What's The Best Headset For Gaming?

ShadyOrb09

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Feb 11, 2015
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Hello, I'm looking for a new headset and I don't really want a 'gaming' headset.
I find them really cheaply made, and they break within a year not to mention most of them having sub-par audio quality.
I'm basically just looking for a headset where I can hear footsteps easily, with high quality audio.
It doesn't need to have a mic, and there really isn't a budget, just something reasonable.

I've been looking around but haven't quite found anything that's caught my eye.
Nor do I even know what to look for, so any help or suggestion would be greatly welcomed.

Also, while I'm at it I might as well ask if any of you know of a high quality mouse bungee.
Silly question, but I've been looking around and a lot of them have bad reviews, it'd be nice if I could pay a bit extra but for it to last longer. I've looked around and I'm not interested in the Razer one or the Roccat Apuri. Any ideas there either?

Thanks <3
 

gondo

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Ok you need surround sound for gaming, it's just better. Either you get true 5.1 with multiples speaker headphones, or do virtual surround sound. True surround headsets are limited to gaming headsets and fairly low quality so I recommend virtual surround sound.

To get virtual surround sound you need a USB headset or a sound card/on board sound with either Creative or Dolby Headphone. If you use an external USB DAC you need software such as Razer Surround to get virtual surround sound.

Here is a breakdown of what's available:

- Seinheiser GameOne and PC350 - Both are analogue and require a sound card or onboard sound. GameOne is also for Xbox and PS4.
- Seinheiser PC636D - Includes a USB soundcard so you don't need a soundcard
- AKG HSD 171 and HSD 272 - both analogue but this is a professional dynamic microphone with XLR plug. You need to convert to 3.5mm to use on a PC if you don't have a USB audio interface mixer.

Both the Seinheiser and AKG are professional products and great microphones. The seinheiser is more geared for gaming hense the 3.5mm microphone cable. The AKG is more professional and designed for broadcast.

If you don't have a soundcard or good onboard sound then the Seinheisser PC 636D would be ideal.

Now if you don't want the microphone attached to the headphones, then a regular pair of headphones are required. I recommend the following.

AKG K240 MKII - Semi open backs, removable cable, velour ear cups included, affordable.
AKG K271 MKII - A step up from the K240, closed backs
Seinheisser HD380 Pro - Closed backs
Grado SR225e - Awesome headphones, open back. If you prefer closed back the AKG or seinheisser are required.

For a microphone I recommend a modmic to clip on which is 3.5mm analogue and noise cancelling requiring the sound card. If you prefer a desk mount mic the Samson C01U USB mic with it's matching shockmount is recommended. The Blue Snowball and shockmount is also good but I prefer the Samson. You can get better mics like the Yeti but they have different selectable pickup patterns that are not required for straight ahead PC voice chat. They are more for instruments, or 2 way one person on each site interview style chats, etc...

With the Samson or Snowball I would also pick up a deskmount or wallmount microphone boom arm. This gets the microphone off the desk where it'll pick up the keyboard clicking. Then you can position it in front of your mouth like a headset and swing it out of the way when not in use.

If you don't have a soundcard, then an external USB DAC can be used. I like the M-Audio super dac. It allows you to plug headphones and speakers or home theatre and switch between the 2. It also has an aux input for a cellphone. I like DACs because of their sound quality. Secondly they don't require drivers and software like a soundcard so they always work flawlessly. They just use generic built in windows drivers like how a USB stick just works when you plug it in. So a DAC can last 10+ years and just work on any future version of windows without requiring support from the manufacturer. I hate how I've gone through 2-3 high end soundcards over the years because Creative and Auzentech stopped supporting them and the drivers where buggy. Also owning a DAC means no expensive motherboards are required just to get the good onboard sound. If you live in the USA the emotiva DACs are very good.

So in conclusion:

- If you just want simple plug and play then a USB headset is nice. The Seinheiser is a good one.

- If you have the soundcard or good onboard sound and again want a simple headset my preference is the AKG HSD271. I'd convert the XLR to 3.5mm for the microphone. If you don't want to bother the Seinheiser GamerOne or PC250 are good.

- If you want the seperate micrphone my favorite headohones are the AKG K271 MKII. The Grados are also great but harder to find or require a purchase direct from manufacturer. The Grados are open back and the AKG are closed back so it's an easy decision based on which you prefer.

- For the microphone if you don't mind it attached the modmic is excellent. If you prefer separate then I recommend the Samson with the shockmount, pop filter, and a boom/arm.

