There is one area that is often overlooked for those wanting to easily increase their skill level - sound. Many of you are here because you understand the potential of a decent gaming headset. Are there headphones that are well-suited to playing CS:GO? Well, the answer is yes.
I've found 5 headsets in each price bracket. Not everyone is willing to shell out $150 for a gaming headset. Luckily, there are still a few options under $50. While they won't be the best on the market, they will definitely be a step up from your regular headphones.
I've summarized the headsets below.
Why The Microphone Is Crucial
Competitive gaming takes a lot of teamwork and communication. Over the years, companies have begun to put more of the retail price towards a quality microphone. You need something that picks up your voice clearly while preventing any outside sound interference from getting through.
This isn't that difficult when you have a large diaphragm microphone. But when you cut the size of the mic down to a size that can be placed on a headset, a number of issues arise.
Your best bet is purchase something that has built-in noise cancellation. Most mid-range options are going to have this. Your entry-level options won't have built-in sound cancellation and will be annoying to use if you are playing in a loud environment. We need to be looking for something with intelligibility over fidelity. We are not going to be recording a podcast with these headsets.
Being able to communicate through the sounds of gameplay is our top priority.
If you don't ever plan on using a microphone you can really cut the cost down on your headset. I do, however, recommend you still consider the option. Just in case you decide to change your mind in the future.
Out of the above headsets, the best value regarding the microphone ability is with the Cloud II.
- Designed for comfort – Exceptionally comfortable memory foam ear cushions and padded leatherette headband help keep you focused on gaming
- Supreme audio quality – Large 53 millimeter drivers provide high-quality audio. Hear in-game details better and get the in-game advantage on your opponents
Potential Issues With Sound Quality
We're not looking for regular music headphones here. There is a difference in use cases that results in regular headphones being ill-suited for gaming.
The most important features in a gaming headset in terms of sound quality are:
- 7.1 Surround Sound
- Pronounced low-end
You can ignore other characteristics such as balance and sound accuracy. We are most concerned with hearing the audio from the gameplay as clearly as possible. This is where you are going to get the most benefit from a good quality headset.
You need something with surround sound capabilities with high enough definition that you can hear the subtle audio of someone moving around behind you. Entry-levels are going to lack this definition and will result in delayed response time. You need something subtle enough to be directionally accurate while picking up all of the sound effects.
Each peripheral needs to capture the game's unique atmosphere. The performance must be prioritized over how well the headset performs while consuming media. In a recent survey, 18 percent of respondents said they didn't care how their gaming headset performed with music and movies at all.
While there was competition between the Razer and the Turtle, the reviews suggested that the Turtle edged out the razor by a few points. The Hyper X is also another great option.
I know audiophiles say there is no such thing as a good gaming headset, but they are a notoriously difficult crowd to please. I really tried to focus on audio quality that improves performance rather than something that is pleasant to sit down and relax while listening to music.
- ComforTec Fit System Revolutionary adjustment system for truly personalized comfort
- Aerofit Ear Cushions : Delivering cooling comfort, better sound and passive noise isolation, Speaker frequency response 12 hertz to 22 kilohertz, Speaker size 50 millimeters nanoclear speakers
The third issue you need to be careful of is compatibility. I expect most of you are PC gamers. This makes compatibility really easy. All you need is a simple 3.5 mm cable and you will be good to go.
A good option to look out for is 3.5 mm extension cables. These make the connection much longer, allowing you to keep the cable out of your way while playing.
Some headsets require a lot more power than can be supplied with a 3.5 mm connection. Lots of headsets are now coming with LED lights that can be altered. These headsets usually connect with a USB connection.
While this works with both PC and console games, you won't be able to connect it to your phone without an adaptor.
Why You Need To Pay Attention To Comfort
Let's face it, you're going to be wearing this headset for hours. Take it from me, any level of discomfort is going to totally ruin your experience. I've spent over $200 on headphones that I could only wear for 30 minutes at a time. Unsurprisingly, these headphones were never used.
The main driver of discomfort is headset pressure. This usually results from the company trying to increase the level of sound isolation. Too little pressure and the headphones will be falling off of your head and bleeding sound. Too much pressure and you will be in the same boat as me.
This is why paying close attention to the reviews is crucial. Comfortable headsets use soft ear cushions and are optimized for comfort.
Look for a headset with memory foam. This is the best way to ratchet up the comfort while keeping the price tag reasonable. You will also want to pay attention to earpad material. Lots of people have different preferences when it comes to earpad material, but something soft and breathable is the way to go.
Other than that, pay attention to the weight of the headphone, as well as the ability to adjust. Something lightweight is obviously preferable.
The most comfortable headsets go to the Cosair Void. The material is breathable and it uses memory foam.
- Microfiber mesh fabric and memory foam provide exceptional comfort
- Legendary Corsair build quality ensures long term durability; Cable length :1.8 meter
Other Accessory Features
There are a few other features that sometimes get discussed that I don't feel are as important as the issues above. Durability is usually something people look for in headsets. But the fact is most of these headsets will be worn in a controlled environment.
If you are something that is moving around with your headset then you are going to want to look for durability. The rest of us can focus on the quality of sound, comfort, and mic.
Wireless headsets are beginning to become more common. With the advent of Bluetooth 4.1, it's easy to get weeks of battery life out of small devices. The only thing to worry about here is latency. You must purchase a headset with aptx low-latency codec. Anything else will leave you with a delay that is going to be extremely annoying.
Wireless also adds a lot of weight to the headphones (see table above). But it does get rid of the annoying cable you have to deal with. Just some food for thought.
Finally, some gaming headsets are offering customizable LEDs. This can be a cool feature for some but isn't something I'd be willing to pay extra for.
If you haven't considered a gaming chair with built-in speakers you can check out my favorite here.
Unsurprisingly, the Turtle Beach and Hyper X came out on top. If you are at all familiar with professional gaming I'm sure you are well aware of both of these models. But, most of us can't really afford the price range. The Logitech headset is one of the best selling headsets on the market.
It packs a ton of quality for a very reasonable price. If you just need something to get you started I wouldn't recommend anything else. As you can see, it still competes with all of the other premium headphones.
- DTS Headphone: X and Dolby 7; 1 surround Sound: experience an immersive 360 degree sound field that lets you hear what you can't see
- Built for comfort: lightweight design and soft sport cloth ear cups with 90 degree swivel for maximum comfort and a personalized fit