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. 

SteelSeries Siberia 800 Wireless Gaming headset image 12

If you don't baulk at the price (as it's over £200), then the SteelSeries Siberia 800 should certainly be a consideration. In terms of wireless gaming headsets, this one is the cream of the crop. It's packed full of features, including cross-platform support for Xbox360/One, PS3/PS4 and mobile devices, as well as analogue, optical and USB inputs for PC that allow you to take advantage of the Dolby Digital and virtual surround sound processing power inside the box. 

  • 318 grams
  • 20-20000 Hz frequency response
  • 40mm Neodymium drivers
  • 100dB max volume
  • Dolby 7.1 surround sound

We were immediately impressed by the design of the SteelSeries Siberia 800. For this price, you'd expect a high-quality piece of kit and that's exactly what you get. The build quality here is striking and that's the first impression when you pull this headset out of its box. This initial impression continues on into setup and general use too. 

A robust frame houses comfortable leather ear cups and an astounding design that is as good to look at as it is to wear. Although the ear cups appear small compared to other headsets on this list, we still found them to offer a snug and comfortable fit. The only thing of note in terms of this design is the headband doesn't extend hugely which might be a struggle for large headed gamers, but not an issue during testing. 

The SteelSeries Siberia 800 connects to your gaming machine via a transmitter that also works as the amplifier and hub for the various inputs and outputs. This little box sits neatly on your desk and gives you easy access to volume controls and a range of settings. The highlight is the selection of inputs which includes optical in and out meaning you can make use of full Dolby 7.1 surround sound processing at a higher quality than your average gaming headset. 

SteelSeries Siberia 800 Wireless Gaming headset image 7

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 only downside to this was we found that despite the quality of the audio, sometimes directional/positional audio was off and sounds we should have been able to hear in-game weren't there. Comparing this experience to other surround sound headsets, we found the SteelSeries Siberia 800 unfortunately lacking.   

Positional audio is clearly important to gamers. A good headset will help gamers know where the enemy are, which direction the threat is coming from and present a more immersive experience. So it's surprising to find that the SteelSeries Siberia 800 isn't up to scratch in this area. It's still better than a stereo headset, but not as good as some of the other surround sound headsets on this list. 

The SteelSeries Siberia 800 is not a noise cancelling headset. Don't expect all external sound to be blocked out by this headset. We did, however, find that the snug design eliminated a lot of external noise and made for a comfortable audio experience through the day and into the small hours. 

Thanks to the powerful box of tricks hidden within the transmitter, the SteelSeries Siberia 800 doesn't require any pesky additional software to be installed on your PC. The inputs and outputs on that same box also make this headset compatible with games consoles and you can even use the included 3.5mm cable to connect the headset to your mobile phone if you feel the need to do so. 

This shows just how flexible and powerful the SteelSeries Siberia 800 is as a gaming headset and audio device. 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. 

Within the settings, 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 setup 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. We did find the transmitter was a bit less user-friendly as you have to dive into settings to send it to sleep when you aren't using it. It's also worth noting that the transmitter uses quite short power, USB and optical cables which means you need to keep the box quite close to your gaming machine. 

  • 12-metre wireless range
  • Less than 16ms latency
  • 1000mAh Lithium-ion swappable batteries
  • Around 20 hours battery life

The best wireless gaming needs to be accurate, long-lasting and easy to use. We found the sound quality of the SteelSeries Siberia 800 to be lag free and an accurate, offering an interference-free audio experience that was a pleasure to use during any gaming session. 

Battery life on this headset does appear to be a regular issue though, with battery draining in a short space of time. The SteelSeries Siberia 800 uses 1,000mAh Lithium-ion battery that SteelSeries claims is capable of 20 hours playback before recharging is necessary. During testing though, we found ourselves having to swap out the batteries more regularly than that. Therefore, with heavy use, you're unlikely to make it through an entire day if, like us, you're working and gaming on the same machine. Of course, most gamers won't be doing that, so might get a few days of gaming goodness out of it before the battery needs recharging. 

SteelSeries Siberia 800 Wireless Gaming headset image 13

Luckily, the batteries are hot-swappable. When one is low on charge, you can pop it in the transmitter swapping it for the one that's already in there charging. This basically means you'll always have a fully charged battery at the ready. Swapping the batteries is easy, but a bit of a pain if you're in the middle of a gaming session. 

