On the GameDAC you have access to a range of different settings that include equaliser pre-sets, Game/ChatMix levels, surround sound options, RGB illumination, mic sidetone and more. We like how easy these controls are to use and how simple it is to switch not only between Hi-Res audio and the other sound settings, but to adjust things like volume of the mic and the colour of the RGB lighting with ease.
We do have a few PC-relevant nits to pick with the HyperX Cloud Flight, though. For one thing, its generous 30 hours of battery life only applies if you turn off the headset’s LEDs, which you’ll have to do every time you power the headset on, by double-tapping the power button. Why the headset doesn’t remember this setting is a bit of a mystery. We also missed some of the features found on other wireless headsets, like audible confirmation of battery life, and some sort of indicator of whether the mic is muted or not. Muting is accomplished by tapping the left ear cup, and the headset does beep when going in and out of mute mode, but some other indicator would have been appreciated. Especially given that the Cloud Flight’s mic is so hot that it does pick up the slightest bit of audio coming from the headset. In other words, unless you use push-to-talk, you’ll likely want to mute the mic on occasion.
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.
The SteelSeries Arctis 7 is the best all-round headset. It offers a super-comfortable fit and all the bells and whistles you’d expect from a top-end product, including wireless support and virtual surround sound. The Razer Kraken Pro V2 is great, easy to use and – most importantly – affordable. It doesn’t offer more advanced features such as wireless support or virtual surround sound, but for the money you’ll struggle to do better.
YouTubers, Twitch streamers, podcasters, and anyone else who requires the best possible audio quality may want to skip a headset altogether. Instead, we recommend pairing top-tier headphones with a free-standing mic (and, if you’re really after the best quality, a USB mixer). A setup like this is going to be exclusive to those using a PC — or at the very least those who do their editing and voice capture there — and is going to be a lot more expensive.
We also found this model less fatiguing for long gaming sessions than any other headset in its price range. Only the more expensive Sennheiser Game One seriously outmatched it in that regard. The HyperX Cloud features genuine viscoelastic memory foam in its earpads (both the leatherette and velour options), not the cheaper foam found in many other headsets and headphones. Our panel agreed that having a choice between the two kinds (and the ability to so easily switch them) was a nice touch. And neither of the HyperX Cloud’s earpad sets caused me any amount of appreciable discomfort when I wore my thick, cellulose-acetate-framed glasses, whereas many of the other headsets in our roundup did. Even the company’s new HyperX Cloud Alpha, which bests the Cloud in terms of bass performance and aesthetics, is no match for the original in terms of long-term comfort.
If you’ve got money to burn and want the absolute best of the best, look no further than the Steelseries Arctis Pro + GameDAC. Not to be confused with its more expensive wireless and cheaper GameDAC-less Pro siblings, this middle offering in Steelseries’ Arctis Pro line-up is arguably the best of the lot – if only because it’s the only one to have proper Hi-Res audio support.
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.
It's also true that if a headset doesn’t sound good, then spending a single cent on it is a waste of money. But what is ‘good’ sound? Well, that depends entirely on your taste. Some people like bass heavy sound that reverberates through everything in a ten-mile radius, others prefer a natural more balanced sound, and a few have been known to prefer a bit of both. Therefore, if you’re dead set on a specific sound it’s probably wise to choose a headset that comes with EQ software, which enables you to manipulate the sound to your taste. (Surround sound is another consideration, but we’ll cover that a bit later.) Finally the price. This should be thought of in three distinctions. Firstly, what is your budget? Second, what are other companies offering for roughly the same price? And finally, what reputation does the company have, especially surrounding warranties and customer service?
If you want to use your headset with last-gen systems like the PS3 and the Xbox 360, you'll need to see if the headset supports their own unique connections, or if adapters are available. PCs are the most flexible with gaming headsets, since they can work with USB headsets (which are generally only compatible with PCs), 3.5mm analog connections (though you might need a splitter adapter if your headset ends in just one plug), and often optical audio.
Well most software packages from headset companies include an EQ option alongside their presets. Presets are just EQ customizations done at the manufacturer’s end and saved as a handy option for users to switch on/off as required. However, as we discussed earlier people like different types of sound, so a bass boost preset for one person may be too much or too little of an increase in bass for another. Using the EQ option in the software package allows you to manually adjust specific frequency ranges to achieve different types of sound. Now this can sound and even look daunting the first time you see an EQ graph, however if you remember there’s only three main areas; Bass, Mid and Treble, with only an increase or decrease available in each area it can be as simple or complicated as you want it to be.
+Sound Quality is good, but is not Surround Sound (as it says on the name of the product): Same this as with the mic, is exactly what i would expect from any gaming headset.Working stereo which will allow you to know where sound is coming from. The only thing is that this is not a surround sound headset as its labeled in the name (but not on the description). There is a difference between Stereo and Surround Sound, but for gaming it doesnt tent to be that important as most game already do tricks with the audio to make stereo appear as its surround sound (I also wouldnt expect any headset under 100$ to be full Surround Sound).
But, if you stop to think about it, we're already in the future. It's hard to deny that the recent developments, and future possibilities in virtual reality technology are exciting. With big money from the likes of Facebook and Google now committed to the enterprise, virtual reality is suddenly becoming more than the pipe dream of some indie developer working out of a garage.
