Where do we start with Steelseries‘ magnum opus, the Arctis Pro? The highly flexible, crystal-clear mic that rivals even some professional-grade audio equipment? How about the sleek, professional design that mimics stylish audiophile headphones? Or maybe it’s the headset’s plug-and-play peripherals that push hi-res sound and enable users to fine-tune EQ settings and surround sound at a much more granular scale than the competition — all without the need for extra software or downloads.
The Arctis Pro wireless gaming headset delivers excellent sound quality, supreme comfort, and an ultra sensitive microphone that's great for both in-game trash talk and making Skype calls. It features a sleek design and a self-adjusting headband that’s inspired by the elastic bands found in ski goggles. It’s one of the most comfortable headsets you can buy.
One thing I really like about the headset is the headband; it's more robust than it looks, springing back into place after we bend it up so that the headband is nearly flat. Creative did this by using steel underneath the padding instead of plastic. While doing this with other headsets often makes me cringe, the Sound BlasterX H5 happily takes the bending in stride.
Kingston’s newest model, the HyperX Cloud Alpha, resulted in the most heated debates among our testers of any headset in the roundup to date. The Alpha is based on our top pick, the HyperX Cloud, but its earcups have been substantially modified with dual chambers that tune the bass and mid/upper frequencies separately. The result? Undeniably better bass performance than the original Cloud. The problem? The Alpha is also significantly heavier and hotter than the original Cloud, making it much less comfortable during marathon gaming sessions. If you’re looking for comfort and bang-for-the-buck, we still like the original HyperX Cloud. If you want some extra bass kick and a better microphone, we recommend upgrading to the Cloud Revolver, which might be a little heavier than the Alpha, but still manages to be more comfy (especially for larger noggins) due to its self-adjusting suspension headband and roomier earcups.
Although this is the PC edition of the headset, there are still other connections possible here. There's a 3.5mm jack included in the box that makes the headset compatible with consoles and mobile devices too. The result is a flexible headset that offers a great sound experience wherever you're using it. Though, the full unadulterated surround sound experience is limited to PC.
Sound quality is an essential consideration for any gaming headset purchase. While headsets often deliver stereo sound with a single speaker for each ear, many models feature additional speakers per ear cup to deliver a true, very impressive surround sound experience. Though it may seem like a no-brainer, comfort is also very important, since you may be wearing your headset for hours at a time. Look for headsets that have padded or foam headbands and ear cups. Many headsets with microphones include noise cancellation which helps the person you're competing with hear you by differentiating between your voice and background noise. And volume control may be important to your game experience, which is why many headsets include a separate control switch that adjusts in-game chat independently of game audio.
This is great if you already own lots of Hi-Res audio tracks or subscribe to something like Tidal, but as for gaming… it’s currently unknown how many, if any, actually support Hi-Res audio or whether you get any extra benefit over non-Hi-Res audio headsets. Personally, I’ve never been able to tell the difference between Hi-Res and CD, and that’s after multiple demos and tech PRs doing their darnedest to convince me otherwise. As a result, it’s probably worth it if you’re into Hi-Res audio stuff outside of gaming, but don’t go paying extra if you’re only going to be using it for games.
Voyager 6200 UC is a Bluetooth® neckband headset with earbuds that has the versatility to go beyond the office. Transitioning to your next conversation is easy: Connect with colleagues working remotely, listen to music to focus distraction-free or drop an earbud to tune in to the conversation around you. You can count on Voyager 6200 UC for outstanding audio every time.
But perhaps more important for the purposes of this guide, I’ve been a hardcore gamer since 1980. I’m primarily a PC gamer these days, although I do dabble in consoles from time to time (when a new Gran Turismo game is released, for instance, or for the occasional round of Worms). And whether I’m playing massively multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPGs), strategy games like Civilization VI, shooters like Doom, or the latest version of Magic: The Gathering, chances are good that I’m logged in to my private Ventrilo chat server, either to coordinate group attacks or to chew the fat with my gaming friends and guild mates. Granted, I’ll probably never break the personal record I set back in October 2011, when I played Rift for 24 straight hours during an Extra Life charity event, but I tend to spend at least 15 to 18 hours per week wearing a headset.
Turtle Beach’s professional gamer grade headset is comfortable. Beating out the Astro A50s for most comfortable in the list. This is thanks to their ComforTec fit system which allows adjustment of headband tension as well as ear cup position. Aerofit ear cups, comprised of spandex fabric and gel-infused foam also contribute to the cause. Turtle beach have thought outside the box and created a ‘glasses relief system’ that allows you to create a small channel in the ear cups for your glasses’ frames to sit in. Genius. And it really works. So 10/10 for comfort. But what about the sound? Well that’s top notch too. Similarly to the Arctis 7s, the sound is full and rich, but punchy and crisp enough to pick out individual footsteps and gunfire in the heat of battle. Music sounded decent, although, unlike the Arctis 7s, without a flat EQ profile available, it was slightly muddied by the bass.
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.
Aside from those models, the list of headsets that we chose not to test is too long to spell out in much detail. Broadly speaking, we avoided models from Arctic, Asus, CM Storm, Corsair, Gamdias, Klipsch, PDP, Polk, Roccat, Rosewill, and Tritton, as well as other models from companies included in our roundup due to issues with performance, build quality, and comfort raised in professional reviews, owner reviews, and forum discussions.
This gaming headset is one of the biggest beasts of them all. If budget isn’t in your vocabulary, stop right here. You have pro studio quality, wireless connectivity (some debate whether or not you should use a cable or immediacy when you game, however), 50 mm drivers, “Scout Mode” which apparently allows us to hear enemies before us (which we wouldn’t take completely serious but at the same time, if you’re concerned with audio quality and having an edge, this is the pair to get). If you’re not a fan of wireless headphones, especially for gaming, you can still use a cable here. However, the convenience is amazing (they market it to be lag and static free, so you can always be the judge of that). This thing is one of the best out there. This made it into PC Gamer’s best gaming headset article under the best high-end model.
