Gaming Headset Review, Guide and Comparison 2021

Gaming Headset Review, Guide and Comparison 2021

Gaming Headset Review, Guide and Comparison 2021
Gaming headsets are a dime a dozen and the prices vary so much that as an outsider you wonder: why? For this reason, we have written this gaming headset review for you. We'll tell you which of the now countless patented technologies are the best, what to look for when buying a gaming headset, whether you should go for a wireless or a wired gaming headset, and which manufacturers offer the best products in this category.
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Mario
Posted at 05.05.2021 00:00:00 UTC • 12 minutes to read

In this article, we'll also highlight the sound, connectivity, microphone quality, build quality, and various other features that define gaming headsets. We'll help you find the perfect device so that no questions remain unanswered in the end. We wish you a lot of fun!

1 The most important in a nutshell!

  • large and soft ear pads ensure a comfortable fit
  • for long gaming sessions we recommend ear pads made of airy fabric
  • closed gaming headsets provide the best shielding
  • open gaming headsets have a natural sound and are better ventilated
  • wired gaming headsets offer better & louder sound than wireless models
  • function keys are very important for gaming headsets
  • good gaming headsets you get already from about 60 €

2 Gaming Headset Test - The best headsets in comparison!

3 Buying guide: What you should look for when buying a gaming headset!

Great sound, high wearing comfort, beautiful design - very subjective characteristics, which are, however, decisive when it comes to finding the right gaming headset. We can't decide for you, but we can give you some useful tips so that you're not in the dark when looking for a new gaming headset.

If you start looking for a gaming headset today, you'll quickly be taken by surprise by the gigantic offer, because in this day and age, almost every manufacturer that even remotely has something to do with computers brings out a headset. Especially for core gamers, the headset can often make the difference between victory and defeat.

But casual gamers don't want to be without a well-fitting and comfortable gaming headset with good sound quality either. No matter where your preferences lie - we'll tell you what you should look for when buying and which features you should attach particular importance to.

3.1 Wearing comfort / convenience

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Normal headsets are usually taken off after the video call and the ears are left out in the fresh air. However, the situation is completely different with gaming headsets, because gaming sessions often last several hours and while you are in the middle of the battle, the outside world can become a secondary matter. That's why the wearing comfort of a gaming headset is so incredibly important.

If it presses somewhere uncomfortable every minute, the ears don't have enough room in the shell or the headband constantly slips, it gets annoying. You want to concentrate on the game while gaming and not constantly fiddle with the headset to adjust it or uncover your ears for a brief moment. A comfortable headset is worth its weight in gold - especially for those who wear glasses. But how can you objectively tell if a headset is comfortable? How do you find out if the contact pressure is comfortable, loose or too tight? In this gaming headset review, we'll tell you.

3.1.1 Cushion

First of all, you should take a look at the ear pads - make sure that they are thick and sufficiently padded. You can often tell whether this is the case by looking at pictures and comparing individual models. Often, the material from which the pads are made also plays an important role in terms of wearing comfort. These are usually offered in 3 different materials: Fabric/Mesh, Leather & Velour.

Ear cushions made of fabric or mesh are very permeable to air and feel comfortable and cool even after prolonged wear.

Leather is a smooth, dense material that looks great in the form of a jacket or car seat, but also tends not to absorb moisture and actually encourages sweating. Headsets with leather or faux leather ear pads look good, but are rather unsuitable for long-term use due to the aforementioned problems.

Cozy - that's probably the attribute that immediately comes to mind when you have a gaming headset with velour ear pads on your head. The material feels very high-quality and pleasant on the skin, but it also tends to get warm quickly, which leads to perspiration on the skin.

3.1.2 Construction

The construction of a gaming headset also has an influence on the wearing comfort, because different user experiences arise due to the different textures. What exactly do we mean by construction? Basically, it's about whether the gaming headset's ear cup is open, half-open or closed. We have compiled this list to explain the advantages and disadvantages of the different designs.

