Closed-back headphones restrict external noise entering and internal noise leaving your cans. The main benefit of this for gamers is that you are unlikely to hear any noises happening around you which could distract you from the actions. Another benefit for any late night gamers out there, is that you won’t be disturbing anyone in your house with Duke Nukem’s lude “Shake it, baby.” At 4am. A couple of potential cons with the closed-back design are comfort and sound quality. Due to the lack of airflow in and out of the cans, closed back (especially leather coated) headsets can get your head pretty sweaty, which after a while can become pretty uncomfortable. Secondly, because noise is trapped inside the cans it can sometimes create an unnatural sounding, or bottled up audio. This is entirely subjective so definitely worth checking out yourself. The best closed-back headset on our list is the HyperX Cloud Revolver S.
Headsets are available in single-earpiece and double-earpiece designs. Single-earpiece headsets are known as monaural headsets. Double-earpiece headsets may support stereo sound, or use the same audio channel for both ear-pieces. Monaural headsets free up one ear, allowing interaction with others and awareness of surroundings. Telephone headsets are monaural, even for double-earpiece designs, because telephone offers only single-channel input and output. For computer or other audio applications, where the sources offer two-channel output, stereo headsets are the norm; use of a headset instead of headphones allows use for communications (usually monaural) in addition to listening to stereo sources.
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.
Make no mistake about it, though, this is probably too much bass for games that rely on atmospheric music or have a lot of dialog. While all of our testers loved the effect with big dumb action games like DOOM, we found that the deep bass tended to make dialogue in games like Battlefront 2 a little too chesty, and it did no favors to orchestral game soundtracks, like those of the Civilization games. Tweaking the EQ settings in the Razer Surround Pro software helped a lot, and also brought out a good bit more detail, but access to that feature does add another $20 to the cost of the headset.
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As with all of our gamer peripherals, we rigorously test each headset before fully reviewing. If a device is compatible with different platforms, consoles as well as PC, then we’ll be sure to try it out on the lot. Wired or wireless, we check that the audio quality is good enough and that features such as surround sound support work as expected. We also make sure the mic clearly picks up your voice, even in a noisy environment, so your online pals can hear every zinger and sick burn.
They have audio and mic support for the PS4 and Xbox One when plugged into the controllers and negligible latency since they are wired. Unfortunately, they won’t be as convenient for gaming as the wireless options on this list. Also, their build quality does not look or feel as durable (or as premium) as the similarly priced HyperX Cloud II, although they have a slightly better performance overall.
The HyperX Cloud Stinger are an above-average gaming headset just below $50, so you don’t have to spend as much but you will have to make some sacrifices. They’re the cheapest of the HyperX line up so they won’t have the premium build quality and detachable microphone of the Cloud II or Cloud Alpha. They’re also not wireless like the Cloud Flight. But on the upside, their wired design has no latency and will work with controllers of both consoles.
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.
The Audio-Technica Open Air (ATH-ADG1X) and Isolation (ATH-AG1X)—functionally the same headset, though the former is an open-back model and the latter is a closed-back version—were without question the most comfortable headsets any of us had ever tested. But they’re voiced to appeal to audiophiles, with lots of emphasis on high frequencies, which doesn’t play well for games.
All our testers liked the Turtle Beach Elite Pro. It’s comfortable, with a hard-hitting, visceral sound, and it boasts a solid mic. The problem is that if you want to get the most from this headset, be prepared to be nickel-and-dimed half to death on accessory upgrades. If you already have a powerful headset amp, you might consider the Elite Pro, but just know that the box doesn’t even come with a pink-green 3.5 mm audio splitter.
