Setting out on a mission to find the very best gaming headsets was a daunting task. There are a multitude of options out there - wired, wireless, closed and open cup designs, stereo and surround sound headsets, oval and round earcups, leather and material finishes, the list goes on and on.

A lot of what makes a great gaming headset will be down to personal preference, but what we were looking for was a product that struck a perfect balance between quality of design, value for money and features that gamers would love. To create this shortlist, we worked through a mass of PC gaming headsets (many of which are also compatible with consoles) to whittle down to a list of finalists that we're sure you'll love. 

If you're looking for the best gaming headset for your money, then keep with us as we break down the very best we've seen and the reasons why you should consider adding them to your shortlist. 

Index
• Overall best surround sound gaming headset
• Best and most versatile wireless gaming headset
• The most comfortable wireless gaming headset
• Best headset for pro gamers
• Best affordable wireless surround sound headset
• Most stylish gaming headset
• Best high-fidelity gaming headset
• Others to consider

Overall best surround sound gaming headset

Pocket-lintAsus Strix True Surround Sounnd Gaming Headset image 7

Asus Strix 7.1 "True" surround sound headset

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When it comes to getting the best surround sound experience for gaming, there's no real substitute for a proper speaker setup with seven (or more) speakers and a subwoofer correctly positioned to deliver sound from the right direction at the right time. Virtual surround sound headsets do a reasonably good job as an affordable alternative, but what if you want closer to the real thing without clogging up your room with speakers and cables?

That's where so-called "true" surround headsets come in. These headsets are designed with multiple drivers to deliver a more realistic experience than that offered by the virtual ones which often just work with two (left and right) drivers. There aren't many true surround sound headsets about, but the Asus Strix 7.1 is one of them and it's the best from what we've seen. 

Design, comfort and sound quality

  • 10 discrete drivers including 40 mm front drivers, 40 mm subwoofer, 30 mm centre, 20 mm side, 20 mm rear
  • 32 Ohm impedance
  • 20 - 20000 Hz frequency response
  • Three-metre braided cable
  • Breathable protein leather ear cushions
  • Foldable earcups 

The Asus Strix 7.1 headset is a gaming peripheral with a strong focus on quality and a big, bold design. This is a monster piece of kit, as you'd expect for a headset at this price point. The design is robust, strong and flexible. This is a big headset that sits nicely on the head, clamping tightly, yet comfortably to your ears to give you an enveloping audio experience whatever you're doing. 

Large breathable protein leather ear cushions ensure a comfortable fit and an all-encompassing sound. This is not an active noise-cancelling headset, but the design does work well to block out external noise and ensure you're fully immersed in the games you're playing. 

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The highlight is the 10 audio drivers tucked out-of-sight within the ear cups that deliver a superb surround sound experience and the closest we've seen to a proper setup.

Long braided audio cables and a neat control box help maintain the comfort and prevent issues with short cables tugging on your ears while you game. It's also great to have quick and easy access to a range of settings within reach of your hands without needing to dive into separate software. 

Software and setup

  • Headphone amplifier/control box
  • Audio spectrum for first-person shooters, racing and action/role-playing games 
  • ENC microphone
Pocket-lintAsus Strix True Surround Sounnd Gaming Headset image 11

This headset is powered by the headphone amplifier control box that sits neatly on your desk. This little box of tricks is the hub for the audio and allows you to easily change between settings, adjust volume and even tweak lighting on-the-fly. It acts as the sound card and works to process the surround sound audio to deliver the accurate audio experience you'd expect from a headset of this quality. 

The headset connects to the control box through then out to your gaming PC with two USB cables, both of which need to be plugged in to properly power the audio experience and lighting. This box also allows you to switch between audio spectrum profiles which adjust the surround sound experience to suit the game you're playing. 

The twist of a dial allows you to change the volume of the channels, adjust your mic sensitivity levels or adjust the surround sound profile to suit your preference the game you're playing. You can easily mute the microphone or turn surround sound on or off here too. There are also cables supplied to allow you to connect to speakers too, should you need or want to. This allows the option to switch between speakers and headphones when the need arises and demonstrates just how flexible this setup is. 

The control box also houses a small subtle microphone which is used to enhance the environmental noise cancelling of the mic. Asus claims up to 90 per cent noise cancellation from this setup, meaning people you're playing with won't hear the washing machine in the background or the click-clack of your mechanical keyboard. 

Thanks to the power of the control box, the Asus Strix 7.1 headset does not require separate software (though you can update drivers via the company's website) which makes it a lot easier to use as everything you need is right at your fingertips and easy to access. 

Setup, therefore, is as easy as plug and play. After a little tweaking to get things just how you want them, you're ready to enjoy an impressive gaming experience with an audio quality like no other. 

Gaming specifications

  • "True" 7.1 surround sound 
  • Static and breathing light effects
  • Dedicated volume controls and easy-access settings
Pocket-lintAsus Strix True Surround Sounnd Gaming Headset image 3

The true surround sound experience you get with the Asus Strix 7.1 headset is undeniably superb. Being able to switch profiles according to the game you're playing and adjust volumes on-the-fly is really useful when you're gaming. Positional audio is superior to that offered by lesser headsets and by those virtual surround sound headsets out there. 

The headset design includes glowing Strix owl eyes. These can either bit set to static, breathing or off, depending on your preference. This lighting is impressive and unusual, it's also very much the Asus flavour and we like it, but if you don't it's easy to turn off. After all, you're more likely interested in the sound than the looks of the headset you're using. 

Microphone quality and design features

  • Unidirectional detachable microphone
  • 50 - 16000 Hz frequency response
  • -40 dB sensitivity 
  • Environmental noise cancelling

The Asus Strix 7.1 headset features a detachable microphone which allows you to use it with or without a mic depending on your preference. This is a bendable and flexible microphone that doesn't get in the way during use and offers a clear audio experience. 

During testing, we found the Asus Strix 7.1 headset capable of offering an excellent communication experience across a range of software including Discord, Slack, Skype and more. It works as well for in-game VOIP as it does for calls with colleagues or friends. The quality of this audio is backed by the environmental noise cancelling which is managed by the microphone on the control box. This reduces the interference from other noise in the environment such as key presses or white noise that might interfere with your broadcast. 

