Steelseries’ premium headset is considerably more expensive than the Arctis 7, yet offers unrivalled audio quality and customisation in return. The Siberia 840 boasts a quietly understated design, rather than flashing lights and flair. Wireless support works perfectly with no pesky lag and the hot swappable battery system keeps you powered up at all times. Plus full Dolby 7.1 surround sound support means you get a truly immersive experience.
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.
The Elite Pro headset is a comfortable, good-sounding set of cans using Turtle Beach’s gaming heritage to great effect, and is now available in a PC specific design too. As a speccy nerd it also gets my vote because of its innovative ProSpecs Glasses Relief System – a simple system which creates temporary dimples in the ear-cups to stop them pressing your spectacles into your head.
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.
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.
Finding a gaming headset that really suits your needs can be tricky. There’s a thin line between spending slightly more on a good-sounding headset with a feature you like the idea of, and paying over the odds for one with features you’ll never use. Sometimes the jargon and marketing terms can be pretty overwhelming, with the necessary easily becoming entangled with the unnecessary. So how can we simplify this? The three most important factors to consider are sound quality, comfort and price - and of those, comfort is paramount. You’re going to spend a lot time with this little guy. Crossing vast wastelands, encountering strange and intriguing alien species and er, listening to Spotify. So it’s important your headset doesn’t weigh you down or become irritating. The most important areas are the ear cups, headband and weight. Fortunately 99% of gaming headsets are reasonably comfortable these days regardless of price. The more premium offerings simply increase that comfort by using patented fabric tech and made up science names. Comfy, but definitely unnecessary. And while we're on the subject of design, you might want to color-coordinate things with your existing gear, like your mouse and keyboard. A gaming session with a color-coded setup can be a lot of fun, and really get you in the mood. While we don't spend a ton of time talking about color, you can check out our lists of the best gaming mice, and best gaming monitors, which should help you put together one hell of a setup.
Ordinarily it's hugely important when buying headphones, but not so much for gaming headsets. Most come with digital connections (USB, Optical) which have fairly standardized power outputs. Those that don’t, come with their own in-line or standalone amp/wireless transmitters. The all-in-one convenience of gaming headsets is half their charm (and half their limitation), something which is definitely highlighted in their plug and play functionality. We’re not saying people haven’t plugged their 3.5mm Razer Kraken Pro V2 into a 1/8”converter and blown them on some monster amp - we’re sure they have – but part of the premium price tag you pay when purchasing one of these products goes towards maximizing accessibility while minimizing technical know-how.
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.
The Victrix Pro AF ANC lives up to its ridiculous name and then some, offering a truly premium experience that’s tailor-made for competitive gamers. The headset’s supremely comfortable leatherette earcups sport active noise cancelling technology for blotting out a rowdy crowd, and can even be opened up to keep your ears cool in between matches. Factor in a slick black-and-purple design and superb sound quality, and you’ve got a pair of cans perfect for folks aiming to play their Street Fighter or Call of Duty with maximum focus and precision.
Granted, it’s a lot of money to spend on a pair of dedicated gaming headphones, but this time Audio-Technica has brought its audiophile origins to bear in its design, making the sound reproduction of the AG1x fantastic. Like the HyperX Cloud, we’re talking about 53mm drivers, but the AG1x offers a slightly wider frequency response, ranging between 15Hz and 35KHz, adding extra clarity to the high tones.
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.
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.
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.
We also tested and compared with the Asus ROG Centurion, which is the flagship model and theoretically the new and improved version but found some issues with the microphone on some models which caused serious communication issues. Asus offer settings recommendations and tweaks for improving that quality, but we found that even then it didn't compare with the Asus Strix 7.1.
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.
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 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.
Do you even need a dedicated gaming headset at all? If audio quality is the be-all-and-end-all for you it might be interesting to note there’s a growing trend of using audiophile headphones, coupled with discrete desk-based microphones, so you can still yell abuse at your gaming buddies while enjoying the absolute best aural experiences money can buy.
Pulling them from the packaging I was a little concerned about how they might sound. My prejudices were quickly dismissed as soon as I started using them. The 50mm directional drivers deliver an impressive, balanced sound, with a decent amount of separation in the audio. The Stinger, then, is a well-priced headset with a surprisingly detailed sound.
"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!"
The Razer Kraken 7.1 V2 is, as you might have gathered from the name, the second version of this headset. It's also another surround sound headset from Razer that offers an excellent audio experience in a beautifully packaged shell. This headset is available in black, gunmetal grey and mercury white. We felt that the white version was certainly the most appealing, unless you're the sort of gamer that likes to stuff cheesy crisps while you play.
As you'd expect from a headset with "RGB" in its name, this version also includes RGB lighting. This lighting is part of the Corsair logo on the side of the ear cups and can be adjusted via the Corsair CUE software. You can set various colours and adjust the way the lighting works within the software, but the highlight for us was probably the "lighting link" function that syncs the lighting with other Corsair RGB products to light them in the same way e.g. keyboard and mouse.
When you’re shopping around for a new headset, you’ll first have to consider what kind of functionality you need. First up, do you want to go wired or wireless? We love the freedom that a Bluetooth headset offers, although not all platforms support them and you’ll have to remember to keep them charged. Meanwhile wired devices often deliver more premium sound quality. And if you grab a digital pair with a built-in DAC, that’ll take the pressure off your motherboard for producing crisp, clean-sounding audio.
Simply put: the Arctis Pro Wireless sounds spectacular. It features a naturally flat and well-balanced sound, accurate reproduction, and offers a vivid soundscape that makes for an incredible listening experience – good enough to make even a die-hard audiophile crack a smile. The microphone isn’t your run-of-the-mill unit either, and eliminates background noise exceptionally well.
Whilst you might expect some sacrifices at £35 it didn't feel like that with the audio quality. Across all types such as music, movies and gaming the audio sounded very good indeed. On one of our favourite piano based tracks (from Lost) we could even pick up the sound of the pedals on the piano which we can't recall hearing before. Bass is present without being overpowering and we have to admit to being pleasantly surprised at just how good the audio sounds.
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.