So you’ve finally built your dream gaming PC and want to complete your setup with a high-end gaming headset. But when you start shopping around, the price tags make your jaw drop.
Are those expensive gaming headsets really worth hundreds of dollars? You’ve probably wondered if you can get by with a cheap pair of headphones instead.
The truth is, for most casual gamers, those pricey gaming headsets are overkill. Unless you’re a hardcore competitive gamer who needs to hear every footstep of your opponents, an entry-level gaming headset will work great and save you a ton of cash.
The sound quality will still blow you away compared to standard headphones. You’ll get an immersive experience with virtual surround sound that puts you right in the action.
Save your money for more important upgrades like a better graphics card or gaming monitor. For most gaming and streaming needs, a solid mid-range gaming headset is all you need. Keep reading to discover why those expensive headsets are overrated for the average gamer.
Do gaming headsets make a difference?
Do gaming headsets really make a difference? In a word, yes. Here are a few reasons why:
A dedicated gaming headset provides high-quality audio that basic earbuds just can’t match. You’ll experience booming explosions, crisp dialog, and subtle ambient sounds that truly immerse you in the game. The large over-ear cups also block outside noise so you can focus.
Pinpoint Positional Accuracy
Many gaming headsets use surround sound technology that allows you to pinpoint the source of in-game sounds with precision. This can give you a competitive edge in multiplayer games where identifying the location of enemies and objectives by sound is key.
Built for Comfort
Gaming headsets are designed for extended use, with padded headbands, breathable mesh ear cups, and an ergonomic fit. They won’t pinch your head or make your ears sore, even after hours of continuous play.
High-end gaming headsets come with useful extras for the dedicated gamer. These include a noise-canceling mic for clear communication, on-ear controls for volume and mic mute, RGB lighting, and compatibility with PC, Mac, Xbox, PlayStation and other platforms.
While pricey gaming headsets aren’t for everyone, for serious gamers the enhanced experience is well worth the investment.
The next time you’re on the fence about upgrading from basic earbuds, think about how much more you could get out of your favorite games with a dedicated headset designed specifically for gaming. Your ears and your kill/death ratio will thank you.
How Much Do Premium Gaming Headsets Cost?
Premium gaming headsets can vary quite a bit in price, but you can generally expect to pay between $100 to $300 or more for a high-quality pair.
For budget-friendly options under $100, you’ll typically get a wired headset with decent sound but fewer features. In the mid-range, from $100 to $200, you’ll find versatile wireless headsets with good audio, a microphone, and useful extras like virtual surround sound.
High-End Headsets ($200 and Up)
At the high end, you’re paying for premium components, the latest technology, and a premium brand name. Headsets like the SteelSeries Arctis Pro Wireless, the Razer BlackShark V2 Pro, or the Logitech G Pro X can cost $200-$300 or more. For that price, you get:
- Lossless, lag-free wireless connectivity using technologies like Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.
- Advanced audio drivers and sound processing for full, rich sound with crisp highs, deep lows and clear mids.
- High-performance microphones with noise cancelation for crystal-clear communication.
- Comfortable, lightweight designs using breathable, premium materials that you can wear for hours.
- Useful extras like ChatMix dials to balance game and chat audio, swappable components, and device compatibility with PC, Mac, PS4, Xbox One, Switch, and mobile.
At the top end, audiophile-grade headsets from brands like Astro, SteelSeries and Razer can cost $300-$500 or more.
For that premium, you’re getting the absolute best components and technology available for a high-fidelity audio experience tailored specifically for gaming.
The choice comes down to how serious of a gamer you are and how much you’re willing to spend for the ultimate sound and comfort.
What Makes Expensive Headsets Different?
So what makes high-end gaming headsets so pricey? There are a few key factors that set expensive headsets apart and contribute to their premium price tag.
Higher Quality Components
Expensive headsets are built with high-performance components that provide an enhanced experience. Things like:
•Premium drivers: Large, high-definition drivers that produce crisp, immersive surround sound. They capture subtle audio details that basic drivers miss.
