With the best gaming headsets, treat your ears to some treacle.
The ultimate gaming experience is incomplete without the aid of a top-notch gaming headset. Regrettably, the importance of audio is often neglected in PC gaming. However, to truly immerse oneself in a game world, both the visuals and the soundscape are critical components.
After meticulously testing dozens of headsets, our team and I have handpicked the most outstanding ones to share with you. We have chosen headsets that offer the best sound quality, both for gamers on a tight budget and those with a higher budget. These headsets come equipped with quality drivers that ensure the delivery of the best audio experience. We are averse to gaming headphones that overemphasize low frequencies as it generally leads to terrible bass. On the other hand, the best gaming headsets have well-balanced drivers that require minimal tweaking on your part and won’t cost you an arm and a leg.
Undoubtedly, the Razer Blackshark V2 is the best gaming headset available. It is reasonably priced, and the sound quality is fantastic, making it a highly desirable headset. The HyperX Cloud Alpha Wireless is the best wireless gaming headset, with its sound quality being almost as good as its wired counterpart, and it boasts an unparalleled battery life of 300 hours.
Of course, if you have a larger budget, you can always go for one of the premium options, which offer exceptional sound quality, and we have provided a list of those as well.
Best Gaming Headset
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1. Razer BlackShark V2
The best wired gaming headset
Connectivity: 3.5mm, USB soundcard
Drivers: 50mm, Razer TriForce, Titanium
Frequency response: 12Hz – 28,000Hz
Features: Detachable noise-cancelling mic, in-line cable controls
+ Great audio
+ Often under $100
+ Restrained styling
– Mic doesn’t retract
– Cable hardwired into the headset
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From its erstwhile pedestal, displacing the HyperX Cloud Alpha, the Razer BlackShark V2 gaming headset triumphantly claims the top spot through its stellar auditory quality, reasonable price point, and straightforward software interface. The main focus of the BlackShark V2 was undoubtedly its audio production, which was achieved through the design of the drivers themselves. The 50mm TriForce Titanium drivers were discreetly outfitted with ports that bifurcated bass, mid, and tremble frequencies, thereby circumventing any interference and delivering a more sonorous sound compared to conventional headsets. This design resembles a tribute to HyperX’s own architecture and is no less superior.
A distinctive aspect of the BlackShark V2 is the level of auditory clarity it provides, which is unexpected from a $100 gaming headset. Although, if I am being excessively discerning, I may assert that I can perceive more pronounced segregation of the higher frequencies with the HyperX Cloud Alpha, especially when THX software is engaged. Nevertheless, there is a mellifluous quality to the mids and a velvety bass that is exclusively available with the BlackShark V2.
The auditory experience of the BlackShark V2 is, for me, its most outstanding feature, surpassing the majority of other headsets in this price range. I’m also quite fond of the understated design of the headset, which is comfortable enough for long gaming sessions.
I do have a slight predisposition towards audio excellence; I am fixated on Tidal’s Master Quality Authenticated (MQA) selection, and I am at a loss for words to express the blissful auditory ecstasy evoked by listening to Rage Against the Machine’s Take the Power Back, with the bass notes resounding on an exceptional audio device. My typical headphones are the Audeze LCD-3, a lovely pair of open-back headphones fitted with planar magnetic drivers, ideal for both gaming and music, but their high-quality drivers also make them exorbitant.
Although the BlackShark V2 may not match the unparalleled clarity of a well-used planar magnetic set, the tonal quality of the TriForce drivers, particularly with the THX software in music mode, produces a remarkable sonic encounter.
The BlackShark V2 is equally impressive for in-game use. The warm and immersive musical experience made me oscillate between the wistfulness of Swift’s Folklore and the upbeat rhythms of Seasick Steve’s latest album, while the explosive Battlefield V tour of duty left me feeling stunned.
