These large round ear cups are designed to be comfortable and pleasant to wear, but they also give space to house the large 53mm stereo drivers. These drivers are where the action happens. They're designed to deliver an audio experience that's unparalleled and indeed, we were impressed with the quality of the sound coming of these cans. They open your ears to new sounds you might not have otherwise noticed in games and music and we couldn't help but be impressed with the quality of the sound, no matter what we were doing.
So, in the words of Cypher from The Matrix: “Ignorance is bliss”. Yes? Well no, not always. It will come as no surprise that some of the best sounding in our list also have the highest impedance. The HyperX Cloud Alpha comes in at 65Ω, Sennheiser 373D at 50Ω amd Astro A50’s at 45Ω. Of course impedance isn’t the only thing that affects sound quality, but it’s an interesting spec to take note of in a space that doesn’t require it, especially when making informed decisions.
Hi-Res audio isn’t the be all and end all for games at the moment (see our buying guide below for more info), but if you’ve got lots of Hi-Res audio tracks that you listen to at home or subscribe to services like Tidal, this could be a handy solution that meets both your home and game listening needs without having to buy a second pair of headphones.
We have to be honest, we were umming and ahhing between the G933s or the G930s for this spot. Weighing up the pros and cons of old versus new, with the older 930s being very similar in terms of quality, yet lacking the versatility, battery life and finesse of the new 933s. However, we then noticed the G633s, which offer all the features and sound quality of the G933s but for half the price! The payoff? A single wire. And let’s be honest, there’s enough wireless tech already in this list to excite the most obsessively compulsive amongst us.
These are some of the deepest and most comfortable earcups we've seen on any gaming headset we've tested. This design not only reduces the pressure on your ears from the drivers (as they're not resting on your ears) but allows delivery of a comfortable and all-encompassing sound as you game. These cups also include a cooling cloth on the inside which stops your ears from sweating and helps maintain that superb comfort.
The one thing to be aware of is the overall setup. Unlike other wired headsets, the A40 headset plugs through the MixAmp instead of a controller. From there, you have to run a USB and optical cable to the system you're playing on so it can pull the audio. Pulling directly from the system helps produce that clear quality, but then you'll have at least three cables running around.
Digital Enhanced Cordless Telecommunications (DECT) is one of the most common standards for cordless telephones. It uses 1.88 to 1.90 GHz RF (European Version) or 1.92 to 1.93 GHz RF (US Version). Different countries have regulations for the bandwidth used in DECT, but most have pre-set this band for wireless audio transmission. The most common profile of DECT is Generic access profile (GAP), which is used to ensure common communication between base station and its cordless handset. This common platform allows communication between the two devices even if they are from different manufacturers. For example, a Panasonic DECT base-station theoretically can connect to a Siemens DECT Handset. Based on this profile, developers such as Plantronics, Jabra or Accutone have launched wireless headsets which can directly pair with any GAP-enabled DECT telephones. So users with a DECT Wireless Headset can pair it with their home DECT phones and enjoy wireless communication.
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.
This headset uses the Razer Synapse software which offers masses of options including equalisation controls, settings for mic noise control, voice clarity, ambient noise reduction and lighting effects too. The lighting here is subtle and understated, unlike the majority of other RGB capable products out there. The Razer logo on the side of the earcups lights up nicely with tweaking available in the software.
If you’ve ever had as much trouble finding a comfortable headset as I have, then the Steelseries Arctis 7 is a revelation. Its ski-goggle headband might not look as comfy as other headsets with fistfuls of padding to their name, but its clever suspension design means the steel frame never actually touches your head, allowing me to wear it for hours and hours without issue. Whereas other headsets often always leave me with a vice-like headache after 30 minutes, the Arctis 7 just lets me get on with playing games.
A: Unfortunately, no. The Xbox One is the trickiest console to buy a gaming headset for. Previously, Microsoft required you to purchase a separate stereo adapter to use a 3.5-millimeter headset. Fortunately, the newest Xbox One controllers have a built-in 3.5-millimeter jack, just like the one you’d find on a PlayStation 4 controller or PC, so the adapter is no longer necessary. As for wireless headsets, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One headsets run at different frequencies, so make sure you're buying the correct one for your console. We recommend the ASTRO Gaming A50 wireless gaming headset for Xbox One users. You can read more about Xbox One headset compatibility here.
