If you type the words best gaming headphones in any search engine, the number of offers and options that appear can drive you crazy. There are hundreds of models, each with its own characteristics. Also, what qualities make some simple headsets become suitable for gaming? We will mark a series of requirements, in terms of form, style, and manufacturing quality, to determine which are the best gaming headsets that are currently available.
The selection of a gaming headset is a decision that takes crucial analysis and thought. If mistakenly one buys those bulky uncomfortable ones that do not last a week it will be a great disappointment.
The headphones are classified, according to their design and structure with respect to their, acoustic behavior. We have open, closed, with noise cancellation, semi-open, and so on. Let’s look at some of the types.
The open headphones are those that do not isolate the external noise but also lets out much of the sound they emit. They are the favorites of audiophiles and lovers of absolute quality because although they cancel part of the noise, they also let out the frequencies that stand out and generate a good balance. Open headphones usually produce better sound—but at the expense of sound passing through the cups.
The closed ones are the opposite of open headphones, isolating both the external sound and the internal sound outwards. closed headphones isolate you from the noise around you (and keep others from hearing your music) They are ideal for outdoor, recording studios, but exhaust to the ear for long periods, due to some windy effect that generates pressure in the ears.
The noise-canceling headphones incorporate a technology, an active noise cancellation driver, and the semi-open headphones are one of the most common on the market, due to their versatile condition. They have light grooves in their exterior design where they let loose the excesses of bass or treble.
For a gamer, the logical option would be semi-open headphones
Assuming that a gamer plays at home, the logical option would be semi-open headphones, allowing a little breathing in the ear and being comfortable during long play sessions.
That said, let’s go now to the form and the design. They could be classified into 4 large groups:
Over the ear, On the ear, IEM and button-type.
Over the ear headphones: Covering the entire ear, leaning on both the auditory pavilion and the head, with thick and padded headbands for comfort. It is common to find them with Hi-Fi equipment.
On-ear headphones: They rest on the ear. Supraaural are the ones where the pad sits on top of the ear. These include the wrap around ones and the kind of dinky ones you used to get with a Walkman or portable CD player.
IEM, or in-ear monitor, are inserted directly into the ear canal, isolated from outside noise and providing a very rich sound even with really small pavilion sizes. They are ideal in radio environments, as a monitor for live musicians and to use them doing sports activities.
Button Type is the ones that would be similar to the IEMs, inserting themselves superficially. Some have an extension for the ear canal itself and others rely on the design of the ear to create a kind of clamp. They are historically the most popular and the most economical to build, but they require a high-quality construction to offer good sound quality.
How to buy the right headphone?
Headband: comfort above
Many players complain about this key element. The diadem is the bridge that connects the two pavilions, subject to right and left. It is, together with the cables themselves, the most suffering part of the handset. What is required in this case is that it should incorporate a padding that mitigates pressure on the head, a breathable fabric to prevent sweating and provide a comfortable hold, with different points to regulate both the width of the earmuffs and the height of the bridge. If, on the other hand, we cannot support them, we can always resort to intraaural or button headphones.
Microphone: total communication
Later we will see a series of gaming headphones. All include a microphone. Why? It is obvious: the microphone is a key element in the online game ecosystem. Whether in private or anonymous games, to lead a war squad in ‘ The Division ‘ or sending demons to hell in ‘ Doom ‘, both available in both PC and next-generation consoles, the headset is very essential.
We must therefore make sure that the microphone incorporates a foam antipop to avoid the air blows that generate syllables such as ‘p’ and ‘b’ when you speak and place it vertically when we do not use it, or even power disassemble it, to reduce the total weight of the headset when we decide to do without it.
Connections: with or without cables?
In this new generation of gaming consoles, the Xbox One (not the first model but the one that has been manufactured in 2015), Wii U, PS4, any tablet, PC or even the audio output of many monitors, will have an audio interface. You will recognize it by the 3.5mm jack connection. Some years ago it was known that the headphones that were connected via Bluetooth suffered a significant loss of quality in the resulting sound, due to the limitations of streaming, causing delays in the response, and a loss of synchronization with the microphone.
At present, these problems are practically overcome. In addition, wireless headphones allow greater mobility and comfort when traveling or playing. Hence, most manufacturers opt for wireless models.
A couple of technical notes
To have a basic notion about all those numbers and terms that appear at the foot of the description, here are some notes about them.
Sensitivity: this determines the power emitted by the speaker of the headset. It is measured in decibels. In gaming headphones, the standard is between 95 and 120dB.
Frequency: this value refers to the range that the handset emits within the audible spectrum. A human ear perceives approximately 20 Hertz to 20,000. In that frequency band we hear everything, so the headset must cover, at least, that field.
Impedance: this value is more difficult to explain. It refers to the capacity of resistance that the headphones have to the reactance or in other words the dynamic tolerance that a loudspeaker has to support greater or lesser power. If your tolerance is very low, it will overload and behave abnormally, vibrating and making noise. The standard value is 32 ohms, but ideally, headphones with large dynamic impedance up to 60ohm.
Drivers: this word especially mentioned among gaming headphones for a simple reason: to generate good bass, a realistic effect of shots, bombs, and roars, we need a wide woofer and, therefore, a diaphragm of 40mm or larger. The driver refers to the headset’s core. All the elements must be built around its width, its mass, and its values.
