This is the most competitive price range for gaming headsets and as such there is a huge array of options available from mainstream manufacturers as well as dozens of relatively unknown manufacturers that have flooded the low-end market. When considering which option is best, some of the features to consider include surround sound capabilities, the ease of access of any controls, microphone quality and positioning, and above all else comfort – this is essential as these headsets will often be worn for prolonged gaming sessions. Another consideration is hardware compatibility – all the headsets mentioned in this article are PC compliant, however some offer the ability to connect to various consoles and even act as standard headphones for use with mobile phones or tablets and have removable microphones. In order to stand out from the crowd, you may wish to consider one of the more stylish sets, some of which include various lighting effects.
HyperX Cloud II 7.1 Virtual Surround Sound Gaming Headset
- USB Audio Sound Card with 7.1 Virtual Surround Sound, 53mm Drivers Neodymium Magnets.
- Comfortable - 100% memory foam on headband and leatherette cushions.
- Pro-gaming optimised - closed-cup design for passive noise cancellation, Noise Cancelling Microphone & Echo Cancelling via Inline Sound Card.
- TeamSpeak Certified - Voice Chat Optimised.
- Virtual 7.1 surround sound provides you with an upgraded level of audio precision that will give you a competitive edge. Available on Cloud II. HyperX helpline number: 01932 739055
The Hyper X Cloud II gaming headset has an open-back design with a colourful appearance with accented metallic red logos on the earcups and red metal forks and stitching. A traditional curved headband and well-padded, rotatable ear cups as well as adjustable metal forks which decent play in either direction complete the look. The modular design features a detachable microphone with an extendable, bendy coil which enables accurate positioning of the microphone which has a foam tip. As well as being very lightweight, the headset has comfortable memory foam ear cups, which fit securely around the ears without causing discomfort and there is an extensive choice of adjustments that can be made, making the Cloud II a great choice for those who like to game for prolonged periods. The microphone is detachable, transforming the Hyper X Cloud II from a gaming headset into a pair of standard wired headphones if required. This gaming headset is supplied with two sets of interchangeable earcups – one set in pleather and the other in velour, with the latter option proving to be the most comfortable in everyday use. An aeroplane adaptor and a carrying pouch are included and control is via a dedicated in-line control box which has volume buttons for both the speakers and the microphone as well as a dedicated surround sound 7.1 control. This headset is only compatible with PC’s and does not have console support. The cable has a 3.5mm adaptor so these can be used as standard headphones if required with the likes of smartphones and tablets (although the latest models often lack this option). The HyperX Cloud II has a digitally enhanced, noise-cancelling microphone with automatic gain control functionality and echo cancellation enabled through the USB sound card. This provides clearer voice quality and reduced background noise, with voice volume automatically increasing as in-game sound gets louder, to optimise team communication and in-game chat in intense battles. HyperX Cloud II is certified by TeamSpeak and optimised for Skype and other leading chat programs. The range of features and is impressive given the price range.
The overall sound quality is very dynamic with the 7.1 surround sound option helping to distinguish subtle sounds such rainfall or footsteps and this feature can be easily disabled when listening to music. The mic quality is quite impressive and works well during games and Skype calls, although there is no pass-through feature for self-monitoring. Unfortunately, there is no software specifically for this headset so some sound customisations such as treble and bass cannot be directly controlled. Unlike most headsets, the volume and surround sound controls are on a separate USB dongle so you will not need to mess around with the headset itself to make alterations. This is an easy to use headset without too many complications in their operation. Due to the open back design please bear in mind that there will be some sound leakage so these may not be suitable for late night sessions in shared accommodation.
Users report that the headset is very well made with a premium look and feel, and they are generally impressed with the sound quality, although some have commented that the 7.1 feature is uninspiring and mediocre. A few users have had issues with the microphone quality. Some customers have had this headset for a couple of years with no issues and are pleased with its longevity.
