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.
Build quality also plays a part in our choices. If we’re going to invest our hard earned dollars into something, we expect a return. A big one. It has to be comfortable too. Gaming for hours on end in the comfort of our own homes, means it’s only right that we’re, err, well, comfortable. Finally, any additional features the headset provides. This could be Bluetooth connectivity, so you can choose to ignore calls mid game, charging wireless headsets whilst in use or customizable EQ options. Our Buying Advice guide below will help you tell your Dolby 7.1 from your DTS:X, so be sure to check that out for the full scoop.
During testing we found the Asus Strix 7.1 headset capable of offering an excellent communication experience across a range of software including Discord, Slack, Skype and more. It works as well for in-game VOIP as it does for calls with colleagues or friends. The quality of this audio is backed by the environmental noise cancelling which is managed by the microphone on the control box. This reduces the interference from other noise in the environment such as key presses or white noise that might interfere with your broadcast.
"But wouldn't that look weird at a coffee shop?" you ask. Yes it would, so HyperX has designed with a boom mic that can be easily unplugged and removed. It also features replaceable earcups in case the oval ones that come with it don't fit your ears, and it also includes a swank mesh bag to stow the whole kit in when you travel. Put all these awesome ingredients together and you have one righteous headset at a sweet, sweet price.
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.
As we’ve already mentioned, the speakers inside your headset are called drivers. The most common distinction between a driver (and one you’ll find plastered over the box of your latest purchase) is its size in millimeters. The most common in gaming headsets being 40mm. Some use 50mm, some 30mm and true surround sound headsets even use 20mm as rear left/right additions. It is important to note that a larger driver does not mean a louder or higher quality sound. There are many more factors at play including the mass of the driver, the material the driver is made from, how the driver has been tuned and the size of the enclosure (ear cup) that the driver is placed in.
The mic is equally good. We found voice capture with the mic to be clear, and we dig the minimalist design of the boom mic, which can be easily flipped up when not in use, or extended and bent for finding the optimal distance. As is often the case with Logitech gear, the headset has several neat idiosyncrasies, like a textured pad on the USB receiver for extra grip and internal “beeps” to inform you of volume changes, low battery levels, or mic enabling. It’s also, thankfully, devoid of any gaudy lights or “cool” decals, opting instead for a simpler and therefore more attractive aesthetic than most other headsets out there. While not necessarily groundbreaking, these are nice touches nonetheless.
This headset uses the Razer Synapse software which offers masses of options including equalisation controls, settings for mic noise control, voice clarity, ambient noise reduction and lighting effects too. The lighting here is subtle and understated, unlike the majority of other RGB capable products out there. The Razer logo on the side of the earcups lights up nicely with tweaking available in the software.
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.
Here’s another high quality gaming headset that’s also considered to be pretty affordable. You get some on cable controls (volume or mute) for convenience, some 7.1 surround sound (Dolby), rotating ear cups, and decent quality ear pads (not necessarily memory foam but they’re soft and won’t hurt after a long time of use). Lastly, the mic has some noice-cancellation tech built-in so you’ll be clear as day to who you’re speaking to (or yelling at). The frequency response isn’t quite as wide as the previous pair listed but they still get the job done. Since they’re a bit cheaper we can sacrifice quantitatively because bigger drivers doesn’t always mean better sound quality. It has over a thousand reviews for a reason.
Perhaps the most surprising thing about the audio performance of the Game One was just how staggering and hard-hitting its low frequencies were when necessary. Dying Light, for instance, is a particularly tactile game that mostly consists of the player thwacking zombies in the head with large metal pipes and other blunt instruments. Few headsets in our roundup came close to matching the visceral thuds the Game One rendered. In our Star Wars: Battlefront sessions, the thermal imploder bombs that occasionally wreak havoc on the battlefield felt and sounded as if they were cranked out by a good subwoofer.
The $99 HyperX Cloud II headset is the best midrange headset because it's the whole package. Not only does it do the job quite well by delivering punchy, ear-tingling audio, but it has awesome features other headsets lack and goes above and beyond what you expect from a headset for the price. For example, though it's a USB headset you can simply disconnect its cable from the included 7.1 surround sound dongle and connect it to any device with a 3.5mm jack, including an Xbox, PlayStation, Switch, or phone.
