In addition to a fast processor and a clear display, gamers of every skill level recognize the need for great sound to get the rich, immersive gaming experience desired. Though similar to headphones, the best gamer headsets are different in two important ways. First, they have outstanding surround sound capabilities that add realism to the console- or PC-gaming session, providing the competitive edge needed to react instantly to even subtle sound cues, such as footsteps coming up behind you. And second, gaming headsets allow you to communicate with as well as listen to fellow gamers from around the world.
The Razer Thresher Ultimate packs everything you could want in a wireless headset. It's supremely comfortable, it sounds great and it has a 16-hour battery to last through a long day of gaming. The headset's 7.1 surround sound makes it easy to hear enemies coming, while its handy on-ear controls allows you to effortlessly balance game and chat audio. It doesn't hurt that the Thresher is one of the slickest set of wireless cans around, with stylish PS4 and Xbox One variations and an included receiver stand that'll make the peripheral look great sitting next to your console.
Telephone headsets connect to a fixed-line telephone system. A telephone headset functions by replacing the handset of a telephone. Headsets for standard corded telephones are fitted with a standard 4P4C commonly called an RJ-9 connector. Headsets are also available with 2.5mm jack sockets for many DECT phones and other applications. Cordless bluetooth headsets are available, and often used with mobile telephones. Headsets are widely used for telephone-intensive jobs, in particular by call centre workers. They are also used by anyone wishing to hold telephone conversations with both hands free.
The microphone is excellent and slides into the earcup when not in use. The icing on the cake is excellent software that lets you customize the sound and even assign profiles to games. All in all, the Arctis 7 has every feature we could ask for in a headset, and it comes wrapped in an understated package that's both sophisticated and all-day comfortable. When it comes to wireless gaming headsets, at this price it really doesn't get any better than this.
The Audio Technica ATH-ADG1x is one such headset. This is open-air, high-fidelity stereo gaming headset that's designed to deliver a comfortable gaming experience with light, open and natural sound delivered straight into your ears. If virtual surround sound isn't your thing, but the idea of impressive audio experiences, with a superior frequency response appeals then this might be the headset for you.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Thanks to its closed-back design, the new Custom Game delivers the sort of sound isolation that’s missing from the open-backed Sennheiser Game One, so if you’re concerned about disturbing anyone else in the room with you while you play games, it may be a better pick. Unsurprisingly, it also does a much better job of blocking external noise from reaching your ears, making it a great pick for noisier environments.
“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 you'd expect from a headset with "RGB" in its name, this version also includes RGB lighting. This lighting is part of the Corsair logo on the side of the ear cups and can be adjusted via the Corsair CUE software. You can set various colours and adjust the way the lighting works within the software, but the highlight for us was probably the "lighting link" function that syncs the lighting with other Corsair RGB products to light them in the same way e.g. keyboard and mouse.
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.
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.
"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."
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As for audio fidelity? It’s not quite equal to the G933, but the differences are minimal. The G533 lacks a bit of oomph, especially at lower volumes, and its 7.1 support is subpar. Those are hardly reasons to stay away, though—most people will run the headset loud enough to counteract the headset’s lack of presence, and virtual 7.1 is (in my opinion) pretty much always bad. The G533 is worse than the average, but the average is still something I choose to avoid day-to-day.
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Although they're made from plastic, the A50’s don’t feel cheap, thanks to innovative design and great build quality. The new dock/wireless transmitter doubles as a wireless charger (very nice) and Astro have added an accelerometer in the headset which tells the battery when you are/aren’t using it. This enables the headset to sleep when not in use, which, when combined with the 15 hour battery life, alleviates the main gripe with wireless headsets: the battery life. The ear cups are open-backed and made from a soft fabric, which really adds to the comfort. Their modular magnetic design means you can swap them (and the headband) out for others available via the MOD kit. Astro’s shortcomings, and we mean short, start with the slightly over compressed mic. We definitely preferred the mic on the Arctis 7 and even the Cloud Alpha. Our other gripe was that although the Command Centre software is useful, it was far too complicated for the casual user. It’s a high price, but those who can invest will not be disappointed. This is next-gen stuff.
