The world's most in-depth and scientific reviews of tech gear

The Best Gaming Headsets of 2018

Lift to mute mics were by far the easiest to use.
Thursday October 11, 2018
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On the hunt for the latest and greatest gaming headset? We researched over 75 different models, then picked the 11 most promising to purchase and test side-by-side in our quest to find the best. We spend hundreds and hundreds of hours playing different games — it's a tough job, but someone has to do it — and comparing the comfort level and ease of use of each headset, as well as their audio and microphone quality. Take a look at our comprehensive review below to see which headset is really the best of the best, which is the best value, and which one is your best option if you want to cut the cord and make the leap to a wireless model.


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Awards Editors' Choice Award  Best Buy Award Best Buy Award  
Price $170 List
$119.94 at Amazon
$100 List
$77.62 at Amazon
$100 List
$84.99 at Amazon
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$49.99 at Amazon
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Check Price at Amazon
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Pros Comfortable, great microphone and audio qualityExceptional sound quality, very comfortableIncredibly comfortable, great value, solid sound qualityInexpensive, exceptional microphone qualityAmazing audio, microphone quality
Cons Expensive, doesn't block background noiseMicrophone quality is so-so, not as convenient to use as other productsHarder to mute, no mic sidetoneNot the most comfortable, sound quality could be betteExceptionally expensive, not amazingly comfortable
Bottom Line If you want the best of the best, the GAME ONE should be your number one choiceIf you love games with rich soundtracks and want the most immersive experience possible, the Kraken is the headset for youIf you are looking for an excellent, all-around gaming headset without breaking the bank, the Cloud II is a great choiceIf you are on a tight budget and want a solid gaming headset, the Cloud Stinger is a great choiceWhile this headset does deliver exceptional sound, it is exorbitantly expensive compared to the rest of the group
Rating Categories GAME ONE Kraken 7.1 V2 HyperX Cloud II HyperX Cloud Stinger MMX 300
Comfort (40%)
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Specs GAME ONE Kraken 7.1 V2 HyperX Cloud II HyperX Cloud Stinger MMX 300
Wired or Wireless Wired Wired Wired Wired Wired
Measured cable length 9.65 ft 6.7 ft 10.6 ft 10.5 ft 8.6 ft PC
4.4 ft console
How to mute the mic Lift mic Button on the mic Switch Lift mic Switch

Updated October 2018
For this update, we bought and tested the 2019 edition of the SteelSeries Arctis 7, our Top Pick Award winner for being the best wireless gaming headset you can get. The updated version of this headset features a redesigned headband, additional ear cup padding, and a tweaked soundscape according to the manufacturer, as well as a handful of other small changes. Unfortunately, we found the updated version to be a bit worse than its predecessor, with its overall score dropping a few points, namely due to its reduced performance in our suite of audio tests. Keep reading to see just how the new edition of the Arctis 7 differed from the legacy model and why we thought that it was the opposite of an improvement.

Best Overall Headset


Sennheiser GAME ONE


Editors' Choice Award

$119.94
(29% off)
at Amazon
See It

Wired/Wireless?: Wired | Ear Cup Fabric: Velvet
Great audio quality
Solidly comfortable
High-quality microphone
Pricey

Earning the top score of the entire group, the GAME ONE by Sennheiser is our absolute favorite, delivering crystal-clear conversation all while being incredibly easy to use and comfortable enough to wear for long periods of time. It's fantastic for listening to games with rich orchestral soundtracks and accurately conveys the position of in-game sounds. The ear cups are open-back, allowing tons of ventilation and keeping you from getting sweaty even when playing in the warmest room.

However, the open-back design gives it a slightly airier tone that some people may not like and won't block out any background noise in the room you are playing. If that is the case, you can always consider the GAME ZERO — an almost identical gaming headset that has a closed back, trading some ventilation for more ambient noise cancellation. The GAME ONE is also on the more expensive side, retailing close to $170, which can put it well out of the budget for a decent number of gamers. Regardless, the GAME ONE is our favorite headset that we have seen so far.