Taking into account these data nobody is going to become an expert overnight. But by being guided by the ear and with a little experience, it is easy to establish a good understanding of the different types of headphones. Now it is time for the common names of the brands and models that you will find in your pursuit of searching the best headphones for gaming. Here, we will list the best gaming headphones sorted according to price. These are the best value to price headphones in each segment so that you don’t have to look further.
Best gaming headphones from 30 to 100 dollars
In this first price range, we have two classics. First of all we have the Logitech G430, a headphone that offers surround sound Dolby 7.1. Due to its “seniority” which is almost three years in the market, it is easy to get hold of it for a third of the original price. They are wired, but they do not have any problems with the sound clarity. Its cable has a length of 2.3 meters making it ideal for any distance.
You also have to remember that they have full compatibility with Windows, PlayStation, Xbox and Steam. With less than 300g of weight, they are really lightweight headphones, comfortable thanks to their padding, with noise cancellation in the microphone and completely closed, to listen without any disturbance from the outside noise.
On the other side of the court, we have a fierce competitor. The Turtle Beach Ear Force X12, which is a wide headphone, circumaural, with a sensitivity of 120 dB, enhancement in low and a cable of almost 5 meters, with USB power. Its great enemy is its own power, making additional noise and reflecting a power that sometimes gets out of control. It is not a subtle headphone, but battle, in every way. With some posts, you will feel that you have the war on you.
If we continue climbing a bit on the scale we will find the Creative Sound Blaster Tactic3D Rage v2.0 . Closed, wireless, with up to 16 hours of backup, these headphones from the Singapore company offer good value for money for tight budgets. You just have to look at their EVO series.
Finally, the HyperX Cloud II. This circumaural headset includes a series of characteristics typical of high ranges: the range of frequencies is from 15 Hz to 25KHz, mute microphone since you do not listen when speaking and includes remote control to suppress channel audio – internal DSP card to amplify and adjust a 7.1 surround sound, and a fully removable microphone with TeamSpeak Certificate and is ideal for messaging clients such as Skype, Mumble or Ventrilo.
It has a USB cable and also has full compatibility with all consoles on the market and weighs 272 grams.
Best gaming headphones from 100 to 200 dollars
Here we start with the Razer Kraken 7.1 Chroma. It is about 5.1 but emulates 7.1 thanks to its ‘Razer Synapse’ software, achieving a very reliable 360-degree effect. Like closed headphones, the sound is compact and really impressive, despite not having a large diaphragm. It is generally a good quality object, with a good built quality and weighs, without counting the USB cable, 340 grams.
Mad Catz, the prestigious brand of peripherals, also has efficient models in this segment. Their Tritton Katana includes all the technological innovations inherited from the Tritton 720+ and take them to a whole new level.
Let’s go with a couple of technical data: 50mm drivers, frequency response from 20 Hz to 5kHz, higher than average, rechargeable battery with 20 hours of backup, a software to equalize, full compatibility with any console and PC although in Xbox 360 it does not emit to 7.1, but in stereo and function SVM (Selectable Voice Monitoring) to avoid our tendency of speaking too loud with our headphones on, filtering our own voice through the channel. The Katana does not walk with half measures: It emits a wide and clean sound, rich in nuances, ideal for playing and for whatever we want.
Finally, the Steel Series Siberia 650. It may not be aesthetically pleasing but have impressive power, crystal clear sound, with a virtual surround sound Dolby 7.1.
Let us now move to the top range. If any of the previous headphones does not convince you, you will definitely find what you are looking for in this price bracket. We started with the Sennheiser PC 363D , from the reputed German manufacturer. These headphones bring studio sound to gaming, thanks to the EAR technology which gives a true 3D surround effect, with a frequency range of 15 to 28,000 Hz. Its weight is almost 300 grams and is adapted to the quality of its materials, with high-density velvet pads and a padded headband which is very pleasant to the touch.
Next is the Razer Tiamat which can be gotten for practically the same price, with very similar characteristics – USB connection, closed circumaural, positional Dolby 7.1 sound, with 5 drivers for each ear and the ability to cancel the surrounding noise. They are the logical evolution of the Kraken, ideal for users who want to scale from one model to another without going down in terms of the specifications.
Beware because here we are already approaching 300 dollars price bracket. The on the ear V-MODA Crossfade , is an excellent choice. Used both by audiophiles and sound specialists. The only headphones not designed for gaming that I add for their performance and their numbers: frequency response of 5 to 30,000Hz, a sensitivity of 103 dB, although they yield about 120dB and a microphone that picks up every last nuance of the voice.
The ‘Astro Gaming A40 TR’ is one of the best existing headphones on the market
And we closed this guide with the multi-award winning Astro Gaming A40 TR . As you can see in the image, it is about headphones that look elegant and sober. But the important thing is what’s inside, which is its amazing performance, allowing you to equalize and listen to the channels according to your wishes, for example, the audio of the PS4 while we talk on Skype from the PC, without delays with a band frequency of 5.8GHz and an analog volume control that can be controlled remotely using a remote control. It also has a very efficient microphone.
It is a perfect headphone for a true gaming experience, for example, strolling through the villages of Novigrad in the game ‘ The Witcher III ‘ with these monsters at the forefront is an incomparable sensory experience.
We left out a handful of brands, like Roccat or Asus. We do not have special consideration for any of the above brands and the selection is purely based on performance tests. So you know, if you want good gaming headphones, with professional and satisfying performance, here are a handful of alternatives.