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.
The software that comes in tandem with your latest and greatest headset has many options for changing the type of sound it delivers, often in the form of presets. As an example the most common preset would be bass boost. Now bass boosting would involve increasing the levels (in decibels) within the 60 – 250 Hz frequency range. Sounds simple in theory, but how do we do that? The answer: equalization, or EQ.
There is one caveat to the audio, though, and that’s to do with what you’re plugging the ATH-AG1x headset into. The Audio-Technica cans only use a 3.5mm connection and they really come into their own when plugged into a dedicated discrete sound card (remember them?!) or an external DAC/ headphone amp like Creative’s Sound BlasterX G5. If you’re spending this much money on a quality headset you’ll really benefit from making sure the rest of your audio setup is capable of matching it.
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The most important feature, however, is the brilliant sound performance. The basic, out-of-the-box stereo mix, which is the baseline regardless of connection type or console, is excellent, with a snug balance and punchy bass that enhances gameplay and music. The surround sound and EQ features — specifically the bass boost — only serve to further enhance the experience. The cherry on top is that the headset is extremely comfortable, with a sturdy design, plush padding, and an auto-fitting headband. Sounds like a winner to us.
The Xbox One Stereo Headset is perfect for the Xbox One owners who want to rep Xbox pride in every aspect of their gaming life. Thankfully, it's also a reliable headset for Xbox gamers who may also be on a budget. It still delivers solid audio for the gamers who need some extra boom out of their headset. Given the $59 price point, it won't deliver the insane quality of premium ASTRO headsets, but it still outperforms most headsets around the same price.
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.
The Void Pro RGB also has an excellent microphone, and is usually my headset of choice when I put in the occasional appearance on The RPS Electronic Wireless Show. It’s a great sounding headset as well, but its virtual 7.1 surround sound effects aren’t the best, hence its position as ‘runner-up’ rather than our overall winner. You also need to fire up Corsair’s Cue software to use it, as there isn’t a dedicated button to enable it on the headset itself.
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.
We also found this wireless headset to have the best battery life we've seen. We managed to squeeze out over 20 hours of use during testing, though we would recommend charging before it goes flat or you'll have an uncomfortable experience thanks to the short charging cable. A power light underneath lets you know when it's running low by changing colour with a traffic light system warning you when the charge is getting low. A red light is a bad sign and time to get it plugged in.
This headset is surprisingly comfortable for its low price point. Thanks to an adjustable headband, plush ear cups and lightweight build, the G430s felt nicer to wear than both Razer’s and HyperX’s headsets. That said, the G433’s lacked the noise cancelling properties of both, which may put some off, but in our opinion, that’s a small price to pay for this level of comfort
Where the Arctis 7s lose out to the pricier option are in their design. While the 800s rock a solid, comfortable headband, the Arctis 7s have a ‘ski goggle’ elasticated strap that gives you a sore head in long play sessions. And don’t get us started on the easily nudged wheels on the back of the cups ruining your volume settings every time you put them on…
The one performance criticism we all had was that its flexible boom microphone was only good, not great. It delivered voices clearly (with no distortion and very little noise), but all of our online testers who have met me in meatspace reported that my voice sounded a little high-pitched and nasally through the Cloud’s mic. My regular Magic Duels opponent, who graciously tolerated constant pauses to our matches so that I could swap out headsets, summed it up: “You’re coming through loud and clear; it’s just that your voice is missing that booming radio-announcer quality that makes you sound like you.”
If you’re looking for a competitive, lightweight and stylish alternative to larger headsets, the SoundBlasterX P5 is certainly the way to go. One of the best headsets we’ve ever tested.The maximum volume is enough to give you a headache, but when dealing with quieter audio sources, you’ll be thankful they’ve got the power you need. When maxed out, the sound is distortion free and still sounds nicely balanced, while the bass offers up a lot of detail without drowning out the rest of the mix.
From the company that brought you the Cloud Revolver, the Cloud Silver, the Cloud...you get the point. The Cloud Flight is wireless, but most importantly, it’s comfortable. Weighing in at a mere 10.6oz, and cushioned by the super plush, closed-back ear cups, the lightweight, all plastic design of the Flight is an absolute dream to wear. And as for battery life: provided you forego the questionable design choice of flashing LED lights (on an ear cup only the stationary in your room will see) you can expect up to thirty hours of audible pleasure. Choose not to forego the aforementioned, and your Flight will have to make an emergency landing after just thirteen. Splosh.
SteelSeries' line of gaming headsets consists of a wide range of models — Arctis 3, Arctis 5, and the Arctis 7, which is a much more affordable wireless option than the Arctis Pro models we previously mentioned. The Arctis 7 feature a sleek design, high-quality audio drivers, and exceptionally comfortable ear pads and headband pieces. The latter is self-adjusting and inspired by the elastic bands found in ski goggles — you can even accessorize the headset by swapping headbands.
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.
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 SteelSeries Arctis Pro features premium drivers which the company claim are capable of delivering double the audio range of most standard headsets (at 40,000Hz). This has a number of implications in the use of this headset. Firstly, if you're a PC gamer this means that you can dive into the settings on the GameDAC (Digital Audio Converter) and switch over to Hi-Res audio. Doing this means the little control box then does the leg work and transforms sound into High-fidelity 96kHZ/24-bit audio. You can then open up Windows sound settings and see the full glory of the high-end audio.
To help you on your quest (literally in some cases), we’ve picked out the best gaming headsets you can buy for any system. This list covers both major consoles, as well as PC and Nintendo Switch, so you can get your game on in style. If you’re looking for the best PlayStation 4 headsets or Xbox One headsets specifically, we have lists for those, too.