The Best PC Gaming Headsets for More Engaging and Immersive Gameplay
For most people, any good pair of headphones with an integrated mic is decent enough to let you enjoy both single-player and multiplayer PC games. They can play game sounds well enough, allowing you to hear every dialogue, every explosion, and every impact, along with the accompanying soundtrack that really helps set the mood.
However, if you want the kind of immersion that can only come from detailed and vibrant soundscapes that impart distance, direction, and individual sensations, the only way to really do that is to invest in a proper PC gaming headset. Not only do they deliver crystal clear details, they also make it easier to identify how far the sounds are and which directions they’re coming from. This is extremely valuable information when it comes to really grounding you inside a game, making them a huge part of the immersive experience. More importantly, it makes you a lot more competitive during gameplay, since it gives you a greater understanding of what’s happening around you at all times.
The best PC gaming headsets don’t just prioritize the audio coming in, they also give plenty of attention to the audio they’re picking up from your end. This is crucial when playing multiplayer titles where accurate sharing of information can make the difference between winning and losing, with good mic performance ensuring every call you make is heard loud and clear.
These are the best PC gaming headsets to keep on your gaming desk at all times.
HyperX Cloud Stinger 2
The most affordable PC gaming headset in our list, these cans are among the most comfortable in the list, with plenty of cushioning and materials that surprisingly feel nice on the skin. Suffice to say, these things are so comfy, you won’t mind wearing them all day. It’s equipped with 50mm drivers, which produce sound that accentuates the bass and treble, so it definitely favors action games with a heavy heaping of explosions. Despite that, it’s still able to produce a spacious enough sound that lets you distinguish details pretty well even at lower volumes, with the tuning giving heavier scenes an overall more engaging feel. For spatial audio, it uses DTS:X, which, we found, works well for producing directional sounds, although it’s still not quite as accurate as others in the list. The microphone, on the other hand, does a great job of picking up speech without any ambient noises, which makes it an excellent overall value.
SteelSeries Arctis Nova 1
Another excellent affordable option, SteelSeries’ entry-level analog gaming headset sports the same 40mm custom drivers as some of their more expensive models (Nova 3 and Nova 7), so it delivers comparable audio performance for a much lower price. Off the bat, it’s tuned very well for music, with excellent mids and highs, as well as decent enough bass performance, so you can use it for a lot more than gaming. For games, though, you definitely want to use it with the outfit’s Sonar audio software suite, which adds gaming-oriented tunings that allow you to use a flatter sound signature that makes all in-game sound easier to hear and even enable 360-degree spatial imaging for better in-game awareness. It pairs the drivers with a ClearCast Gen 2 microphone that picks up your voice very well. It’s bidirectional, though, so it will also pick up other sounds if you’re in a noisy room, which is why, again, you’ll want to use it with the software, since it adds noise-reduction features that can really clean up your comms before it goes out to the cloud. Oh yeah, the mic is also retractable, so you can keep it completely out of the way if you just want to listen to some tunes.
Corsair HS55 Stereo
The last of the sub-$100 options in our list, this wired gaming headset is something we’d recommend strictly for gaming, as it’s definitely not tuned for making the most of your musical playlists. With that said, it produces excellent definition across the different frequencies when used for gaming with its flatter sound profile, allowing you hear details clearly, even during busy, action-heavy scenes. The really big upside with this PC gaming headset, though, is the microphone, which produces a surprising level of clarity on the other end. Seriously, the quality of comms it produces is comparable to much more expensive headsets with higher-end mic hardware, putting it a step above other models in the same price range. It’s quite comfortable, too, although the unabashedly plastic build does give away its budget-friendly nature.
Astro A40 TR
This open-back PC gaming headset delivers a more spacious sound than what you typically find in the sub-$150 price range, allowing details to come through much easier while reproducing directional sound really well without additional software tricks. We love the tuning, by the way, which actually works really good for music and movies, all while really flooding you with sound during gameplay. The mic, on the other hand, is pretty pedestrian. It picks up sound well enough, but doesn’t isolate very well, so expect some ambient noises to come through if you’re in a noisier room (the assumption is, you won’t use this in a noisy room anyway, since it’s an open-back design). While it works well enough on its own, adding the MixAmp Pro TR (available separately or as a bundle) really takes the audio to another level, as it gives you a straightforward way to balance the game and comms volume in either direction. The headset is a little on the bulky side, by the way, although the balanced weight distribution allows it to be very comfortable even through long gaming sessions.
Audio-Technica ATH-M50xSTS XLR StreamSet
Designed for streamers, this wired PC gaming headset has one of the best built-in mics around, so much so that it can go head-to-head with dedicated USB mics as far as keeping you loud and clear on the Discord chat. According to the outfit, the mic is actually based on their 20 Series microphones, inheriting those models’ renowned articulation and intelligibility. We absolutely don’t doubt that, as it’s arguably the best headset mic we have on this list. Do note, the mic, which is held in a boom arm, is not removable, so lifting it out of the way is the best you can do when not using it for comms (it automatically mutes when raised). The headphones itself are based on the outfit’s ATH-M50x model, so you get an amazing-sounding pair of cans for that allow your favorite playlists to shine. And yes, the bass is really good on this one. During games, those same 45mm large-aperture drivers produce clear details that provide impressive directional cues. It’s actually quite surprising how headphones that sound this good for music deliver equally impressive in-game audio, but it manages to do that with seeming relative ease. Are there better headsets for pinpointing direction and distance? Sure, but none we’ve tried have felt as well-rounded as this model, making it a great pick if you want to use one headset for music, movies, and games.
