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The HyperX Cloud Stinger redefines what you should expect from a $50 gaming headset, offering a sturdy design, incredibly comfortable earcups and convenient on-ear audio controls. The Stinger's 3.5mm connection makes it ideal for consoles and mobile, though there's also an included headphone/microphone splitter if you want to use it on PC. It doesn't hurt that the sound quality is pretty good. If your budget is tight, you won't be cutting many corners by picking up a Stinger.
Positional audio is clearly important to gamers. A good headset will help gamers know where the enemy are, which direction the threat is coming from and present a more immersive experience. So it's surprising to find that the SteelSeries Siberia 800 isn't up to scratch in this area. It's still better than a stereo headset, but not as good as some of the other surround sound headsets on this list.
The headset fits comfortably over my ears and doesn't completely block out ambient noise which personally I like. Chat audio is good and most people say I sound clear though one person said I sounded muffled. You can tweak mic settings through Playstation settings and the headset has it's own PSN app that can be used to further customize your audio."
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The sound quality, however, does not disappoint. This a virtual surround sound headset with audio that's been upgraded since the previous model. The large drivers offer a good range of sound with deep bass levels and a brilliantly immersive sound quality that gamers will love. Within the Razer Synapse software, you can calibrate the position of the audio to your own personal preference ensuring the best surround sound experience.
The mic is equally good. We found voice capture with the mic to be clear, and we dig the minimalist design of the boom mic, which can be easily flipped up when not in use, or extended and bent for finding the optimal distance. As is often the case with Logitech gear, the headset has several neat idiosyncrasies, like a textured pad on the USB receiver for extra grip and internal “beeps” to inform you of volume changes, low battery levels, or mic enabling. It’s also, thankfully, devoid of any gaudy lights or “cool” decals, opting instead for a simpler and therefore more attractive aesthetic than most other headsets out there. While not necessarily groundbreaking, these are nice touches nonetheless.
+Mic Quality is good: Not much to say here, but it is exactly what I would expect from any gaming headset. Mic has noise cancelling. Quality is up to par with most gaming headsets, and you shouldn't have any issue with people understanding you at all. But it doesn't have a physical button to toggle the mic on/off which its always nice to have but not required.
If listening to well-recorded music on the HyperX Cloud revealed one sonic downside, it’s that some high-pitched sounds in certain songs tended to be slightly overemphasized. This effect didn’t bother all our panelists. And the issue didn’t crop up with any of our games, so since the HyperX Cloud is a gaming headset, we couldn’t really hold that against it.
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.
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.
Their battery life is very good, but somewhat situational; if the LEDs are turned off they have almost 30 hours of continuous playback and can recharge in as little as 3.6 hours. However, with the LED on, you will only get about 12 hours at most. On the upside, they have a good wireless range and very low latency (20ms), great for gaming and watching videos.
With the rising popularity of multiplayer games like Fortnite, PUBG and Overwatch, having a good gaming headset can sometimes make the difference between a clutch, well-coordinated last-minute victory and crushing defeat. A typical, wired headphone may give you good enough audio for gaming but may lack a compatible microphone and chat support to plan a winning strategy with your teammates. The right gaming headset should work with most of your consoles, be comfortable enough that you don’t have to take them off mid-game and ideally be wireless with enough range, so that you can comfortably game from your couch.
This no frills headset from Razer has been built to provide gamers with a headset that sounds good, feels comfortable and costs less. To be fair to them, they came pretty close. The aluminium frame is both lightweight and flexible. The retractable mic feels robust. The headband doesn’t clamp too hard on your head and the sound-isolating ear cushions feel plush.
On the GameDAC you have access to a range of different settings that include equaliser pre-sets, Game/ChatMix levels, surround sound options, RGB illumination, mic sidetone and more. We like how easy these controls are to use and how simple it is to switch not only between Hi-Res audio and the other sound settings, but to adjust things like volume of the mic and the colour of the RGB lighting with ease.
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.
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 other option worth looking into is Windows Sonic for Headphones, a free feature included in the Windows 10 Creators Update released in 2017. While not quite as convincing as Razer Surround, Windows Sonic does add a nice sense of space to games, and also allows for more precise positioning, which we very much appreciated. Windows Sonic can also be upgraded to support Dolby Atmos for Headphones for around $15. We found the latter to sound slightly more processed and unnatural, but if you want to try it out, there’s a free trial available.
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.
We also tested the HyperX Cloud II, Kingston’s updated version of our top pick, which features a USB sound card, surround-sound processing, a slightly superior microphone, and better padding on the headband. If you’re a laptop gamer without access to good analog audio jacks, it’s a smart buy. For most people, though, none of those enhancements justify the extra price.
Design wise, the Alpha isn’t testing convention, incorporating the signature red and black colorway we’ve all come to expect from any gamer product released, ever. That said, the headbands high quality contrast stitching and embossed HyperX logo do well to compliment the minimalist design, resulting in something that might not match the Arctis range in terms of style, but could certainly teach the Sennheiser PC 373D (below) how to feel young again. And sound-wise, the Alphas deliver. The closed back design does well at isolating external noise, while the 50mm drivers take care of the rest. On par with the SteelSeries Arctis Pro, above, no other mid-range set creates the same clarity amongst the higher frequencies as the Cloud Alphas. Slight bass and mid boosts coupled with a lack of software again hints at the Alphas bias towards gaming, but music and movies still sounded superb. The detachable mic is a nice touch and pulls its weight in terms of sound quality, avoiding being too gainy, or conversely, too compressed.
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.
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.
If you’re seeking even better audio performance, a far better microphone, a more engrossing gaming experience, and superior long-term comfort, all of our testers agreed that the Sennheiser Game One remains the best pick for both audiophiles and hardcore marathon gamers. But you’ll pay about 50 percent more for it. Unlike most gaming headsets, the Game One has an open-back design, meaning that the earcups surrounding its drivers are vented, not solid shells. This design not only makes the Game One sound more open and spacious but also makes the headset lighter and cooler to wear for extended periods of time, though it does mean that people sitting next to you may be distracted by the sound of your games. Also, the headset really doesn’t reach its full sonic potential without a bit of extra amplification, so you need a good dedicated sound card or a headset amp.
It goes without saying that when choosing a gaming headset, sound quality is king. Why else upgrade if not for better quality audio? Value for money is also important: we’re sure hearing Adele singing live in our living room would sound better than on CD, but we very much doubt we could justify singing to the note of her six figure fee (plus we only really know that one song…and just the chorus).
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.
This headset uses the Razer Synapse software which offers masses of options including equalisation controls, settings for mic noise control, voice clarity, ambient noise reduction and lighting effects too. The lighting here is subtle and understated, unlike the majority of other RGB capable products out there. The Razer logo on the side of the earcups lights up nicely with tweaking available in the software.
Logitech’s latest headset, the Logitech G533, brings several impressive features to a solid, attractive design, most notably the DTS 7.1 surround built into the speaker. This wireless headset comes standard with some simple-to-use software that can control the equalizer settings and enable the surround sound. It just so happens to have the best surround sound staging we’ve used in a headset, bar none. Whether you’re playing a first-person or third-person perspective game, sounds emit within the headphones from the proper location, making navigating these virtual worlds easier. The headset also performs well with 2D games. Regardless of what kind of games you play, however, the G553’s sounds excellent thanks to its 40mm Pro-G drivers (we did notice some minor wireless hum when nothing was being played through the headphones but that was absent during gameplay).