Photo by Reynier Carl on Unsplash
If you’re anything like me, you like buying things that can be used for more than one purpose. What better way to get the most value out of your purchase than finding tons of different options for utilizing it? This is especially true when you purchase something that can be as expensive as a good gaming headset.
Unfortunately, the internet is absolutely inundated with options. For the sake of simplicity, I’m throwing together a list here of the best gaming headsets for music, spanning a range of budgets.
5 Best Gaming Headsets for Music
HyperX Cloud II Gaming Headset
The nice thing about this headset is that, even though it’s on the more affordable end of the spectrum today, it’s made from extremely sturdy materials. You see the red connecting the ear cups to the headband? It’s made from solid aluminum, which is a nice break from all the cheap plastic.
Sure, the mic on the end is a little goofy-looking, but its sound quality is also pretty good. If you’re worried about how it looks (or you just have a nicer mic), it can also be detached and stored separately.
What’s more, it comes in both wired and wireless formats. Although you sometimes sacrifice on sound quality for it, I’m kind of a sucker for wireless because I can move around while I’m in Discord.
- Available in two different colors.
- Can be purchased as a wired or wireless headset.
- Solid aluminum frame makes it long-lasting.
- Decent quality microphone which can also be detached.
- Comfy leatherette ear cushions.
- Owners have reported problems with the cord, including fraying and coiling.
Corsair HS70 Pro
This is the headset I’m wearing as I type this, so I feel confident I can speak from experience here. One thing I really like about this headset is that it’s wireless and has a decent range; I can easily walk around on Zoom conference calls and maintain reasonable clarity in input and output.
Another thing I love about this headset is the multidirectional mic. I can position it wherever I like, which is great because I’m honestly always paranoid someone will hear me breathing or sniffing. The description says there’s a “flip-up mute function,” but I can confirm that’s not the case. You can, however, detach the mic if you don’t want to use it.
Sound quality is also great. Its dynamic frequency range is the standard 20-20k hz, so nothing special, but the sounds you hear are crystal-clear.
- Cozy cross-stitching on the inside of the headband that also looks neat.
- Comfy leatherette ear cups with memory foam.
- Decent range for wireless; around 30 feet.
- You can detach the mic when you’re not using it.
- Easy to set up – no need to install additional software.
- One of my least favorite things about this headset is the positioning of the volume dial on the earcup. It’s too easy to accidentally turn the volume up or down when putting the headset on.
- Battery life could be longer. It’s several hours, which is kind of standard, but my Razer Kraken Kitty headset lasts twice as long despite being otherwise lower in quality.
Corsair Virtuoso Wireless Gaming Headset
The Corsair Virtuoso fixes some of the gripes I have with the HS70 Pro. For starters, it has an increased battery life of up to 20 hours, which is actually outstanding for a wireless headset.
They’ve also incorporated an LED light in the mic that tells you when you’re muted. No more confusion about when your friends can hear you, freeing you to burp with peace of mind.
What’s more, the Virtuoso has an increased range, allowing you to move up to 60 feet away and still get a signal. In comparison, the HS70 Pro, I’ve noticed, lets me go up to 30 feet away before it starts sounding a bit static-y.
- Sold in six different color combinations.
- New LED light on the mic visually tells you when you’re muted.
- The frame is made from aluminum, much like a high-end headset.
- Increased range of up to 60 feet allows for a lot of movement.
- Larger frequency range of 20-40khz.
- You need to install additional software to use the equalizer.
- There are several mentions of people needing to buy third-party ear cups to increase the comfort of the headset.
Astro Gaming A50 Wireless Headset
If you have a bit more to spare for your budget, the Astro A50 is a great headset to splurge on. It’s got amazing sound quality, while still retaining the convenience of a wireless headset.
I also like how it comes with a charging stand rather than the standard charging USB cord. Maybe that’s just me, but it seems like a nice touch.
As an added bonus, the sides of the frame have measuring lines. This makes it possible for you to figure out the exact right fit for your head. It’s also the only headset on this list with felt earcups – a luxury I personally haven’t experienced, but I’ve heard they’re king when it comes to comfort.
- Extremely clear and well-balanced audio quality.
- Felt earcups are super comfy.
- You can easily flip the mic up to mute it.
- You get 15+ hours of battery life on a single charge.
- Measuring lines on the sides of the headband make it easy to adjust the fit.
- While definitely not as high in cost as headsets can get, it’s still a pricier item to consider.
HyperX Cloud Stinger
I used this headset for three years before I bought a new pair. Of course, I wouldn’t go so far as to call this pair the creme de la crème or anything – especially since it’s several years old at this point – but it’s a perfectly serviceable budget headset.
In fact, when I switched to the Razer Kraken Kitty headset from HyperX Cloud Stinger, there was a noticeable downgrade in sound quality despite the fact the Cloud Stinger was years older. Until it started shorting out, I found myself often returning to the Cloud Stinger instead.
