The Best gaming headphones For 2020 -buy Guide and Reviews
The Best gaming headphones For 2020
HyperX Cloud II - Gaming Headset
Every headset and pair of headphones has a different tuning and will perform better or worse compared to other headphones in certain areas. If you like a powerful, bassy tuning, then the HyperX Cloud II might be a great choice for you. These headphones use a 53mm driver to get excellent frequency response, especially in the lower end.
The sound produced by these headphones is clear and strong. It uses a USB audio sound card to drive more power through the drivers than typical headphones that use a 3.5mm jack. This also produces a cleaner signal most of the time, resulting in clearer audio. These headphones also boast 7.1 surround sound capability.
Much like the previous HyperX headset we looked at, the Cloud II has a detachable microphone. This makes them great for gaming at home and taking with you on the go for listening to music out of the house with the mic removed.
The microphone produces reasonably good audio, and can be easily adjusted or muted with the inline controls. While it might not be good enough for streaming, your friends in Discord or teammates in game will be able to understand you.
The Cloud II is also comfortable with two sets of detachable ear pads included. One option is a faux leather memory foam, while the other option is a soft velour material.
SteelSeries Arctis Pro High Fidelity Gaming Headset
With a classy aesthetic and a stunning sound, SteelSeries’ latest headset is the stuff of aural legend. With its several input options, great virtual surround sound, comfort and control accessibility, it’s a gamer’s dream.
There’s only one word for the Arctis Pro + GameDAC’s design: elegance. While its biggest competitors seem to all be designing the most ambitious-looking, gamers’ headsets, it’s bringing it all back down to earth with a simple, minimalist and no fluff design.
SteelSeries once again opts for a classy, matte look and an ergonomic design. Its steel headband boasts a gunmetal finish with a padded underside. The swiveling ear cups flaunt removable plates with a coat soft touch paint and athletics-inspired Airweave cushions.
It also has a secondary headband that’s similar to a self-adjusting ski goggle suspension band, which traces the wearer’s head for a perfect fit.
Of course, users can replace the headband and magnetic earcup covers for something a little more interesting, which we ourselves opted for and you can see our customized headset below.
You can wear these puppies for a long time without hurting your head and ears. Additionally, because of the removable headband and the removable ear cups, you easily get away from the typical black color scheme and personalize yours with its own line of accessories that come in different colors and designs.
To give it that gamer’s look, LED lights run around the fringe of the ear cups and you can customize using the GameDAC. The mic, which twists in any direction and easily pushes into the left ear cup when not in use, has its own LED light that glows when muted.
There is one minor detail that we’re on the fence about: the placement of the mute button and the volume dial. They’re both located in the back of the left ear cup, soyou kinda have to retrain yourself when adjusting the volume if you’re a rightie. The upside is, you won’t have to take your hand off the mouse in the middle of a game to do so.
The Arctis Pro’s best feature is its digital to analog audio converter designed specifically for gaming. . While most gaming consoles and PCs have their own built-in converters, the Arctis Pro’s included GameDAC will override them as it offers higher quality audio performance.
As an extra perk, it also has its own amplifier circuit. We noticed that this feature doesn’t necessarily give the headset a punchier sound than its competitors. However, it does help deliver extremely low distortion at even the highest output levels.
This GameDAC, ergonomically speaking, feels kind of in the way. Like an anchor it’s big, bulky,heavy and requires a USB power source. So you’ll never be able to just take the whole Arctis Pro setup and plug it into a phone to get the best audio it can deliver.. But it’s another minor detail we can overlook, especially because of its capabilities.
It has its own OLED screen display, which allows you to adjust the volume, EQ curve, input, the Sidetone (how much you hear of yourself while talking on the mic), LED colors, and the ChatMix (the balance between in game and chat audio) without going through a software. It also allows you to turn the DTS on or off with a press of a button to toggle virtual surround sound.
The GameDAC boasts a 3.5mm audio jack, USB, and optical audio ports for input. This flexibility of numerous input options essentially addresses one of Arctis 7’s main flaws. This new model can be hooked up to the PS4 and the Xbox One using an optical cable, which allows for a more controlled and a slightly more detailed sound than the USB, for high-res audio without the need for the DTS boost.
One thing to keep in mind is that the when using GameDAC has a maximum volume limiter. When you’re going analog instead of using the GameDAC, the headphones are much louder.
The GameDAC comes with a built-in limiter because of an international regulation, but luckily you can easily go into the setting to turn off the safety feature if you so choose. (We can’t promise you won’t damage your ears if you do though)
As far as sound goes, Arctis Pro is a majestic siren. Its sound performance is of the audiophile variety, whether you choose to go analog or digital.
In fact, these headset is so good there’s not much difference between the analog and the digital inputs. Analog audio might not but as detailed, but it still sounds fantastic. That says a lot about this unit’s sound quality.
