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 HyperX Cloud Alpha feels remarkably premium for a $99 headset, offering a striking and durable aluminum design in addition to a wonderfully cozy set of memory foam earcups that are perfect for marathon sessions. The Alpha delivers crisp highs and rich bass thanks to HyperX's new Dual Chamber technology, and includes a detachable cable and soft carrying pouch for easy travel.
“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!”
We do have a few PC-relevant nits to pick with the HyperX Cloud Flight, though. For one thing, its generous 30 hours of battery life only applies if you turn off the headset’s LEDs, which you’ll have to do every time you power the headset on, by double-tapping the power button. Why the headset doesn’t remember this setting is a bit of a mystery. We also missed some of the features found on other wireless headsets, like audible confirmation of battery life, and some sort of indicator of whether the mic is muted or not. Muting is accomplished by tapping the left ear cup, and the headset does beep when going in and out of mute mode, but some other indicator would have been appreciated. Especially given that the Cloud Flight’s mic is so hot that it does pick up the slightest bit of audio coming from the headset. In other words, unless you use push-to-talk, you’ll likely want to mute the mic on occasion.
Most high-end gaming headsets claim to offer some form of surround sound, but this isn't accurate. The vast majority of surround sound headsets still use stereo drivers (often a single 40mm driver for each ear) to produce sound. The surround aspect comes from Dolby and DTS processing technologies that tweak how the headsets mix sound between your ears to give an impression of 360-degree audio. It's an artificial effect that wouldn't provide a true surround sound image even if the headset had individual drivers for each channel; there simply isn't enough space for the sound to resonate to produce the impression of accurate directional audio. However, it can make things more immersive and improve your ability to track the direction sounds from left to right.
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.
As a result, I’m currently limiting this article to gaming headsets ONLY at the moment. It sounds obvious from the title, but I’m sorry to say those after the best headphones for regular music listening or the best desktop speaker systems will have to look elsewhere. Instead, what you’ll find below is a list of all my current favourite headsets – ones I’ve tried and tested myself right here at Castle Shotgun. As with any kind of ‘Best’ list, none of this is set in stone – it will continue to change and evolve as I get new headsets in for testing, but for now, I hereby decree these to be the best gaming headsets available right now.
+Sound Quality is good, but is not Surround Sound (as it says on the name of the product): Same this as with the mic, is exactly what i would expect from any gaming headset.Working stereo which will allow you to know where sound is coming from. The only thing is that this is not a surround sound headset as its labeled in the name (but not on the description). There is a difference between Stereo and Surround Sound, but for gaming it doesnt tent to be that important as most game already do tricks with the audio to make stereo appear as its surround sound (I also wouldnt expect any headset under 100$ to be full Surround Sound).
With the GameDAC converting the audio, the SteelSeries Arctis Pro then becomes a complete audio system that delivers tremendous sound with a range of tuning options. Like the SteelSeries Siberia 800, the control box offers a number of inputs and outputs. This headset is compatible with both PS4 and PC and comes with cables for USB and optical connections on those devices as well as an option to use the headset with a mobile phone.
The first thing that strikes home about the Turtle Beach Elite Pro Professional headset is the build quality. There's a flex and bend here which allows it to fit nicely on your head. Incredibly deep leather earcups are supported by a large and comfortable headband which includes a tension adjustment system that allows you to tweak the way the headset hugs your head.
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.
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.
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.
Do you even need a dedicated gaming headset at all? If audio quality is the be-all-and-end-all for you it might be interesting to note there’s a growing trend of using audiophile headphones, coupled with discrete desk-based microphones, so you can still yell abuse at your gaming buddies while enjoying the absolute best aural experiences money can buy.
When we tested the Beyerdynamic Custom One Pro Plus with Custom Headset Gear for the original iteration of this guide, we all loved its comfortable, roomy fit, as well as the fact that its bass performance could be tuned acoustically, without software EQ, via sliders on each ear cup. Unfortunately, the Custom Headset Gear shorted out on us right out of the box, and user reviews indicated that this was a startlingly common problem.
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.
For mic testing, we record clips of ourselves speaking in quiet and loud environments, both with any noise canceling or enhancements toggled on and off. We use the headsets over multiple days, wearing them while gaming, watching videos, or listening to music to test the veracity of battery life claims, as well as appraise their long-term wearability and comfort.