Closed gaming headsets

Advantages:

  • Excellent shielding from the outside
  • outsiders can hardly hear anything even at high volumes
  • you have the feeling of being closer to the action
  • usually higher volume than other designs
  • direct sound

Disadvantages:

  • gets warm faster, because no air reaches the ears
  • can sound tinny under certain circumstances
  • the ideal shielding brings a high contact pressure with it

Half-opend Gaming Headsets

Advantages:

  • good shielding from the outside
  • somewhat airier than the closed variant
  • balanced sound

Disadvantages:

  • perceptible to outsiders already at medium volumes
  • does not sound quite as bass-heavy and powerful

Open gaming headset

Advantages:

  • Comfortable to wear with constant ventilation
  • especially recommendable in summer
  • Sound seems more natural and less tinny

Disadvantages:

  • audible to others at low volumes
  • hardly any shielding from the outside - one is quickly distracted
  • rather unsuitable for competitive gaming

3.3 Driver size and frequency response

Of course, you can also compare gaming headsets based on the bare numbers. However, whether these say something about whether a headset sounds good or not is another question. Every manufacturer states in the data sheet how wide the frequency range of the headset is and which driver size is used, but you will find that this information is often identical, especially in the field of gaming headsets. This is simply because the human ear can only perceive a certain frequency range and differentiate accordingly.

If you find a headset that can reproduce 20 Hz - 20,000 according to the manufacturer's specifications, this may sound impressive at first, but how the headphones handle these frequencies and how dynamically they can reproduce them is not specified. Precisely because sound quality is still a very subjective perception.

The driver size has nothing to do with the driver that is installed on your computer when you plug in the gaming headset. In fact, it describes something very classic, analog - namely how big speakers are that are inside a pair of headphones. If we restrict ourselves to the essentials when it comes to gaming headsets, we can say that a larger driver is synonymous with "better" sound quality.

The frequencies can be reproduced more faceted and there is more room for details, which leads to the fact that you have a better "soundstage" with large drivers - the very characteristic that provides for a natural and balanced sound image.

3.4 Sound quality & volume

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While hi-fi manufacturers always strive to give their devices the most natural and unadulterated sound possible, gaming headsets are almost always tuned a bit more bass-heavy and poppy. However, the sound quality of a gaming headset should not be too distorted, because it is especially important to locate opponents in games and to lend a certain naturalness to the sometimes Hollywood-like production.

Since everyone perceives sound quality differently, it is especially important for manufacturers to find a good balance between modern and natural. If you listen to a lot of music with your gaming headset and don't want to miss out on excellent sound, you won't be able to avoid paying a bit more, because good sound quality has its price.

In the meantime, well-known manufacturers of HiFi products, who have decades of experience in this field, have gaming headsets in their product range. Positive examples would be Sennheiser or Beyerdynamic - both sound manufacturers from Germany are very respected in the HiFi scene and offer very good gaming headsets for the mass market. However, products from Logitech, Corsair or Razer can also be heard in terms of sound quality.

Ultimately, it always depends on what is important to you when it comes to sound - a lot of bass, clear trebles, good soundstage, and so on. Keeping these points apart objectively would go beyond the scope of this section, so you should make your own experiences by looking at reviews of the respective gaming headsets and testing them yourself if necessary.

In our gaming headset test, it quickly becomes clear that in a direct comparison between wireless gaming headsets and wired gaming headsets, the wired models are significantly louder than products of the wireless variant. This is because sound signals are always lost in the indirect and wireless connection, and battery life manufacturers have built in some sort of volume limit will. So if you are looking for a particularly loud gaming headset, you should look for a wired model.

3.5 Microphone

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The microphone of a gaming headset is enormously important and the sound quality varies extremely here as well. You know how it is - in a call or in Discord, someone has a very bad microphone... He is just barely understandable, but whenever he speaks, it sounds like he is talking through an old telephone. If you don't want to be that someone, you should definitely make sure that your gaming headset has a decent microphone.