Razer Kraken Tournament Edition
- Full Audio Controls: Get total control with the USB audio controller, turn on THX Spatial Audio for increased immersion, control both volume and bass levels and even configure the game/chat balance, all of this at your fingertips-for gaming audio that is always perfectly customized for you
- THX Spatial Audio: Go beyond traditional virtual surround sound. THX Spatial Audio breaks the boundaries of defined 5.1 and 7.1 channel surround to deliver seamless 360° positional audio for a more natural and lifelike experience. It also adds depth to the experience by simulating sound both above and below you for incredible gaming immersion, available with Razer Synapse
- Game/Chat Balance: Never experience your game audio overpowering team communication again, the Game/Chat Balance option lets you fine-tune the right balance of what you hear, or simply leave it in the middle for a standard mix
- Custom-Tuned 50 mm Drivers: Equipped with large custom-tuned 50 mm drivers, the Razer Kraken Tournament Edition provides a wide soundscape, from subtle footsteps sneaking up behind you to climatic explosions that blow you away, this clarity in range and deep, punchy bass is crucial in creating a lifelike immersive experience
- Cross-Platform Compatibility: With its 3.5 mm audio jack, the Razer Kraken Tournament Edition is cross-platform compatible-works with your PC, Mac, PS4, Xbox One, Switch or even mobile devices
The Razer Kraken is a tough headset that looks built to last. The compact and stylish design features large, well-padded faux leather ear pads and a thick headband with a retractable pencil-thin microphone that extends and retracts easily. Available in a range of colours including black and green, the bright Razer name is emblazoned on the top of the headband, and the centre of the mesh grille on the outer side of the ear cups feature the distinctive, triple-headed snake logo one has come to associate with this brand. The most striking cosmetic feature of this gaming headset is the LED lighting that comes as standard. Once you plug the headset in, the Razer logos on the ear cups light up and there is even a choice of customisable lighting effects and a full RGB range of available colours to choose from.
The headband has the ability to extend for wide heads and there is plenty of padding, however this headset does tent to become tiresome after a few hours due to its design and weight so it may not be the best choice where extended gaming sessions are required. The sound quality is impressive and nicely balanced with a deep bass and good spatial positioning, especially when used with the surround sound features which improve detail on the quieter sound and are THX Spatial Audio certified. The included Razer Synapse 2.0 software has a range of features including equalisers and LED colour customisations, so you can tweak each game for exceptional sound quality but unfortunately the software doesn’t let you set individual profile options and you have to fine tune the software for each game to get an optimum, customised experience, however there are some good preset options available. The ability to adjust the bass and treble via the software, or simply using the presets, makes the headset particularly pleasant for listening to music.
The microphone works well and cuts background noise to a minimum, and you can be heard clearly without distortion. There is a white LED on the microphone to indicate an active status, and this can be a bit distracting and the only way to turn it off is to disable the microphone which is not removable but can be neatly retracted into the headband. The headset also comes with a 2m cable which allows greater flexibility and distancing from the sound source. With its 3.5 mm audio jack, the Razer Kraken Tournament Edition is cross-platform compatible and works with PC, Mac, PS4, Xbox One, Switch and many mobile phones and tablets.
Users are mostly impressed with the range of features and the sound quality; however, some have commented that these do become uncomfortable during extended use and some have experienced problems getting the included software to run effectively.
Turtle Beach Stealth 300P Gaming Headset
- Flip-up Mic - Turtle Beach's renowned high-sensitivity mic picks up your voice loud and clear, and flips up to mute
- Glasses Friendly - Unique ProSpecs comfort-driven design removes pressure on your glasses while you play.
- Memory Foam Ear Cushions - Breathable fabric-wrapped memory foam ear cushions provide unmatched comfort.
- Audio Presets - Customize the way your game sounds with four audio presets, including Bass Boost.
- Variable Mic Monitoring - Hear and adjust the volume of your voice inside the headset so you never have to shout.
