Happy new year everyone! There’s no better way to start off your 2018 than with some new gaming headphones. So today, I bring you a new and updated headphones list.
Please note that while reading this, that the term “the best” depends on what the goal is. The best budget headphones won’t be as good as top end ones, but they are still the best on a budget, and so on. Also, I don’t believe there is a true “best” anymore. It just comes down to what you personally want in your headphones.
Minimum Budget – Logitech G430
The Logitech G430 are the ultimate budget gaming headphones. They have quality 7.1 virtual surround sound, a fold up microphone, and a comfortable design, which is a lot for budget headphones. They have an all plastic design, but this isn’t really bad as it keeps the weight low, which helps with comfort. It also uses soft cloth ear cups which are much more breathable than leather. This helps prevent your ears from getting all hot and sweaty during long gaming sessions.
Pros- High comfort, good sound, low cost
Low Budget Premium Feel – Hyper X Cloud 2
The Hyper X Cloud 2 have been praised as one of the best budget gaming headsets for a long time, and were my first gaming headphones. They feature quality sound with build in 7.1 virtual surround, an aluminum frame, soft memory foam padding, two different removable earcups, a detachable microphone, and a USB dongle. The surround sound, microphone, and volumes are all toggle via the USB dongle attached to the cable. The ear cups are interchangeable between possibly fake but quality feeling leather, and cloth. The leather blocks outside sounds very well, while the cloth is much more breathable which keeps your head cooler over long gaming sessions. One of the only real downsides to these headphones is that they are more heavy than plastic headphones, which may reduce the comfort for some users.
Pros- High build quality, descent sound and microphone, relatively comfortable.
High Comfort + Wireless(7’s) – Steelseries Arctis 5/7
The Steelseries Arctis give extreme comfort while still having good performance. The Arctis 5 are wired, while the 7 are wireless, and have an aluminum band. Everything else important is the same. One of the main features is that they have a dual headband system, which distributes pressure very well over the top of your head. I find this more comfortable than the standard headphones design. They have 7.1 virtual surround sound, retractable microphones, an all plastic construction, and cloth covered memory foam ear cups.
One nice perk of the Arctis is that they have software to be used with the headphones. In the software you can turn on the surround sound, and have EQ preset customization. To some people this isn’t very important, but for things like music it is a very nice perk that shouldn’t be overlooked. Also, the Arctis have some RGB lighting. This is extremely unimportant, but is a nice perk if you have a RGB gaming setup. The retractable microphone doesnt win any awards, but it is perfectly good for being built into the headphones. Lastly, on the cable you can adjust the game and voice volumes.
The Arctis 7 have the option to be wireless and have a max battery life of 24 hours. They can also be plugged in like the 5’s to charge or be used wired.
The only true downside to the Arctis is that the earcups are relatively shallow, so if you have big ears and sensitive ears, you may get discomfort from your ears pressing against the inside of the ear cups. Otherwise, they are extremely good headphones for the money.
Pros- Good microphone, Good software, Good sound quality
Cons-Not good if you have big ears, detracts from the otherwise great comfort
Wireless Alternative – Razer Thresher 7.1
The Razer Thresher headphones are also a quality pair of wireless headphones. They are heavier than the Arctis, but have a much higher quality feeling build. The weight isn’t something you need to worry about anyway, because they have an excellent dual band system like the Steelseries Siberia 650’s, which helps to distribute the weight very well. Combined with nice memory foam and leatherette ear cups, it gives a very high level of comfort for those long gaming sessions.
Besides build quality and comfort, the sound quality is great. You don’t have any different EQ settings to use, just surround on and off, but it gives high quality balanced sound that is good for all applications. The surround sound is also very good and enables you to hear directions while gaming very well.
You can easily control your volumes with the small dials on the bottom of each ear cup. On the right you can mute and turn up your volume, and on the left you can adjust your voice volume, and mute your microphone.
The microphone isn’t the best but its still very acceptable for online gaming. Its a little bit worse than the Arctis, but the Arctis have a very good microphone for gaming headset standards. The Battery life is also only 16 hours, but thats still easily enough for most people. They can be charged by plugging in a micro use, which is possible to do with wearing them.
For the most premium experience you can upgrade to the Ultimate version, which comes with a stand. Its probobly not really worth the extra 100 dollars but it does have its pros. You can easily enable and disable surround sound with the push of a button, itr has the ability to use a optical cable, can be used to switch between pc and ps4 easier, has a USB slot, and looks nice on your desk. Definitely isn’t a requirement, but if you have the extra money to spend for maximum quality is definitely worth going for.
Pros- Excellent comfort and build quality, Good sound, Wireless
Cons- Microphone is just ok. No software for customization
Thresher 7.1 on Amazon – for Ultimate click to switch the size from 7.1 to Ultimate 7.1
High End- Sennheiser Game One / PC373d
Sennheiser is a premium audio brand, not a gaming brand. so when they make headphones you know they are going to be quality. I’m listing the Game One and the PC373d because they are both extremely similar and worth going for. The difference is that the Game One are stereo and you need to make them surround yourself while (with a sound card or your motherboard) while the PC373d have it built in via USB dongle. For audiophiles its said that Game Ones and your own surround are better but to most, the PC373d are just fine.
Build wise, they are both extremely light high quality plastic, that bend over breaking, so you don’t need to worry about them randomly breaking like some cheap plastic headphones. As I’ve said before on the other plastic headphones, lightness is a big comfort factor. They have soft velvet ear cups, which let your ears breathe well preventing them from getting all hot and sweaty. These don’t really block out sound though, but that isn’t really a con. some people want sound blocking but others don’t, so its just preference. They overall give a comfortable experience great for long gaming sessions.
The main thing about these is the sound quality. They give audiophile tier sound quality in a pair of gaming headphones. The downloadable software can be used to chose between a few fixed EQ presets and turning surround on and off, which can also be done on the USB dongle. I personally prefer the ability to customize my EQ presets, but this ensures that your EQ presets are quality.
The other important factor to these headphones are the microphone. It is easily one of the best microphones you can get built into a headset. It might not be this little thing that folds into your ear cup when not in use, but the performance is phenomenal. When not in use, it can be folded up, which clicks in to place and mutes the microphone. If you are or want to be a streamer, the microphone is good enough, where the other headphones it is generally recommended that you get a separate microphone.
Pros- Excellent Sound quality, Excellent microphone
cons- Only good but not fantastic comfort, limited software customization
Overall I don’t believe there’s truly a “best” pair of gaming headphones. It all just comes down to what you need and your preference. If you have any questions or comments feel free to comment below and thanks for reading.