It’s worth noting, though, that this is only the case with PC and PS4 platforms. For Xbox and mobile devices, you have to use the included 3.5 mm audio cable, and that does disable the headset’s chat functionality. Since we’re only really concerned with PC performance for the purposes of this guide, that wasn’t an issue, but it’s still worth noting.
While it’s hard to top the Arctis Pro, even Steelseries’ more affordable Arctis models, including the Arctis 3, 5, and 7, are impressive alternatives, identical to the Pro in terms of comfort and only a modest step down in performance and features (the Arctis 7 was our previous top pick, in fact). There are wired and wireless versions of each of these headsets, and while they require the Steelseries Engine 3 software to use the surround sound and EQ features (meaning these features are PC-only), they still sound great even without these extras. So, should the Arctis Pro reside outside your budget, any of these Arctis models could compete for the top spot on our list.
Interestingly, the SteelSeries Arctis 7 uses the same drivers as the flagship Siberia 800, so you won't be too surprised to hear that the audio quality on this headset is just as superb. The processing is slightly different though, this headset uses DTS Headphone:X 7.1 which delivers a pretty precise surround sound experience. In fact, we'd say the positional audio on this headset is superior to the Siberia 800, but still not as good as other headsets on this list. 
As a result, I’m currently limiting this article to gaming headsets ONLY at the moment. It sounds obvious from the title, but I’m sorry to say those after the best headphones for regular music listening or the best desktop speaker systems will have to look elsewhere. Instead, what you’ll find below is a list of all my current favourite headsets – ones I’ve tried and tested myself right here at Castle Shotgun. As with any kind of ‘Best’ list, none of this is set in stone – it will continue to change and evolve as I get new headsets in for testing, but for now, I hereby decree these to be the best gaming headsets available right now.
While the HyperX Cloud is a great headset for most gamers, no headset is perfect for everyone. If you’re more discerning when it comes to sound quality in games, movies, and music, or if your gaming sessions run a little longer than the norm, consider the Sennheiser Game One. This headset was by far the favorite of all our testers (even our online helpers) due to its stellar audio performance, exceptional long-term comfort, and fantastic noise-cancelling microphone, but you’ll pay at least 50 percent more for that performance. Also, you might need to upgrade your sound card or headphone amp.
The noise-cancelling on the microphone has been improved, specifically tuned to block out the sound of HyperX’s very own Alloy keyboard and the famously piercing sound of Cherry MX blue switches. The Cloud Alpha headphones also feature very noticeably improved noise isolation, preventing any chatter around you from ruining the listening experience.

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.
The Sennheiser GSP 600 is one of the best-constructed and best-designed headsets we’ve seen to date. Audio performance is also simply stunning, with perfectly balanced and detailed sound that enhanced our gaming experiences no matter what sorts of games we played. It’s a pricey headset, no doubt, but we all felt it earned its price tag without hesitation. The only problem? Those of us with larger heads simply couldn’t bear to wear it for long. Although the GSP 600 comes with a tension adjuster atop its headband, even at its most relaxed setting it hugged larger heads too tightly, especially for those of us who wear glasses.
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.
The Corsair HS50 don’t look or feel like a budget headset. It features large 50-millimeter audio drivers, adjustable steel sliders with numbered markings, and comfy memory-foam ear cups. Besides its durable design, an easy-to-reach volume dial and multiplatform support make the headset an excellent option for budget-conscious gamers who want a high-quality pick under $50.
Overall, the A50 leads in sound quality, while the Siberia 800 gets the edge in ease-of-use and comfort, plus the aforementioned charging method. With more and more excellent headsets in the $150 range, it’s hard to justify spending twice as much on either of these—they’re definitely not twice as good. But either way, the battle over this top spot continues on into the future.
Only long-term testing over the next few months will reveal whether or not the Kraken Pro V2 is as durable as its lightweight aluminum frame makes it feel, but so far we have no real concerns there. One thing we all definitely loved, though, is the retractable nature of the headset’s mic. In terms of sound quality and volume, it’s pretty much identical to that of the HyperX Cloud—in other words, it’s good enough—and our online testers never reported hearing any sound bleed between the headset and mic.
Headsets come in a variety of styles, such as color, head mounting, and ear coupling. Since headsets typically have two ear pieces, there is usually a connecting piece between the ear pieces, which allows the user to mount the headset on their head. That head mounting can be on top of the head or behind it. Ear coupling provides more options, such as over ear (circum-aural), on ear (supra-aural), earbuds, and canal. Finally, headsets are also available in wired and wireless styles.
