I tried 3 popular gaming headsets, and they all failed me

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As a gamer who often plays online, a gaming headset has ever seemed for illustration a necessity for me. After all, I don’t conscionable request speakers aliases headphones — I request nan full package, meaning headphones and a microphone. Given nan magnitude of gaming headsets connected nan market, you’d deliberation it’d beryllium easy to find a bully brace of cans pinch a mic that works. Spoiler alert: It’s not.

I gave gaming headsets measurement excessively galore chances and sank measurement excessively overmuch money into them, only to beryllium disappointed again and again. After trying 3 of nan astir celebrated options, I’m fresh to opportunity that I’m done. Here’s what happened.

Everything, each astatine once

The Corsair Void RGB Elite gaming headphones connected a rack adjacent to a gaming PC.Corsair

There’s a problem pinch gaming headsets that’s not talked astir enough, and it’s simultaneously nan champion point astir them: They do excessively galore things astatine once, and that tin effect nan build quality. While this is to beryllium expected, it’s only viable up to a definite point. Once you sacrifice excessively overmuch conscionable to get each of these features successful a azygous package, it nary longer makes overmuch sense.

I’ll beryllium nan first to show you that gaming headsets tin beryllium awesome if you’re for illustration maine and dislike having to woody pinch annoying cables, plugging successful aggregate devices, keeping way of wherever everything is, and truthful on. They’re conscionable easier to usage than different options, but sadly, jamming each of that wrong a headset comes astatine a price.

It’s not conscionable headphones and a microphone. USB headsets travel pinch their ain onboard audio drivers, while those pinch a 3.5mm audio jack trust connected your motherboard to present audio. Gaming headphones are often closed-back, meaning immoderate level of sound cancellation. Then, there’s nan unsocial gamer artistic and trading that you request to salary a premium for. A batch of these headsets successful nan mainstream assemblage costs little than $100 to $150, and immoderate of them dip beneath $50. When you adhd each of that up and still effort to make a profit, it’s clear that cutting costs connected build value mightiness happen.

Gaming headsets are nan epitome of nan building “jack-of-all-trades, maestro of none.” The remainder of that saying is “but oftentimes amended than a maestro of one,” but that isn’t ever nan lawsuit here. Gaming headsets tin do each nan things they’re advertised to do, but they besides autumn down successful galore ways.

A headset gives you nan worst retired of either side, beryllium it nan mic aliases nan audio, unless you’re prepared to salary for 1 of nan best gaming headsets — and those tin costs $200 to $300 and up. It mightiness beryllium decent for games, but nan infinitesimal you want to chat connected Discord aliases put connected immoderate music, nan audio (or microphone) value tends to autumn flat. These headsets are also, successful my ain experience, susceptible to various issues, moreover erstwhile handled pinch care.

Buying a gaming headset besides intends paying nan gamer taxation that’s besides coming successful peripherals for illustration mice and keyboards. These headsets mightiness beryllium tailored to nan needs of gamers, pinch features for illustration situation sound, sound cancellation, aliases being capable to shut up your microphone pinch a property of a button. But for me, those features didn’t dress up for nan problems that cropped up.

I really tried

HyperX Cloud Alpha Wireless headset leaning against a gaming PC.Jacob Roach / Digital Trends

I really gave gaming headsets a due chance. Over nan past 3 years, I’ve tried a full of four, arsenic good arsenic 1 brace of non-gaming headphones. Out of each five, there’s only 1 exemplary that I’m happy with, and it judge isn’t 1 of nan headsets.

I started retired pinch a Razer Kraken headset. I recovered it uncomfortable, and nan microphone value was pitiful. The pleather earpads started flaking really early on, too.

I yet caved and bought a caller headset, this clip nan wireless type of nan HyperX Cloud Flight. I’d only heard bully things astir it, and while I liked it for nan comfortableness of deterioration and decent sound quality, it had a mates of things that bothered me. For one, nan measurement power connected nan near headphone was very easy to trigger conscionable by moving my limb aliases neck. As a result, I’d randomly person nan measurement descent each nan measurement to nan apical aliases nan bottom, because erstwhile it started, it wouldn’t stop. Needless to say, my ears were not happy.

What yet prompted maine to return this headset aft conscionable a fewer months of usage was nan truth that nan artillery would dice aft 1 to 3 hours — and that’s connected a afloat charge.

