Best PC Gaming Headsets

Best PC Gaming Headsets

As you know gaming headsets come in all shapes and sizes…and so do gaming systems. Whether you want to game on your XBox 360, Playstation 3 or your PC or Mac, each system operates a little differently, and that means that a headset that works on one system may not work very well on another. This list is part of a series on gaming headphones, where I will sort out the best gaming headsets for each particular gaming system. I will also be sorting the PC Gaming Headsets into price range, so that you can find the best headset for your particular price range.

3 Things to Consider when Buying a PC Gaming Headset:

  1. Sound Quality

    – Stereo vs. Surround Sound, true surround vs. Dolby 7.1 Virtual Surround sound. There are tons of options on gaming headsets and it depends on the particular headset itself. A gaming headset that supports Dolby’s 7.1 virtual surround sound is usually more expensive and the results can either be amazing or it can sound like artificially manipulated noise.

  2. Comfort

    – weight, clamping pressure, on-ear vs. over-ear, and fabric of the ear cups all factor into how comfortable your headset is. And since many gamers tend to play for hours on end, making sure you don’t have sweaty/tender ears after every session is a big consideration.

  3. Ease of Use

    – Are you going to be able to plug it in and play? Is the set up more trouble than it’s worth? If a headset has lots of pieces and is incredibly tedious to set up, then the headset may be more trouble than it’s worth. Why? The more pieces, the more things that can go wrong.

Best PC Gaming Headsets: $200 Price Range

These are the gaming headsets that you will get you the most immersive and pleasant gaming experience possible. Of course all the features required means that these headsets are on the steeper end of the price range, topping out at around $300. Here you can expect full Dolby Surround sound, every sound feature you can imagine and a load of accessories.
best pc gaming headsets

1. Tritton AX Pro

  • Best Feature: Works on all devices (XBox 360, PS3, PC/Mac), has 8 independent speakers to reproduce true 5.1 channel audio (most headsets have virtual surround sound).
  • Worst Feature: Lots and lots of wires included to work with all your devices. If you’re only going to use it for one gaming system, then the extra wires aren’t worth it.
  • Why First? Tritton is great at creating truly immersive audio. The 8 speaker set up in this headset truly stands out as a feature that will get you accused of cheating during online gaming sessions.

Tritton’s AX Pro Gaming Headset is designed to be your one and only gaming headset. It comes with wires and accessories so that you can use it on every device, from the usual suspects (XBox 360, PC, PS3, Mac) even the Nintendo Wii. The detachable noise-cancelling microphone comes through crystal clear in online gaming. The inline remote also has independent volume control for game volume as well as chat volume. The headset also supports Dolby Prologic II decoding, which basically means that you can watch movies on your headset with true surround sound. It supports any home theatre system with optical output, which is almost all of them nowadays. The downside of Tritton’s headsets, unfortunately, is the weight. These headsets are heavier and that can cause discomfort for some. I was able to watch a two hour movie with them on no problem.
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Best PC Gaming Headsets

2. Sennheiser PC360 G4ME Headset

  • Best Feature: It’s a tie between the amazingly wide soundstage that makes you feel like you’re there in the game, and the light weight design that you can wear all night in pure comfort.
  • Worst Feature: The trade off of an open backed design means that others can hear the sound. Not ideal for gaming all night if others are trying to sleep.
  • Why Second?
  • The open-backed design creates an audiophile-quality sound experience that has to be heard to be really appreciated. There’s no surround sound technology here, so you’ll need a really good soundcard to get the most of the experience. Also there’s the inconvenience of everyone in the room being able to hear game noise.