•Memory foam ear cushions: Dense, comfortable memory foam that blocks out ambient noise and prevents sound leakage.
•Durable, flexible frames: Lightweight yet sturdy metal frames that are adjustable and built to last.
•Tangle-free cords: Braided nylon cords that are more durable and less likely to tangle than basic rubber cords.
•Noise-canceling microphones: Advanced mics that filter out background noise and capture your voice clearly.
Customization and Compatibility
Higher-end headsets usually offer more opportunities for customization to suit your needs and preferences. This includes things like adjustable bass, treble and EQ settings, swappable ear cushions, and programmable macro keys.
They are also widely compatible with PC, Mac, Xbox, PlayStation and other devices. More basic headsets typically only work with a limited range of platforms.
Premium Branding and Support
You’re also paying for the brand name and reputation of companies like Astro, SteelSeries and Razer. These brands are trusted by pro gamers and streamers, and are known for high performance and reliability.
Premium headsets also come with generous warranties and quality customer support should you have any issues.
While expensive gaming headsets aren’t for everyone, for serious gamers the enhanced experience and performance can absolutely be worth the investment. If immersive surround sound, crystal clear communication and total comfort are important to you, a high-quality headset is the way to go.
Key Features of High-End Gaming Headsets
High-end gaming headsets typically come with some premium features that can really enhance your gaming experience. Here are some of the key features to consider:
Superior Sound Quality
Expensive gaming headsets are designed to provide an immersive soundscape with crisp highs, rich midtones and deep, resonant bass.
They often have large high-definition drivers, sometimes 50mm or more, to deliver a wide frequency range. Surround sound, especially Dolby Atmos, creates a multidimensional audio experience so you can pinpoint the location of sounds.
Noise-canceling microphones eliminate ambient noise so your voice comes through loud and clear.
Comfort and Customization
Comfort is king when you’re gaming for hours. Look for large, well-padded earcups, an adjustable padded headband, and a lightweight design.
Many high-end headsets also allow you to customize the sound to your preferences using software with an equalizer, presets for different game types, and options to optimize the surround sound.
Some even provide physical controls on the headset itself to adjust volume, enable surround sound or mute the mic.
Expensive headsets are made of high-quality, durable materials like aluminum, steel and memory foam to withstand long gaming sessions.
Earcups may be wrapped in soft leather or suede, with mesh or cloth ear pads for maximum breathability and comfort. Braided fabric cables are more durable and tangle-resistant.
These premium materials not only feel luxurious but also help extend the lifespan of your headset.
The latest gaming headsets offer some advanced features for the ultimate experience. Bluetooth connectivity lets you pair a smartphone to handle calls and music while gaming. Built-in mixers allow you to blend audio from multiple sources.
Headset hubs provide extra ports to connect a mouse, keyboard and other peripherals. And some high-end wireless headsets have base stations that double as a charger.
While expensive gaming headsets are an investment, the enhanced comfort, customized sound and premium features can make a real difference in your gameplay. For serious gamers, the performance boost and immersive experience are well worth the price.
Are the Sound Quality Improvements Significant?
When deciding whether to invest in a high-end gaming headset, one of the biggest factors to consider is sound quality. After all, the main purpose of a headset is to provide an immersive audio experience. But are the sound improvements of more expensive models really significant enough to justify the higher price tag?
For the most part, yes. More premium headsets typically offer superior audio drivers, noise cancelation, and surround sound technology that can make a big difference in your gaming experience.
The audio drivers are the components that actually produce the sound you hear. Higher-end headsets have 50mm or bigger drivers made of neodymium or other premium materials, which can produce a wider frequency range and fuller, more natural sound. Cheaper headsets often have smaller, lower-quality drivers that sound tinny or lack bass.
Advanced Surround Sound
Many premium gaming headsets now offer surround sound with 7.1 or even 10.1 channels for a 360° soundscape. This allows you to pinpoint the source and direction of in-game sounds with much more accuracy.
