Headphones are en essential piece of hardware for any gamer, but with a market so flooded it can be hard to pick which pair is right for you. To make a well informed decision its important to first define what makes a pair of headphones good. There are a few key factors to consider when looking at headphones.
Comfort - First and foremost is comfort, often much more complicated than the initial reaction to trying on headphones. Comfort over an extended period of time is a very different beast than that of the short term. Remaining comfortable over long periods is the result of several factor and is of the utmost concern to the serious gamer.
-Weight: Perhaps one of the more important factors, weight can directly effect the overall comfort. Spending long periods of time under a heavy set of headphones is known to cause neck fatigue, which in many cases can cause the wearer to suffer from headaches ranging from acute to severe. As if that's not enough, heavy headphones have also been linked to a forward head position, which can result in bad posture and ultimately back pain. *When considering which headphones are right for you, its necessary to mention that the weight of a wireless headset is drastically heavier than that of a wired.*
-Materials: The materials used in the construction of headphones play a huge role in overall comfort. While the materials can directly effect the weight, they can also effect some other critical areas. One such area is padding; a nice cushy pair of headphones can feel comfortable for a little while, but often after extended periods the hard plastic can be felt through the padding. In the same vein, the material used to cover the padding can effect the temperature over long stints. Headphones remaining hot throughout a long gaming session have also been known to cause headaches as well as exhaustion.
-Size: This one is difficult to review, but if approaching this article as a buyers guide its imperative to mention. Size can play an enormous part in the comfort of headphones. If the headphone is too big for the wearer's ear they can easily bypass the padding and be resting directly on the hard plastic housing of the speaker. This can lead to sore or fatigued ears and can actually change the effectiveness of the directional sound output. On the flip side ears that are too big for a pair of headphones can cause uneven pressure distribution and allow the them to move around on the ear. Regularly causing the wearer to try and maintain a specific head position, which can facilitate tight and sore neck muscles. While trying on headphones gives very little feedback on the comfort over extended periods of time, the prospective buyer could benefit greatly from visiting the local electronics store and trying on potential headphones to check for appropriate sizing and fit.
Sound Quality - Although a secondary concern to the serious gamer, sound quality is still an important factor to consider when buying a new pair of headphones. A gamer needs a well rounded sound profile, in which high's and mid's are well pronounced and not over powered by the bass. While many people consider bass to be one of the most important factors for headphones too much bass can overpower more significant sounds. For example someone is running around a corner, at the same time a grenade is thrown. In a pair of headphones that is too bass heavy you will likely not hear the high frequency of the footsteps over the low frequency of the explosion. *With so many companies including features such as digital amplifers, surround sound, and EQ software its entirely possible to get a headset with a well rounded sound profile for gaming, that can also be tweaked and adjusted for use with media.
Microphone - Although a lot of gamers have free standing microphones, it is still an important factor to mention when considering what headphones to buy. Does the pair come with a mic or not? If so there are some crucial points to consider like its flexibility, whether or not its retractable, and if it is removable. Many gamers want to be able to get the mic out of the line of site, this might not be possible if the microphone is in a fixed position. Sound quality is also a priority as gaming headphones commonly come with sub par microphones, often sounding very tinny and shallow. Built in mics are also prone to cause feedback due to poor grounding and while there is many work arounds, this issue can become an unnecessary hassle.
Features With so many headphones on the market each bringing to the table a different set of features ranging from standard to premium, its important to examine each headsets features closely. Doing so will allow the potential buyer decide what features they need and which they can live without. With this knowledge someone attempting to wade through the flooded market will be able to quickly and efficiently narrow down the options and save themselves some time by not having to research as many headsets.
Price - Price may actually be the biggest deciding factor for someone in the market. With prices ranging from 30 to 300 dollars its necessary to determine the price range you will be willing to spend. Doing this will too help narrow down the options and help avoid quite as much research. Deciding on a price range can also aid in avoiding headsets that might have all the things you want, but are too expensive to consider. Price will also directly effect all of the criteria listed above and with headphones in some cases they are simply a you get what you paid for item. However some cheaper headphones possess an astoundingly good build quality and set of feature and on the other hand some expensive headsets have been known to be low build quality.
Wireless - Although wireless headsets contain much of the same hardware and features as they're wired counterpart, there is some important things to considering when specifically looking to buy wireless headphones. With the vast majority of wireless headsets the weight is around double that of the wired, although some companies have managed to reduce the weight of some of the wireless headsets to very impressively light numbers. Batteries are another thing to look into, being the main selling point of many wireless headsets there are several aspects to contemplate with batteries. How long do the last, are they removable or swappable, and how do you charge them? Another critical area to examine with wireless headsets are the means of audio transmission. Is it Bluetooth, does it use WiFi, how does the transmitter interface with your device, what is the maximum range, do they suffer from interference created by other present devices? All of these are important questions to ask when specifically searching for a new wireless headset and comprise most of the differences between them.
Now that all the important information has been covered, its time to start looking at some headphones.
Low $XX dollars Headphones
Turtle Beach Ear Force x12 Amplified Stereo Gaming Headset
Summary: The x12's are a formidable headset at one of the lowest price points on the list. They have been a standby in the Xbox community for some years and have proven to be a durable long lasting headset, which is why they have earned a spot on the list. Weighing in at sleek 6.4 ounces the x12's are a great option for the sore necked budget minded gamer.
Interfacing with a to the Xbox 360 control with a 2.5mm jack, the Xbox One with a (not included) adapter, and to the most other devices with a 3.5mm jack the x12 is quite versatile, but they do require a USB port for power. They are assembled almost completely of plastic, and though the headband sliders feel relatively good out of the box they can start to wear out down the road. The ear cups and head band are both padded with a rather firm foam that can quickly start to cause too much pressure on the ears of those with slightly bigger than average heads. Covering the foam is a textured and somewhat scratchy fabric that tends to be hot and itchy.
The sound quality of the 50mm drivers accompanied with Turtle Beach's inline digital amplifier is incredible for the at the price, although it will require an optical input on your device. The highs are very crisp, with clean mids, and the bass is just right to not overpower more important frequencies, however the bass boost option on the amplifier allows for these headphones to be effective headphones for listening to music as well. The microphone is also a strong point of the x12's, it folds up out of the way and is flexible to help find the sweet spot. Not to mention with Turtle Beach's microphone monitoring they are able to cut back on background noise, as well as produce a clean, and clear voice. However due to poor shielding it is reported that there can be a buzzing sound when using a device for both sound and power.
Very lightweight (6.4 ounces)
Great sound quality for price
Works on most devices
In-line digital amplifier
Good microphone performance
Medium build quality
Firm foam padding
Hot itchy Fabric
Buzzing unless using separate power adapter
Xbox One adapter not included
Conclusion: The Turtle Beach x12's are jammed full of quality hardware that produces a great sound at a steal and the build quality is pretty durable, reported as lasting easily 2 to 3 years. However the comfort level is somewhat questionable and those with a bigger than average head or those liable to get hot should beware. As a hole the low budget gamer looking for performance both in and out of game will find that in the x12's.
HyperX Cloud Stinger Gaming Headset
Summary: The Stingers are the most affordable option HyperX offers, while forgoing some of the top end features they manage to pack quite an array of favorable options in at a very low price point. All while weighing in at a mere 11 ounces, the Stingers could be a great option for the penny-pincher.
