Sound Advice: Five Gaming Headphones Tested

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Introduction

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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