Kingston HyperX Cloud II
A redesigned soundcard lets the Cloud II get all the important things right. 53mm drivers deliver solid audio in 7.1 channel surround with enough depth and clarity to make these suitable for movie-watching or gaming. The soundcard also digitally enhances your own mic inputs, cleaning up background noice and echos. Not bad for less than £80!
£75 | Kingston | Compatible with Mobile, Mac, PC, PS4
Razer Kraken Forged Edition
If the future of gaming is mobile, then the Krakens are ready, as at home playing music from your phone as providing the soundtrack to your latest iOS and Android app. No console support – next-gen or otherwise– but plug them in via 3.5mm and an in-line adaptor controls volume, while a mic handles chat. Sound quality is decent, but there's no active noise cancelling. The closed-ear design and 40mm neodymium drivers do a good job of blocking out the hum of the world, though. Our biggest complaint is their weight; they do fold up to, fit into your bag, but at 390g you'll sure know you're carrying them.
Price: £260 | Razer
Roccat Kave XTD 5.1 Digital
Packing three audio drivers per ear, these deliver convincing surround sound, with Sound Console software giving you exhaustive powers to fine-tune the 5.1 audio settings – as long as you can master the clunky interface. It's a wired headset with a removable mic that includes a desktop remote with a USB sound card, speaker outputs and Bluetooth. That little lot allows you to toggle between listening via headphones or speakers and receive calls wirelessly from your phone. For PC gaming they're as smart as it gets, but with no console compatibility the appeal is a tad limited.
Price: £150 | Roccat
Astro A50 Wireless System Battlefieid 4 Edition
No camouflage for this EA shooter tie-in, just an understated black and orange look and cracking Dolby 7.1 sound with almost no interference despite its lack of wires. The A50 is built for Xbox 360, but compatible with the Xbox One, if you add a stereo Headset adapter (£20), and PS4, as well as all gaming PCs. There are some key weaknesses: the headset is heavy for long gaming sessions, plus we'd have preferred a detachable mic and compatibility with mobile devices. Yet the A50 Wireless system is still winning this war.
Price: £250 | Astrogaming
Turtle Beach EarForce P12 PS4
Specially designed for both the PS4 and Sony's portable powerhouse the PS Vita, the EarForce P12 headset features amplified stereo sound, a high quality mic for sharp in game chat and a simple USB connection. 50mm speakers provide nice sounding, sharp and detailed noise while the Bass Boost feature gives you easy access to the volume controls.
£44.99 | Turtle Beach
Bargain priced PS4 headset that's great for those who don't want to blow a lot money on a gaming accessory. The uncomplicated design makes set-up easy, just plug it into the Dualshock 4 controller and you're ready to go. The mic is flexible giving you improved control and the ear pads are extremely comfy.
£24.99 | Tritton
Turtle Beach Ear Force XO Seven Xbox One
If you've heavily invested in the next gen of console gaming, specifically if you've picked up an Xbox One, then you'll need a strong headset for all that online gaming. Built for tournament gaming, the XO boasts noise isolating memory foam earcups, premium 50mm neodymium speaker drivers and swappable speaker plates. It also fully supports in-game chat, so you can boast about your latest kill streak in Call of Duty.
£129.99 | Turtle Beach
Sennheiser G4ME Zero
Strange name aside, this headset is a beast when it comes to features. There's Sennheiser's Ergonomic Acoustic Refinement tech, which channels the sound right into your ear for superior clarity and a new XXL ear pad that aids in comfort for those mammoth gaming sessions. Outside noise is blocked out, while the microphone is particularly high quality and includes a handy mute button.
Price: £199 | Senheiser
Audio Technica ATH-ADG1
Aiming to give players the 'ultimate gaming experience', these open-air 'phones pack premium 53mm drivers, along with a 100 degree microphone for those in-game boasting sessions. Even though they are far from dinky, comfort shouldn't be an issue, as they employ a 3D wing support system – basically they'll feel nice, even if you wear them for hours.
Price: £265 | Audio Technica
Designed for everything from next-gen gaming on the PS4, to previous gen and onto PCs, the sleek KG-200s feature wide stereo imaging, a digital amplifier and separate volumes for both gaming and chat. 40mm drivers produce the noise; while mesh covered ear pads do their best to keep you ears comfy and fresh. Placed upon the pads are a bevy of controls, letting you tinker with volume and even the EQ.