They feature a 3.5mm analog jack and although constructed entirely from plastic the Stingers retain a medium to high build quality and overall solid feel to them. The headband is accompanied by adjustable steel sliders that have a very satisfying click to them and feels like they will continue to do so. The Stingers also boast the”HyperX signature memory foam” padded ear cups that are fairly thick reducing the chance for the ear to contact the driver housing. These ear cups are very soft and make the headset almost unnoticeable at first, but are quite conducive to heat and can get sweaty after extended use.
The microphone is not removable like that of its HyperX brothers, but folds up out of the line of site. Altogether the mic is a weak point of this headset, due to its lack of microphone monitoring its said to have low sound quality, pick up a great deal of background sound, and to have a humming when speaking. On the other hand, the 50mm drivers packed inside the Stingers are capable of producing sound of much higher quality than expected at the price. They can generate great sounding highs, good mids, and a rich bass frequency that at times is a little too much for gaming.
Light weight (11 ounces)
Great sound quality
Poor microphone quality
Tends to get hot after extended use
Slightly low build quality
Conclusion: The Stingers are a great bang for the buck headset. With high sound quality and solid construction, they would definitely make a great choice for the budget gamer. However if you do not own a stand alone mic, or are a person prone to being hot and sweaty this might not be the choice for you.
SteelSeries Siberia 200 Gaming Headset (formerly Siberia v2)
Summary: As one of most widely used manufactures in gaming, SteelSeries' Siberia 200 has a lot to live up to. The Siberia 200 is an attractive RGB back lite pair of headphones with claims of being acoustically tuned for gaming and weight just 9 ounces the 200's are potentially a great buy for the the serious gamer on a budget.
The Siberia uses a dual 3.5mm plug one for the mic and one for the speakers, but the Y adapter to make it a single 3.5mm jack is included. They are constructed primarily of plastic and feel sturdy enough, but there is many reports of them losing sound in one or both ears within 6 months of use. The foam used in the ear cups is very soft and is covered by Steel Series' “Protien-leather” which together help to keep the headphones cooler than others during extended use, but can cause the wearer to sweat where it touches skin. The cups are also a bit shallow and those with larger ears will find them resting on the plastic of the driver housing. The Siberia 200 also sports a “Suspension” style headband that is super comfortable and helps distribute the weight evenly over your head, but for the larger headed individual this might not outweigh the considerable clamp of these headphones which is said to be too much for even some average head sized individuals.
Powered by Steel Series' “Iconic” 50mm drivers the sound quality is actually a bit under whelming. While excelling at directional sounds in game they have a bit of a tinny sound to the highs and mids, yet are somewhat overpowered on the bass. The microphone on the other hand is a strong point of this headset, fully flexible and retractable its very easy to find the sweet spot as well as tuck it away. It is the one the best microphones in the price range transmitting clean and crisp voices without tinkering in the settings, your friends or teammates in voice chat will be glad you upgraded.
Lightweight (9 ounces)
Flexible and retractable microphone
Sub par sound quality
Sub par build quality
Shallow ear cups
Sweat from contact with leather
Conclusion: The Siberia 200 is a pretty comfortable headset that under performs in a some important areas. While the build and sound quality could be better the microphone is well above average in its price range. Overall This headset would be a good choice for someone looking for a reasonably priced headset with a great microphone, but those with larger ears or heads might be out of luck with the Siberia 200's.
Logitech g430 DTS headphone: X and dolby 7.1 Surround Sound Gaming Headset
Summary: The G430's share the same physical design as the 231's which means they are going to be comfortable, but they could suffer from similar problems as well. With a noise canceling mic and Dolby 7.1 surround sound the 430's might have more to offer than that of the more expensive G231's
The G430's are one of few low cost headsets to use USB instead of a 3.5mm jack, and will require installing software to take advantage of the Dolby 7.1 surround sound. They are constructed solely of plastic, but maintain a well built feel to them. Unfortunately like the 231's they too can over time fall prey to cracking on the swivels and can also be too snug for some people. The cups are the same foam and “Sports Performance Cloth” used on the 231's making them an exceptionally comfortable headset that stays cool during long play.
The same 40mm neodymium drivers from the 231's are also featured in the G430 and paired with Dolby 7.1 and they make much better use of them. Still clear and crisp highs and mids with the bass showing up slightly more running through the software. The volume level is not a concern with the 430's, allowing the user to crank it up relatively loud without having to max out the volume. The microphone billed as noise canceling is again the weak point of this Logitech headset. The mic much like the 231's is reported as being too quite and when attempting to boost the volume the quality of the transmission drops drastically.
Stays cool during long gaming sessions
High quality sound
Fairly lightweight (10.6 ounces)
Low Cost (Most affordable on the list)
USB (depends what your looking for)
Below average microphone
Known to crack on swivels
USB (depends what your looking for)
Conclusion: Just like the 231's this headset is one of the most comfortable headsets in its price tier, and if not too snug can be a game changer for the person searching for a lightweight ultra comfy pair of headphones that will stay cool over extended use. When comparing with the 231's the real question comes down to whether you want USB or a 3.5 mm jack. Aside from that the G430's will out perform the 231's and save you some money. As a hole this pair of headphones packs quite a wallop at its price point and would be appreciated by the gamer working on a budget whose concerned primarily about comfort and already owns a standalone microphone.
High $XX Under $ XXX Low Gaming Headphones
Turtle Beach Ear Force XO One Amplified Gaming Headset
Summary: There is actually very little difference between the XO Ones and the x12's, but the XO ones manager to add a couple features that make them worth considering for the extra ten dollars. All while upholding what makes Turtle Beaches great. These headphones are a good option for the gamer who is low on funds but demands sound quality.
The XO One's have a standard 3.5mm jack for your average device, and included with them is the adapter that allows for the headphones to operate off an Xbox One controller. While this headset is also constructed entirely of plastic it feels of a slightly higher build quality than the x12's, but nothing to write home about. The XO's have a marginally smaller ear cup (mostly width). However this model still has the same Turtle Beach foam and fabric padding combo known to get hot and itchy, but is reported to have slightly more even pressure distribution over the ear than that of the x12's. All this neatly wrapped in a light 10.6 ounce package.
The sound quality is once again Turtle Beaches strong point with the XO One's. The 50mm drivers (presumably the same as the as the x12's) are highly capable of creating clean and crisp highs and mids, while the bass level without the bass boost is right in the sweet spot for gaming. The XO's also have a digital amplifier, which doubles as the Xbox one adapter. With the amplifier the wearer can adjust EQ levels on the fly including the bass boost which makes these headphones great for listening to music. The microphone produces similar quality to the x12's thanks to Turtle Beaches microphone monitoring, and maintains the same flexible functionality for fine tuning. The XO One's also have reports of buzzing when using the same device for sound and power, but differ from the x12's by being a removable mic, a nifty little feature for those with standalone mics or those who want to use them outside of gaming.
Lightweight (10.6 ounces)
Great sound quality for price
Xbox One adapter included
Wireless digital amplifier
Medium build quality (although slightly better than the x12's)
Firm foam padding
Hot and itchy fabric
Buzzing unless using separate power adapter
Conclusion: Turtle Beaches sound quality is top notch in its price tier. The combination of the drivers, amplifier, and removable mic make the XO's a great purchase for the budget minded gamer looking for a gaming headset that can also double as a media headset. Although as with the x12's those who easily over heat and get sweaty might want to bypass these.
Logitech G231 Prodigy Stereo Gaming Headset
Summary: The G231's are a very capable set of headphones, but do have a few drawbacks. Weighing in at an unassuming 9 ounces, the G231's are a low cost alternative to they're bigger brothers which gives them a lot to live up to.
