So, from my perspective, video games are a big part of our lives now, or at least the industry of computer entertainment is. Whether you like it or not, video games won’t go away. From numerous consoles and entertainment systems all the way to personal computers, video games have been in our lives for quite a long time now.
When you think about it for a moment, quite a lot of people have actually grown up alongside video games as one of the entertainment types. All the way from the simplest forms such as ping pong, to tetris and now, well, everything. If it weren’t for the entertainment video games have given me, I probably wouldn’t have a life I have right now, just like many others. Then, there are various types of video games and I’m sure in the future, there will be many more categories of them, but I just like to put them as following: singleplayer games and multiplayer games. It’s simple as that, if you ask me, because some of them are made to be simply played alone so you can get immersed in the story and just, enjoy it for a few hours, all by yourself.. and then you have those which are only made for multiplayer entertainment. That means you play it with other people from around the world. It can be your friend from the neighborhood or a random person from a different side of the planet.
Nonetheless, video games have created a brand new form of entertainment that will continue to grow and won’t go away for a long time, for sure.
Now, if you’re playing a multiplayer game, communication is a very important aspect of the game itself, so how do we achieve that? Well, in the distant past, you would have simple interaction dialogues with predefined messages. Then it moved onto an interactive chat interface, meaning you could type your message on a keyboard or using your joystick to communicate with other players.
Now, you have all of those combined, but there is a very big difference. We have voice communication now. I’m sure you already know of this as it’s been around for quite a long time now, if not since the 1990s, but it has since grown into an industry of its own. What do I mean by this? Well, let’s just say that the voice communication industry is a big part of not just video games and entertainment, but every other part of IT.
Taking that into consideration, sure, you could just call up your friend and invite him over to your place so you could play some games together, but imagine if that friend didn’t live near you, but rather in a different city, or perhaps even a different country? Say he was on the other side of the world, right. You can’t just call him up and invite him to your place so you could play some games. Sure, you could still play together online, but that’s not it, right? The laughter, the fun you have together, it’s just not right. Well, what you can do is tell your friend to get headphones with a microphone and say you will do the same. Now you can speak to each other almost exactly the same way as if you were in the same room. That’s perfect, right? Sure, there MIGHT be some drawbacks, but voice communication is very important not just for gameplay, but the entertainment itself.
Due to the fact that I have been in this ‘gaming‘ world for quite a bit now, over ten years actually, I decided to help out similar people around the world by advising them which products to buy in the whole gaming industry. In this article, I will go over some of the best headsets and standalone microphones for gaming. Some of them are inexpensive, some are not, but I can tell you for certain that all of them are good. Some more, some less, but whichever appeals to you the most, you won’t regret the purchase.
- [BEST] ASTRO A50
- [BESTSELLER] SteelSeries Siberia 800
- [BEST] HyperX Cloud Revolver
- Blue Yeti Pro
- Audio-Technica AT2020
- RODE NT-USB
- HyperX Cloud II
- Turtle Beach – Elite Pro
[BEST] ASTRO A50 Headset
- compatible with PS4 & PC
- amazing audio quality
- adjustable microphone
- Dolby headphone 7.1 Surround Sound
Well, aren’t they beautiful? I mean, just look at them. Eye catching colors, beautiful design and the best comfort you can get out of headphones. What else could you ask for?
The Astro A50s are built and made with extreme care and precision because they’re made by people who know the industry extremely well and have spent years in it researching and developing the best headphones you could get so you can achieve the utmost gaming experience ever. As we all know, the audio in video games is one the most important things. Whether you’re playing Starcraft or Counter Strike, the sound is of great importance. No matter what game it is, without the sound, it is boring and in some cases, unplayable. That’s why you need great headphones, such as these.
I mean, just look at them. Other than the fact that they shine with elegance and coolness, you actually do get the top notch product out there. Of course, there are other really well made headphones out there which rival the Astro A50 very well, but as far as I have seen, I came to a conclusion that these, really are the best you can get right now. Other than the fact that they are wireless, they are also extremely light, which means you can have them on your head for a really long period of time and you wouldn’t feel any discomfort. Now, of course, video games might not be everything you like, perhaps you like music so you’re looking from that perspective as well.. In that case, these are also a good choice, however, due to the fact that they are wireless, there might be the slightest difference between the wired version and these.