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.
What keeps it from being the stand-out winner are several annoyances. For starters, the A50 uses the 5GHz band, which means the range isn’t great. Even sitting at my computer, I occasionally noticed interference. A built-in battery also means that if you do forget to charge it, you’re stuck attaching it to your PC with a MicroUSB cable while you play. And the audio, while quite good and superior to the Arctis Pro Wireless, still is easily outdone by $300 headphones. (Read our full review.)
A lot of what makes a great gaming headset will be down to personal preference, but what we were looking for was a product that struck a perfect balance between quality of design, value for money and features that gamers would love. To create this shortlist, we worked through a mass of PC gaming headsets (many of which are also compatible with consoles) to whittle down to a list of finalists that we're sure you'll love.
“The first thing to know is that I am rough on headphones. I am a college student and play Xbox for a few hours every night. These headphones have been with me for months, and I would be more than happy to buy another set if they broke today. They travel well, and have made multiple trips back and forth between home and school, packed in a backpack without space for the original box. I can clearly hear game sounds I have never heard before, and I have been told my voice sounds very clear in party chat.”
Two things made it a real standout as compared with all other wireless gaming headsets we’ve tested. Firstly, it just sounds fantastic. While it doesn’t play very loudly—a criticism that applies to virtually all wireless headsets—its audio is well balanced and clear, and it delivers a nice mix of detail, positioning, and impact. And even when cranked to full volume, which we had to do to really immerse ourselves in Battlefront 2, it never distorts.
+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).
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.
Some Bluetooth office headsets incorporate Class 1 Bluetooth into the base station so that, when used with a Class 1 Bluetooth headset, the user can communicate from a greater distance, typically around 100 feet compared to the 33 feet of the more usual Class 2 Bluetooth headset. Many headsets supplied with these base stations connect to cellphones via Class 2 Bluetooth, however, restricting the range to about 33 feet.
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.
Gaming headsets are much more than standard headphones. They differ in a number of ways and are designed to ensure that every gamer has everything they need for comfortable, immersive gameplay. Gaming headsets are lighter and feature ultra-soft ear cushioning that allows you to play for longer in comfort. Most headsets also feature multicoloured LED lighting so you can personalise your gaming experience and match your customised gaming set up. Multi-system compatible, they’re also built to deliver stunning sound quality whether your playing via PC, Xbox 360, PS4 or PS3.
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.
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.
A headset combines a headphone with a microphone. Headsets are made with either a single-earpiece (mono) or a double-earpiece (mono to both ears or stereo). Headsets provide the equivalent functionality of a telephone handset but with handsfree operation. They have many uses including in call centers and other telephone-intensive jobs and for anybody wishing to have both hands free during a telephone conversation.
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.
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.
Interestingly, the SteelSeries Arctis 7 uses the same drivers as the flagship Siberia 800, so you won't be too surprised to hear that the audio quality on this headset is just as superb. The processing is slightly different though, this headset uses DTS Headphone:X 7.1 which delivers a pretty precise surround sound experience. In fact, we'd say the positional audio on this headset is superior to the Siberia 800, but still not as good as other headsets on this list.
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.
The Monster Fatal1ty FXM 200 stood a real chance of dethroning our top pick, but we found that its build quality and padding didn’t match those of the HyperX Cloud. In our tests the sound was definitely tuned for action gaming, but the emphasis on midrange frequencies cost this headset a few points with atmospheric games like The Witcher 3 and orchestral-music-heavy games like Civilization VI.
