Your team leader barks commands trying to get you to move into position. Bullets whistle past your ear and explosions light up the sky overhead. A sneaky enemy creeps up behind you with knife unsheathed, grinning evilly at the prospect of shanking you in the back. That’s a hell of a lot to take in between the gunfire chatter, hum of vehicles, and occasional grenade going off, and ongoing communication with your team.
If you don’t take your gaming audio seriously, that sneaky, cowardly bastard is going to be in luck. This is one of the many situations where having a high-quality headset with optimized surround sound will prove its worth. What’s the best gaming headset? Let’s find out in our PC gaming headset reviews section. If you’re a console gamer, we highly recommend a headset from Turtle Beach.
Picking out a gaming headset or headphones can be a daunting task… there are just so many options on the market today. No fear, we’ve done the heavy lifting for you. If its time to upgrade to a high quality headset, read on—we’ve provided a overview of some great headsets and picked out a few of the best to take a closer look at. Some headsets can get pretty spendy, but if you’ve been using pack-in headphones that came with your PC, ancient headphones, or some iPod buds the difference is unreal.
Things to Consider When Choosing a Headset
Comprehensive awareness in any game—particularly competitive ones—is a powerful advantage to have over your opponents. Additionally, if you’re playing in a team setting, newer headsets will enable you to communicate clearly with your friends while seamlessly enjoying the game’s audio. Even if you’re not the competitive gamer type, it is still nice to full experience a game by being immersed in high definition, realistic sound.
Like most gaming hardware, these puppies can get pretty complex. We will discuss what you need to know to pick out the best gaming headset that suits your needs.
- Over-ear (circumaural) vs. on-ear (supra-aural). Over-ear headsets are typically going to bit heavier and more expensive than on-ear ones. Though the sacrifice in comfort is usually worth keeping all that external noise out. Dang vacuum cleaner.
- Open back vs. closed back. These are the two types of over-ear headsets. Most headsets are closed back, which isolate each ear from outside noise. However, some over-ear headsets are open back which will still allow you to hear outside noise, but some people like the sound of open-back better, arguing that it sounds more natural.
- Stereo or surround sound. The water gets a little murky here. Generally, stereo is going to sound better, but surround sound is going to facilitate you being able to identify “where” a sound is coming from. Some surround sound headsets are just crap, so it really depends on the quality of the drivers (speakers) the manufacturer is using. The bottom line is in some types of games players do really benefit from surround sound and gives them an advantage by enabling the user to hear spacial sound effects (particularly FPS gamers. Damn sound whores!). We aren’t going to get into a debate about which is better, both clearly work, its just a matter of personal preference and what you will be using your headset for.
- USB or Analog. Generally, you want to stick with analog headsets that connect to an audio source using a normal audio connection. USB headsets bypass your sound card. It will process sound before it reaches your ear, so if its a really nice USB headset it will have pretty good sound quality. This is all a wash though if you have a great sound card however, and in this case you should just buy an analog set.
- Wired or wireless. The rule of thumb is that if you’re looking at two similarly priced headsets and one is wireless and the other is wired, the wired one will sound better. That’s not to say there isn’t some great sounding wireless headsets out there. The kicker is, the wireless headsets that perform well usually come at a very high cost. Sometimes a sacrifice in sound quality is just plain worth. The convenience of not having to deal with an annoying cord and being able to move throughout your whole house is quite nice.
- Removable/washable ear cups. In some cases, headsets are going to get a lot of use. It can be a nice bonus feature when they are easy to clean.
- Detachable microphone. Transforms your headset into headphones when you’re not in those multiplayer battles. Certainly not a must-have but a nice convenience.
6 Best PC Gaming Headsets of 2019
Here are the best headsets for PC gamers of this year.
The MMX 300 is a premium gaming and multimedia headset made by the Beyerdynamic. Beyerdynamic is a German audio equipment company well known for their extremely high quality products. If you’re looking for the best, look no further. These are even cockpit tested, as Beyerdynamic states, “Now perfected from the complicated conditions within the cockpit where A++ audio and performance is mandatory.” Heck, astronauts even use the MMX 300 equivalent for training to communicate with each other.
The headset has a professional carbon fiber look. Every component used in the set is top of the line. It has a built in internal sound card so there is no chance for interference to rear its ugly head. It comes with a condenser microphone (that is also noise isolating) so you can communication with crystal clear precision in those intense gaming moments. Your ears will be snuggled to death by the soft surround ear pads and the flexible headband allows for sustained comfort.
The MMX 300 provide the ultimate sonic clarity and accuracy. If you’re looking for the best, these will not disappoint. Recommended by audiophiles everywhere.
