Sound Advice: Five Gaming Headphones Tested - HotHardware

Sound Advice: Five Gaming Headphones Tested

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If our eyes are the windows to the soul, then what does that make our ears? Doorways to our internal sound stage, that's what. But listen up, it doesn't matter how gnarly the guitar riffs your favorite musician is playing or how intense the in-game effects are, if your headphones aren't up to the task, then you might as well go back to the days of MIDI files Ad Lib sound cards. Second-rate headsets rob you of delightful high notes and brain rattling bass, of the subtle sound of footsteps when an opponent tries to sneak up behind you or the blast of a grenade you just hurled behind enemy lines.

Conversely, a high-quality headset doesn't just upgrade the audio, it unlocks a brand new experience. We're not being melodramatic here. For the same reasons you won't find $20 bookshelf speakers powering a home theater setup, a pair of headphones picked up from the clearance rack at K-Mart shouldn't be your go-to cans for listening to music or playing games.



What separates a premium headset from a blue light special? It's a combination of things, from well designed drivers to comfy ear cups that kiss the sides of your head with a gentle yet firm caress (now we're being melodramatic...a little). And then there's the overall feature-set, the premium extras like a noise-canceling microphone and 5.1 or 7.1 surround sound.

Unfortunately, there's only so much you can discern from a headset's spec sheet, and with so many to choose from, you'd have to invest an obscene amount of time and money auditioning each one. We don't want you to have to do that, so we went and rounded up five high-end headsets from four different manufacturers, including:
  1. Corsair Vengeance 1500 7.1 Gaming Headset
  2. Corsair Vengeance 2000 Wireless 7.1 Gaming Headset
  3. Creative Sound Blaster Recon 3D Omega Wireless 7.1
  4. Roccat Kave 5.1 Surround Sound Headset
  5. Rosewill RHTS-8206 5.1 Surround Sound Gaming Headset with Vibration

We subjected each one to a battery of tests with a focus on music performance, gaming, comfort, and unique features. On the following pages, we'll take you through a tour of each one and tell you how they fared. Are any of these headsets right for you? Let's get this party started.
 

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Hi long time readere here that just signed up (and i mean long time)

Thanks hothardware for all the years of great reads good revieuws and insight

But i have to say this one im not feeling.

These are not headphones, they are gaming headsets.
Gaming headsets generally have really poor price quality.

Many of these wont be an exception.
Ur paying for tacky/flashy looks, volume control stuff, and gimmick features.

The gaming sticker also costs you money.
This surround stuff is pretty much a gimmick aswell.

If you want good sound, buy actual headphones, preferably of brands that actually know their sound.Youll save money and get a better product.

None of these things is really good if you would compare them to real quality headphones. Ive used some of them.
Dont buy if you really want quality sound.

Im saying this as a long standing competitive gamer in counterstrike.

Who also loves his music and occasional movie.

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I think we were pretty fair in pointing out that gaming headsets aren't intended for audiophiles, especially when it comes to hitting high notes. We also covered that 5.1 channel audio in a headset is not like a speaker setup.

None of that negates the gaming headset category, however. The headsets in this roundup pump up decent audio for what they are, especially at their respective price points.

It's like most anything else, in that the more you spend, the higher quality you'll get in return. At the same time, there's a marked difference between the headsets in this roundup and lower quality cans that are on the market. I think most gamers would be happy with any of these five.

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Hi thanks for your reply i agree with you you did a good job.
I kinda forgot context in the end (for lack of a better word maybe not a native speaker)

But i hope it could perhaps be usefull for some my first post was a bit blunt i think sorry.
Still its maybe worth noting that even compared to other headphones/headsets it might be the same story for 5.1 etc.

Why would a brand like sennheiser make their more expensive headsets such as the PC360 just stereo?
After over a decade of playing games were positional audio is key i can honestly say i have not felt any benefits to surround in the surround headsets i have tried.
(This while they are always worse for music etc)....

One other tiny intresting note perhaps about this same PC360 as example is that its open
I still think its worth to consider for some people who are only going to be using their headset at home in a lot of cases quiet enviroments a open style would be a little better choice for several reasons

There are i think quite a few cases were people would have been better of getting headphones.
Just for better sound both on games and entertainment, often while saving money.
I like having a seperate mic aswell
Greets

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No worries, feedback is always welcome. :) And yes, "context" is precisely the word you're looking for.

If you have any recommendations on specific headsets, feel free to post them. Who knows, we might even do another roundup of audiophile-class headsets (no promises and nothing in the works towards that end, just saying it's possible if there's enough interest...).

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No specific recommendations for you to review, but what i believe would be most intresting then is to compare some of the higher priced 7.1 or 3d headsets and throw a hi-fi headphone or maybe 2 in the mix, maybe of a little lower price range..

Perhaps brands that produce both hi-fi headphones and gaming headsets.
So sennheiser, beyerdynamic has a few gaming headsets, akg has one but not high end, same for audio technica
Its maybe hard to compare but maybe it would be intresting..

Whats perhaps also intresting to look at is the virtual surround amp beyerdynamic sells.
That can be used with the gaming headsets but is not required.
Also note the price tag... oouch

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Thanks Paul for taking the time for this review. I have been looking for a few low cost headphones to use when one of my kids visit and they happen to be here on a night that falls before my wife's workdays. The Rosewill Cans look like they'll fit the bill perfectly. (and I can afford them too)

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Paul, I stopped reading when I saw that every single headset you've reviewed uses the 5.1 or 7.1 "surround" gimmick,

That's a lot of extra money for something that honest people will admit they simply can't hear.

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Morley, I stopped reading when I saw you stopped reading. :P I kid, I kid. But seriously, did you look at the MSRPs and street prices? The Rosewill set is especially affordable. I'd say more, but it's all covered in the roundup, which you didn't read. 

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That would be great for those who really want to have a good sound quality. If you're like many people, you know that if you pay attention to books, music and talk while on the go, your headsets are likely to break. Sometimes it's simple wear and tear, but other times it is low quality and manufacturing that lead to broken cabling and damaged earpiece. Rather than allowing yourself to go into debt during the process of constantly updating your ear speakers before they should reasonably need to be, learn how to save your headsets to be able to maximize your listening investment.

Source of article: Payday loan to fix things if needed.

 

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