Verdict

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After a great deal of testing, we're of the opinion that the Asus Strix 7.1 headset is the best surround sound gaming headset that money can buy. 

We also tested and compared with the Asus ROG Centurion, which is the flagship model and theoretically the new and improved version but found some issues with the microphone on some models which caused serious communication issues. Asus offer settings recommendations and tweaks for improving that quality, but we found that even then it didn't compare with the Asus Strix 7.1.  

The Asus Strix 7.1 offers a fantastic surround sound experience with "true" surround sound delivered from 10 drivers that is as close to the proper surround sound experience as you're going to get without actually buying a full speaker setup. The quality of the audio is superb whatever you're doing and we found this headset to be comfortable even after hours and hours of wear. 

The design might not be for everyone, as it's far from understated, but this headset is a testament to the old adage "you get what you pay for". 

Microphone performance is excellent, as is the experience delivered by the flexible control box and it's refreshing not to have to worry about setting up and configuring software. If you can stretch to it, we'd highly recommend considering this headset as your next purchase.

Best and most versatile wireless gaming headset

Pocket-lintSteelSeries Arctis Pro Wireless image 2

SteelSeries Arctis Pro Wireless 

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If you don't immediately baulk at the price, then the SteelSeries Arctis Pro Wireless is quite possibly the very best wireless gaming headset currently available. It's certainly an incredibly versatile piece of kit. Like the SteelSeries Siberia 800 which it seemingly replaces, this headset is capable of cross-platform support for use on PlayStation, PC and even mobile devices. 

It has a variety of inputs including optical and USB for PC that allow you to take advantage of the Dolby audio and DTS virtual surround sound processing power inside the transmitter box. Built-in Bluetooth and an understated design mean it can also be taken with you out of the house in place of standard headphones. 

Design, comfort and sound quality

  • 10–40,000 Hz frequency response
  • 40mm Neodymium drivers
  • 102 dB SPL sensitivity/32Ohm impedance
  • Ski Goggle headband and AirWeave material earcups
  • 20-hour battery life via swappable batteries
  • 2.4Ghz wireless and Bluetooth 4.1 support

The SteelSeries Arctis Pro Wireless is the current flagship of the SteelSeries range. The design is immediately familiar as part of the Arctis range too. It features the same AirWeave cushion ear cups and Ski Goggle style headband as the other devices we've seen. The result is a comfortable and adjustable fit that sits nicely on the head. 

This headset features an incredibly versatile design. It's wireless, but it can be plugged in with accompanying wires too - there's an audio cable for smartphones and a MicroUSB connection for PC as well. Optical in and out, as well as USB and 3.5mm jack connections, allow for a variety of different connections easily. 

2.4Ghz wireless ensures a solid connection during use when you're connected to and in range of the transmitter box. The benefit of the Artics Pro Wireless is that control box too - there's no software required, it's all done with a turn of a dial and the press of a button. You have access to a multitude of settings with ease without the need to load and up faff about with software. 

Pocket-lintSteelSeries Arctis Pro Wireless image 4

This little box sits neatly on your desk and gives you easy access to volume controls and a range of settings. It also holds a spare battery which is on charge when not in use and can be easily swapped with the battery in the earcup of the headset itself when the juice is running low. Meaning you never need to be plugged in if you don't want to be. 

The SteelSeries Arctis Pro Wireless also supports Bluetooth 4.1 connections, meaning it can be quickly and easily paired with any Bluetooth device. We comfortably used it on a laptop and mobile phone to listen to music and watch YouTube when we were away from our main machine. 

As well as being able to easily connect to Bluetooth devices, you can easily control it from the box. As an example, we connected the headset to a laptop we had for testing via Bluetooth and volume could not only be controlled from the box (not plugged into the laptop) but the headset itself and the laptop.

This is a brilliant headset for using in this way, as it's not only great for tunes but also supports Bluetooth calls thanks to the built-in retractable microphone. 

The result of this design is a superb audio quality that includes deep bass notes, a wide audio range and an excellent surround sound quality. We found this headset to joy to use when watching films, playing games and listening to music in equal measure.

The SteelSeries Arctis Pro Wireless is not a noise cancelling headset by nature. We did, however, find that the snug design eliminated a lot of external noise and made for a comfortable audio experience throughout the day and into the small hours of the night. It also is one of the only headsets where we've felt the need to use sidetone to be able to hear our own voice when we're talking to avoid shouting. 

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Software and setup

  • Dedicated transmitter/control box
  • SteelSeries Engine 3 compatible
  • Equaliser pre-sets, Game/ChatMix, surround sound controls 

Thanks to the powerful box of tricks hidden within the transmitter, the SteelSeries Arctis Pro Wireless doesn't require any pesky additional software to be installed on your PC. It is, however, compatible with SteelSeries Engine 3, which means you can set it up in there and we'd recommend doing so as it also allows to update the firmware of both the transmitter and the headset when you need to. 

Within the settings on the transmitter is a number of options including an equaliser, the ability to change input methods, adjust volumes and turn Dolby processing on and off. 

You can also adjust the "Chat Mix" which basically allows you to change the volume levels of the games you're playing compared to those from any chat programs you're using (Discord, Mumble, Teamspeak and the like). This sort of flexibility allows you to easily set up the audio quality and volumes to match your personal preference. 

Initial setup and pairing with the transmitter box is a breeze and there's an easy to use on/off button on the headset itself to save battery life. There's no need to pair every time you turn your machine on either. 

A highlight of this new headset is the improvements SteelSeries has made to the controls. You can now access the settings via the headset itself by pushing the volume wheel in. This allows you to switch between modes to adjust Chat Mix, equaliser and source on the fly without touching the control box at all. 

Volume control can also be adjusted all the way up and down too, which wasn't possible on lesser headsets we'd tested. 

Pocket-lintSteelSeries Arctis Pro Wireless image 6

Gaming specifications

  • DTS Headphone: X v2.0 surround sound/Dolby audio via optical input
  • Optical and USB inputs
  • Compatible with PC and PS4 (all variants)
  • ChatMix on-the-fly adjustment
  • 40-foot wireless range

The best wireless gaming needs to be accurate, long-lasting and easy to use. We found the sound quality of the SteelSeries Arctis Pro Wireless to be lag free and accurate, offering an interference-free audio experience that was a pleasure to use during any gaming session. 

