When you build one of the best gaming PCs, you might spend a lot of time thinking about all the ways you can get better visuals, higher resolutions and ever-higher framerates. But what about audio? One of the first thing many system builders will overlook is the sound quality of their PC – even though gaming is so much more immersive and enjoyable when you have one of the best PC gaming headsets.
We have been fortunate enough to be able to get our hands one a wide variety of exciting and inventive headsets over the last year or so, and while many of the best PC gaming headsets will be wireless with full surround capability, there are still plenty of more affordable options. Don’t fall into that perennial trap of buying more expensive tech for no reason. All of the best PC gaming headsets will strike a balance between quality, price and aesthetic. Bar none.
Regardless of any other features, it should be obvious that great sound quality is absolutely the most important thing even the best gaming headset needs. A headset can have all the fanciest features in the world, but if it doesn’t sound good, then it’s a waste of your time and money – period. That’s why we’ve tested a swathe for your information below.
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
Eschewing any traditional rules of fashion, the ROG Centurion 7.1 is a beautiful headset regardless. Even if it’s a genuine pain to get going, this excellent PC gaming headset features both surprising style and a knack for emitting extremely clear sound. The Asus ROG Centurion 7.1’s onboard amp controls give you complete control over this bombastic sound, and this beast can even bolster its already amazing sound through a passthrough to an external set of speakers. Really, this thing is great.
Read the full review: Asus ROG Centurion 7.1 headset
2. Creative Sound BlasterX H7 Tournament Edition
Improving a perfect formula
Interface: Wired (USB and Analog) | Features: 50mm drivers, reinforced steel and aluminum build, detachable and flexible mic
Over the years, Creative has made a name for itself to be trusted when it comes to audio products – and the Creative Sound BlasterX H7 Tournament edition further cements that legacy. Rather than just sitting and iterating on the winning formula of its previous products, Creative took the Sound BlasterX H7 and completely changed it up, creating a headset that looks as good as it sounds. If you’re looking for a comfortable, sturdy and deep-sounding headset, the Creative Sound BlasterX H7 Tournament Edition, especially at such a low price, is one of the best PC gaming headsets money can buy in 2018.
Read the full review: Creative Sound BlasterX H7 Tournament Edition
3. HyperX Cloud Flight
The longest lasting wireless gaming headset
Interface: : Wireless | Features: Long-lasting battery life, durable, adjustable steel slider, PC and PS4 compatibility, detachable noise-cancellation microphone
The HyperX Cloud Flight is a long-lasting wireless gaming headset packed with up to 30 hours of battery life. This means you can potentially get two full days of gaming in between charges. However, there is a catch – unlike the Cloud Flight’s competition in the Astro A20, the HyperX Cloud Flight only offers stereo sound, foregoing any surround sound implementation. You can thankfully get around it by messing around with the Dolby Access app, however, and the sound profile is balanced enough to make this a non-issue.
Read the full review: HyperX Cloud Flight
- This product is only available in the US and UK at the time of this writing. Australian readers: check out a fine alternative in the Turtle Beach XO Three
4. 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
5. 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.
Read the full review: HyperX Cloud Alpha
6. 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.
7. SteelSeries Arctis 7
Grind in comfort
Interface: : Wireless | Features: : 40mm drivers, DTS Headphone:X 7.1 surround sound, 20-hour battery life
SteelSeries has a storied reputation among the best PC gaming headsets, and the Arctis 7 only proves to continue it. Boasting a shockingly long battery life and extreme comfort, this headset will appeal especially to anyone who plays a lot of MMOs, where comfort reigns supreme over long play sessions. The sound quality is also worth noting here – as its neutral sound signature means that even audiophiles will be happy with it, even if the bass is a little weak.
Read the full review: SteelSeries Arctis 7
8. 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.
9. 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.
10. SteelSeries Arctis 5
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 5 continues this trend by flaunting sound quality and comfort over gaudy appearances. When you pop an Arctis 5 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.
11. 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.
12. 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.
13. 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.
14. 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.
Gabe Carey has also contributed to this article
- Put your audio quality to the test in the best PC games