The 231's sport a 3.5mm jack billed to work with anything that also has a 3.5mm port, but will require an adapter to work with the Xbox. As many of the low cost headphones on the list, it is constructed of almost all plastic, but out of the box feels relatively sturdy and robust. Unfortunately it has been reported to crack on the swivel, (designed to reduce uneven pressure) over time rendering them unwearable. The ear cups are padded by a foam that lies somewhere between soft and firm, they are very thick eliminating all but the smallest of ears possibility of passing through to the speaker housing while doing a great job deadening outside sounds. The pad is covered in Logitech's “Sports Performance Cloth” which is a fairly soft and textured cloth that is incredibly breathable and helps stay cool. The G231's are quite a snug fit even on the average head, but if they are tolerable in that aspect they are some of the most comfortable headphones in the price tier.
The sound quality cranked out by the 40mm neodymium drivers is top end. Generating a very pure and unblemished sound across the board some might find the bass minutely lacking, but in-game is very appropriate. In spite of this a common issue with the 231's is the volume, often leaving the wearer desiring just a little bit more when already at 100%. The biggest downside to the G231's is the the microphone. Managing to avoid any feedback issues, the mic is fairly low sound quality and suffers from being overly quite. It does fold out of the way, but is not removable and its “kind of” flexible material make its only acutely adjustable.
Stays cool during long gaming sessions
High quality sound
Lightweight (9 ounce)
Below average microphone
Known to crack on swivels
Conclusion: The G231's are some of the most comfortable headphones on the list. They stay cool over extended periods and are very lightweight. However they are a bit lacking in volume, and the microphone isn't going to satisfy your friends on discord. All in all for the price they would make a great buy for someone with a standalone mic looking for high end comfort at a low end price.
Razer Kraken Pro v2
Summary: Razer's Kraken v2's are one of the most popular headsets in the price range. Jamming quite a host of features into the them at very low price they only have a couple minor downsides. Maintaining this lineup of impressive features all wrapped into a fairly lightweight 12 ounce body, the Kraken's have won the hearts of many gamers.
The Kraken's come with a standard 3.5mm jack that powers both the speakers and mic, is compatible with all devices, and included with them is an adapter that splits the two and also has an inline volume control. Unfortunately many people have problems with the volume control rubbing against them and suddenly lowering or totally cutting the sound during game play. They are designed with a “Unibody aluminum frame” that wraps around the speaker housings on both sides and forms the headband underneath the padding, making them very durable, comfortable, as well as the the only pair of headphones under 70 dollars on this list to be constructed from any metal. The ear cups are padded with a soft foam covered in a faux-leather that's been reported to crack within a year. However they are nice and deep to avoid letting the ear rest on the speaker housing, are interchangeable between circular and oval shaped cushions, and are replaceable. These cushions do make Kraken's extremely comfortable and somewhat cool over long gaming sessions, but during exceedingly long play (5-6+ hours) they can start to get hot.
The Pro v2's house a set of 50mm drivers claimed to be “custom tuned” for in gaming audio and communications. These speakers are very capable, but out of the box are a little disappointing. Producing crisp highs, with slightly muddled mids, and far too much bass, but after downloading Razer's synapse software and fiddling around with the settings a bit these things can really perform. The microphone is another high point for the Kraken's. Unidirectional and fully flexible for fine tuning, it also retracts in case the user doesn't need it and features a microphone mute button located at the end of the boom. The sound quality of the mic is well above the price point of these headphones, allowing for clean and clear communications and exceptionally good background noise canceling.
Fairly light (12 ounces)
Partly constructed of metal
Interchangeable ear cushions
Replaceable ear cushions
Compatible with all PC's and consoles
Outstanding mic performance
Fully adjustable and retractable mic
Great sound quality (after fiddling)
Requires fiddling in Synapse
Volume control is easy to accidentally actuate
Can get hot during extremely long sessions (5-6+ hours)
Ear cushions can crack
Conclusion: The Kraken Pro v2's are an incredible deal at the price. Comfortable, lightweight, constructed of metal, and incredible sound quality with both the speakers and mic. The Krakens only have a few minor downsides to them and some of these have already been addressed by means of replaceable ear cushions and Razer's Synapse software. To bring it altogether the Kraken v2's are a great choice for a budget gamer looking to get the most for they're money, but someone who spends exceedingly long periods of time under them might finding them getting a little hot on the back end of a 6+ hour gaming session.
Summary: HyperX is a great brand known for superior comfort and sound quality and they have backed it up with the HyperX Cloud. With an aluminum frame and a range of other important goodies the Cloud is quite the competitor in its price tier, yet only tipping the scales to a very reasonable 12.6 ounces.
HyperX's Cloud interfaces with a dual 3.5mm Y cable with an inline volume control slider and will work on most devices but will require an adapter (not included) for the Xbox One. However the volume slider is of questionable quality and is frequently reported as failing to work properly in one way another. The frame or the headband is entirely aluminum, feels very sturdy, and is wrapped in comfortable soft foam. The Cloud's ear cups are nice and thick to keep the ear off the hard plastic of the speaker housing. They are made from HyperX's “Signature memory foam” padding that is super soft, comfortable, and conforms well to the ear providing great seal to protect against outside noise contamination. The ear cups are also interchangeable and included with the headphones is a set of cushions covered in faux leather and a set covered in a much more breathable cloth material. The majority of people seem to choose the cloth covered ear pads in place of the leather due to them getting hot over extending gaming, though the cloth pads tend to get a bit hot after a while as well. Despite often being coined as one of the most comfortable headsets in this list the Cloud's should be avoided by the larger headed individual, as they are a somewhat tight clamping headset.
The Clouds are powered by a set of 53mm drivers that sound pretty good out of the box. Producing a great level of bass for gaming, very clean mids, but lacking with slightly rough highs especially when the volume is turned up. Though this problem is easily over come with a third-party audio EQ program not everyone wants to deal with that. The Microphone is removable which is great for those with standalone mics or those wanting to use these for media, it is also very flexible for easy adjustments and comes with a pretty robust pop filter. Sadly the microphone though transmitting clean and clear voices is often reported to give feedback or buzzing and simply just not work in many cases.
Fairly lightweight (12.6 ounces)
Interchangeable ear cushions
Good build quality
Good sound quality for gaming
Volume slider is poor quality
Ear cushions get hot during extended play
Slightly too much clamp (beware larger heads)
Microphone has feedback and buzzing or doesn't work
Could use some tuning to the EQ
No included software
Conclusion: The HyperX Cloud's are outstandingly comfortable, and due to the aluminum frame they are exceptionally durable, but it does have some problems. The sound quality could use some tweaking, the microphone causes feedback, and the ear pads tend to get hot even when using the cloth covered ones. All in all the Clouds would make a good headset for someone looking for something super comfy and proficient at in game sound quality, but the larger headed person and the person prone to sweat might want to keep looking
Summary: Sound Blaster is a company that many remember fondly from the days of aftermarket sound cards. With a long reputation of producing high quality audio related hardware, the H5 Tournament Edition Gaming Headset has a lot to live up to. Weighing in at a decently heavy 1.5 pounds or 24 ounces the H5's offer a range of features that for the price could make them worth the weight.