Specifications: Headset Speakers: 40mm diameter speakers with neodymium magnets Condenser Microphone Frequency Response: 50Hz - 15kHz Weight: 6.4 oz (233g) Speaker Frequency Response: 20Hz - 20kHz, >120dB SPL @ 1kHz Cable length: 16 ft. (4.87m) System Requirements USB port: Available USB Port PS3 console with optical audio output or AV cable to support optical output: Advanced SCART AV cable In-line Amplifier Dimensions: Height .5 in (1.27 cm), Width: 2 in (5.08cm), Depth: .75 in (1.905 cm) Maximum analog input level with volume control on maximum setting: 2Vpp (700mVrms) Headphone Amplifier: Stereo DC-coupled, 35mW/ch, THD <1%, Frequency Response: DC - 30kHz Bass Boost: Bass Boost continuously adjustable from 0dB to +12dB @ 50Hz Mute switch: Mic mute switch Mic output: 2.5mm mic output jack USB connector for power: USB co...
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.
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.
If you prefer single-player games and live alone, you don't need a headset at all. You can use speakers and enjoy the room-filling atmosphere, and shout into the inexpensive and mediocre monoaural headsets the Xbox One and PS4 come with. But the next time you're in a deathmatch, raid, or capture mission, make sure you're shouting into the boom mic of a good headset. To find the right one, check out our reviews below.
Your choices range from basic wired earpieces and boom mics you can pick up for $20 at a drug store (or are included with your game console), to expensive, simulated surround sound, e-sports-oriented, wireless over-ear headphones available at enthusiast sites. You should get the one that fits your budget and needs. You don't need a ton of cash for a solid headset; about $50 can get you started if you don't want to jump into high-end features and connection options.
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.
Most external microphone designs are of either omnidirectional or noise-canceling type. Noise-canceling microphone headsets use a bi-directional microphone as elements. A bi-directional microphone's receptive field has two angles only. Its receptive field is limited to only the front and the direct opposite back of the microphone. This create an "8" shape field, and this design is the best method for picking up sound only from a close proximity of the user, while not picking up most surrounding noises.
Thanks to Corsair, however, you don’t have to spend a huge amount to get great-sounding gaming audio. The HS50 headset is a fantastic option if you can’t stretch to the price of the HyperX Cloud Alpha. Though if you do have the money, and a penchant for high-resolution audio, then you’d do well to find a set of headphones with the detail of the Focal Utopias.
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.
Also from Plantronics, the RIG Flex split us. I adored the sound and loved its build quality, especially for the price, and I also found it quite comfortable despite its small size. But Bethany absolutely hated the way the earcups fit on her ears. We felt the same about the RIG stereo gaming headset with mixer, but we all agreed that its connectivity arrangement was more of a fuss than most gamers would willingly put up with.
As well as sounding great, the Audio Technica ATH-ADG1x also has an interesting design. Instead of the usual headband that sits on top of your head, this headset uses two pads that sit on either side of your head and thus don't squash your head or all your hair in a band shape. We found this had unusual results during testing that basically make us look like we were sporting a Mohican but also turned out to be incredibly comfortable.
If you’ve ever had as much trouble finding a comfortable headset as I have, then the Steelseries Arctis 7 is a revelation. Its ski-goggle headband might not look as comfy as other headsets with fistfuls of padding to their name, but its clever suspension design means the steel frame never actually touches your head, allowing me to wear it for hours and hours without issue. Whereas other headsets often always leave me with a vice-like headache after 30 minutes, the Arctis 7 just lets me get on with playing games.
That's where so-called "true" surround headsets come in. These headsets are designed with multiple drivers to deliver a more realistic experience than that offered by the virtual ones which often just work with two (left and right) drivers. There aren't many true surround sound headsets about, but the Asus Strix 7.1 is one of them and it's the best from what we've seen.
Razer is huge among the gaming gear world especially their computers, keyboards and mice. So what about their headsets? This particular model is by far their best and is actually quite affordable. A big plus is the color choice which is always nice, but the specs include foldable ear cups, 2 m extension cable with audio/mic splitter, decent 40 mm drivers, a light weight for a comfortable fit and suitable microphone. What’s really a plus with Razer products is the sleek look, but for the price this headset is solid. It isn’t a beast or something considered top-of-the-line, but it gets the job done. We’d check it out if you want a medium price point, average specs but sweet looking headset.
The Cloud Flight still has plenty of merits of its own, though, including a whopping 30 hours of battery life when you turn off its ear-cup LEDs. That’s miles ahead of the Arctis 7’s 15 hours of wireless battery life, and makes a strong case for it being the best wireless headset currently available – especially when it only costs a little bit more than its Steelseries rival. Even with the LEDs set to breathing mode, the Cloud Flight’s rated for an impressive 18 hours of play time, and you’ll still get 13 hours out of it with them going full light show.
When you have decided for the headset of your needs, you expect to have the gaming headset for many years. With our German engineered technology our gaming headsets don't just look great, they are built to last, too. Only top quality materials are used and the attention to detail is superb. The speakers are engineered and manufactured at our own facilities in Europe and the braided fabric cable ensures long-lasting durability.
Because of their detail they can be a little harsh on the high end, but that also makes them incredible with in-game audio. The open-backed nature of the Utopias means that any open-world game’s soundscape becomes hugely expansive. So often I’d have to take them off, so sure was I that someone was talking to me from the real world when it was just another NPC just out of sight.
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 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.