The wired version is, obviously wired, but also half of the price of these. Why? Well, the obvious reason is because you don’t need the additional receiver/transmitter as they are wired so they’re just plug and play, but the other factor is that they’re a bit older than these, meaning you will get a slightly worse audio quality, but as far as I have seen, it’s really not that much of a difference, but if music is of the greatest importance to you, you should look at a different type of headphones then. Back onto the A50s from the technical aspect, honestly, you’re getting the best there is out there at the moment. The microphone on it’s own is a wonder when you see its quality, ability and everything else.
When I’ve tried this headset, I knew I was going to get really good results, but I really wasn’t expecting them to be THAT good. The microphone, not only is it directional, meaning it will pickup YOU and only you, but the quality it gives is absolutely astonishing. Alongside some of the software you can get from ASTRO, you can freely adjust the settings of the microphone using various settings, lowering its sensitivity and similar. You really are given all of the settings you can get so you can fully control this headset. Other than the glorious microphone, let’s not forget the audio you hear. The sound quality for video games is by far the best I have experienced, no matter what game you’re playing. I’ve tested it on Counter Strike: Global Offensive, Team Fortress 2, Battlefield 4 & 1 and really, it’s absolutely amazing.
No one complained about the noise in the background I intentionally made as no one could hear it. This headset truly is made for gamers. If you choose the wireless version, that means you can walk around your whole room, if not the whole home without any impairments to the sound. My friend from the UK did this test specifically for me over TeamSpeak as he has the same headphones. He would get up from his desk and just walk around his home while constantly talking to me. I could hear a bit of a quality drop when he was outside his home, but while he was on the inside, there were no problems whatsoever. So yeah, that’s why this headset is gilded with the BEST category tag.
[BEST SELLER]SteelSeries Siberia 800
- SteelSeries next-gen speaker drivers
- closed ear-cups
- Dolby cirtual 7.1 surround sound
- Retractable microphone
Simply said, this headset just shines with elegance, comfort and luxury. It looks sleek and simple, but it offers so much. First off, it’s wireless, which is a great addition, especially to gamers on the move as these headphones are very compact, so if you like to play games a lot, but you travel quite often, this headset is a very good option as you can rotate the speakers so it can be placed in a tight area, such as a bag or a briefcase. Other than that, the microphone is retractable and it basically disappears if you decide not to use it. All you have to do is push it inside the left speaker and that’s it. When it’s retracted, only its reddish tip is visible, so it’s really nice for various types of entertainment. Other than the luxurious look, the sound fidelity is astonishing due to the fact that the ear cups are closed inwards so you achieve total isolation from the surroundings and none of the sounds will leak out directly, but that’s not it. They are really, really comfortable on your head and ears. There’s no excess pressure being exerted onto your ears and due to their low weight, they’re pretty much perfect in that category. They come in black and greyish color which both fit nicely on this design of headphones. They’re somewhat similar to the older versions of the Siberia series, but they are more different than similar if you look it at from the greater perspective. You still have the round shaped speakers which are able to rotate. The additional full length padding on the arc which covers the head is there, as well, so yeah, the design is somewhat still the same, but they have certainly upgraded the specifications and abilities of the Siberia series. As always, due to the fact that these are wireless, you will always gain higher quality on wired versions, but as far as I have noticed, there isn’t a difference. You are paying for quality product, that is for certain, so if sound quality worries you, it shouldn’t as the Steelseries products have proven high quality over a lengthy period of time in the past and I stand behind this decision as both my friend and me had a different version of Steelseries products, and there is no doubt.. They do deliver quality and luxury.
A unique thing about this headset is the fact that you receive two Li-Ion batteries. Not one, but two. You can charge the second one while using the first one, so when the first one is depleted, you just swap them out and continue gaming, no hassle in that! As per me, this headset really does deserve the BESTSELLER category tag as it’s not overly expensive and I’ve seen a lot of Twitch streamers and YouTube gamers use these. If you consider the pricetag of $240 and the quality this headset offers, it’s a very good trade off.