Although offering the same headset with a digital amplifier the H5 stereo gaming headset is a great bang for the buck, interfacing with just about any device through a 3.5mm jack and also including a Y splitter to convert the single jack into one for each the mic and the speakers. The frame of the H5's is constructed of both aluminum and steel. Together creating an extremely well built and durable headset capable of taking quite a pounding, but always springing back into its normal position. The comfy ear cups are reasonably thick avoiding ear pass throughs and are padded with a foam that is a little firmer then desired. Although the foam creates a good seal to block outside sounds, it can start to feel a bit hard and uncomfortable during extended gaming sessions. The foam is lined with a soft faux-leather that manages to stay fairly cool, although can get a bit sweaty during long play.
The H5 headset is equipped with Sound Blaster's 50mm “FullSpectrum” drivers that out of the box have a very rich and clean sound profile. They are able to produce crisp highs and mids with powerful bass notes that manage to avoid overpowering the other frequencies. With the included software it is very easy to tweak the sound profile and can actually make the bass kick a good bit harder, making these headphones a good choice for both gaming and media. The microphone is yet another strong point of the H5's, fully flexible and detachable the mic is probably one of the best in the price range. Producing very clear transmissions that revival that of the standalone mic and featuring a very effective “noise-reduction”, the H5's will have your friends commenting on the quality of your voice.
Metal Frame (very durable)
3.5mm jack with included Y splitter
Good seal to outside sounds
FullSpectrum drivers produce very high sound quality for price
Flexible and Removable microphone
High quality microphone performance
Weight (24 ounces)
Ear cup is slightly too firm
Faux-leather can get sweaty during extended play
Conclusion: The Sound Blaster H5's out perform a lot of the headphones in this price range, and those with a nostalgic passion for Sound Blaster will be very happy to see the company still producing quality audio equipment. With only some slight drawbacks the H5's would be a great buy for someone on a budget looking for durable headset that brings high quality sound and microphone performance to the table, but are willing to sacrifice a bit on weight.
HyperX Cloud II PC & PS4 gaming headset
Summary: The HyperX Cloud II's have a lot in common with the original Cloud's, but they have made some key changes to the II's that might make them a much better option. With a substantial array of features and weighing slightly less than its predecessor at 11.3 ounces, the Cloud II's are potentially worth paying the extra cash for.
Like its predecessor the Cloud II's are capable of connecting by a 3.5mm jack, but they also come with a digital amplifier that coverts the connection to USB. Starring the same aluminum frame as the original Cloud's the Cloud II's are equally as comfortable, sturdy, and durable, but also have the same issue of being a tad too tight. Featuring the same style of ear cup the Cloud II's “Signature memory foam” feels a little bit softer and more comfortable than that of the original. Similarly HyperX's prior model, the Cloud II's are also accompanied with both a set of cups covered in faux leather and one topped with a sort of velour fabric. Which both do an astonishingly good job at sealing around the ear to canceling outside sounds, but also suffer from possibly getting hot during extended game play.
Although sharing so much with the original Cloud's the Cloud II's differ in some key areas such as its drivers. The speakers in the Cloud II's while also 53mm contain neodymium magnets and are billed as having “superior audio performance”. Another major difference from the originals is the included digital amplifier that boasts “advanced audio controls” allowing you to toggle the Dolby 7.1 surround sound provided by the internal sound card as well as independently control the volume of both the microphone and speakers. The digital amplifier does a great job of bringing the best of drivers out and can provide a great sound profile for gaming with clean and crisp frequencies across the board. The microphone is is the same foam tipped, flexible, and removable unit as the original Cloud's, but in combination with the digital amplifier is capable of delivering very clean a crisp transmissions. Not to mention that the previous models tendency to have a buzzing or feedback is no more with the Cloud II's when using the amplifier, but there are still reports of the microphone occasionally being dead on arrival.
lightweight (11.3 ounces)
Interchangeable ear cushions
Great build quality
Awesome sound quality
Exceptionally good mic quality
USB (depends what your looking for)
Ear Cushions get hot during extended play.
Slightly too much clamp (beware large heads)
Microphone Occasionally DOA
USB (depends what your looking for)
Conclusion: HyperX has really hit a home run at this price point with the Pros heavily outweighing the cons which are all very minor. The comfort and durability of the Cloud II's alone is enough to buy them, but if your also looking for outstanding sound quality The Cloud II's accompanied by the digital amplifier can deliver. All things considered these headphones would be a great buy for anyone looking for top of the line quality for under 100 dollars, but large headed people and those who tend to sweat might still find some issues with these
SteelSeries Arctics 5 RGB Illuminated Gaming Headset
Summary: The Arctis 5's by SteelSeries host a broad range of desirable features that help set them apart from the competition. At just under 100 dollars the Arctis 5's deliver the performance of a more expensive headset while weighing in at a reasonable 9.9 ounces. The 5's might just be the game changer you have been looking for, wrapped in a sleek RGB back lit package.
Interfacing with a standard 3.5mm jack SteelSeries' Arctis 5's also come with a detachable “USB ChatMix Dial”which is a digital amplifier that allows the user to adjust the balance between voice and game volume on the fly, and actually does a pretty impressive job at processing voices to be louder than other sounds as well as allowing for the use of surround sound. Constructed competently of plastic, the Arctis 5's still feel very sturdy and durable out of the box. Although despite the build quality two of the only issues with the 5's are they are frequently reported as being dead on arrival and having poor solder connections to the speakers (in most cases SteelSeries promptly issued an RMA and replaced them). The “Ski Goggle Suspension Bridge” style headband is extra comfy and helps distribute the weight evenly over the head. The ear cups are padded with a very soft foam and lined with SteelSeries' super smooth“Airweave” fabric. This combo is super comfortable, creates a great seal to block background noise, and perhaps more so than many other headset listed stay very cool over extended game play. However the ear cups are slightly shallow and may cause the larger eared individual to rest on the speaker housing which can lead to discomfort. The outside of the ear cups feature “On-Ear Audio Controls” which make it quick and easy to adjust headset volume or mute the microphone.
Inside the ear cups, the Arctis 5's feature the same 40mm “S1 Audio Driver” used in SteelSeries' high end flagship models like the Siberia 800's. They are able to crank out some very clean highs and mids while the bass is a bit under pronounced creating an all around great sound profile for gaming, but may be lacking a tad in the lows for media. That said, SteelSeries' software will help the user fine tune the EQ to find the sweet spot and can be used to boost the bass slightly. The Arctis 5's come with SteelSeries' “Clearcast Mic” which uses a bi directional design, producing some exquisitely clear audio transmissions that rival that of a standalone microphone. The mic boom is flexible and retractable to help find that sweet spot and it is removable providing the versatility to meet any user's needs.
Good build quality
Lightweight (9.9 ounces)
USB ChatMix (digital amplifier)
Suspension bridge style headband
Ear cup padding soft and seals well
Airweave fabric keeps cool even during extended game sessions
On-Ear audio controls
Great sound quality for gaming
Almost studio quality microphone
Flexible, retractable, removable Mic
Reported to frequently arrive DOA
Bass is a little low for media
Poor Solder job on speaker connections
Shallow ear cups
Conclusion: The SteelSeries Arctis 5's are an amazing bang for the buck. They offer many features of a high end headset at a middle of the road cost. Aside from the minor drawback of potentially having to deal with SteelSeries support and just a slight lack in bass these headphones are a great buy. Altogether the Arctis 5's would be a good choice for just about anyonelooking for comfort even during extended play, great sound quality, and an amazing mic. The only prospective buyer who should steer clear are those with large ears and those looking for tons of bass.