Sennheiser does what they do best with the PC360 G4ME headset. The open-backed headset creates an amazing sense of being there in the action, something that even surround sound has difficulty doing in a closed back headset. Sennheiser is also a world leader in microphone technology, so as expected their noise-cancelling mic makes your voice come through with crystal clarity. You can turn off the mic by flipping it up, which I found more convenient than the usual in-line remote. The PC360 does what it does really well, but that’s it. If you want to use it for console gaming, you’ll need an adapter.
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Razer Megalodon Gaming Headset

3. Razer Megalodon Gaming Headset

  • Best Feature:The soft velvet ear pads with memory foam cushions makes this headset one of the most comfortable headsets I’ve ever worn.
  • Worst Feature: The light clamping pressure is great for comfort but also creates sound bleed.
  • Why Third? The Maelstrom Audio Engine acts as your own dedicated sound-card that you take anywhere, plug into any PC and have great sound right off the bat. While that’s very convenient (especially if you go to gaming events), the overall sound quality isn’t at the high level of Sennheiser’s PC360 or Tritton’s AX Pro.

The Megalodon connects to your PC wirelessly via USB. The Maelstrom Audio Engine is a digital signal processor that enables you to have 7.1 surround sound no matter where you are. The control pod that houses the audio engine also gives you control over the volume of the game, bass, and microphone. It’s also probably the most comfortable gaming headset that you have ever put on your head.

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Best PC Gaming Headsets under $150

Sharkoon X-Tatic Gaming Headset Canada

1. Sharkoon X-Tatic SP Gaming Headset

  • Best Feature: The 3-d Sound Expander manages to enhance positional audio without sounding like artificially constructed noise.
  • Worst Feature: Very little noise-isolation, which means you can hear people try to talk to you through your headset. This can be a benefit for some people (parent, babysitters) who still want to be able to hear what’s going on around them.
  • Why First? The headset is fully compatible with all systems, and supports Dolby Prologic and 7.1 surround sound no problem. It’s also a bit lighter than the Logitech G930, which after a few hours of gaming will become important.

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Logitech G930 Gaming Headset

2. Logitech G930 Gaming Headset

  • Best Feature: Dolby’s 7.1 virtual surround sound gets its best representation here.
  • Worst Feature: No support for Dolby on Mac. I know this this is the ‘best PC gaming headsets’ list, but if you use both, or are planning on switching in the future, just be aware that there’s no surround sound for the Mac.
  • Why Second? The headset has surround sound quality that you usually only see in $200+ headsets. It’s also very comfortable to wear, has great battery life (over 10 hours) and is easy to set up. It places second only because Sharkoon has compatibility with more systems, whereas Logitech is meant solely for the PC.

If you’re a control freak when it comes to sound, the Logitech G930 is a dream come true. On the left ear cup are a series of controls that enable you to independently control game volume, voice volume, voice morphing, as well as an equalizer on your PC to toggle the sound just the way you like. Even if you listen to something that doesn’t have Dolby surround sound, The stereo sounds pretty damn awesome as well.
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Corsair Vengeance 2000 Gaming Headset

3. Corsair Vengeance 2000 Gaming Headset

  • Best Feature: Extremely soft microfiber ear cups with memory foam for noise-isolation. Gaming for hours is a breeze.
  • Worst Feature:The 7.1 Virtual surround sound is heavy on the ‘virtual’, it doesn’t give you a sense of where sound is coming from.
  • Why Third? The convenience, comfort, and long battery life are what gets Corsair on this list. The 7.1 surround sound is decent, but there are better ones out there.

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Best PC Gaming Headsets under $100

Razer Best PC Gaming Headsets

1. Razer Carcharias Gaming Headset

  • Best Feature: Same gaming headset as the more expensive Razer Megalodon without some bells and whistles that you can probably live without.
  • Worst Feature: Sound bleed. It’s not particularly bad, but a deal breaker for some.
  • Why First? If you have a dedicated sound card that has is capable of 7.1 surround sound, then you can have the same high quality surround sound as the Razer Megalodon but without the expensive extra hardware. It’s a very comfortable headset to wear for long hours, has terrific sound quality and lots of gaming specific features that make it a steal at this price point.