"Pretty amazing audio for a wireless headset in a super comfortable design. I work at my computer all day long, and there is nothing worse than throwing good money down on a pair of 'high-end' headphones and wanting to take them off your head because your ears are being pinched. This ski-goggle suspension strap carries the weight of the (already pretty light) headphones. And the ear pads are very comfortable. I also wear glasses, so I need to have pads that mold themselves around the frames without continuing to knock them off course."
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.
Making sure you’ve got the right aural setup for your gaming rig is absolutely vital to getting the ultimate experience, and a quality gaming headset has a massive part to play in the overall immersion of PC gaming. We’ve tested the latest and greatest from the top manufacturers in the land, from Turtle Beach headsets, Razer, HyperX, SteelSeries, Sennheiser, and more, all to help you figure out what the right set of cans is for you and the games you play.
While any gamer would like to have a $300 gaming headset, it isn't always practical or affordable. Typically, it's the latter that is the issue, since most premium headsets cost almost as much as a new console. That doesn't mean you can't get a decent pair of headphones on a budget, though it might make finding some just a little harder. Thankfully, HyperX is here with a headset perfect for the conscious gamers out there.
Of all the headsets we tried, the Razer Tiamat 7.1 created the most convincing surround experience, which didn’t surprise us since it includes five distinct drivers in each earcup: a 30 mm front-channel driver, a 30 mm center-channel driver, 20 mm surround and surround-back drivers, and a 40 mm low-frequency effects driver. Still, the surround-sound experience wasn’t entirely convincing, and the Tiamat 7.1 failed to create a satisfying front soundstage.
The twist of a dial allows you to change the volume of the channels, adjust your mic sensitivity levels or adjust the surround sound profile to suit your preference the game you're playing. You can easily mute the microphone or turn surround sound on or off here too. There are also cables supplied to allow you to connect to speakers too, should you need or want to. This allows the option to switch between speakers and headphones when the need arises and demonstrates just how flexible this setup is.
If you’re after a wireless gaming headset with marathon long battery life, then you’d do well to check out Kingston’s HyperX Cloud Flight. The Cloud Flight’s quoted 30 hour battery life is one of the best in the market, and during our tests we found it to have more stamina than any other headset we’ve tested. Add to this its excellent noise cancelling mic and the Kingston HyperX Cloud Flight quickly becomes an ideal choice for people that regularly enjoy prolonged gaming sessions.
The SteelSeries Arctis Pro is compatible with the SteelSeries Engine 3 software, which means it's open to a range of other tweaks, customisation and personalisation according to your needs. The addition of the GameDAC though means that you don't need that software to enjoy the headset in its full glory. On a desk the DAC offers the ability to change settings on-the-fly and it as a separate unit it means PlayStation gamers can enjoy all those settings too without needing to plug into a PC.
The Audio-Technica Open Air (ATH-ADG1X) and Isolation (ATH-AG1X)—functionally the same headset, though the former is an open-back model and the latter is a closed-back version—were without question the most comfortable headsets any of us had ever tested. But they’re voiced to appeal to audiophiles, with lots of emphasis on high frequencies, which doesn’t play well for games.
Most budget gaming headsets feature mostly plastic bodies and mediocre sound quality, but not the Corsair HS50. It’s a budget-friendly pick with a metal construction that both looks and feels premium. The headband and ear cups on the headset are on the larger side, mostly because of thick synthetic leather padding, but they're still super comfortable. There’s even a convenient volume dial along the left side of the headset, along with a mute button for the microphone. The noise-canceling microphone is removable, too, making the headset a travel-friendly pair that’s compatible with any game console, gaming laptop, and most smartphones.
The Void Pro RGB also has an excellent microphone, and is usually my headset of choice when I put in the occasional appearance on The RPS Electronic Wireless Show. It’s a great sounding headset as well, but its virtual 7.1 surround sound effects aren’t the best, hence its position as ‘runner-up’ rather than our overall winner. You also need to fire up Corsair’s Cue software to use it, as there isn’t a dedicated button to enable it on the headset itself.
That said, you’re going to get a lot more distance and freedom from a wireless headset, which makes them best for large living room setups where you’re going to be sitting on one side of the room and your console or PC is at the other. Keep an eye out for battery life ratin, as well. Most headsets can survive for at least a few straight hours of play, but there’s nothing worse than having to stop in the middle of an intense match to plug in your headset’s charging cable once the batteries are tapped.