Under Low $XXX Gaming Headphones
Logitech g933 Artemis Spectrum Wireless 7.1 Surround Gaming Headset
Summary: Logitech's wireless RGB back lit G933 offer a lot of top end options, but at a pretty high price. Though Logitech is well known for producing high quality products (especially in this price range) the G933's missed the mark with several notable downsides, weighing in at 1.8 lbs or 28.8 ounces the G933's manage to be a lighter than some wireless headphones.
The G933's interface with a 3.5mm jack that runs to the wireless adapter transmitting the signal over a 2.4GHz wireless connection that is claimed to produce a “lag free” experience, and included with them is an auxiliary cable that will plug into headphones allowing them to operate as a wired headset would. They are constructed of 100% plastic which for the price feels very flimsy and allows the RGB lighting to bleed through all the seams. The ear cups while big enough to accommodate larger ears are stuffed with a rather firm foam that creates some mild discomfort by not conforming totally to the ear. They are lined with a fabric similar in texture to Logitech's “Sports Performance Cloth”, but are not billed as this and are frequently reported as showing wear within days of purchase. Although finding a comfortable position is fairly easy, due to the weight they can slide around with head movements returning the wearer to a less preferable position. The side of the ear cups are lined with the volume controls, microphone mute, and buttons to pick which sound profile the wearer desires.
Logitech's G933's feature the 40mm “Pro-G” drivers which deliver stereo, dobly 7.1, and DTS headphone 7.1 surround sound. They produce clean and crisp sound in the highs, lows, and mids, but can require some tinkering in the included software to get it just right. The software itself is a high point, allowing the user to customize the sound and set up different profiles that can easily be swapped via the buttons on the side of the ear cup. The microphone is not flexible, but folds up, retracts, and is also removable, however the microphone's quality is just average which feels a little under par for the price range.
Marginally lighter than most wireless headsets (1.8 lbs)
Ear cups accommodate large ears
Great sound quality
Customization of sound and profiles (via Logitech's Gaming Software)
Volume and other controls on the side of the ear cup
Retractable and removable microphone
Stereo or surround sound
Poor build quality
Firm foam in ear cups
Cloth covering ear cups wears far too quickly
Easily slides around head
Microphone under performs for price
Conclusion: The Logitech G933's bring a lot to the table, but slack off in some pretty necessary areas. While having some pretty cool features and a decent list of pros the cons are things that really bring cost into question. All in all this headset would be a good buy for someone willing to spend the money, looking for a quality audio experience, a set of wireless headphones, and possibly those with bigger ears. If you can get them to stay in the sweet spot they also provide a fairly comfortable and cool extended gaming experience, but this can be tricky as they tend to slide around a lot. The potential buyer will not be impressed with the mic and should treat them carefully as the poor build quality makes them rather fragile.
SteelSeries Arctis 7 lag-free Wireless Gaming Headset
Summary: The Arctis 7's share a lot of similarities with the 5's, but the few difference could mean a lot to some buyers. Being so the Arctis 7's are jam packed with favorable features and are super comfortable for extended gaming sessions. When it comes to wireless headphones the buyer generally expects them to be heavier than the wired, but in the case of the Arctis', the 7 is actually a super light 9.9 ounces, the exact same as it wired counterpart.
Differing from the 5's the Arctis 7's sport a lightweight alloy frame that increase the durability of an already exceptionally sturdy design and in part are responsible for keeping the weight down. The included 2.4GHz wireless audio transmitter's set up is much easier than many wireless headphones, simply connecting it to a device via a 4 pole 3.5mm jack or USB and your ready for a “lag-free” transmission of audio. The ear cups are the same as the 5's padded in a soft foam and lined with SteelSeries' proprietary “Airweave” fabric which together provide a remarkably comfortable and cool experience even during extended gaming sessions, but they are somewhat too shallow and can allow those with larger ears to pass through to the speaker housing. The cups also feature SteelSeries' “On-Ear Audio Controls” to easily change volume and mute. Different from the 5's the 7's have also moved the “ChatMix” volume controls to the outside of the ear cup to remove the required wire from the previous version. With “ChatMix” the user can easily adjust the respective volumes of both in game sounds and voices on fly, also the inclusion of the “ChatMix” sound card enables the headphones for Surround Sound without having to connect and inline digital amplifier. The Arctis 7's also come with the same “Ski goggle” suspension bridge style headband as its wired equivalent, but with the 7's the band is removable and comes with two different versions that make for easy customization of comfort.
With the same 40mm “S1 Audio Drivers” drivers as SteelSeries' high end headsets such as the Siberia 800 the Arctis 7's are capable of producing an awesome sound profile for gaming. Delivering crisp highs, and clean mids they only lack slightly in bass and in amounts that will only bother the person searching for booming bass in media. Not to mention the EQ can easily be tweaked in the SteelSeries software to get a little more kick from the drivers. Unfortunately akin to the 5's the 7's also suffer from poor wire connections to the speakers, often leading to sound outages in one or both ears of the headset or they simply arrive dead (in most cases SteelSeries has expeditiously replaced the effected headsets). The microphone on the Arctis 7's is the same fantastic “Clearcast Mic” from the 5's. Very flexible and retractable, its a breeze to find the sweet spot and if its in the way the mic is also removable. The sound quality of the microphone rivals that of more expensive headphones on the market and while able to keep up with standalone mics, delivering clean voice transmissions and very effective noise cancellation it still lacks slightly in fullness of tone. The Arctis 7's use a “Long-Life” rechargeable lithium-ion battery that is internal and sadly can not be hot swapped, but if regularly placed on the charger the battery will outlast your gaming session, as at full charge the batteries are frequently said to last at least 20 hours.
Incredibly lightweight for wireless (9.9 ounces)
Durable alloy frame
2.4Ghz lag-free wireless
Easy wireless setup (plug and play)
Ear cup foam is very soft and seals from noise contamination
Airweave Fabric breaths great helping to stay cool
On-ear audio controls
Great sound profile for gaming
Suspension bridge headband
Almost studio quality microphone
Mic is flexible, retractable, removable
Exceptionally long battery life
Reported to frequently arrive DOA
Bass is a little low for media
Poor Solder job on speaker connections
Shallow ear cups
Internal battery (no hot swaps)
Conclusion: The SteelSeries Arctis 7's offer some premium features that make the headset seem like it would cost a bit more than it does. In the world of wireless gaming headphones being able to pack such a variety of favorable options at such an affordable price makes it hard to find something to complain about. Aside from big ears hitting the plastic, the potential to having to deal with an RMA through SteelSeries, and that the bass wont blow you away, the Arctis 7's would be appreciated by anyone on a budget looking for a premium wireless gaming headset that will stay cool, comfortable, and the battery can last through long game play.
Sennheiser GSP 350 Surround Sound PC Gaming Headset
Summary: Sennheiser is a known for producing some ultra high quality sound peripherals with the price tag to boot. However the GSP 350's manage to pack a lot of Sennheiser's legendary quality into a slightly lower cost than expected for the brand. Though still a bit expensive for a wired headset the GSP's, weighing in at a light 9.2 ounces could be a great pair of headphones for anyone looking for high end quality at a reasonable price.
