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.
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.
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.
We also tested the HyperX Cloud II, Kingston’s updated version of our top pick, which features a USB sound card, surround-sound processing, a slightly superior microphone, and better padding on the headband. If you’re a laptop gamer without access to good analog audio jacks, it’s a smart buy. For most people, though, none of those enhancements justify the extra price.
Battery life on this headset does appear to be a regular issue though, with battery draining in a short space of time. The SteelSeries Siberia 800 uses 1,000mAh Lithium-ion battery that SteelSeries claims is capable of 20 hours playback before recharging is necessary. During testing though, we found ourselves having to swap out the batteries more regularly than that. Therefore, with heavy use, you're unlikely to make it through an entire day if, like us, you're working and gaming on the same machine. Of course, most gamers won't be doing that, so might get a few days of gaming goodness out of it before the battery needs recharging.
Initial setup and pairing with the transmitter box is a breeze and there's an easy to use on/off button on the headset itself to save battery life. We did find the transmitter was a bit less user-friendly as you have to dive into settings to send it to sleep when you aren't using it. It's also worth noting that the transmitter uses quite short power, USB and optical cables which means you need to keep the box quite close to your gaming machine.
Virtual surround headsets feature ear cups that cover the entire ear. This type of headset uses only two discrete speakers, one on each ear cup, to create surround sound. Virtual surround headsets tend to have higher-end driver components which experts and consumers believe to be more durable, as well as have larger speakers which deliver more powerful and dynamic sound quality. Virtual surround headset achieves surround sound by using external or internal pre-amplifier or mix-amplifier modules, as well as several different algorithms, to convert stereo or surround sound signals into surround sound. The sound is divided and sectioned so as to deliver it in such a way that it creates an auditory landscape, thereby producing surround sound.
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.
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.
This new headset features the close and comfortable fit of the Arctis range. With a freshly styled gunmetal finished headband supported by a swappable ski goggle-style band that can be easily tightened or loosened depending on your preference. This design is surprisingly comfortable as it's the material headband that sits on your head, not the metal, so you don't get an unpleasant pressure on your noggin while you're gaming.
They will also have wireless mic support when connected to your PC or PS4, but you will have to use them wired with your Xbox One controller if you want voice chat. On the upside, they have and have a great 24hr + battery life and can also be used completely wired, even if the battery runs out. The available companion app is only for PC, but it has some powerful customization options and you can save your favorite settings under multiple presets.
Gaming headsets are much more than standard headphones. They differ in a number of ways and are designed to ensure that every gamer has everything they need for comfortable, immersive gameplay. Gaming headsets are lighter and feature ultra-soft ear cushioning that allows you to play for longer in comfort. Most headsets also feature multicoloured LED lighting so you can personalise your gaming experience and match your customised gaming set up. Multi-system compatible, they’re also built to deliver stunning sound quality whether your playing via PC, Xbox 360, PS4 or PS3.
Some gamers simply love boosted bass, especially when playing shooters and other action-heavy games. If you fit that bill but find yourself disappointed by the fact that most bass-heavy gaming headsets also rattle and shake and distort far too easily, the newly redesigned Razer Kraken Pro V2 might be just what you’re looking for. The V2 delivers rich and robust bottom end and is also the most comfortable (and seemingly durable) Razer headset we’ve tested to date, especially with the optional oval ear cushions. While our testers preferred the more balanced sound of our top pick with a wider variety of games, the Kraken Pro V2 is a very compelling alternative if you want low end.
3.5mm connections are the round ports found on not only PCs but also on phones, tablets, T.Vs, car stereos and pretty much anything else that emits sound. Except iPhones, because Apple suck. Anyway: the obvious benefit of having a 3.5mm headset is that you can use it on any of these devices. The Logitech G430, for example, is an average-sounding headset at an entry level price, but can be used on more devices than you can shake a stick at. The potential negatives are that because it’s an analogue connection, if the build quality isn’t up to scratch on either A) the headset or B) the device, it can affect the quality of the sound being sent by your mic or received by your cans. Another benefit of the 3.5mm connection being used on PC’s is that ONLY audio devices use 3.5mm connections, so you should always have room to connect. Not something that can always be said for the USB ports.
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.
This wireless gaming headset from ASTRO is a top-shelf offering with superb fit and an included charging station. It gives users the ability to choose between an open-back and closed-back audio experience. The audio quality of the A50 is also superb, headed by the capability to deliver 7.1 Dolby Surround Sound. It comes in two variants — one for the Xbox One and the other for PS4 compatibility.
The result is an impressive microphone which delivers great quality when chatting with friends or taunting online enemies. This mic is one of the best we've tested on a headset and didn't disappoint during testing. We were, however, frustrated by the design style which often meant that it got in the way if we were trying to drink or eat while playing. A small niggle, but still something to consider.
The true surround sound experience you get with the Asus Strix 7.1 headset is undeniably superb. Being able to switch profiles according to the game you're playing and adjust volumes on-the-fly is really useful when you're gaming. Positional audio is superior to that offered by lesser headsets and by those virtual surround sound headsets out there.