Often, manufacturers don't specify the built-in microphone, which is usually not a good sign - exceptions prove the rule, of course. Since you can hardly name any objective facts about the microphone quality, the manufacturers often emphasize the quality of the microphone by advertising with technologies like "Crystal Sound", "Clear Mic Technology" or "Studio Mic Quality". While these advertising promises should always be taken with a healthy dose of caution, when a manufacturer emphasizes mic quality like this up front, you can expect the built-in microphone to already have better sound than those of many competitors.

If you need concrete comparisons, you can have a look on YouTube - there, tech-YouTubers often present the latest gaming headsets and also test the sound quality of the built-in microphone in the course of that. Just search for reviews or keywords like "Logitech G Pro Mic Test". This way, you are on the safe side and can get an idea of whether you like the sound of the microphone or whether it is sufficient for your purposes without any obligation.

3.6 Adjustability

Head sizes and shapes sometimes differ quite a bit from each other, which means that most gaming headsets have adjustable headbands. This means that almost anyone, both teenager and adult, woman or man can adjust the headset so that it fits well on the head and, most importantly, holds.

However, there are also gaming headsets that have a fixed, immovable frame instead of an adjustable headband, which has a flexible and elastic fabric band on the bottom. This also ensures that the headset fits perfectly and no longer slips. With the difference that the band logically stretches continuously and thus adapts to the head shape to the millimeter.

Often, headsets equipped with this variant look like there is no way to adjust the size. Therefore, it is always worth taking a closer look at the item description and the pictures. The Steelseries company has proven with the Arctis series that this method can work quite well. In some tests, experts even talk about preferring this variant over the old-fashioned one in terms of convenience.

3.7 Design

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This is another topic where minds are divided. For some people, the design of a gaming headset can't be wacky and eye-catching enough, while others prefer a discreet, rather minimalistic look. Basically, it has to be said that the design in no way affects the quality of the headset, which is also the reason why we can't give you many tips in this category. In the end, it's up to you how much you value the design. However, we would like to mention that you should not buy a gaming headset solely because of the design - there are many nice headsets that don't exactly score technically or are anything but suitable for the desired use.

3.8 Function buttons (Mic mute, volume control button)

As far as the function keys are concerned, we can again tell you exactly what you should pay attention to and explain how essential these keys are for a gaming headset.

Function keys are there to perform certain settings within a few seconds - these include: Volume control, microphone off, microphone boost, connect, etc.

On regular headphones, which you tend to use to listen to music, these buttons play a much more secondary role than on a proper gaming headset. They are "nice to have" and certainly a small relief, but not exactly decisive. The situation is completely different when it comes to gaming.

Imagine the following scenario: You're out with your friends in Discord. There are five of you, and lively conversations ensue while you're gaming, but whaddya know? What is it? The doorbell rings - your pizza has finally arrived! You sit down with your pizza again from the PC and because you don't want to smack rudely into the microphone, you sign out to your colleagues and say that you are eating.

To turn off your mic, you press the Windows key, open Discord, look where your nickname is and click on the crossed out mic icon. Awkward! If you have a decent headset, you can do these steps in one go. You reach once for the cable to which the function keys are attached, press the microphone button briefly and you are muted.

Function keys can also be very important when gaming, because just when it's quiet in the game and you're trying to track down the footsteps of your enemies, you might need a quick little volume boost. Instead of going back into Windows and turning up the volume there, you can easily turn the dial on your function keys and adjust it so that it's ideal for you. You'll stay in the game, and in the best case scenario, you'll even have a hand on the mouse in case an enemy unexpectedly comes around the corner.

As you can see, function keys are very important for gaming, which is why you shouldn't do without them. In most cases, a small switch with buttons and controls is attached to the cable of your gaming headset. Wireless models usually have the buttons on the headset itself.