Read Full Review: Sennheiser GAME ONE

Best Value


Kingston HyperX Cloud II


Best Buy Award

$84.99
(15% off)
at Amazon
See It

Wired/Wireless?: Wired | Ear Cup Fabric: Leatherette (additional velour set included)
Great mic and sound quality
Extremely comfortable
Hard to mute quickly
No mic sidetone

If the $170 of the Sennheiser is giving you sticker shock, then you should consider the HyperX Cloud II by Kingston. This headset is a fantastic value, offering the most bang for the buck, as it finished right behind the GAME ONE and retails for about $70 less. It's one of the most comfortable headsets we have seen, with the vast majority of our testers more than happy to wear it for 10+ hours. It has solid sound and microphone quality and definitely won't disappoint.

Our only slight complaint with this headset is the inline controls are slightly harder to use than some of the other products. The switch to mute the mic is on the small side and make it hard to mute quickly — a handy feature if you don't want your teammates to hear every interruption when you are playing. If you are shopping on a budget and still want one of the best, then the Cloud II is for you!

Read Full Review: HyperX Cloud II

Best on a Tight Budget


Kingston HyperX Cloud Stinger


Best Buy Award

$49.99
at Amazon
See It

Wired/Wireless?: Wired | Ear Cup Fabric: Leatherette
Inexpensive
Phenomenal mic quality
Convenient to use
Not as comfortable as some models

Hoping to save some cash on your quest for a new gaming headset? If that is the case, then the HyperX Cloud Stinger should be the first headset that you consider. This excellent headset kept pace with other products that cost three to four times as much, even claiming one of the top spots overall when it came to microphone quality. Retailing for about $50, this headset is fairly comfortable, convenient and easy to use, and has some of the better audio quality out if the entire group.

While it is alright to wear and has solid sound quality, the Cloud Stinger definitely isn't the most comfortable headset to wear for marathon gaming sessions and can't quite match the audio quality of the top headsets, those headsets are significantly more expensive, retailing for $50-$250 more than the Stinger. This headset is a fantastic value, has solid audio attributes, and is comfortable enough for most gamers, all without breaking the bank, easily earning it our Best Buy Award.

Read Full Review: HyperX Cloud Stinger

Top Pick for Wireless


SteelSeries Arctis 7


Top Pick Award

$114.95
(23% off)
at Amazon
See It

Wired/Wireless?: Wireless | Ear Cup Fabric: Microfiber Mesh
Good sound quality
Very comfortable
Pricey
Mic quality is so-so

Looking to make the leap to a wireless gaming headset? Out of the three wireless models that we tested, we would recommend the Arctis 7 most highly. While the Artemis Spectrum did score a tiny bit better overall, it costs about 25% more than the Arctis 7, giving the edge to the Arctis. This headset is decently comfortable overall, with a fit that is geared towards heads that are on the larger side. It is also quite convenient and easy to use, freeing you from the restrictions imposed by a corded headset.

Regrettably, neither the audio nor the microphone quality is all that impressive, falling quite a bit short of the top wired models. This is particularly noticeable when it comes to music, with the mid-range and higher tones sounding especially muddy and much less clear than we would have wanted. This headset is also a bit on the more expensive side, with less expensive wired models scoring much better, as you pay a bit of a premium for the wireless connectivity. However, the Arctis 7 is the headset we would choose if we absolutely had to have a wireless model.

Read Full Review: SteelSeries Arctis 7

Best for Audiophiles


Razer Kraken 7.1 V2



$77.62
(22% off)
at Amazon
See It

Wired/Wireless?: Wired | Ear Cup Fabric: Leatherette
Amazing sound quality
Very comfortable to wear
Less convenient to use
Lackluster mic quality

Just narrowly edged out of winning an Editors' Choice Award, the Razer Kraken 7.1 V2 is an absolutely excellent headset. It has booming bass and absolutely stellar sound quality. In addition, it is also quite comfortable to wear, even for marathon gaming sessions.

Unfortunately, it was the mediocre microphone quality that really precluded this product from claiming an award, as well as the lack of inline or onboard controls. Despite these somewhat deal breakers, this still might be the headset for all the audiophiles out there that prize sound quality above all else.