[BESTBUY] HyperX Cloud Revolver
- Studio grade sound quality
- Steel frame
- Detachable microphone
- 50mm sound drivers
- Compatibility with PC/PS4/MAC/Xbox One
If you’ve ever followed up with HyperX products, then this one will look very similar to one of their most popular products ever, the HyperX Cloud II headset. We can say this is the version two of that headset as this one looks very similar to the Cloud II and obviously, it’s better. As stated previously, it’s built from a steel frame which makes it extremely durable and stiff while at the same time it provides comfort. Don’t let the steel frame worry you as this headset is actually very comfortable on your head. It’s not too lose and it’s not too tight, it’s pretty much perfect. I mean, it’s made from steel, there’s no way you can break this, so if you accidentally drop them on the ground or something similar, there shouldn’t be worry about them breaking or anything.
Of course, there’s the iconic red colour which braids the top part of the headphones, the headrest and in addition to that, the sides of the speakers are glowing in red as well, representing the HyperX logo alongside some stylish lines in a circle, as you can see in the picture. Other than the great design, they provide really good functionality as well. There’s an additional software you can obtain from HyperX for extra sound effects and adjustments, but it’s not necessary. The headset itself is plug & play so it’s pretty straight forward. There is one slight drawback though. They aren’t very compact as other headsets. They’re bulky and slightly heavy. The weight isn’t a problem as it’s countered by the huge amounts of ear and head padding which makes them very comfortable actually, but you can’t carry these around everywhere. I mean, you just can’t due to their size and inability to rotate and bend, but they are absolutely amazing for their price if you plan on using them at your home.
The microphone itself is the main part of these as it looks relatively small and simple, but in reality it really isn’t. The best thing about it is that you can detach it very easily and it will look as if it wasn’t there, so if you just want to chill in the evening hours while going through the gameplay of your favorite game, just detach the microphone and enjoy. The great quality of the microphone is just an extra cherry on the cake as well, as I personally had no trouble using it in communication with random players and my friends both in game and over TeamSpeak & Discord, so I can say with certainty that it is very good. Because of that and its great price, I decided to place it as the winner of the BESTBUY category. If you’re on a budget, but you’re also looking for great quality, then you wouldn’t make a mistake by purchasing this headset.
Blue Yeti Pro
- Four different polar pattern settings
- Cutting edge A-D converter chip
- Built-in amplifier for zero-latency monitoring
- 15 Hz – 22 kHz frequency response
Now, this microphone caught my eye with quite a few things. First off, it looks amazing. The vintage look really appeals to the user and it’s just, pretty. Reminds me of those old microphones in studios before the 2000s. There’s also the fact that this microphone has multiple outputs. An XLR output if you really want to use this microphone to its maximum potential, and an USB output, for the quick plug & play action.
I wouldn’t say it’s great for portability as it really isn’t, but if you really have to, you wouldn’t have much trouble moving it around, just be careful, because it is absolutely amazing. It is somewhat heavy, but when you see what it has to offer, you will understand why the extra weight.
The single greatest thing anyone has ever implemented onto dedicated microphones is the simple and separate button for muting it. And it’s there. You don’t have to unplug the cable, you don’t have to mute it in sound manager, you just press the button and it’s muted, so if someone walks into your room, just press that button and no one will be disturbed. There’s also a volume knob for, well duh, adjusting the volume of the microphone output and it’s that simple, really.
The additional XLR output on the bottom of the microphone is amazing as you can use an additional external amplifier or a different device for other uses and hook it up directly to the microphone using the XLR output, provided you have the necessary wiring. This means, that if you ever want to record music, instruments, vocals, anything that is very dependent on quality of the sound, you can achieve it with this microphone. I’ve heard numerous popular YouTubers claim that this is one of the best microphones out there and I can’t disagree. I haven’t encountered a better one so far.
The coolest part about this one is the four different pattern settings. What does that mean? You can choose what type of monitoring (recording) you want the microphone to be in. It can be stereo, cardioid, omnidirectional and bidirectional.
The stereo mode means it will pick up sounds on both the left and the right channel and it is ideal for recording almost any type of sound. Cardioid mode is crafted for podcasts, vocals or game streaming. It captures the sound only from one direction, so positioning the microphone in front of you while live streaming and picking this mode is the perfect combination.