- If you have a sound card/on board sound then you can use that now. But I like the simplicity and sound quality of a USB DAC. Razer Surround allows you to still get virtual surround sound through headphones. I also prefer the separate desk microphone so my earphones are free for music, movies, tv, guitar, etc... Also having real headphones means they are repairable and will last a lifetime. Both AKG and Seinheiser offer replacement parts and the entire headphone or headset can be repaired.

 

ShadyOrb09

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Wow, I might actually grab these, they come in white too so they match my setup.
Thank you for the suggestion.

Still open for more guys <3
 

DookieDraws

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Yeah, they come in several different colors. Also, I just provided a random Amazon link, you may actually be able to find them much cheaper if you check further on Amazon and other online retailers. I've seen them for $100 several times in the past.

Also, look at some videos of them on Youtube. They're truly a well liked set of headphones. Check out some of these vids. https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=Audio-Technica+ATH-M50x+for+gamin
 

genthug

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I would seriously recommend you rethink not wanting to buy the Razer headset. It's one of the only headsets on the market that offers true 7.1 surround sound and for your "wanting to hear footsteps" and such, wanting better audio quality, that is the way to go. True 7.1. That also means you need a dedicated sound card for it, however. As to them not lasting longer than a year--you either need to turn down your inner PhantomL0rd, or you've had incredibly bad luck. My last 3 headsets have all lasted 4 years before I replaced them, and my G35 still technically works, I just replaced it with a HyperX Cloud for a newer build I did.

If you're not willing to look into that--Go check out some Sennheiser headsets or Bose headsets. Both are of incredible quality and that is occasionally reflected in the pricing of them--but you get what you pay for audio wise.
 

ShadyOrb09

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Feb 11, 2015
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Thanks for more info, I just clicked on the top video and I'll watch it in a second.
One quick question though, I scanned through the page on Amazon and I couldn't figure out if they had surround sound.
Would this matter for gaming or...?

Thanks again.
 

genthug

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Surround does matter in gaming.. especially if you really want to hear everything. If you don't mind not hearing everything, it doesn't matter so much. It does sound very nice and it does allow you to hear everything, especially in a game that might require it such as CS:GO.
 

ShadyOrb09

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Feb 11, 2015
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I actually already have the Razer Kraken 7.1 headset. It's getting old now and it's showing it, starting to fall apart. I'm not an animal, I take care of my stuff but they just seem to wear out. I'm also not deaf so I use keep the sound down low so I don't become deaf, lol.
 

ShadyOrb09

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Yeah I use to play lots of CSGO, so maybe I should stick with a surround headset because I'm pretty competitive.
Hmmmm, decisions so many decisions. Scared to pick the wrong one ;-;
 

ShadyOrb09

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Do the Audio Technica headphones have 7.1 surround sound? Sorry, I'm confused lol.
 

genthug

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It does not look as though it does. And honestly also does not seem as if it's with the money... The sound drivers aren't any better than normal gaming headset sound drivers.
 

ShadyOrb09

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Yeah I seen people saying they sound just as good as any other gaming headset. Kinda sucks because it's so hard to find a good gaming headset. I really like how it comes in white and the removable wire, though I really don't think it's worth $250 for those feature when it doesn't even have surround.
 

DookieDraws

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They do not have 7.1 surround sound. And you do not need surround sound headphones for gaming. A quality set of regular headphones can offer a nice gaming experience as well. The Audio-Tecnicas may not have as much bass as a gaming headset, but the clarity of sound should be much better on these than any so-called gaming headset. I am not saying a gaming headset isn't worthy, there are some decent ones out there, but if you'll be listening to a lot of music with them, I'd personally go with a quality pair of headphones over a gaming set any day, but that's just me. This video may help you decide. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gvYvNf1crOQ

If I were you, maybe look up a few reviews on this subject and get a better idea of what's best for you. Your needs/wants may differ from mine.

Best of luck in find what you're looking for, bud.
 

ShadyOrb09

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Feb 11, 2015
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I would like surround sound to hear footsteps, and I'm not all that into music so it's not a big deal if it's not the best quality, and to be quite honest I probably couldn't even tell the difference. I'm more worried about if I'll be worse at gaming or if I'll get better.
 

gondo

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Apr 20, 2004
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Ok you need surround sound for gaming, it's just better. Either you get true 5.1 with multiples speaker headphones, or do virtual surround sound. True surround headsets are limited to gaming headsets and fairly low quality so I recommend virtual surround sound.

