Every PC gamer wants the best picture. After all, there’s nothing like a curved, ultra-wide or 4K monitor to tempt your senses. But, what about the best sound? Sure, you could buy a set of speakers for a gaming experience that’s not quite as isolated, but what if, on August 15, you want to fully immerse yourself in the highly-anticipated Starcraft: Remastered?
That’s where the best gaming headset comes in. The top PC gaming headset offers the mic and over-the-ear cans needed to more effectively coordinate with allies and take down enemy bases. And with premium features such as virtualized 7.1 surround sound, 5.8GHz wireless tech and, most importantly, RGB lighting, you can’t skimp on your next gaming headset.
Of course, you don’t want to spend your whole budget on a headset. So we’ve covered a wide range of gaming headsets, each with their own unique specs and price tags. Whether you can only spare enough for the VR-tailored Turtle Beach Stealth 350VR or you don’t mind shelling out for the prosumer-grade Asus ROG Centurion 7.1, you can trust that this guide has you covered.
Quick and easy to setup using a wireless USB receiver that stores inside the headset for transportation, the Razer ManO’War is a user-friendly unit primed for surround-sound gaming. Sure, it’s a little chunkier than most other headsets, but two soft leatherette ear cups make it comfortable to wear for extended periods. And, with Chroma RGB lighting customizable through Razer Synapse, it even looks snazzy to observers.
Although it’s a software feature rather than hardware, the ManO’War’s 7.1 channel virtual surround sound does a fine job of ramping up immersion in-game. The ManO’War’s range can reach up to 14 meters using the supplied USB extender, and its battery life is capable of stretching to just as many hours.
If you don’t plan on moving that far from your computer, there’s a wired version too. Supplied with a USB digital-to-analog converter (CAV), the cable-attached Razer ManO’War 7.1 sounds every bit as sexy as it looks, even if RGB backlighting is nowhere to be seen.
Read the full review: Razer ManO’War
Neglecting all the unwritten rules of fashion, the ROG Centurion 7.1 is a spectacle to behold. Though it’s a living hellscape to set up, this gaming headset delivers both extreme looks and an unruly knack for emitting crystal clear sound waves. It may require a cumbersome preparation procedure involving a pair of USB cables and an amplifier, but that’s not to say the ROG Centurion 7.1 doesn’t offer plenty of room for expansion.
In fact, the Asus ROG Centurion 7.1 not only bolsters full-fledged surround sound passthrough for an external set of speakers, but the onboard amp controls grant you complete control over the audio profiles and channel volumes being outputted. You can even take advantage of Asus’s own Sonic Studio software package, which gives you even more dominance over the headset’s functions. There’s a steep learning curve, but for those who don’t mind, this headset is a mighty surround sound offering.
Read the full review: Asus ROG Centurion 7.1 headset
If you’re more interested in the sounds coming out of your gaming headset rather than glowing LEDs, macro keys and other gratuitous extras, then the V-MODA Crossfade Wireless is the headset for you. Its stylish cans are a treat for the ears, booming with sound that’s bass-heavy with fantastically crisp treble at the other end.
Stepping out of the soundscape for a moment, the V-MODA Crossfade Wireless features memory foam ear cups that are both comfortable and spacious without inciting irritation after prolonged use. What’s more, you’ll get around 12 hours out of its battery life when connected via Bluetooth. This headset’s rugged build quality, funky travel case and optional USB connectivity add up to make it one of the best headsets on the market.
Read the full review: V-MODA Crossfade Wireless
We called the original Astro A50 a “game-changing, experience-enhancing headset,” and thankfully its wireless successor follows the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” rule. Astro’s latest headset does what it says on the tin and adds wireless connectivity to an already stellar package. Though not the cheapest headset on the block, the Astro A50 Wireless has transferred amp controls from its predecessor’s cable right into the headcups themselves to balance in-game audio and voice chat on-the-fly.
Add to that the A50’s solid aluminum construction, effective noise-cancelling microphone, booming bass and impressive mid-range sounds, and here you have a headset that’s compatible with a range of different platforms. Not only is it ready to rock with your PC, but with PS4, Xbox One and legacy consoles as well.
It’s also suitable for using with the HTC Vive and other VR headsets, thanks to the accommodating shape of the headband. We’ve found that few headsets can rival the comfort of the A50’s plush ear cups, which are large enough to give you a realistic sense of sound coming from all directions.