Unlike other wireless gaming headsets we've tested, you can't just plug this headset in when it's running low on charge to prevent that break in audio, which is a small inconvenience. 

Wireless range is clearly another important factor when considering your headset purchase. SteelSeries say the Siberia 800 is capable of around 12 metres range, but in real world use we found it was more like five metres. This headset seems to struggle with passing through walls and floors where other wireless headsets we've tested managed just fine. This isn't necessarily an issue if you're gaming in a large room, but it is an issue if you want to carry on listening while you pop to the fridge for a snack or to the bathroom for a comfort break. 

Despite the minor problems with wireless range, 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.  

  • 100-10000 Hz frequency response
  • -44 dB microphone sensitivity
  • 2.2K Ohm microphone impedance 
  • Red LED mute indicator

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 Siberia 800 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. 

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.   

 

On the headset, a mic mute button is accessible on the right ear cup and the tip of the microphone lights up red to let you know it's muted. We found that this didn't work too well when we walked out of range, for example to the toilet, so that could be an issue if the audio suddenly cuts back in as signal reestablishes itself without warning. 

One issue of note is we found the microphone has a constant "listen" tone that can't be turned off in Windows, meaning if you breathe/blow on the mic you can hear it in the headphones. Not an issue during normal use but could be frustrating if you're not a fan of hearing your own voice. 

1/14Pocket-lint

The SteelSeries Siberia 800 is a pricey 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. 

Battery life could be better and we did find better surround sound experiences from other headsets on this list (in terms of positional audio), but it's still an undeniably good headset and almost certainly the best wireless one we've seen so far.


See current price on Amazon US - Amazon UK


SteelSeries Arctis 7 gaming headset image 8

If you don't want to break the bank, but still want a great quality wireless gaming headset, then the SteelSeries Arctis 7 is well worth a look. This is another great looking and feature-packed headset from SteelSeries that's fully capable of delivering an excellent wireless experience and with DTS Headphone X: 7.1 surround sound to boot.  

  • DTS Headphone:X 7.1 virtual surround sound
  • 40mm Neodymium drivers
  • 20-20000 Hz frequency response
  • 32 Ohm impedance
  • 98db sensitivity 
  • Changeable Ski Goggle headbands

The SteelSeries Arctis 7 boasts an impressive and funky modern design that includes swappable Ski Goggle material headbands which you can buy separately to customise your own look. These material straps cover top and bottom of the metal headband and lead to a comfortable fit on the head. 

Other than the patterned headbands, the design of the SteelSeries Arctis 7 is one of the more subtly designed headsets on our list. This headset has a clean design, with no garish RGB lighting that makes it easily usable as normal headphones as well as a gaming headset. The retractable microphone also tucks neatly out of the way when not in use, so it's as brilliant to look at as it is to use. 

Comfort carries onto the design of the ear cushions. The standard cups make use of soft AirWeave material which we found to be more comfortable and less scratchy than other breathable materials we've tested, but not as nice as leather ear cups which are always our preference. You can purchase leather and velour ear cushions separately though, so there are plenty of options when it comes to comfort. 

Interestingly, the SteelSeries Arctis 7 uses the same drivers as the flagship Siberia 800, so you won't be too surprised to hear that the audio quality on this headset is just as superb. The processing is slightly different though, this headset uses DTS Headphone:X 7.1 which delivers a pretty precise surround sound experience. In fact, we'd say the positional audio on this headset is superior to the Siberia 800, but still not as good as other headsets on this list. 

SteelSeries Arctis 7 gaming headset image 7

The support for DTS Headphone:X 7.1 does deliver an impressive wraparound sound which is a blissful joy to the ears. 

This headset is both comfortable to wear and an excellent performer. We enjoyed day long use listening to music, followed by an evening of gaming without any issues with discomfort. We like the subtle design of this one and the fact that it's customisable in both comfort and style to your own personal preference. 

  • Wireless USB and Wired analogue options including 3.5mm connections
  • 1.2-metre charging cable
  • Equaliser pre-sets, range compression and mic volume/sidetone settings
  • Game-specific profile launching 
1/3 

The SteelSeries Arctis 7 connects to your machine via a wireless dongle and we found initial setup and connection was a breeze. There's also an alternative for analogue connections for connecting 3.5mm devices too, so you can even use this headset with a mobile phone if you choose to do so.  