One compromise of the design here is the SteelSeries Arctis Pro Wireless isn't Hi-Res certified like the SteelSeries Arctis Pro + GameDAC we've listed elsewhere in this guide. It is, however, still capable of producing a 40,000 Hz frequency response and does include DTS Headphone: X v2.0 surround sound processing. 

We found the result is an impressive sound experience. Not quite as good as the high-fidelity offering of the other headset, but with the freedom and comfort of wireless, it's a compromise we're willing to make. 

The SteelSeries Arctis Pro Wireless uses 1,000mAh Lithium-ion batteries that SteelSeries claims is capable of 10 hours playback before recharging is necessary. That's 10 hours per battery. The fact there's always one on charge means you barely notice the minor inconvenience of swapping them when you need to. There's no need to plug this headset in when juice is getting low, which is a usual nag of wireless devices. 

Wireless range is clearly another important factor when considering your wireless headset purchase. SteelSeries says the Arctis Pro Wireless is capable of around 12 metres/40 foot range, but in real-world use, we found it was a touch less. It is, however, not significantly less and it's certainly enough to pop to the kitchen for a drink or to the bathroom for a comfort break.

We're happy to report that the quality of the sound and performance of this headset is first-rate. We found no issues with lag or latency problems and, as we've already said, the sound quality is superb. Gaming audio over 2.4Ghz wireless is rich and immersive. 

Microphone quality and design features

  • Bi-directional noise cancelling
  • Retractable microphone with mic mute light
  • -38 dBV/PA sensitivity
  • 100–10,000 Hz frequency response
  • 2200 Ohm impedance

If you're an avid gamer, then you're likely playing online with friends, whether in multiplayer or co-op games or facing off against a range of people from across the world. A good microphone is key to a good quality gaming experience and a lacklustre mic will be your undoing in the more tactical games you might be playing.  

The microphone on the SteelSeries Arctis Pro Wireless is as capable as it is flexible. It bends easily to suit your preference and will quickly retract into the headset ear cup if you aren't using it and want it tucked neatly out of the way. This is ideal if you want to use the headset as headphones while out and about and don't want everyone to know you're a gamer. 

There's a good frequency response and sensitivity level here that results in a superb quality microphone that's great for chatting to friends or goading enemy players. An easily accessible mic mute button on the back of the headset makes it simple to silence the mic when you need to and a bright red LED light will let you know when it's done too. 

Pocket-lintSteelSeries Arctis Pro Wireless image 1

Verdict

The SteelSeries Arctis Pro Wireless is an expensive option if you're considering it as a potential gaming headset, but you do get what you pay for.

This is a marvellously comfortable wireless headset with a variety of inputs, features and functionality that deliver a superb sound quality whatever you're doing and whatever gaming system you're playing on. 

One of the biggest highlights to this headset in our mind is the fact you can connect to it both wirelessly and with Bluetooth at the same time. This means you can connect your phone and PC at the same time, so when you're dead and spectating in an FPS game just stuck watching your teammates, you can watch and listen to YouTube videos on your phone without having to take the headset off. Really neat!

It's also surprisingly versatile and we loved being able to take it with us to use in place of headphones or to easily connect to other devices without having to disconnect and reconnect the transmitter box. The SteelSeries Arctis Pro Wireless certainly does it all and it does it well too. 

The most comfortable wireless gaming headset

Pocket-lintAstro A50 Gen 4 wireless gaming headset image 9

Astro A50 wireless gen 4

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If comfort is top of your list when it comes to purchasing a gaming headset, then look no further. After all, there's nothing worse than a gaming headset that sounds great but leaves your ears aching, sweating or feeling squashed after a good gaming session. 

Astro has recently updated its flagship gaming headset with a new generation for 2019. It features a few minor tweaks to an already awesome bit of kit that's well worth considering. We loved the gen 3 version of this headset and gen 4 is even better. 

Design, comfort and sound quality

  • Open Air Over-Ear design
  • Cloth ear cushions upgradable to leather
  • 40mm Neodymium Magnet drivers
  • 20Hz - 20,000Hz Frequency Response
  • Tuned Astro Audio V2
  • Two years free access to Dolby Atmos
  • Game/voice balance button 

It might not look like it at first glance, but the Astro A50 wireless is an uber-comfortable gaming headset. It features velour style cloth ear cushions, that are large and comfortable enough to fit nicely over your ears. We found that these were like having small puffs of heavenly goodness resting on your head. 

It's built with a lightweight, ultra-quiet and flexible frame that's a pleasure to wear for hours and hours. 

The drivers too, are covered in the same ultra-soft material which means there's a gentle and comfortable pressure on all parts of your ears during use. Similarly, a padded headband ensures a light and comfortable fit. The size can be easily adjusted too - making this headset more than capable of coping with larger noggins. The earcups on this headset nicely turn and twist to suit the shape of your head and it sits perfectly too. 

Pocket-lintAstro A50 Gen 4 wireless gaming headset image 16

Of course being a wireless headset, the Astro A50 also benefits from the freedom from cables you'll love. It supports 5GHz wireless and has large drivers capable of delivering an excellent frequency response. In real terms, this means you get a low-latency and accurate audio experience that's perfect for gaming and other listening too. 

We found the Astro A50 is able to deliver a fantastic sound quality and though not high-res, still full of deep bass notes and impressively convincing surround sound.

When not in use, this headset is simply docked into the charging base which connects to your computer via MicroUSB for power and audio. It then charges via convection with the small metallic connectors on the bottom of the earcups. 

The new Astro A50 features tuned Astro Audio V2 - new and improved sound equalisation and delivery. The A50 gen 4 comes with Dolby Audio too as well as an included two-year licence for Dolby Atmos that works on both PC and Xbox One. 

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Software and setup

  • Optical Pass-through, USB Power & Soundcard, USB Charging Port, AUX In / Mic out (TRRS 3.5mm) inputs via basestation
  • Compatible with Astro Gaming Command Center

The headset works with Astro Command Center which allows for easy control of various settings - including three main equaliser presets that can be changed on-the-fly with a button on the headset itself. These can also be tweaked in the advanced settings of the software until your heart is content.

Pocket-lintAstro A50 Gen 4 wireless gaming headset image 12

The microphone too, can be adjusted to your personal preference. Adjusting both noise-cancellation to account for the environment (home vs a tournament arena for example) or simply changing the equaliser to adjust your tone. If you like hearing your own voice, you can adjust sidetone levels here too.

