Five Awesome Headsets For Gaming

Whether you work at home and do a lot of video conferencing, or you love multiplayer games and want to hear your teammates as well as the background music and the ambient sounds, you need a good headset that can provide great audio and deliver your voice clearly to the people on the other end of the line. Thankfully, there are plenty of great options that don't sacrifice one for the other. Here's a look at five of the best headsets, based on your nominations.

Title photo by Andy Melton.

Astro A30/A40

Astro makes some great headsets, and has been a popular choice among gamers in recent years. The $199 retail A30 and $300 retail A40 sound systems sound great, both come with removable or retractable microphones, and sport an external mixamp that sits between your headset and your sound source to amplify your audio, whether you're listening to music, playing video games, or sitting in a video conference or internet call, you're guaranteed solid sound and voice. Depending on whether you use the cables or the mixamp, you can connect an Astro headset to your computer either via USB or 3.5mm jacks, and the microphone can be attached or detached as necessary. Bonus: the magnetic tags on the ears are customisable to suit your style.

Logitech G and H Series (G35/G930/H600/etc)

Logitech has always made great headsets, but many of you specifically called out the G35 gaming headset ($199.95 retail) and the G930 wireless gaming headset ($279.95 retail) for their superior comfort, on-ear audio controls, rich sound and crisp voice quality. Both models connect via USB, but some of you mentioned some of Logitech's other, more affordable options as drawing a line between audio quality and budget pricing, like the wireless H600. Whether you prefer wired or wireless, USB or 3.5mm, circumaural (around the ears) or supra-aural (resting on the ears), Logitech has a headset model for you, and probably at a price point you can live with.

Sennheiser PC and HD Series

Sennheiser has been known for superior sound quality in its products for years, and in many ways is still considered a high-end audio company, but the PC 350 and its successor the PC 360 swept the gaming community with its fantastic sound, huge, full circumaural earcups that are comfortable to wear for long periods, and its integrated retractable microphone that delivers crisp, clear voice to anyone on the other end of your videoconference, internet call, or multiplayer game. Most of you called out the PC 360 (around $320 retail) and its older sibling the PC 350 (around $250 retail), and rightfully so, but budget buyers shouldn't overlook the less expensive (around $150) PC 330, which gives up some of the audio quality for a less expensive but still powerhouse package. Overall, Sennheiser's headsets may be some of the pricier ones, but they'll last you for years.

Steelseries Siberia v2/7H

Enough of you preferred the Steelseries Siberia v2 that not only did it make the top five, it did so without being split among multiple model numbers, variations or types. This $140 RRP wonder features a retractable, pull-out microphone, 3.5mm audio jacks, in-line volume control, closed circumaural earcups, noise-reducing foam, just about everything you need to make the seamless transition from gaming headset to headphone powerhouse. They're also available in a half-dozen colours, so you can pick the one that matches your style perfectly. Have a bit more money? Drop the cash for the slightly more expensive (but equally liked by many of you) Steelseries 7H (around $150 retail), which has the same retractable microphone, collapsible design, interchangeable ear cushions and sleek black design.

Plantronics Gamecom/DSP/CM Series

Plantronics is well known for headsets, both for consumers and for business purposes. Many of you pointed out that the Planttonics Gamecom series of headsets are affordable, with the 367 retailing for around $45US, and the 780 retailing for about $129.99 Australian. They're lightweight, offer top-notch voice quality and crisp audio, and depending on the model you want, can sport 3.5mm audio or USB. Plantronics' PC and gaming line are great, but the DSP and CM series also offer great voice quality and comfort. Plantronics has made its name on its headset business, and while most people know them primarily for voice quality, their higher-end models are comfortable and sound great, too — especially for the price point.

Honourable mentions this week go out to Razer for their Tiamat 7.1 surround sound and Carcharias headsets. Also worth mentioning is the Creative Fatality and SoundBlaster Tactic 3D series of headsets, both of which are some of your vocal favourites.

Did your favourite not make the list? Have something to say about one of the contenders? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

This article originally appeared in Lifehacker


Comments

    I use a set of G35s and they are brilliant. Well worth the investment.

    I bought a set of Plantronics headphones a little while ago.

    They were incredibly heavy and the USB adaptor simply did not work. The voice quality would degrade rapidly and they simply were not worth the hassle.

    The Astros are nice. Use a pair myself. Didn't pay a cent though, that's all thanks to my brothers investment.

    I bought a pair of Audio-Tehnica ATH-A900's and they are the most amazing headphones i've ever used. Nothing fancy like 5.1 but they are the most comfortable i've ever used too. No matter how high I crank my sound or music they never distort on me and have some great sounding bass.

      Yeah, those are nice headphones. I have a pair of AD700's, and I've hooked it up with the Astro Mixamp to get the 5.1 emulation, which is very nice. They're not the strongest with bass, but they sound beautiful.

      They are miles above a G35, which I also use. the G35 always distorts the bass terribly, turning it into static if it's too loud. And having a USB only connection means I can't use it on my consoles. It's not garbage though, I do actually like my G35s, but they don't compare to the Audio-Technicas. That's true in general: gaming headsets don't really compare to proper headphones. Just get a clip on Mic with some proper headphones and you're all set.

    Please check the prices - many are US only, and retail in Au for about 160% of the prices mentioned (even with the AUD > USD - blame the unofficial Aus technology tax)

    Astro/SteelSeries/Platronic are all STRAIGHT GARBAGE. Poorly constructed phones from companies that are more comfortable producing over designed mice and keyboards. Do yourself a favour, and fuck those useless and chintzy brands off for something decently made and nice sounding - Sennheiser is always a good pick, but you will get way better atmospherics from an open backed headphone - something by Audio Technica or AKG will provide far better results than some bullshit from a gaming company. They will also last much longer, and the companies who sell them will actually repair them if they break, unlike anything produced by SteelSeries/Skullcandy/Dogshit.

