We also listen to music and watch movies with each headset in order to size up its usefulness for consuming multimedia. For wireless headsets, we keep a log of how long the peripheral lasts before the battery completely drains. We use voice recordings to evaluate each headset's microphone, as well as listen back to any Twitch broadcasts we've conducted with them on.
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.
Secondly, it means the quality of the sound is on a new level. We found the audio range of this headset to be mighty impressive. It opens up your ears to new sounds you might not have heard in game before, but also delivers a wider range in music too. The bass notes are excellent, the highs and lows are a joy and there's no denying the high-fidelity audio is certainly impressive.
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.
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.
After a combined 200 hours of testing over the course of nearly two-and-a-half years, including listening to 10 new models this year, we still think Kingston’s original HyperX Cloud is the best gaming headset for serious PC gamers. The HyperX Cloud offers the best mix of audio performance and comfort for the money. It’s beautifully built and comfortable on a wide variety of heads, and its sound quality holds up against some of the best dedicated headphones in its price range. You won’t find a more neutral-sounding and versatile gaming headset unless you’re willing to spend at least $40 or $50 more.
Specifications: Headphones 50mm diameter speakers Speaker Frequency Response: 20Hz - 20kHz, >120dB SPL @ 1kHz Condenser Microphone Frequency Response: 50Hz - 15kHz Cable length: 12 ft. (3.7m) In-Line Amplifier Headphone Amplifier: Stereo DC-coupled, 35mW/ch, THD <1%, Frequency Response: DC - 30kHz Bass Boost fixed: +6dB @ 50Hz Mic mute switch Maximum analog input level with volume control on maximum setting: 2Vpp (700mV rms) 3.5mm plug for line input
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.
The one downside is the microphone, which feels fiddly - it’s hard to get a good position in front of your mouth. But that’s the lone disadvantage, and it’s offset against the incredible sound, the superlative comfort, and the quirky and creative design. You also get 7.1 sound, if you need it; we think the Creative Sound BlasterX H7 Tournament Edition does that particular aspect a little bit better, but it’s very minor. As a whole, the soundstage is still excellent, and it’s very easy to pick out the positioning of particular elements in-game. And with the EQ settings packed in, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a more likeable pair of cans. For gaming audio, this headset is the best available right now.
The twist of a dial allows you to change the volume of the channels, adjust your mic sensitivity levels or adjust the surround sound profile to suit your preference the game you're playing. You can easily mute the microphone or turn surround sound on or off here too. There are also cables supplied to allow you to connect to speakers too, should you need or want to. This allows the option to switch between speakers and headphones when the need arises and demonstrates just how flexible this setup is.
The HyperX Cloud Alpha feels remarkably premium for a $99 headset, offering a striking and durable aluminum design in addition to a wonderfully cozy set of memory foam earcups that are perfect for marathon sessions. The Alpha delivers crisp highs and rich bass thanks to HyperX's new Dual Chamber technology, and includes a detachable cable and soft carrying pouch for easy travel.
Coming in at $300, the headset is three times more expensive than most other options, but its audio quality is superb. We also liked its "MixAmp" feature, which is a toggle on the headset's side that you turn to find the perfect balance of chat levels and in-game sounds. The A50 provides 15 hours of battery life, a 30-foot wireless range, and Dolby Digital 7.1 Surround Sound. It comes in two configurations — a blue-accented one for the PlayStation 4 and PC, and another with green accents for the Xbox One and 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.
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.
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.
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 headphones function to convert sound by way of a soundcard, from digital (computer) to analog (headset). USB headsets connect to the computer by way of USB, and so sound conversion occurs in the headphones themselves or in a control unit. Inside the ear cups is where the magic happens. This is where the drivers live, and drivers are to headsets as gasoline is to vehicles. The larger the driver, the better sound will be produced.
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.
“I am loving these headphones. They are very comfortable even in gaming sessions lasting 12-plus hours. The audio quality even when using Bluetooth is very impressive. The thing that has impressed me the most about these has been the battery life. I believe they advertise 40 hours per charge with about a one- to two-hour charging time, and honestly they deliver. I try to charge them when I go to bed, but frequently forget to plug them in and they still keep going even after a couple days of forgetfulness.”
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.
For mic testing, we record clips of ourselves speaking in quiet and loud environments, both with any noise canceling or enhancements toggled on and off. We use the headsets over multiple days, wearing them while gaming, watching videos, or listening to music to test the veracity of battery life claims, as well as appraise their long-term wearability and comfort.