To get virtual surround sound you need a USB headset or a sound card/on board sound with either Creative or Dolby Headphone. If you use an external USB DAC you need software such as Razer Surround to get virtual surround sound.

Here is a breakdown of what's available:

- Seinheiser GameOne and PC350 - Both are analogue and require a sound card or onboard sound. GameOne is also for Xbox and PS4.
- Seinheiser PC636D - Includes a USB soundcard so you don't need a soundcard
- AKG HSD 171 and HSD 272 - both analogue but this is a professional dynamic microphone with XLR plug. You need to convert to 3.5mm to use on a PC if you don't have a USB audio interface mixer.

Both the Seinheiser and AKG are professional products and great microphones. The seinheiser is more geared for gaming hense the 3.5mm microphone cable. The AKG is more professional and designed for broadcast.

If you don't have a soundcard or good onboard sound then the Seinheisser PC 636D would be ideal.

Now if you don't want the microphone attached to the headphones, then a regular pair of headphones are required. I recommend the following.

AKG K240 MKII - Semi open backs, removable cable, velour ear cups included, affordable.
AKG K271 MKII - A step up from the K240, closed backs
Seinheisser HD380 Pro - Closed backs
Grado SR225e - Awesome headphones, open back. If you prefer closed back the AKG or seinheisser are required.

For a microphone I recommend a modmic to clip on which is 3.5mm analogue and noise cancelling requiring the sound card. If you prefer a desk mount mic the Samson C01U USB mic with it's matching shockmount is recommended. The Blue Snowball and shockmount is also good but I prefer the Samson. You can get better mics like the Yeti but they have different selectable pickup patterns that are not required for straight ahead PC voice chat. They are more for instruments, or 2 way one person on each site interview style chats, etc...

With the Samson or Snowball I would also pick up a deskmount or wallmount microphone boom arm. This gets the microphone off the desk where it'll pick up the keyboard clicking. Then you can position it in front of your mouth like a headset and swing it out of the way when not in use.

If you don't have a soundcard, then an external USB DAC can be used. I like the M-Audio super dac. It allows you to plug headphones and speakers or home theatre and switch between the 2. It also has an aux input for a cellphone. I like DACs because of their sound quality. Secondly they don't require drivers and software like a soundcard so they always work flawlessly. They just use generic built in windows drivers like how a USB stick just works when you plug it in. So a DAC can last 10+ years and just work on any future version of windows without requiring support from the manufacturer. I hate how I've gone through 2-3 high end soundcards over the years because Creative and Auzentech stopped supporting them and the drivers where buggy. Also owning a DAC means no expensive motherboards are required just to get the good onboard sound. If you live in the USA the emotiva DACs are very good.

So in conclusion:

- If you just want simple plug and play then a USB headset is nice. The Seinheiser is a good one.

- If you have the soundcard or good onboard sound and again want a simple headset my preference is the AKG HSD271. I'd convert the XLR to 3.5mm for the microphone. If you don't want to bother the Seinheiser GamerOne or PC250 are good.

- If you want the seperate micrphone my favorite headohones are the AKG K271 MKII. The Grados are also great but harder to find or require a purchase direct from manufacturer. The Grados are open back and the AKG are closed back so it's an easy decision based on which you prefer.

- For the microphone if you don't mind it attached the modmic is excellent. If you prefer separate then I recommend the Samson with the shockmount, pop filter, and a boom/arm.

- If you have a sound card/on board sound then you can use that now. But I like the simplicity and sound quality of a USB DAC. Razer Surround allows you to still get virtual surround sound through headphones. I also prefer the separate desk microphone so my earphones are free for music, movies, tv, guitar, etc... Also having real headphones means they are repairable and will last a lifetime. Both AKG and Seinheiser offer replacement parts and the entire headphone or headset can be repaired.

 

ShadyOrb09

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Feb 11, 2015
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Thank you so much, you're a god. This is exactly what I was looking for, options and explanation to go along with each.
I think I'll stick to my Razer Krakens for now. Then I'll buy a headset, dac, and Yeti with the boom and filter all at once.

One last question though, I didn't quite understand exactly what a dac does. Does it make my headset surround sound, I didn't quite understand sorry.
 

gondo

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Apr 20, 2004
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A DAC is a digital to analogue converter. Your cellphone has a DAC to convert the digital sound to analogue to shove it through the speaker and headphones. Everything has a DAC.

A soundcard is basically a DAC on a card with often a headphone amp, and some surround sound decoders, and software with all the options like EQ, Dolby Digital, etc.... A USB headset is basically a cheap USB soundcard with built in Dolby Digital, and a cheap headset attached.

