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In the world of video games, full immersion is critical for maximum enjoyment. Excellent graphics, amazing control peripherals, and to top it all off, awesome sounds. All of these elements present in a console or a PC gives the gamer the best gaming experience you could get.
As such, a top-of-the-line PC or console is not enough. For a completely immersive gaming experience, the audio is just as important as the visuals. It is what brings your game to a whole other level. After all, what’s the point of watching hair-raising graphics if there’s no audio to match them? Without the loud sound of an explosion or the roaring noise from a chainsaw, it’s just not the same.
Typically, setting up speakers is enough. However, sometimes using loudspeakers isn’t possible, especially when gaming at night, or when neighbors get quickly bothered. When that happens, any of the best gaming headsets will do the job of giving incredible audio fidelity for your gaming needs.
These days, headsets don’t just play sounds near your ears, and that would be it. The best gaming headsets deliver so much more and can go toe-to-toe with large speaker set-ups if you get the right one. Not to mention that gaming headsets won’t set you back as much you might think. And with the market being very competitive, you’re bound to find the right one suited for your needs and budget.
This piece of equipment will allow you to hear even the slightest sound from your game. With a headset, you get to soak in your game’s exciting audio without pissing off your housemates and neighbors.
Apart from high-quality sound, the best gaming headsets have a built-in microphone. Others come with a webcam, as well. Yes, you can always buy a separate mic and webcam. But, won’t it be a lot more convenient to have just one piece of equipment that has all three features?
Fortunately, you do not need to spend a lot to get ahold of one of them. Brands are continually innovating their products to suit their consumers’ needs. As such, the best gaming headsets are much more affordable than you may think.
It’s just a matter of knowing where to look. There are infinite options for you out there, and it could get a little confusing. Looking for a headset that suits you best is not that easy, and that’s why we’re here. As fellow gamers, we know exactly what you need in a headset. We’ve tested a bunch of headsets and narrowed down the best ones. In this article, we will share our thoughts on the best gaming headsets out there.
We will also tell you everything you need to know about gaming headsets. We hope that it will help you find the best one for you.
Over the years, companies have seen the success of headphones. As such, Beats, Bose, and Sony are continually creating new products to suit their market’s needs. There are three types of headphones designed according to their consumers’ needs. While they all look similar, they are made differently to match their purpose.
The first one is called consumer headphones. This is what the general public uses to listen to music. The second type is the studio headphones. These are of higher quality and are used by professionals in studio recordings. The last type is the gaming headphones. These are specially designed to fit the needs of gamers.
With that said, gamers should not settle for consumer headphones. While they will work, you’ll only end up with a so-so experience. So, if you truly want to immerse yourself in your game, you need to invest in a pair of gaming headsets.
The primary advantage of having a gaming headset is that you hit two requirements in one gadget. With a gaming headset, you don’t only get headphones, but a microphone as well. True, it’s easy to get yourself a separate mic, but why? Purchasing one only means more cables, and more cables mean more clutter.
Some gamers argue, however, that built-in mics are not as high performing as individual ones. Well, that may have been accurate before, but we can’t say the same about headsets today. Gaming headsets have come a long way over the years. With their top-notch audio and microphone quality, there’s no reason not to invest in one.
Apart from gaming, you may also use your headset for other purposes. The best gaming headsets are incredibly flexible. You may use them for Skype calls and voice dictation. Typically, a gaming headset has a removable mic. With this feature, you may use it as a regular headset. As an all-around tool, a gaming headset will give you the best bang for your buck.
Another advantage of getting a gaming headset is audio quality. But of course, this will be dependent on how much the headset costs. Generally, the more expensive it is, the better the sound quality.
Lastly, if you’re using consoles such as PS4 or Xbox One, you must use a gaming headset. Why? Well, that’s the only way you can enjoy the surround sound software, that’s why!
The main difference between a consumer and gaming headset is the sound quality. With consumer headphones, you get a full-body mid-range audio, a controlled treble sound, and an adjustable bass. These qualities are precisely what you need when listening to music.
There are also different types of consumer headphones, depending on your needs. Some are specifically designed for listening to music. Others are built to answer calls. But overall, while these headphones are fabulous for music, they’re not that ideal for gaming.