Razer BlackShark V2 Pro
This newer version of the V2 Pro is wireless only, so you might want to check out the older version from 2020 (it’s still pretty widely available) if you want a detachable 3.5mm cable. We went with this version, since it retains the same sound reproduction as the older variant, all while coming with a much better mic to make sure your calls, banter, and tilted screams all come through loud and clear. The 50mm titanium drivers produce distinctive higher, lower, and middle frequencies, giving your game audio a bigger, brighter soundstage that’s filled with plenty of discernible details. Even better, it has a SmartSwitch button that allows you cycle through different sound profiles (both preset and custom), including an FPS preset that really helps improve the feel for direction and distance for all the shots, explosions, and footsteps you hear in-game. It comes with both Bluetooth and a 2.5GHz dongle, by the way, allowing you to connect to two machines at the same time and switch between them by pressing a single button on the earcup, which is extremely convenient.
Corsair Virtuoso RGB Wireless SE
Yes, we’re getting up in the price range at this point in the list, so we’re also getting headsets with a nicer, more premium build. That’s exactly what you’re getting here, with an aesthetic that looks more professional settings than traditional gaming fare. On the audio side, it uses 50mm drivers to deliver excellent in-game audio (it has virtual 7.1 surround sound), complete with pre-tuned profiles available from the companion software, although we preferred fiddling around with the settings ourselves to really find that sweet spot. Unlike some PC gaming headsets, this one is actually excellent to use with music, complete with support for hi-res audio, so it’s a great option for gamers who are also a bit of audio nerds on the side. The mic does an excellent job, too, although, similar to the cans, you will want to fiddle with the software for best results. While we had no problems wearing the headphones for a couple hours of gameplay, we do know some people have found it a tad uncomfortable for long periods, so this is one of those headsets you might want to try out in person before picking up to see if it fits you well.
We love the tuning on this PC gaming headset. It feels a lot like what every other gaming headset was going for, but weren’t able to do because their hardware just wasn’t up to snuff. It produces crisp highs that are never sharp, a deep bass that’s never out of control, and energetic mids that just shine through. In-game, this results in audio that’s not just full of details, but also heavily textured, allowing you to hear every swing, every shot, and every impact with just a little extra oomph. Even with its stellar game performance, it also delivers on the music front, making for an overall excellent headset for consuming any type of media. The microphone is equally as good, really isolating your voice so it’s never burdened by external sounds, all while being removable, so you can take it out when you’re not doing online multiplayer with heavy comms. Battery life is absolutely nuts, by the way, with Audeze rating it at 80 hours. Depending on your volume, you can actually get that, although a couple of days without charging should be possible even when doing gaming marathons at higher volumes.
SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro Wireless
Despite the premium construction, we’re not that fond of this PC gaming headset’s overall aesthetics. It just doesn’t look as nice as other models in this price range. Looks aside, though, this produces incredible in-game sound that just draws you in from the first moment of action, creating an expansive soundstage that feels like it makes the tiniest audio details sound crisp and clear. That same soundstage enables excellent clarity for both distance and directional cues, too, making your games not just more immersive, but giving you a definite competitive edge, too. While microphones have never been the strength of SteelSeries’ headsets, this one actually produces rich and detailed sound, with excellent isolation, so there’s very little to distract from your in-game comms. The mic even retracts into the headset, so it’s fully out of the way. We also love all the other features this brings onboard, from the ability to connect to multiple devices via the base station and the ability to hot-swap battery packs to the active noise cancellation that really helps the immersion and the dual audio stream support.
Astro A50 X
Similar to the Nova Pro Wireless above, this PC gaming headset uses a base station that also doubles as its charging dock, allowing you to connect to multiple devices and switch between this seamlessly with the press of a button. Granted, setup can take a while, but it works smoothly once you’ve got everything rigged up, making it an excellent option if you have an Xbox, a PS5, and a gaming desktop you want to alternate playing on using the same headset. Of course, none of those will mean anything if it didn’t reproduce sound beautifully. Fortunately, it does just that, delivering a rich and nuanced audio experience that’s both clean and accurate, with none of the messy melding of sounds you occasionally get from cheaper options. This allows for incredible detail and imaging, giving you all the cues you need for estimating distance and locating direction in nearly every game scenario we’ve experienced during testing. The mic is equally as good, with excellent voice isolation and impressive processing that really makes your comms sound even cleaner and more natural. At the price, though, we’re pretty surprised at the amount of plastic in the build, but we guess the overall sound performance and the extra features more than make up for it.