But in sheer aural terms there is only one other wireless headset capable of matching the quality of the Thresher Ultimate. They maybe don’t have the tonal separation of the stunning HyperX Cloud Alpha, or the same super broad soundscape, but they still deliver incredible crisp, detailed sound. And even though it’s a Razer gaming headset the bass response isn’t overblown and doesn’t crush the highs or mid-tones. Where they do stand out is in the addition of Dolby Surround, accessible via a discrete button on the base station, and the easy on-ear controls.
We offer genuine products with the full manufacturer's warranty. Buying direct, we save our customers time and money. By replenishing our inventory every few weeks, we guarantee our customers receive the latest products with fresh batteries for maximum life and performance. We regularly encounter frustrated customers who have saved a few dollars by buying from someone else, only to discover they received a 'new' product, but one which has sat on a shelf for 3-4 years. With a wireless headset, that usually means you need to purchase a $40 replacement battery before the product has sufficient talk-time to be usable.
Comfort carries onto the design of the ear cushions. The standard cups make use of soft AirWeave material which we found to be more comfortable and less scratchy than other breathable materials we've tested, but not as nice as leather ear cups which are always our preference. You can purchase leather and velour ear cushions separately though, so there are plenty of options when it comes to comfort.
Virtual surround sound is by no means a bad thing. Yes, it’s not as good as proper 7.1 surround sound, but in some cases it can help make music feel more immersive and all-encompassing than regular stereo. However, poor implementations of it can often destroy any sense of intimacy or breathing-down-the-back-of-your-neck-style dialogue, and it can sometimes make your game audio feel like it’s been turned into one great big echo chamber, so don’t be fooled by what it says on the box.
Headsets come in a variety of styles, such as color, head mounting, and ear coupling. Since headsets typically have two ear pieces, there is usually a connecting piece between the ear pieces, which allows the user to mount the headset on their head. That head mounting can be on top of the head or behind it. Ear coupling provides more options, such as over ear (circum-aural), on ear (supra-aural), earbuds, and canal. Finally, headsets are also available in wired and wireless styles.
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.
Looking for a more immersive gaming experience? For truly immersive gameplay, you need to lose yourself in the audio as well as the visual. Our gaming headsets allow you to experience crystal clear stereo surround-sound, putting you at the very centre of the action and bringing the latest games to life. Whether you’re into eSports, MMO or cutting-edge VR, you’ll find a headset designed for you.
In terms of sound, most of the Razer headsets that we’ve tested in the past have been quite bass-heavy, and the Kraken Pro V2 continues this trend. What sets it apart from its brethren is that it’s never overwhelmed by its own bass. We never noticed the distortion common to other Razer offerings, even when subjecting it to heavy explosions and raucous gunfire.
*While most USB headsets can be used on PS4, many are specifically made for PC and will require drivers or extra software to enable features like surround sound, EQ settings, and even mic support in some instances. Because of this, some USB headsets will have limited functionality on PS4. For those wanting a USB headset on PS4, seek out headsets that list PS4 compatibility explicitly, such as the Cloud Revolver S.
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.
"These have amazing sound on Xbox one! You can hear foot steps in Battlefield 1 and all the guns sound amazing. When playing it has different settings so you can set it up for FPS or RPG's. You can hook them up to the computer and adjust so many different settings. They are very comfortable and fit great. The battery life is pretty good too. Usually last a couple days before we have to put them on the charger. They are completely wireless too. I'd definitely recommend them."
And SteelSeries leaps ahead in comfort. The Sibera 800 was a pretty bare-bones headset design. The Arctis Pro Wireless finally adopts the floating headband style SteelSeries is known for, with a comfy ski-goggle strap and generous ear padding that make it a great fit for all-day wear. The A50 is comfortable too in its own way, but the Arctis design might be one of the all-time best headset designs. (Read the full review.)
I’ve been fortunate enough to review affordable headphones, speakers, receivers, and home theater gear, as well as high-end audio gear, for more than a decade now. I served as East Coast contributing editor for Home Entertainment magazine and editor in chief of HomeTechTell, and in the past I’ve contributed to Electronic House, Big Picture Big Sound, Digital TV & Sound, and Home Theater magazine. I write about all manner of audio gear here at Wirecutter, as well as at Home Theater Review and Residential Systems.
Not all telephone headsets are compatible with all telephone models. Because headsets connect to the telephone via the standard handset jack, the pin-alignment of the telephone handset may be different from the default pin-alignment of the telephone headset. To ensure a headset can properly pair with a telephone, telephone adapters or pin-alignment adapters are available. Some of these adapters also provide mute function and switching between handset and headset.
This wireless gaming headset from ASTRO is a top-shelf offering with superb fit and an included charging station. It gives users the ability to choose between an open-back and closed-back audio experience. The audio quality of the A50 is also superb, headed by the capability to deliver 7.1 Dolby Surround Sound. It comes in two variants — one for the Xbox One and the other for PS4 compatibility.
One final caveat: The Game One reaches its full potential only with extra amplification, so it’s not the best pick if you game exclusively on consoles. When powered by the onboard analog audio output of my wife’s computer, it sounded good enough to become her favorite headset by far in terms of audio performance, and it was even better with the onboard sound card of my computer, although we had to crank the volume quite high. It didn’t reveal all of its nuances or its powerful bass capabilities until we connected it to the Creative Sound Blaster E5 DAC/amp with the amp’s high-gain mode engaged. In other words, the more power you give the Game One, the better it sounds, so if it seems like the right headset for you, consider adding a dedicated sound card or an external amp to your gaming PC.