On the other hand, gaming headphones tend to focus more on bass. Their priority is building surround sound. As such, with a gaming headset, overall audio quality may be compromised. So, while you can use them to listen to music, it might not produce the same sound quality as a consumer headset. Gaming headsets do not have a mid-range, and the treble isn’t adjustable. As such, you might not hear the musical instruments that clearly. Since the overall sound may be distorted, you might not have the best musical experience.
Headset Components, Explained
When looking for the best gaming headsets, you will inevitably encounter jargon that might be quite confusing. Learning about these terms and concepts will help you understand gaming headsets better.
Drivers are what we call the speakers inside the gaming headphones. On average, the driver in a headset is about 40mm in size. In certain instances, some headsets have 30mm, 50mm, and even 20mm (for surround sound headsets) drivers.
But, while it is common for people to compare drivers by their size, this factor does not matter as much.
Larger drivers tend to have lower bass frequencies, but that doesn’t mean they have better quality. Just because it’s large doesn’t mean it’s louder, either.
When it comes to driver quality, what matters more are the size of the ear cup, the materials used, and how it has been tuned. Sadly though, these specs aren’t always available for gaming headphones. But, always be sure to check on the type of driver nonetheless. Watch out for brands that use the same kind of driver across different models and price them differently.
There are three types of connections you’ll see in gaming headsets: USB, 3.5mm, and wireless connections. Let’s take a look at each of them.
USB offers a digital connection that guarantees a high-quality sound unless you damage the port, that is. Also, if you want to experience the 7.1 surround sound, then you need a gaming headset that supports USB connections.
The only downside is that you can only use it on gadgets that have a USB port. Not all devices with a USB port might not support audio output, either. As such, it limits the headset’s use to solely your computer. Since you can’t use it on your phone, tablet, or TV, its value is greatly diminished.
The second type is the 3.5mm connection. This is the standard round port you’ll find in PCs, cell phones, TVs, car stereos, tablets, and in basically any device that produces sound. Buying a gaming headset with a 3.5mm cord means that you can use it on practically any gadget.
Apart from being a universal connection, it also gives your PC more room to connect to other devices. Unlike the USB port, the 3.5mm is exclusive for audio connections. Plugging your gaming headset into the 3.5mm slot means freeing up one USB port.
The only disadvantage to a 3.5mm connection is possible poor quality. If the PC or console’s 3.5mm connection is of poor quality, then even the best gaming headsets will give you degraded sound.
Wireless refers to Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. These connections are incredibly easy to use – simply pair the headphones and the computer, and you’re good to go. With wireless headsets, you can say goodbye to cables that limit your movement. Even when you’re 30 feet away from your PC, you will still hear its audio.
This feature might not be as essential to some gamers who are only interested in audio. But, if you enjoy playing team-based games, having a microphone can make a big difference. Naturally, the quality of microphones varies from one gaming headset to another. If you need a decent mic in your life, then consider buying a bi-directional mic.
Most gaming headsets come with unidirectional mics. These mics only pick up audio from the front. Considering that your fellow gamers don’t need to hear stuff happening behind you, this feature is perfect. But, you’d be surprised to know that bi-directional mics offer a better gaming experience. These mics gather sounds via a figure-8 pattern. It picks up sound eight inches from all sides and disregards noise beyond. Thus, it produces a rich sound called the Proximity Effect. Since it also has noise-canceling features, this type of mic is perfect for boosting your voice at play.
Naturally, bi-directional mics are pricier than unidirectional ones. But, with the quality of audio it produces, it is worth investing in, especially if your game requires oral communication.
When it comes to gaming headsets, the question of open or closed refers to the ear cups. The ear cups determine the level of isolation the headset produces.
With open-back headphones, you can expect to hear natural-sounding audio. They also offer ventilation for your ears and are more comfortable to wear for hours. One downside is it won’t cancel out external noise. Moreover, increasing the volume may mean that people within close range might hear whatever it is you’re listening to.