Read Full Review: Razer Kraken 7.1 V2


Some of the best headsets you can get on the market.
Some of the best headsets you can get on the market.

Analysis and Test Results


To see which of these products is really the best, we did extensive research, combing through other reviews and user experiences to determine which headsets had the best shot of being crowned the best. We then spent countless hours testing and comparing the performance of each gaming product, dividing out tests into four weighted testing metrics: Ease of Use, Comfort, Audio, and Microphone. Each metric is weighted based on its importance to the overall performance of each headset, which each received a score ranging from 0-100, with our full results discussed below.

Value


While the GAME ONE by Sennheiser did claim the top spot overall out of all the headsets we tested, this top-of-the-line performance is also paired with a premium price of $170 — probably a bit more than most people really want to spend for one of these products. Our Best Buy Award winner, the HyperX Cloud II is almost as good as the GAME ONE, actually being more comfortable to wear, but having slightly lower audio and mic quality. However, it has a list price of about $70 less than the GAME ONE. If this is still out of your budget, then the HyperX Cloud Stinger is a great option, retailing for about half of what the Cloud II goes for and delivering a solid showing across the board in all of our tests, making it our top choice when shopping on a tighter budget. If you aren't looking to spend a ton of cash, you should probably stick with a wired headset, as wireless headsets are quite a bit pricier, like the SteelSeries Arctis 7 — our favorite wireless model, though it does cost about $150.

Gaming sessions can last all day. Ear cup and headband design is key.
Gaming sessions can last all day. Ear cup and headband design is key.

Comfort


By far the most important set of tests of our review, comfort is king when it comes to these products — more than sound or microphone quality, accounting for 40% of the overall score. To rank these headsets, we had a panel of mixed ages and genders wear each headset for as long as it was comfortable, up to a full workday, then note their general opinions and observations. On top of that, we also had them directly compare the ear cups and the headbands of each product side-by-side to see which were the most comfortable and why. Finally, we also noted if any got particularly sweaty while in use and if there were any uncomfortable pressure points created when wearing glasses with each headset. While we have done our best to find the most comfortable headset for most people, nothing can compare to trying on a headset before you buy it or at least purchasing from a retailer with a liberal return policy to give you the option to send it back if it's not comfortable for your head and ears. However, we do feel that the top headsets on the chart below will be the most comfortable for almost anybody.


Tying for the top spot overall with a score of 8 out of 10, both the HyperX Cloud II and the Razer Kraken 7.1 V2 are our absolute favorites when it comes to comfort. This pair of gaming headsets both routinely scored at the top of the list of each of our judges and both can easily be worn for 8-10 hours without issues, even for those with larger ears.

The Cloud II was one of the most comfortable headsets we tested.
The Cloud II was one of the most comfortable headsets we tested.

The Cloud II has a leatherette padded headband that does a good job of remaining securely on your head without overly squeezing your head. This product is also on the lighter side and didn't give is any issues when worn with glasses. The oval-shaped ear cups are plenty roomy, measuring about 1.5" wide and a little over 2.5" tall on the inside — more than enough space for our testers with the largest ears. On top of that, the Cloud II comes with two sets of interchangeable semi-soft memory foam ear pads — one set of leatherette and one set of velour, allowing you to customize the fit and style to match your personal preference.

The Kraken also has a leatherette padded headband, but it has a fit that is a bit snugger on your head. This didn't bother the bulk of our judges, which still felt that they could easily wear this headset all day, but a few found that this tighter fit limited them only wearing it for 3-4 hours before finding it too uncomfortable.

The Kraken was very comfortable.
The Kraken was very comfortable.

The Kraken only includes leatherette ear cups, but they are slightly larger than the Cloud II and have even softer padding. We tested with the circular ear cups and found them to have more than ample space for our judges with the largest ears, but you can purchase oval-shaped ear cups separately if you like to have the largest ear cups possible. We did notice the tighter fit and the leatherette made the Kraken get slightly more sweaty than the Cloud II. It's also about an ounce heavier, but the weight is very evenly distributed, so the increase is barely noticeable.