The omnidirectional mode is quite cool, to be honest as it captures audio coming from all directions. If you want to capture 3D sound or gain the 3D effect with sound, this mode will suit you the best. Last but not least, we have the bidirectional mode and simply said, it records from two sides, which is perfect if you are recording two vocals, or you’re playing with a friend in the same room.
This microphone combined with an adjustable stand you can also purchase is pretty much the perfect combination. It has all you want out of a microphone and it won’t disappoint you.
Audio-Technica AT2020 USB microphone
- Condenser microphone with USB output
- A/D converter with 16 bit, 44.1/48 kHz sampling rate
- Internal headphone amplifier for clarity and musical detail
Now, the point of this article was to review microphones for gamers and so far it has been a great trip, but it was headsets only, meaning you would receive a microphone and headphones in one. However, as the primary focus is on microphones, I’ve decided to count in dedicated microphones as well because they really do stand out in that business as they are made for detecting and recording audio. Now, sure, it may not be very convenient to carry both headphones and a dedicated microphone at the same time, so this is a better option if you are certain you won’t be moving around quite of ten. Dedicated microphones are especially handy for live streams and YouTubers as they will always provide better quality than headset microphones. We also have to remember the fact that you can literally put this microphone on a microphone stand and position it anywhere you like, so there’s that. It can be above your head, it can be below your chin, on the side of your face, anywhere you like.
Now, onto the microphone itself. Made by Audio-Technica, an amazing audio-oriented company which not only produces superb microphones, but they’re also in the business of headphones and headsets, and they’re good at it. Previously, I have reviewed one of their noise-cancelling headphones with a microphone and honestly, I was left speechless. The stuff these people make is just amazing. When I was reviewing this microphone, I wasn’t skeptical about it whatsoever, because I simply knew that it would deliver what I wanted. Excellent sound quality without any issues and trouble.
The size of this microphone is very impressive as well because you would usually expect a dedicated microphone to be relatively bulky and large, but this model actually is not so big. You could certainly put it in your front pocket of your pants if you wanted to. Now, of course, the sound quality is the main thing about microphones and I can tell you with assurance that you would not regret buying this. You get a quality-made stand which can have its angle adjusted, so technically saying, you could have this microphone placed anywhere on the desk and it will pick up your voice. It is almost fully omni-directional, meaning it can pick up sound coming from almost all directions. The exception being its two sides which are covered with the frame and the bottom part. Other than that, you really do get an amazing product for the price you pay, which actually isn’t as high as you would expect for such a great product. Then again, even if you’re not a gamer, this microphone is still great for you. Say you’re an instrument player. Buying this microphone is a perfect product for you as it will record all of the sounds you create with your instrument and voice, no joke.
One last thing I would like to note about this microphone as seen in the title of it is that it is USB connected, which makes things even easier. You don’t need any other external adapters and/or converters. You just plug it into the USB port and it’s ready to go. It’s that simple!
Rode NT-USB Condenser Microphone
- USB connectivity
- On-mic mix control
- Tripod stand, pop filter and ring mount included
- Ultra-low noise
Very similar to the previous microphone from Audio-Technica, the RODE NT-USB microphone has a few more additional features at a slightly more elevated price, but the trade off is quite worth it. RODE is without saying, a great producer of quality and well made microphones and they offer numerous bonuses with their products. As you can see in the picture, just by purchasing this model, you receive a tripod stand, a ring mount and the most important of all, the pop filter shield which filters out those annoying ‘pop’ noises. Other than the great extras you receive with this microphone, there’s also one really useful thing on it and that’s the two mix wheels on it which lets you adjust the volume of the microphone itself and volume of the headphones you can plug into the microphone itself for realtime sound feedback.
The great visual aesthetic design is really pleasing to the eyes. The color is a perfect match and the USB cable is detachable so that makes this microphone quite portable, if you don’t mind disassembling everything every time.
It provides amazing sound quality, especially for instruments, but it is also great for gamers as it can capture even the slightest whispers, so you can truly get immersed into the video game you’re playing without yelling your heart out in an effort to signal your friend. The pop filter shield is a really useful thing, especially if you use the microphone on a daily basis as it filters out the ‘pop’ noise as previously stated, which can get really annoying in a very short time period.