The GSP's connect to devices specifically by USB and the wire has an inline switch that allows for turning on and off surround sound. Though they do work with consoles they are frequently reported as losing sound quality and the option of surround sound when doing so. They are constructed almost entirely from plastic, but maintain a sturdy and tough build quality. The GSP's feature “XL Ear Cups” to accommodate for larger ears, but fit the smaller ear as well. The cups are padded with a very soft memory foam that is comfortable and provides a great seal to outside noise contamination. The padding is lined with Sennheiser's “leatherette” faux-leather that unfortunately can generate a lot of heat and get sweaty where it contacts during extended game play. The exterior of the ear cups feature an on the ear volume control knob that makes adjusting the volume on the fly quick and simple. The split design headband is cushioned with the same memory foam and lined with a suede type material, altogether providing a good deal of comfort and even weight distribution over the head.
Although the 350's have no size listed for its drivers, with a quick call to Sennheiser's support they were quoted as being a minuscule 32 millimeters. This is quite a surprise considering the rich sound quality they provide. With extremely clear highs, clean mids, and a subtle yet effective bass these tiny speakers create a perfect EQ for gaming out of the box and combined with surround sound does an outstanding job with direction audio. Included with the GSP's is Sennheiser's “user-friendly software” that is required to use the headphones, will enable surround sound, and allow the user to do some light adjustments to the EQ. The software also permits for changing between 3 included presets consisting of music, esports, and game. The downside to the software being “user-friendly” is that it lacks a lot in terms of tweaking the sound and the presets are not that useful, with music and game sounding virtually the same and esports creating a tinny and sometimes muffled sound. The software does however include a very useful microphone leveling feature that can help find that sweet spot. The microphone has a micro pop filter inside the boom, is not flexible, but does fold up which mutes the mic. The quality tops the list of headset mics, producing exceedingly clear and clean voice transmissions that would give the standalone mic a run for it's money.
Lightweight (9.2 ounces)
Surround sound (great directional audio)
Inline toggle switch for surround sound
Durable build quality
XL ear cups with memory foam
Accommodates both large and small ears
On ear volume control
Amazing sound quality out of the box (for gaming)
Mic fold out of the way
Microphone quality surpasses that of most headsets
Useful microphone leveling in software
Only interfaces with USB
No adapters included
Poor performance when using with consoles
Leatherette can get hot and sweaty during extended gaming sessions
Software is very basic and does not allow for much adjusting
Conclusion: Sennheiser's high quality audio products are often thought of as being up there with the best, but frequently the price puts them out of reach for the average gamer. Fortunately with the GSP 350's Sennheiser has given us yet another premium product, but this time at an affordable price. Altogether the GSP's would make a great headset for anyone willing to spend the money that wants topnotch quality in both sound and microphone. This headset would also be a great purchase for those with larger heads and ears, but those who tend to overheat easily might find some frustrations with the 350's.
Logitech G533 Wireless DTS 7.1 Surround Sound Gaming Headset
Summary: Though offering many of the same features as the 933's the Logitech G533's bring some important design changes to the table. Actually slightly more affordable and weighing in at almost 5 ounces less than the 933's (at a reasonable 1.5 pounds or 24 ounces), Logitech might have pushed its own headset (933's) out of the picture to make way for the 533's
Logitech's 533's feature a 2.4GHz wireless dongle that provide a “pro-grade” connection capable of transmitting sound up to an impressive 15 meters and is unphased when operating in a wireless rich environment. Unfortunately the provided dongle is only able to interface with devices through USB which limits the range of devices the headset is compatible with. The G533's are designed with a 100% plastic construction that feels surprisingly sturdy and high quality out of the box. The ear cups retain Logitech's standard square shape and are padded by a slightly softer foam than that of the 933's which helps provide a good seal to outside sounds and maintains a plush comfort, but are a little shallow which in some cases allow for even average sized ears to rest on the speaker housing. The cups are lined with a soft textured fabric similar to Logitech's “ Sports Performance Cloth”, but feels a little more durable and provides a good bit of airflow that keeps the heat to a minimum during extended game play. The exterior of the cups sport a set of “Fine-Tune Controls” that consist of a volume roller, a microphone mute, and the button that allows for sound profile selection.
Like many of the headphones in Logitech's line the G533's have the 40mm “Pro G” drivers. Providing an overall great sound profile for gaming, generating clean and clear highs as well as mids and slightly understated bass out of the box. The headphones also feature Logitech's “DTS Headphone:X” surround sound which does an impressive job with direction audio. All this in combo with Logitech's gaming software enable the user to tweak the EQ (including raise the bass slightly), tune all 7 channels separately, and even create different sound profiles that can bet set up to automatically change based on the current game being played or manually switched. The microphone is one major downside to the G533's, although it is retractable, removable, and sports an integrated “Micro Pop Filter” it is largely reported as being too quiet or muffled and boosting it to a reasonable volume creates distortion. On the flip side a particularly high point for the 533's is the lithium polymer battery that is reported to last around 12 hours, is easily hot swapped with no tools required (a second battery is not included), and a battery meter inside the software to keep and eye on the charge level.
Reasonably lightweight for wireless (24 ounces)
Pro-Grade wireless connection
15 meter range
Sturdy and durable build quality
Comfortable and reasonably cool over extended game play
Ear cup fine-tune controls
Great sound quality for gaming
Logitech's gaming software (EQ and Profiles)
Decent battery life
Hot swappable battery.
Dongle only connects via USB
Ears can easily touch the speaker housing
Slightly low bass for media
Poor microphone performance
Second battery not included
Conclusion: Bringing a wide range of features and very few downsides Logitech's G533 is a formidable competitor in the realm of wireless headphones, knocking out they're own premium wireless gaming headset (the G933) in the process. As a whole the G533's would make a great buy for anyone looking for a decently priced set of wireless gaming headphones that provide premium features, but don't mind the poor mic quality and are not looking for booming bass notes.
Top End Gaming Headphones - High Priced
Razer Man O'War Wireless Headset
Summary: The uniquely named Man O'War by Razer promises some pretty premium features at an exceptionally low price, but does it hold up? The Man O'war has the potention to squash out its competition, but there are some factors that might shy the potential buyer away. One of which is weight, though in terms of wireless headsets its a rather modest weight its generous 2 pounds or 32 ounces might cause some neck strain for some.
Razer's Man O'War wireless gaming headset's “ultra-compact transceiver” connects to devices only through USB, and broadcasts a 2.4GHz wireless signal that offers “lag-free” audio transmissions at a range of up to 12 meters and require no setup, but is simply plug and play. The Man O'War is constructed entirely of plastic, perhaps to bring down the weight and price point. Unfortunately the design might just not be enough for the weight of the unit, with many reports of the headband breaking from regular use within weeks of purchase. The super comfy rather thick ear cups are comprised of a nice soft foam lined with a faux leather that is of decent quality and they are replaceable. These cups should keep all but the largest of ears off the driver housing and stay very comfortable over extended gaming sessions, but does tend to get a bit hot on the long hauls. The bottom exterior of the cups each have a volume control for independently adjusting the microphone and speaker volumes, which is great for fine tuning in the moment.
Housed inside the Man O'War's are two 50mm neodymium magnet drivers that are enhanced with Razer's “7.1 Virtual Surround Sound” and are able to give great directional sound input and clean frequencies across the board. Also behind the speakers are the “Lithium Polymer” batteries that Razer claims “7 days” off one charge, but are more commonly reported as lasting around 24 hours with the RGB lights off. The microphone similar the Kraken Pro V2's is fully flexible and retractable, making fine adjustments and getting it totally out of sight simple. However the sound quality of the microphone is a little sub par for the price. Though it is perfectly capable is transmitting clean and clear voices its said to be plagued with leveling issues, as well as like the frame the mic is delicate and known to break.