Initial setup requires installation of the SteelSeries Engine software which allows you to switch between profiles (with different equaliser settings) depending on what program/game you've launched – therefore you can set it to music for Spotify or to gaming when you launch your favourite games without the need to manually change in the settings each time.

There aren't too many settings here and there don't need to be. You can adjust the presets, equaliser settings and turn DTS processing on and off. There are also options for adjusting the mic including setting a sidetone to be able to hear your own voice should you feel the need and changing volume levels. 

The downfall of this headset is the paltry 1.2-metre charging cable which is far too short and tugs on the ear when in use. We found it was better to charge when we weren't using the headset, even though it is possible to game and charge at the same time. 

  • 12-metre wireless range
  • Approximately 20 hours battery life
  • AirWeave ear cushions

Wireless range on the SteelSeries Arctis 7 headset is one of the most impressive we've seen during our testing. Unlike the Siberia 800, this headset managed to broadcast throughout most of the house, including through other rooms and upstairs too. 

We also found this wireless headset to have the best battery life we've seen. We managed to squeeze out over 20 hours of use during testing, though we would recommend charging before it goes flat or you'll have an uncomfortable experience thanks to the short charging cable. A power light underneath lets you know when it's running low by changing colour with a traffic light system warning you when the charge is getting low. A red light is a bad sign and time to get it plugged in. 

During game sessions, we found the SteelSeries Arctis 7 to be more than capable of producing a high-quality sound and great gaming experience. This is an immersive headset that doesn't suffer from lag or latency issues. 

  • 100Hz - 6500Hz frequency response
  • -48 dB sensitivity 
  • 2200 Ohm impedance
  • Retractable design
  • Mute toggle button
  • Microphone noise cancellation

The microphone on the SteelSeries Arctis 7 is flexible and capable. For the most part, it delivers an excellent sound that's clear and concise. We did, however, find it suffered from a bit of noise – you can hear the "puff" of breath when you speak and it picks up a bit too much in that way which is a shame.  

The Arctis 7 also employs the Chat Mix technology with a wheel on ear cup which allows you to adjust the volume between game and voice chat software – great if people are talking too loudly and ruining your game and easy to adjust on the fly. 

There are power, mic mute, volume and Chat Mix buttons all on headset ear cups. We found the mic mute button was a bit tricky to use as it's not easy to press or feel due to being recessed in the earcup.

1/12Pocket-lint

At this price, the SteelSeries Arctis 7 is an impressive and desirable gaming headset. From a value for money point of view, it's the best wireless gaming headset we've seen. There's a lot to like too - this headset is customisable with different headbands and earcups allowing you to change the design and comfort to suit your own preference. 

The wireless range and accuracy is impressive, as is the battery life. We also thought a lot of the sound quality, the headset's ability in terms of surround sound processing and the response of the microphone. It's not quite the best gaming headset, but certainly a contender and no doubt well worth every penny.


See current price on Amazon US - Amazon UK


Turtle beach elite pro gaming headset image 8

Comfort is as important as audio quality when it comes to long and enjoyable gaming sessions. An uncomfortable headset can ruin a good gaming run when your ears ache and your head hurts from the pressure. If this is something you've struggled with when trying other headsets then the Turtle Beach Elite Pro Professional might be the answer to your prayers. This headset strikes a brilliant balance between comfort and superb sound that will leave you gaming happily for hours. 

  • 12Hz - 22kHz frequency response 
  • 50mm Nanoclear drivers 
  • Asahi Spandex, leather & cooling gel-infused memory foam ear cushions and headband
  • Unique "Glasses Relief System"
  • DTS Headphone:X 7.1 virtual surround sound

The first thing that strikes home about the Turtle Beach Elite Pro Professional headset is the build quality. There's a flex and bend here which allows it to fit nicely on your head. Incredibly deep leather earcups are supported by a large and comfortable headband which includes a tension adjustment system that allows you to tweak the way the headset hugs your head. 

