The world isn't suffering from a dearth of headsets. Whether you're on a budget or the sky's the limit, the fact remains that there's probably a headset with your name on it. Of course, even if you were the worst hip hop artist known to man you'd literally have headphones with your name on them. But that's besides the point.
Choosing a gaming headset however can often be a daunting task. If you own an Xbox 360 AND a PS3 do you want a headset that works with both? What if you also want to use it with your tablet, cell phone and mobile gaming system? What if you game on your PC or Mac when traveling? How is a gamer supposed to make heads or tails of this sordid mess?
Whether you're a console gamer, a PC gamer, or like us, you'll play games on anything that happens to be in front of you, we break down the best gaming headsets currently on the market.
Did we miss your favorite gaming headset? If so, let us know in the comments and we'll be sure to give 'em a test drive.
Astro Gaming A50
At $300, the Astro A50 is a big investment. That's roughly what an Xbox 360 or a PS3 costs these days! Still, we would recommend these pricey cans to anyone with multiple consoles in their home, or someone who likes to game on PC as well as enjoy stereo sound in their living room.
When going between different devices, the plugging and unplugging can get tiresome, but it's worth it. The A50s provide high quality sound and relative ease of use with a lot of different devices. They provide phenomenal in-game sound, handle team chat adequately, and are good enough for enjoying movies or music.
We heartily recommend the Astro A50 to any gamer who wants a powerful, versatile headset. It offers excellent sound fidelity and mixing, and being able to use it on a PC, Mac, Xbox 360 or PS3 makes it worth the money. While going between multiple devices will always be an annoyance of plugging and syncing, the A50 provides sound quality that's worth the trouble.
If you game exclusively on the Xbox 360, you might prefer the Tritton Warhead 7.1 headset, which is better integrated with Microsoft's console than the A50 is with any single device. At the end of the day, however, we prefer a more versatile, jack-of-all-trades headset to an exclusive one, especially at this price point.
Tritton Warhead 7.1
With its sleek design, 5.8GHz frequency and exclusive Xbox 360 compatibility, the Tritton Warhead 7.1 Wireless Surround Headset is for a gamer who wants a wireless audio solution they'll rarely need to think about. It delivers a great surround sound mix without annoying static or interference from other devices, and the two high capacity batteries ensure that you're always ready to play.
You can find a 360 headset with crisper audio than the Warhead, but you'd be hard pressed to find one with a wider mix, or a more reliable wireless connection. Having no receiver or cord plugged into the controller is a real luxury, but it's one you'll be paying well for.
If it had more versatile applications, like gaming on the PC or watching Blu-Rays on the PS3, it would be a better value. Still, it plays so nicely with the Xbox 360 we can almost forgive it for being a single console headset.
All in all, the Tritton Warhead is for gamers who will pay for wireless reliability at the cost of versatility and true audio fidelity. It's a great way to experience Gears of War 3 with friends online, just don't expect it to be the centerpiece of your home theatre setup.
Sony Pulse Wireless Headset: Elite Edition
Until recently wireless audio for the Xbox 360 has always required...well...wires. Not so with the PlayStation 3. If there's one thing Sony did right it was designing their flagship console in such a way that it was compatible with any Bluetooth headset. That said, gamers wanna look like gamers and not all Bluetooth headsets are built the same.
As a $150 wireless headset, the Pulse offers fine sound quality at a reasonable price. We especially liked how well it integrated with our PS3. Having the unit's battery life and mix settings displayed at the ready with just a press of the PS button is very convenient and makes for a nicely integrated experience. We also appreciated the hidden mic, which makes it a more compact device we'd never feel awkward wearing.
Simply put, the Sony Pulse Wireless Headset: Elite Edition is a great headset. If you're a PS3 gamer that's in the market for an affordable wireless headset that also works with a portable device, you'll be pleased with this unit. That said, if you're a multiplatform gamer your needs will be better met by a more versatile product like the Astro A50.