An actual DAC is just a small box. You plug it into USB and windows will install drivers automatically. Use the manufacturer drivers to support higher quality sound rates. That's it. In control panel you select your DAC as the output sound device and it acts like a soundcard. It takes digital sound through the USB and outputs it to your speakers or headphones with a headphone amp. The DAC does the conversion from digital to analogue, not your computer. And the quality of this DAC will be superior to what onboard sound has. For example my onboard audio will hiss when there is no sound. My DAC is dead silent all the time. It works great and I have both speakers and headphones plugged in simultaneously and just flick the switch on the DAC to select. A good soundcard works good as well, but you can have driver issues that interfere, especially with a change in Windows versions.

People use DACs to get better quality sounds compared to the DAC built into their stereo, xbox, cellphone, computer, soundcard, etc... I use a DAC because it's convenient, works great, doesn't have driver issues, etc.... A USB DAC is designed just for computers. The downfall of using a DAC is you have no software. And it's just stereo sound. You don't have analogue 7.1 outputs for computer 5.1 speakers. But some DACs have a SPDIF passthrough to output surround sound to a receiver. Also you don't have software for an EQ, virtual surround sound etc... That's where Razer surround comes in. INstall that and you get those options just like owning a soundcard.

I am also not dependant on an onboard soundcard and headphone amp, therefore with each upgrade and motherboard purchase I can take a $120 motherboard as opposed to a $225 one. I always have the DAC which is awesome. For the mic I just use a USB samson since I don't use the analogue input of the soundcard. It's a bit better than the Blue Snowball. The Yeti you mentioned is overkill in my opinion, unless you want to do podcasting and 2 person interviews then it's great. Samson also has solutions similar to the Yeti. The snowball and samson are around $50. The shockmounts are another $25 and the arms can be found on Newegg for as low as $25. That's around $100 for a complete setup which isn't bad considering the quality of the mic. I'd recommend a better quality arm but that's it. The shockmount has to be the manufacturers one designed for the mic. Some mics have a built in shock mount for the pickup then you don't need the external mount.

Headsets are great if you don't want a mic taking up desk space. Also if you don't do a desktop mic properly it'll pick up keyboard noise. You want the shock mount and arm to get it off the table. Then set the sensitivity of the mic to pick up your voice and not anything else. A headset or modmic just works good first shot, and they are noise cancelling. But I like having my regular headphones, no mic, regular cable, and I can just take them and plug them into the stereo for a movie. Also using a DAC it's on the desktop, so my headphones plug into the desktop, not way down on the floor into the back of the computer which is a pain. I don't need an extension cable or anything.

A headset is not better or worse then a seperate headphone, mic design. A DAC is not better than a soundcard since a soundcard is basically a glorified DAC. I just prefer the versatility of reliability of seperate components. My AKG headphones will last a lifetime, but I have yet to see any USB headsets last more than 2 years. My DAC will last me 10+ years and always be top quality, whereas I've gone through many soundcards that have issues. My USB mic being USB and powered, works amazing. It all pays for itself considering the reliability and the fact I don't buy USB headsets like their disposable, and I don't need expensive motherboards and soundcards.

The problem is many PC gamers are teenagers or younger and don't know real pro audio. They want big logitech speakers with a big sub cause they think it's better. They have never tried a nice $200 pair of powered monitors without a sub that'll blow their $500 logitechs out of the water. Look at any recording studio and they just use stereo monitors for speakers. Not fancy home theater setups. But I've noticed in the past 3-4 years people are starting to get into high end headphones more for gaming compared to before they never used headphones at all. And USB DACs are becoming very popular among the computer crowd. This has to do with soundcards and motherboards advertising that they come with high qaulity burr brown DACs and a headphone amp. People are aware of this stuff now so some are migrating towards real headphones and seperate mics.

Also I buy my audio gear through my local guitar music store at great prices. Like guitar center in the states. You don't have to go through Newegg for a DAC and headphones.
 

gondo

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Sorry for the rant but I tried to clarify everything in a nutshell. If you have more specific questions feel free to ask. Also I only mentioned AKG, Seinheisser, and Grado but there are many other good brands like audio technica mentioned. I am an AKG fan myself, my bud who is a DJ loves Seinheisser and owns a $700 pair of DJ phones. Grado are probably the most popular headphones in the audiophole nerd club. There are some higher end uber brands too but that's for audio snobs and rich people and the value compared to these brands is way in the dirt. You pay thousands of dollars for 5% better sound, that's how audiophile snob equipment goes.
 
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