Following this duo of exceptionally comfortable headsets, the Sennheiser GAME ONE and the Logitech G933 Artemis Spectrum both earned a 7 out of 10 for being almost as comfortable, but not quite on par with the Cloud II or the Kraken.

The GAME ONE got a mixed response from our testing panel, with the majority of judges being more than content to wear them for 8+ hours, but a few testers couldn't get used to the much snugger fit, forcing them to abandon this gaming headset after 30 to 60 minutes. Despite this, everyone agreed that the velvet ear cups felt great with plenty of space. Additionally, the open back design allowed significantly more ventilation and kept you from getting too sweaty, even when the temperature rose well above 80°F.

The GAME ONE's open back design helps with sound and air flow.
The GAME ONE's open back design helps with sound and air flow.

The Artemis Spectrum suffered from the opposite issue of the GAME ONE, having a much looser fit that bordered on wobbly. This wireless headset wouldn't fall off, but it definitely would move around quite a bit and potentially pop off your ears if you turned your head quickly or made any other abrupt movement. Both the headband and ear cups have microfiber mesh fabric over the padding, which is quite a bit firmer than the other top headsets but is surprisingly quite comfortable. However, it is one of the heavier gaming headsets we have seen, but its heft wasn't overly cumbersome.

Next, the HyperX Cloud Stinger, Cloud Revolver S, SteelSeries Arctis 7, and the Corsair HS50 all earned a 6 out of 10 for being decently comfortable.

The Cloud Stinger had our testing panel split — half of them were totally fine wearing it for a full workday while the other half topped out between 4 and 5 hours. The leatherette padded headband and semi-soft ear cups didn't feel tight for any of our judges when they first put the headset on, but after a while, began to notice some discomfort and felt the need to readjust the headset every so often as they got more and more uncomfortable.

The Cloud Stinger fell into the middle of the pack for comfort. Better suited for gaming sessions on the shorter side.
The Cloud Stinger fell into the middle of the pack for comfort. Better suited for gaming sessions on the shorter side.

The ear cups are moderately sized, with most judges having ample room, but something about the fit was simply irreconcilably off for some people to wear this product for a long period of time.

The Artemis Spectrum has a lot of space in the ear cups; 2" x 3"
The Artemis Spectrum has a lot of space in the ear cups; 2" x 3"

Initially, we were solidly thrown off by the Cloud Revolver S's unique headband design, thinking that it would be one of the least comfortable headsets out of the entire group. True, the auto-adjusting headband feels like it puts a significant amount of the headset's weight on your jaw, but it actually isn't all that uncomfortable to wear — even being one of the heaviest headsets of the group. However, this might totally change if you have a smaller head — the most petite judge was alright wearing the Cloud Revolver S for about 4 hours, but that was it.

The 2019 edition of the Arctis 7 elicited even more of a split response from our judges, with people either totally loving it or finding it totally unbearable. The headband adjustment is done through an elastic band, making the scope of different heads that it will comfortably fit much narrower. The new edition of this headset redesigned the band, giving it slightly more of a "U" shape, which made it quite a bit more comfortable for users that have larger heads. Unfortunately, some of our testers with smaller heads that liked the older edition of the Arctis aren't fans of the newer models, finding the ear cups to press too far down on their jaw, making it uncomfortable.


The ear cups are about average in size, but we found that the elastic band caused most of our testers to abandon this wireless headset after 5 to 6 hours of wearing it, with a few noting that the pressure on the bottom of their ears to be the primary cause of their discomfort.

We weren't huge fans of the strap system on the Arctis.
We weren't huge fans of the strap system on the Arctis.

The updated version features a tiny bit more padding than its predecessor, but it was definitely not enough to make much of a difference in the opinions of our judges. It is also a tiny bit lighter — 12.25 oz. versus 12.5 oz. — hardly noticeable.

The Corsair HS50 fit much looser than the Arctis 7, similar to the Cloud Stinger, but fewer members of our testing group lasted the entire day wearing the HS50. The ear cups have leatherette-covered, semi-firm padding that is plenty wide and tall, but not very deep. A handful of our judges noted their ears actually contacting the speaker plate, leading to them calling it quits with the Corsair after 2 to 3 hours or so.

