Gaming headset purchasing advice: how to choose the right product

  • The most important facts in brief
  • Wireless gaming headsets offer more freedom of movement, but are also more expensive than wired models.
  • Unlike wired models, wireless headsets have a battery that needs to be recharged regularly.
  • The human ear detects a frequency range of 20 to 20,000 hertz, which the gaming headset should also be able to reproduce.
  • If you want to use a gaming headset for a variety of purposes, such as listening to music, you should make sure that the microphone can be raised or retracted.

Gaming headsets – A must for gamers

Whether you consider yourself a beginner or an experienced gamer, a gaming headset is essential for an exceptional gaming experience. In order to recognise attackers in first-person shooters at an early stage or to be able to send instructions and information to other players, a pure headset is not enough – a model with a microphone is required.

Types of gaming headsets

When buying a gaming headset, you should first decide on a design. Generally, gaming headsets are designed as over-ear headsets, i.e. the headphones completely enclose the ears. On-ear headsets, i.e. headsets with headphones that only rest on the ear, are rather rare. They have the disadvantage that they exert pressure directly on the ear and are therefore not so suitable for prolonged wearing. Headsets with over-ear headphones come in three different types:


This type of closed headphones is very popular with gaming headsets because it allows you to immerse yourself completely in the game. Closed headphones completely cover the ear and isolate outside noise. High-quality padding provides good wearing comfort for long immersion in the game. The bass is particularly intense. However, wearers of glasses may experience pressure pains after a while due to the tight-fitting headphones. Another disadvantage is that the ears sweat more quickly. Therefore, models with easy-to-clean or replaceable ear pads are recommended.


Open over-ear headphones have the advantage that they offer a more natural soundscape. Noises from outside can reach the ear and in-game sounds get out through the perforated ear cups. Sound-wise, they are similar to headsets with on-ear headphones. The fact that gaming headsets with this type of headphone design do not isolate every sound can be quite desirable if wearers attach importance to “real-life” signals such as phone calls or doorbells.


Semi-open gaming headsets offer the happy medium between the aforementioned designs. Air circulation is better with these models than with closed headphones. What’s more, they shield against noise more effectively than headsets with open headphones.

What matters when buying

When making a purchase decision, the connection type, frequency and sound quality are important. Depending on the intended use, requirements and budget, the features also play a role.

Connection type

When connecting the headset, the most important thing is compatibility. Often there are several connection options available; then other factors play a role. USB models, for example, are less susceptible to interference, but are more suitable for Windows PCs. With Bluetooth headsets, on the other hand, it is a nuisance that the battery has to be constantly recharged.

Jack plug

Gaming headsets with a 3.5-millimetre jack are usually inexpensive and compatible with many systems. This makes the headset versatile, for example, for listening to music on a mobile phone. However, possible loose contacts are a disadvantage of jacks. A limiting factor in sound quality is the sound card: if it only delivers a mediocre signal and generates a lot of noise, for example, even the best headset will only sound average. One advantage, however, is that with the jack plug it is possible to use additional audio hardware such as a preamplifier. This does not work with USB or wireless headsets.

Pro points

  • Compatible with almost any device
  • No special software needed
  • Easy to use with smartphone
  • Can be combined with additional audio hardware


  • Audio quality depends on sound card
  • Susceptible to defects

USB connector

Gaming headsets with USB plugs offer good sound thanks to integrated sound cards. They are resistant to noise and transmit sound settings optimally. Their disadvantage is that these connectors are not compatible with all devices. Even if a suitable USB port is available, the question arises as to whether drivers exist for the operating system used – after all, USB headsets come with their own sound card and a driver is needed for this just as for the PC’s internal sound card. For consoles such as the PS4 or Xbox One, compatibility should also be checked before buying a USB headset.

Pro points

  • Good sound thanks to integrated sound card
  • Solution for devices without jack socket


  • Driver software required
  • Cannot be used on smartphone

The question of whether USB or jack is the better connection for gaming headsets also occupies this YouTuber, who compares the USB version of a headset with the jack version of the same device:


If you want to have a lot of freedom while gaming, you should opt for a wireless gaming headset that connects either with a proprietary radio connection and an adapter or via Bluetooth. Bluetooth offers a high level of compatibility with a wide range of devices and is ideal for use with a smartphone. The disadvantage of a wireless headset is that you always have to ensure that the battery of the gaming headset is charged. This can be a drawback for longer gaming sessions.

