The Corsair HS50 don’t look or feel like a budget headset. It features large 50-millimeter audio drivers, adjustable steel sliders with numbered markings, and comfy memory-foam ear cups. Besides its durable design, an easy-to-reach volume dial and multiplatform support make the headset an excellent option for budget-conscious gamers who want a high-quality pick under $50.
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.
A robust frame houses comfortable leather ear cups and an astounding design that is as good to look at as it is to wear. Although the ear cups appear small compared to other headsets on this list, we still found them to offer a snug and comfortable fit. The only thing of note in terms of this design is the headband doesn't extend hugely which might be a struggle for large headed gamers, but not an issue during testing.
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.
So, in the words of Cypher from The Matrix: “Ignorance is bliss”. Yes? Well no, not always. It will come as no surprise that some of the best sounding in our list also have the highest impedance. The HyperX Cloud Alpha comes in at 65Ω, Sennheiser 373D at 50Ω amd Astro A50’s at 45Ω. Of course impedance isn’t the only thing that affects sound quality, but it’s an interesting spec to take note of in a space that doesn’t require it, especially when making informed decisions.
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.
The SteelSeries Arctis Pro Wireless is one of the most versatile and customizable gaming headsets you can buy, and it’s also one of the first to be Hi-Res Certified, but it comes at a steep price. It's one of the few headsets that supports Bluetooth, so you can easily pair it with your smartphone or tablet. Plus, it’s extremely comfortable and provides a sculpted sound with plenty of bass that’s perfect for gaming or listening to music.
The HyperX Cloud’s frequency response is as true to life as you could hope for from a headset that sells for less than $100. Pitting this pair against the Sony MDR-7506 (our top pick for the best over-ear headphones under $200 four years running), our testers found that the HyperX Cloud wasn’t quite as neutral as the Sony model. We found its treble response slightly less even, its midrange a tiny bit less smooth, and its bass a touch fuller. But we liked its sound better with games and even with some music and movies. We also found the HyperX Cloud more comfortable over long periods of time, though not by a lot, and it offered better isolation from external noise.
Those strange design notes aside, the Audio-Technica ATH-AG1x is one of the most impressive-sounding gaming headsets I’ve used. There is an open back version – the ATH-ADG1x – which I was expecting to sound even better, but I have to say this closed back version is my still personal recommendation. They’re easy to find Stateside, but can be a little tricky to track down online in the UK, so it’s worth checking out the actual Audio-Technica site first.
Headsets can be either wired or wireless, with wireless models generally costing more. More important is that each gaming headset supports different system, handheld, and computer connections. For the PS4 Pro, Xbox One X, most mobile devices, and some computers, you can use Bluetooth for a wireless headset (the original Xbox One lacks Bluetooth support). Other systems require a different wireless connection, often with a separate base plugged into your console or computer.
The small control center features an OLED display and lets you tweak everything about the headset with simple, intuitive controls. It's a slick way to handle making adjustments, and the audio output is stellar as well. On top of that you have a super-premium design that's exceedingly comfortable, customizable, and just feels perfect. The fit and finish are top-notch and it even has RGB lighting (which you can turn off).
The HyperX Cloud is pretty traditional in overall design, so if you’re shopping for something with flashing LEDs or an aggressive look, it might not be the right pick for you. It’s a reskinned, slightly tweaked version of QPAD’s QH-90 gaming headset, which was a popular import item for gamers in the know before Kingston introduced it to North American buyers. The QH-90, in turn, is essentially the Takstar Pro 80 Monitor headphones with the addition of a removable boom mic and gaming-oriented connectivity. So the Kingston HyperX Cloud started its life as a highly respected, very affordable high-fidelity pair of headphones, which contradicts the popular notion that you’d be better served by dedicated headphones and a clip-on mic for your gaming needs. If you were to purchase the Takstar Pro 80 and add a decent mic, you would end up paying more than you would for the HyperX Cloud.
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.
Optical connections, like USB, are digital connections and come with similar benefits. However, unlike USB they are designed for audio use only meaning if you have one on a device, chances are it will be free to use. That said, unless you have an expensive motherboard or an upgraded soundcard, it’s unlikely you will have one. The most likely place to find them is on any modern TVs or games consoles. This is due to the popularity of TV surround sound systems and gaming headsets on consoles. This is why the Astro A50 is such a versatile choice. Although expensive, it has USB and Optical connectivity meaning it can be used on 99% of devices around the home.
