Buying a new headset: where to begin?

#1 Edited by facktion (23 posts) -

Hey duders,

I'm trying to purchase a new headset to use for voice chat and to record video on my PC. Unfortunately, I'm the type of guy who gets overwhelmed by too much choice pretty easily, and I'm having trouble picking which one to buy. Ideally I'd like one thats <100$ with a decent mic on it. No need for surround sound or noise cancelling or anything fancy, its more the voice input quality that matters. Anyone have any recommendations?

#2 Edited by Stonyman65 (2871 posts) -

I REALLY like the Steelseries Siberia V2. It's super lightweight and comfortable (I can wear it literally all day no problem), I've dropped it on the tile floor and ran over it with the office chair dozens of times and it works fine. Doesn't have a scratch on it. The sound quality is great (just as good as regular headphones within the same price range) and it has a retractable mic so you don't look like a dweeb if you aren't using the mic. It also has an in-line volume and mic on/off switch. For around $89 it can't be beat. The only thing I will say is that you should get the analog version - the USB soundcard version is pretty bad, but the analog is fantastic. I'd be willing to say it's the best PC headset you can buy for under $100. SteelSeries Siberia V2 on Amazon

If audio quality is all the matters to you, I would strongly recommend getting a cheap audio interface (something like a Presonous Audiobox) and a cheap condenser mic and using that to record audio. It's a bit more expensive than $100, but the sound quality can't touch anything that you could do with a headset mic. Two completely different levels. That's getting more into home recording than just headset mic audio, but if you look at all of the big game commentary guys online that is what they are doing - recording the audio via a mic and interface and then syncing it with the video in editing. Presonus Audiobox Recording Kit

#3 Posted by awesomeusername (4216 posts) -

I don't know about headsets so I'll just say that the new PlayStation Gold headset is compatible with PC and smartphones and it's $100+tax. I recorded a voice message on my PS4 and it sounded pretty clear. I don't know how it would sound if you recorded though.

#4 Posted by EastCoastGamer (6 posts) -

I use the razer characias. It was $80 Canadian and it performs very well. The audio is great for that price point. And the mic is very clear.

#5 Posted by VACkillers (1075 posts) -

I'm personally a big fan of Razor headsets, they have superb quality and they last a long time. You don't need to get the super expensive head sets either, its hard to find the right one because you want a headset that is actually comfortable as well as delivering superb sound. Only advice I can give you is to places where it has a lot of reviews on a product and see what people say about it first before you go spending. Nothing like spending 80/100$ on a headset that you dont like soon as its out of the box and you put it on.

I suggest watching some youtube reviews.

#6 Posted by BBOYS2231 (216 posts) -

I just bought the SteelSeries 5HV3's. I really like them. Very comfortable, retractable mic, extra cords for length and phones, double braided wires.The biggest pro for me is that they are SUPER comfortable, even with my giant ears. From what I've heard, they use these in tournaments. Doesn't have surround sound or anything like that but the sound is still really great, and built specifically for gaming. I got them on sale but I believe they are $80. http://shop.steelseries.com/us/audio/steelseries-5hv3.html

#7 Edited by Amafi (923 posts) -

If you really want good audio in don't go with a headset with a mic on it. Go with one of the $100 blue yeti mics or something like that.

For $125 right now you can get a blue yeti condenser mic and a pair of audio-technica ATH-M20 monitor headphones on Amazon. World of difference from any inline mic and the cans are a steal at that price.

#8 Edited by Mister_Avatar (67 posts) -
@amafi said:

If you really want good audio in don't go with a headset with a mic on it. Go with one of the $100 blue yeti mics or something like that.

For $125 right now you can get a blue yeti condenser mic and a pair of audio-technica ATH-M20 monitor headphones on Amazon. World of difference from any inline mic and the cans are a steal at that price.

or snowball, but otherwise agreed. To give you an idea of the sound quality the snowball is what patrick uses for bombing in the AM. http://www.amazon.com/Blue-Microphones-Snowball-Microphone-Aluminum/dp/B002OO333Q/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1394274608&sr=8-1&keywords=blue+snowball

If you insist on getting a headset for audio spring a little bit more on the Astros A40s. Do not buy Razer, (this is coming from a guy who absolutely loves his Banshee's for PCgaming), turtle beach, and Logetic as their mics are the same ones the use in their console configs and are built for low bit rate over ip communication.

What I use:

PC Gaming: Razer Banshee: http://www.amazon.com/Razer-Banshee-StarCraft-Gaming-Headset/dp/B00BECKNGE/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1394274982&sr=8-2&keywords=razer+banshee

PC Recording: Blue Snowball + Audio Technica ATH M30X http://www.amazon.com/Audio-Technica-ATH-M30x-Professional-Headphones/dp/B00HVLUQW8/ref=sr_1_5?ie=UTF8&qid=1394275113&sr=8-5&keywords=headphones

Xbox Gaming: Astros A50 http://www.amazon.com/ASTRO-Gaming-Wireless-Headset-Xbox-360/dp/B0091WIOJ2/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1394275190&sr=8-1&keywords=astros+a50

One Last thing. Wait for a sale. I paid 70% of MSRP for my Banshee and 60% for my A50's. The mark ups on audio Equipment is really quite silly, if you find a sale usually it'll be for at least 30% off.