While stereo headsets can simulate surround sound to an extent using software, dedicated multi-channel surround provides a far more immersive experience.
Active Noise Cancelation
Higher-end wireless headsets often feature active noise cancelation (ANC) to block out ambient noise. By generating inverse sound waves, ANC can effectively muffle background noise from fans, keyboards and more. This allows you to better focus on the game audio and fully immerse yourself in the experience. Cheaper headsets typically lack any form of ANC.
While more affordable headsets can still provide decent sound for casual gaming, audiophiles and competitive gamers will likely find the audio upgrades of premium models well worth the investment.
The improved sound quality can transform gaming into an truly visceral experience where you feel surrounded by the action. If immersive, high-fidelity audio is important to your gameplay, a high-end gaming headset is probably your best bet.
Comparing Budget vs Premium Gaming Headsets
Comparing budget gaming headsets to premium models really comes down to your needs and budget. Premium headsets typically offer superior features for serious gamers, but budget picks can still deliver great value.
High-end gaming headsets usually have amazing audio quality with crisp highs, rich mids, and deep bass for immersive surround sound.They also boast sturdier, more comfortable designs for long play sessions, like plush ear cushions, padded headbands, and metal frames.
Popular premium brands are Astro, SteelSeries, and Razer. The Razer BlackShark V2 Pro is a top wireless model with amazing sound, mic and comfort for $180.
Cheaper headsets may lack some features of premium models but can still perform well for casual gaming. The Logitech G432 is a highly-rated budget pick for under $50.
It offers 7.1 surround sound, decent 50mm drivers, and a noise-canceling mic. Despite the low price, the Elo X Stereo from Roccat is another good value. It has soft memory foam ear cushions, an adjustable headband, and clear stereo sound for under $30.
In the end, premium gaming headsets are really geared more toward serious gamers looking for high performance and comfort, with sound quality as a top priority. For casual gaming on a budget, an affordable headset can still provide solid features and value without breaking the bank.
If you’re on the fence, consider how often and intensely you game to determine if the extra investment in a high-end model is worth it for your needs. With many great budget-friendly options available, you may find a cheap headset suits you just fine.
Are Expensive Headsets Worth It for PS5?
When it comes to gaming headsets, the old adage “you get what you pay for” often rings true. But with some models costing well over $200, are high-end headsets really worth the investment for playing on PS5?
For casual or solo gamers, expensive headsets are probably overkill and won’t provide a big enough benefit to justify the cost. More affordable options around $50-$100 will still give you:
- Decent audio quality with bass-heavy sound and virtual surround sound for immersive gameplay.
- A built-in mic for chatting with friends or random teammates.
- Comfortable ear cups you can wear for long sessions without discomfort.
However, if you’re a competitive or social gamer, higher-end headsets do provide advantages that can improve your experience:
High-end headsets offer premium audio components that deliver richer, more detailed sound with a wider frequency range so you can pinpoint the location of enemies or better appreciate a game’s soundtrack.
More advanced headsets often have extras like Bluetooth connectivity, customized sound profiles, sidetone control and active noise cancelation to block out ambient noise. Some are even optimized for 3D audio on PS5.
While any headset will last for casual use, expensive pro-level models are built to withstand marathon gaming sessions and constant, heavy use over years. Their components and materials are higher quality, so they’re less prone to breaking or deteriorating in performance.
For esports or competitive online play, a high-end headset can provide an edge. Their precise audio, crisp mic quality and lack of latency or interference helps you react faster and communicate more clearly with teammates.
So if you’re a serious gamer looking for the best experience on PS5, investing in a high-quality headset is worth considering. For most casual players though, an affordable option will work just fine and save you some cash. The choice comes down to how much performance and features matter for your needs.
Top Budget-Friendly Alternatives Under $100
While pricey gaming headsets boast impressive specs and the latest tech, there are some solid budget-friendly options under $100 that deliver great sound and performance for casual and recreational gaming.
