Voice Over IP (VOIP) has been around for quite a while now. That fancy acronym is used to refer to software that allows users to communicate via voice chat through the internet. Programs like Mumble, Discord, Teamspeak, or even the old Ventrilo are great examples of VOIP programs. Despite being mostly used in a professional setting, Skype is also a popular choice among gamers that need to coordinate quick and effective strategies, or that simply want to joke around while sharing good times.
Where the old VOIP programs like Ventrilo only offered voice chat capabilities and rudimentary text-based communication, the more recent software are equipped with tons of features that can really improve the quality of life of both enthusiast and professional gamers around the globe. For instance, Discord, despite having a potentially misleading name, is arguably the most famous VOIP software to date. It includes tons of features such as allowing users to create their own servers and then inviting certain people to join. This, coupled with a generous amount of voice and audio adjustment options, gif and web support on the text chat, integration with Steam, and a ton of other perks, make programs like Discord a must-have for gamers. In short, if you’re gaming with friends, you’d be a chump if you don’t use VOIP for all your online shenanigans.
However, no matter how much noise cancellation and voice adjustment a VOIP program can offer, if your microphone isn’t up to snuff, your voice output will suffer. This is a really common issue with most gamers out there. You’d be amazed at the amount of people that are constantly being muted or banned from VOIP servers by short-tempered admins because the sound quality from their microphones is akin to nails on a chalkboard.
The above mentioned is the main reason as to why there’s a market for gaming microphones or headsets in general. The truth is, a pristine, top-quality headset will almost always produce great results when gaming with your friends. The ability to integrate both voice chat capabilities and high-quality sound (some models even offer 7.1 surround sound) in one convenient package make headsets the go-to piece of gear for gamers. The most sought-out of these often go out of their away to provide extra features such as microphones that automatically mute themselves when folded up, inline volume controls or, in the case of wireless headsets, swappable batteries, or dual-band connection capabilities.
Unfortunately, going headset hunting in today’s market can be quite a challenge. Considering that there are hundreds, if not thousands of models for sale on the internet. This makes picking the option that would provide the best bang for your buck similar to finding a needle in a haystack. Luckily, we’ve created this handy guide you can use to get a general idea of what to look for in a headset, both in terms of audio fidelity and high-quality voice input capabilities.
Below are our top picks for gaming headsets. Keep in mind that this list includes both wired, and wireless headsets with microphones, so the prices may vary accordingly. Though we tried to feature products that possess a similar range of features.
To start off this list on the right foot, we’re featuring the HyperX Cloud Gaming Headset, manufactured by Kingston. This company is not widely known for their peripherals in the west, but trust us when we say that these pair of cans are a force to be reckoned with in the gaming industry. Designed in Sweden, and regarded as the best headset for professional gaming, the CloudX is the product of choice for famous esports groups Team Liquid and SK-Gaming.
At a glance, the HyperX Cloud immediately stands out for its design, which reflects the amounts of effort invested by Kingston in order to create a headset which encompasses both comfort, and functionality. The ear cups are padded with memory foam, which ensures a great fit even through the longest gaming sessions, without causing strain on your ears or any other issues that stem from prolonged usage.
Simply put, this headset is big. It has 53mm speaker drivers, which are fully HiFi capable and offer crystal clear highs, crisp mediums, and booming lows. Additionally, the audio can also be adjusted for enhanced bass-reproduction, so you can really feel the action as if you were inside the video game itself. The headset mic installed in this product can be bent into any shape for added versatility.
Let me get something very clear; we don’t condone splurging much more than $100 for a headset unless we’re talking about a wireless headset (which is the case here). And even in that case, we’d be hard-pressed to spend more than a couple hundred bucks on a pair of cans. However, if you’re looking for the best of the best, at any price, then you can’t go wrong with the Momentum 2.0 by Sennheiser.
This company is already well-known for producing some of the world’s best headphones, so it’s only logical that their headsets would be of similar quality as well. The Momentum series of headsets is renowned for providing one of the best quality audio available in the market. The 2.0 version allows its users to enjoy the same quality, but this time without any pesky wires to get in the way. The Near Field Communication technology incorporated within this headsets allows it to be easily paired with any device by simply tapping it against one of the ear pads. Furthermore, the Noise Gard noise cancellation technology included in this product eliminates any and all unwanted ambient noise, for a truly immersive listening experience.
This headset uses dual-microphone technology to guarantee the best possible voice input, by improving voice quality and eliminates external noise during phone calls, or chat sessions with your friends.
Ahh, Razer. You can’t have a gaming peripheral list without featuring at least one product by this prestigious company. Razer is the manufacturer of some of the best gaming products in the industry. As a matter of fact, the Razer DeathAdder is regarded by many professional gamers as the best mouse in the world. This just goes to show you the amount of quality that this company invests in all their products.
The Razer Kraken belongs to the same line of products as the DeathAdder, Chroma. As its name suggests, these products are recognized by their logo, which can be modified in up to 16 million color combinations using Razer’s software. This headset is equipped with powerful 40mm speakers that can provide a quality sound experience in full 7.1 surround. This product’s neodymium magnet drivers ensure a crisp sound at all volume levels, and its integration with the Synapse software allows full customization of most of its features, such as volume, EQ and, like we mentioned above, LED lighting colors.