Price: TBA | Klipsch
Created with the Xbox 360 in mind, this has built-in customised EQs that are gaming specific, along with immersion modes tailored to titles like Forza and Halo. There's a retractable mic, great for when you want it out of the way and Onboard Digital Signal Processing for HD audio. As with any headsets, they need to feel comfy – you don't want bruised ears after an hour of gaming, do you? Luckily these have a Spring-Steel headband, stitched padding and plush over ear pads.
Price: £180 | Polk
Steel Series Siberia Elite
Big on both style and features, the latest headset from Steel Series definitely stands out from the crowd. Just look at that ice white design or the bright LED lights on each pad, but that doesn't mean it doesn't pack the internals to match. Next-gen drivers give improved audio, the pad cushions are noise isolating and the mic is retractable.
Price: £169 | Steel Series
Compatible with Xbox 360, PS3 and PC, the Gioteck certainly looks the part and stands out with some cutting edge, contemporary design. Under the bonnet it's packing 40mm drivers and a decent sound range that doesn't compete with the likes of Turtle Beach and Astro's best offerings, but is still more than suitable for your average bedroom gamer. Like the Sound Blaster Evo Z, the ear cups were a little stiff and unforgiving for us - maybe worth trying before you buy.
Price: £60 wireless, £35 wired | Gioteck
Creative Sound Blaster Evo Z x
This PC-only headset connects simply via Bluetooth and NFC, with some nifty playback controls nested on the flank of the headset. The sound quality from the 40mm drivers is decent enough – you're able to feel the boom of battle – but it's not mind-blowing as, though you can customise the balance, overall it remains a bit too polite. The ear cups are a little on the firm side too, leading to soreness after a few hours. There's good connectivity here, but a little more sonic attack would be nice.
Price: £160 | Creative
The Rig may be a wired headset, so you can't wander far from your console, but it's so comfortable, with a large ear cup design and soft felt cushioning, that you won't mind the reduced freedom of movement. An optical digital audio input is a welcome addition, even if the ability to feed your Smartphone's audio into the mix is interesting but somewhat less necessary. Hook the Rig up to an Xbox 360, PS3 or PC and the sound is all encompassing, thanks to the digital input and great audio processing. Strap them on; load up GTA V; don't unplug for many, many hours.
Price: £120 | Plantronics
Razer Kraken 7.1
A typically militaristic looking Razer product aimed directly at PC gamers, this is remarkably well built for a sub-£100 headset. It's a bit weightier than you'd expect and matters can become sweaty after several hours of gaming, but the ear cups remain comfortable long-term. The main selling point here is the virtual 7.1surround sound, which can be adjusted using Synapse 2.0 software. It's good but very bass heavy– great for your meat-and-potatoes FPS but less ideal if you want to watch a Woody Allen film or listen to Allo darlin' records. The retractable mic is a nice touch, mind you.
Price: £90 | Razer
The Kunai is Tritton's entry-level, wired headset. despite that, you get solid build quality and sound that easily rivals some higher-end headphones. The in-line remote also allows you to drown out the gabble of online pals if you need to give the game full concentration. Kunai is compatible with almost all gaming platforms, including Wii U, but it can be fiddly to set up, whilst long stretches of use prove uncomfortable due to the small ear cup size. Nonetheless, if you're looking for a way to boost your games' sound without draining your budget these are a pretty good option.
Price: £50 | Tritton
Turtle Beach XP510
Turtle Beach's latest high-end headset is the first true wireless headset to arrive on home consoles. Other 'wireless' headsets will happily pipe noise to you through the ether, but if you want to chat to your mates, you'll have to get your cables out. Not so with the XP510 - a Bluetooth dongle plugs into your controller so you can enjoy full 360 degree surround audio without the mess of wires. As usual, the sound gurus at Turtle Beach have worked in tandem with sound technicians and gamers to build a headset that sounds incredible, whilst satisfying the needs of different game genres as well as users who just want to watch movies or listen to music. The battery supports 15 hours of continuous use, powering a wide range of mic and sound presets.