The Void Pro RGB felt loose on most of our tester's heads.
The Void Pro RGB felt loose on most of our tester's heads.

Following this group, the Corsair Void Pro RGB and the beyerdynamic MMX 300 both merited a 5 out of 10 for their mediocre comfort levels. The Void Pro RGB has an excessively large headband — to the point of practically precluding it from anyone who has a more petite head. Testers who had other headsets on larger settings had the Void Pro on its tightest setting and the headset still felt loose, to the point of easily falling off with moderate motion. However, the ear cups are decently spacious, though there was a tiny bit of a pressure point towards the top of the ear.

We liked look of the sewn in pattern on the HS50; It didn't seem to effect comfort at all.
We liked look of the sewn in pattern on the HS50; It didn't seem to effect comfort at all.

The MMX 300 squeezes your head so tightly that you hardly notice the headband, also preventing a significant amount of our testers from wearing it for an extended period of time. The velvet ear cups feel quite nice in contrast to the leatherette, but most of us were done with the beyerdynamic after 3 hours at the most.

The MMX 300 fit very tight against the cranium.
The MMX 300 fit very tight against the cranium.

Finally, the Bengoo X-40 came in the last place with its less than desirable comfort level, earning it a 4 out of 10. It managed to be overly restrictive on our ears by applying undue pressure while being overall floppy enough to fall off if we bent over or moved too quickly. The ear cups aren't hinged and while some of our judges almost made it 3 hours wearing this one, the rest of them called it quits after 15 to 90 minutes.

Poor sounding headsets can take away from your in game experience.
Poor sounding headsets can take away from your in game experience.

Audio


Next, we moved on to assessing the sound quality of each headset, which is responsible for 30% of the total score for each headset. In addition to rating how well we could hear our teammates talking, in-game sound effects, and how music sounded, we also did a handful of audio benchmark tests that assessed everything from the quality of the bass to how well we could identify the position of a noise with each headset. Additionally, we also judged how well each gaming headset blocked out ambient noise. At the conclusion of all our tests, there was one headset that clearly stood above the rest.


Earning the top score of the entire group, the Razer Kraken delivered an unmatched performance when it came to sound quality, earning a 9 out of 10 for its top-notch performance. Starting off, this headset does do a great job with voice, with other players' voices coming across exceptionally clear and understandable, it just isn't quite as crisp as the Sennheiser GAME ONE or the HyperX Cloud II.

The Kraken had bumpin bass.
The Kraken had bumpin bass.

However, while the Kraken's performance with voice is admirable in its own right, it's this headset's unmatched audio quality with music, excellent positional sound, and a stellar showing in our benchmarking test that carried it to the top of this metric. This headset has incredibly deep bass without an distortion, providing an incredibly immersive experience. The overall sound is quite well-balanced, with only a slight emphasis on the lower end over the mid-range and the treble. Our testers were accurately able to identify the position of various noises almost every time, whether it was quiet footsteps in a forest or enemy gunfire. On top of that, it does a great job at cutting down ambient noise levels, such as a fan or other music.

Following the Kraken's top-of-the-line performance, the Sennheiser GAME ONE and the beyerdynamic MMX 300 both came next, earning an 8 out of 10 for their excellent audio qualities. These headsets both distinguished themselves by doing exceptionally well at portraying our teammates' voices, with the conversation coming across clear, crisp, and full sounding — almost to the point where it was indistinguishable from having a face-to-face conversation.

The GAME ONE let sound in as well as out with its open back design.
The GAME ONE let sound in as well as out with its open back design.

While this pair didn't quite have the booming bass of the Kraken, they still both provided an incredibly immersive experience when listening to music or the soundtrack of a game. These both are very well balanced, with a slight emphasis on the mid-range sounds. We particularly liked that the GAME ONE had a lighter, more airy sound due to its open back ear cup design. However, this also meant that the GAME ONE let in significantly more ambient noise than the MMX 300. The GAME ONE was better at cluing our testers in as to the location of a sound, doing slightly better with quieter sounds, like footsteps, than louder sounds, like gunfire.