The only reason I don’t use the wired BlackShark V2 headset as my everyday headphones is because of the arrival of its wireless counterpart, the more expensive BlackShark V2 Pro, which employs the same drivers but also features a lag-free wireless connection and a considerable battery life. However, the wired BlackShark V2 headset’s affordability, which can often be found for under $100, is a standout feature and makes it an absolute steal.
2. HyperX Cloud Alpha Wireless
The best wireless gaming headset
Connectivity: 2.4GHz wireless dongle
Frequency response: 15–21,000Hz
Features: Bi directional detachable mic
Drivers: Dynamic, 50mm with neodymium magnets
Battery Life: 300 Hours
+ Very comfortable
+ Excellent for listening to music
+ Precise, powerful audio is great for gaming
+ Battery life that can only be described as witchcraft
– They aren’t the loudest headphones
– Microphone isn’t up to par with the rest of the headset
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Introducing the HyperX Cloud Alpha Wireless, the ultimate gaming headset that has taken the market by storm. Our team has fallen in love with this device and HyperX has now unleashed its best pair of cans without the hassle of cords. One of the most impressive features of this headset is its exceptional battery life, with up to 300 hours of wireless use on a single charge, while still maintaining a lightweight and comfortable design. This is an incredible achievement, and we believe HyperX has done a fantastic job with this product.
Upon unboxing, the device had an impressive 80% charge, and after a full day of music streaming, the battery level remained unchanged. We have been using this headset for gaming and music consistently for a week now, and the battery level has not even dropped below 50%. This astounding battery life is, of course, subject to the volume at which the headset is operated. However, even at maximum volume, it is still relatively comfortable to wear.
Apart from the battery life, the sound quality of the HyperX Cloud Alpha Wireless is incredible. Listening to music on these cans is an absolute delight, and we were able to pick up on every single instrument and note in our favorite sound-heavy songs. In terms of gaming, the directional sound is exceptional, and we were able to locate hidden batteries and navigate games with ease. The headset also does a fantastic job of blocking out external noise, which enhances the overall gaming experience.
One of the standout features of the Cloud line has always been comforting, and even with the addition of a hefty battery, the HyperX Cloud Alpha Wireless still manages to maintain this quality. The top band is thick and has soft padding, coupled with the equally soft ear cups, creating a cozy and comfortable experience that is perfect for extended gaming sessions.
While the microphone is functional for in-game chat, it lacks the sound quality found in other high-end headsets. However, this is a small gripe considering the overall quality of the product.
All things considered, it’s hard to imagine a customer who would not be happy with the HyperX Cloud Alpha Wireless as their go-to gaming headset. The device is reasonably priced for its features and is an excellent choice for both gaming and music listening on your PC.
3. Audio-Technica ATH-M50x STS StreamSet
The best gaming headset for streaming
Driver-type: 45mm Dynamic
Frequency response: 15–28,000Hz
Features: Cardioid condenser micWeight: 330g
Connectivity: USB Type-A w/ Type-C adapter, Analog XLR
+ Plug and play
+ Excellent cans too
+ Best headset mic I’ve tried
– Expensive for a wired headset
– No sound control on the headset
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The ultimate gaming headset for streamers and content creators who want the best audio quality possible. As someone who has tried many gaming headsets, I have found that most of them come with poor-quality microphones that are only suitable for game chats and casual conversations. But if you want to take your audio quality to the next level, you’ll need a dedicated desk mic, which can be quite expensive.
However, the ATH-M50xSTS StreamSet headset is here to change the game. While it may not be a budget-friendly option, it is a high-end closed-back headset that delivers exceptional audio quality, making it worth the investment. Listening to music on these headphones is an incredible experience, thanks to their well-balanced audio with little details that shine through in songs. While they tend to be a little bass-heavy, the bright treble and warm tones make up for it, creating a truly immersive experience.
One of the standout features of StreamSet is its dedicated monitor controls, which allow you to monitor your own voice through the headset. While this feature can be off-putting in some headsets, it felt natural and easy to use with the StreamSet, giving me a good feel for what my voice sounded like. There are no other buttons on the headset, so all other audio must be controlled through your PC, which takes some getting used to. However, the trade-off in simplicity is worth it, especially since the focus is on delivering high-quality audio.