Not to say that Arctis Pro is faultless. It’s soundstage, for example, isn’t as wide as some top headsets in the market—Creative’s Sound BlasterX H7 Tournament Edition, for example, has an even more impressive one. Still, it has a very good stereo image and every sound seems to come from the right place. However, the distances of the different elements in a game are not as palpable as they are with the H7.
By extension, H7’s wider soundstage makes its virtual surround sound more natural; but not by much. Arctis Pro’s virtual surround sound is pretty convincing , making up for another one of Arctis 7’s shortcomings. While playing Hitman, we could hear voices passing and from behind us; with Dishonored 2, we could hear the guards running up to us before we even see them.
Does the DTS button on the GameDAC improve it? In our tests, it doesn’t really improve this existing 360-degree audio image; at least not in an obvious way. It does, however, act as a compression feature with a high-mid bump that pushes voices to the forefront, makes music sound better, and helps with modern movies with terrible sound mixing.
Still, it all boils down to the sound.
This gaming headset produces an impressive EQ frequency curve. There are no weird bumps in the highs, mids and lows. There are no cuts so whether you’re gaming or listening to music, you won’t feel like there’s something missing. The bass is not overwhelming either (though if you really want to, it can be pushed up through the EQ).
The result is a beautiful, well-balanced sound that’s almost worthy of adulation.
Sure, we might appreciate a lower price tag. But paying $249 for a gaming headset of this caliber is something we can easily live with.
As gaming headsets go, the Arctis Pro + GameDAC is shoo-in for audiophiles and gamers with a taste for nuanced sound. SteelSeries obviously took notice of Arctis 7’s missing features and slapped those on to what it does best – headsets that produce exquisite sound, basically sealing Arctis Pro’s fate as a top contender in the gaming sound devices market.
With the Arctis Pro +GameDAC, you’re not just getting a sleek, comfortable design, input flexibility, and a GameDAC that puts control at your fingertips and offer a dedicated, better quality converter. Most importantly, you’re getting mind-blowing sound worthy of audiophile worship.
How to Pick the Best Gaming Headset For Your Needs
There are a nearly limitless number of factors you could look at when considering what headset might be best for you. However, for simplicity’s sake we’ve narrowed it down to a few main factors.
Sound Quality & Frequency Response
The first and probably most obvious factor to consider is how they sound. While every pair of headphones are tuned differently, one good way to separate the best gaming headphones from the crowd is by looking at the frequency response.
Frequency response is simply a measurement of the range of frequencies a given headset is capable of producing where the first number represents the deepest bass frequency and the second number represents the highest frequency.
Humans can generally hear sounds within the range of 20Hz all the way up to 20kHz, so you likely won’t find any headsets with frequency responses narrower than that; although, there are many that have ranges broader than that. A wider frequency response has two benefits.
First, they will be able to produce sounds within the range of human hearing much more easily and accurately. Headphones with a wide frequency range will avoid the tell tale crackle that lower end headphones have when they are struggling to produce heavy bass or high pitch noises.
Secondly, while you may not be able to literally hear very low or very high frequencies, you can certainly feel them. A headset that can produce sub-bass noises below 20Hz will make explosions and gunfire in games feel distinctly punchier and more visceral.
The second factor many people will consider is comfort. Unfortunately, this is largely subjective. For instance, if you have small ears, you are less likely to have over-ear headphone cups actually resting on part of your ear.
Likewise, a person with a larger head might find the “one size fits all band” to be too tight even when adjusted to the max setting. Fortunately, there are some things we can tell you to look for.
Most people will find the most comfortable gaming headsets to be ones that use memory foam padding. This material is perfect for headphones and is able to retain its shape and softness for years. The Sennheiser GSP 300s and the Corsair Void Pros both use memory foam padding. Both of these headsets also use breathable fabric to keep you cool under pressure.
Moreover, you’ll want to look out for weight, since most people feel that it correlates closely to long term comfort. Usually around 12 oz is a nice sweet spot. Notably, this is the weight of the headset that I use (and about the weight of the editor’s headphones, as well).
Microphone quality can also be hard to quantify as every microphone is very different and will make every sound different. That being said, if you’re looking for the best mic possible and want crystal clear sound, the Sennheiser GSP 300 is the best headset for the job. Sennheiser has a long history making audio equipment, and they put that history to good use with this headset.
The final thing that most people will want to consider is whether the headset they’re planning to purchase has surround sound. Surround sound can be incredibly important while gaming.
Most games these days, especially competitive shooters, have very precise directional sound coded into the engine of the game. These sound cues can give you vital information as to which direction an enemy is coming from, and where they are moving.
Many of the best PC headphones on this list boast Dolby 7.1 or THX 7.1 surround capability. The Corsair Void Pros and Logitech G933 Artemis Spectrums have very strong directional sound with Dolby 7.1 while the Razer headphones on our list use THX 5.1 or 7.1 surround depending on the settings you configure.