Ordinarily it's hugely important when buying headphones, but not so much for gaming headsets. Most come with digital connections (USB, Optical) which have fairly standardized power outputs. Those that don’t, come with their own in-line or standalone amp/wireless transmitters. The all-in-one convenience of gaming headsets is half their charm (and half their limitation), something which is definitely highlighted in their plug and play functionality. We’re not saying people haven’t plugged their 3.5mm Razer Kraken Pro V2 into a 1/8”converter and blown them on some monster amp - we’re sure they have – but part of the premium price tag you pay when purchasing one of these products goes towards maximizing accessibility while minimizing technical know-how.
“This is simply the greatest headset I’ve owned so far, and many reviewers say they are the best-sounding headphones orientated toward gaming. They surprisingly have a decent mic as well and have good noise cancellation in the mic. I also have owned Turtle Beach, Corsair, and SteelSeries headsets, but none of them even get close to the quality of this one. The sound is very crisp, and since these are open-ear, soundstage and distancing are nearly perfect.”
A year old now, and surpassed by the far superior Arctis Pro - but still well worth picking up. With amazing audio out the box and complete EQ customization available through the SteelSeries Engine 3 software, you can tell from the first utterance of noise that you’re on to a good thing. The surround sound packs an immersive, directional punch, and while music sounds impressive, setting up some EQ profiles really unlocks the unit’s potential. Stick to stereo though, as the DTS surround made directional noise harder to pinpoint. No competition for the Astro A50’s Dolby 7.1 solution.
The ear cushions are large and fit well too. They're made from a microfiber mesh fabric backed with memory foam to provide comfort while gaming. We found this mesh fabric to be a little scratchy when compared with leather or other styled fabrics on the other headsets we've tested, but it did mean that we weren't suffering with issues from sweating or overheating during long gaming sessions.
Owning the EVO ZxR is like owning many things at once: a high quality USB sound card, 7.1 virtual sound gaming headset, and a wireless headphone of high audio quality. Not to mention all the technologies powering the headset such as an Active Noise Cancellation feature, NFC, Bluetooth, and all other goodies from Creative such as Dialog Plus, CrystalVoice, etc. It’s a headset packed with geeky goodies!
SteelSeries' line of gaming headsets consists of a wide range of models — Arctis 3, Arctis 5, and the Arctis 7, which is a much more affordable wireless option than the Arctis Pro models we previously mentioned. The Arctis 7 feature a sleek design, high-quality audio drivers, and exceptionally comfortable ear pads and headband pieces. The latter is self-adjusting and inspired by the elastic bands found in ski goggles — you can even accessorize the headset by swapping headbands.
Because 2.4 GHz Wireless Headsets cannot directly "talk" to any standard cordless telephones, an extra base-unit is required for this product to function. Most 2.4 GHz Wireless Headsets come in two units, a wireless headset and a wireless base-station, which connects to your original telephone unit via the handset jack. The wireless headset communicates with the base-station via 2.4 GHz RF, and the voice signals are sent or received via the base unit to the telephone unit. Some products will also offer an automatic handset lifter, so the user can wirelessly lift the handset off the telephone by pressing the button on the wireless headset.
Regular Wirecutter contributor Brent Butterworth also helped me articulate a distinctive aspect of the Game One’s comfort. It doesn’t feel special the instant you put it on; the velvet earpads are nice, and the headset is notably lightweight, but it isn’t as cushy or soft as other headsets or headphones. The strange thing is that it feels pretty much the same after hours of use, even when you’re wearing glasses. Its comfort doesn’t degrade over time, as the comfort of so many other headsets does. The other consequence of the open-back design of the Game One is that it never gets too warm—it’s well-vented, allowing your ears to breathe.
“I don’t write reviews but this headset is freaking awesome. Clear sounds, amazing quality of audio, and the microphone doesn’t suck. This is very comfortable to wear, the padding is really soft and it holds your head really well. Setup was easy — just stick the USB dongle into a USB port, turn it on, and boom! You’ve got 30 hours of battery, so you don’t have to charge so often.”