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If you are a gamer than you know that you not only need to hear what is going on, but often will need to speak to your teammates. You could of course use computer speakers and a microphone to accomplish this, but at some point roommates will complain and the mic will get knocked over, or any number of other troubles will come up. Luckily for you there is another option, the gaming headset. These put high quality speakers right next to your ears so that you’ll be able to hear everything going on, while other people in the same room won’t. Most also feature a microphone to let you respond to others in the game, either to plan with your team or talk trash to someone else.
But this is the 21st century, the best gaming can’t tether you to your headphone jack. Today there are a wide range of outstanding wireless options, meaning even if you have to step away from the keyboard for a moment you won’t need to worry about your headset getting pulled off from the speaker wire. We’ve tracked down some of the top contenders and will go over them as well as a buyer’s guide to help you pick the right set for you.
So now that you have determined that you are in the market for a wireless gaming headset, let’s take a look at some of the things that you’ll want to consider before making your selection.
Let’s start with the basics. If you are buying any piece of equipment that is going to produce sounds, you want it to be of good quality. This can apply to speakers, wired or wireless headphones, and gaming headsets. If the sounds sound like crap you aren’t going to want to wear them and they won’t do you any good. As a basic rule of thumb cheap sets are going to have cheap components that are going to sound cheap at the end of the day. This doesn’t mean that going expensive is going to guarantee quality though.
To really get a feel for a headset you need to consider the bass, the midrange and the high end. Now everyone knows the bass is that deep rumble that you can almost feel more than hear. The mid and high end are where the details happen. Since this is for gaming more than just music you’ll want a quality set that will give you good performance in these ranges.
Another decision you will need to think about as you track down the right gaming headset for your needs is if a built-in mic is important to you. The argument for a stand alone dedicated mic is that primarily the dedicated option provides you with a better quality option that can easily be used for a number of other things. The secondary though in this line is that if a stand alone mic dies you can still use your headphones and just replace the mic.
On the other side of the discussion are those that like to have a microphone built into their headset. These people like that the mic is right there and you don’t have to worry about it not picking up if you turn your head a little too far one way or the other. It can also lead to a cleaner desk. You will have to determine which is right for you. There are some different styles of mic that can be built in, so you’ll have at least a few options if you go this route.
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We live in the 21st century and there is quite a bit of high tech awesomeness going around. But if you look there are still a lot of wired headsets on the market, which may lead people to wonder, why are so many still tethered? There are three big drawbacks that you get into just by having a wireless connection. Those are battery life, latency and price.
Since you don’t have a wire going to the speaker you need to have some form of connection. This is normally done through a Bluetooth receiver, but that requires power. If you are going to have power in a wireless set up that means having a battery to recharge. You’ll need to look at how long the battery will last and how long it will take to recharge.
Latency is the lag that can develop. Since your sound now has to go through your rig to the encoder, be converted to a Bluetooth signal travel through the air to your headphones, be decoded and make it to your ears there can end up being a slight (or no so slight) delay between what you see on the screen and what you hear in your headset. There are ways that a company can over come these issues, but if you fall into latency issues it can be maddening.
Finally, just having a wireless option it is going to cost more than a wired option. Yes, the top tier models are going to run you some money either way, but you’ll find that comparable models will run more for the wireless model.
Now that we have given you an idea of what to look for, let’s take a look at some of the top models that you can order today.
Let’s start off with an option that is lag free. The SteelSeries Siberia 800 uses a 2.4 GHz wireless connection to ensure that you don’t need to worry about lag between what you see and what you hear. This one also boasts 20 hours of life on a full charge. That should give you plenty of time for your next marathon gaming session, or even be there for you if you forget to charge them between every use. But to make it even better this set comes with an additional set of batteries that can be charged in the transmitter while using the headphones. This one also has a little built in microphone as well.
When it comes down to it there has to be a drawback somewhere and in this case it comes in terms of price. At about $180 these headphones cost a chunk of change.
If you are looking for a budget friendly set of wireless gaming headphones, the Turtle Beach Ear Force Stealth 450 is a set to consider. This set is fully wireless and rock a microphone built in for crystal clear chat with your teammates. They also offer a DTS surround sound to give you the best possible audio from your game. Additionally, this set offers what they call Super Human Hearing, the company claims that this will help you hear enemies before they are visible. And the price for this set is just about $80.
One of the big downsides to this set is that the batteries can’t be swapped out. This means that if the set in the headset starts giving you problems you are going to be looking at buying a whole new pair.
One of the first things that you will notice when you put on a pair of the Corsair Void Pro is that they were made for comfort. They team microfiber fabric with memory foam for a set of headphones that feel great while you are wearing them. The company claims that these are a low latency option that will deliver crystal clear audio and give you the chat option when you want it. The pair gives you up to a 40 foot range and claims to have a battery life of up to 16 hours on a single charge.
One of the biggest issues with this set of headphones is that you have to spend 6 hours charging the pair to get those 16 hours of use. This means that if you forgot to charge between uses you will need to wait quite a while before you are back up to a full charge.
And with that you should have all the information that you need in order to select the best wireless gaming headset for your needs. We started off going through the buyer’s guide. While there are books worth of material that could be written, this will give you the basics that you’ll want to consider while making your next purchase.
After that we highlighted three great options and told you about not only their high points, but also some of the areas that they might not shine as much. It will be up to you to determine which set you’ll want to rock on your next gaming night.
Lastly, we’d love to hear from you. Do you have experience with any of the products that we’ve highlighted? If so, please let us know what you think in the comments section below.