Sometimes you’re prepared to pay a premium for a PC gaming accessory that does the lot, and in the headset category that’s the Siberia 840. Following in the footsteps of the already impressive Siberia 800, the upgraded Sibera 840 is pro-Bluetooth, anti-lag and all about personalization. With the SteelSeries Engine 3 app, you can customize everything from equalizer settings to what you want shown on the OLED screen of the accompanying base unit.
All of that is, of course, secondary to the Siberia 840’s sound qualities which are nothing less than sublime. Activating Dolby 7.1 surround sound is like dropping you into the game. Enemies’ footsteps can be picked out across a room including behind you, leading to some heart-in-mouth moments in gorey shooters like Doom.
With VR headsets like the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift making their way into PC gamers’ rooms, specially-designed audio headsets for virtual reality were bound to follow. The Turtle Beach 350 Stealth VR is one of the most flexible out there, featuring a generous amount of adjustability thanks to its sturdy headband which can fit over the top of VR headsets worn on even the biggest heads.
Sure enough, the 350 Stealth is designed for practicality rather than sharp looks. Its black-and-white color scheme isn’t the most exciting design out there, but an abundance of features makes up for that. There’s mic monitoring, which allows you to hear your own voice inside the headset, bass boost for booming lows, a detachable noise-cancelling headphone mic, and a groove in the ear cups that lets you tuck the audio cable out of the way. While it’s perfectly suitable for owners of PC-based VR headsets, it’s quite literally a great fit for PSVR gamers too.
Unlike some of its competitors, SteelSeries stresses subtlety in its headset designs. The Arctis continues this trend by flaunting sound quality and comfort over gaudy appearances.
When you pop an Arctis on your head, the goal is for, say, your stream audience to see a professional environment rather than, say, a Dorito stain on your chair. The customizable lighting gives you plenty of wiggle room, in case the whole monochrome look isn’t your thing.
The SteelSeries Arctis comes in three distinct flavors: Arctis 3, Arctis 5 and Arctis 7, each one more expensive than the last. The Arctis 3 is par for the course analog protocol while the 5 ships with an external digital-to-analog converter (DAC). The Arctis 7, meanwhile, is wireless by way of 2.4GHz connectivity. Each model comes stacked with built-in audio control enhanced even further by the SteelSeries Engine 3 app.
Arguably one of the most affordable gaming headsets available today, the HyperX Cloud Stinger is designed to give players eSports quality audio at a bargain. While there isn’t much to write home about with the red on black plastic design of the headset, 50mm directional drivers make the stereo superb. That goes without mentioning the noise-cancelling mic, which aims to keep your obnoxiously loud background music where it belongs: in the background.
Because it features volume control on the earcup itself, you’ll never have to be an awkward keystroke away from turning the sound up. Moreover, thanks to the lightweight design, the HyperX Cloud Stinger is comfortable to wear for extended play sessions, thanks to a set of memory foam earcups that rotate 90 degrees. Although this isn’t the ultimate PC gaming headset, it’s a great starting point for those on a budget.
More affordable than Sennheiser’s flagship PC 373D while still packing an audible punch, the GSP 350 carries over that headset’s stellar 7.1 Dolby surround sound and closed ear cup design. It’s equally a suitable for marathon gaming sessions thanks to its huge comfortable ear cups, with the right cup once again featuring a volume dial.
The headset uses a closed-back design with an adjustable split headband rather than the PC 373D’s more solid and thicker continuous band. Much to the relief of your in-game teammates, there’s a noise-cancelling microphone in place as well that both mutes when lifted up and automatically detects/omits breathing sounds. If you like the look of Sennheiser’s flagship gaming headset but can’t quite stomach the price, the GSP 350 is the “lite” version.
Logitech’s flagship gaming headset packs in plenty of bells and whistles, the most useful being its cup-mounted G-keys that provide handy shortcuts to performing actions in-game. In terms of design, The G933 is certainly one of the snazziest headsets around, practically oozing gamer appeal. And, if you’re fed up of round ear-cups on headsets then you’ll appreciate its large and comfortable ear-shaped ones.