Pro points

  • Compatible with almost all Bluetooth devices
  • No annoying cables
  • Can be used with smartphone without problems
  • Additional cable connection usually available


  • Regular charging necessary
  • Battery replacement often difficult or impossible
  • Sound may be offset by fractions of a second
  • Slight loss of sound quality


When it comes to sound and its quality, it helps to look at the frequency of the human ear. The human ear perceives a frequency of 20 to 20,000 hertz. Someone who plays regularly and attaches great importance to good sound should look for a frequency of at least 50 to 10,000 hertz in a gaming headset. The wider the frequency range, the better the sound. An even frequency response is also important: treble, bass and mid-range should be reproduced in a balanced manner.

Sound quality

One, two or three? The number of available audio channels has a decisive influence on the sound experience. On the one hand, it depends on the sound source, but on the other hand, it must be supported by the playback device. Stereo sound is standard nowadays, but not all computer games offer surround sound with more than two sound tracks. Thus, stereo headsets are also common. For high demands, surround headsets make sense – but only if you regularly play games with surround sound.


Stereo sound uses two sound tracks, one right and one left. Headsets with stereo sound are cheaper than those with surround sound and offer a more natural surround sound.


The multi-channel sound system of surround sound provides a quick and clear determination of the direction from which the sounds in the game are coming. 7.1. is the successor to 5.1. surround sound and was specially developed for an exceptional cinema feeling.


This is a gaming headset with only one ear cup. These versions are useful, for example, to hear conversations in the game via the headset, but the actual sound of the game via the monitor or the TV.

comparison between mono stereo surround sound
With surround sound, the sound comes from all directions.

What are Dolby Atmos and DTS good for?

Dolby Atmos and Digital Theatre Systems (DTS) compress sound data and distribute it in a virtual three-dimensional space. This allows gamers to locate loud explosions or enemies from specific directions, giving them an advantage over other players.

Dolby Atmos

After an update, Dolby Atmos is now available on the Xbox One and for PCs with Windows 10. On both devices, users need the Dolby Access app, which is available for a fee after a 30-day trial period. The Playstation 4 is currently unable to play Dolby Atmos soundtracks. The selection of games that support Dolby Atmos is also currently small, but will be expanded in the future.

Digital Theatre Systems (DTS)

Overall, DTS reproduces high tones somewhat more clearly than Dolby Atmos. The new DTS Headphone:X technology promises a completely new gaming experience in which sounds are reproduced as they were intended by the creators of the games. Players are supposed to get an almost unfair advantage over their opponents and experience even everyday sounds like the sound of waves as if they were there. Again, an app download is required to use the full potential of the technology. The 24-hour trial licence for DTS Sounds Unbound can be used on PCs running Windows 10 and on the Xbox One.


Apart from the sound quality, the features are also relevant to choosing the perfect gaming headset. Buttons directly on the device, for example, make it easier to use and LED lighting is simply part of the package for many gamers. But does active noise cancellation make sense?

Remote control or buttons on the ear cup

With a remote control or buttons directly on the ear cup, the microphone can be switched on and off and the volume of the sound can be adjusted. In hectic environments, it can be an advantage to use a remote control integrated in the cable instead of looking for the buttons on the headset.

Retractable microphone

In case the microphone is not needed at the moment, some manufacturers offer flip-up or retractable versions. This has particular advantages if consumers want to use the gaming headset for other activities, such as listening to music.

What is Discord certification?

In order to communicate in-game or with each other via headsets, a voice chat tool is required. Teamspeak is increasingly being replaced by Discord because it is easier to create a channel and the software is more user-friendly. For a headset to receive voice chat provider certification, it must meet high standards. It is tested extensively and must prove itself in gameplay. Positive user feedback is also a prerequisite for Discord certification.

LED lighting

Some manufacturers provide their gaming headsets with lighting options so that users can choose individually between pre-set light patterns and several million colour tones. This allows them to add a personal touch to the look of their gaming headset.

A headset with built-in lighting goes well with the rest of the bright and flashing gaming equipment.
A headset with built-in lighting goes well with the rest of the bright and flashing gaming equipment.

Does the gaming headset need noise cancellation?