      I knew one of your types would show up

        What, someone who knows what they are talking about?
        Do us all a favour and gtfo so the big kids can discuss this without having to listen to retarded people like you who clearly know noting about the subject matter

          100% agree. Leave the quality sound products for the manufacturers who specialize in them.

          No I mean the kind of elitist pricks who ALWAYS come into topics that even have a whiff of being "casual" "unprofessional" or "mainstream" just to let everyone know how much smarter and greater they are, oh whoopie thank you kind audiophile gods!

          Of course I know there's much better sound equipment I own sets comparable to the ones espoused by thee but at least I'd mention it with a whole lot less shit-slinging and bigotry.

      I think I'm a little on the fence with this comment. Yes, Steelseries and the like produce specialist gear (reference their keyboards/mice) however I would never invest in audio gear with "gaming" in the description at any point.
      Sennheiser HD598's for me, and couldn't be happier with the pick.
      Conversely, I wouldn't buy a keyboard from Sennheiser.

      The right tool for the right job. Too bad there's so much marketing jargon to get through.

    If anyone is after a budget headset I recommend these
    http://www.logitechshop.com.au/logitech-g330-gaming-headset.html

      +1

      I've used this set for nearly 12 months now - decent sound, comfortable fit, haven't used the mic so I'm not sure about that... great value for someone who would rather fork out on a speaker system than headphones.

    I have the steelseries siberia headphones in black and I hate them, they're really annoying to wear. They're bulky, ugly and look really stupid. But hey, they have great sound.

    The actual answer to this question is "a high quality pair of proper headphones and a desk mic". None of these headsets come close to the performance of a good proper set of cans.

      +1 'gaming' headsets are complete shit. A pair of Audio Technica ATH-AD300's and a cheap mic would kick the living shit out of anything in this list. Clearly the author has never listened to a decent cans in his life.

        EDIT: ATH-AD700's not 300's

        I use Denon AH-D2000's... although that may be somewhat out of most peoples price range :D

      I wholeheartedly agree, nothing comes close to a good proper set of cans. but whats that got to do with headphones?

    I hear buy a ATH 700AD (I think) set of cans along with a $10 seperate mic is the way to go - better sound quality for the price compared to most gaming orientated headset. Anyone tried this?

    As someone who has used a pair of DJ headphones which cost $165 for many years + a desktop microphone valued at $25 - I cannot stand the horrible sound quality and heavy bulky which comes with ANY of the "gaming" style headphones which I've tested. They sound like rubbish. Get a good pair of Audio Technica and leave it to audio professionals to make the good quality speakers instead of gimmicky peripheral manufacturers.

    Also Gizmodo did a great story a year or so ago about how a lot of headphones (like skull candy and others) come from the same factory, they just slap decals on the cheap all hell base models.

    On another related-note - I roll with Turtle Beach Earforce PX5's. They're just great!

    No surprises the Turtle Beach range didn't get a nod. I've had my X41's for just over a year and a half and they're seriously starting to crackle. Having used a better set of surround sound headphones at some stage (I don't remember the model or brand) the directionality of the sounds was far superior, although that could also have been due to them being used on a PC with a kick-arse sound card.
    My Sennheiser HD Pro 280's are starting to be used for my gaming - although there's no surround sound the overall sound quality is far superior, and that's a fair trade off in my opinion.

      Surround style audio is perfectly achievable with stereo headphones. Those 5.1/7.1 headsets are pure snake oil.

    Logitech G35's, will move to Astro's when and if the need arises.

    No surprise another useless article that doesn't even mention the Audio Technicas (AD700, A900s etc).
    Astros: ROFL, Great job on paying for some shoddy console cans, we all know the only reason people buy Astros is for the mixamp.

    I have a Platronics Gamecom 777 headset. It's very comfortable headset with good sound and nice bass. I think I got it for around $100.

      I'm a fan of my Plantronics 777s as well for a headset. They are a pretty good all-rounder for under $100. Anything audio pedants recommend is generally three times the price and doesn't have a mic. The surround simulation is pretty good too and a godsend in fps multiplayer.

        I do look funny when I see my reflection while i'm wearing them though, wouldn't wear them outside of the house.

    I am interested in getting a headset for my PC to play BF3 with, preferably compatible with a PS3 without loosing too much audio quality. Bonus points for being under $200.

    I just got some Roccat Kave's, very very good. I wanted Razer Tiamat's but they're not out here yet. PC only though, as it need 4 x 3.5m jacks and a usb port.

    A gaming headphones article with no mention of Turtle Beach? Odd.

    I have a very small head, so I find all of the above headset to be way too cumbersome for me. The most comfy one out of those mentioned had to be the PC360 though.

    If I may suggest, find a really good, comfy headphone (without mic), sound card (can be mid-low end, just need something to get the bets out of your PC) and then add either a desk mic or a clip on mic. My head, ears and wallet had never been so happy with me.

    Honourable mention for the Carcharias? lolwut! They're crap. Sound quality is average for the $$ My set had the LH driver crap itself after 2 weeks. Took another 6 weeks to get them fixed by Razer. Now my new set makes high-pitched squealing noises to all my friends on teamspeak/mumble when I flick the mic-mute switch on..
    Buy a decent set of Sennheisers or Audio Technicas, a $10 clip-on collar mic and never look back.

    With the Wii U tablet you won't have buy or wear a headset. Nor have to play around with keyboard.

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