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Sennheiser PC 151 Gaming Headphones

2. Sennheiser PC151 Gaming Headset

  • Best Feature: Light as a feather on the head. After a while you won’t even notice that the headset is there. The velour ear pads are as comfortable as can be.
  • Worst Feature: Not a lot of gaming specific features, like dampening of overly loud sounds and microphone monitor so you can hear your own voice.
  • Why Second? Sennheiser makes great sounding headsets and crystal clear microphones. But this headset is more focused on Skype and teleconferencing. If you don’t care about the extra features and just want a great sounding headset that’s extremely comfortable, then this one’s for you.

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Turtle Beach Ear Force Z6A Gaming Headset

Turtle Beach Ear Force Z6A Gaming Headset

  • Best Feature: Booming bass and great positional audio. Like all Turtle Beach headsets, they’re also light as a feather.
  • Worst Feature: Unless you already have 5.1 surround sound set up on your computer, the headset won’t work. As in, it won’t play sound at all.
  • Why Third? If you have 5.1 set up then these headsets sound great. The four speakers in each ear, dual subwoofers and angled speakers to enhance the 3-d environment, you’ll have a great gaming headset on your hands.

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In Conclusion:

This list is by no means exhaustive. If you feel a gaming headset has been unfairly left off this list, feel free to sound off in the comments. There’s plenty more gaming headsets in the Headphones Shop, and there will also be a “Best Budget Gaming Headsets” for those with a budget less than $75 (coming soon).

The Glaring Omission:

astro a40 gaming headset

One of the best gaming headset was left off this list.

There is one major gaming headset that has been left off this list for reasons that have nothing to do with quality. In fact, fans of this particular gaming headset consider it to be one of the best, if not the best gaming headset out there. It’s the Astro Gaming A40. The reason I leave it off is because there are no major Canadian online retailers that carry it. Not even Amazon. If you want this headset, you can order it off of Astro’s Website ( will not ship it to a Canadian address). It’s a bit of a pain to pay the import fees, but if you want a great gaming headset that is as good as any on this list, it may be worth it (plus no one else you know will have it!).

Headphone Deals in Canada

Headphone Deals in Canada

In Canada, we love a good deal. The trouble is, they tend to be hard to find…especially for electronics. Here’s a list of the best weekly deals for headphones in Canada from the major online retailers. Check back often as we’ll be updating it as the sales happen.

Canadian Headphone Deals for the Week of: October 12th

Featured Headphone Deals from

Sennheiser HD598's on Sale

Sennheiser HD598 Headphones

  • Regular Price: $379.99
  • Sale Price: $299.99
  • $79.96 off

Sometimes the best sounding, most amazing headphones are on sale and you have to take it. The HD598 Headphones have been called the “best headphones you can buy under $300” and there’s a reason. They have amazing soundstage, which means you can hear where the instruments are coming from. These are a great ‘gateway’ headphone for casual music lovers into full on audiophiles. Another plus: there’s no other set of headphones that look like this. The burl wood accents? You have to respect that.

AKG K142HD Headphones on Sale

AKG K142HD High Definition Headphones

  • Regular Price: $179.99
  • Sale Price: $79.97
  • $100.02 off

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Featured Deals from

headphone deals in canada

Monster Lil Jamz on Sale

Monster Lil Jamz Performance Headphones

  • Regular Price: $99.99
  • Sale Price: $49.99
  • $50.00 off

When you put on these earbuds for the first time be prepared for the amazing sound that comes out of them. The all metal design doesn’t vibrate, allowing the sound to come through clearly and crisply. These are the best earbuds to get if you’re a bass head or are going to be listening to a lot of electronica. The bass is tight, the highs and mids are crisp. The metal chrome finish means they will stay shiny with no need to polish them.
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Sony Wireless Headphones on Sale

