But I’m still replacing it. Why? Well, aesthetics are a huge reason. If you want an indication how Logitech’s design language has shifted in the past year or so, look no further than the G933 and G533. The G933 was all sharp angles and science fiction. The G533 on the other hand is sleek, professional, restrained. With a piano-black finish and soft curves, it looks like a headset made by Audio-Technica or Sennheiser or a more mainstream audio company—not necessarily a “gaming” headset. I like it.
On the upside, the USB dongle will work with most PCs and gives you access to the Turtle Beach Audio Hub for more customization and microphone options. They also have a good wireless range (especially when using Bluetooth), a decent battery life and a regular audio jack input that will work with console controllers, but they do not provide the right audio cable in the box.
The design of the Corsair Void Wireless is an acquired taste, to say the least, and we still can’t tell if we like it or not. Inside the Void’s plastic casing, you will find the metallic subframe, and the main reason for the Void's undeniable durability. On the other hand, the external plastic of the Void feels pretty cheap, and, when coupled with the unconventionally-shaped (but extremely comfortable) earcups, there’s a lot of horizontal movement when the Void is on your head.
This headset is powered by the headphone amplifier control box that sits neatly on your desk. This little box of tricks is the hub for the audio and allows you to easily change between settings, adjust volume and even tweak lighting on-the-fly. It acts as the sound card and works to process the surround sound audio to deliver the accurate audio experience you'd expect from a headset of this quality.
Stereo simply means two channels, a left and a right, and is created with a pair of drivers. One in each ear cup. Surround sound, which in gaming headsets is almost definitely 7.1, refers to 7 drivers and a subwoofer. Now packing all those drivers into a headset isn’t always possible, so a lot of companies use their pair of stereo drivers mixed with some digital wizardry and recreate the impression of that sound. This is referred to as virtual 7.1 and is the case for 99% of the headsets in our list excluding the ASUS Centurion. Most either use Dolby virtual 7.1 surround sound or DTS Headphone:X surround sound.
While wireless headsets are obviously more flexible when it comes to your connection to the source device, a major constraint for USB or Bluetooth wireless headsets is compatibility, as the table above shows. You’ll only be able to use USB wireless models with PS4, PC, and, in some select cases, Xbox One or Nintendo Switch. Bluetooth headsets are compatible with PC, PS4, PS Vita, mobile devices, and, conditionally, the Nintendo Switch.
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.
We brought in both the Beyerdynamic MMX 300 and the Beyerdynamic Custom One Pro Plus with Custom Headset Gear as potential upgrade picks. Although we all loved the comfort of the MMX 300, as well as its neutral, balanced sound and its overall design, we found that it required too much amplification to be a viable recommendation. The Game One delivered more bang for fewer bucks.
If you’re looking for a competitive, lightweight and stylish alternative to larger headsets, the SoundBlasterX P5 is certainly the way to go. One of the best headsets we’ve ever tested.The maximum volume is enough to give you a headache, but when dealing with quieter audio sources, you’ll be thankful they’ve got the power you need. When maxed out, the sound is distortion free and still sounds nicely balanced, while the bass offers up a lot of detail without drowning out the rest of the mix.
Because DECT specifications are different between countries, developers who use the same product across different countries have launched wireless headsets which use 2.4GHz RF as opposed to the 1.89 or 1.9 GHz in DECT. Almost all countries in the world have the 2.4 GHz band open for wireless communications, so headsets using this RF band is sellable in most markets. However, the 2.4 GHz frequency is also the base frequency for many wireless data transmission, i.e. Wireless LAN, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth..., the bandwidth may be quite crowded, so using this technology may be more prone to interference.
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 HyperX Cloud Stinger are an above-average gaming headset just below $50, so you don’t have to spend as much but you will have to make some sacrifices. They’re the cheapest of the HyperX line up so they won’t have the premium build quality and detachable microphone of the Cloud II or Cloud Alpha. They’re also not wireless like the Cloud Flight. But on the upside, their wired design has no latency and will work with controllers of both consoles.
The SteelSeries Arctis Pro features premium drivers which the company claim are capable of delivering double the audio range of most standard headsets (at 40,000Hz). This has a number of implications in the use of this headset. Firstly, if you're a PC gamer this means that you can dive into the settings on the GameDAC (Digital Audio Converter) and switch over to Hi-Res audio. Doing this means the little control box then does the leg work and transforms sound into High-fidelity 96kHZ/24-bit audio. You can then open up Windows sound settings and see the full glory of the high-end audio.
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.
They obviously work best for those who are going to be sitting right next to their PC or console, though many devices, including the Nintendo Switch system — as well as the controllers for Xbox One, PS4, and Wii U — all feature 3.5mm jacks, making distance less of an issue since these devices will be in your hands. Keep in mind the length of the connection cable if you’re connecting via 3.5mm to a PC, TV/monitor, or a sound system. In some cases, extensions or swapping for a new cable might be necessary to get the distance your setup requires.
Our previous runner-up pick, Kingston’s HyperX Cloud Revolver, is still a favorite amongst most of our testers due to its great mic and lively sound. Although not as neutral as the HyperX Cloud, it’s great for action games, and the auto-adjusting headset was popular with all but one of our testers. Only the fact that the Kraken Pro V2 delivers much the same audio performance and similar comfort at a much cheaper price bumped this one off our list of top recommendations.
"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.
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.
They have audio and mic support for the PS4 and Xbox One when plugged into the controllers and negligible latency since they are wired. Unfortunately, they won’t be as convenient for gaming as the wireless options on this list. Also, their build quality does not look or feel as durable (or as premium) as the similarly priced HyperX Cloud II, although they have a slightly better performance overall.
That’s pretty impressive as wireless gaming headsets go, and certainly a lot more convenient than most of its wireless competition. Its detachable microphone also puts in a good performance, and you also get a wired 3.5mm audio cable in the box for use as a wired headset, too. The only downside to using it wired is that you can’t then take advantage of its onboard volume controls, which is a bit of a pain. Still, as wireless headsets go, there’s plenty to like here.
With the MixAmp, you can set audio preferences for game or chat depending on what you're doing, whether that's enjoying the world of God of War thanks to the Dolby button or creating a private network with other ASTRO A40 owners while you make a raid in Destiny 2. The ability to daisy chain MixAmps to create a private voice network is a serious bonus with this headset. And if you game on PC or Mac, the ASTRO Command Center will allow you to get into the nitty gritty audio quality and really allow for deeper sound customization.
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.
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.
There are two exceptions. The first is another Razer product—Razer Surround—a software download that adds surround-sound processing to any stereo headphones or headset. It comes in two versions: a basic free download that offers surprisingly convincing “7.1-channel” surround effects, and a Pro version that adds selectable bass boost, adjustable dynamic range compression, voice-clarity processing, an equalizer with 11 presets as well as custom settings, and (most important) the ability to calibrate the surround-sound experience specifically for your headset, your head, and your ears. The Pro version is a free download for anyone who purchases select Razer headsets, or you can buy it standalone for $20 (at the time of this writing).
This design means the SteelSeries Arctis Pro sits tightly on the head, while the deep earcups manage to successfully block out a lot of surrounding environmental noise. Though certainly not an active noise cancelling headset, it is one that reduces distractions significantly. We found that we were using mic sidetone settings here to be able to hear ourselves think while playing or listening to music if we had to talk to friends or family members, which is a testament to the quality.
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.