The Arctis Pro wireless gaming headset delivers excellent sound quality, supreme comfort, and an ultra sensitive microphone that's great for both in-game trash talk and making Skype calls. It features a sleek design and a self-adjusting headband that’s inspired by the elastic bands found in ski goggles. It’s one of the most comfortable headsets you can buy.
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.
The Cloud Revolver S from HyperX is one of the most versatile headsets we’ve tested. It comes packed with three separate connection types — 3.5mm, dual 3.5mm, and wired USB — which, in aggregate, enable the headset to be connected to just about anything. This isn’t entirely unique to the Cloud Revolver S, but the headset takes things a step further by eliminating the need for any extra software or driver downloads, making it a truly plug-and-play peripheral. This integrated nature is especially important with the USB connection, which features a built-in sound card and a control dongle for features like Dolby 7.1 virtual surround sound and EQ settings.
The HyperX Cloud’s frequency response is as true to life as you could hope for from a headset that sells for less than $100. Pitting this pair against the Sony MDR-7506 (our top pick for the best over-ear headphones under $200 four years running), our testers found that the HyperX Cloud wasn’t quite as neutral as the Sony model. We found its treble response slightly less even, its midrange a tiny bit less smooth, and its bass a touch fuller. But we liked its sound better with games and even with some music and movies. We also found the HyperX Cloud more comfortable over long periods of time, though not by a lot, and it offered better isolation from external noise.
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.
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.
If you prefer a gaming headset that you can also use outdoors, without standing out, then the HyperX Cloud Flight might just be the headset for you. They have a decently well-built and comfortable design that easily passes for casual over-ears, especially since you can remove the boom mic. They’re also a great choice for gaming thanks to their well-balanced sound, low latency wireless connection and excellent microphone that delivers great recording quality and captures speech very well.
Everyone knows us as huge Audio-Technica headphones buffs, and when it comes to high-end, this is as high as you can probably go when it comes to a headset worth looking at. If you have the cash, this is a game changer. Huge drivers at 53mm, their “core double air damping system (D.A.D.S.)”, an optional USB amp, deep bass and sweet highs to give you some top notch audio quality. The 3D wing-support system is extremely convenient for a comfortable fit, and the earpads help us out with that since they’re very soft. They’re so expensive because of the DADS structure (it’s a dual-layer housing structure built-in to the headset that dampens air to help with linearity of the audio — sounds fancy, but why not if you have the cash?). The microphone is also great with 100 degree range of motion. This thing is slick and worth the money if you’re up for dropping the cash.
The SteelSeries Arctis Pro features premium drivers which the company claim are capable of delivering double the audio range of most standard headsets (at 40,000Hz). This has a number of implications in the use of this headset. Firstly, if you're a PC gamer this means that you can dive into the settings on the GameDAC (Digital Audio Converter) and switch over to Hi-Res audio. Doing this means the little control box then does the leg work and transforms sound into High-fidelity 96kHZ/24-bit audio. You can then open up Windows sound settings and see the full glory of the high-end audio.
Two things made it a real standout as compared with all other wireless gaming headsets we’ve tested. Firstly, it just sounds fantastic. While it doesn’t play very loudly—a criticism that applies to virtually all wireless headsets—its audio is well balanced and clear, and it delivers a nice mix of detail, positioning, and impact. And even when cranked to full volume, which we had to do to really immerse ourselves in Battlefront 2, it never distorts.
That's where so-called "true" surround headsets come in. These headsets are designed with multiple drivers to deliver a more realistic experience than that offered by the virtual ones which often just work with two (left and right) drivers. There aren't many true surround sound headsets about, but the Asus Strix 7.1 is one of them and it's the best from what we've seen.
If you’re seeking even better audio performance, a far better microphone, a more engrossing gaming experience, and superior long-term comfort, all of our testers agreed that the Sennheiser Game One remains the best pick for both audiophiles and hardcore marathon gamers. But you’ll pay about 50 percent more for it. Unlike most gaming headsets, the Game One has an open-back design, meaning that the earcups surrounding its drivers are vented, not solid shells. This design not only makes the Game One sound more open and spacious but also makes the headset lighter and cooler to wear for extended periods of time, though it does mean that people sitting next to you may be distracted by the sound of your games. Also, the headset really doesn’t reach its full sonic potential without a bit of extra amplification, so you need a good dedicated sound card or a headset amp.
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.
The one downside is the microphone, which feels fiddly - it’s hard to get a good position in front of your mouth. But that’s the lone disadvantage, and it’s offset against the incredible sound, the superlative comfort, and the quirky and creative design. You also get 7.1 sound, if you need it; we think the Creative Sound BlasterX H7 Tournament Edition does that particular aspect a little bit better, but it’s very minor. As a whole, the soundstage is still excellent, and it’s very easy to pick out the positioning of particular elements in-game. And with the EQ settings packed in, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a more likeable pair of cans. For gaming audio, this headset is the best available right now.
In short no. No it’s not. Believe it or not, bi-directional mics (which pick up noise from the front and back) actually works better. Working in a figure eight, the pick-up has a very tight front and back pattern rejecting noise from the sides and anything further than eight inches away. This creates something called the proximity effect, a natural frequency boost across the bottom end, resulting in a richness that unidirectional tech lacks. It also helps with the noise cancelling effect, as only acoustic sources very close to the mic (your mouth) receive the Proximity Effect, essentially boosts your voice above everything else.
Here at the Strategist, we like to think of ourselves as crazy (in the good way) about the stuff we buy (like pillows), but as much as we’d like to, we can’t try everything. Which is why we have People’s Choice, in which we find the best-reviewed (that’s four-to-five-star reviews and lots of ’em) products and single out the most convincing. While we’ve written before about the best gaming mouses and external hard drives, and our favorite virtual-reality headset, here we’ve found the best-reviewed gaming headsets on Amazon. (Note that reviews have been edited for length and clarity.)
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.
Will Greenwald has been covering consumer technology for a decade, and has served on the editorial staffs of CNET.com, Sound & Vision, and Maximum PC. His work and analysis has been seen in GamePro, Tested.com, Geek.com, and several other publications. He currently covers consumer electronics in the PC Labs as the in-house home entertainment expert... See Full Bio
This sleek, minimalist headset has the versatility and simplicity that comes with a wired headset, but boasts excellent sound quality that rivals other headsets that cost two or three times as much. Because it’s a wired headset, you’ll be losing out on surround sound, but the stereo mix is strong enough that accurate positioning shouldn’t be an issue. The inclusion of a detachable mic adds to the HS50’s attractive-yet-unassuming design, and makes it possible for the headset to double as a quick pair of headphones, if need be.