Another highlight to the Astro A50 wireless gen 4 is the voice/game balance function. A button on the right earcup allows you to adjust audio one way or another, so you can either hear more of the game or more of your friends in Discord. 

Pocket-lintAstro A50 Gen 4 wireless gaming headset image 14

Gaming specifications

  • Dolby virtual audio and Dolby Atmos
  • Up to 15-hours battery life
  • Up to 30ft wireless range 

After using the previous generation of this headset, we weren't surprised with how capable this new version is. The range is fantastic and it's great in any situation. Whether listening to music, streaming videos or playing games with your pals, the A50 wireless delivers a crisp and encompassing sound that's a joy to the ears. 

It supports virtual Dolby audio with a simple press of a button on the headset and there's an audible beep to let you know when this has been turned on and off as well as a small indicator light on the charging base too. Alternatively, you can make use of Windows sonic sound or Dolby Atmos. There's plenty of audio options to ensure your ears are as happy as you noggin will be. 

This headset also boasts a 15-hour battery life and convenient convection charging via the accompanying base station. We found we were able to get a full day's use out of this headset on a regular basis without any need for extra juice. Listening to Spotify during working hours and then gaming at night, the Astro A50 just keeps going and going.

A battery indicator light on the dock lets you know how much juice you have left and also highlights when the headset is in charging mode. 

In gameplay, the headset is just as convincing and capable. It delivers brilliant audio with an impressive virtual surround sound experience that you'd expect at this price point.  

Pocket-lintAstro A50 Gen 4 wireless gaming headset image 18

Microphone quality and design features

  • 6mm uni-directional noise-cancelling microphone
  • Flip-to-mute functionality

The microphone on the Astro A50 is a pleasure to use. It has deep and warm tones and manages to cancel out a fair amount of the surrounding environmental noise during use. It can be tweaked and customised in the software and adjusted to your personal preference. 

We liked the sidetone capabilities here that allow you to hear your own voice and gauge volume with ease. 

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Verdict

The Astro A50 isn't necessarily the best gaming headset on our list. It is, however, undoubtedly the most comfortable. It's also convenient, capable and brilliantly designed. It's easy to pick up and use and equally easy to drop in the charging dock when you need to. 

We were rarely left wanting when using this headset and would happily recommend it to anyone who is looking for a gaming headset that delivers constant comfort throughout the day.  

We loved the rich sounds, the ultra-comfortable earcups and the brilliant design of this headset and can't recommend it enough. It might be pricey, but it's well worth every penny. 

Best headset for pro gamers

Pocket-lintAstro A40 TR with mix amp image 5

Astro A40 TR with MixAmp Pro TR

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If you're serious about sound and your gaming, then the Astro A40 Tournament Ready edition might well be for you.

Like the Astro A50, the A40 is an insanely comfortable gaming headset with plenty of awesome features. This is a wired headset though, that comes with a MixAmp which acts as the control box that sits on your desk and hooks up to your gaming machine. 

Things get interesting with the addition of this MixAmp as it includes several features you won't see elsewhere.

One of these is the inclusion of a daisy chain connection that allows you to connect multiple Astro A40 TR headsets together for a local voice network. This is ideal for eSports gamers, teams or even LAN parties. There's also a stream port that allows you to pick and choose the audio people are hearing when you're streaming to Twitch or another service. 

Pocket-lintAstro A40 TR with mix amp image 2

Design, comfort and sound quality

  • Dynamic, Open 40mm drivers
  • 20 - 20,000 Hz frequency response
  • 48 kHz @ 16-bit game audio/16 kHz @ 16-Bit
  • Cloth ear cushions upgradable to leather
  • Tuned Astro Audio V2
  • Two years free access to Dolby Atmos
  • Game/voice balance button

The Astro A40 TR is an undeniably brilliant gaming headset. It's snazzy, comfortable and packed full of great sound possibilities. We really like the velour-style earcups on this headset and the overall comfort of its design that makes it great to wear for hours and hours. 

The A40 uses 40mm dynamic drivers backed by Astro's Tuned Audio V2. The sound offered by this headset is rich and impressive. The inclusion of Dolby virtual surround sound means positional audio is great in-game and you can hear footsteps of your enemies or the rumble of a car in the distance with ease. 

There's also a free two-year licence in the box that gives you access to Dolby Atmos on PC or Xbox One. So there's no end of choice when it comes to audio settings. 

Another thing we like about the Astro A40 is the option to upgrade with the additional purchase of the mod kit. This kit includes noise-cancelling faux-leather earcups, a padded headband, custom colour speaker tags and a voice-isolating microphone.

This upgrade not only allows you to customise the look and feel of the headset (different colours are available) but also improves the sound by blocking out more external noise and enhancing the microphone too. 

Pocket-lintAstro A40 TR with mix amp image 12

Software and setup

  • Optical Pass-through, USB 2.0 Full Speed and USB Audio 1.0, Aux port line in/out
  • Xbox One/PC compatibility switch
  • Four customisable EQ modes

The Astro A40 TR connects to the MixAmp Pro TR and then to your PC. You simply connect the MicroUSB cable (and optical cable if you so wish) to your PC, plug the headset into the MixAmp and you're away.

There are options for 3.5mm auxilary inputs, the daisy chain connection and a custom streaming output too but even the basic setup is dead simple. 

The MixAmp control box gives you access to four different EQ settings that are tunable within the Astro Command Center. With a quick click of a button, you can switch between them with ease. Another button lets you switch between Dolby virtual surround sound and Astro Tuned audio in a flash too. 

The highlight of the MixAmp for us though, is the easy access to both the volume wheel and the voice/game balance dial. With this wheel, you can quickly and easily highlight either your friend's conversation with you or drop the volumes on them down to nothing if you need to hear something urgently in-game. 

Pocket-lintAstro A40 TR with mix amp image 11

Gaming specifications

  • Dolby virtual surround sound
  • Optional Dolby Atmos
  • 3-metre Micro-USB and Optical cables
  • Detachable 3.5mm audio cable

The Astro A40 boasts some brilliantly long connectivity cables. It has 3-metre long Micro-USB and Optical cables to connect the MixAmp to your PC and another 2-metre cable to connect to the headset from the MixAmp. This is great because it means you have plenty of length to run the control box to your desk and won't find yourself snagged or tugged on constantly. 

