There’s an abundance of gaming headsets on the market, and it can be daunting to find one that’s high quality and fits your preferences. It’s also difficult to test everything that’s out there. Fortunately, we gathered a handful of the latest wired and wireless headsets and did a lot of the work for you.
We tested the sound quality through a variety of methods. We used Naturespace to get a feel for soundstage–depth and direction of sound–and played through Battlefield 1 missions and a round of competitive Counter-Strike Global Offensive (CSGO) for in-game impressions. We also listened to a range of high bit-rate music ranging from loud punk rock to bass-heavy trap rap to modern orchestral scores. Microphone quality was tested by recording voice in Audacity. Comfort can only be evaluated based on an hour of use.
Before we jump into our roundup, let’s go over some audio terminology:
Highs: High-frequency sounds, also known as treble. This can include soprano vocals, crashing cymbals, high-pitched synths in music.
Mids: Mid-frequency sounds. There’s a wide range of what’s considered mid-frequency, from spoken word, gunshots, and footsteps for games to rhythm guitar, tenor vocals, and snare drums in music.
Lows: Low-frequency sound, also known as bass. In games, bass will add a weighty feel to explosions and gunfire. Bass drums, bass guitar, and baritone vocals will be richer in music.
Sub-bass: Sub-bass is a lower-frequency bass. It can often be used to supplement rumble within a game environment. This can be very hard to detect without proper audio equipment.
Soundstage: Soundstage refers to the location of sound. It encompasses the direction and distance of sound effects. Games like Battlefield 1 and CSGO benefit greatly from good soundstage, helping players detect footsteps of approaching enemies and gunfire from specific locations.
Virtual 7.1 Surround: Most headsets only have two audio drivers and have to rely on virtual 7.1 surround sound to simulate more full audio experience. Virtual surround makes it feel as if audio is happening around you, rather than being sent at you.