There was a time when gaming headsets were cheap tacky things that universally offered compromised audio quality. But thanks to stellar work from big-name companies including, Razer, Sennheiser, Asus, SteelSeries and Corsair, some of them are actually pretty good these days.
Many now offer a variety of different features that can actually help improve performance. Highlights include things like surround sound, improved chat mics and drastically improved audio quality.
But with an increasing number of technical terms to get your head around, and many devices carrying extortionate price tags, knowing which is right model for you can be a difficult and costly endeavour.
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This is our favourite gaming headset. Why? Because it’s everything a good headset should be. It’s remarkably comfortable to wear thanks to a clever self-adjusting band and they sound great.
We roundup the latest models, and explain the jargon, so you can pick the right one for your needs. Also make sure to check out our below buying guide to find which type of gaming headset is best for you.
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What type of headset should you buy?
Analogue headsets: These use one or more 3.5mm headphone jacks to transmit audio to and from the headset, and are often universally compatible with PCs, consoles and mobile devices. The sound quality will rely on your individual device however, and they won’t support surround sound out of the box. Keep in mind that on PCs with separate mic and headphone jacks, you’ll need a splitter. Some headsets will come with one, but not all. Check before you buy and pop one in your basket if you need one.
Digital headsets: Featuring an integrated DAC (digital-to-analogue converter), digital headsets offer cleaner sound, higher volumes and software integration. USB-connected headsets will work on PC/Macs and PlayStation consoles, while optical-based headsets will work with Xbox and PlayStation consoles, plus PCs with optical ports either on the motherboard, internal sound card or USB sound card.
Wireless headsets: Using a transmitter that’s connected to your PC or console, wireless headsets offer hassle-free gaming audio. However, they do require charging, are often heavier, and cost more than their wired counterparts. Check compatibility with your console of choice, as not all wireless headsets support all consoles.
Virtual Surround Audio: Headsets using stereo drivers can recreate multi-positional audio to deliver a surround sound effect into your ears. The advantage is that the headset remains cheaper and lighter than those using multiple drivers, but the effect is usually less accurate than a ‘true’ surround headset.
‘True’ Surround Audio: For the most authentic surround sound, you’ll be after a headset with multiple drivers in each earcup. Each speaker fires sound from different placements, with the user placed in the centre of the action. They’re often quite pricey, though, and the extra speakers require a larger and heavier design.
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