Next, the HyperX Cloud II and the Cloud Stinger both earned a 7 out of 10 in our audio tests. The Cloud II did slightly better with voice transmission, matching the quality of the Sennheiser when it came to being understandable and crisp, but the sound wasn't quite as full-bodied or as close to real life. The Cloud Stinger did a little worse — the conversation was totally understandable but was much less full-bodied and realistic.

Coming in loud and clear!
Coming in loud and clear!

However, the Cloud Stinger is our favorite out of this group when it comes to listening to music, delivering high-fidelity, balanced sound, but it was still less immersive than the Sennheiser or the Kraken. The Cloud II is right behind the Stinger, only hindered by the fact that the bass and treble tend to wash out mid-range tones a bit, usually causing a voice to get a little lost, but still providing a highly immersive experience.

Finally, both the Cloud Stinger and the Cloud II do a solid job at blocking at ambient noise — on par with the Kraken or the GAME ONE.

The Corsair HS50 and the Cloud Revolver S came next, both meriting a 6 out of 10 for their solid performance in our sound quality test. These both did fine in our voice test, with the person on the other end of the line being reasonably understandable, but their tone sounded much flatter.

The positional audio wasn't as good as we had hoped in the Void Pro RGB.
The positional audio wasn't as good as we had hoped in the Void Pro RGB.

This pair did relatively better in our music test, with the HS50 scoring better than the Cloud Revolver S. The mid-range on the Corsair HS50 is a little on the weaker side and can get slightly washed out by the bass and treble. The Revolver S had the opposite issue, with its bass and treble being on the weaker side. These gaming headsets didn't do an amazing job at blocking external noise and the HS50 also didn't do an amazing job in our positional sound tests, but the Cloud Revolver did exceptionally well, only outperformed by the Kraken.

Delivering a mediocre performance, the Arctis 7, the Corsair Void Pro RGB and the Logitech Artemis Spectrum all merited a 5 out of 10 for their uninspiring results.

Astute readers may notice that the Arctis 7 scored much higher in the previous iteration of this review, but we found the 2019 update of the Arctis 7 to accompany a significant downgrade in audio quality. Concerned that we received a defective headset, we even exchanged it multiple times and found similar issues with all of them. Our teammates' voice sounded substantially less clear and much less realistic, with their voices now sounding quite hollow on the new version. We noticed that there is also quite a bit more parasitic buzz and a bit more external noise is let in.

However, it was when we listened to music that we found the starkest contrast between the old and new versions. Unfortunately, the mid-range and treble tones sound significantly less sharp — overall quite a bit duller and more congested than the earlier model. We will concede that the bass did improve slightly, having a bit more bump to it and the overall sound still remains relatively well-balanced. Sound position still remains top-notch, with our testers very easily being able to identify the origin of in-game noises.

Some of our testers had no problems wearing this for marathon gaming sessions.
Some of our testers had no problems wearing this for marathon gaming sessions.

We weren't impressed with the voice quality of either the Artemis Spectrum or the Void Pro, with our teammates' voices coming across very empty and echoey and the Void Pro adding in a gravelly undertone that made their voices sound far different than what they did in real life. Both of these had relatively weak bass and didn't do a particularly good job of blocking out ambient noise. However, it was very easy to determine the origin of a noise with the Artemis Spectrum — not so much with the Void Pro RGB.

We think more time should have been spent on sound rather than the cool lighting on the Artemis Spectrum.
We think more time should have been spent on sound rather than the cool lighting on the Artemis Spectrum.

Finally, the Bengoo again finished in the last place, with a 3 out of 10 for its meager performance. This headset made it sound like everyone on the other end of the line had a massive stuffy nose and were talking with their mouth covered. It distorted the mid-range tones in music, had weak bass, and made it somewhat difficult to tell where sounds were coming from. On top of that, it didn't do anything in terms of blocking ambient noise out.

Coming in loud and clear!
Coming in loud and clear!

