We brought in the V-Moda BoomPro Microphone to go along with my V-Moda Crossfade M-100 over-ear headphones. We all found the sound performance to be good, although not especially fun with more action-oriented games. More important, this pair was far less comfortable than much cheaper alternatives after hours of gameplay, and the mic was disappointing.


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.
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.
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. 
Other than the patterned headbands, the design of the SteelSeries Arctis 7 is one of the more subtly designed headsets on our list. This headset has a clean design, with no garish RGB lighting that makes it easily usable as normal headphones as well as a gaming headset. The retractable microphone also tucks neatly out of the way when not in use, so it's as brilliant to look at as it is to use. 
It sounds great, too, and is completely wireless, allowing you to keep your gaming desk nice and clean without another tangle of cables in the mix. What’s more, its wireless transmitter isn’t just a little USB stick – it’s got its own cable, so you can position it wherever you like for the best signal. You also get a regular 3.5mm audio cable so you can use it as a wired headset as well if you prefer.

There is one caveat to the audio, though, and that’s to do with what you’re plugging the ATH-AG1x headset into. The Audio-Technica cans only use a 3.5mm connection and they really come into their own when plugged into a dedicated discrete sound card (remember them?!) or an external DAC/ headphone amp like Creative’s Sound BlasterX G5. If you’re spending this much money on a quality headset you’ll really benefit from making sure the rest of your audio setup is capable of matching it.

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.

"Fantastic headset for the price! The earpieces are very comfortable and can definitely drown out the surrounding noise when you've got them cranked at full volume. The intuitive microphone design is great too. Before this I had the PS4 wireless headset and sometimes my wife would come in and not know whether I was in a chat or just listening to my game, and now she knows if the mic is up, I'm good to talk, and if it's down...it's game time!"


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).
The advantages of having a gaming headset may be pretty apparent, but to introduce our article we thought we’d give some thoughts. For one thing, you obviously need some sound to hear the footsteps of those enemies. You’ve also got that microphone handy to communicate with your team (or enemies!), which is obviously the biggest component of multi-player games. Having a gaming headset for your adventures is pretty self-explanatory when it comes to benefits, but what about investing in a headset that’s above the norm for a few more dollars?
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.
After a combined 200 hours of testing over the course of nearly two-and-a-half years, including listening to 10 new models this year, we still think Kingston’s original HyperX Cloud is the best gaming headset for serious PC gamers. The HyperX Cloud offers the best mix of audio performance and comfort for the money. It’s beautifully built and comfortable on a wide variety of heads, and its sound quality holds up against some of the best dedicated headphones in its price range. You won’t find a more neutral-sounding and versatile gaming headset unless you’re willing to spend at least $40 or $50 more.
If you’ve read any of our other articles on the site, you’d see that Sennheiser is one of the best headphone creators ever. This particular gaming headset is rated highly among users so we were able to have confidence when taking a look it. When it comes to price it’s a bit higher as compared to others but for many good reasons. If sound accuracy and overall quality is important for your gaming, the 7.1 virtual surround sound and open-design ear cups are perfect for focus on sound. Their “ergonomic acoustic refinement” may be a fancy term, but built-in is their own technology focused on “sound accuracy”. The open-design means the earcups aren’t completed suffocating your ears which helps decrease the chances of pain from long use (it’s not like we play for 8+ hours a day…). Last but not least, the microphone has feasible quality for your teammates or enemies to hear and they’re quite comfortable. If you aren’t on a budget, this is one of the best gaming headsets out there as it’s been highly rated by users too.
The design is pretty out-there on this one. Two giant owl eyes emanate from each ear cup, on a Pan’s Labyrinth vibe. Combine that with the amazing bass response these kick out, and things going bump in the night could well have your neighbors calling the police. ASUS claim the dual antenna feature provides a faster response time than Bluetooth, and although we can neither confirm nor deny this statement, we can confirm that the signal never dropped.  
We also listen to music and watch movies with each headset in order to size up its usefulness for consuming multimedia. For wireless headsets, we keep a log of how long the peripheral lasts before the battery completely drains. We use voice recordings to evaluate each headset's microphone, as well as listen back to any Twitch broadcasts we've conducted with them on.
Another issue for surround sound, aside from space for the actual drivers, is space within the ear cup to allow that sound to disperse proportionately and create the intended sound. Now this is where you need to be careful, because some headsets do it much better than others. More often than not this is dictated by price. If we’re being frank, surround sound is kind of gimmicky in headsets. Although enjoyable for single player games or movies, for any online or competitive play you will want to use stereo, as it creates a much easier sound to distinguish in a space as confined as ear cups. That said we’ve highlighted the surround sound achievers in our list, so if you’re unsure be sure to check that out. And if you want a more music-focused headphone, check out our list of the best high-end headphones of this year.
They will also have wireless mic support when connected to your PC or PS4, but you will have to use them wired with your Xbox One controller if you want voice chat. On the upside, they have and have a great 24hr + battery life and can also be used completely wired, even if the battery runs out. The available companion app is only for PC, but it has some powerful customization options and you can save your favorite settings under multiple presets.
When deciding between wired or wireless headsets, there are a few things to think about. You might find that wired headsets generally have a lower price point than a wireless option, offer less chance of interference from other devices, and will never leave you in the lurch because you forgot to charge them. On the other hand, wireless headsets don't have cords to tether you to your computer or console or trip you up and get disconnected during a critical game mission.
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.
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.
If you are on a tight budget and don't like the look or style of the HyperX Cloud Stinger, you should definitely check out the HS50 from Corsair. They are the same price as the HyperX Cloud Stinger, and extremely close in performance and comfort (for our reviewer it was as close as it gets in these type of comparisons). It's a stereo headset so there's no fancy surround sound, but that's typical at this price.
The Asus Strix 7.1 headset is a gaming peripheral with a strong focus on quality and a big, bold design. This is a monster piece of kit, as you'd expect for a headset at this price point. The design is robust, strong and flexible. This is a big headset that sits nicely on the head, clamping tightly, yet comfortably to your ears to give you an enveloping audio experience whatever you're doing. 
They will also have wireless mic support when connected to your PC or PS4, but you will have to use them wired with your Xbox One controller if you want voice chat. On the upside, they have and have a great 24hr + battery life and can also be used completely wired, even if the battery runs out. The available companion app is only for PC, but it has some powerful customization options and you can save your favorite settings under multiple presets.

Well most software packages from headset companies include an EQ option alongside their presets. Presets are just EQ customizations done at the manufacturer’s end and saved as a handy option for users to switch on/off as required. However, as we discussed earlier people like different types of sound, so a bass boost preset for one person may be too much or too little of an increase in bass for another. Using the EQ option in the software package allows you to manually adjust specific frequency ranges to achieve different types of sound. Now this can sound and even look daunting the first time you see an EQ graph, however if you remember there’s only three main areas; Bass, Mid and Treble, with only an increase or decrease available in each area it can be as simple or complicated as you want it to be.  
The software that comes in tandem with your latest and greatest headset has many options for changing the type of sound it delivers, often in the form of presets. As an example the most common preset would be bass boost. Now bass boosting would involve increasing the levels (in decibels) within the 60 – 250 Hz frequency range. Sounds simple in theory, but how do we do that? The answer: equalization, or EQ.
Based on our testing, the best headset for gaming is the SteelSeries Arctis Pro + GameDAC (See it on Amazon). They're not wireless because they use an inline DAC (Digital to Analogue Converter), but they sound so good and the inline controls are just downright swank. They're also extremely comfy, have RGB lights, and look and feel positively decadent thanks to premium materials throughout.
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