You can read our best headphones for gaming as well as best USB microphone articles if you want to go the route of two high-end models in one. However, the biggest benefit of a high-quality gaming headset is convenience. We have our headphones and microphone all-in-one, ready to take action as we slip them onto our head. They’re also great for traveling if you plan on playing at a friend\team’s house. At the same time, there’s always the route of having separate entities as well.
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"I’ve had this headset for five months now and I couldn’t be happier. Comfort is a major influence in my purchases and I was at first worried about the circular earcups, as they tend to press against my ears and cause cartilage cramps. But these are hefty, big enough that they surround my ears no problem. They are also incredibly light, so no having to worry about them tiring your head out.
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.
“Wow, do I love these headphones! I got tired of subtitling every game I played just because the family was asleep. I decided to shell out for these, and now I prefer them over my speakers! Great sound clarity and good bass. The surround sound is spot on. Also, they do a good job blocking out external sound. They are very comfortable around the ears. I was concerned about the padding wearing down over time, but as far as I can tell after nine months, there is no difference in ‘puffiness.’ Lastly, good battery life. I just played for over six hours last night and they were still charged. Highly recommended.”
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.
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.
I assumed at first that this effect would be a major downer for our testers, but we all ended up loving this aspect of the Game One. Sounds from around the house didn’t end up being nearly the distraction I worried they would. When we played games, we couldn’t hear the air conditioner, for example, nor the ceiling fan in my office. We could, on the other hand, hear the ringing of the phone or a knock at the front door. In other words, the only things that really distracted us from our gaming experience were the things we actually wanted to be distracted by. Keep in mind, however, that your non-gamer housemates may be a little annoyed by the game sounds leaking out of your headset if they prefer absolute silence.
If you prefer single-player games and live alone, you don't need a headset at all. You can use speakers and enjoy the room-filling atmosphere, and shout into the inexpensive and mediocre monoaural headsets the Xbox One and PS4 come with. But the next time you're in a deathmatch, raid, or capture mission, make sure you're shouting into the boom mic of a good headset. To find the right one, check out our reviews below.
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.
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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.
As mentioned above, the microphone is pretty useless (let’s blame that on Cougar’s Metal Gear-esque naming conventions), and its high/treble reproduction isn’t as good as more expensive headsets, but its overall audio quality is perfectly good enough for the money. If you’re looking for something inexpensive to give to your kids or younger siblings, the Cougar Phontum is well worth considering.
Your budget – Fortunately, as compared to some high-quality studio headphones, gaming headsets aren’t too big of a dent on your wallet. There are however some super high-end models you may want to look at that will cost you. If you do have the cash, you definitely will not be let down. However, if you’re on a limit, there are some budget-friendly choices (such as gaming headsets under $100) we found as well.
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.
Unfortunately, they can’t be used without the base station since they have no wired mode, and you must purchase the console specific variant of the A50s if you want them to work wirelessly with your PS4 or Xbox One. Their auto-off feature to save battery life is also a tad too aggressive and might be frustrating at times. However, despite these limitations, they are great wireless headphones for gaming that should please most gamers.
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.
Can you hear that? No? Can’t say we’re surprised. Unless you’ve experienced a great gaming headset first hand, you won’t even realize what you’re missing out on. But just like the HD revolution a few years ago, once you sample it for yourself, you’ll wonder how you ever gamed without it. If you thought looks were everything, you must have heard it wrong. Whether you’re a gaming audiophile with money to burn, or a gamer who’s already burnt all their money, we’ve got you (and your ears) covered, in our list of the best gaming headsets of this year.
By most measures, Razer’s ManO’War 7.1 — the wired, surround sound-equipped version of its wireless model of the same name — is a fantastic headset. Its virtual 7.1 surround sound is among the best on the market, the sound it pumps out of its large earcups is balanced, and its microphone is sleek and discreet, and yet outperforms most of the competition. The only real limiting factor is its size, which renders it a difficult choice for mobile use. But what it lacks in portability, it more than makes up for in performance.