The microphone on the ATH-M50xSTS StreamSet is simply outstanding, comparable to using a desktop mic but with none of the hassle. Audio Technica has packed a cardioid condenser into the attached boom mic, and it sounds fantastic. I used it during several streaming sessions and found it to be even better than my desktop mic setup.
This headset is incredibly user-friendly, with no drivers to worry about and no complicated software to navigate. It is a plug-and-play device that works seamlessly with any PC or device. I reviewed the USB model, which comes with a fixed USB Type-A cable and a USB Type-C adapter, and it had no issues whatsoever. There is even an analog XLR option for those who want to take their audio quality to the next level.
In conclusion, the Audio-Technica ATH-M50x STS StreamSet is an exceptional gaming headset that delivers amazing sound quality and recording. It is perfect for streamers, podcasters, and content creators who want to take their audio quality to the next level. While it may be a bit pricey, the investment is definitely worth it for anyone who takes their audio quality seriously.
4. Beyerdynamic DT 900 Pro X
The best audiophile headphones for gaming
Operating principle: Open back
Frequency response: 5–40,000Hz
Features: Velour earpadsWeight: 345g
Connectivity: 3.5mm & 6.35mm adapter for mini-XLR
+ Supremely comfortable
+ Incredible audio performance
+ Works with just about anything
+ Handsome and solid construction
– Initial clamping is too tight
– No detachable or in-line mic
– Expensive compared to wire headset
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The Beyerdynamic DT 900 Pro X headphones, designed for critical listening, mixing, and mastering of audio, possess qualities that are perfect for gaming. These headphones provide everything a gamer needs in terms of comfort and build quality. The comfort level of these headphones is unmatched, with large circular velour pads that offer a heavenly feel. The pads completely cover the ears and even bespectacled gamers won’t experience any discomfort. Although the durability of the pads is uncertain, they are replaceable.
The spring steel headband of these headphones has memory foam padding that ensures the muffs remain firmly clamped to your head, providing excellent sound sealing despite the open-back design. Although the environment can be heard, it’s not as transparent as the Drop PC38X. Initially, the clamping force was excessive, and it was uncomfortable to wear them for an extended period. However, after manually stretching them over a few days, they became a perfect fit for me.
The DT 900 Pro X comes with two cable lengths – a 3m and a shorter 1.8m cable, suitable for console gamepads, Nintendo Switch, or smart devices. Unlike the MMX 100, these cables don’t produce any noise. Furthermore, with a low power requirement of 48 ohms, an amplifier is not required to use these headphones on almost anything.
The open-back design of the DT 900 Pro X surprised me with how punchy the audio is, unlike the weak, airy audio of other open-back headphones. The STELLAR.45 driver of these headphones is perfectly tuned for a flat profile that elevates whatever you’re listening to. Whether it’s classical sonatas or Snoop Dogg’s bass hits, nothing sounds bad.
The precision of the DT 900 Pro X is almost surgical, making it possible to hear every layer of bass that hits just right, without ever dominating and muddying the equally sharp highs. Beyer was not kidding when they said these headphones are for critical listening. You can hear everything.
Recently, I started playing the exceptional Ghost of Tsushima, and these headphones brought the game world to life in a way that is difficult to describe. The Samurai-inspired soundtrack, the guttural sounds of dying Mongols, and the gentle sounds of wind chimes moving in the wind were all clearly audible with a level of clarity and liveliness better than any set of headphones I’ve ever used.
The open-back design of the DT 900 Pro X provides a more natural sound, allowing the audio to breathe, making it difficult to differentiate between sounds in the game and the real world. Listening to the sounds of rushing streams, birds chirping, and the guiding winds blowing through the gorgeous forests and fields made me feel like I was in the game world.
When it comes to competitive shooters like CoD Warzone and Apex Legends, the clarity and fantastic audio positioning make it easy to identify the location and relative distance of opponents. Every bullet sings and whines, explosions boom and shake, and the environment comes to life.
