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What features make the best USB headset? USB connections offer some advantages in headsets for gaming, including the ability to use more sophisticated PC graphics card virtual surround sound software. So, for the top USB headsets, the key features start with excellent sound quality, especially when it comes to positional audio.
Next, like any pair among the best gaming headsets, they should have a comfortable design with ergonomic controls for key functions, like game chat audio balance and active noise cancelation. Finally, the best wired and wireless headsets with USB should offer compatibility with a wide range of devices, including consoles, PCs, Nintendo Switch, and mobile devices.
Keep reading to learn more about USB gaming headsets and how to choose the best model for your gaming needs.
Award: TOP PICK
WHY WE LIKE IT: This headset has powerful 50mm drivers with a 3D sound system, delivering engaging spatial audio. It has excellent in-line controls for adjusting speaker and mic volume as well as muting
The Jeeco Xiberia gaming headset has a stunning design that offers visual appeal. This device has a black palette that can be used in offices, game rooms, and recording studios. It features 50mm drivers with neodymium magnets to deliver powerful beats. A 7.1 virtual surround system lets users get insight into the precise direction of in-game sounds. This device has a unidirectional noise-canceling mic to record the human voice while reducing background chatter. However, this unit is small for some people
A multifunctional in-line controller on this model features speaker volume and mic volume controls as well as a mute function. The headset has sturdy construction, holding up well under regular use. This headset has an adjustable headband and thick memory foam earpad cushions for comfort. It features a USB connector for plug-and-play connectivity to computers. A tangle-free cord offers convenience. The mic on this model is flexible for hassle-free adjustment while an RGB light strip on the earcups adds visual appeal.
Award: HONORABLE MENTION
WHY WE LIKE IT: This headset has gorgeous customizable multi-color ambiance lights, which will raise the aesthetics in any room. The headset has a virtual 3D sound system, providing an immersive experience.
The Razer Kraken Ultimate gaming headset offers a number of customization options. This headset has brilliant RGB lights, which can be personalized via the Razer Chroma system. The headset has large 50mm audio drivers that deliver gaming-optimized sounds. A high-quality mic with active noise cancellation facilitates chatting while eliminating background noises. This mic is retractable, allowing users to listen to music when the mic is out of sight. However, the retract-to-mute feature is not user-friendly.
A 7.1 surround sound system allows users to discern directional audio. This headset has oval cooling gel-infused ear cushions that prevent heat build-up. It has on-earcup controls that include a volume controller and THX Spatial Audio switch. With a frequency response of 20Hz to 20KHz, the gaming headset is versatile. This headset features a high-quality aluminum frame and premium steel parts for durability.
Award: BEST APPEARANCE
WHY WE LIKE IT: This headset has an aggressive design with a subtle multi-color lighting strip on the earcups, offering visual appeal. It has a 3D spatial sound system to provide a hypnotic directional listening experience.
The EKSA E1000 gaming headset has an aggressive design that will appeal to hardcore gaming enthusiasts. This headset features a USB connector that plugs into various devices easily. It has powerful 50mm drivers, offering powerful sounds to give the user an edge. It has a 7.1 surround sound system, helping gamers to differentiate the direction of certain in-game sounds. It’s optimized for use on PS5 and PS4, making it a good choice for console users. However,
With premium memory protein ear cushions, this device helps maximize airflow, reducing heat build-up. It comes with a long 7.2-foot cord that provides durability. A noise-canceling mic offers clarity. The mic adjusts 120°, allowing users to move it up and down with ease. This headset has a subtle on-ear cup RGB lighting strip to raise the aesthetics in the gaming room. It plugs into computers and consoles without requiring installing any drivers.
Award: BEST COMPATIBILITY
WHY WE LIKE IT: Adjustable ear cups with memory foam cushions provide outstanding comfort. It has both a 3.5mm connector and digital-analog convertor, providing compatibility with everything from PCs to consoles, and smartphones.
The Corsair HS60 Pro offers the ultimate in audio quality and customization. The headset has adjustable ear cups that fit a wide variety of people. These ear cups feature memory foam cushions for comfort. Equipped with 50mm neodymium audio drivers, this headset delivers powerful sounds with deep bass. It supports 7.1 surround sound, offering a refined spatial listening experience. However, the out-of-the-box sound settings require tweaking for optimum sound quality
A noise-canceling mic with a unidirectional pickup pattern facilitates flawless in-game communication. The microphone is fully detachable, allowing users to convert this device into headphones for streaming music and podcasts. It’s Discord certified for use with most eSports systems. The headset works with the Corsair iCUE software, allowing users to precisely customize audio settings and has on-ear controls, allowing users to adjust the volume and to mute.