Microphone


For the next round of tests, we evaluated how well each headset picked up our voice, as well as how well it filtered out background noises or conversations. Altogether, this trio of tests accounts for 20% of the total score for each product, with the scores being much more concentrated than the audio quality tests.


Three headsets tied for the top score in this metric, with the Sennheiser GAME ONE, the beyerdynamic MMX 300, and the HyperX Cloud Stinger all earning an 8 out of 10. Out of this group, the beyerdynamic and the GAME ONE are the best in terms of microphone quality, with only a tiny bit of buzz and the recording sounding almost identical to our tester in real life. However, this pair wasn't quite perfect and both were upstaged by the HyperX Cloud II, which created a recording that was essentially indistinguishable from talking to the person in real life.

The Cloud Stinger had a little bit more buzzing present compared to the GAME ONE or the MMX 300. Additionally, it tended to overemphasize B's and P's and made the recordings of our testers' voices sound a tiny bit flatter than they did in person. However, the Cloud Stinger and the beyerdynamic did the best at filtering out non-speech noises, like eating crackers, typing loudly, or a fan or A/C running in the background. The GAME ONE did alright at this, but people on the other end of the line would usually notice if we were running a fan — even on low — or eating something.

On hot days sometimes you need a fan to keep cool  but it isn't cool for your fellow teammates to hear it.
On hot days sometimes you need a fan to keep cool, but it isn't cool for your fellow teammates to hear it.

However, the story changed dramatically if someone else was talking in the background. The MMX 300 would transmit the entirety of the background conversation, even if they were 10-15 ft. away, while people on the other end could only hear the side conversation if it was happening right next to you when using the Cloud Stinger or the GAME ONE.

The HyperX Cloud II came next, right on the heels of this top group with a score of 7 out of 10. While we found the Cloud II to do the best job of the entire group at transmitting voice that sounded the most realistic with no additional buzzing, this gaming headset was dragged down by the fact that it performed its job a little too well, picking up the noise of anyone talking within about 25' of you, with the person on the other end of the line being able to make out the words of the side chatter even if they were 20' or so from you. The Cloud II does a decent job of filtering out other background noises from being transmitted, but this headset might be a bit problematic to use if there are always other people talking at the same time that you are playing.

Next, the HyperX Cloud Revolver S earned a 6 out of 10 for its solid microphone quality. The voice transmitted from this headset came in quite well, just about matching the quality of its fellow HyperX model, the Cloud Stinger. There isn't any buzzing or hugely noticeable distortion, but it doesn't quite sound like you are having a face-to-face conversation with the person on the other end of the line. However, this headset did just as poorly as the Cloud II as picking up every side conversation going on in the room and transmitting it loud and clear to the people you are playing with.

A group of headsets all came next, with the Corsair HS50, the Artemis Spectrum, the Razer Kraken, and the Arctis 7 all earned a 5 out of 10 for their middle-of-the-road microphone quality. We found the Artemis to do the best job at transmitting clear and understandable voice to the people on the other end of voice chats, followed by the Kraken and the Arctis 7. The Artemis makes you sound quite normal with only minimal buzzing, while the Kraken and the Arctis have a bit more buzzing and make your voice sound slightly less natural.

Our favorite way to mute the mic was to lift it up; It is quick  easy  and effective.
Our favorite way to mute the mic was to lift it up; It is quick, easy, and effective.

The HS50 did the worst out of this group, making voices sound very flat and far away, as well as adding a decent amount of buzz. However, It does do decently well at filtering out extraneous background noises, similar to the Artemis and the Kraken. The Arctis 7 let a little more noise through, with many other players noticing a fan running or music playing in the background. Performance varied when it came to filtering out background conversations, with the HS50 and the Artemis transmitting the most, while the Kraken and the Arctis 7 cut a good portion of the chatter out.

Finishing out the back of the group, the BENGOO and the Corsair Void Pro RGB both earned a 4 out of 10 for their less than desirable microphone quality. The Bengoo's voice transmission is fine, but there is a ton of buzzing. The Corsair Void Pro has the opposite issue, having practically no buzz at all, but making your voice sound quite alien and distorted. When it came to filtering out background noises or conversations, we weren't impressed with either of these headsets, with both letting tons of extra noise through.

