The Most Versatile Gaming Headsets
Need true flexibility? Here are some great choices for all budgets
Gaming headsets are all about features. Without fun and exciting extras, a headset would just be a regular pair of headphones. In today’s world, where gaming and working from home are more prominent than ever before, it’s possible to use one gaming headset for all of your different audio and chat needs.
Here are my favorite gaming headsets that have the versatility to perform in many different listening and chat scenarios, ranked from least to most expensive. I wasn’t asked to write this by the featured companies, I don’t get a kickback if you decide to buy any of these models, and none of the links in this article are affiliate links as I don’t believe in the practice.
Astro A10- The True Budget Mic Champion
Plenty of cheaper gaming headsets offer solid audio performance, but most don’t lavish the same level of care on their microphone. The $60 Astro A10 (official site here) defies that trend, pairing a solid build, detachable cable, and fun audio presentation with one of the best headset microphones on the market today.
I was shocked when I first tested the mic and it’s still an excellent competitor years later, even when matched against much more expensive options. A few companies are just now starting to catch up to this level of mic performance (like Razer with their HyperClear mic) but in my personal view the A10 is still the gold standard for maximum mic performance at a minimal price.
With this headset you can easily hop between work, gaming, and fun relaxation, and your chat companions will have no trouble hearing you. The mic is solid enough that it would even work for a more serious vocal recording task like producing a podcast. The headset comes in a variety of fun colors matched to different platforms, and goes on sale all the time. If you care about clean mic audio, I can’t recommend it enough!
Razer Barracuda X- Affordable Wireless and Complete Compatibility
The $99 Razer Barracuda X (official site here) isn’t the most original headset in the world. Its feature list, dongle design (and possibly OEM internals), aesthetic, and even marketing are borrowed liberally from the SteelSeries Arctis 1 Wireless.
However, it improves on that classic with a more durable build, sound that I think is much more fun to listen to, and a slightly better microphone. I was a little harsh on it in my review a while back, but since then I’ve found myself continuing to use it as one of my main headsets. It’s a dependable, easy-to-connect wireless model that works across a bunch of non-Xbox platforms, and has great battery life and wired performance as well.
Seriously though, I wish Razer had gotten here first and that this didn’t feel like such a copy. Look at these marketing images. The top one is from Razer and the bottom is from SteelSeries, whose product came out well over a year earlier. Razer has some of the best designers and marketing people employed in the entire industry, and yet they could only come up with a weird imitation campaign?
Still, this is an exceptional headset, and a great next step if you want something more advanced than the Astro model above. And it has decent mic performance for work or chat tasks. It’s one of the more dull-looking headsets out there, but that might be a positive for you if you want something that doesn’t scream “gamer.”
Turtle Beach Stealth 700 Gen 2- Bluetooth Meets Headset
For $150, the Stealth 700 Gen 2 (official site here) is the next step up the features ladder. It has incredibly comfortable cooling gel ear pads, full Bluetooth wireless support for your non-game-console devices, and a robust companion app that allows you to fully customize the performance of the headset.
The only downside here is that you’ll need to make sure to get the right version. If you’re playing on PC, PlayStation consoles, or Switch, then you’ll want to go with the “PS4” edition. If you game on Xbox, you’ll need the Xbox wireless version, which sadly reduces compatibility with other platforms. A wired backup connection that removed this small hurdle to full compatibility would make a Gen 3 version essentially perfect.
In spite of that small hiccup, the Stealth 700 Gen 2 offers excellent sound and decent mic performance, and a full wireless connection to most devices if you’re using the non-Xbox version. It has powerful audio and one of the most comfy fits on the market. And the Bluetooth mode is truly independent of the standard listening option, meaning you can mix in a different source or just take these out and use them as Bluetooth headphones for some casual music listening.
If you’re looking for Turtle Beach’s best wired product that will connect to every platform, that’s absolutely the new Recon 500. It has powerful sound and a great detachable mic, and the only thing I didn’t love was that it lacks in head size adjustments compared to many other options.
HyperX Cloud Orbit S- The Flagship Audio Beast
If money is no object and you want amazing audiophile sound to go along with your pile of headset features, the $329 HyperX Cloud Orbit S (official site here) is my current favorite pick. It has planar magnetic drivers inside designed by Audeze, and matches incredible sound with good mic performance and both USB and 3.5mm connection options for maximum flexibility.
The USB connection works on PC, PlayStation consoles, and Switch, and the 3.5mm option works great on Xbox or other devices thanks to a built-in amplifier that ensures the drivers still sound good. The mic has a solid broadcast sound to it if you adjust it close to your mouth, and although it’s hilariously not really any better than the amazing mic on the A10, it’s at least living up to that standard.
Accurate nuanced sound and 3D audio are the true highlights of this headset, and they both live up to marketing claims. The head-tracking feature is a must in my opinion, as it enhances the realism of the virtual soundscape by accounting for small subconscious head movements that we all make to try and locate audio. This is the best head-tracking implementation I’ve used compared to a few other devices I’ve tried that attempt the same thing.
I have seen a few reports around of build quality concerns regarding the hinges, but my personal pair is still working well after two years and HyperX has a solid warranty. If you’re looking for alternatives, I also like the Corsair Virtuoso series for its relative value and the Arctis Pro, though I think the latter is in desperate need of a refresh because its internal design and amplifier are based on the ancient SteelSeries Siberia 800 that first launched way back in 2016.