The closed-back earphones give you the most isolated sound. It keeps outside noise from entering your ears and inside music from escaping them. We highly recommend this for gamers who like to be fully immersed in a game. With closed headphones, no external noise could ever disrupt you from playing. Closed-back earphones keep the sound within the ear cups. So, you can play until 5 in the morning without waking the whole house.
The downside to having a closed-back gaming headset is sound quality. Since the sound is trapped inside the ear cups, it sometimes leads to a muffled and unnatural audio. Also, since most closed headphones are made of leather, it can get sweaty in there. This can make your gaming a little uncomfortable.
At the end of the day, there is no better option between the two. The decision of whether to get open or closed headphones is entirely subjective.
Equalization or EQ refers to the software that lets you adjust your headset’s sound profile. If your gaming headset comes with an EQ option, it means you can switch to various profiles such as “podcast” or “bass boost”. To gamers who are sensitive to sound, this could be a beneficial feature. The best gaming headsets offer this flexible option.
While some gamers are happy with one preset, others may want a more specific type of sound. Fortunately, apart from the pre-programmed sound profiles, an EQ graph also lets you adjust frequency ranges manually.
Looking at an EQ graph, you might feel a little overwhelmed. But, remember that it only has three main components – mid, treble, and bass. Each option allows you to decrease or increase its level, so it’s not that complicated. Feel free to adjust it to find the level you’ll love.
The specs in every gaming headset will contain a term called “SPL”. This refers to sound pressure level or sensitivity. It measures how loud the headphones will emit at a particular power level. But, we do advise that you take this spec with a grain of salt. Sensitivity may not be the best way to measure your headphone’s loudness. Sensitivity uses decibels per milliwatt, while a PC and other devices are measured in volts. As such, this value may not be consistent.
Headsets may be divided into two primary types: surround sound and stereo. While you think it’s easy to distinguish between the two, it may not be that easy. Many brands claim that their gaming headsets feature surround sound – but this could be false advertising.
Stereo headsets, the standard type, have two drivers that produce sound: one in the left and another in the right. In a surround sound set-up, the music is delivered through seven drivers and one subwoofer (that’s why it’s called “7.1”). Now, as you can imagine, seven drivers in one headset don’t come in cheap. As such, many headsets out there make use of stereo and disguise them as surround-sound. They make use of software that tries to replicate the surround-sound experience.
So, to help you determine an authentic vs. fake surround sound, you need to check the size of the earcups. It is the size that distributes waves adequately to produce the sound. This is where it gets tricky. Brands nowadays are doing an excellent job of disguising themselves as surround sound. If the price is too low, it’s more likely a stereo headset.
Truth be told, though, stereo headphones are better for online gaming. They allow you to distinguish sounds much better.
How to Find the Best Gaming Headsets
With the wide range of headsets in the market, finding the one that’s best for you could be a challenge. While it’s tempting to go for the most popular brand, it’s essential to consider other factors as well. Focus on what you need so you won’t waste your hard-earned money on ridiculous features you have no use for.
This is the very first thing you have to think of when looking for a gaming headset. Make sure that the specs of the headset are compatible with your device. For instance, do not get a headset with a 3.5mm audio jack when your console does not have the port.
Additionally, you should also consider the type of video games you play when choosing a gaming headset. Buying a headset with a surround sound seems enticing. But, if it’s not a necessity in your game, then don’t bother.
This feature is a must-have in any gaming headset. The main point of investing in a headset is to improve your audio when gaming. So, buying one with mediocre sound quality is entirely pointless. Don’t worry, though, because there are excellent headsets out there that won’t burn a hole in your pocket.
Having excellent sound quality is essential in gaming. Imagine losing a game because you didn’t hear the footsteps or the gunshots. Isn’t that the worst? This is why having a top-notch gaming headset is crucial – it gives you a competitive edge.
A simple gaming headset that offers balanced audio or one with bass-heavy drivers are both viable options. You could even opt for one with an EQ software so you could adjust the sound further. Ultimately, what constitutes a “good sound” is entirely up to you. Fortunately, many types of headsets will fit your preferences.
Other people may overlook this factor, but it is one of the most essential things to have in a good headset. Since you will be wearing your gaming headset throughout your game, it must sit comfortably over your ears.
