A headset is an audio hardware device that connects to a communication device, like a phone or computer, that allows the user to speak and listen hands-free. Headsets are different from headphones in that headsets allow the user to communicate rather than just listen. As such, headsets are typically used in any field where the user needs to multi-task with his or her hands while communicating with another person via the headset. These situations include customer service, technical support, gaming and more.
"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!"
When we tested the Beyerdynamic Custom One Pro Plus with Custom Headset Gear for the original iteration of this guide, we all loved its comfortable, roomy fit, as well as the fact that its bass performance could be tuned acoustically, without software EQ, via sliders on each ear cup. Unfortunately, the Custom Headset Gear shorted out on us right out of the box, and user reviews indicated that this was a startlingly common problem.
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.
Gaming can be an immersive experience as is, but the right headset can truly push it over the edge. So many games today have incredible sound and music, whether it's the booming beats in 2018's God of War or whizzing laser bolts in Star Wars: Battlefront II, the right headset can suck you deeper into the worlds you're exploring on the screen. But what is the best headset for you?
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.
Most high-end gaming headsets claim to offer some form of surround sound, but this isn't accurate. The vast majority of surround sound headsets still use stereo drivers (often a single 40mm driver for each ear) to produce sound. The surround aspect comes from Dolby and DTS processing technologies that tweak how the headsets mix sound between your ears to give an impression of 360-degree audio. It's an artificial effect that wouldn't provide a true surround sound image even if the headset had individual drivers for each channel; there simply isn't enough space for the sound to resonate to produce the impression of accurate directional audio. However, it can make things more immersive and improve your ability to track the direction sounds from left to right.
The design is pretty out-there on this one. Two giant owl eyes emanate from each ear cup, on a Pan’s Labyrinth vibe. Combine that with the amazing bass response these kick out, and things going bump in the night could well have your neighbors calling the police. ASUS claim the dual antenna feature provides a faster response time than Bluetooth, and although we can neither confirm nor deny this statement, we can confirm that the signal never dropped.
In addition to a fast processor and a clear display, gamers of every skill level recognize the need for great sound to get the rich, immersive gaming experience desired. Though similar to headphones, the best gamer headsets are different in two important ways. First, they have outstanding surround sound capabilities that add realism to the console- or PC-gaming session, providing the competitive edge needed to react instantly to even subtle sound cues, such as footsteps coming up behind you. And second, gaming headsets allow you to communicate with as well as listen to fellow gamers from around the world.
There are also cues to let you know when the battery is running low. Regular beeps when the battery level is getting low and a flashing light on the earcup next to the charging port to warn you in plenty of time and give you the choice to either start charging early or have a rough idea of how much gaming time is left before you run out. It's certainly nice to have the option to switch between the wired and wireless modes with ease though.
Picked up this pair for my son who plays games on the computer. He had a pair of name brand headphones and destroyed the cable. I like this sets cables as they are thick, not super thin like hos old set. You need to use the usb cable to get power to the headset to light the up, but if that is not important you can skip that plug. Sound and microphone seem decent, I would say the microphone is a little low, need to place the mic close to your mouth. The microphone can be turned off when not needed. The one thing that I have not gotten to work well is the vibration, does not seem to do anything. They are also lightweight and comfortable on the ears and on your head. I would recommend them to anyone looking for a mic'd headset for gaming and for someone who does not want to spend a ton of money.
“This headset is amazing and built to last. I have had this headset for almost two years and it’s still looks like it’s brand-new. The fabric does not rip at all and the foam does not get squished down over time. The audio from the headset sounds great with its 7.1 surround sound and is also very soundproof. The microphone is decent — not good enough if you are someone who does a lot of recording — but super clear for talking with friends. The cable is higher quality and is not easy to rip out the the headset, which is nice. The biggest thing about this headset is that it doesn’t hurt your head! You can wear this headset for hours and it still feels great. Highly recommend.”
Of all the headsets we tried, the Razer Tiamat 7.1 created the most convincing surround experience, which didn’t surprise us since it includes five distinct drivers in each earcup: a 30 mm front-channel driver, a 30 mm center-channel driver, 20 mm surround and surround-back drivers, and a 40 mm low-frequency effects driver. Still, the surround-sound experience wasn’t entirely convincing, and the Tiamat 7.1 failed to create a satisfying front soundstage.
If you prefer a gaming headset that you can also use outdoors, without standing out, then the HyperX Cloud Flight might just be the headset for you. They have a decently well-built and comfortable design that easily passes for casual over-ears, especially since you can remove the boom mic. They’re also a great choice for gaming thanks to their well-balanced sound, low latency wireless connection and excellent microphone that delivers great recording quality and captures speech very well.
Performance on games is more important than on movies or music: We looked first and foremost for usable representation of game audio more than realistic reproduction of music; we considered music performance only as a bonus. Only 18 percent of respondents to our initial survey said they cared how their gaming headset performed with music and movies at all.
Mobile headsets come in a range of wearing-styles, including behind-the-neck, over-the-head, over-the-ear, and lightweight earbuds. Some aftermarket mobile headsets come with a standard 2.5 mm plug different from the phone's audio connector, so users have to purchase an adapter. A USB headset for a computer also cannot be directly plugged into a phone's or portable media player's micro-USB slot. Smartphones often use a standard 3.5 mm jack, so users may be able to directly connect the headset to it. There are however different pin-alignment to the 3.5mm plug, mainly OMTP and CTIA, so user should find out which settings their device uses before buying a headphone/headset.
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.
Thanks to its closed-back design, the new Custom Game delivers the sort of sound isolation that’s missing from the open-backed Sennheiser Game One, so if you’re concerned about disturbing anyone else in the room with you while you play games, it may be a better pick. Unsurprisingly, it also does a much better job of blocking external noise from reaching your ears, making it a great pick for noisier environments.
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.