Another term you’ll see accompanied by a smattering of numbers is sensitivity or SPL (sound pressure level). Essentially, this is a measurement of how loud a headset will produce sound at a particular power level. Now, it’s worth taking this stat with a pinch of salt as due to variance in power sources (amps, interfaces etc.) the measurement of sensitivity is not always a true representation of how loud the headset will sound for you. Also as sensitivity is measured in decibels per milliwatt and power from your PC (and every other electrical device on the planet) is delivered in volts, the methods used by companies to arrive at their value of sensitivity can be inconsistent, which doesn’t really help anyone in deciding whether or not a particular headset is right for them.
“My 11-year-old son uses these strictly for PS4 gaming online with his friends. He loves the look and comfort of them. The audio works well with game sounds and chatting with his buddies. From my point of view, these headphones are made very well and I was impressed with build quality for the price. I was also impressed with the audio quality when listening to music to check them out. Usually for this price point, you greatly sacrifice build quality or audio quality, but that is not the case with this product. Great overall!”
When it comes to wireless range, the Corsair VOID PRO RGB Wireless once again doesn't disappoint. Corsair claim this headset has a range of around 40ft. During testing, we found that to be a pretty accurate claim. It meant that we could make it through most of the house without audio dropping out and it surprisingly managed to maintain sound through a number of walls. Whether a quick snack or comfort break, this headset will keep going without interrupting your listening which is just what you need. Just remember to mute your mic before you step away from your machine. 
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. 
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.
Mobile (cellular) phone headsets are often referred to as handsfree. Most mobile phones come with their own handsfree in the form of a single earphone with a microphone module connected in the cable. For music-playing mobile phones, manufacturers may bundle stereo earphones with a microphone. There are also third-party brands which may provide better sound quality or wireless connectivity.
The best examples are the 7.1 surround sound and 3D audio. The surround sound will provide a rich audio experience to help immerse you in whatever game you're playing. The 3D audio will bump up the quality on select PS4 games by providing directional differences in sound. The best example of this is on PSVR, where the sound adjusts with your head movement.
Even without the benefit of surround sound, the HyperX Cloud did an admirable job of creating a nice sense of space for all of our games. With shooters such as Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus, Star Wars Battlefront 2, Doom, and Dishonored 2, I always felt like I had a good idea of where my enemies were and in which direction I needed to focus my attention. The addition of Razer Surround software (which we discuss in detail below) enhanced that effect even more.
After thoroughly testing nearly 70 headsets for over the course of two-and-a-half years, our testers still agree that Kingston’s HyperX Cloud is the right gaming headset for most people, thanks to its excellent long-term comfort, great sound quality for the price, light weight, exceptional build quality, and fantastic durability. After roughly thirty months of nearly constant use and abuse, including several road trips in which it was thrown into a backpack sans case, our original test unit still looks like we took it out of the packaging yesterday.
Where this headset falls short is with its requirement for the Tactical Audio Controller (sold separately) to get to the EQ presets. It costs an extra $150, which in our opinion is ludicrous. On top of that the microphone is average at best. A real shame as the headset is amazing as standard, and if it afforded the EQ preset options and a better mic, it could easily be in our top 5. As it is, we’ll include it, but it needs some serious rethinking.
Headsets are not easy. You must sort through numerous manufacturers, hundreds of choices, and completely understand compatibility before you get down to your personal preferences of corded or wireless, over ear or headband, and what your budget will allow. When businesses or government agencies need corded or wireless headsets for improved productivity, unique applications, or specific delivery dates, they immediately turn to Headsets Direct. Founded in 1996, Headsets Direct became an industry leader providing business-grade headset solutions with discounted prices and excellent customer service. We offer wireless, corded, Bluetooth, and VoIP/PC headsets, with most models in stock and same-day shipping..
We’ll likely be accused of playing favorites with this one, but after thorough testing in which only one of our testers was aware of the brands involved, we all agreed that Kingston’s new HyperX Cloud Stinger is the clear choice for gamers looking to spend $50 or less on a new headset. Compared with most budget headsets, the Cloud Stinger is surprisingly well-built and comfortable thanks to its cushy headband and relaxed fit. In our tests, its audio performance was noticeably better than that of anything else in its price range, thanks to its beefy 50 mm drivers and well-balanced sound. Our testers also went gaga over the Cloud Stinger’s new microphone, which is a substantial upgrade over the mic of even our top pick: Not only does it sound better, but also you can mute the mic just by raising the boom into the vertical position. This design does mean that the mic isn’t removable, which has long been a selling point of our top pick, the original HyperX Cloud, but the mic is especially sturdy, and it stays locked in place and out of the way when not in use.