The detachable headset cable is a 3.5mm jack as well, which means if you want to you can remove it from the MixAmp and use it with your mobile or on your laptop without having to unplug everything. 

For gaming, the Astro A40 delivers a really rich and impressive sound. Backed by Dolby, it gives a fantastic spatial surround sound experience too but also sounds great when used for music, watching films and more. 

Pocket-lintAstro A40 TR with mix amp image 14

Microphone quality and design features

  • 6.0mm Uni-directional boom microphone
  • Optional voice isolating upgrade 
  • Sidetone and noise gate settings in software

The Astro A40's microphone is designed with pro gamers in mind. This means it's not only capable of capturing excellent quality audio but also is customisable within the Command Centre software. You have various settings there to adjust both the sidetone levels and the noise gate settings. 

If you're gaming at home in a peaceful environment then you can use low settings to make the most of voice capture, but if you're in a loud stadium then the high-end noise gate settings will ensure all other sounds are blocked out. 

With the TR mod kit, things get more serious with an improved noise-isolating microphone. 

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Verdict

If you're looking for a serious headset that's as useful in an eSports arena as it is at home, then the Astro A40 TR might well be it. It's comfortable to wear, fantastic to hear and easy on the eye too. 

The customisation options of the A40 also mean you can make it your own with different colour mod kits or just the addition of themed speaker tags

This is almost certainly a great purchase and well worth considering. 

Best affordable wireless surround sound headset

Pocket-lintSteelSeries Arctis 1 review image 7

SteelSeries Arctis 1 Wireless

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If you're the sort of gamer that likes to play on a multitude of different devices, then you might find the Arctis 1 wireless highly appealing.

This is a wireless gaming headset that not only works on PC, but is also compatible with PS4, Nintendo Switch and even your phone. You get all those connectivity options, plus the great sound of the Arctis range at a pretty incredible price. 

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Design, comfort and sound quality

  • 40mm drivers
  • 20-20,000 Hz frequency response
  • 32 Ohms  impedance
  • SteelSeries classic cushion design

The SteelSeries Arctis 1 is immediately familiar as it sports a similar design to other headsets from the Arctis range that we've seen before. It has a similar earcup design, the same cushioning and even the same high-performance drivers as the Artics 7. 

The build quality isn't quite as good as others we've seen and instead of the usual ski-goggle headband the Arctis 1 has a steel-reinforced headband with padding. This looks like a lower quality but is actually easier to adjust and more comfortable too. 

The design highlight of the Arctis 1 though, is the connectivity options. For PC gaming, you can either plug in via Micro-USB (which also doubles as the charging cable) or use the ultra-low latency USB-C wireless dongle. That same dongle plugs into all sorts of other devices too - laptops, Android smartphones, the Nintendo Switch and even the PS4 (via an accompanying converter cable). For other devices, there's also a 3.5mm jack that you can plug into as well. 

The USB-C dongle is capable of transmitting 2.4GHzwireless audio over a 30-foot range for up to 20 hours. It can also reach up to 20,000Hz in terms of frequency response which in practice results in clear and rich audio thanks to the high-quality drivers. 

The design of this headset also includes a detachable microphone, mic mute button and volume controls on the left ear cup and more. One highlight that isn't immediately obvious is the power button also doubles as a media control key. A single press with play/pause audio, double press for skip, triple for rewind. If you're making calls on your phone via the headset, you can also use that button to answer or end the call as well. 

An extendable headband, turnable earcups and removable earpads are also bonus features. Alas, the Acrtis 1 is not as customisable as the other Arctis headsets. You cannot swap the external covers on the headset or change the headband, but these are minor gripes. 

Pocket-lintSteelSeries Arctis 1 review image 14

Software and setup

  • Wireless and wired options via MicroUSB and USB-C dongle
  • MicroUSB charging cable 
  • 3.5mm jack
  • Equaliser pre-sets, mic volume/sidetone settings

Like other SteelSeries products, the Arctis 1 is compatible with the SteelSeries Engine software. From within that, you can choose from various equaliser pre-sets or tweak the sound to your personal preference including adjusting dynamic range compression. There's also mic volume and sidetone options in here, but it is worth noting that the Artics 1 does not support virtual surround sound like other headsets on this list. 

Nonetheless, the USB-C wireless dongle ensures a solid and instant connection and even the default sound settings are pleasant on the ears and have a great range to them. For listening to music, watching films or gaming, the Arctis 1 is an excellent all-rounder. 

Pocket-lintSteelSeries Arctis 1 review image 5

Gaming specifications

  • 9-metre/30-foot wireless range
  • 2.4GHz wireless
  • Approximately 20 hours battery life

The Arctis 1 wireless boasts the same drivers as the Arctis 7 headset and that's no bad thing. These are capable drivers that deliver a rich, deep and convincing sound. 

Despite the lack of Dolby or DTS surround sound options, this headset sounds great in game. It's crisp for audio via Discord and is surprisingly capable in a range of different games. Whether you're a fan of racing games, beat 'em ups or shooters, you won't find wanting with the Arctis 1, especially at this price point. 

Pocket-lintSteelSeries Arctis 1 review image 13

Microphone quality and design features

  • Bidirectional Noise-Cancelling
  • 100-6,500Hz frequency response
  • Detachable design
  • Mic mute button on the rear

The Arctis 1 wireless features a reasonably capable microphone. It's meant to be noise cancelling, but does appear to pick up a small amount of environmental noise. It is, however, usable for both gaming and calls on your phone, which is nifty. 

You can also detach it when you don't need it and if you're going to use the headset as headphones when you're out of the house then this is a great design addition. 

The mic is also easy to bend in a variety of directions to get it closer to your mouth or out of the way when you're not using it. 

The software allows you to adjust sidetone settings, so you can hear your own voice, which is great as this headset blocks out a fair amount of external sound. You can also adjust the volume of the mic, but nothing else. 

1/16Pocket-lint

Verdict

We're thoroughly impressed with the Arctis 1. It's an affordable, comfortable and feature-packed headset that's well worth considering. If you want a headset that can connect to multiple devices, has a decent battery life and still has good audio too then this is it.