When you’re shopping around for a new headset, you’ll first have to consider what kind of functionality you need. First up, do you want to go wired or wireless? We love the freedom that a Bluetooth headset offers, although not all platforms support them and you’ll have to remember to keep them charged. Meanwhile wired devices often deliver more premium sound quality. And if you grab a digital pair with a built-in DAC, that’ll take the pressure off your motherboard for producing crisp, clean-sounding audio.
Looking for a more immersive gaming experience? For truly immersive gameplay, you need to lose yourself in the audio as well as the visual. Our gaming headsets allow you to experience crystal clear stereo surround-sound, putting you at the very centre of the action and bringing the latest games to life. Whether you’re into eSports, MMO or cutting-edge VR, you’ll find a headset designed for you.
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.
Next up is Hellblade, where I sit back and listen to the internal voices whirling around inside Senua’s head during the game’s opening boat sequence. Since Hellblade uses binaural audio techniques (which uses two microphones to accurately measure the distance between your head and where the sound’s coming from to create a proper 3D, 360-degree soundscape – try these examples with a pair of headphones on to see what I mean), this is a great test of how a headset can be immersive and create a fully-believable sense of place. I listen to see how up close and personal the main narrator can be, as well as how the other voices come and go and titter around the periphery. If a headset can make my spine tingle (as some of them have), this is a good sign.
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.
Because of the GAME ONE's open-ear cup design, the headset doesn't do a good job at isolating audio in loud environments. This can be seen as a good or a bad thing, depending on if you want to hear your phone or doorbell ring when you're gaming. It also comes with the added risk of disturbing those around you, but will keep you cool during long gaming sessions.
Once we had our potential top picks in each category, we went on to use them in extended gaming sessions, during which we sometimes wore the same headset for as long as 12 hours at a stretch. Our testing panel, which included people with various head and ear sizes, tried the headsets on a variety of games from massively multiplayer online role-playing games like Guild Wars 2 to 4X games (explore, expand, exploit, and exterminate) like the Civilization series as well as on puzzle, strategy, and action games.
You can tell HyperX mean business with this one. The headset is premium, with its high-quality, lightweight aluminium frame, fixed firmly to the closed back, memory-foam-lined cans. The headband creates enough tension for you to know where your money's gone, but not so much that a certain scene from Total Recall is likely to be re-created. No, not the one with the three boobs…
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.
With a frequency range more impressive than Tiger Woods’ love affairs, three EQ modes and Dolby’s virtual 7.1 surround sound, Astro have got it covered. On its default setting, the A50s produced one of the most immersive audio gaming experiences we encountered. The ‘studio’ setting gives a flatter EQ, allowing movies and music to be heard as intended, whilst the ‘pro’ setting reduced bass, allowing footsteps and other slight noises to be more distinguishable.
Larger drivers have been known to produce lower bass frequencies, however, the quality of the driver and its enclosure is more important than its size. Now this information is not always available, but companies such as SteelSeries often use the same drivers across multiple headsets, so a quick google will often tell you how good a certain driver is. A good example would be the SteelSeries Arctis 7, which uses S1 speaker drivers which are also found in their $300 headsets. Not bad for a $150 purchase.
Let us start by saying this headset is one of the best-sounding on the list. Its build quality is next to none. Its mic although very compressed, sounds clear and solid in the mix. The surround sound might not be on the level of the ASUS ROG Centurion, but it’s head and shoulders above Razer’s ManO’War 7.1, delivering one of the better virtual surround experiences we encountered. We like the aversion from stereotypical gamer designs found on headsets such as Logitech’s G633 and it is right up there on the comfort scale. In fact we love this headset. It’s fantastic.
"I’ve had this headset for five months now and I couldn’t be happier. Comfort is a major influence in my purchases and I was at first worried about the circular earcups, as they tend to press against my ears and cause cartilage cramps. But these are hefty, big enough that they surround my ears no problem. They are also incredibly light, so no having to worry about them tiring your head out.
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.
They obviously work best for those who are going to be sitting right next to their PC or console, though many devices, including the Nintendo Switch system — as well as the controllers for Xbox One, PS4, and Wii U — all feature 3.5mm jacks, making distance less of an issue since these devices will be in your hands. Keep in mind the length of the connection cable if you’re connecting via 3.5mm to a PC, TV/monitor, or a sound system. In some cases, extensions or swapping for a new cable might be necessary to get the distance your setup requires.