three distinctions. Firstly, what is your budget? Second, what are other companies offering for roughly the same price? And finally, what reputation does the company have, especially surrounding warranties and customer service?
The Cloud Flight still has plenty of merits of its own, though, including a whopping 30 hours of battery life when you turn off its ear-cup LEDs. That’s miles ahead of the Arctis 7’s 15 hours of wireless battery life, and makes a strong case for it being the best wireless headset currently available – especially when it only costs a little bit more than its Steelseries rival. Even with the LEDs set to breathing mode, the Cloud Flight’s rated for an impressive 18 hours of play time, and you’ll still get 13 hours out of it with them going full light show.
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.
Positional audio is clearly important to gamers. A good headset will help gamers know where the enemy are, which direction the threat is coming from and present a more immersive experience. So it's surprising to find that the SteelSeries Siberia 800 isn't up to scratch in this area. It's still better than a stereo headset, but not as good as some of the other surround sound headsets on this list.
Computer headsets generally come in two connection types: standard 3.5 mm and USB connection. General 3.5 mm computer headsets come with two 3.5 mm connectors: one connecting to the microphone jack and one connecting to the headphone/speaker jack of the computer. 3.5 mm computer headsets connect to the computer via a soundcard, which converts the digital signal of the computer to an analog signal for the headset. USB computer headsets connect to the computer via a USB port, and the audio conversion occurs in the headset or in the control unit of the headset. Headsets are increasingly used for school testing, although there are many factors to consider.
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 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.
Our latest Razer gaming headsets give you full voice chat capability over the PlayStation network, so you can talk to friends and other gamers while you play. Wireless headsets ensure freedom of movement and mean your gameplay is never restricted. Noise-cancelling gaming headsets block out background noise so you can pick up more audio detail from the game and focus completely on the game in hand without any unwanted disruptions. Most of our headsets are also compatible with Skype so you can use them for improved-quality VoIP chats.
Also from Plantronics, the RIG Flex split us. I adored the sound and loved its build quality, especially for the price, and I also found it quite comfortable despite its small size. But Bethany absolutely hated the way the earcups fit on her ears. We felt the same about the RIG stereo gaming headset with mixer, but we all agreed that its connectivity arrangement was more of a fuss than most gamers would willingly put up with.
We tried our best to find a headset with surround performance that impressed us, but for the most part, we weren’t able to. We tested one headset with multiple drivers in each earcup, plus a number of USB headsets with built-in Dolby, DTS, or Creative surround technologies (which create a surround-like experience using only two drivers, through a combination of delay and other audio processing).
My son has tried these on Xbox and PlayStation and the Mic doesn't work on either system. Update: so apparently my son didn't realize he needed to take the 2 way plug off that came attached to the end of the jack. He took it off and the headset works great. The seller was very good responding to my concerns and was going to send out a replacement until I figured out what he did wrong. So I have changed this to 5 stars.
We’ll likely be accused of playing favorites with this one, but after thorough testing in which only one of our testers was aware of the brands involved, we all agreed that Kingston’s new HyperX Cloud Stinger is the clear choice for gamers looking to spend $50 or less on a new headset. Compared with most budget headsets, the Cloud Stinger is surprisingly well-built and comfortable thanks to its cushy headband and relaxed fit. In our tests, its audio performance was noticeably better than that of anything else in its price range, thanks to its beefy 50 mm drivers and well-balanced sound. Our testers also went gaga over the Cloud Stinger’s new microphone, which is a substantial upgrade over the mic of even our top pick: Not only does it sound better, but also you can mute the mic just by raising the boom into the vertical position. This design does mean that the mic isn’t removable, which has long been a selling point of our top pick, the original HyperX Cloud, but the mic is especially sturdy, and it stays locked in place and out of the way when not in use.
The sound quality is unbeatable at this price point. Directional noises are easy to pinpoint and bullets and explosions carry a certain amount of weight, however, the surround sound was less impressive and seemed thrown in. Custom EQing is available thanks to the Logitech Gaming Software, and although you can’t save individual profiles, it’s nice to see this feature included. HyperX Cloud Alpha take note. Music didn’t sound bad, but it wasn’t great. This could be fixed via EQ adjustment, and the lack of pre-set functionality makes it a chore. The mic quality is again unbeatable in this bracket, but with no noise cancellation those of you in noisy environments may lose steam friends quicker than you drop frames in Arma 3. That said, if you want a supremely comfortable, great sounding headset and mic for gaming at an unbeatable price, the G430 is a must buy.
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.
Overall, the A50 leads in sound quality, while the Siberia 800 gets the edge in ease-of-use and comfort, plus the aforementioned charging method. With more and more excellent headsets in the $150 range, it’s hard to justify spending twice as much on either of these—they’re definitely not twice as good. But either way, the battle over this top spot continues on into the future.
If you’re the type of gamer that really likes to tweak your settings and have different profiles for each game that you play, then get the Logitech G933 instead. They use a USB dongle that works great for PC gaming or the PS4. The companion PC app also gives you a ton of customizable settings: a parametric EQ for sound, DTS 7.1 surround sound options, mic monitoring and 3 programmable buttons that can be mapped to specific commands, which is a nice touch that sets them apart from other gaming headsets.
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.
The included USB transmitter dongle provides great wireless range, audio and chat support for your PS4 and PC. You can also use their audio cable and plug them into your console’s controller and have audio and mic support for the Xbox One that way. They’re also an excellent choice for watching movies or listening to music wirelessly when at home, since the transmitter has an input for a regular AUX cable that will work with your TV, receiver and most audio devices. It also has very little latency (20ms).
"Works great for communicating over xbox live. Comes with the stereo headset adapter for controlling audio between game audio and party audio, as well as volume and muting controls. The separate adapter allows older xbox one controllers without the 3.5 audio jack to use headsets. The headset itself will work without the adapter if the controller is newer. Audio quality is good, and haven't had any complaints about my voice quality through the microphone."
The Corsair VOID PRO RGB Wireless is a wireless headset that boasts a wide and comfortable fit. It has a large and easily extendable headband that fits nicely on the head, though we did find it sat a bit too loosely sometimes and would move about if you shook your head too vigorously. You can, of course, tighten and loosen to your liking but it isn't quite as tight fitting and all-encompassing as other headsets we've tried.
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.
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.
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.
“I have owned a number of Mpow products. They all have been good products at great prices. When I got them I found them comfortable and the audio surprisingly good for the price. However, the biggest surprise was the 7.1 [surround sound] audio. While gaming, I was surprised to hear gameplay all around me! I could pinpoint the direction of other players by sound. It’s amazing and something I had anticipated spending five times as much to experience! The headset is full over-ear and comfy. So far the spring-and-cable-adjusted sizing has worked perfectly and the audio is beautifully balanced for gaming.”
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.
They obviously work best for those who are going to be sitting right next to their PC or console, though many devices, including the Nintendo Switch system — as well as the controllers for Xbox One, PS4, and Wii U — all feature 3.5mm jacks, making distance less of an issue since these devices will be in your hands. Keep in mind the length of the connection cable if you’re connecting via 3.5mm to a PC, TV/monitor, or a sound system. In some cases, extensions or swapping for a new cable might be necessary to get the distance your setup requires.