There's no Bluetooth, but the USB-C wireless dongle is multi-capable and a great alternative. If you've been eyeing the likes of the Arctis Pro Wireless but were put off by the price, then this headset is the one for you. 

Most stylish gaming headset

Pocket-lintRazer Kraken V2 Mercury White image 4

Razer Kraken 7.1 V2 Mercury White

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If style and looks matter to you and you're bored of the same old boring black headsets then the Razer Kraken 7.1 V2 in Mercury White is worth a look. This headset is strikingly beautiful, especially when combined with the other Mercury White products Razer has to offer. This unusual design might be an appeal in itself, but we wanted to see if it also stood up against the competition. 

Design, comfort and sound quality

  • 50mm Neodymium drivers
  • 12 Hz – 28 kHz frequency response
  • 32 Ohm impedance
  • 123 dB sensitivity 
  • Oval or round ear cushion options

The Razer Kraken 7.1 V2 is, as you might have gathered from the name, the second version of this headset. It's also another surround sound headset from Razer that offers an excellent audio experience in a beautifully packaged shell. This headset is available in black, gunmetal grey and mercury white. We felt that the white version was certainly the most appealing, unless you're the sort of gamer that likes to stuff cheesy crisps while you play. 

This is a headset that features a funky design that's certainly comfortable. It can also be customised to some degree as you can choose between oval and round earcups depending on your preference. We were slightly disappointed with the feel of the headset in the hand, as the silver outer band that you can see on the earcups is actually plastic, not metal (as you might expect at this price point). This doesn't impact comfort, but we wonder about long-term durability. 

The headband rests nicely on the head and the earcups are certainly comfortable enough for hours and hours of use. We liked the braided USB cable and other neat, high-quality features that made this headset a pleasure to use, but felt that the build quality doesn't quite stand up to other headsets on this list. 

The sound quality, however, does not disappoint. This a virtual surround sound headset with audio that's been upgraded since the previous model. The large drivers offer a good range of sound with deep bass levels and a brilliantly immersive sound quality that gamers will love. Within the Razer Synapse software, you can calibrate the position of the audio to your own personal preference ensuring the best surround sound experience. 

We were disappointed in the lack of volume control on the headset or on the cable. It's surprising how a lack of something simple like this can be frustrating during everyday use. There is a mic mute button on the mic itself, but no volume controls to speak of. 

Software and setup

  • Braided two metre USB cable
  • Razer Chroma light effects
1/4 

The Razer Kraken 7.1 V2 features a braided two metre USB cable that's just about long enough not to be a comfort issue. The braiding nicely ensures it doesn't catch or rub on desk surfaces, which helps maintain a comfortable experience. 

This headset uses the Razer Synapse software which offers masses of options including equalisation controls, settings for mic noise control, voice clarity, ambient noise reduction and lighting effects too. The lighting here is subtle and understated, unlike the majority of other RGB capable products out there. The Razer logo on the side of the earcups lights up nicely with tweaking available in the software.  

Gaming specifications

  • 346 grams weight
  • Virtual 7.1 surround sound

The Razer Kraken 7.1 V2 is lightweight, comfortable and boasts a capable surround sound delivery which is enjoyable and effective. We found it great for everyday use and for gaming too. It's comfortable enough to be worn for hours and hours, no matter what you're doing and with the added bonus that you'll look great while doing it too. 

This headset offers not only great sound quality but accurate positional audio that's comparable with other virtual surround sound headsets on this list. 

Microphone quality and design features

  • 100 Hz – 10 kHz frequency response
  • > 55 dB signal-to-noise ratio
  •  -38 ± 3 dB sensitivity level
  • Active noise-cancelling microphone

The design features on this headset include a subtle and retractable microphone that can be simply slid out of sight when not in use. A mute button is built into the end of the mic which, when squeezed will activate the mute function and light the tip in a nice red hue to let you know it's active. 

With active noise-cancelling capabilities and a range of voice clarity, sensitivity and noise reduction settings in the Synapse software the microphone offers an excellent vocal delivery that's great to use. We found the Razer Kraken 7.1 V2 worked well with a variety of software including Slack, Skype and Discord as well as in-game VOIP. 

Verdict

1/11Pocket-lint

The Razer Kraken 7.1 V2 in Mercury White is a cracking headset offering from Razer. It's beautiful and sleek. There are a few niggles with the design, the lack of volume controls and the slightly questionable build quality being the main two. But for looks and audio performance, it's worth considering. It's also one of the more affordable virtual surround sound headsets on the market, so if you want something that performs, looks great, but doesn't break the bank, then this might be it

Best high-fidelity gaming headset

Pocket-lintCorsair Virtuoso RGB Wireless image 2

Corsair Virtuoso RGB Wireless

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If you think of yourself as a bit of an audiophile and only the very best audio is enough whatever you're doing then the Corsair Virtuoso RGB wireless may be for you. 

The focus here is firmly on creating a high-resolution audio experience for gamers that's as incredible in game as it is listening to music, watching films or just chatting to friends. The Virtuoso has a few different strings to its bow that make it highly interesting. Multiple connection options, high-fidelity audio, a premium design and hours of battery life are just some of the highlights. 

Design, comfort and sounds quality

  • High-fidelity 96kHZ/24-bit audio
  • Hi-Res Certified
  • 32 Ohms @ 2.5kHz impedance
  • 109db sensitivity
  • 20-40,000Hz audio response over wireless
  • RGB lighting on earcups

The Corsair Virtuoso RGB Wireless is one of the most premium gaming headsets we've ever seen from Corsair. It's well designed and comes with a high-quality finish that includes faux leather ear cups, a padded headband and an adjustable size that can be easily tweaked to fit your head. 

This is a headset that shines in several areas, the main one of which is the quality of the audio it delivers, it sports 50mm custom drivers that are capable of delivering hi-res, high-fidelity audio. In order to get this 96kHz sound you need to plug into a gaming PC using the accompanying USB-C cable and doing so opens up a whole new world of gaming audio that's a joy to your ears. 

Alternatively, you can connect the headset to your PC or laptop using the accompanying Slipstream wireless dongle. This turns the Virtuoso into a wireless gaming headset that still boasts up to 40,000Hz in terms of frequency response. Although that's not unusual for a gaming headset, it is still worth noting that it's almost double the capability of most wireless headsets. 