These are some of the deepest and most comfortable earcups we've seen on any gaming headset we've tested. This design not only reduces the pressure on your ears from the drivers (as they're not resting on your ears) but allows delivery of a comfortable and all-encompassing sound as you game. These cups also include a cooling cloth on the inside which stops your ears from sweating and helps maintain that superb comfort. 

Although not technically a noise-cancelling headset, the design of the headset does deliver a passive noise-isolation which helps block out a lot of the external noise which might interrupt and ruin your gaming immersion. Another highlight of the design of the Turtle Beach Elite Pro Professional headset is the ProSpecs Glasses Relief System. This is a unique design we've not seen elsewhere, which allows you to adjust the fit of the earcups to create a small channel in the cushioning to account for the arms of your spectacles and reduce the pressure on your head as you game. A nice addition and an extra level of comfort. 

Turtle beach elite pro gaming headset image 4

When it comes to sound quality, this headset is fully capable and delivers a superb audio experience with deep bass notes, a good range and an impressive positional audio experience thanks to the DTS Headphone: X 7.1 surround sound technology. Although perhaps not as impressive as some of the other headsets on this list, the sound here is certainly high-quality and accurate. 

With a simple USB dongle and a little bit of software that integrates with Window's standard sound settings, this Turtle Beach headset offers several different DTS surround sound modes including games, movies and music. 

We found this headset a joy to use and comfortable to wear throughout the day listening to music followed by an evening of gaming too.  

  • USB and 3.5 mm connections for cross-platform support
  • ComforTec Fit System - tension controls for adjusting headband comfort
Turtle beach elite pro gaming headset image 10

The Turtle Beach Elite Pro Professional headset setup is as simple as plug and play. The USB dongle connects to your PC and then there's a piece of software (downloadable from the Turtle Beach website) to install but the actual setup runs through your Windows sound settings. 

Within these settings you can then turn the DTS Headphone: X 7.1 surround sound on and off and select from the different modes. It's also possible to apply Dolby Atmos for headphones spatial sound settings here, if you wish to do so. 

Within the settings is an option for activating "Superhuman Hearing" - a sound setting that's meant to give you an extra gaming edge by allowing you to more easily make out enemy footsteps or other distinguishable sounds that might save your life in the middle of a gaming battle. You can turn this on and off with the F10 key by default or assign your own preferred hotkey. In practice, we didn't feel that this setting made a huge amount of difference over and above the positional tracking already offered by the 7.1 surround sound, but it's nice to see additional options like this which offer extra features that are simple yet effective. 

Although this is the PC edition of the headset, there are still other connections possible here. There's a 3.5mm jack included in the box that makes the headset compatible with consoles and mobile devices too. The result is a flexible headset that offers a great sound experience wherever you're using it. Though, the full unadulterated surround sound experience is limited to PC. 

  • Detachable audio cable
  • Microphone mute and volume control on cable
Turtle beach elite pro gaming headset image 6

We liked a lot of things about this headset, one of which was the simple design of the audio connections. The Turtle Beach Elite Pro Professional headset boasts a long cable which made it comfortable to use. It connects to the headset via a micro-USB jack on the cable meaning that if the cable gets snagged on anything (your chair, for example) then it will simply disconnect itself rather than risking damaging the headset connection. This sort of simple design feature is very welcome in our opinion as it's not only comfortable, it's practical. 

The audio cable also includes a mic mute and volume wheel on a control box. This is small and lightweight, so it doesn't weigh down on the cable or interfere with comfort, unlike other designs we've seen where a heavy or cumbersome control box made wear uncomfortable. 

All these little design features make for a comfortable and useful headset that is a pleasure to use. Gaming performance is superb and provides an immersive and comfortable experience throughout.

  • Unidirectional microphone

We found the microphone on the Turtle Beach Elite Pro Professional headset to be very versatile. It bends in all sorts of ways, directions and shapes to suit your own personal needs. In other words, you can easily get it out of the way if you need to get some food into your face in the middle of a gaming session. 

The microphone quality is also surprisingly good, which is excellent news as there's nothing worse than a brilliant headset being let down by a poor mic.

Our only gripe with this headset design is the sidetone appears to be constantly on and you cannot turn this off in Windows settings. This means you have to put up with the sound of your own voice coming back at you through the headset. We assume this is necessary due to the all-encompassing nature of the earcups otherwise you'll likely find yourself shouting, especially when playing louder games. 