Award: BEST REMOVABLE MICROPHONE
WHY WE LIKE IT: This headset has an adjustable and swappable microphone that offers flexibility. It also features excellent lighting that adds visual interest to the game room.
The Sades SA902 gaming headset has a sleek black design with blue accents that bring a touch of elegance to any gaming setup. This device features a virtual 7.1 surround system, allowing users to determine the direction of various sounds. A high-sensitive omnidirectional microphone refines the user’s voice. This microphone is replaceable and flips up, so users can get it out of sight. However, the mic on this device lacks noise-canceling tech.
Featuring premium materials, this device offers excellent aesthetics and provides durability. It has a closed-over-the-ear design with leather-wrapped ear cushions. The gaming headset works with computers and other devices and it has in-line controls for volume adjustment, muting the mic, and muting the speakers. A braided cord on this model resists tangling. This headset has high-quality drivers that provide refined audio and has a cushioned headband and padded ear cushions for comfort.
Award: BEST LOW-WEIGHT
WHY WE LIKE IT: This headset has a self-adjusting headband and rotating ear cup hinges, proving a comfortable fit. It has a removable mic with TruSpeak for giving users feedback about their mic sound.
The Roccat Elo gaming headset has a remarkably lightweight design that will appeal to hardcore gamers. This headset is equipped with 7.1 surround sound, offering spatial sounds in a 3D plane. It has an adjustable mic with TruSpeak microphone monitoring tech, enabling users to get real-time feedback about their voice level. This mic is detachable, so users can remove it and replace it if needed. However, this headset has relatively low bass.
Featuring gaming-tuned Nanoclear 50mm drivers from Turtle Beach, this headset brings gameplay to life. It has a self-adjusting lightweight headband that contours around the user’s head. Rotating ear cups with memory foam cushions provide a great fit. This headset has RGB lighting on the earcups that work with the AIMO ecosystem to sync with other gaming hardware. It has on-ear controls for adjusting the mic and speaker volume as well as muting.
A USB headset can refer to a wireless gaming headset that uses a USB dongle or USB-C dongle as its wireless transmitter. It can also mean a USB wired headset that connects to a console, PC, or gaming device via a USB wired connection. Some wireless options offer dual connectivity, letting you use a USB cable to connect with a device, such as the Nintendo Switch in docked mode.
USB gaming headsets typically also include a microphone, which can be a small built-in unit or a boom mic. Many of the best-performing headsets use a retractable or detachable boom microphone.
Like other gaming headsets, USB gaming headsets use headphones and microphones and connect to a gaming platform to provide audio output. A USB wireless gaming headset, like any wireless headset, will most often use either Bluetooth connectivity or 2.4GHz WiFi for consistent wireless performance.
As with other gaming audio peripherals, USB wireless and wired headset models usually have audio quality geared toward the unique demands of game sound effects. A gaming sound profile usually emphasizes detail to bring out soft sounds such as enemy footsteps. The most often recommended models of USB headsets use simulated surround sound to generate an immersive audio environment for gaming.
Compared to 3.5mm headset jack-only models, USB headsets might more often have a console-specific or PC-compatible design. Using a USB-C connection lets these headsets employ a higher sampling rate and use the functions of newer gaming platforms, such as THX spatial audio.
USB wireless headsets also deliver more convenience when it comes to charging. Using a USB-C cable, a wireless headset like the SteelSeries Arctis Pro Wireless can add about two hours of battery life in just 10-15 minutes.
Wired USB models can be easier to connect with mobile devices and laptops without a 3.5mm headphone jack port.
USB gaming headsets connect with a device, such as a PC, game console, mobile device, or laptop, using a USB cable or wirelessly via a USB wireless dongle. They receive digital audio signals and generate audio output through a pair of headphone speakers.
Most use over-ear headphones, where the ear cups are connected via a flexible or semi-flexible headband. Audiophile gaming headphones may use an open-back design for the ear cups, while cheap headsets usually use closed-back earphones. The most comfortable headsets usually feature well-padded, suspension-style headbands and breathable, cooling ear pads.
A modern USB headset for gaming usually uses its own sound-processing software and software installed on a USB sound card, mobile device, or game console. The program allows for additional features such as virtual 7.1 surround sound on PC games, precise 3D audio, and active noise cancellation on the best USB headsets for gaming.
There are several reasons you might consider buying a USB gaming headset. If you’ve upgraded or expanded your gaming setup to include a new console, such as the Xbox One, Playstation 5, or a new Nintendo Switch, you might want to consider a new USB headset to help experience the sound quality of the updated gaming environment.