It might not be noticeable in the beginning, but trapped sweat and friction could be bothersome in the long run. Having an ill-fitting headset can be uncomfortable, especially when wearing it for long hours. A bulky headset can even cause pain in your neck. If you don’t want your gameplay to be disrupted, make sure that the headset fits you perfectly.
So, when testing gaming headsets, check for its weight and the way the cups fit on your ears. Look for a pair that won’t cause you any pain or discomfort.
The seal of the headphone is a huge factor in affecting sound quality. If you enjoy playing Fortnite, you know how crucial it is to pick up on audio cues such as distant gunshots and soft footsteps. It will be a shame if your character dies because you missed them. If you don’t want this happening to you, then you need a headset that offers excellent isolation.
This is where the size of the headphone pad comes to play. The foam on the pad is responsible for creating the seal that traps the sound. As such, the foam needs to be big enough to fit around your ear. If not, then get a pair with bigger foams, or replace the foams with bigger ones.
We highly recommend velour pads for gamers who wear glasses. They will significantly help you in hearing bass sounds.
The majority of gaming headsets out there are made of cheap plastic. These headsets tend to snap when subjected to tension o pressure. As such, you need to look for one that looks and feels sturdy. Some headsets that have a wire or metal frame – those are preferable. However, if you can’t find anything other than plastic, make sure it allows for various head movements.
The quality of the mic is another thing that’s usually overlooked when buying a gaming headset. But, if you want a good, long-lasting headset, you’d want to consider this factor.
If you’re looking for a headset that you’ll also be using on-the-go, get one with a removable mic. But if you’re going to use it solely for gaming, then you don’t need this feature. The important thing is that the mic is adjustable.
While surround sound is more of a luxury feature, it does offer a pretty significant role in gaming. Having multiple drivers in each ear means that if an enemy is about to strike from the left, you’ll hear them from its exact location. As such, imagine the competitive edge you’ll get in Fortnite, for instance, if your gaming headset has surround sound.
A surround sound gaming headset will allow you to react immediately upon hearing the slightest audio clues. It could mean the difference between life and death in a game. But, if you don’t play real-time strategy games, then having a surround sound headset is not that crucial. Stereo gaming headsets are still pretty reliable.
This factor isn’t that crucial, especially when you’re playing at home by yourself. But if you plan to wear your gaming headset in public, then you want to consider this. Most gaming headsets out there have conventional designs. But some do make you look like an alien – not ideal if you’re wearing it in a mall. Some gaming headsets also come in the craziest designs and colors – choose the one that fits your personality best.
Not many consider this, but we suggest that you do, especially if you plan to use your headset for many years. It’s a good idea to buy ear pads and cables along with your headset to ensure its life.
How much a gaming headset should cost is entirely up to your budget. If your budget isn’t that high, list down the non-negotiables and find one that has them all. Don’t be blinded by flashy features that you don’t need at all.
It’s also wise to check different brands that offer headphones in the same price range. Check the company’s service and return policies as well.
If you are looking for a wired gaming headset, expect it to cost somewhere between 30 bucks to a hundred. If you are interested in a wireless gaming headset, note that it’s going to cost you more. The price ranges from $100 to $150. If you want a unit with a high-end surround sound system, you would have to shell out about 250 to 300 bucks.
Top 4 Best Gaming Headsets of 2019
We have tested countless gaming headsets and have come to a conclusion. Here is our list of the Top 4 Best Gaming Headsets of 2019.
SteelSeries Arctis Pro Wired/Wireless: Best Gaming Headset Among Overall
When it comes to general gaming for the best price, very few can match the value for money given by the SteelSeries Arctis Pro. SteelSeries is already famous for its amazing audio quality, and the Arctis Pro performs on a higher plane than that. Not only is the Arctis Pro great for gaming, but it’s also great for music. This is because of its built-in digital to audio converter technology.
It comes in two variants: wired and wireless. Wired costs less, at $131.27, while the wireless costs $229. Both share the same features, which include the following:
-Speakers with high resolution equipped with high-density neodymium magnets. This allows the speakers to have a range of frequencies from 10 to 40k Hertz, nearly double most headsets.
