As a kid I was raised on music that ranged from Roger Whittaker and Dave Brubeck all the way through to Budgie, Pearl Jam, Sum41, Cream and even Company Segundo. The one thing that remained constant between all of them was the Kenwood Amplifier linked up to the maple Pioneer speakers that my father used to blast the music through, much to my mother’s dismay. I think I therefore inherited my “audiophilic” tendencies from these moments. In the vast world of gaming and audio gear, for me, it is not necessarily the name that matters but the quality. But does this apply to headsets? well for the most part I don’t believe so, I mean there is a reason why so many people are willing to pay for Sennheiser and Corsair or even the more bespoke brands like B&O and HIFIMAN.
Let’s talk about Clams
Nowadays it’s easy to get lost in the confusion of stereo, 5.1 and 7.1 virtual surround sound headsets and what you may need/want for gaming. But the most important question; “Is it worth your while to spend the money and get the amazing headsets?”
To me, it is worth spending anywhere between three hundred up to even five thousand of your hard-earned clams on gaming headsets. To be fair, I have used an array of devices for gaming before like the MSI DS502, Skull Candy earphones, some other no name cheapies and I am currently using a pair of Corsair HS70 SE wireless headphones.
In my experience, the cheaper headsets such as the no names will cost anywhere between R150 to R500. In this price range, you might be lucky and find a winner, but I have never had a good experience. Purely stereo sound, cheap ear cushioning and very tinny sounding drivers and the mics usually sound like you are speaking through a straw with extraordinarily little to no noise suppression and cancellation. All these factors made for a rather unsatisfying experience when gaming, especially with friends. Look don’t get me wrong; they did the job, but it was always lacking and actually hurt my ears and head for keeping them on for prolonged periods of time.
Price point vs Quality?
The next step up is the range of roughly R600 to R1750, this is where both my favourites from the headsets I’ve used fall into, the MSI DS502s and My current Corsair set. I would like to believe that these fall into the mid to high tier range of quality versus cost as they pack a proper punch when it comes to the quality of sound and bass. The MSIs have 40mm drivers, the usual red lighting with the MSI dragon emblazoned on the sides of the ear cups and some plush cushioning and 7.1 surround sound. The only problem I have with them was that they too pinched my pip even with adjusting them to the correct size and they felt heavy, too heavy. The headset came with some fun software that lets you customize the EQ or use some great preset tunes. They also had some voice-altering modes if you were planning on trying to troll people or just looking to fool around.
The Corsair Experience
The Corsairs, on the other hand, are light for their size and pack a more powerful punch than anything I had used before, although they do end up being on the higher end of the price spectrum. The HS70 set boasts an impressive set of 52mm drivers that sit comfortably in solid lightweight metal brackets, they connect wirelessly to your PC via Bluetooth and have a battery life of up to 16 hours with a charge time of only two. The sound quality from the drivers is fantastic with great bass ranges that don’t warp your brain in an uncomfortable manner. The headphones do come with a disc for the iCUE interface that helps you set up individual profiles depending on certain programs, games or sound preferences you may have. For example, I would want to listen to music in stereo mode but play games with the 7.1 surround sound feature and that can be automatically set up by setting up profiles on the headsets that activate when the defined program Is in the foreground. The onboard mic is easily controlled and placed for your comfort with the flexible mic arm and can be easily muted with the onboard controls for the audio levels. The mic quality is not bad, it is what is to be expected from headset mics, these mid-range headset microphones will unfortunately not be able to compete with a condenser or XLR unless they are run through something like the RTX voice interface. This for me is one of the best sets of headphones I’ve used, and they are just above the average price range but definitely worth it.
Ready to go premium?
Then we get to the latest and greatest, the SteelSeries Arctis Pro. Unfortunately, I am not able to give an accurate review of these beasts but according to some reliable sources after using these, your ears will disgrace you for using something like Krakens; “We had to opportunity to test them out at the Steelseries Showroom. In my opinion, these were the best headphones to ever grace my ears. But will have to get a set to use for days and long periods of time to really establish a benchmark. But the little I used them, they were comfortable, great audio fidelity and great premium feel and quality. The microphone audio quality with noise suppression can sound a bit box-like, but nothing to complain about. I returned home and shamed my Razer headset Game of Thrones style. I will definitely be switching over to Steelseries for my next pair of headsets.” You can check the promo trailer here and see for yourself the specs they boast, I for one would love to invest in these, ONE day.
So, what’s the verdict?
Overall, I am a person that looks for the fairground between price-point and quality, to me, just because something is expensive does not automatically make it better. Sure, name brands have legs to stand on, to an extent, but that does not mean that a new forerunner cannot be crowned or found within the mid-range price point. Ultimately it depends on your purpose and the comfort you are looking for, but I would recommend looking for anything between R700 to R2000 if you’re looking for satisfying sound and treating yourself. But if you’re looking for a splurge, you can try these on for size: https://store.hifiman.com/index.php/susvara.html
In the meantime, do you own a pair of SteelSeries Pro Headsets? What is your experience? Comment below.
I failed as a stripper so I decided to do something I enjoy for your viewing pleasure instead. I’m an average gamer that gets scared way too easily when playing horror games, I die A LOT but in some interesting ways and I try play as many multiplayer games as possible with good mates. I also enjoy writing and sharing poetry and other articles, even recipes, with those that want them!