2. Logitech G930 and Logitech G230
Both of these units are excellent headsets for the price from one of the premier computer peripheral companies. In fact, we are big fans of the entire G series line up, but these are two of our favorites. The G930 is a 7.1 surround sound and the G230 is a stereo gaming headset.
The G930 comes with some excellent features for gamers. It has three interchangeable headband pads enabling you to easily optimize your comfort. There are on ear quick access controls so you can make volume adjustments and mute your microphone on the fly. It has some pretty cool voice morphing options as well (space squirrel anyone?), if you want to get a few chuckles out of your gaming buddies or troll them for your own twisted pleasure. Of course, this set features an adjustable noise cancelling microphone that reduces any background noise that could distract your companions.
It is connected via USB for an audio experience that is all handled by the headset itself, Dolby Pro Logic II is used in combination with Dolby headphone technology to deliver a surround sound experience. If you are interested in a wired headset, the G35 is the wired equivalent of the G930.
The G230 is a really sharp red and black head set. It’s fairly basic feature wise when compared to the G930, and doesn’t come with surround sound and is wired. This being said, but it is still sounds great and its light weight comfortable to wear. You can rotate the mic to the best position and the on cable sound controls are quite convenient. If you’re looking for a starter headset, this is a great option.
ASTRO’s headests are some of the most popular out there, and for good reason. They are cross platform compatible and can be used on both PCs and consoles. This fact in itself makes it a clear winner for gamers who play on multiple systems.
This cross-system compatibility is enabled by the ASTRO MixAmp which comes packaged with both of these sets; and most other A series sets. The MixAmp makes it easy to adjust your game-to-voice balancing. Both sets will fully immseres you with surround sound featuring circumaural ear coupling and full 7.1 Dolby surround sound. These sets sport the staple ASTRO shiny and sleek look. They are designed to wear comfortably around the neck or clamped over the head. The A50 and A40 are clearly some of the best in their respective classes, and if you’re a cross-platform gamer—one of the best choices out there.
A headset with an emphasis on comfort, the Kraken utilizes big, supple earcups that swivel to line up with the contours of your head. Additionally it is lighter than most headsets its size, diminishing any scalp-fatigue that could set in after long periods of gaming. Sound-quality is decent, the bass could have a little more boom, but we can’t complain too much considering the price. If you’re a gamer and not a big music lover, this headset will suit you just fine, considering bass is as important as picking out footsteps or nearby gunfire.
This headset is rounded out with a retractable mic, foldability for easy transport, and supports 7.1 virtual surround with Razer Surround software. Also there a are 6 different color options so if you want that hyphy green or standard black its all yours.
Senneheiser offers some of the best premium headsets. These sets are nothing short of perfection, and they have the big price tags you’d expect. The only set that rivals the quality of these in our opinion are the Beyerdynamic MMX 300. Clean, clear sound, a professional look, and comfy design present an appealing package for gamers and multimedia lovers alike.
The Senneheiser PC series are outstanding PC gaming headsets that exclusively use top-notch materials and components. There are 3 different variations of the Senneheiser PC and quite frankly they are just a few key differences between the sets. The 350 features circumaural ear-cups, and intuitive volume dial on the right ear cup while the PC 360 run with the (supra-aural) (overear) ear cup style and lacks the volume dial.
The PC 363D takes after the 350 with circumaural ear cups, doesn’t feature the volume dial, and instead of standard audio cable it features a USB connection and consequently making your headset independent of your PCs on-board soundcard (if you already have a good sound card you should probably save yourself the 50 bucks). All of the headsets come with 7.1 surround sound and adjustable mics. If you want to “discover true sound” the detailed, pure acoustics of these sets won’t let you down.
A quick note: if you are looking for a set that is compatible with multiple systems the Sennheiser U is an excellent option.
We absolutely had to include this headset in our closer look section. We love the look and design of the Pulse Elite! A beautiful black and silver Sony aesthetic, this multi-platform head set comes with a built in mic. That’s right, no obtrusive mic, Sony has tucked the microphone away inside the headset. Sony did this without sacrificing an ounce of voice quality, allowing you to communication with crystal clear accuracy to your friends.
Featuring 7.1 virtual surround sound and BassImpact technology (essentially a rumble pack for your head) it packs a powerful audio experience. The “bass impact” feature can be extremely engaging as every explosion can hit as hard as a home sub-woofer. The virtual surround sound is our only gripe with the pulse elite as it is somewhat underwhelming when compared to some of our other higher priced options. It has a built-in rechargeable battery, high fidelity audio, and comfortable ear cups. The Pulse Elite is a sleek, flexible wireless headset solution and well worth the price.