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.
The HyperX has a history of delivering reliable gaming headsets across the board, and the Cloud Stinger is no different. Admittedly, the build quality of the headset isn't going to be anything special. It's an unassuming headset that, while all-plastic, doesn't feel cheaply made. The Stinger is also fairly comfortable for the price, though the ear pads could be a bit thicker.
In-game audio comes through as crisp and clear as you might think. On one end, the insanity of a Battlefield 5 match will percolate perfectly, with explosions and gunshots ringing all around you. On the other, the epic music of 2018's God of War will be even more booming and entrancing thanks to the MMX 300. That clarity even translates to the microphone, so you won't have to worry about how clear you're coming in on your end.
The SteelSeries Arctis 7 is the complete package; a well-made, super-comfy wireless headset with 7.1 surround sound that lets you attach a 3.5mm cable so you can use it with other devices as well. You don't get the surround sound unless you're using a PC, but we all know it's the superior gaming platform anyway **sniff**. It fits snugly on your head with a unique "ski goggle" band, and you can even buy replacements bands with different colors and patterns to customize things a bit.
The Plantronics Blackwire 3200 Series includes corded UC headsets that are durable, comfortable, easy to deploy and come in a variety of connectivity and wearing options. Add insights from Plantronics Manager Pro, an additional Software-as-a-Service offering, and you've got a future-proof solution. Blackwire 3200 Series with Plantronics signature audio provides top notch features at a price you can afford.
We arrived at this conclusion not just by testing this one headset, but by also conducting hands-on (or is it ears-on?) testing of pretty much every gaming headset available in every price category. We've tested everything from super basic sub-$50 models to ultra-fancy $400 kits and everything in between. Throughout our testing, we've spent countless hours gaming, listened to all kinds of music, recorded plenty of Skype calls to examine microphone quality, and even worn them at local coffee shops to see if other patrons would laugh at us or not.
These large round ear cups are designed to be comfortable and pleasant to wear, but they also give space to house the large 53mm stereo drivers. These drivers are where the action happens. They're designed to deliver an audio experience that's unparalleled and indeed, we were impressed with the quality of the sound coming of these cans. They open your ears to new sounds you might not have otherwise noticed in games and music and we couldn't help but be impressed with the quality of the sound, no matter what we were doing.
With many desk phone models and softphone programs available, compatibility is one of the biggest challenges when it comes to selecting compatible headsets. Headsets Direct has numerous compatibility guides and resources to take the guesswork out of the selection process. We always ask our customers about personal preferences and their environment to ensure the headset fits perfectly for all-day wearing comfort, has excellent incoming and outgoing sound levels and quality, and meets the needs for maximum performance within the customer’s specific work environment. We have our popular Headsets 101 Guide available online, which is regularly updated, and each year we publish our Headset Buyer's Guide, displaying the best headset options for specific applications.
The SteelSeries Arctis 3 Bluetooth is an elegant solution to the Nintendo Switch's problem of requiring a separate mobile app for online chat. Thanks to the headset's Bluetooth and analog capabilities, you can be wired to your Switch for game audio while getting wireless chat from your phone or PC using apps such as Skype, Discord or Nintendo's own service. The Arctis 3 Bluetooth touts the same great sound and comfort as the standard Arctis 3, and makes for a solid pair of Bluetooth headphones thanks to its unassuming design.
The first thing that strikes home about the Turtle Beach Elite Pro Professional headset is the build quality. There's a flex and bend here which allows it to fit nicely on your head. Incredibly deep leather earcups are supported by a large and comfortable headband which includes a tension adjustment system that allows you to tweak the way the headset hugs your head.
The headset design includes glowing Strix owl eyes. These can either bit set to static, breathing or off, depending on your preference. This lighting is impressive and unusual, it's also very much the Asus flavour and we like it, but if you don't it's easy to turn off. After all, you're more likely interested in the sound than the looks of the headset you're using.
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.
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.
+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).