In wireless mode, you also get as much as 20 hours of battery life, with audible warnings to let you know when the juice is getting a bit low. Corsair claims around 60 feet wireless range using the 2.4Ghz Slipstream wireless dongle, though we found in practice that was a bit optimistic. Nonetheless, this headset is still fantastically capable and easy-on-the-ear in wireless mode too. 

Pocket-lintCorsair Virtuoso RGB Wireless image 13

This headset also has the ability to plug in via 3.5mm connection or USB-C to USB-C cable to listen to music from your phone or any other device capable of supporting 3.5mm sound. 

It's this flexibility and range of inputs that make the Corsair Virtuoso interesting in our mind, but it's in the wired mode where this headset really shines. 

Software and setup

  • Equaliser pre-sets, surround sound, RGB illumination controls and mic controls in software
  • Corsair iCue compatible

In either wired or wireless mode, the Corsair Virtuoso is compatible with Corsair's iCue software. Using that software gives you access to various different settings including customisable EQ profiles, the ability to turn surround sound on and off, adjust mic levels and sidetone and more. 

You can also use this software to update the firmware when necessary and, of course, tweak the RGB lighting on the ear cups too. It's a simple plug and play affair and dead easy to use. 

Pocket-lintCorsair Virtuoso RGB Wireless image 8

Gaming specifications

  • Virtual surround sound
  • RGB lighting on both earcups and mic

The Corsair Virtuoso, like other hi-res gaming headsets we've tried, really shines in terms of game audio. There's a lot to be said for gaming with 96kHz/24-bit audio washing over your eardrums. We've often found this high-fidelity audio gives a much more impressive experience in-game. You can hear new sounds that you've never heard before, as well as experiencing a richer and more impressive surround sound experience too. 

This gaming headset also sports tuned virtual surround sound that delivers a satisfactory positional audio in games where such a thing is essential. You can rely on it to deliver an accurate sound when you need it most, whether that's the sound of a gun reloading or enemy footsteps moving nearby. 

Pocket-lintCorsair Virtuoso RGB Wireless image 3

Microphone quality and design features

  • Omni-directional 
  • 2.0k Ohms
  • 100Hz – 10,000Hz frequency response
  • -42 dB (± 2 dB) sensitivity

Like the rest of the headset, the microphone on the Corsair Virtuoso is a high-quality, broadcast-quality microphone. It's detachable, flexible and capable too. It's not only capable of recording a cracking sound, but also blocks out a lot of external noise. It's bendable so you can move it out of the way when you need to and you can even fully detach it if you want to use the headset as headphones with your phone out of the house. 

There's an easy-access mic mute button on the underside and you can even press and hold that button to turn the sidetone on and off too, which is a nice touch. 

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Verdict

The Corsair Virtuoso is almost certainly our new favourite high-res, high-fidelity gaming headset and knocks our previous favourite the SteelSeries Arctis Pro + GameDAC out of this spot easily. There are many things to like about this headset including a high-quality design, a wealth of inputs, impressive battery life and more. 

It's the 96kHz audio that really floats our boat though and considering all the features Corsair has packed into this headset it also comes with a remarkably small price tag. Even more so when compared with more expensive, yet less capable headsets out there. 

Others to consider

1/8Pocket-lint

Corsair RGB Void Elite wireless

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  • Dolby 7.1 surround sound via 50mm drivers
  • 20Hz - 30 kHz frequency response,  32k Ohms @ 1 kHz impedance
  • Up to 16 hours battery life
  • Wireless with Micro USB charging cable
  • Multiple EQ settings tweakable in the Corsair iCue software

The Corsair RGB Void Elite wireless is an upgraded and improved version of Corsair's Void Pro wireless cans. These have a higher frequency response, but the same tried and trusted design. Highlights here include a better audio quality, Dolby surround sound and several EQ profiles that can be customised in the software. From the headset itself, you can also do nifty things like switching EQ profiles and turning surround sound on and off with long-presses on the volume button.

This headset might not be the best money can buy, but it does represent excellent value for money, ace audio quality and a fantastic microphone too. 

1/15Pocket-lint

PuroGamer volume limited gaming headset

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  • 50mm graphene drivers limited to 85dB
  • Multi-cable connection for PC, Xbox, PlayStation 4 and mobile devices
  • Detachable omnidirectional, noise-cancelling microphone

If you love gaming, but worry you might be damaging your ears with roar of engines, the rat-a-tat-tat of gunfire and a constant barrage of explosions, then you might be pleased with these cans. The PuroGamer volume-limited gaming headset is designed to deliver excellent audio, but at a limited range that never goes above 85dB. You might think that means they're too quiet, but actually this headset is very responsive and delivers an excellent audio range thanks to 50mm drivers, virtual surround sound audio and the Puro Balanced Frequency Response Audio Curve technology that ensures sound is clear whatever you're doing. 

This headset has a tight fit with padded protein leather ear cups, an extendable headband and a stylish finish with subtle blue lighting on the external earcups, microphone and control box. We were actually impressed by how good the sound is on this headset, despite the limited levels and the idea of a headset that won't damage your ears while you play is certainly appealing. It's also interesting for other reasons too. For example, it comes with a dual connection cable that allows you to either plug into a PC using a USB cable or to other devices with an accompanying 3.5mm jack. Find out more here

1/14Pocket-lint

Logitech G935 

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You don't often see brilliant wireless gaming headsets available at an affordable price. Depending on your budget, the Logitech G935 might be one such device. It's a snazzy headset, with plenty of cool design features to make it interesting. Large leatherette earcups work to block out a lot of external noise and the large 50mm Pro-G drivers which are capable of decent frequency response and deliver some impressive audio. 

It also features G-keys on the rear that can be programmed with in-game commands, macros and more. Which is fairly unusual in a gaming headset design but could be used for things like muting yourself in Discord with a button press. Those buttons also double as easy-access media playback keys. 

It's also very comfortable to wear and certainly well priced too. The only downside is the microphone which we found rather lacking and underwhelming. 

1/6 

Audio-Technica ATH-G1WL wireless gaming headset

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  • 45mm drivers with 5 - 40kHz frequency response
  • Detachable Hypercardioid condenser microphone
  • 15 hours of battery life
  • Lag-free wireless audio
  • Virtual surround sound

If you're a fan of Audio-Technica, then you'll like the ATH-G1WL wireless gaming headset. This is a nifty and snazzy-looking wireless gaming headset that supports up to 15 hours of playback. We found these Audio-Technica cans sounded great and responded really well both in-game and out. 