There are two types of Bluetooth headsets. Headsets using Bluetooth v1.0 or v1.1 generally consist of a single monaural earpiece, which can only access Bluetooth's headset/handsfree profile. Depending on the phone's operating system, this type of headset will either play music at a very low quality (suitable for voice), or will be unable to play music at all. Headsets with the A2DP profile can play stereo music with acceptable quality. Some A2DP-equipped headsets automatically de-activate the microphone function while playing music; if these headsets are paired to a computer via Bluetooth connection, the headset may disable either the stereo or the microphone function.
Picked up this pair for my son who plays games on the computer. He had a pair of name brand headphones and destroyed the cable. I like this sets cables as they are thick, not super thin like hos old set. You need to use the usb cable to get power to the headset to light the up, but if that is not important you can skip that plug. Sound and microphone seem decent, I would say the microphone is a little low, need to place the mic close to your mouth. The microphone can be turned off when not needed. The one thing that I have not gotten to work well is the vibration, does not seem to do anything. They are also lightweight and comfortable on the ears and on your head. I would recommend them to anyone looking for a mic'd headset for gaming and for someone who does not want to spend a ton of money.
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.
For ease of use, there's a mic mute button and volume wheel on the headset's cable. This is always a welcome addition, especially when the design means you cannot easily fold the mic out of the way and there's no automatic muting for doing so. We did find the volume controls a little finicky, in that they were very sensitive and would suddenly deliver loud audio when we least expected it, but otherwise it's a great design that works well.
After thoroughly testing nearly 70 headsets for over the course of two-and-a-half years, our testers still agree that Kingston’s HyperX Cloud is the right gaming headset for most people, thanks to its excellent long-term comfort, great sound quality for the price, light weight, exceptional build quality, and fantastic durability. After roughly thirty months of nearly constant use and abuse, including several road trips in which it was thrown into a backpack sans case, our original test unit still looks like we took it out of the packaging yesterday.
To get a feel for the headset, I fire up my Final Fantasy XV soundtrack in iTunes, paying special attention to how it handles the battle theme of Hunt or Be Hunted. This particular track has a lot going on with a number of different instruments in play, from its busy bass section to its fast and frantic piano and strings melodies. If a headset can handle this without one section overwhelming another, we’re onto a winner. If I need extra reassurance, I throw in a bit of Omnis Lacrima for good measure.
Closed-back dynamic gaming headset with newly designed 53 mm drivers and improved 3D Wing Support system. Double air damping system (D.A.D.S.) for deep, resonating bass. Built-in supercardioid gooseneck microphone for in-game communication with outstanding rejection of ambient sound. Equipped with 1.2 m (3.9') attached cable and 2.0 m (6.6') extension cable. Includes windscreen.
At just $50, the HyperX Cloud Stinger provides surprisingly punchy audio and relatively plush comfort at a very reasonable price. Out of all the budget headsets we tested, this one had the best audio quality and felt the most comfortable for long gaming sessions. Since it uses a 3.5mm jack it's also a versatile cross-platform headset, but keep in mind its boom mic is not detachable, so you might elicit some stares walking down the street rocking out to your tunes.
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.
Okay, so Astro: The A50’s a few years old now, but still an excellent wireless headset. Astro’s biggest improvement with the latest refresh was the battery, overcoming a long-running weak spot and packing 12 to 15 hours of life—enough to get you through even a long day of gaming. Better yet, it features gyroscopes in the ears that detect whether you’ve set it down. It automatically shuts off 10 seconds later if so, and then seamlessly powers back on and connects to your PC when you pick it back up. Its base station also serves as a charger, a nice mix of function and beauty.
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.
“I am loving these headphones. They are very comfortable even in gaming sessions lasting 12-plus hours. The audio quality even when using Bluetooth is very impressive. The thing that has impressed me the most about these has been the battery life. I believe they advertise 40 hours per charge with about a one- to two-hour charging time, and honestly they deliver. I try to charge them when I go to bed, but frequently forget to plug them in and they still keep going even after a couple days of forgetfulness.”
“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.”
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.
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.
Even without the benefit of surround sound, the HyperX Cloud did an admirable job of creating a nice sense of space for all of our games. With shooters such as Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus, Star Wars Battlefront 2, Doom, and Dishonored 2, I always felt like I had a good idea of where my enemies were and in which direction I needed to focus my attention. The addition of Razer Surround software (which we discuss in detail below) enhanced that effect even more.
It also, of course, leads to a sound that’s never quite as open or expansive as that of the Game One, nor as detailed. But compared with other closed-back alternatives, the Custom Game delivers smoother midrange, more natural-sounding dialogue and music, and superior dynamics that benefit virtually any genre of game, from music-driven offerings like the Civilization series to cinematic shooters like Battlefront 2.
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 want a gaming headset that you can use wirelessly with your PC, PS4/Xbox One and your phone, then the Bluetooth-compatible Turtle Beach Stealth 700 may be the right option for you. They’re noise canceling and they come with a USB dongle that has an optical input, which is rare for gaming headsets. However, like most wireless gaming options they’re limited to the console variant you choose to purchase, so they will not have mic support for both consoles.
If you’re primarily looking for a practical headphone for everyday casual use that also has a good enough mic for voice chat when gaming, then get the Logitech G433. They deliver a well-balanced sound, on par with much pricier headsets and they’re sufficiently versatile to use outdoors while commuting without attracting too much attention, unlike most gaming headsets.
"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.