Here’s a quick rundown for you wonderful holiday shoppers and gift-givers. Cyber Monday deals are 48hrs in the past and Black Friday is virtually an ancient history. if you still have a few gamers to shop for, don’t feel rained on. Here’s a list for some of the most powerful high performing PC gaming headsets. “What’s so special about this piece”, you ask? There’s a good chance you’ve never heard of these aural gems. It should make finding these different headsets on physical and virtual store shelves, a fairly painless endeavor.
These are not the Razers, the Logitechs, the Turtle Beaches, the Mad Catz(ses) or any other well-established peripheral purveyor. These are the latest and greatest from SteelSeries, Creative, Plantronics and Sennheiser. Lets begin with one of the most unusual headset out right now.
1. Creative Sound Blaster EVO Zx – Wireless
Here’s something completely different from Creative–a striking looking Bluetooth line of headsets that supports mobile device and PCs alike. This new set of cans is just 1-of-3 in a new line of wireless Sound Blaster audio solutions. So you need Bluetooth support on your PC inherently or use a BT USB dongle. BT is an interesting way to go for Wireless. The EVO Zx can also be paired with your Bluetooth device traditionally. But they also support NFC. More interesting is the functionality. The Sound Blaster EVO Zx can be controlled from a downloadable Android or iOS app. Equalizer, surround, sound profiles, volume, Dolby and so much more can all be managed via your tablet or mobile phone. I love the mic reception and the reduced presence. Two flat nibs right ear piece make up the mic array. The BT nature of the unit means you can answer calls while gaming, like answering calls while listening to music with other BT headphones.
[box_tip] These are for those who game as much as they are on the go. Not ideal if you require Dolby Digital surround. A Bluetooth ready PC is required for wireless PC use. Bluetooth signal is not as far-reaching as 2.4ghz.[/box_tip]
2. SteelSeries Wireless H
Our other wireless entry is from the lesser-known yet highly skilled SteelSeries house of gaming peripherals. The Wireless H is a formidable 2.4Ghz wireless set. Using a large over-ear design the Wireless H pair conservative but elegant aesthetics with a dizzying array of features. These new untethered cans support Mac, PC, iOS, Android, Home Theater, Media Center, Playstation 2 & 4, Xbox 360 and Xbox 360. The receiver connects via Optical cable, USB and Stereo. All these inputs can be used at once to simultaneously support your various playback devices. Connect PC, consoles and other media playback device at once. Then toggle between these devices with the included receiver. The receiver features a LED screen that can be controlled with the volume knob or remotely using a set of controls found on the headset.
The receiver offers a 5-band equalizer to fine tune you favorite sounds, set/save profiles, balance game audio Vs. voice chat and a lot more. The Wireless H set ships with 2 rechargeable batteries. The receiver acts as a battery charger. No tethered charging available. While using one battery you can charge the other in the receiver.
[box_tip]I can easily recommend these to any gaming enthusiast. Wireless is great for parents with kids in the house. The list of supported devices should cover just about any gamer from PC to mobile to consoles.[/box_tip]
3. SteelSeries Siberia Elite
Style and comfort are the two pervading ideas when I think of SteelSeries’ other high end PC headset. The Siberia Elite are gorgeous–especially in the snowy white color scheme. The ear cushions are massive and made from comfortable memory foam. The unit utilizes a suspension design so 1-size-fits-all. The microphone is retractable so it remains unobtrusive. All the volume and mute controls are found right on the headset. Plus the Siberia Elite ship with the company’s acclaimed USB sound card. This is your gateway to Dolby ProLogic IIx and simulated 7.1 surround sound, with a little help from the SteelSeries Engine 3 software. The audio performance is some of the best in class. Rich, with more bass than the Wireless H. Plus the Siberia Elite also support mobile media devices, iOS, Android, Mac and Windows PCs for added versatility.
[box_tip]These are very large cans–not the most ideal for mobile listening. Despite that, they work well for audio connoisseurs and gamers. Virtual simulated surround is not for everyone. Pricey![/box_tip]
4. Plantronics RIG Stereo Headset & Mixer
The RIG from Plantronics is the least expensive of our headset harem but no less feature-rich. Everyone wants a way to add “mobile” to their list of features. Yet Plantronics has taken a different road. Mix in your favorite music using the included mic amp. It doesn’t feature a full band EQ but you do get 3 equalizer presets (Pure, Intensify, Seismic). You can mix in game audio and voice chat volume independently in the Game Mode. Mobile Mode allows calls to ring through over your game sounds if your phone is plugged in to the mixer. You can then answer and receive calls right through the headset–using the unit’s microphone to speak. This keeps players in the game without missing a beat. No batteries are required and the RIG Mixer is powered via USB.
[box_tip]Anyone who absolutely requires a free ear available for phone calls music and the like. The RIG Mixer blends it all into an uninterrupted gaming session.[/box_tip]
5. Sennheiser G4ME ZERO
Sennheiser is a fairly known entity here in the States–yet more for music audio than gaming. But there new G4ME Zero stereo headphones are another handsome marriage of style, comfort and silky audio performance. These are a closed design so a decent amount of passive noise cancelling is served up. The large “Boom Arm” noise cancelling mic tilts up to mute voice chat. There is a volume dial positioned on the right ear piece for convenient control. The unit connects via 2x 3.5mm tips. One is for stereo audio and the other for the microphone. The foldable design adds to the portability. The leatherette dual layered memory foam leaves give the entire unit lasting comfort.
The G4ME ZERO don’t sound like much on paper. But wow! Sennheiser never ceases to amaze us in their high end performance. Clarity and richness through
[box_tip]Gamers looking for richness and clarity in both game audio and voice chat. Take a pass if you require multi channel surround.[/box_tip]
6. Sennheiser G4ME ONE
This is the coin-conscious little brother the G4ME ZERO. The G4ME ONE PC gaming headset. While the sound pressure level is higher than the Zero, the impedance is much lower. You don’t get the foldable design or the leatherette memory foam. Yet the comfort doesn’t suffer, using plush velvet ear pads. Both headsets are very light 312gm for each. You do get the same Boom Arm noise cancelling mic and on-ear volume dial.
[box_tip]Gamers looking for richness and clarity in both game audio and voice chat. Take a pass if you require multi channel surround or a more portable folding design.[/box_tip]
Gift of music photo provided by Shutterstock
Shawn loves gadgets, literature, history and games. For 10yrs+ he's straddled both the comic book & video game industries, as a writer, editor, marketing officer & producer. Shawn got his start in tech & games as an editor & Hardware Director for GameRevolution.com. More notable accomplishments include Executive Producer on mobile games Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved & The Shroud.