Finally, for content creators, the DT 900 Pro X is a must-have as it helps create the most accurate audio for your audience. As many of us are now dabbling in some form of creation, be it streaming, podcasting, or YouTube, these headphones are a no-brainer.
5. Corsair HS55 Stereo
The best cheap gaming headset with a stellar mic
Drivers: 50mm, Neodymium magnets
Features: Flip-up mic
Frequency response: 20Hz – 20,000Hz
+ Flip-up mic arm
+ Cheap price
+ Light and comfortable
+ Superb microphone quality
– Older HS50 feels a touch more premium
– Mic arm can be fiddly at times
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The Corsair HS55 Stereo is a gaming headset that offers a much comfier experience than Corsair’s previous budget models. The ear cups are plush and the headset is lightweight, making it comfortable to wear for extended periods. The microphone arm is now permanently attached to the left earcup and can be flipped up and out of the way when not in use, which is a big improvement over the previous model. The microphone itself is also impressive, with great clarity and accuracy.
It’s important to note that this is a 3.5mm wired headset, so the quality of both the microphone and audio could be affected by your motherboard’s DAC/amp or sound card. However, this shouldn’t make a huge difference with today’s relatively decent audio in even the cheapest motherboards.
While the HS55 feels a little cheaper than the HS50, it still feels robust and well put together. It faces competition from other gaming headsets in the same price range, such as Razer’s Kraken and BlackShark V2 X, and HyperX’s Cloud II. However, the HS55’s impressive microphone and overall performance make it a strong contender for gamers looking for a budget-friendly headset.
In terms of audio quality, the HS55 performs admirably for a headset in this price range. The 50mm neodymium drivers deliver a decent soundstage and clear audio with good separation between frequencies. The bass is a little overpowering at times, but overall it’s not too bad. The headset also comes with a small inline control that allows you to adjust the volume and mute the microphone.
Overall, the Corsair HS55 is a great budget headset that delivers comfort, microphone quality, and decent audio performance. While it faces stiff competition from other gaming headsets in the same price range, it’s definitely worth considering for anyone looking for a new pair of cans. If you’re looking for a comfier and more convenient alternative to the HS50 with a great-sounding microphone, the HS55 is a great choice.
Best Gaming Headsets FAQs
What does a gaming headset need?
When selecting a gaming headset, there are various aspects that require contemplation. While favorable pricing and sound quality are significant, comfort also deserves consideration. In addition, communication is crucial in gaming, and noise-canceling microphones are essential for this purpose. Therefore, the headsets recommended here are equipped with this feature. It is imperative to ensure the microphone provides satisfactory vocal quality and does not capture the sound of every keystroke made on your mechanical keyboard.
Are wired or wireless headsets better for gaming?
Both wired and wireless headsets can be suitable for gaming, and the choice between the two depends on your personal preferences and requirements.
Wired headsets tend to have lower latency, meaning that the audio signal reaches your ears faster than wireless headsets. This can be particularly important for fast-paced games where split-second decisions and reactions are crucial. Additionally, wired headsets are not subject to interference or signal loss, which can be an issue with wireless headsets.
On the other hand, wireless headsets provide more freedom of movement since you are not tethered to your gaming device by a cable. They can also be more convenient for those who prefer to use them for other activities besides gaming, such as listening to music or taking calls.
Another consideration is battery life. Wireless headsets require charging, so you’ll want to make sure the battery lasts long enough for your gaming sessions.
Ultimately, the decision between a wired or wireless headset for gaming depends on your personal preferences and priorities. If latency and reliability are your primary concerns, go for a wired headset. If you value convenience and mobility, a wireless headset may be the better option.
I've been reviewing hardware and software, devising testing methodology, and handing out buying advice for what seems like forever; I'm currently absorbed by computers and gaming hardware. He's written about gaming hardware and comparison according to speed, performance, price, battery life, and others by using a new research technique.