Closed-back dynamic gaming headset with newly designed 53 mm drivers and improved 3D Wing Support system. Double air damping system (D.A.D.S.) for deep, resonating bass. Built-in supercardioid gooseneck microphone for in-game communication with outstanding rejection of ambient sound. Equipped with 1.2 m (3.9') attached cable and 2.0 m (6.6') extension cable. Includes windscreen.
The Asus Strix 7.1 headset is a gaming peripheral with a strong focus on quality and a big, bold design. This is a monster piece of kit, as you'd expect for a headset at this price point. The design is robust, strong and flexible. This is a big headset that sits nicely on the head, clamping tightly, yet comfortably to your ears to give you an enveloping audio experience whatever you're doing.
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.
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.
There are plenty of quality wireless headsets that work with Xbox One, but few are as fine-tuned for Microsoft's console as the Turtle Beach Stealth 700. This set of cans sports built-in Xbox Wireless technology, meaning it can sync directly to your Xbox One without the need for any dongles or transmitters. It's also simply a great headset, with rich, bassy audio, a clear microphone and a healthy amount of sound customization options.
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?
From the company that brought you the Cloud Revolver, the Cloud Silver, the Cloud...you get the point. The Cloud Flight is wireless, but most importantly, it’s comfortable. Weighing in at a mere 10.6oz, and cushioned by the super plush, closed-back ear cups, the lightweight, all plastic design of the Flight is an absolute dream to wear. And as for battery life: provided you forego the questionable design choice of flashing LED lights (on an ear cup only the stationary in your room will see) you can expect up to thirty hours of audible pleasure. Choose not to forego the aforementioned, and your Flight will have to make an emergency landing after just thirteen. Splosh.
Many wireless mobile headsets use Bluetooth technology, supported by many phones and computers, sometimes by connecting a Bluetooth adapter to a USB port. Since version 1.1 Bluetooth devices can transmit voice calls and play several music and video formats, but audio will not be played in stereo unless the cellphone or media device, and the headset, both have the A2DP profile.
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.
On the upside, they have a decent sound quality, an above-average microphone that captures speech well and a comfortable enough design for longer gaming sessions. They have a decent battery life that lasts about 10.8 hours and only take about 3 hours charge fully. They also support Bluetooth, which as a better range than using them with their USB dongle, but it also has more latency.
Pulling them from the packaging I was a little concerned about how they might sound. My prejudices were quickly dismissed as soon as I started using them. The 50mm directional drivers deliver an impressive, balanced sound, with a decent amount of separation in the audio. The Stinger, then, is a well-priced headset with a surprisingly detailed sound.
When it comes to getting the best surround sound experience for gaming, there's no real substitute for a proper speaker setup with seven (or more) speakers and a subwoofer correctly positioned to deliver sound from the right direction at the right time. Virtual surround sound headsets do a reasonably good job as an affordable alternative, but what if you want closer to the real thing without clogging up your room with speakers and cables?
Check out any list of ‘best gaming headsets’ and you’ll find either this or the original HyperX Cloud’s in there. Kingston is a brand we’re all aware of when it comes to PC stuff and this model is also rated very positively among users. They are relatively affordable if you’re comparing them to our first model listed above, and with these you’re getting 53mm drivers, echo cancelling technology, a wide frequency response, some memory foam pads and high-quality. One of the best all-around value-based gaming headsets in our opinion. It’s also offered in a few different color schemas if you want some aesthetic choices. We’d grab this if you still want a high-quality headset but want to save a few dollars.
To make sure a headset can handle lighter instrumental tracks, I use a combination of Final Fantasy XV’s Piano Collection soundtrack, Austin Wintory’s Transfiguration EP from Journey, Ace Attorney’s Gyakuten Meets Orchestra concert, and a light sprinkling of my Breath of the Wild: Sound Selection CD and the Bravely Default soundtrack. I also listen to regular bands and songs, including the likes of Turin Brakes, Queen, Maximo Park, a bit of David Bowie and the opening themes to space anime Knights of Sidonia and grim naked giant anime Attack on Titan, again testing for overall balance, clarity and general toe-tapping grooviness.
The software that comes in tandem with your latest and greatest headset has many options for changing the type of sound it delivers, often in the form of presets. As an example the most common preset would be bass boost. Now bass boosting would involve increasing the levels (in decibels) within the 60 – 250 Hz frequency range. Sounds simple in theory, but how do we do that? The answer: equalization, or EQ.
Build quality also plays a part in our choices. If we’re going to invest our hard earned dollars into something, we expect a return. A big one. It has to be comfortable too. Gaming for hours on end in the comfort of our own homes, means it’s only right that we’re, err, well, comfortable. Finally, any additional features the headset provides. This could be Bluetooth connectivity, so you can choose to ignore calls mid game, charging wireless headsets whilst in use or customizable EQ options. Our Buying Advice guide below will help you tell your Dolby 7.1 from your DTS:X, so be sure to check that out for the full scoop.
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.
“This headset is perfect. First of all, it is super comfortable sitting on your head. The top of it has a little cushion as do the ears. Second, the sound quality is great for gaming. I talk to buddies in Discord often and the mic input is great, too — no complaints of not being able to hear me or hearing interference or anything. As for distance, I have no complaints. I can walk to basically the other side of my house and it doesn’t cut out.”
Standard headsets with a headband worn over the head are known as over-the-head headsets. Headsets with headbands going over the back of the user's neck are known as backwear-headsets or behind-the-neck headsets. Headsets worn over the ear with a soft ear-hook are known as over-the-ear headsets or earloop headsets. Convertible headsets are designed so that users can change the wearing method by re-assembling various parts.
The ASTRO A10 serves as the company's entry into more "budget" headsets, but still lives up to the brand's name. This is evident in the sound quality. It comes through crisp and clear, supported with bass performance that wouldn't be expected from a $60 headset. Keep in mind, there is no surround sound feature in the A10, but that's somewhat expected given the price.
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.
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.
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.
That’s pretty impressive as wireless gaming headsets go, and certainly a lot more convenient than most of its wireless competition. Its detachable microphone also puts in a good performance, and you also get a wired 3.5mm audio cable in the box for use as a wired headset, too. The only downside to using it wired is that you can’t then take advantage of its onboard volume controls, which is a bit of a pain. Still, as wireless headsets go, there’s plenty to like here.
Thanks to Corsair, however, you don’t have to spend a huge amount to get great-sounding gaming audio. The HS50 headset is a fantastic option if you can’t stretch to the price of the HyperX Cloud Alpha. Though if you do have the money, and a penchant for high-resolution audio, then you’d do well to find a set of headphones with the detail of the Focal Utopias.
The new SteelSeries Arctis 3 and Arctis 5, which were designed to mimic the aesthetic of less flashy headphones, impressed us with their light weight, though not necessarily their build quality and high price. The Arctis 7, meanwhile, is priced very attractively for a wireless headset and gives the LucidSound LS30 and HyperX Cloud Flight some stiff competition, but in our tests we found its microphone frustrating, and long-term comfort was an issue.
The SteelSeries Arctis 7 is the complete package; a well-made, super-comfy wireless headset with 7.1 surround sound that lets you attach a 3.5mm cable so you can use it with other devices as well. You don't get the surround sound unless you're using a PC, but we all know it's the superior gaming platform anyway **sniff**. It fits snugly on your head with a unique "ski goggle" band, and you can even buy replacements bands with different colors and patterns to customize things a bit.