While any gamer would like to have a $300 gaming headset, it isn't always practical or affordable. Typically, it's the latter that is the issue, since most premium headsets cost almost as much as a new console. That doesn't mean you can't get a decent pair of headphones on a budget, though it might make finding some just a little harder. Thankfully, HyperX is here with a headset perfect for the conscious gamers out there.
The Arctis 7 is more expensive than other wireless gaming headsets on this list, but it does come with a couple of extra handy features, such as its ChatMix slider. This lets you filter out all game music to focus solely on your multiplayer chat, and it works vice-versa as well, helping you drown out those screaming 11-year-olds who can’t believe you didn’t make that headshot from half way across the map.
Their battery life is very good, but somewhat situational; if the LEDs are turned off they have almost 30 hours of continuous playback and can recharge in as little as 3.6 hours. However, with the LED on, you will only get about 12 hours at most. On the upside, they have a good wireless range and very low latency (20ms), great for gaming and watching videos.
Open-back headsets come with the opposite pros and cons. You'll be able to hear any noises going on around you and if you have the volume cranked too loud, anyone in the house will hear whatever it is your cranking. Open-back headsets are generally more comfortable as they get less hot due to the ventilation and sound tends to comes across more naturally. Personally we prefer open-back due to comfort and sound quality, however it’s completely subjective, with pros and cons varying significantly across different models. You should also be aware that some headsets that look open-back often aren't; just because it has a grille doesn't mean it's open. Perfect example: the AUDEZE Mobius, AUDEZE are known for their open-back headphones, but this isn't one of them, even thought it looks it. We'll be testing a pair soon - at the time of writing, they're super new, and a review model is currently on its way to us!
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Given its price point in comparison to the other wireless headsets we’ve reviewed, we can forgive a slightly cheaper feel - so long as the audio is on point. Which it is. The sound produced is excellent for games and alright for movies and music. Our only gripe would be that the soundstage on the latter two can feel very narrow at times, and it doesn't help that the EQ options in the software suite are pretty limited. However, they do include custom presets for movies and games, as well as a single custom EQ profile for your meddling. Inside Corsairs Utility Engine (CUE) you also have access to the virtual 7.1 surround settings, which, although they work well, can cause sound to become muddled, hampering directional awareness. In our opinion, stereo is where it’s at for the Void. If you have multiple Corsair RGB products, you can also have them operate in unison, like some psychedelically infused lighthouse - or you can just have them pulse white. Either way, your battery life is the main victim here. Reduced to a useable sixteen hours, just don’t forget to charge them after every use. Or buy the Astro A50s. Your choice.
But perhaps more important for the purposes of this guide, I’ve been a hardcore gamer since 1980. I’m primarily a PC gamer these days, although I do dabble in consoles from time to time (when a new Gran Turismo game is released, for instance, or for the occasional round of Worms). And whether I’m playing massively multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPGs), strategy games like Civilization VI, shooters like Doom, or the latest version of Magic: The Gathering, chances are good that I’m logged in to my private Ventrilo chat server, either to coordinate group attacks or to chew the fat with my gaming friends and guild mates. Granted, I’ll probably never break the personal record I set back in October 2011, when I played Rift for 24 straight hours during an Extra Life charity event, but I tend to spend at least 15 to 18 hours per week wearing a headset.
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.
The Plantronics Blackwire 3200 Series includes corded UC headsets that are durable, comfortable, easy to deploy and come in a variety of connectivity and wearing options. Add insights from Plantronics Manager Pro, an additional Software-as-a-Service offering, and you've got a future-proof solution. Blackwire 3200 Series with Plantronics signature audio provides top notch features at a price you can afford.
"But wouldn't that look weird at a coffee shop?" you ask. Yes it would, so HyperX has designed with a boom mic that can be easily unplugged and removed. It also features replaceable earcups in case the oval ones that come with it don't fit your ears, and it also includes a swank mesh bag to stow the whole kit in when you travel. Put all these awesome ingredients together and you have one righteous headset at a sweet, sweet price.
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.
Because of their detail they can be a little harsh on the high end, but that also makes them incredible with in-game audio. The open-backed nature of the Utopias means that any open-world game’s soundscape becomes hugely expansive. So often I’d have to take them off, so sure was I that someone was talking to me from the real world when it was just another NPC just out of sight.
The other big advantage of this headset is that we all found our own voices easy to hear, even without the benefit of mic monitoring. The Game One doesn’t mix the input from its microphone into the output of the headphones, as some gaming headsets do. Instead, its open-back design allowed our voices to reach our own ears with very little encumbrance and no delay. Our online testers also loved the way our voices cut through the sound mix on their end. The Game One’s mic uses active noise cancellation, which does a good job of taming room noise but creates a slightly thinner tone that make it less than ideal for recording voiceovers, podcasts, or other professional audio material. But again, clarity of communication was our primary consideration when we were gauging the quality of the microphones, and this Sennheiser headset excelled on those grounds.
One thing I really like about the headset is the headband; it's more robust than it looks, springing back into place after we bend it up so that the headband is nearly flat. Creative did this by using steel underneath the padding instead of plastic. While doing this with other headsets often makes me cringe, the Sound BlasterX H5 happily takes the bending in stride.