Price: £200 | Link: Turtle Beach | Compatibility: Xbox 360, PS3
Astro Gaming A40
Whilst the Astro A50 is a much newer headset, gamers around the world - both professional and amateur - swear by their A40s. For that reason, Astro has continued to support the older model, and has released an upgraded 2013 edition for those who have yet to jump on the bandwagon. The upgrades include improved surround sound accuracy and an updated MixAmp Pro that allows game-to-voice audio balancing, multiple equaliser presets and connections to link multiple Mixamp Pros for a private voice network. The Mixamp Pro also has a port to output your voice, making life incredibly easy for YouTubers and live streamers. If there was ever a time to get on board with one of the communities favourite headsets, it's now.
Price: £200 | Link: Astro Gaming | Compatibility: Xbox 360, Playstation 3, PC
Monster MVP Carbon
The audiophiles at Monster have teamed up with EA Sports to deliver their first gaming headset to the market. The MVP Carbon is immediately recognisable by its carbon fibre styling and prominent EA Sports branding. Despite the headset being smaller than many of its high-end rivals – it only has 30mm audio drivers, for example – Monster's audio credentials are second to none, and accurate, surround sound audio is the name of the game here. Thanks to High-Definition Headphone Sound (HDHS) technology and other bits of Monster tech, the MVP Carbons will have the range to deliver booming bass as well as feather-light treble tones when they arrive this summer.
Price: $269 (UK Price TBC) | Link: Monster | Compatibility: Xbox 360, Playstation 3, PC, Wii U
Tritton Warhead 7.1
The Warhead is the only 100% wireless headset on Xbox 360. A pyramidal base station controls all your equaliser settings and surround sound, leaving you to enjoy your gaming without fear of trailing wires. Like many Tritton products, you'll either love or hate the styling, but the ear cups and headband are plush, and supremely comfortable. Audiophiles may feel that the headset is a bit dry in its mid-range tones, the sound overall is very good, and certainly clear enough that it won't cost you any Call of Duty deathmatch victories. If you've got the cash, you definitely won't go wrong with these.
Price: £229.99 | Link: Tritton | Compatibility: Xbox 360
Turtle Beach XP SEVEN
In their quest to further the boundaries of online and team-based gaming, Turtle Beach has teamed up with Major League Gaming to try and deliver an unbeatable range of professional level headsets. No sacrifice has been made to deliver the best sound and functionality possible when the XP7 arrives this spring. 50mm neodymium drivers power the immersive Dolby surround sound – a customizable experience thanks to the central Audio Control Unit (ACU), which lets you tune your surround sound depending what you're playing, and even edit and save your own equaliser presets. You can even connect your mobile phone to the ACU and receive phone calls.
Price: £239.99 | Link: Turtle Beach | Compatibility: Xbox 360, Playstation 3
Turtle Beach Ear Force X42
The X42 wireless gaming headset, a member of Turtle Beach's critically acclaimed Ear Force series, places you smack bang in the middle of the action with its stunning 3D audio environment and Dolby surround sound. Featuring state of the art 2.4/5GHz dual band Wi-Fi radio, the X42's have some of the slickest wireless interaction of any headset. The massive 50mm tremor-inducing bass and the audio is fully customizable thanks to multiple EQ presets and variable surround sound angles. Looks-wise the X42's have a slim design and slick black and green finish whilst maintaining a light weight feel.
Price: £124.99 | Link: Turtle Beach | Compatibility: Xbox 360, Playstation 3
Astro Gaming A50
Astro Gaming's A50 wireless gaming headset looks positively lethal. Dominating but sleek sporting an extremely cool slate and orange finish, this headset looks like it could survive a tank shell all the while maintaining fantastic audio. Boasting Dolby 7.1 surround sound with KleerNet's strongest 5.8GHz clarity solution, this is audiophile level listening, with preset EQ's for hardcore gaming, movies and competitive shooters. When you're done listening to yourself dominating the enemy simply hang them up to charge on the included, awesome looking display stand. Audio gets real.
Price: £250.00 | Link: Astro Gaming | Compatibility: Xbox 360, Playstation 3, PC & Mac
Tritton AX Pro
The AX Pro headset from Tritton is a serious piece of tech. It features True 5.1 headset audio and features 8 precision speakers for skull rattling bass and maximum clarity. The control of all this audio goodness is at your fingertips as the AX Pros feature an in line audio controller for the subwoofer and each individual sound field, also including a detachable MIC with a digital audio control box. Aesthetically speaking, the AX Pro's aren't the best looking; they look quite chunky but have actually been designed for an optimal light weight feeling.