- -DTS Headphone v2.0 surround sound.
- -ChatMix Dial to adjust your game and chat audio without alt-tabbing out of the game.
- -ClearCast Bidirectional mic for precise voice chats and excellent ambient noise protection.
- -Easy personalization options, including RGB lights.
- -Lightweight aluminum and steel construction for fantastic durability and aesthetics.
- Its wireless version allows the user to be up to 40 feet away and still experience incredible audio fidelity.
Despite its amazing features, however, it is not without its flaws. The headset might feel too tight for someone with a larger head and pair of ears. And the cabled version needs some extra care and attention not to be damaged quickly.
But those cons are small compared to all the pros. So this is our best overall pick in this list.
HyperX Cloud Alpha: Best Budget-Friendly Balanced Gaming Headset
If you’re looking for powerful audio but are on a tighter budget, then the HyperX Cloud Alpha is the best choice. Great for both games and music, the HyperX Cloud Alpha has all the necessary features for a great gaming headset, but at a much lower price than most of its competition. This is because the Alpha is built with no extra bells and whistles, instead of focusing on delivering great audio with a nearly indestructible construction.
For only $88.61, this headset is a steal. Here are its specs and features:
- HyperX Dual chamber drivers that separate the bass from the middles and highs have a range of 13-27K Hz, providing a wide range of crystal clear sound.
- Durable construction made of aluminum
- Over-ear red memory foam padding for comfort
- Some versions feature detachable cables and noise reducing microphones
- Certified by Discord and Teamspeak
The HyperX Cloud Alpha is a great pick, especially for the price. However, one thing to look out for is the in-line controls. These can be very flimsy and easily damaged if not correctly cared for, which can result in the entire headset being affected. But if you’re on a budget and can take care of your gear, this is a top pick.
Astro Gaming A50 Wireless: Best High-End Gaming Headset
If you want the top features, design styles, and maximum performance for gaming money can buy, then the Astro Gaming A50 Wireless is a great choice. The A50 features cutting-edge Dolby 7.1 surround sound that brings you into the world of your game, at a price: $266.70 to be more precise. But if you’re willing to shell out the cash, every penny will be well worth it. From the Dolby 7.1 to the gorgeous fit and finish construction, the A50 delivers.
- Dolby 7.1 Surround Sound, giving the best gaming audio experience for this price range
- Low latency, high-speed 5GHz wireless, provides amazing wireless performance and quality.
- High-precision microphone
- Cutting-edge aesthetic design
- Noise-canceling padded leather cushions.
For audiophiles looking to own a gorgeous gaming headset, the A50 is the choice. Its biggest drawback, however, is that it only comes in wireless form. While the 5GHz wireless tech provides quality audio, those who prefer wires or not to have to deal with the battery life will second guess this choice. However, if you’re good to own a wireless, then this is a choice that is very hard to beat.
Logitech G633 Artemis Spectrum: Best Gaming Headset For Maximum Control
This headset nearly took the number 1 spot on our list, and for good reason. Like our other picks, it also has Dolby 7.1 and DTS surround and a noise-canceling microphone. The feature that makes it stand out from the rest, though, is its programmable keys.
This headset functions like a gaming peripheral in itself, further enhancing immersion, especially in the case of games that have simulations for comms and the like. The keys, located on the headset itself, can be programmed to execute customized functions of your favorite games. How cool is that!
This headset is designed for gamers, with gaming in mind. And for $72.91, it is a fantastic pick!
It is quite hard to find a con for this product, especially with the price. Perhaps it is that it looks specifically for gaming. Because using it beyond your gaming room will make people turn their heads, wondering if you came from the future. But apart from that, there is nothing else negative to say!
Any of these best gaming headsets will be an excellent pick for an avid gamer. Whether you’re on a budget or want to splurge, want a very versatile or truly gaming-specific headset, these are our recommended picks. Just select which one is the best for you!
Our Final Thoughts
There you have it, folks! The ultimate guide to the best gaming headsets. We’ve written down everything there is to know about gaming headsets to help you decide. Hopefully, it has helped you narrow down your options. But, the most fool-proof way to get you the best piece of gaming headset is to try it out yourself.