Turtle Beach is renowned for its gaming headsets, especially its dedicated console offerings. With this model it has gone for a relatively safe design with the entire frame made of plastic which results in a headset that feels surprisingly cheap to both hold and wear. It’s mostly comfortable however, thanks to its large, spacious ear cups that can be easily adjusted for head size. Unfortunately, it cannot be folded so loses points for portability, however it is compatible with most current consoles including the latest PS5 and can be used with a PC.
Unusually, as a wired headset, the Stealth 300 is not passively powered. Instead, you activate a pair of buttons on the left-hand side for power and volume options and the microphone which is not activated until you tilt it downwards. It’s a little tricky to adjust settings on the headset without taking it off entirely, mainly due to how close together the buttons are. This headset is designed with spectacle wearers in mind and does not put pressure on the arms of spectacles making for a more comfortable experience for those of us who wear glasses – this is a major advantage, as the pressure from some headsets during extended use can be a problem for some. The ear cushions are memory foam and despite the basic looks of the headset it does have a good range of innovative features not always offered by the competition.
The Turtle Beach Stealth 300P has four different audio equaliser options built in – Bass Boost, Signature Sound, Bass, Treble Boost, and Vocal Boost. these aim to emphasise various qualities and due to the presence of a dedicated onboard amplifier the effect is far more realistic than is normally experienced with passive headsets.
The microphone has a pass-through feature that is controllable and allows you to hear your own voice with varying volume levels. This headset is impressive for the price and performs well in all areas with the only thing letting it down being the design and look.
Most users are impressed with the sound quality; however, some have commented on poor long-term reliability and discomfort after extended use.
Logitech G432 Wired Gaming Headset
- 50 mm Audio Drivers: Enjoy a more immersive, cinematic gaming experience with this gaming headset thanks to the detailed sound produced by large 50 mm drivers
- DTS Headphone:X 2.0: Surround sound that goes beyond 7.1 channels lets you detect enemies from all sides, giving you a positional clarity that can make the difference. Requires Logitech G HUB Software
- 6 mm Flip-to-Mute Mic and Volume Control: You’ll be heard loud and clear by gaming partners with the big 6 mm boom mic. Volume control is at your fingertips
- One Headset for All Game Platforms: Logitech headset works with your PC or Mac via USB DAC or 3.5-mm cable, with gaming consoles including PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, mobile devices
- Game for Hours in Comfort: The deluxe lightweight leatherette ear cups and headband are made to keep pressure off your ears, while ear cups rotate up to 90 degrees for convenience
The Logitech G432 gaming headset is a stylish and good-looking device, predominantly black with attractive blue detailing and long metal slides which add to its impressive build quality which is a slight tweak on its predecessor the G430. Although this model doesn’t have a removable mic, it can be folded out of the way when it is not needed and there is also has a handy volume dial and microphone on/off button on the connection cable which is both long and braided for durability.
This low-cost headset has impressive comfort – the large earcups fit nicely over the ears and allow you to spend long periods gaming without feeling any undue pressure on the ears. Comfort is also enhanced by the swivel cups and the foam padded headband so you can fit them exactly to your head size.
The microphone works well for both multi-player gaming and VOIP calls, however it is not removeable, so the headset looks out of place when used solely for movies. The mic head folds away, although movement can be a little stiff. A volume control is supplied on the braided connection cable which is very long. The sound quality is satisfactory but not up to the standard offered by headsets with powered amplification or extensive surround sound optimisations, however this is to be expected for the price. There is a slight lack of both detail and depth and high frequencies are subdued. The sound can be improved via the software, but this also lacks many of the features of more costly models, such as presets which automatically adjust the sound quality based on what you’re listening to. The Logitech G430 features DTS 7.1 surround sound with a powerful software positioning for a 360-degree effect sound. This headset works with a PC or Mac via USB DAC or 3.5-mm cable, or with gaming consoles including PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and mobile devices via a 3.5 mm cable, so a full range of compatibility is offered.
Some users have reported that the choice of leatherette material for the earcups together with the fact that these are closed cup makes their ears uncomfortably warm during lengthy sessions and some have mentioned that the headband is too tight. The sound quality is satisfactory for most users; however, some customers have mentioned a lack of detail.
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