Quick adjustments were preferred while deep into a game. You don't always have time to futz with programs to get the sound right.
Quick adjustments were preferred while deep into a game. You don't always have time to futz with programs to get the sound right.

Ease of Use


For our final assessment of these products, we rated and score how convenient it is to operate each of these headsets, which accounted for 10% of the total score for these products. While there weren't a ton of difference between many of these products, there definitely are a few that stand out from the rest when it comes to hassle-free operation.


Claiming the top spot of the entire pack, the Artemis Spectrum earned an 8 out of 10 and is our absolute favorite when it comes to ease of use. This wireless capable product has controls right on the headset itself, as well as in-line controls on the 3.5mm audio cable you have the option of using as well. It is really easy to mute by lifting the microphone to its fully upright position or by hitting the mute button. Additionally, it has the option to enable a mic sidetone and to adjust it, though we did wish it had a detachable microphone. We also really liked that there is onboard storage for the wireless adapter.

The Artemis Spectrum has convenient built in storage for its wireless receiver.
The Artemis Spectrum has convenient built in storage for its wireless receiver.

Following this top-notch headset, the HyperX Cloud Revolver S, the Cloud Stinger, and the Sennheiser GAME ONE all merited a 7 out of 10 for their solid ease of use performance. Both the GAME ONE and Stinger have controls right on the headset, while the Revolver has in-line controls on the audio cable, but all three are very easy to use. All three of these wired headsets have more than adequate cord lengths, with all three in excess of 9.5', and both the GAME ONE and the Cloud Stinger are very easy to mute rapidly by lifting the mic, while the Revolver requires you to tap a button on the in-line controls.

Lift to mute mics were by far the easiest to use.
Lift to mute mics were by far the easiest to use.

All three have a detachable cable, while the Cloud II and Cloud Revolver S also have a detachable mic. None of these have the option to enable a mic sidetone, but the open back design of the ear cups of the GAME ONE render one unnecessary.

Next, the Corsair Void Pro, the HyperX Cloud II, and the SteelSeries Arctis 7 all earned a 6 out of 10 for being easy enough to use, but lacking any exceptionally convenient features. These all have mute and volume controls, with the Corsair and Arctis 7 having controls on the headphones and the Cloud II having them on the cord. The Corsair and Arctis 7 are both wireless, and have a 6.95' and 10' charging cable respectively. The Cloud II has about 10.5' of audio cable, so you have more than enough room to move around. The Cloud II cable also detaches, in addition to having a detachable mic. The Corsair Void Pro and the Arctis 7 don't have detachable mics, but do have the option to enable a mic sidetone.

Detachable microphones are nice  especially because you can replace them without investing in a new headset.
Detachable microphones are nice, especially because you can replace them without investing in a new headset.

Delivering an overall average performance, the Razer Kraken, the Corsair HS50, and the beyerdynamic MMX 300 all earned a 5 out of 10. The Kraken lacks onboard volume controls, though it is quite easy to mute. It also has a surprisingly short cord — less than half the length of some of the other models. The cable doesn't detach, but it does have a mic sidetone. The beyerdynamic has in-line controls, a slide to mute switch, and an 8.6' cord. Whereas the Corsair HS50 has controls on the headset and a raise the mic to mute (or button press), but a shorter cable at 6.8'. Neither have the ability for a mic sidetone.

Finishing out the back of the group, the Bengoo again claimed the last place position. It's a bit hard to mute, doesn't have a detachable cable or mic, and can't be set up with a mic sidetone. It has an average length cable and the standard in-line controls.

Some of our favorite headsets.
Some of our favorite headsets.

Conclusion


At this point, you should — hopefully — feel quite prepared to find the perfect gaming headset for your needs and your budget. If you want a more thorough explanation of exactly how we ranked and scored these products, you may want to check out our How We Test article for a complete description of our testing and scoring process. Alternatively, you can also check out our comprehensive Buying Advice guide for more background information on these products, the pros and cons of different types, and what to look for when shopping for a new one.


David Wise and Austin Palmer