SONY MDR-RF970RK Wireless Headphones

  • Regular Price: $79.99
  • Sale Price: $44.99
  • $35.00 off

I should mention that these headphones are refurbished, although Sony does offer a 1 year parts warranty on the headphones. These are great wireless headphones for people on a budget. Sony does know how to make headphones sound good and doesn’t disappoint here. The range for them is about 150 feet, and the Ni-MH battery’s charge lasts for about 15 hours. There’s 3 channels, and all operate in the 900 MHz range. The ear-cups are soft and plush.
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Featured Headphone Deals from

Able Planet NC192B Noise-Cancelling Headphones

Able Planet NC192B Noise Cancelling Headphones

  • Regular Price: $91.99
  • Sale Price: $45.99
  • $46.00 off

Able Planet makes some outstanding noise-cancelling headphones and their ‘budget’ model in no way disappoints. The sound quality is up there with the $200 headphones, with great bass as well as a crystal clear mid-range (the highs are where the sound is lacking). It comes with an inline remote for controlling the volume. The noise-cancellation sounded like it was in the 75-80% range, which is great for this price range. The ear-pads were cozy and the overall lightness meant that I could put them on and easily go to sleep. The one caveat is that it comes with a soft case, which is a hazard for travelling. So I recommend getting a hard case with these headphones.
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Skullcandy Headphones Deals

Skullcandy Headphones Deals

Skullcandy is one of the most popular, if not THE most popular headphone maker out there today. With stylish designs and high profile celebrity endorsements, you’d be hard pressed not to find skullcandy headphones on the average city block.

These headphones don’t have to be out of reach however. If you enjoy getting a great deal (who doesn’t) this page is for you. I’ll constantly be featuring the latest Skullcandy deals as they come along as well as special promotions.

Skullcandy Headphones Deals for the Week of October 10th-17th, 2012:

skullcandy roc nation aviators cheap

Skullcandy Roc Nation Aviator Headphones – White

  • Regular Price: $179.99
  • Sale Price: $149.99
  • $30.00 off

The Lowdown:

You’d be hard pressed to find a better deal on Skullcandy’s famous Aviator headphones anywhere else. These headphones are Skullcandy’s first foray into ‘serious audiophile’ territory, and they deliver. They make any genre of music sound good. Hip hop has great energy, jazz, rock, vocals, pretty much anything I threw at it sounded amazing. The ear-pads are comfortable and the headphones themselves looked amazing. If you’re looking into $100+ headphones then the Skullcandy Aviators are a great choice.

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skullcandy hesh headphones on sale

Skullcandy Hesh Headphones – Black

  • Regular Price: $59.99
  • Sale Price: $44.99
  • $15 off

The Lowdown:

These headphones boast a powerful 50mm driver (compared with a 40mm for the Aviators) and deliver a lot of sonic goodness. The large earcups stick out quite a bit but are light and comfortable to wear (although you’ll need to let your ears ‘breathe’ once in a while). The impedance is low, so you can use these headphones on your iPod or smartphone no problem, and in general they are really good at what they do.

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skullcandy lowrider headphones on sale

Skullcandy Lowrider Headphones

  • Reg Price: $99.99
  • Sale Price: $49.99
  • 50% off

The Lowdown:

The lowrider headphones pack quite a punch for lower end headphones. The 40mm power drivers are rare in headphones priced under $100 and are quite stylish and comfortable to wear. The leather-touch ear-cups are very comfortable and on the on-ear design means you’re ears won’t start sweating after a few minutes. The downside of the on-ear design (as with all on-ear headphones) is that there is sound bleed, so be aware of that if you plan to use these in a library. It also comes with a thick, tough cord that can handle the rigors of a tough daily commute. The sound quality is tonally balanced, high energy and overall quite clear.

skullcandy inkd earbuds purple

Skullcandy Ink’d Earbud, Purple

  • Regular Price: $49.99
  • Sale Price: $14.75
  • 70% off

The Lowdown

When compared with other budget earbuds in this price range, like the JVC Marshmallow Earbuds and J-Buds, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the comfort and sound quality. They come with three different types of earbuds to accommodate different sized ears, as well as a sweet skull logo on the outside. The cord is not L-shaped, however, so it will suffer from daily wear and tear. All in all, for a sub-$20 pair of earbuds, you can’t wrong with these earbuds.