The microphone stand is adjustable so you can place the microphone anywhere on the desk and just point it towards yourself and it will capture your voice without any problems. The additional volume wheels on the microphone are very useful, especially if someone walks into your room, you can lower the volume very easily without unplugging the microphone, so the usability of it is really good.
Other than that, it’s a really great piece of hardware for the price you pay.
HyperX Cloud II
- USB Audio Sound Card
- 7.1 Virtual Surround Sound
- Noise cancelling microphone
- Echo cancelling
- 15 Hz – 22kHz frequency response
- 53mm sound drivers
Bulky. That’s the main characteristic of this headset. But don’t let that put you down, they’re pretty good in my opinion. I already had a chance to review these some time ago, but I decided to give them another shot as they were pretty good and I wanted to test them out further. This variant comes only in color of black which makes them look pretty cool. One would think that with great size, great weight comes, but surprisingly, these headphones are pretty light. They’re made out of plastic, but I tested how strong it was by trying to bend it, and it didn’t break. I did bend it quite a lot, but it didn’t break, so it is some high quality plastic. The reason these headphones are inexpensive is because they’re made out of plastic I assume because the technicalities are really good. I had no problems with the sound quality of both the speakers and the microphone, so there’s that.
The microphone itself is detachable, meaning you can’t retract it upwards or downwards, but you actually have to detach it to move it out of sight. That is a great thing if you have to move these headphones around quite a lot because you can’t rotate their speakers, but you can detach the rather large microphone, which is a good thing. They are VERY COMFORTABLE on your ears and head when you put them on and as sketchy as it may seem, the material the padding is made of does not look cheap as it doesn’t rip apart, doesn’t come off and doesn’t give off that weird odor after a prolonged usage of the headphones.
It also has an active noise cancellation on the microphone, meaning you won’t be picking up a large amount of unnecessary sounds coming in from the background which makes this headset a great choice if you’re playing video games in a loud room. There is also a 7.1 audio mode which turns the audio into more realistic sounding audio, but I personally didn’t like it on any of the headphones, but that’s just personal preference, so it shouldn’t cause you any problems.
All in all, a great piece of hardware for avid gamers for a relatively low price.
Turtle Beach – Elite Pro
- 50mm sound drivers
- extremely soft ear padding
- rotational microphone
- 12 Hz – 22kHz frequency response
The orange color on these headphones is what makes them look cool, aside the amazing design of course. The customizability is one of the key characteristics on these as they were made for one specific audience.. and those are hardcore gamers. Sure, you don’t have to be a hardcore gamer, but a lot of professional teams in various popular video games use these in tournaments and live streams as they are really, really good. Oh and did I mention they look cool?
The extremely soft ear pads are so soft you could fall asleep with these without any trouble. They don’t cause any excessive pressure on your ears nor your head so there’s no worry in getting a headache or sweaty ears. I mean, of course, if it’s blazing summer and the temperatures are high, it will always be not so pleasing to wear headphones, but these are one of the most comfortable I’ve seen so far.
The microphone is relatively simple and straight forward. You can rotate it upwards and downwards, so lining it up with your mouth won’t be a problem at all. The quality of the microphone is pretty good, but in this case, they have focused more on quality of the sound you receive through the speakers, which I understand, as it is very important in the tournaments. Of course, we cannot ignore the voice communication between the players, but I believe they have prioritized the sound quality of speakers over the microphone.
Now, I’m not saying it’s bad, it is very good actually, but you can get better ones for somewhat the same price. Other than that, a really great pair of headphones in my opinion.
If you’re a gamer, and I believe you are if you’re reading this article, let’s be real.. you need good gear to perform well. Whether it be a mouse, a keyboard, in this case a headset, it has to be quality made. If you’re reading this segment of the review, you will get the general understanding of the best headsets there are in the market right now. Maybe, just maybe none of these suit you, and I’m sure that will happen as each gamer has their own and unique play style and requirements, and if that’s the case, feel free to contact me through the comment section and I will gladly help you out in picking the best headset for yourself.
All in all, this article was made in an effort to help out numerous people who seek the best voice communication device there is that they can afford and no matter what you are, a musician, a hardcore gamer, a casual gamer, I’m positive this article can help you pick your ideal microphone/headset.