4 Wireless headset vs. wired headset

The question that comes up with many peripherals is: wireless or wired? After all, if using wireless devices didn't involve so many compromises, this question wouldn't even arise. Wireless products are always more comfortable, visually more attractive and offer almost unrestricted freedom of movement. But unfortunately, you also have to make sacrifices when using a wireless input device or headset alongside all the comfort - that's probably in the nature of things, because where there's no cable, a permanent power supply is almost impossible.

Why a wireless headset can still be useful and why long-term & core gamers should rather go for the wired version is explained in this paragraph.

4.1 Wireless headset

At first glance, a wireless gaming headset only offers advantages - no annoying cable dangling from your arm while gaming, you can move your head and body without restrictions without knocking over the entire computer during rough movements, you can even stand up, put the headset over your neck and open the door, for example. But if you take a closer look at wireless gaming headsets, you'll quickly realize that not all that glitters is gold.

If you decide to buy such a device, you have to accept some compromises. Since the headsets are equipped with a built-in battery and cannot draw the required energy via a cable, you are forced to charge the gaming headset regularly.

How long the battery life is varies from model to model - be sure to check the manufacturer's specifications. When looking for a wireless gaming headset, you should definitely make sure that you can use it while charging it. Unfortunately, there are still many models on the market that do not allow this. You'll be forced to wait until the battery is charged before you can start your next gaming session. Furthermore, you will have to accept compromises in terms of sound and microphone quality, because the audio signals logically have to be transmitted wirelessly, which leads to signal losses.

In general, we recommend a wireless headset if you are a casual gamer who is willing to charge the device constantly. We have summarized the pros & cons for you.

Advantages:

  • no annoying cable while gaming
  • high freedom of movement
  • can often also be used on smartphones and other Bluetooth devices
  • easy handling

Disadvantages:

  • Must be charged regularly
  • Sacrifices with the sound quality
  • microphone quality suffers from wireless technology
  • More expensive than wired models

4.2 Wired headset

Wired gaming headsets are connected to the PC or laptop either via USB or audio jack. Many manufacturers include several cables and adapters to ensure that the right accessory is available for every occasion. Wireless headsets have the advantage that you can move around more or less freely, but this is of course only partially the case with the cable version. The cables are often about 2 meters long, which means that you'll reach your limits in terms of movement relatively quickly.

However, the direct connection to the computer has the advantage that the audio signal is not distorted, you can enjoy your content at full volume and play without a break due to the permanent power supply. So if you are a passionate gamer who wants to accept as few restrictions as possible, you should definitely go for the wired gaming headset. In contrast to good wireless headsets, these are also significantly cheaper - so you can spend a bit more money and opt for a top model.

Advantages:

  • gaming without pauses
  • lossless audio signal
  • good microphone quality
  • favorable
  • plug & play
  • large selection of models

Disadvantages:

  • Cable can often be annoying
  • can mostly only be used on the PC

5 Gaming Headset Test - The Costs

How expensive is a good gaming headset? Well, that depends on how your demands are. If you want a wired headset with decent audio quality, a good microphone and great workmanship, your budget will have to be at least 60 €. It's best to choose a model from a well-known manufacturer and not fall for cheap products, because they are now a dime a dozen.

For a wireless gaming headset, however, you will have to dig a bit deeper into your pocket. Good products from well-known manufacturers like Logitech, Corsair or Steelseries start at around 100 €. There are also wireless gaming headsets that have a wealth of features and can also keep up with wired devices in terms of sound quality, but these are quickly around 200-350 €.

6 Frequently Asked Questions about Gaming Headsets

What is a gaming headset?

Gaming headsets can actually be described as 2-in-1 devices, because they are headphones with a built-in microphone - and the whole thing is designed for gaming.

Which is the best gaming headset?

The best gaming headset you can get at the moment is the Beyerdynamic MMX 300 for about 250€.

Which headset has the best microphone?

The MMX 300 from Beyerdynamic not only has the best sound, but also the best microphone.

What is the difference between a gaming headset and a normal headset?

Normal headsets are not designed for gaming and cannot cover the sound spectrum that special gaming headsets can.

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