2.4Ghz wireless transceiver
12 meter range
No setup required
Very comfortable even over extended play
On ear volume controls
7.1 virtual surround sound
Awesome sound quality
Long lasting batteries (24+ hours)
Flexible and retractable microphone
Fairly heavy (32 ounces)
Transceiver only connects via USB
Sub par constriction
Headband prone to breaking
Sub par microphone sound quality
Microphone prone to break
Conclusion: The Razer Man O'War Wireless headset provides a lot of high end features, but some of the downsides are pretty important. However what they offer for the price is formidable and worth considering. Altogether the Man O'War's would make a great pair of headphones for someone looking for a wireless headset that provides high quality sound and comfort, but also needs to be very meticulous about treating them delicately or they will not last long.
ASUS STRIX DSP Wired Headset
Summary: The STRIX from Asus offers a vast range of premium features that are to be expected from a headset in this price tier, but Asus may have strayed a little from the target. Though there is much good to say about the Strix such as its its comfort and light weight of 11.3 ounces, its downsides paired with its cost might make them an easy pass for all but the most loyal of Asus fans.
The Cable attached to the Strix is tipped with a 3.5mm jack and works with any devices sporting the same. This same cable will connect to the “Plug-and-play USB audio station” or digital amplifier that is included with the headset which in turn will connect to both PC and Mac via a USB cable. Unfortunately the quality of the cable and its connection to the headphones are questionable with many reports of intermittent loss of connection and even losing audio all together. The Strix is constructed completely out of plastic, despite this it feels very sturdy and well built, but can be just a tad lose on the average head. The ear cups feature Asus' hexagonal design and are 130mm across to accommodate for those with large ears. They are padded with a nice soft foam that both creates a good seal to outside sound and is very comfortable. The foam is lined in a faux-leather that although stays pretty cool for a while can get a little sweaty after extended game sessions. The Strix are held on the head by a suspension style headband which helps to distribute weight evenly and make the headset feel a bit lighter.
Asus' Strix are a very capable headset when it comes to sound quality, powered by “thunderous” 60mm neodymium magnet drivers the sound is very clean on all fronts and is almost a little heavy on the bass for gaming, but also makes a great sound for media. Pairing these with the no set up required “plug-and-play” digital amplifier is when the sound really starts to the shine. The digital amplifier enables “true surround sound” and is packed with a number switches that allow for full control of the microphone and audio. Included on the amplifier is also a knob that allow the user to switch between 4 preset “audio spectrum profiles” that are actually very useful when switching genres of game. Not to mention that paired with the included software there is a host of useful EQ settings that can be changed to help fine tune and can really make the big 60mm speakers sing. The microphone of the Strix also a high point, flexible and removable it can provide very clean and clear transmissions and with effective noise cancellation it is almost as good as having a standalone.
Lightweight (11.3 ounces)
3.5mm jack connects to all devices
Plug-and-play USB audio control
Accommodates larger heads
Soft and large ear cups
Suspension style headband
Great sound quality both for media and gaming
Fantastic mic quality
flexible and removable microphone
Many reports of poor or no connectivity to the speakers
Can get sweaty
May be slightly too big for some
Conclusion: The Strix DSP's by Asus are an all around great set of headphones. Showing off many premium features they are by no means a bad headset. Unfortunately they are pretty expensive for a wired headset and though they can crank out very high quality sound and excel in many other areas, all this can be matched for much cheaper by other manufactures. As well as with the overwhelming reports of poor wire connectivity it becomes hard to justify. All together this headset is awesome and would be enjoyed by anyone looking for a wired headset, but because the price is so high you might have to have some brand loyalty to be willingly to pay for these.
Summary: ASTRO's A50 headset is super expensive, but boasts an array of high end features that both the gamer and those looking to use it with media will appreciate. The A50's are very lightweight for a wireless headset, tipping the scales a meek 13.4 ounces. Unfortunately they do have some downsides that make it hard to buck up for such an expensive purchase.
The A50's are constructed mostly from plastic but feature alloy posts that joins the ear cups to the headband and altogether feel extremely durable out of the box. The square ear cups are a bit thin and can allow for ears to pass through them, but the the speaker housing is padded and covered in fabric making this situation completely acceptable. The foam of the ear cups is very soft and comfortable, but are lacking when it comes to blocking background sound out. Astro has addressed this issue by releasing a set of noise canceling ear cups that manage to be a good bit more comfortable, but are sold separately and for the price of the headsets this feels a little low to not include them with the headphones in the first place. Both sets of cups are lined with a faux-leather to help trap the acoustics inside them, the faux-leather is then in turn covered in a soft breathable fabric to help keep the wearer cool over extended gaming sessions. The headband though not a suspension style is very soft, comfortable, and does a good job distributing the weight across the head evenly, but is reported to be slightly big on smaller to average sized heads.
The A50's interface through a 3.5mm auxiliary cable that is connected to the charge station, and is compatible with most devices on the other side. They sport a set of 40mm neodymium magnet drivers that produce a great quality of sound throughout the range. With crisp highs and mids this headset can also kick some bass out, but it is a little underwhelming for the price. The surround sound does a great job with directional audio and in combination with Astro's included software can be tweaked for fine tuning, but the software is a little in-depth and requires a bit of knowledge about EQ'ing to make full use of it. Encased inside Astro's A50 headset is a lithium-ion battery claimed to provide up to 15 hours of life, but is frequently reported as lasting more around 10 to 12 hours. The battery is also said to lose some of its charge capacity within weeks of use and after this is often reported to only last around 6 to 8 hours. Though the battery is not hot swappable included with the A50's is a wireless charging stand that makes for easy storage and charging all in one, however the charge station is sometimes a bit tricky to seat the headphones in correctly and often takes several attempts to do so. The charging stand also functions as the wireless adapter, connecting to the headphones over a 5GHz wireless network, it is capable of providing lag-free audio transmissions, but is sometimes as reported as being susceptible to interference from other wireless devices. The Astro's also feature a micro USB port for charging when the stand it not easily accessible. The microphone is not flexible or removable, but does fold up which mutes it. It is fairly high quality, but at this price under performs. While it is able to produce clean and clear voice transmissions the mic is reported as occasionally having feedback and will not out perform a standalone microphone.
Super lightweight for wireless (13.4 ounces)
Great build quality (Durable metal and plastic)
Cool and breathable
Good sound quality for gaming and media
Wireless charging stand
5GHz wireless signal
Micro USB for charging
Accommodates Large heads
Thin ear cup padding
Noise canceling ear cups NOT included
Slightly large for smaller heads
Software is mildly complicated
Battery life fades within weeks of use
Occasionally drops signal due to interference from other WiFi devices.
Microphone is not removable
Microphone under performs for the price
Conclusion: The Astro A50's provide some pretty cool features and are an all around great headset, but when considering the price the cons begin to move to the forefront. Although none of the downsides are big issues, for the price the potential buyer should expect a fully polished and flawless headset which is not the case with the A50's. Altogether the A50's would be a good purchase for anyone willing to spend the money that wants a durable product and already owns a standalone microphone, but should be aware that an equivalent pair of headphones can be purchased for half the price of the Astro A50's.
SteelSeries Siberia 800 Headphone
Summary: Although sharing many of the same features as the Arctis 7's SteelSeries' top end wireless headset the Siberia 800 also possesses some qualities that surpass the Arctis'. Weighing in at the reasonable number for a wireless headset of 17.6 ounces the 800's are potentially a great buy for the high end gamer looking for high end equipment.