An excellent gaming headset can provide clear spatial audio cues that help your in-game performance as well. Features such as virtual surround sound and 3D sound compatibility aren’t always present on older or cheap headsets. They’ll give you an edge for competitive gaming and provide a more enjoyable immersive gaming experience.
If you’re getting into recording or producing gaming streaming content, a newer USB headset may also deliver plenty of features that make the process more enjoyable and help create higher-quality content. The top gaming headset recommendations for streamers are often USB models or wireless headphones that use a USB-C connection for data and charging. A new USB headset can often interface with a USB sound card or capture card, making the recording process more convenient.
You might also want to consider a new gaming headset if you like to play online multiplayer games and find it tedious to communicate with teammates via a built-in microphone or listen to the game audio on uncomfortable headphones. Newer, more comfortable headsets can boost focus and help you perform better in the game as well.
Compared to older gaming headsets or a budget headset, a new USB headset for gaming will generally offer better mic quality and more sophisticated microphone performance for streaming and chat functions. Some new models, such as Turtle Beach headsets and the SteelSeries Arctis Pro, offer a mic with noise cancellation and mic monitoring features.
Headsets for gaming and entertainment audio generally last around three to five years, depending on factors such as the environmental and use conditions, the initial quality of the headset, and the type of headset.
Wired models typically last longer than wireless headsets for travel or wireless earbuds. A pair of studio headphones may last a decade or more, and a quality microphone will also generally last a long time.
Models that rely on a wireless connection and have internal rechargeable batteries may be limited in how long they last due to the lifespan of the batteries. Most modern rechargeable battery cells used in mobile devices and Bluetooth headsets have a durability rating of 500-1500 charge cycles.
Gaming headphones tend to wear out around the ear padding and earcup covers first while moving parts such as retractable or detachable microphones and ear cup swivel mounts can also eventually wear out. When the padding around the ear cups is sufficiently worn down, the headset might not sit as comfortably and you might experience increased sound bleed or less effective noise cancellation.
To help your gaming headset last longer, keep it in a cool place away from excess moisture and dust. A well-placed headphone stand or desk hook can help keep it safe from accidental beverage spills and cat attacks.
A wide range of factors can help determine the right model USB gaming headset for your needs. You’ll want to consider what platforms and gaming devices you use, what types of games you play, and what your own personal aesthetic preferences are. Looks can be subjective, and there’s also a range in what types of soundscapes you may prefer.
Platform type is a major factor in choosing the right headset. Some models even have platform-specific compatibility and software design, such as the SteelSeries Arctis 9 Wireless and Arctis 7 and 7P, the Turtle Beach Stealth 600, and several HyperX Cloud Flight S series headsets.
If you have a lot of ambient noise in your gaming environment or if you’re especially sensitive to background noise, you might want to look for features such as active noise cancellation. If your setup tends to get noisy, you might also prefer a noise cancellation mic so your teammates don’t have to hear all the background noise either.
Some headset models are more ideally suited to some types of games. For example, if you’re playing a game with an orchestral or polyphonic soundtrack, you might enjoy using a headset with high-fidelity sound, a broad virtual sound stage and customizable EQ functions.
Likewise, some top gaming headsets excel in bringing out the sound effects and tactical audio cues in multiplayer games but may not be ideal for music and movies. If you plan to use your USB headset for frequent media and music playback, you may want to pick a model that has tuned, hi-res audio drivers and a balanced sound profile.
It depends on your gaming needs and what your setup is like. If you use a console and large screen TV and like to sit on the couch, a wireless headset may prove more convenient, whereas some PC gamers prefer the simplicity and responsiveness of a wired option.
Some headset models allow audio over a USB or 3.5 mm adapter but only support certain features when connected via USB. The additional features vary by model but typically involve software installed on the sound card.
It depends on the gaming type and your preferences. For most games, stereo sound is adequate since modern consoles and PCs employ virtual surround sound processing. 3D sound with head tracking is a more expensive option offered on some high-end gaming headsets that adds realism to the virtual surround sound experience.
The recent Xbox models have a USB port but may not be compatible with all USB headsets. Microsoft's connectivity software supports a range of USB headsets, including Xbox-branded models from Turtle Beach, SteelSeries, and other brands. Many high-end models from SteelSeries and JBL can connect to the Xbox wirelessly.
When paired with high-quality speaker drivers and sound processing, open-back headphones can provide a more natural sound experience for gaming. However, they have more inherent sound bleed, so they don't deliver as much passive noise isolation as closed-back headphones.