Gaming headsets with “Active Noise Cancelling” (ANC) have a chip built in that perceives noises from outside and attenuates them with counter-sound. This works particularly well with low, continuous noises. The noise of an air conditioner or a moving train becomes virtually inaudible, but irregular noises such as speaking can still be heard with ANC. This extra feature is especially useful in noisy environments and allows for complete immersion in the game world. Noise reduction on the microphone ensures clear and unambiguous communication with other players.

What does “CVC” mean in a headset?

“Clear Voice Capture (CVC) is a technology developed by Qualcomm that improves the voice quality of the microphone and filters out unwanted noise. This allows other players to hear what is being said, even in noisy environments.

Gaming headsets by gamer type

Which headset makes sense and how much money someone should spend on it depends, among other things, on the type of gamer. Someone who only plays World of Warcraft or Fortnite for two or three hours a week does not need a high-end headset. Conversely, a professional gamer who also participates in tournaments will not be happy with an inexpensive headset for beginners. Those who own a high-end gaming PC naturally also want a suitable headset and are prepared to pay a somewhat higher price for it.

For beginners and casual gamers

If you want to start slowly with games like MMOs (massively multiplayer online games) or first-person shooters, you can get a gaming headset for casual use for less than 60 euros. Inexpensive models do without high-quality metals and instead use a lot of plastic. This has an impact on the lifespan of the gaming headset. The flexibility of the ear cups and the headband is low. On the other hand, these gaming headsets are often lighter. The design is minimalist and there are no RGB colour effects.

The overall sound of models such as those from Logitech is solid, even in the lower price segment. However, the bass is somewhat weaker in gaming headsets like the Logitech G332. The quality of the microphone also often leaves a lot to be desired. This is because these headsets are usually equipped with omnidirectional microphones that pick up sounds from every direction in a spherical pattern. So when playing on the PC keyboard, the disturbing keyboard sounds are transmitted.

For advanced players

If you play several times a week, you should invest in a high-quality gaming headset that costs between 60 and 150 euros. Brands in this price segment are HyperX, Logitech and Razer. The gaming headsets are specially designed for prolonged gaming and offer high-quality sound. For example, like the Logitech G Pro X, an external sound card is often included. Models with 7.1 surround sound are often found in this price segment.

Gaming headsets such as the Logitech G430 or the Razer Nari Essential not only have a more elaborate design, but also breathable ear pads equipped with memory foam or a cooling gel. The ear cups can often be rotated 90 degrees, and the earpieces are metal-reinforced. In addition, the pads can usually be removed, easily cleaned or directly replaced.

The flip-up or detachable microphones are equipped with noise cancellation to guarantee flawless communication. A remote control integrated into the cable allows the microphone to be muted quickly and the volume to be adjusted quickly. One disadvantage of these models is that additional programmes developed by the manufacturer are often required to enjoy the full audio potential. In addition, many gaming headsets in this range are only compatible with Windows or the PS4.

For professional gamers

For hours of intensive gaming, high-quality gaming headsets from manufacturers such as Corsair, Sennheiser and Beyerdynamic are a good choice. Here, the focus is on both sound and wearing comfort. In the following video, YouTuber Dr. UnboxKing takes a closer look at one of these top headsets, the SteelSeries Arctis Pro GameDAC:

Professional headsets offer an above-average frequency range: the gaming headset Corsair Virtuoso, for example, 20 to 40,000 hertz, Beyerdynamic MMX 300 even 5 to 35,000 hertz. The localisation of opponents in the game is excellent, the sound is clear in all pitches. High-quality microphones with noise reduction are often certified by Discord. They are designed for hectic tournament environments.

The scope of delivery of these mostly wireless models often includes jack plugs and USB cables so that the gaming headsets are compatible with as many platforms as possible and adaptable to every individual need. In addition, a carrying case for tournaments is often included. Due to the processing of aluminium and other metals as well as high-quality artificial leather, these models have a higher weight, but are still suitable for many hours of gaming due to the comfortable padding. The RGB lighting allows you to personalise your gaming headset and stand out from other players at tournaments. Since this is a long-term investment, interested parties can easily spend 200 to 250 euros on such a gaming headset.

Well-known brands
Razer | Sennheiser | Beyerdynamic | HyperX | Arctis | Corsair | Logitech