The Kraken’s headset microphone system consists of a boom mic tucked into the left ear cup, that can be pulled out when needed, or stored safely during those single-player sessions. The microphone itself can be adjusted in many ways once deployed, and can also be muted with the press of a button on the headset.
Don’t let this headset’s strange shape fool you. We thought the same thing at first; how can these square earpieces comfortably fit our (mostly) round ears? Well, Corsair had an interesting design idea with their VOID headset, and we have to admit that they aren’t uncomfortable at all. The only thing I could potentially disagree with is the headband, which sits near the forehead, and takes some time getting used to.
The headset itself performs admirably. The 50mm speakers and neodymium magnet drivers offer a powerful and crystal sound quality, as is expected from a headset in this price range. The only bad thing we can point out is this product’s 2.4 GHz connection technology, which is standard in most wireless headsets but could still result in interference at times. Granted, this might not happen to you, but the risk is still there. Other than that, this headset has integration with software that can improve your hearing experience. Corsair’s CUE control software allows you to link your Corsair headset, mouse, and keyboard, and configure them in one convenient package.
Similar to other models featured in this list, the VOID’s microphone is equipped with noise-canceling technology so that your teammates can hear your voice and nothing else.
The PC 350 is a more affordable, yet wired alternative to the Momentum 2.0. This product is equipped with Sennheiser’s proprietary transducer technology, and provides unparalleled accuracy in its sounds, as well as great spatial accuracy, for those games where listening to your enemies is tantamount to achieving victory. The big ear pads ensure premium isolation from your environment, so you can feel truly immersed in the game. The onboard controls installed in this headset can really add to the versatility of the product; the volume control knob is located on the right earcup, while the microphone can be easily muted by simply raising the boom. And speaking of microphones, this wired headset allows for crystal clear conversations, with no interference at all, thanks to its professional-grade noise canceling technology,
Like we mentioned above, there are simply too many models of headsets in the market for us to settle with a top 5. But if we try to cover all the products that offer great value for its price, we would make a list that spans into the far reaches of the universe. However, after listing our top 5, we felt that there were still some headsets that, for one reason or another, deserved to be mentioned in this article.
Simply put, the Siberia 800 by SteelSeries is the best wireless headset in its price range. Period. Other products could offer similar features and quality, but a higher price. While the more inexpensive models would fall behind in one or two areas, whereas the Siberia 800 found the perfect balance between price and features.
With your purchase, you will receive a top-of-the-line headset, equipped with proprietary SteelSeries sound drivers that can deliver detailed highs and rumbling lows, paired with great spatial accuracy thanks to its 7.1 surround sound capabilities. The ear pads fit snugly over your ears and provide great isolation and an ever greater soundstage for your games or music; you can feel like you’re actually smack-dab in the middle of the action.
The best feature of this headset definitely has to be its batteries. Right off the bat, we’re expressed that they can last for up to 20 hours of uses. But the real kicker is that this product includes 2 sets of swappable batteries that can be recharged by plugging them into the wireless transmitter. In consequence, you can still use your cans with one battery while the other battery recharges, essentially reducing your headset’s downtime to 0.
The turtleneck microphone of the Siberia 800 can be tucked into the left ear pad and can be deployed when you need to communicate with your teammates.
For quite some time now, Logitech has been producing great-quality PC peripherals that can go toe-to-toe with the big fish in the gaming industry, such as Razer or SteelSeries. The G933 is their latest installment in their line of wireless gaming headsets and features plenty of features that earned it a place on this list. The capability to produce great quality 7.1 surround sound, coupled with the compatibility with several platforms such as PS4 and Xbox One make this product an all-around great choice for gamers looking to upgrade their headset.
The G keys installed in this headset can be customized via Logitech’s software and can be used to map your favorite functions, such as profile swapping, multimedia control, push-to-talk toggling, and much more.
A great feature of the G933 is that it’s made out of sport-mesh and other similarly comfortable materials. So you can be sure that the fabrics used in this headset can breathe, and are suited for long gaming sessions.
This is the G933’s older brother and predecessor. For a fraction of our previous entry’s price, the G930 offers a similar array of features, such as the programmable G keys, but while sacrificing some of the design choices that made the G933 better suited for gamers. In truth, this headset is a very useful tool for those that depend on reliable audio and communication capabilities not only for gaming but for getting work done as well. If you’re interested in a more general-purpose product, instead of a headset specialized for gaming, then this is the ideal choice.
Choosing the right headset to suit your needs boils down to identifying the elements that make them stand out among the rest. This is easier said than done, considering that most of the terms used to describe these products are seldom self-explanatory (what does “2.4GHz connection”, or “neodymium magnet drivers” even mean?) and hard to understand. Luckily, this guide was built to save you the hassle of endless googling just to find what the best headset is. No matter what your choice may be; if you choose a product from our list, you’ll be buying a product that will give you your money’s worth in quality sound and versatility.
Product images sourced from Amazon.com