Logitech has ran a multi-colored lighting strip all the way down the cup, rather than placing a flashing logo on the side, which in our eyes is more appealing than the smaller, contained glowing areas on Corsair’s and Razer’s flagship headsets. The downside is that this limits battery life to around 10 hours, though you can turn it off to eke out a few more. For a USB gaming headset, it’s impressively multi-platform too, working across PS4, Xbox One and Windows PCs.
The Corsair Void RGB is super comfy, boasting an ear-shaped design in favor of the usual round cans that almost never feel right. It’s also capable of exuding first-pumping bass that’s powerful without muddying the mix. You can configure its lighting colors using Corsair’s intuitive software and even make it dance in tandem with the company’s K65 or K70 mechanical keyboards.
Plus, you can take solace in the fact that the Corsair Void RGB has a 2.4GHz wireless range of up to 40 meters. No more worrying about the chatter cutting off when you get up to grab your beer. Unfortunately, there isn’t any way for adjusting the fold-down mic so its clarity often suffers, but it doesn’t put us off what is a solid and affordable option for surround sound gaming.
Here we have a no-frills headset with an upstanding build quality closely rivaling those which cost nearly double. Used by a number of eSports teams, Kingston’s HyperX Cloud Revolver’s large interchangeable over-the-ear memory foam cups help block out unwanted noise, and the retractable mic allows clear and distortion-free communication with teammates. The studio-grade sound stage makes this headset perfect for first-person shooters and open-world games.
Despite being relatively affordable, the Cloud Revolver doesn’t skimp on features. Its 53mm drivers have been tweaked to blast out punchy mid-range tones and pounding bass that’s best described as in-your-face. Subtle they ain’t. There’s no surround sound support or RGB lighting to be found here, and you’ll have to reach for the Cloud Revolver’s braided cable to get to its in-line volume and mic controls. If those factors don’t bother you then this value-focused headset comes highly recommended.
Looking like something straight out of Quake 2, Asus’ Strix 7.1 wireless gaming headset immediately caught our eye thanks to its large black-and-orange ear cups that are decked in a circular pattern resembling an owl’s eye. Those ear cups may be oversized, but that also makes them comfortable to wear over extensive periods of time. That said, there’s no RGB lighting on them, which explains why they’re rated for a 10-hour battery life over a 2.4GHz wireless connection.
Asus claims these headphones experience lower latency than Bluetooth, and while it’s difficult to agree for certain, bullets whizzing past our head in-game synced up pretty well thanks to virtual 7.1 surround sound being blasted into our ears from all directions. Moreover, Asus’ Sonic Studio provides an easy method of tweaking sound settings, and we found cranking up the bass even further in the app’s equalizer particularly satisfying for both gaming and listening to music.
Aimed at PC and console gamers, using Turtle Beach’s Elite Pro feels like sitting down at a command station and gearing up for war. This headset emanates gamer cred right down to the subtle orange ruler-type markings on the headset’s automatically adjusting headband. It’s a funky piece of kit that’s reassuringly chunky while remaining supremely comfortable at all times thanks to its gel-infused Aerofit ear cushions. Most importantly, they sound great in the heat of battle. That’s down to Turtle Beach’s 50mm NanoClear drivers, which do an especially great job of bringing you into the heart of the action in shooters.
If you’re particularly hardcore, you might want to shell out for the Tactical Audio Controller. It’s by no means cheap, but it does let you push your audiophile instincts to their limit. In no time at all, you’ll find yourself adjusting settings such as the game/chat mix, your own mic level and in-game sounds as well as muting to eliminate game sounds altogether. It also lets you toggle instantly between four surround modes (Game, Music, Movie and off), which is exponentially easier than fiddling around with controls on the headset itself.
There are an increasing number of PC gaming headsets impressing at the lower end of the price spectrum, including the Cougar Immersa. Decked in the company’s trademark orange-and-black color scheme, this gaming headset is big, bright and bold in a way that, perhaps intentionally, resembles a racecar. Though its loud design may not appeal to everyone, its functionality will.
The massive earcups on the Cougar Immersa envelop the ears and are comfortable when worn over long periods. Its mid-range and bass tones are punchy and bright, though treble is a little lacking. The retractable microphone is convenient, and online gamers had no trouble hearing what we were saying in Counter Strike: GO. HyperX Cloud Stinger aside, there are few gaming headsets in this price bracket that have impressed us like the Immersa.