Our Top Pick for 2016: SteelSeries Siberia 800 Gaming Headset with Dolby 7.1 Surround Sound
Read our full review.
Any gamer will tell you that communication is the key to defeating your enemies. Whether you are teaming up with your friend in the latest first person shooter or getting ready for a gruesome PVP match in a hot nextgen MMO, you need to communicate with your teammates to come up with a strategy and get the job done. Maybe you use a gaming headset to chat with your friends as you engage in epic adventures together, but when you lose that method of communication, it becomes a feat you must overcome, which in most cases means you will be purchasing a new wireless gaming headset. Technology advances fast, so knowing all of the new features available may soon become a daunting task. We have taken every important gaming headset feature into account and devised a list that will soon have you fully immersed.
Table of contents
- #1 Gold Pick (1st Place Winner)
- #2 Silver Pick (2nd Place Runner-Up)
- #3 Bronze Pick (3rd Place)
- #4 Budget Pick (Best Cheap)
DTS Headphone: X 7.1 Surround Sound
SteelSeries Next-generation Speaker Drivers
Accurate Unmatched Spatialization
Closed-back Ear Cups
Variable Mic Monitoring
Superior Accuracy, Clarity, And Detail
Dolby 7.1 Surround
15 Hour Rechargeable Battery
Dolby Virtual 7.1 Surround Sound
Oversized 50mm Neodymium Drivers
100% Fully Wireless
Retractable Directional Mic
Microfiber-wrapped Memory Foam Ear Pads
#1 Gold pick (Winner): SteelSeries Siberia 800 Gaming Headset with Dolby 7.1 Surround Sound
View it on Amazon for $227.00*
*Price typically updated every 24 hours. Current price may be different.
SteelSeries has been developing innovative designs that are perfect for gamers since 2001. Each headset they create is designed with a lot of thought; in fact, they even have headsets that are themed to go with some of the more popular games. Since our gold pick is a headset that has almost all of the features that you will need in a headset and has great testimonials to match the quality and functionality of this headset, it is clearly a quality option for a gamer. The SteelSeries Siberia 800 is a gaming headset that is a high quality option that is compatible with your PC, Mac, Xbox, and Playstation.
The Siberia 800 has a great aesthetic design that is sleek and stylish for any gamer. It combines matte black and a shiny gloss finish that is stitched with an orange thread that is on the memory foam headband and ear cups. When you have a friend over who wants to check out your game, but you only have one headset and no speakers, SteelSeries has included a sound share port to help get your friend in on the action. Another feature that is perfect for gamers is the fact that this headset is designed with a couch control function. The ear cup features a control wheel that can scroll through common features of the headset as well as increase and decrease the volume of the games you are playing. It also features a microphone that can be adjusted completely as well as retracted when you are not using it.
This headset utilizes a 7.1 Dolby surround sound audio system. SteelSeries goes above and beyond to bring you exceptional sound that will ensure that you never miss something your teammate says in the heat of a battle. This headset combines the typical Dolby headphone with Dolby Digital Technology and Dolby Pro Logic llx, which means the audio system on this headset will bring you a truly game breaking experience.
The transmitter also features an all black design that combines with a white display that will not be an eyesore in front of your television or gaming station. Audio sources as well as the volume levels can be seen on the transmitter. You can also see how much battery life is remaining in the headset. The display is large enough that you can easily keep track of it from the comforts of the couch or your gaming chair. With this headset, you can be playing your game up to 40 feet away from the transmitter, which gives you quite a bit of leeway.
The transmitter also acts like a mixer, which means that you can adjust the volume of your game separately from the volume of your team members. You can increase the volume of your friends to hear them over the sounds of combat, such as sword slashes, guns, and explosions, or you can lower the volume of you chatty friend and get deeper into the action of the game.
There is also a pre-programmable feature that allows you to set your equalizer to different levels. That means that you can have a setting for chatting with your friends that will enable you to hear them clearly. You can have a setting for catching all of the action in a tense moment. You can have a setting that raises the volume when a full motion video pops up during gameplay, and you can have a setting that lowers the game and chat volume to allow you to jam out to your music when you desire. Once you have all of these set to your liking, then you can switch between them with the touch of a button.
