Did you hear that? A projectile just barely sideswiped the left-side of your armor from several hundred yards away. We could hear it with such precise accuracy because we’re donning one of the best PC gaming headsets around. Every step, every reach for the weapon, every act of combat is distinctly audible from all 360 degrees of area surrounding your in-game avatar.
Now, don’t get us wrong, not every headset is going to sound this painstakingly detailed, but the ones that do will spoil you. Take the first entry on our list, the Asus Centurion 7.1, and pit it against the HyperX Cloud Stinger, and the difference is night and day. However, the price difference is too. Every one of these top PC gaming headsets on our list, we feel, is worth the cost.
1. Asus ROG Centurion 7.1
10 drivers, 7.1 channels, one impeccable headset
Interface: Wired (USB) | Features: 10-driver 7.1 surround sound, dual-USB amplifier, Sonic Software compatibility, HDMI passthrough, amplifier with audio profile and channel volume controls, unidirectional microphone
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. The Asus ROG Centurion 7.1 not only bolsters full-fledged surround sound passthrough for an external set of speakers, but its set of onboard amp controls give you complete power, even if there’s a steep learning curve.
Read the full review: Asus ROG Centurion 7.1 headset
2. Razer ManO'War
7.1 audio channels, zero fuss
Interface: Wireless | Features: Software-based 7.1 surround sound, earcup-mounted controls, Chroma RGB multi-color lighting, 14-meter range (using an extender, 12 meters without)
Quick and easy to set up 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 over extended periods. And, with Chroma RGB lighting customizable through Razer Synapse, it even looks snazzy to observers.
Read the full review: Razer ManO'War
3. HyperX Cloud Alpha
Solid stereo sound tuned specifically for PC gaming
Interface: Wired (3.5mm) | Features: Dual chamber audio, removable cable and microphone
There’s a common misconception the best PC gaming headsets have to cost a fortune. That’s fortunately untrue of the HyperX Cloud Alpha, which presents a compelling design along with impressive mid-range sound. The added dual-chamber drivers are a feat for audio quality that doesn’t break the bank, minus the distortion that usually haunts headphones at this price. Better yet, the sonorous bass will put any first-person shooter, not to mention Skrillex, to the test.
4. Turtle Beach XO Three
Virtualized surround sound made affordable
Interface: Wired (3.5mm) | Features: 50mm drivers, Windows Sonic compatibility, detachable microphone boom, volume wheel, microphone mute slider
Although it’s designed to be used for the Xbox One, Windows users can take solace in the fact that the Turtle Beach XO Three is compatible with any PC sporting a single jack for both mic input and headset output or a PC splitter cable. In spite of this minor caveat, the XO Three is a steal for the price, especially considering its use of 50mm sound drivers. What’s more, it even supports Windows Sonic for 3D surround sound.
5. V-MODA Crossfade Wireless
Stylish with powerful bass-driven tones
Interface: Wireless or wired (USB) | Features: Bluetooth connectivity, built-in microphone (Boom Microphone available for gamers), lithium-ion battery with up to 12 hours of continuous music, dual-diaphragm 50mm driver, metal construction with leather, military-level MID-STD-810 tested
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, the V-MODA Crossfade Wireless is comfy and spacious too, what with its memory foam earcups.
Read the full review: V-MODA Crossfade Wireless
6. Astro A50 Wireless
The best general use headset just got better
Interface: Wireless | Features: Dolby Digital 7.1 surround sound; Works with PS4, Xbox One, Xbox 360, PS3, PC, and mobile; Astro Audio; 5.8GHz wireless tech with MixAmp; 6.0mm uni-directional noise cancelling mic; USB charging with base station
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. Not only is it ready to rock with your PC, but with PS4, Xbox One and legacy consoles as well – a headset that’s robust and versatile.