Price: £149.99 | Link: Tritton | Compatibility: Xbox 360, Playstation 3, PC and Mac
PDP Afterglow Wireless Headphones
Look past their Tron-on-speed appearance and you actually have two huge 50mm speakers tuned by a renowned Hollywood production studio along with the unique audio cavities helping toreduce distortion. Icing on top? These will plug into literally anything thanks to a universal USB wireless transmitter which throws HD sound straight to the cans.
Price: 79.97 | Link: Amazon | Compatibility: Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PC
Tritton's Primer headset for Xbox 360 sports 5.8 GHz wireless technology, a range of ten meters, and is ergonomically designed for extreme gaming comfort. Rocking an extremely sleek design and black and orange finish, the Primer's 40mm speakers deliver impressive sound, be it from separate game or voice chat channels, although it lacks the bassy depth of the AX Pro's or the Astro A50s. Whether you just want to hear the sounds of chaos as you slaughter your enemies or just want to appreciate an intense soundtrack whilst engrossed in the game, the primers are a solid choice.
Price: £79.99 | Link: Tritton | Compatibility: Xbox 360
The Chimaera wireless gaming headset for Xbox 360 comes from Razer, the well renowned and acclaimed gaming gear company. Building upon their extensive experience in the PC gaming industry, Razer's Chimaera headset was designed for maximum comfort coupled with the best audio experience to provide an edge over everyone on Xbox Live. Featuring 2.4GHz 50mm speakers, a 12 hour battery life and the absolutely awesome design we've come to expect from Razer. And it comes with a charging base dock station too.
Price: £119.99 | Link: Razer | Compatibility: Xbox 360
Gioteck EX-05 Wireless
There's no mistaking this headset: with camo details and a massively wide, mesh headband, it's aimed at people who would like to be in the SAS, but have “a bad back”. Sound quality is very good, with decent 3D emulation for the price, but there are a few dodgy design aspects. The dongle that lets you control the voice-chat/ game audio mix is attached by an annoyingly short wire, rendering its “wireless” claims kinda empty. We also have qualms about build quality, and it becomes a little uncomfortable with sustained use. Even so, a decent headset deal.
Price: £56 | Link: Gioteck | Compatibility: Xbox 360, PS3, PC and Mac
GX Gaming Cavimanus
Finally a budget PC option that provides a bit of quality, the Cavimanus headset has virtual 7.1 channel audio, making it ideal for online first person shooters. The microphone isn't the best we've ever used, but it does the job and handily has an automatic mute function when you fold it up. Obviously this headset doesn't have the same audio credentials as some of the pricier options, but the 40mm audio drivers deliver clear, good quality sound and the emphasis is on simplicity, with easy access volume controls and no bulky in-line control unit.
Price: £50 | Link: GX Gaming | Compatibility: PC
Harman Audio AKG GHS-1
One of the more affordable gaming headsets, the AKG GHS-1's choose design and comfort over mind-blowing, earth shattering audio. Winner of the Red Dot award for outstanding product design, the AKG GHs-1 come with active noise reduction and in line audio control. If you're looking for a comfortable, affordable, decent looking pair of headphones look no further than the GHS-1's.
Price: £99.99 | Link: Harman Audio | Compatibility: PC & Mac
Sennheiser PC 360 G4ME
You might think this gaming headset from Sennheiser is a mite under-specced at the price. It lacks 3D sound, which sadly rules out hardcore FPS fans, and is wired rather than wireless. But wait! Fantastically crisp and detailed sound plus really comfortable design with huge, open-backed, breathable cups mean this will delight MMO fanatics, as will the noise-cancelling mic that you can mute by pulling the boom upwards. It sounds great with film and music too, even if the open-back design could be problematic if your gaming takes place somewhere noisy.
Price: £120 | Link: Sennheiser | Compatibility: PC, Xbox 360
Creative Labs Sound Blaster Recon3D Omega
These bad boys come with their own quadcore sound card built into a chunky dongle and by crikey they sound good, with stunning, tweakable Dolby 5.1 or THX surround. There's also a Scout Mode, which really makes it easier to pick out the footsteps of approaching foes, and a noise-cancelling mic. They look bland, and are on the heavy side, but decent padding means they're very comfy. Pricey they may be, but these are so good they'll take your FPS performances up a level. Worth it, we'd say.
Price: £210 | Link: Creative | Compatibility: Xbox 360, PS3, PC and Mac,