The Siberia 800's audio transmission box connects via USB, a dual 3.5mm jack, or a single 4 pole 3.5mm jack and to utilize surround sound also requires a optical cable as well as it must be plugged into USB to power the box. Though this set up does a great job and still allows for compatibility among a vast array of devices it is kind of frustrating to be required to connect so many cables and is not ideal for a laptop. The 800's are constructed entirely of plastic, but maintain the feel of a well built and tough product. The ear cups are padded with a super soft foam that is very comfortable and allows for a good seal to outside sounds. The cups are however a bit thin and will let ears rest on the speaker housing which altogether isn't awful because they have covered the speaker in a soft fabric, but this can still get a little uncomfortable after a while. The foam is covered in SteelSeries “Protein leather” which unfortunately tends to get a bit hot and sweaty during extended game sessions. The exterior of the ear cups feature SteelSeries' “on-earcup” controls, sporting volume controls for the speakers and the mic as well as a mute button all of which allow for the use of “Chatmix”. With “ChatMix” the user can easily adjust the respective volumes of both in game sounds and voices on fly. The headband is padded in sections of the same foam and and faux-leather combo and though not a suspension style, is very comfortable and distributes weight appropriately over the head. As a whole the Siberia 800's are extremely comfortable, but are a bit tight and the larger headed individual might want to look elsewhere.
Containing two of the same 40mm neodymium drivers found in SteelSeries' Arctis 7 headphones, the sound profile out of the box is perfect for gaming. Creating clean highs, crisp mids, and slightly under-pronounced bass notes. Fine tuning can be done on the transmission box, but there is no software included which makes this headset less useful for those looking to use them with media. The transmitter delivers some of the “lowest latency” in the industry up to a slightly under par 12 meters. Producing a 2.4GHz wireless network the 800's employ a “frequency hopping” technique that does an incredible job at avoiding interference from other WiFi enabled devices by continuously switching to new frequencies even if no interference is detected. The transmitter's on board sound card is also what permits the use of “virtual” surround sound, which isn't great with these headphones, often muffling the sound quality. The two included lithium-ion batteries are a strong point for the 800's easily hot swappable so one battery can always be charging on the included charger, they also claim an impressive 20 hour battery life per charge which is reported as being a fairly accurate estimate. The microphone is fully flexible and retractable like that of the Krakens. It produces a good quality and clear voice transmission, but still lack slightly in fullness of tone and can easily be out shined by a standalone mic. Even though it is on par with many headset mics for the cost a potential buyer is expecting the total package.
Fairly lightweight for wireless (17.6 ounces)
Connects via USB or 3.5mm jack
Good and study build quality
Good sound profile for gaming
Frequency hopping (avoids interference)
On board sound card
Hot swappable batteries
Two batteries included
Amazing battery life
Battery charger included
Flexible and retractable microphone
A lot of cables required to connect
Thin ear padding allows for ear pass throughs
Faux-leather can get hot and sweaty
A bit tight (large heads beware)
Slightly under powered bass for media
No included software
Virtual surround sound isn't great
Conclusion: The Siberia 800's host a broad range of premium features, which is to be expected from a pair of headphones in this price range. The downsides are for the most part minor and are issues that many headsets have, but could be enough to shy the potential buyer away from the huge price tag. All in all the Siberia 800s will make a great headset for those willing to shell out the cash in search of a wireless headset with good battery life and comfort. However for 100 dollars less much of these features can be found on the Artis 7's and those with big head might not find what they are looking for with these.
Turtle Beach Elite Pro Tournament Gaming Headset
Summary: Turtle Beach has been a standby in gaming headphones across all platforms, for many years providing top end sound quality. The Turtle Beach Elite Pro is no different, it is a very capable headset that provides some new top end features which help set it apart from the pack. Weighing in at manageable 13.7 ounces the Elite Pro's have the potential to be a great set of headphones, but is it worth the cost?
The Elite Pro's interface with devices via a signle 4-pole 3.5mm jack making it work flawlessly with consoles, unfortunately if your computer does no support a single jack the required splitter to convert it into 2 is not included. The Pro's are constructed mostly of plastic, but still feels very robust and durable. The ear cups are very thick preventing ears from resting on the speaker housing. The ear cups are also padded in a plush “cooling gel-infused memory foam” and are covered in a spandex fabric, which together create a remarkably comfortable and cool gaming experience even after many hours of play. They also sport Turtle Beach's new “ProSpecs Glasses Relief System”, providing slight indentations into the foam of the ear cups to alleviate pressure often felt by those wearing glasses. The headband is a suspension style that provides a great deal of comfort and an even weight distribution over the head. Both the ear cups and the headband feature Turtle Beach's recently implemented “ComfortTec Fit System” showing off tension adjustments to both, and enabling the user to really fine-tune the fit of the Elite Pro's, making them a option for any head size large, small, or in between.
The Elite Pro's feature a set of Turtle Beach's new 50mm “Nanoclear” drivers that are able to kick out a very impressive range of sound. With distinguishable highs, clean mids, and quite a bass kick, the Elite Pro's are able to produce a high quality audio gaming experience as well as make a good headset for media. However at times the bass is slightly too much for gaming and can muddy up the other frequencies. The microphone on the Elite Pro's is flexible, fordable, and removable making it easy to find the right spot for the mic or just get it out of the way entirely. Unfortunately for a headset of this price the microphones sound quality is a bit underwhelming, producing relatively clear voice transmissions it is often reported as being too quiet and losing quality when boosting the level. The mic is also often said to be so heavy that after a few months of use it will start falling down from the upright position with slight head movements. Its also worth mentioning that Turtle Beach actually sells an upgraded mic for this headset, but for the price of the headset its a little disappointing that they wouldn't provide the upgraded microphone with them.
Fairly Lightweight (13.7 ounces)
Sturdy and durable construction
Gel-infused memory foam padding (keeps cool)
Spandex fabric (keeps cool)
ProSpec glasses relief system
Suspension style headband
ComforTec fit system (adjustable sizing)
Great sound quality for both gaming and media
Flexible, folding, and removable microphone
Interfaces only with single 3.5mm jack
Adapters / Y splitter not included
Bass can be slightly overwhelming for gaming
Microphone sub par for the price
Microphone known to fall from upright position
Conclusion: The Turtle Beach Elite Pro's bring an array of features to the table, some of which are new innovations to the gaming headset industry that can't be found on any other headset. Providing great sound quality, comfort, and unrivaled adjust-ability the Elite Pro's would make a great headset for anyone willing to shell out the cash and can overlook the under performing microphone. Not to mention being the only headset designed with the glasses wearer specifically in mind.
All these headphones are just a sampling of what is on the market, but were chosen for having preferable characteristics. As well the list is representative of a lot of the best sellers and top reviewed headsets available in 2017. This guide was created with the intention of helping the prospective buyer looking for a new pair of headphones circumvent the crowded world that is the gaming industry. Though this article should not be used to make a final decision, but instead used to help narrow down the potential options and promote research into finding the right headset.
With so many factors at play and such disparities in the pricing its important to find the right headset for you. In searching it is necessary to always remember two things. First; Gear doesn't make the gamer. Never expect spending more money on gear to make you better at games. A basic Low XX dollar pair of headphones can provide equally as effective in game auditory feedback as a Mid $$$ dollar pair with all the bells and whistles. Second; Just try them out. With outlets like Amazon available you can purchase a pair of headphones and have ample time to decide if they are right for you, if not send them back and try another pair. Never feel guilty about doing this, its your money and you deserve the best gaming experience for it!