Buying a set of headphones might seem like a very straightforward task, but when you start to break it down, the options become a little overwhelming.
Well, for me anyway.
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I think the first question to ask yourself, is what do I want these headphones for? Are you looking for something with which you can listen to music? Are you a video editor? A sound engineer? Do you want them for gym or running? All of these have different specs, and the reality is that you really can’t use those in-ear headphones that came with your phone for running… or for gaming.
Ah yes… the gaming headset. Why is this different to just a regular set of headphones? Well to start with there’s the mic. If you’re one of those people who like ranting chatting to others online, a mic is an essential feature. Couple that with the essential function of being able to hear multi-directional sound, knowing what you’re getting with a good gaming headset is key.
To help, we’ve compiled this list of some of our top choices to enhance your gaming experience. As a bonus, we’ve also given you the budget option because in this economy, we can’t all afford to drop big numbers on headsets! Sad but true.
If you know anything about SteelSeries, you’ll know they’re renowned for their amazingly clear audio. The sound is good enough that you can use it for listening to music as well as playing games. It’s comfortable and it’s no surprise it’s popular.
The surround sound on the Arctis Pro is not quite as good as some other headsets, but it’s still pretty decent. It is on the pricey side of course, coming in at around R3600 for the wired version. Expect to pay more for the wireless version of this headset.
Budget options: If you can’t quite afford to fork out over R3000 for the Pro, there are a number of other options available. You can either go for the newer Arctis 7, which will still set you have around R2500 for the wireless headset, or you can go for an older model (Arctis 3 or 5) which will cost you anywhere between R1300 and R1700.
Plantronics RIG 800HS
We often forget about Plantronics when we think of gaming headsets, but they do in fact make excellent headphones (and not just for gaming either). Little known fact: when Neil Armstrong landed on the moon he was wearing a Plantronics headset. Now you can amaze your friends with your awesome general knowledge!
Plantronics are some of the most comfortable headphones I’ve used (I personally own the BackBeat Pro2 SE set for editing), but the audio quality on these is excellent. Wireless with an excellent battery life, this headset is designed for Playstation. They retail for around £160, which at the current exchange rate is in the region of R2600.
Budget option: Plantronics GameRig 500 Gaming Headset. If you’re not willing to spend over R1000 for a headset just yet (I don’t blame you), a good option for this brand is the Plantronics GameRig 500 Gaming Headset. It retails for R700 and still delivers on performance, while being comfortable and durable.
So pretty. So heavy. If you don’t mind the weight of these headphones, then this might not be a bad choice. It has onboard amp controls so you can tweak the sound to your heart’s content. Did I mention it’s pretty? Expect to pay R3000.
Budget option: Asus Cerberus V2. Not quite as good as the higher end version, but much like its competitors it offers a decent experience all round if you’re not quite in the market for the Centurion range. You’re looking at a more affordable R800.
I won’t lie, you’ll cringe at the price of these as they clock in at almost R5000, but the quality is undeniable. Incredibly comfortable, you’ll find these work across any platform which is a huge bonus (and as it should be in my opinion). The sound quality is phenomenal, incredibly nuanced and definitely designed with professional gamers in mind.
Budget option: Turtle Beach XO Three. Designed for Xbox One, expect to pay just under R1000 for this headset. You wont get quite as good an experience in terms of surround sound as some of the other headsets, however the microphone is decent and it’s comfortable. It’s also compatible with PC if you like to switch it up with your Microsoft products.
Along with all the usual arguments of great (surround) sound, comfort, etcetera, you can switch between profiles (gaming, music etc) on the headset at the touch of a button. They’re not wireless, but they’re pretty great regardless, and if that doesn’t concern you then you’ll probably want to at least consider these.
Budget option: Logitech G231 Prodigy Gaming Headset. Retailing for R849, these are comfortable with excellent sound quality. It has a flip up mic and is a decent entry level headset. Not much more to say really.
Wrap it up!
I have no doubt there are some excellent ones I missed (we can’t include everything!). Do you have an amazing gaming headset you think everyone should know about? Or perhaps a really awful one we should be warned away from? Let us know!
Feature image: Matthieu A via Unsplash