1/10Pocket-lint

The Turtle Beach Elite Pro Professional is a gaming headset that offers superb quality surround sound audio, an excellent microphone and, most importantly, a comfortable gaming experience for a reasonable price. If you're a glasses wearer or a gamer that loves long gaming sessions and wants an encompassing and immersive sound that's as comfortable as it is enjoyable then this is the headset for you.


See current price on Amazon US - Amazon UK


Razer Kraken V2 Mercury White image 4

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. 

  • 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. 

  • 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.  

  • 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. 

  • 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. 

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


See current price on Amazon US


Asus Strix True Surround Sounnd Gaming Headset image 7

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. 

  • 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. 

Asus Strix True Surround Sounnd Gaming Headset image 6

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. 

  • Headphone amplifier/control box
  • Audio spectrum for first-person shooters, racing and action/role-playing games 
  • ENC microphone
Asus 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. 

  • "True" 7.1 surround sound 
  • Static and breathing light effects
  • Dedicated volume controls and easy-access settings
Asus 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. 

  • 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. 

1/12Pocket-lint

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.


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1/6Pocket-lint

If the other devices on this list don't tickle your fancy or are out of your budget then there are others worth considering too. The Corsair VOID PRO RGB Wireless is certainly a headset worth looking at. It's not as pricey as some other wireless surround sound headsets out there, yet manages to deliver an excellent experience that you'd expect from Corsair. 

Pocket-lintCorsair Void Pro RGB Wireless image 5
  • Dolby 7.1 virtual surround sound
  • 50mm drivers
  • 20Hz - 20 kHz frequency response
  • 32k Ohms impedance

The Corsair VOID PRO RGB Wireless is a wireless headset that boasts a wide and comfortable fit. It has a large and easily extendable headband that fits nicely on the head, though we did find it sat a bit too loosely sometimes and would move about if you shook your head too vigorously. You can, of course, tighten and loosen to your liking but it isn't quite as tight fitting and all-encompassing as other headsets we've tried. 

The headband itself is clearly made of sturdy stuff. It feels solid in the hand and gives off the impression of quality and a focus on long-term durability. This is backed up by the two-year warranty that Corsair offers and demonstrates the effort put into the design and build of this headset. 

The ear cushions are large and fit well too. They're made from a microfiber mesh fabric backed with memory foam to provide comfort while gaming. We found this mesh fabric to be a little scratchy when compared with leather or other styled fabrics on the other headsets we've tested, but it did mean that we weren't suffering with issues from sweating or overheating during long gaming sessions. 

The design is also bold and beautiful and very much Corsair-like. Any fans of Corsair will find the look and feel of this headset immediately familiar. Corsair has clearly built on a solid foundation of previous versions and simply improved on an already sound design with this headset. 

This wireless gaming headset is available in white, "carbon" (black) or yellow - we tested the white version and loved the way it looked. It's clean, stylish and strikes a perfect balance that will appeal to a wider audience than the more garish headsets out there. 

As you'd expect from a headset with "RGB" in its name, this version also includes RGB lighting. This lighting is part of the Corsair logo on the side of the ear cups and can be adjusted via the Corsair CUE software. You can set various colours and adjust the way the lighting works within the software, but the highlight for us was probably the "lighting link" function that syncs the lighting with other Corsair RGB products to light them in the same way e.g. keyboard and mouse.

CorsairCorsair Void Rgb Pro Software image 1
  • 40ft wireless range
  • USB wireless dongle
  • 15-17 hours battery life
  • 1.5 metre charging cable

If you're considering a wireless headset, then clearly there are other considerations too. Like how it performs in terms of wireless accuracy, battery charge and signal. We're happy to report that this headset is a great performer in all areas. The Corsair VOID PRO RGB Wireless is a virtual 7.1 surround sound headset with Dolby processing which allows it to deliver a pretty impressive surround sound experience. We found the audio quality to be immersive and superb when gaming, while music and movies were equally as enjoyable, making this a great all-round headset for daily use. 

In terms of battery life, the Corsair VOID PRO RGB Wireless managed somewhere around 15-17 hours before it needed charging. Not quite as good as the Steel Series Arctis 7, but still pretty impressive. The bonus with the Corsair headset though is the fact that it comes with a fairly long (1.5 metre) USB to micro USB charging cable, which means that when it does run low on charge you can simply plug it in and keep on gaming. 