The biggest complaint I have is that it always felt like the volume adjusted just slightly differently between the earcups. This meant that, as you turned the volume down, one side would go completely mute before the other. It may not be noticeable to the average person, but I think that it would likely get under an audiophile’s skin.
- Super comfy ear cups with plush leatherette.
- Extremely affordable.
- Fairly long-lasting for a budget headset.
- Comes in two different colors.
- The mic automatically mutes itself when you swivel it up.
- The volume in the earcups is uneven.
- You might find yourself annoyed that you can’t remove the mic when you’re using the headset just for listening to music.
What to Consider When Buying a Gaming Headset for Music
Any music lover knows that music covers a wide range of sounds. A good headset needs to be able to reproduce a similarly wide range of sounds, and this is called dynamic range or frequency range.
Dynamic range is measured in hertz. As the name implies, it’s denoted by a range, usually starting at 20hz and going into the tens of thousands. The wider this range is, the more sounds your headset can reproduce.
For example, 20hz-20,000hz is a very standard, run-of-the-mill headset. Chances are, you won’t find too many options with a wider range than this, but if you do, then you can be sure that they’re capable of producing a greater variety of sounds.
Resistance in a headset sense might sound like some joke about rebellious sound, but that is unfortunately (or maybe fortunately) not the case. Electrical resistance, measured in ohms, basically refers to voltage output required by an amp to generate a certain amount of power. In layman’s terms, this is how much power it takes for a headset to play the sounds you’re listening to.
This is why you can’t just buy an extremely expensive, high-end headset and plug it into anything. A high-end headset likely requires more ohms, so without an adequate amplifier, you’re not going to hear much from it.
The average gaming headset should range anywhere from 16-32 ohms. You probably won’t see too many listings discussing this, but if you’re an audiophile, it’s something to pay attention to.
If you’re going to be spending hours in it, the least your headset can be is comfortable, right? How disappointing is it to spend money on a headset, wait for it to arrive, then find it makes your head or ears ache whenever you wear it?
This can be such a problem, that I’ve even outlined posts for gaming headsets for sensitive ears. I should probably make a list of the most comfortable headsets at some point or another.
The problem is that what makes a headset comfortable is dependent on you. Ear cup shape can be important; I know someone who can’t wear round ear cups because they just don’t fit his ears right. His headset must have square cups.
Material is another important consideration. I find that the pleather material which is often used on earcups and the inner headband tends to be comfortable enough because it’s soft, but it can also be a little fragile. Felt is the material of choice in high-end headsets when it comes to earcup material.
One of the first things any conscientious gamer (and music lover) will consider is price. As you’ve likely seen already, prices for good headsets run the whole gamut, from cheap as dirt to almost expensive enough to require a second mortgage.
Keep in mind that, while this is not always the case, a higher cost usually denotes a higher quality. It’s worth starting your headset journey by outlining the lower and upper ends of your budget. Expect to spend anywhere from as little as $20 (cheap as dirt end) to upwards of $500 depending on the degree of quality you’re looking for and how much you’re willing to spend.
Headsets can easily surpass $500, too, but you’re generally going to find them within the range I outlined. Typically, the average headset is anywhere from $100-200.
Are Gaming Headsets Good for Listening to Music?
I’ve spent all this time listing a bunch of gaming headsets and raving about their virtues, but I think I should probably touch on an important question: should you even be using your headset for music? Is it really the best option? Alas, the answer is kind of complicated.
A gaming headset can be a perfectly good method of getting your daily music fix if you’re not an audiophile. The average person will find that a quality headset sounds great, in fact.
The truth, however, is that gaming headsets are built to do a lot of things at an at least average level. You’ve heard the saying: jack of all trades, master of none. At the end of the day, they won’t sound quite as good as a solid pair of headphones, but again, you won’t likely notice the difference unless you’re really into cutting-edge audio equipment.
Part of this is because consumer-grade headsets tend to be bass boosted. This brings out those nice, bass-heavy sounds like gunfire or explosions, but tends to mean that mids and trebles are drowned out.
Are Gaming Headsets Good for Singing?
If you’re hoping to make music with your gaming headset, you’re going to have a bit of a hard time. Finding a gaming headset with both top-notch sound quality and mic is tricky – they have a tendency to be better at one thing than the other, and you’ll likely want something that achieves both these things.
Honestly, if you’re a professional, you’re much better off getting a good microphone and headphones separately than attempting to use a gaming headset for singing. Again, though, the average person probably won’t notice the difference, so if you’re just looking for something to sing to your friends over as you destroy them in League of Legends, a good gaming headset will do fine.
It would be easy to just pick the most expensive headset on this list and tell you that it’s the best. I guess, in terms of sound quality, that’s likelier to be true.
But I personally believe the “best” of anything takes in a combination of qualities, from aesthetic to sound to price. In my opinion, the headset on this list that best combines those qualities is the Corsair Virtuoso. It sits firmly in the upper-middle range of headsets price-wise, and it has a wide frequency range with a long battery life.