Razer Kraken V3 sitting connected a desk.Razer

I sewage a caller brace arsenic a replacement. This marks headset number three, aliases 2 if we tin count some nan HyperX’s arsenic nan aforesaid device. Once I sewage my replacement, I hoped that each of these issues would person been resolved. However, nan measurement power remained trigger-happy, hurting my ears each truthful often. This headset besides came pinch its ain rumor — it mislaid awesome astatine random. It was clip to move on.

Right now, I person a SteelSeries Arctis Nova 7, and I can’t opportunity that I hate it. The microphone is nan champion retired of each four. The headphones are reasonably comfortable, and while I decidedly don’t find them awesome for euphony aliases movies, they were made for gaming. But, of course, there’s conscionable 1 problem.

The headset won’t extremity turning itself disconnected astatine random, often successful midsentence; for me, that’s a beautiful awesome dealbreaker. It’s still nether warranty, but I’m not moreover judge whether I want to get a caller 1 astatine this point.

I’ve sworn disconnected gaming headsets for good, and nan alternate solution has been staring maine successful nan look for galore agelong months.

When 2 is amended than one

Close-up of an earcup connected nan Audio-Technica ATH-GDL3 open-back gaming headphones.Jaron Schneider / Digital Trends

Failed headset aft grounded headset, 1 brace of cans stayed accordant and fantabulous — my sub-$100 Audio-Technica ATH-AVA400 open-back headphones. They’re not moreover wireless, which I greatly for illustration these days, but their value makes up for that. I’m not an audiophile, truthful arsenic agelong arsenic thing sounds bully and doesn’t break unreasonably quickly, I’m satisfied. My ATH headphones meet that criteria while sounding importantly amended than immoderate of nan gaming headsets that I’ve tried, and they were besides cheaper than astir of them.

I yet realized that nan solution is simple, and it’s not to ditch nan microphone. It’s to get a microphone successful summation to a coagulated brace of headphones.

There are a fewer benefits from trading 1 instrumentality for 2 (or three, if you want to besides get yourself a DAC/amp). For one, you’re getting 2 devices that were specifically made for that 1 purpose, beryllium it to present audio aliases to transmit it. It mightiness not sound for illustration much, but that attraction surely makes each nan quality compared to a mixed gaming headset.

Next, you’re astir apt getting thing amended for astir nan aforesaid price. Much for illustration pinch gaming headsets, you tin operation and lucifer to get thing cheaper aliases pricier, but this is mostly existent crossed galore value different value points. If you’re connected a budget, you tin astir apt “build” a combo for nether $80. Cheaper gaming headsets do exist, but they’re usually not overmuch to constitute location about.

When it comes to headphones without a microphone, we person a ranking of immoderate of nan best headphones that are worthy looking at. You’ll find that nan brands successful our ranking disagree from what gamers are utilized to. You’ll find Sony, Bose, Sennheiser, and more. I personally genuinely urge Audi0-Technica arsenic a reasonably affordable option. It besides makes immoderate gaming headsets for illustration nan ATH-GDL3, but again — it’s often amended to break those 2 things up.

Steelseries Alias and Alias Pro sitting connected a table.Jacob Roach / Digital Trends

What astir microphones? You don’t request 1 of those monolithic streamer-esque roar mics that connect to nan desk, though they’re an option. The closest replacement to a headset is nan pricey, but coagulated Antlion ModMic. The wired options commencement astatine astir , and there’s a wireless type for . This is fundamentally an attachable microphone that you tin harvester pinch immoderate brace of headphones to create your ain gaming headset. It sounds leagues amended than immoderate headset I’ve owned, and it tin spell pinch you erstwhile you move retired your headphones for a caller pair. If nan value tag puts you off, nan Zalman ZM-MIC1 is conscionable , and while it’s not outstanding, it’ll do.

Then, location are microphones for illustration nan caller SteelSeries Alias Pro aliases nan celebrated Blue Yeti. Those are astir apt arsenic bully arsenic it gets without further audio hardware, but they return up room connected your desk, truthful it’s a trade-off. Be wary that erstwhile you autumn down nan rabbit spread of upgrading your headphones and microphone, you mightiness extremity up spending measurement much than you initially planned.

Your mileage whitethorn vary, and this is conscionable my individual experience, truthful if you’re successful nan marketplace for a headset, don’t beryllium swayed by my opinion. Excellent gaming headsets that don’t costs an limb and a limb do exist, specified arsenic nan HyperX Cloud Alpha. With a spot of research, you’re bound to find thing that suits your needs if you for illustration nan conception of gaming headsets — particularly if you’re consenting to fork retired immoderate other cash. I conscionable cognize that for me, I recovered myself acold much satisfied erstwhile I gave up nan thought of headsets altogether.

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