The Thresher Ultimate cans are available in either Playstation or Xbox trim, but as both work happily with the PC via the base station, it just becomes a choice of whether you want the classic Razer green trim or the blue. I like the blue… I wasn’t massively taken by the headband at first, but having used the set for a while now they’re mighty comfortable, only pressing in a little around the bottom of the earcups. They are a touch heavier than the SteelSeries Siberia 800s, but the floating band does take most of the strain.
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 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.
For under $200, you aren’t going to find a better gaming headset. We’ll go further: you aren’t going to find a better gaming headset anywhere. The Cloud Revolver S - which feels like the culmination of everything HyperX has released - is almost unbeatable. Only the SteelSeries Arctis Pro comes close. You could argue for either of them, but this is our pick, and we stand by it.
Sound quality is an essential consideration for any gaming headset purchase. While headsets often deliver stereo sound with a single speaker for each ear, many models feature additional speakers per ear cup to deliver a true, very impressive surround sound experience. Though it may seem like a no-brainer, comfort is also very important, since you may be wearing your headset for hours at a time. Look for headsets that have padded or foam headbands and ear cups. Many headsets with microphones include noise cancellation which helps the person you're competing with hear you by differentiating between your voice and background noise. And volume control may be important to your game experience, which is why many headsets include a separate control switch that adjusts in-game chat independently of game audio.
While it isn’t perfect, the new HyperX Cloud Flight is our new top pick for cable-haters for a number of reasons. It delivers good audio performance, fantastic range, exceptional comfort, fantastic battery life, and simple setup. We would prefer to see more intuitive controls, as well as audible notifications for things like battery life, and the lack of a replaceable battery is a bit of a bummer. But the pros outweigh the cons with this one, especially for the price.
But here’s the first problem. Just like on the ManO’War, the ear cups are round which, if you have big ears will be a comfort issue. Fear not though, loyal Razerians, oval-shaped ear cups are available…for a price. In terms of sound, the overall impression is good, edging out the previous champ in this bracket – the Corsair Void RGB. Definitely punching for its price, the Kraken’s 50mm drivers and design of ear cup do well at creating and delivering the lows. The mids and highs carry a certain level of clarity but start to muddy throughout the higher volumes. Everything is customizable inside of Razer’s Synapse suite though, meaning you can tweak ‘til your heart's content. Although the V2 Pro isn’t the flagship Kraken (that would be the 7.1 V2), the lack of RGB lights and artificial surround sound means Razer can deliver a real blow to the low/mid-range market. With great build quality, impressive sound and no gimmicks, it’s hard not to recommend paying the extra $20 and upgrading from the Logitech G430…Until we think about those round ear cups.
Logitech has announced the G533 Wireless Gaming Headset, a model designed solely for use with Windows PCs. It has a noise-cancelling, foldable microphone, as well as volume controls on the left earcup, and it uses Pro-G audio drivers. Logitech claims the headset has a 15-hour battery life and a wireless connectivity range of about 49 feet, but we have to test those things ourselves. The G533 is available now, and we hope to add it to our next update.
As well as sounding great, the Audio Technica ATH-ADG1x also has an interesting design. Instead of the usual headband that sits on top of your head, this headset uses two pads that sit on either side of your head and thus don't squash your head or all your hair in a band shape. We found this had unusual results during testing that basically make us look like we were sporting a Mohican but also turned out to be incredibly comfortable.
We offer genuine products with the full manufacturer's warranty. Buying direct, we save our customers time and money. By replenishing our inventory every few weeks, we guarantee our customers receive the latest products with fresh batteries for maximum life and performance. We regularly encounter frustrated customers who have saved a few dollars by buying from someone else, only to discover they received a 'new' product, but one which has sat on a shelf for 3-4 years. With a wireless headset, that usually means you need to purchase a $40 replacement battery before the product has sufficient talk-time to be usable.
If you don't baulk at the price (as it's over £200), then the SteelSeries Siberia 800 should certainly be a consideration. In terms of wireless gaming headsets, this one is the cream of the crop. It's packed full of features, including cross-platform support for Xbox360/One, PS3/PS4 and mobile devices, as well as analogue, optical and USB inputs for PC that allow you to take advantage of the Dolby Digital and virtual surround sound processing power inside the box.
The Custom One Pro Plus was a crowd favorite thanks to the ability to tune its bass performance on the fly without resorting to software equalization. We liked, but didn’t love, this pair in tests for our best over-ear headphones guide. Out of the box, however, our pair’s mic cable had a short in it, causing the sound to cut out if the cable wasn’t positioned just right. Judging from owner reviews, this problem is disturbingly common.
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.
Some phones only have a mechanical means of switch hook operation. The lifter allows cordless headsets to be used remotely with such phones. The phone user presses the appropriate headset button to either answer a call or terminate a call. The headset's base station's interface with the handset lifter will take the appropriate action - lift or replace the handset.