If you’re primarily looking for a practical headphone for everyday casual use that also has a good enough mic for voice chat when gaming, then get the Logitech G433. They deliver a well-balanced sound, on par with much pricier headsets and they’re sufficiently versatile to use outdoors while commuting without attracting too much attention, unlike most gaming headsets.

With a decent mic, one of the strongest wireless signals in its price range, and a very rich-sounding default audio, the ManO’War 7.1 from Razer really curb-stomps most of the competition. You get virtual 7.1 surround sound, custom EQ options, and a retractable mic. That mic doesn’t sound as good as the HyperX Cloud Alpha, but is still solid - and easy to position. And as a whole, the headset is noticeably comfortable, thanks to its huge leatherette ear cups. More cushion, however, inevitably leads to more pushing in terms of size and weight, and after extended periods the plush leatherette cups became hot and sweaty. This is definitely in-part due to the round shape of the cans, something the Logitech G430 (below) avoids for considerably less cash. Keep that in mind when you buy.
No roundup of gaming headsets would be complete without a look at Astro’s offerings, so we brought in the A40 with MixAmp Pro, the A30 with MixAmp Pro, and the A50 Wireless for the first iteration of this guide. None of us were overly fond of the on-ear design of the A30, but I was smitten with the hard-hitting sound of the A40 and A50, especially with games like Dying Light. But noisy mics and the MixAmp Pro’s constant background hiss bothered all of us. After we wrapped up our original round of testing, Astro introduced a new digital MixAmp and a new version of the A50; we plan on giving them a listen for a future update to this guide.
If everything about the HyperX Cloud sounds appealing but you just need some extra oomph in your action-gaming audio, you’ll find a lot to love about Razer’s revamped Kraken Pro V2 with oval ear cushions. That distinction is important, by the way, because the Kraken Pro V2 comes with round ear cushions in its default form. The larger oval alternative, whose opening measures 60 mm by 70 mm, gives the headset more room to breathe and makes it more comfortable on a larger variety of heads. And if you’ve purchased the Kraken Pro V2 in its default form, with its 56 mm round cushions, the oval replacements add an extra $20 to the price. So if you’re at all concerned with long-term comfort, and especially if you have larger ears, we cannot stress enough the importance of purchasing the oval-equipped model from the get-go.
We tried our best to find a headset with surround performance that impressed us, but for the most part, we weren’t able to. We tested one headset with multiple drivers in each earcup, plus a number of USB headsets with built-in Dolby, DTS, or Creative surround technologies (which create a surround-like experience using only two drivers, through a combination of delay and other audio processing).
The HyperX has a history of delivering reliable gaming headsets across the board, and the Cloud Stinger is no different. Admittedly, the build quality of the headset isn't going to be anything special. It's an unassuming headset that, while all-plastic, doesn't feel cheaply made. The Stinger is also fairly comfortable for the price, though the ear pads could be a bit thicker.
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.
The ear cushions are large and fit well too. They're made from a microfiber mesh fabric backed with memory foam to provide comfort while gaming. We found this mesh fabric to be a little scratchy when compared with leather or other styled fabrics on the other headsets we've tested, but it did mean that we weren't suffering with issues from sweating or overheating during long gaming sessions. 
Unfortunately, they can’t be used without the base station since they have no wired mode, and you must purchase the console specific variant of the A50s if you want them to work wirelessly with your PS4 or Xbox One. Their auto-off feature to save battery life is also a tad too aggressive and might be frustrating at times. However, despite these limitations, they are great wireless headphones for gaming that should please most gamers.
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. 
Digital headsets: Featuring an integrated DAC (digital-to-analogue converter), digital headsets offer cleaner sound, higher volumes and software integration. USB-connected headsets will work on PC/Macs and PlayStation consoles, while optical-based headsets will work with Xbox and PlayStation consoles, plus PCs with optical ports either on the motherboard, internal sound card or USB sound card.
Gaming headphones feature an over-ear design on almost all occasions in order to better accommodate their massive audio drivers. Higher-end offerings will help you take your gaming experience up a notch by offering support for DTS and Dolby Surround Sound standards, but we've also highlighted headsets that still sound superb without breaking the bank. We've sorted the best from the rest to find the best-sounding and most comfortable headsets available, and included picks for the PC and every major gaming console.
Whether you’re playing from your couch, or getting up close and personal with your PC, a gaming headset has become a near necessity for gamers of any skill level. Sure, a boomin’ surround sound system can help immerse you in the action of your favorite games, but you can get a lot more bang for your buck with a top-notch gaming headset. And if you’re serious about multiplayer matches, a high-quality microphone to communicate with your friends (and rivals) is also crucial.
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