There are also cues to let you know when the battery is running low. Regular beeps when the battery level is getting low and a flashing light on the earcup next to the charging port to warn you in plenty of time and give you the choice to either start charging early or have a rough idea of how much gaming time is left before you run out. It's certainly nice to have the option to switch between the wired and wireless modes with ease though. 

One thing we noted during testing was this headset appeared to offer an insanely loud max volume. The 50mm drivers are fully capable in that regard. We certainly wouldn't recommend turning this headset all the way up to 11 based on our experience. 

There's a volume wheel on the earcup which allows for easy volume changes on the fly. This same button has another use too. Pushing in the volume button switches between EQ settings which as default include FPS competition, pure direct, movie theatre, clear-cut and bass boost. This allows you to change the sound quality settings easily depending on what you're doing and you can tweak further within the software. 

When it comes to wireless range, the Corsair VOID PRO RGB Wireless once again doesn't disappoint. Corsair claim this headset has a range of around 40ft. During testing, we found that to be a pretty accurate claim. It meant that we could make it through most of the house without audio dropping out and it surprisingly managed to maintain sound through a number of walls. Whether a quick snack or comfort break, this headset will keep going without interrupting your listening which is just what you need. Just remember to mute your mic before you step away from your machine. 

Pocket-lintCorsair Void Pro RGB Wireless image 6
  • Unidirectional noise cancelling mic
  • 100Hz to 10kHz frequency response
  • Adjustable sidetone settings
  • Mic mute button
  • -38dB (+/-3dB) sensitivity 

As we've said before, the microphone quality of a gaming headset is clearly important for the modern gamer. The good news then is that this headset has a capable microphone that delivers a reasonable audio quality. As you'd expect it includes noise cancelling features which reduce the ambient noise from the surrounding environment to ensure you're heard clearly when you need to be. 

The design of the microphone also carries on the superb build quality of the rest of the headset. It's long, strong and durable. Although not as flexible as we'd like, as there's no side-to-side movement, it does flip up out of the way when you need it to.

Pushing the microphone up also automatically mutes it which is handy if you need to quickly pop to the toilet or get it out of the way while you're snacking. There's also a mute button on the side of the headset too, allowing you to mute the mic in a variety of ways depending on your own personal preference. 

The functionality doesn't end there either. In the Corsair CUE software, you can also set and adjust the sidetone of the microphone. This allows you to hear your own voice through the earcups which is handy if you have a habit of turning your listening volumes up high or getting so immersed you can't hear yourself think. 

As an alternative to the other wireless gaming headsets we've covered the Corsair VOID PRO RGB Wireless is certainly a viable option. It's a capable wireless surround sound gaming headset that delivers an excellent sound quality from a well built and durable design. 

We did find the earcups to be a bit scratchy and preferred the closer and tighter fit of the likes of the Asus Strix 7.1 or the Turtle Beach Elite Pro Professional headsets, but neither of those are wireless and this headset is cheaper too. 

At around £100/$100 the Corsair VOID PRO RGB Wireless is a fantastic option and considering it's backed by a two-year warranty, you can be sure you're getting value for money too. 


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Pocket-lintCorsair Void Wired image 1

If wireless isn't your bag, but you like the look of the Corsair gaming headsets and the appeal of 7.1 surround sound then this might be an ideal alternative.

The Corsair VOID PRO RGB USB headset is a wired version of the other headset we covered above. It's just as capable and as feature-packed as the wireless version, but you don't have to worry about battery life.

Like it's wireless brother, the Corsair VOID POR RGB USB is a virtual surround sound headset packed neatly into a durable and well-built frame. It's comfortable, easy on the eye and a joy to use. 

This headset boasts the same specs in terms of drivers, surround sound settings and lighting too. During testing, we found the USB version had a more than capable surround sound and a wonderful audio range. It also had a pleasantly long cable that didn't catch or snag on the desk which is always a welcome addition to any headset design. 

Although it's not the very best headset on this list, it is a very well designed and high-quality headset for less money than you'd pay elsewhere. At around £79 this headset offers a brilliant audio experience for gaming, music, watching videos or just chatting to your friends at a price that represents excellent value for money.