Sound Advice: Five Gaming Headphones Tested
Performance Summary & Conclusion
Performance Summary: If there was a recurring theme in this roundup, it's bass performance. Some of the headsets we tested were better than others at bringing the boom, but for the most part, these gaming headsets chose to emphasis the low end for satisfying sound effects when playing games. Not all headsets performed the same, however. Rosewill's cans brought the shake, for example, while Creative's earphones delivered high quality audio with the aid of an external soundcard.
We're not being diplomatic when we say that each of the five headsets we reviewed are serviceable solutions for gamers. None of them did a poor job, though there were a couple that stood out and earned our Editor's Choice award. The first is Creative's Recon3D Omega Wireless. It's the total package in terms of features, performance, and comfort. Armed with an external soundcard, you could say it had an unfair advantage over the competition, but it also came at a cost -- Creative's cans are the most expensive out of the five we reviewed. If you can afford them, they'll reward you with high quality audio, plenty of settings to play with, and wireless operation.
The other that stood out was on the opposite end of the pricing spectrum. We're talking about Rosewill's $60 headset, which are just plain fun to use. They're lightweight, are able to stretch vocals into the highs, and look pretty snazzy to boot. Build quality isn't on par with Creative's, and it doesn't hit the low notes like the Omega does, but they're not fragile and the vibration feature, if you're into that sort of thing, adds another dimension to music, movies, and games.
Corsair's Vengeance 1500 and Vengeance 2000 Wireless headsets stood out for their aggressive design, sturdy build quality, and overall sound quality. This is especially true when it came to bass reproduction and grinding or booming sound effects. Each set packs a punch in the low end, and given the small street price disparity between the 1500 and 2000 (~$80 and $100, respectively), we'd recommend splurging $20 for the wireless functionality.
Finally, Roccat's Kave is a solid entry in this roundup, and its 5.1 positional audio was more defined than the other participants. Granted, it's not the same as a true 5.1-channel speaker setup, but the angled drivers do a good job of letting you know where sound is coming from, which is no easy task for headphones. We also like that you can independently tweak each of the driver channels through the desktop remote.
Corsair Vengeance 1500
Corsair Vengeance 2000