10 Best Gaming Headsets | March 2017
- compatible with consoles and pcs
- tangle free braided cables
- xbox one adapter is not included
- includes a sound control unit
- supports a second headset
- comes with all necessary cables
- fit dumbo-sized ears
- isolate you from background noises
- can't make up for poor gaming skills
- mic cancels out background noise
- airweave cushions wick away moisture
- retractable mic for travel
- battery lasts for marathon sessions
- plush memory foam earcups
- double as passive music headphones
- bass boost for satisfying explosions
- separate chat and game volumes
- mic mute to cover up your sobs
- foldable for easy transport
- withstand losing tantrums
- can drown out your mom or girlfriend
To See The Future, First See The Past
Communications technology has come a long way since the Pony Express and Game of Thrones-style homing pigeons.
And while online video game conversations might not be the exemplar of successful communication between human beings, the rate of technology behind them certainly hasn't slowed down a bit.
The original non-gaming headset was invented in 1910 by a Stanford student and was, unfortunately, a bit of a failed invention. The headset was a commercial pile of garbage, at least at first. Nobody could see why large numbers of people might want to buy them.
And then came the war. World War I rolled around and all of a sudden there were a bunch of pilots with, you guessed it, not a single headset among them. That was until Uncle Sam ordered a bunch of those bad boys, and made one Stanford student pretty darn rich.
One of the oldest audio equipment makers, Plantronics, got their start selling headsets to pilots. Back then in the 1960s, they were extremely cumbersome to the point that no one wanted to wear them. It wasn't until a couple of astronauts got together to create a smaller, lightweight version. The picture we have here? That's Neil Armstrong, sporting a Plantronics headset. No big deal or anything.
But, if you stop to think about it, we're already in the future. It's hard to deny that the recent developments, and future possibilities in virtual reality technology are exciting.
Indeed, the virtual reality business is starting to look a lot like the original console wars. Microsoft has made an exclusive deal with game phenomenon Minecraft for the HoloLens VR headset.
While virtual reality headsets mark how far headsets have come, one has to admit that such technologies are still in their infancy. Even despite the advances made since the computer flight simulators of the '80s, it's likely that a few generations of tech will be necessary to, as they say, "work out all the bugs."
Virtual reality, of course, represents a new kind of headset–a headset with a component that simulates the visual field. The technological development comes at a cost, however: being immersed in such a headset can cause sever motion sickness.
It perhaps gives pause to consider that such things were the science-fiction dreams of many who lived not more than fifty or a hundred years ago… though lightsabers are still forthcoming.
What Makes A Gaming Headset, A Gaming Headset?
In technical terms, a headset is a headphone attached to a microphone. Headsets can be a single-earpiece (mono) or a double-earpiece (mono/stereo). In the specific case of computer headsets, there are usually two connection types: 3.5 mm and USB. 3.5 mm.
Headsets almost always come with two 3.5 mm connectors, one to the microphone jack of the computer and one to the headphone jack.
The headphones function to convert sound by way of a soundcard, from digital (computer) to analog (headset). USB headsets connect to the computer by way of USB, and so sound conversion occurs in the headphones themselves or in a control unit.
Inside the ear cups is where the magic happens. We've included a picture here that points out the various drivers contained within headsets, that marry together to make sweet sounds, for our brains to feast on. The one pictured here features five drivers, two of which are for surround sound - looks like a promising headset already.
Drivers are to headsets as gasoline is to vehicles. The larger the driver, the better sound will be produced.
Many differences between the gaming headsets reviewed, were over comfort or cosmetics as opposed to function; and anyone looking for in-depth reviews is already past the point of merely looking for a general something to fulfill a general function.
They want something specific, that does specific things very well. The point is that the base technology to communicate through video games, to immerse oneself in a virtual experience, and to do so simultaneously with remote players is already here.
Sacrifices That Come With Being On A Budget
You're on a budget, we totally get that, no judgements passed here.
Just understand that you're going to have to give up some aspects in order to spend less money.
What exactly are you going to miss out on? The biggest one, and arguably the most important, is sound quality. Unless a headset in dipped in 14k gold, the reason the top-of-the-line contenders cost more than the rest, are because of their superior sound quality, usually.
Yes, there are some lower priced headsets with sound quality that rival brand names, and cost four times less. But I'll bet the material used to produce them is faulty, and unreliable past a few solid uses.
What other sacrifices are you willing to make for the sake of saving money? Well, are the headphones you want wired, or wireless? Is the headset noise-cancelling, or sound-isolating? Do they offer surround sound? Does it have a microphone?
The more features a headset offers, the more money they're going to cost.
And if you're a gamer, those specs, or lack thereof, can be a game changer, pun intended.
The morale of the story is, to truly improve your gaming experience, invest in a great pair of headsets. Cheap is not always better, and this is certainly the case here.