They're also brilliantly crafted. There's no garish RGB or over-the-top designs here, just a fantastic looking headset with some swish blue trim. This is a lightweight and comfortable headset that's designed to be worn for hours and hours of gaming pleasure. 

The ATH-G1WL sports Audio-Technica tuned sound, a virtual surround sound button and other highlights including a mic monitor switch that lets you turn sidetone on and off on the fly. 

All this is rounded off with a super boom microphone that's crisp and does a great job of blocking out external noise. 

All told this is a great wireless option. At this price, it's not quite as comfortable as the Astro A50, nor as feature-rich as the SteelSeries Arctis Pro wireless, but certainly well worth considering.

1/7Pocket-lint

Turtle Beach Elite Atlas

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  • 50mm Nanoclear drivers with 12Hz – 20kHz frequency response
  • Deep memory foam cushions
  • Leather externals to help with passive noise cancellation
  • ProSpecs Glasses Relief System
  • Windows Sonic for Headphones/Dolby Atmos compatible
  • Also works with Xbox One, PS4 Pro, PS4, Nintendo Switch and mobile devices 
  • Crystal clear TruSpeak microphone

The Turtle Beach Elite Atlas is, without a doubt, one of the most comfortable wired gaming headsets we've tested. It boasts an over-ear design with large, all-encompassing, deep ear cups that almost swallow and snuggle your ears while you're wearing them.

We gasped when we first put this headset on and continued to enjoy the blissful joy of the comfortable athletic fabric-wrapped Aerofit ear cushions throughout the day and well into the night. The only other headset to give us that much joy in terms of comfort is the Astro A50 and this Turtle Beach headset is considerably more affordable. 

That's not the only place where the Elite Atlas pleases either. This headset is not only comfortable, it's also capable. The large 50mm drivers deliver a rich and delightful sound whatever you're doing. It is only a stereo headset, but we still found it didn't disappoint whether we were gaming or listening to music. 

Of course, you can use it alongside Windows Sonic sound settings or Dolby Atmos for an enhanced virtual surround sound, but even as a stereo device it does really well. 

The design of this headset is really well thought out too. It includes a wonderful ProSpecs Glasses Relief System that allows you to pull a small strap tighter within the ear cups to make extra room for your glasses so the ear cups don't push the arms against your head while you game.

It also comes with a short 3.5mm cable that can be neatly plugged into a nearby laptop, mobile phone or controller. If you need more length there's an extension cable with a mic splitter, so you can use this headset with almost any device. 

We also like the understated design that includes no RGB lighting and a removable boom mic that means you can use the headset as a pair of headphones when out of the house without standing out as a gamer on the go. 

The microphone is another highlight here. It cuts out a lot of external noise and does a brilliant job of picking up and broadcasting your voice too. 

As a complete package, this is one superb stereo gaming headset and if comfort is a priority, then this one might well be for you. 

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SteelSeries Arctis Pro + GameDAC

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  • High-fidelity 96kHZ/24-bit audio
  • Hi-Res Certified
  • 32 Ohm impedance
  • 98db sensitivity
  • 10-40,000Hz audio response
  • 121dB of dynamic range
  • -115dB Total Harmonic Distortion + Noise
  • Gunmetal finish headband with swappable Ski Goggle-style headbands
  • Comfortable AirWeave material earcups
  • RGB lighting on earcups

The SteelSeries Arctis Pro + GameDAC used to be our favourite hi-res, high-fidelity gaming headset before it was replaced by the newer, grander Corsair Virtuoso. It is still a solid bit of kit though, with plenty of features going for it. 

It has a dedicated high-fidelity USB DAC (Digital Audio Converter) and delivers superb audio, brilliantly subtle lighting customisation and a wealth of adjustable sound settings that anyone will love, but if you've got an ear for quality then this is certainly one for your shortlist.

If high-fidelity audio is what you're after, then this headset oozes audio pleasure that's bound to please.

1/5Pocket-lint

Roccat Noz stereo gaming headset

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  • 10Hz - 20 kHz frequency response with 60 Ohms impedance
  • 50mm drivers
  • 100 - 10000Hz mic frequency response
  • 2.45-metre braided fibre cabling with 3.5mm jack

If USB headsets aren't your bag and you much prefer 3.5mm connections then this stereo gaming headset from Roccat might well be a great option for you. 

It's affordable, understated and certainly not one to be overlooked. We were blown away by its microphone, which Roccat claims is a "Real-Voice" that's capable of crystal clear recording. That mic is also detachable, meaning you can essentially put the headset into headphone mode and take it out of the house with you. 

A rugged design, lightweight frame and large all-encompassing earcups round off a surprisingly good set of gaming cans. 

This gaming headset also has a hint of noise cancellation with the large earcups blocking out a lot of external noise that might otherwise interrupt or interfere with your gaming sessions. 

A convenient volume wheel and mic mute button on the earcup also ensure the Roccat Noz is as easy-to-use as it is effective. The 50mm drivers also deliver a surprisingly good sound for a stereo headset and nothing to be sniffed at. 

The Roccat Noz boasts an affordable price tag which certainly makes it well worth considering.  

1/4Pocket-lint

Tritton Kunai Pro 

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  • Dirac 3D Audio with virtual 7.1 and Dirac HD sound
  • 40mm drivers with 16ohm impedance 
  • 20Hz to 20kHz frequency response
  • Removable microphone
  • Braided USB cable and on cable microphone

The Tritton Kunai Pro might be one of the best value-for-money headsets on this list and yet it's surprisingly capable in a number of ways. Sure it might not be as impressive, as comfortable or as capable as other headsets in our guide, but it is fantastic for the money. 

This is a virtual 7.1 surround sound headset that runs off Dirac audio drivers. That might not mean much to you, but what it does mean is fairly impressive audio results both in game and out. 

We were impressed by the capabilities of this headset in terms of audio delivery and the microphone quality too. It's easy to use and fits nicely on the noggin as well. Sure it might be a bit cheap in appearance but it shouldn't be overlooked. If you need something that's cheap and capable, then this might well be it.