There you have it! Keep checking back for the latest deals as they’re posted!

Noise Cancelling Headphones Buying Guide

Noise Cancelling Headphones Buying Guide



Noise-cancelling headphones can mean the difference between feeling refreshed after a long flight and being cranky as hell. The constant background noise of a plane, train, or bus engines can be fatigue us even if we don’t notice it. The path to noise-cancelling headphones started back in 1978 when Dr. Amar Bose tried on a pair of regular headphones on a flight home from Zurich and couldn’t hear the music over the roar of the jet engine. He set up a research project at the Bose corporation (yes, that Bose) to see if there was a way to actively cancel out external noise.

How Noise Cancellation Works

How noise cancelling headphones work

Image Credit: Centerpoint Audio

Noise-cancellation works via a process called Active Noise Control (ANC). Microphones on the outside of the headphones’ ear-cups pick up external noises in the environment and generate an ‘anti-noise signal’ that cancels out the external noise via ‘destructive interference”. If you want to learn more about it, Howstuffworks has an excellent article on the specifics of the entire process.

In terms of selecting headphones, this process means a few things for us consumers:

  • NC (noise-cancelling) headphones are better at blocking out constant noises, like the engines of airplanes or buses. This means that you can still hear important safety announcements.
  • The noise-cancelling circuitry required for them to operate inherently reduces audio quality.
  • They may introduce additional noise.

7 Tips to Consider When Buying Noise-Cancelling Headphones:

  1. Rechargeable or replaceable batteries? – This tends to come down as a matter of preference. Rechargeable batteries (usually litihium-ion) are smaller and charge via USB. This can be handy when you’re on a long flight and you’re able to charge your headphones via your laptop. However, some people prefer having replaceable batteries, since they’re available at any airport. I haven’t seen a set of noise-canceling headphones that did not use “AAA” batteries.
  2. What’s the Noise-Cancelation percentage?– Usually headphone manufacturers will mention how much external noise they cut out. Budget NC headphones will block out 70-85%, whereas the $300 range NC headphones usually block out over 90%.
  3. What’s in a Name? – Quietcomfort, Noisegard, Quietpoint, these are the names of the noise-cancelation technology each set of headphones uses. All of these technologies work differently, and are proprietary, which means that they all sound different from each other. If you like one Sennheiser NC headphone, chances are you’ll like another, since they have the same technology behind them. The best one? Bose’s Quietcomfort.
  4. You Don’t Need an Amp – Headphone amps will make any set of headphones sound better…except for noise-canceling headphones. Why? NC headphones already have an amplification circuit built into the headphones themselves.
  5. On-ear over Over-ear– Most manufacturers have one of each set of NC headphones on the market (think of Bose’s Quietcomfort 15’s and the Quietcomfort 3’s). Over-ear headphones tend augment the noise-cancelation by forming a seal around the ear. The downside is that heat accumulates in your ear. Sometimes these headphones will almost have too much clamping pressure on your ear as well. On-ear headphones aren’t quite as effective but are usually more comfortable.
  6. Would You Like Bluetooth as Well?– Some headphones (like Sennheiser’s PXC 310) are combination noise-canceling and bluetooth, which means that you don’t have to bother with cords. The Bluetooth headphones tend to be competitively priced as well, meaning that it comes down to personal preference. The downsides? Bluetooth streaming isn’t as high quality as a wired connection, and depending on what kind of smartphone/tablet/laptop your streaming from, sometimes they don’t support the same Bluetooth protocol.
  7. Most Importantly, it’s important to understand that the technology noise-canceling headphones uses negatively affects sound quality, so if you’re looking for $300 headphones with top notch sound quality, then you may want to get regular over-ear headphones instead.