The pandemic has significantly increased usage of most major online communication platforms since 2019, for example Zoom saw a 470 percent increase in corporate customers in just 2020. Virtual spaces are expanding at the same rate that (usually young) people continue to communicate virtually, so this increase in digital communication isn’t just limited to the old-fashioned video calls or text messages. Popular video games like Fortnite and Minecraft frequently serve as online hangouts where players can unwind and chat with friends. Ahead: The best gaming headset and buying advice.
In particular for gamers, using a gaming headset is one of the best ways to hear and be heard. I’ve used dozens of different gaming headsets as a game writer, and I’ve found them to be incredibly cozy and practical for extended gaming sessions. I’ve combined my own experience with that of a few professionals to suggest the best ones that are currently available.
What do gaming headsets entail?
An attached boom microphone is located on the left ear of the over-the-ear gaming headset. They resemble pilots of a helicopter or an airplane in terms of appearance. A great way to communicate with friends online is to use a gaming headset, which offers rich, immersive sound. A gaming headset will come in very handy for anyone who owns a home gaming console like the PlayStation 5 or Xbox Series X because most TVs won’t let you connect headphones or use a headset to communicate with friends. Gaming headphones come in first even when compared to laptops and computer monitors. Gaming headphones place a greater emphasis on communication than many other types.
The microphone quality of dedicated gaming headsets is generally better than that of a laptop or a set of [traditional] headphones, claims video game journalist Melissa King. “. Jake Rabinowitz, a software engineer and developer at PogoChamp, continued, “Most [gaming] headsets have a microphone that only picks up your voice and doesn’t pick up background noise or other people talking in the room. Jake is also my brother, full disclosure. The built-in microphones have terrible sound quality and frequently pick up a ton of ambient noise that is dispersed. “.
In 2023, the top gaming headsets
The most crucial features of any gaming headset, according to the experts we spoke with, are comfort and compatibility. A headset won’t be very useful if it is uncomfortable or doesn’t function with your system, regardless of its cost, features, or appearance. This focus on comfort and compatibility is reflected in our expert recommendations as well as my own top suggestions drawn from my use of numerous gaming headsets.
Cloud HyperX II
The HyperX Cloud IIs are one of the best pairs of the company’s gaming headsets, which are well known for HyperX. Our experts praised their ease of use, build quality, and simplicity. By far the most comfortable headset I’ve ever owned, according to Rabinowitz, is the HyperX Cloud II.I have no issues wearing them for 8 hours each day. This is especially impressive considering that most headphones are uncomfortable to wear over my glasses for an hour. “.
Additionally, our experts praised the HyperX Cloud II’s sturdy construction, praising its metal headband and lack of a garish “gamer” aesthetic. These are simple, understated headsets that you can use at work without feeling self-conscious, according to Rabinowitz. “All you have to do is plug them in, and you’re ready to go. “. Virtually all platforms, including PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch (in handheld mode), PC, and Mac, are compatible with HyperX Cloud II wired speakers. It is necessary to connect them to your computer using the included USB input rather than the 3.5mm audio jack in order to utilize their virtual surround sound.
Our experts suggested the Razer Kraken as a reasonably priced wired gaming headset option. The Kraken is one of Razer’s most recognizable gaming headset models. The company has been producing headsets for a long time.
King claims that because of its mid-range price and immersive sound, “[The Razer Kraken] strikes a good balance between price and quality. “. I .don’t even need to use the 7.1 surround sound program that came with my headset in order to get good audio quality. She continued, mentioning how comfortable the headset is, saying she can “wear the headset for hours chatting with friends and playing video games without any discomfort.
The color and design options for the Razer Kraken are numerous. Even the optional light-up kitty ear version, which adds a fun, vibrant touch, is available in the black and pink versions. The majority of consoles, including PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch (in handheld mode), PC, and Mac, are compatible with the wired Razer Kraken (non-kitty).
Arctis 9 Series from SteelSeries
Although simple connectivity is provided by wired gaming headsets, not everyone prefers to be physically tethered to their controller or computer. Here we have the SteelSeries Arctis 9, a fantastic Bluetooth and wireless gaming headset. The Arctis 9’s main benefit is its Bluetooth and wireless capabilities, which let it connect to a variety of devices and quickly switch between two devices. The sound quality of this headset really impressed me; it provides a well-balanced, immersive sound for calls, music, and games.
PC, Mac, PS5, PS4, and Bluetooth-enabled devices are all compatible with Arctis 9. The Arctis 9X version is appropriate for Xbox users and their Xbox-compatible devices.
Wireless SteelSeries Arctis 1
The cost of wireless gaming headsets is typically much higher than that of wired ones. Furthermore, wireless gaming headsets are typically incompatible with a variety of gadgets. With its wide range of device compatibility, Arctis 1 stands out from the crowd. This is due to the Arctis 1’s inclusion of a USB-C wireless dongle and a wired 3.5mm cable. I personally found the Arctis 1 to be a little less comfortable than the HyperX Cloud II, but the Arctis 1’s connectivity options and reasonable price make it a fantastic wireless option.
Arctis 1 works with PC, Mac, PS5, PS4, and Nintendo Switch via wireless dongle or 3.5mm cable, and only with Xbox Series X|S and Xbox One via wired 3.5mm cable.
How to purchase a gaming headset.
The best gaming headset for you will depend more on your individual needs than on which model is the most expensive. Before purchasing a new gaming headset, our experts advised taking the following factors into account:.
What gaming platforms do you employ?
Not all gaming headsets work with all gaming platforms. Make sure the headphones you choose are compatible with the gadgets you use most frequently before purchasing them.
King advised, “Make sure your headset is compatible with your platform.”.For instance, if you have a pc\., you might need a hub if your headphones lack an audio jack.
Ethernet or wireless?
One of the most important choices to make when purchasing a new gaming headset is whether to go wired or wireless. While wired headphones are more convenient and restrict movement, wireless headphones are more convenient and straightforward. Additionally, wired headphones are typically less expensive than wireless ones.
Wired gaming headsets were favored primarily by our experts. Overall, I’m a wired guy, said Rabinowitz. Even though some of my peripherals may be wireless, I almost always leave them plugged in because I don’t want to deal with a dead battery, a Bluetooth issue, or anything else. strange latency. “.
When buying a wireless headset, you should also be aware of compatibility problems. Some consoles “only support authorized Bluetooth headsets,” according to King. “.
Generally speaking, wired headsets are more compatible with a wider range of gaming hardware than wireless ones.
How about an independent microphone?
Many experts we spoke to mentioned that they use a separate microphone and headset (along with a suitable gaming mouse) for PC setup instead of the setup provided by gaming headsets. The Blue Yeti microphone, a well-liked stand-alone microphone renowned for its great sound and affordable price, has received recommendations from numerous experts for use with computers. Different brands, including Sennheiser and Beyerdynamic, offered varying advice on headphones. However, gaming headsets are more convenient, less expensive, and more comfortable for the majority of players, particularly those using consoles. The trouble of purchasing a microphone and headphones separately can be avoided by using a headset, according to King, if your computer lacks a microphone.