Looks-wise, the black, brushed metal cup plates really compliment the gun metal arms. However, although we’re fans of the high contrast red cables, we do wish Creative had reduced the aggressive styling of their X logo, which, in our opinion is far too prominent, and detracts from the slickness of the brushed metal frame. Oh, and it lights up - yay? That being said, the headset is super comfy, lightweight, and built in such a way that allows it to bend, flex and twist without ever feeling like it’s about to break. So, top marks for design. The BlasterX software provides presets for your favorite games (CS:GO, DOTA 2 etc.) as well as the ability to tweak custom profiles. Some of the presets worked better than others, but, as the ability to completely customize your EQ settings is available, we can’t really ask for more. In true gamer-centric fashion, there’s even a Scout mode, that lets you hear footsteps easier in stereo. The virtual surround will appease some but, while it does add a layer of immersion for casual gaming, serious gamers will notice its poor, rear directional sound representation. The only real issue we’ve seen are complaints of poor Windows 10 drivers causing the left and right channels to switch intermittently, although we never ran into this issue ourselves.
When deciding between wired or wireless headsets, there are a few things to think about. You might find that wired headsets generally have a lower price point than a wireless option, offer less chance of interference from other devices, and will never leave you in the lurch because you forgot to charge them. On the other hand, wireless headsets don't have cords to tether you to your computer or console or trip you up and get disconnected during a critical game mission.
Your budget – Fortunately, as compared to some high-quality studio headphones, gaming headsets aren’t too big of a dent on your wallet. There are however some super high-end models you may want to look at that will cost you. If you do have the cash, you definitely will not be let down. However, if you’re on a limit, there are some budget-friendly choices (such as gaming headsets under $100) we found as well.
Owning the EVO ZxR is like owning many things at once: a high quality USB sound card, 7.1 virtual sound gaming headset, and a wireless headphone of high audio quality. Not to mention all the technologies powering the headset such as an Active Noise Cancellation feature, NFC, Bluetooth, and all other goodies from Creative such as Dialog Plus, CrystalVoice, etc. It’s a headset packed with geeky goodies!
“This is simply the greatest headset I’ve owned so far, and many reviewers say they are the best-sounding headphones orientated toward gaming. They surprisingly have a decent mic as well and have good noise cancellation in the mic. I also have owned Turtle Beach, Corsair, and SteelSeries headsets, but none of them even get close to the quality of this one. The sound is very crisp, and since these are open-ear, soundstage and distancing are nearly perfect.”
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.
This lightweight and comfy design keeps your ears snug for long gaming sessions, and the large volume wheel on the earcup keeps the cable controller-free and as light as possible. The only downside to the headset is the immobile microphone, which could have benefitted from a removeable design, and ideally the rubberised mid-section swapped for some more malleable material as it currently adds very little in the way of adjustability.
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.
The HyperX Cloud Flight boasts an incredibly lightweight and comfortable frame, which, combined with up to 30 hours of battery life, results in a cozy wireless PS4 headset that you can truly wear all day. The Flight also delivers rich, accurate sound for competitive and immersive games alike, features a crisp microphone, and touts slick LED earcup lighting. The USB-powered Flight offers easy plug-and-play compatibility with any PS4, and doubles as a great PC headset.
If style and looks matter to you and you're bored of the same old boring black headsets then the Razer Kraken 7.1 V2 in Mercury White is worth a look. This headset is strikingly beautiful, especially when combined with the other Mercury White products Razer has to offer. This unusual design might be an appeal in itself, but we wanted to see if it also stood up against the competition.
This headset is powered by the headphone amplifier control box that sits neatly on your desk. This little box of tricks is the hub for the audio and allows you to easily change between settings, adjust volume and even tweak lighting on-the-fly. It acts as the sound card and works to process the surround sound audio to deliver the accurate audio experience you'd expect from a headset of this quality.
The Cloud Alpha costs less than a hundred quid and yet it’s possibly the best analogue headset that we’ve tested. HyperX has crafted something that’s both compact and comfortable (although red remains the only colour choice), with the option of replacing the mic, cups and cable if needed. Thankfully the overall construction is reassuringly durable, in case you’re in the habit of throwing your ‘phones across the room in fits of despair.
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.
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.