#9 Posted by Nixisia (6 posts) -

Whatever you do, don't buy a headset. Buy the headphones and the mic separately. Why? Buying them separately ensures quality (won't break apart as quickly, easier to repair if it does; if one part is unfixable you only have to replace one thing rather than the whole headset). Usually the internal wiring on headsets are much worse than on separate hardware. And most importantly, for the same quality you spend much less money.

For gaming I'd suggest looking at Seinhiezer Full-Size headphones. Avoid gimmicks like sound cancellation and gold-plated whatever whatever. As for the mic any cheap logitech mic would suit gaming and Teamspeak/Ventrilo/Mumble.

ps. Another big gimmick is 'surround-sound 5.1/whatever' headphones. Companies almost always throw five cheap speakers nestled around each ear with a weakass 'subwoofer'. You will NOT get a 'surround sound' effect at all. Focus on great headphones; not gimmicks.

#10 Posted by Slaegar (740 posts) -

@nixisia said:

Whatever you do, don't buy a headset. Buy the headphones and the mic separately. Why? Buying them separately ensures quality (won't break apart as quickly, easier to repair if it does; if one part is unfixable you only have to replace one thing rather than the whole headset). Usually the internal wiring on headsets are much worse than on separate hardware. And most importantly, for the same quality you spend much less money.

For gaming I'd suggest looking at Seinhiezer Full-Size headphones. Avoid gimmicks like sound cancellation and gold-plated whatever whatever. As for the mic any cheap logitech mic would suit gaming and Teamspeak/Ventrilo/Mumble.

ps. Another big gimmick is 'surround-sound 5.1/whatever' headphones. Companies almost always throw five cheap speakers nestled around each ear with a weakass 'subwoofer'. You will NOT get a 'surround sound' effect at all. Focus on great headphones; not gimmicks.

What xe said. Good stereo headphones will more often than not give you better positional awareness than the gimmicky 5.1 headphones. Look for something with a good sound stage like ATH AD700 if you are concerned about that above other things.

Zalman has an okay Microphone that attaches to headphone cords. Its like ten dollars and it sounds like ten dollars, but people will understand you on the other end if you aren't worried about supreme quality.

http://www.amazon.com/Zalman-Zm-Mic1-Sensitivity-Headphone-Microphone/dp/B00029MTMQ/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1394652529&sr=8-1&keywords=zalman+mic

#11 Posted by Zirilius (730 posts) -

I am very happy with Steelseries Sibera V2

I just purchased a set from Best buy and they are phenomenal. Can't recommend them enough

#12 Posted by StarFoxA (5163 posts) -

I'm gonna echo what other people are saying here. Definitely get headphones and microphone separately. I have Sennheiser HD 558s ($130 on Amazon) and the Zalman ZM-Mic1 ($10).

#13 Edited by Zelyre (1275 posts) -

I too recommend the headphones/external mic idea, especially if voice quality/comfort is a concern of your's. I bought a Blue for my girlfriend, who uses my Senheiser 555's. Its much lighter than any gaming headset, which makes it much more comfortable. The quality of the mic is nice, and she can move it around. You can also set it to cardioid and bi-directional(?) by using a switch on the back which makes it a bit more flexible.

I use my 585's and have a Rodes NT1A going into a cheapo berringer mixer. I use it for vocal/piano recordings too, but I'll use that setup for work calls/skype/steam chat/etc. The quality of the sound is miles above the Blue, but the mixer alone costs more than the blue mix. Without the mixer, a high end mic won't work, since you need phantom power.

#14 Posted by kelbear (491 posts) -

@nixisia said:

Whatever you do, don't buy a headset. Buy the headphones and the mic separately. Why? Buying them separately ensures quality (won't break apart as quickly, easier to repair if it does; if one part is unfixable you only have to replace one thing rather than the whole headset). Usually the internal wiring on headsets are much worse than on separate hardware. And most importantly, for the same quality you spend much less money.

For gaming I'd suggest looking at Seinhiezer Full-Size headphones. Avoid gimmicks like sound cancellation and gold-plated whatever whatever. As for the mic any cheap logitech mic would suit gaming and Teamspeak/Ventrilo/Mumble.

ps. Another big gimmick is 'surround-sound 5.1/whatever' headphones. Companies almost always throw five cheap speakers nestled around each ear with a weakass 'subwoofer'. You will NOT get a 'surround sound' effect at all. Focus on great headphones; not gimmicks.

Seconding what nixisia is saying here, buy them separately. Headsets/mic combos are typically overcharging for the quality they give you, buying them separately gets you better products. This is compounded further by the fact that any product with the word "gaming" on it is overpriced even further! (It's the same principle as pricing for wedding products/services, if you tell them it's for a wedding they'll jack up the price because they know you're not price-sensitive)

I'll add that you can go to www.modmic.com to get a very nice boom mic that can attach to whatever headphones you decide to buy.

If you're serious about recording quality, you'll need to spend about $100 for a real mic used for recording (again, don't bother with any microphone that talks about "gaming" is ).

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