7. SteelSeries Siberia 840
A fantastic all-rounder
Interface: Wireless or wired | Features: Closed back earcups, Dolby virtual 7.1 surround sound, retractable directional mic with mute indicating light, two hot-swappable Li-Ion batteries, SoundShare audio recording, click wheel, memory foam ear cushions, compatibility with Xbox 360, PS3/4, PC/Mac, Apple TV/Roku, home entertainment and mobile devices
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.
8. Turtle Beach 350 Stealth VR
The best gaming headset for virtual reality
Interface: Wired (3.5mm) | Features: Battery-powered amplification (30 hours on a single charge), variable bass boost, full-range audio, mic monitoring, removable noise-cancelling microphone, ergonomic VR design. swappable cable system
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.
9. SteelSeries Arctis
High performance with a low profile
Interface: Wireless or wired (3.5mm) | Features: 2.4GHz wireless technology (Arctis 7 only); 15-hour battery; built-in digital audio control; Virtual 7.1 Surround Sound; Steelseries Engine software, Compatible with PC, Mac PS4, Xbox One, smartphones, tablets and VR
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 a Dorito stain on your chair. The customizable lighting gives you plenty of wiggle room, too, in case the whole monochrome look isn’t your thing.
10. HyperX Cloud Stinger
Better sound for the buck
Interface: 3.5mm analog wired | Features: Closed back earcups, swiveling noise-cancellation microphone, onboard volume slider, multi-platform compatibility, memory foam earcups
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 the red on black plastic design isn’t much to write home about, this headset’s 50mm directional drivers grace it with superb stereo sound. That goes without mentioning the noise-cancelling mic, which aims to keep background noise from hindering your game sessions.
11. Sennheiser GSP 350
Stellar Sennheiser audio quality for less
Interface: 3.5mm and USB (for 7.1 surround) | Features: Closed acoustic earcups, memory foam ear pads, right ear cup volume control, 7.1 Dolby surround sound, broadcast quality noise-cancelling microphone, automatic mic mute, split headband design
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. Brandishing a closed-back design and toting a noise-cancelling microphone that mutes breathing sounds by default, 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 you’ve been holding out for.
12. Logitech G933 Artemis Spectrum
A command center on your head
Interface: Wireless or wired (3.5mm) | Features: 7.1 surround sound, cup-mounted G-keys (macro), programmable RGB mutli-color lighting
Logitech's flagship G933 Artemis Spectrum gaming headset can be recognized by its cup-mounted G-keys that provide handy shortcuts to performing actions in-game. And, if you're fed up of round ear-cups on headsets then you'll appreciate its large and comfortable ear-shaped ones. The multi-colored lighting strip running all the way down the ear-shaped cup is merely icing on the cake.
13. Corsair Void RGB
Lights up the room and your ears
Interface: Wireless or wired (USB) | Features: 7.1 software-based surround sound, 2.4GHz wireless, 40-feet wireless range, 16-hour battery life, mic-on indicator, RGB lighting, Corsair CUE software, 50mm neodymium drivers, noise-cancelling microphone
Capable of exuding first-pumping bass that’s powerful without muddying the mix, the Corsair Void RGB is a near-perfect blend of style and function, letting you 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, the Corsair Void RGB bears a wireless range of up to 40 meters, making it a solid and affordable option for surround sound gaming.
14. HyperX Cloud Revolver
Affordable and comfortable with punchy bass
Interface: Wired (dual 3.5mm) | Features: 53mm drivers, ear cup memory foam, noise-cancellation mic, audio volume and mute controls, detachable microphone
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 memory foam cups help block out unwanted noise, and the retractable mic allows clear and distortion-free communication with teammates. With 53mm drivers designed for punchy mid-tones and pounding bass, this headset comes highly recommended.
15. Turtle Beach Elite Pro
Like kicking back on your favorite comfy couch
Interface: Wireless or wired (3.5mm) | Features: 3.5mm upstream and downstream jack, 50mm drivers, memory foam earpads, glasses relief system, optional tournament audio controller, standard microphone included
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. 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.
Gabe Carey has also contributed to this article
- Put your audio quality to the test in the best PC games