HyperX Cloud Stinger
The HyperX Cloud Stinger is a lightweight, comfortable headset for under $50 that provides crisp highs, rich lows and immerses you in your gameplay.
The 90-degree rotating ear cups, adjustable steel slider, and padded memory foam make it comfortable for long sessions. The noise-canceling mic is also quite good at this price point. For basic gaming at a budget, the HyperX Cloud Stinger is a great choice.
The CORSAIR HS65 gaming headset offers a simple, no-frills design for under $70 that focuses on what really matters: high-quality sound and voice clarity.
The plush memory foam, adjustable ear cups, and padded headband make it comfortable to wear, while the noise-canceling mic captures your voice clearly.
With a frequency range of 20Hz to 20kHz, you get full, rich sound to experience your games as intended. For straight-up gaming without extra bells and whistles, the HS65 delivers.
SteelSeries Arctis 1 (Recommended)
The SteelSeries Arctis 1 is an all-platform gaming headset for under $100 that works with PC, Mac, PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and mobile. The sleek, lightweight design features an adjustable elastic fabric headband and plush airweave ear cushions that stay cool and comfortable.
The Arctis 1 produces a balanced sound with solid bass and clear highs for immersive gameplay. The detachable ClearCast mic picks up your voice with ease. The Arctis 1 is a versatile, high-value option for multi-platform gaming on a budget.
While pricier gaming headsets offer premium build quality, high-resolution audio and platform-specific features, budget-friendly alternatives under $100 can deliver a quality gaming experience for casual play across systems.
Focusing on comfort, sound, and mic quality, headsets like the HyperX Cloud Stinger, CORSAIR HS65, and SteelSeries Arctis 1 provide great value at an affordable price.
Do gamers prefer wired or wireless headphones?
When it comes to gaming headsets, the debate between wired vs wireless is ongoing. As technology improves, wireless headsets are becoming more popular and comparable in quality to their wired counterparts. However, some gamers still prefer the reliability and fidelity of a wired connection.
For hardcore gamers seeking the absolute best sound quality without latency, wired headsets are still the top choice. Wired headsets provide a physical, direct connection from the headset to the controller or sound card, ensuring crisp, high-definition audio with no delay.
Audiophiles and competitive esports gamers tend to prefer wired headsets for this reason. Some downsides are that the cord can be annoying, limiting your range of motion, and the headset isn’t portable if you want to use it with other devices.
Wireless gaming headsets provide blissful freedom of movement without cords. They connect to your gaming device via Bluetooth or a USB dongle. Newer generations of wireless headsets now offer superb surround sound and minimal latency, nearly comparable to wired models.
The convenience and portability of wireless headsets make them ideal if you want to use the same headset for gaming on different platforms, or for listening to music on the go.
However, the sound quality and latency still may not match a high-end wired gaming headset. Wireless headsets also require charging, and the battery life may be limited.
In the end, choosing between wired or wireless comes down to your specific needs and preferences as a gamer. If superior sound and minimal latency are most important, a wired gaming headset is probably your best bet.
If freedom of movement and convenience are bigger factors, a wireless gaming headset will likely satisfy. The good news is, that with constant improvements in wireless technology, the difference in quality between the two options continues to narrow. The choice is yours!
So in the end, you have to decide if those pricey gaming headsets are really worth opening your wallet for. Sure, the audio quality and features may be top-notch, but do you really need virtual 7.1 surround sound or a retractable mic boom?
For most casual and even serious gamers, a solid mid-range headset will work great and save you a ton of cash. Instead of dropping a few Benjamins on the latest high-end model, you could use that money to buy a couple more games or maybe even upgrade to a bigger monitor.
Unless you’re a hardcore audiophile or professional eSports competitor, fancy gaming headsets are probably overkill. So take a pass on the glitz and glam and spend wisely on a headset that delivers where it really counts.
Your bank account will thank you, and you’ll still be able to hear every footstep of your enemies and talk trash with your squad. Save the high-end gear for the pros and enjoy your games without going broke.