The Siberia 800 is designed to never have high latency. It uses a technology that effectively switches the headset between different frequencies. In effect, SteelSeries bypasses any and all issues that arise and cause lag between your headset and the game. Instead of staying on one channel until interference occurs, this headset utilizes technology to constantly hop between frequencies and avoid the interference all together.
The Siberia 800 runs on a lithium-ion battery that is designed to last for at least 20 hours. The best part is that you can change he battery in the middle of a gaming session without needing to wire up at all. When you purchase this headset, two batteries are generously included, which means that when one is in use, the other can be charged. Charging of these batteries occur directly inside the transmitter, so you will easily be able to reach it when you need.
Insofar as reviews, this headset has quite a few on Amazon, and out of all the users who reviewed this headset, 73 percent of them gave it a four star rating or above. Here is an example of one of these amazing testimonials: “I am a bit of a headphone/headset enthusiast. I wouldn’t consider myself an audiophile, but I know good sound when I hear it. I’ve spent a lot of money on headsets and headphones over the past few years looking for the perfect blend between great music sound and great gaming sound, and I think I’ve finally found my baby.” The Siberia 800 can be purchased on Amazon for about $265.
#2 Silver pick (Runner-up): Turtle Beach Ear Force Stealth 450 Wireless Headset with DTS
View it on Amazon for $99.99*
*Price typically updated every 24 hours. Current price may be different.
Turtle Beach has been associated with the audio business for over 35 years, and now they are focusing their efforts to create quality headsets that are designed for gamers. Turtle Beach is the manufacturer of our silver pick, the Force Stealth 450, and they have developed a true headset that is adored by many gamers. The first thing that you need to know about this headset is the fact that it is compatible with any PC set up, so if you love computer games this may be a great option for you.
This headset is made to have a subtle design and live up to the name Force Stealth. It features a design that is all black, save for the two red strips that connect the ear cup to the rest of the headset. The Turtle Beach palm tree logo can be found on the outside of the ear cup in silver as well as inside the ear cup in red.
This headset is designed with gamers in mind, so it is able to provide you comfort for extended periods of time. If for some reason the headset becomes annoying on your head, the ear cups swivel, which means that you can lay the headset on your desk and face the speakers upwards so you can easily hear the audio with having the headset directly on your ears. You can also place the headset around your neck and face the ear cups towards your ears if you desire.
The Force Stealth 450 features an amazing 7.1 surround sound system that is capable of providing you with rich sounds that will add depth and immersion to any game. You will be able to hear even the slightest sounds from behind you when you enable super human hearing mode, which is great for first person games where you could be ambushed from any angle. If you play a game where there is background weather, this headset really makes you feel as though you will be getting wet. The rain sounds so realistic, and everything else sharp and menacing to match the weather. You will have no trouble deciphering the exact location of the person who is shooting you, even with the rain in the background.
The Force Stealth also features controls at the base of the ear. These controls include a volume control, a mic control, and a place where you can change between a few preset options that you can set to your liking. Since the game volume and the chat volume are similar in style, it may be hard to differentiate between them at first.
The microphone on this headset is designed to be great at picking up sound, but the downside to this is that it can pick up others who are nearby as well. One way to avoid this is to enable a push-to-talk button, which means you will not be heard unless you press the specific button that you set to your microphone. Since this headset is PC compatible, this can be a great option, especially since you will be pressing a lot of keys on the keyboard as you play already. Some gamers prefer their push-to-talk button to be located on their gaming mouse so that it is easy to reach when you need to say something quickly.
The microphone on the Force Stealth features a monitoring system that lets you hear your own voice. This is a great way to know exactly how loud you are talking and helps you better modulate your volume. This is a great feature, because as a gamer, you can end up talking louder than you realize during the heat of the moment, which can disturb others in your area. In addition, if you want to simply listen to music or the audio of the game without talking, then you can remove the microphone.
This gaming headset utilizes a battery that remains charged for 15 hours, so it will not let you down during a gaming session. You can move up to 30 feet from the transmitter without losing the signal, so if you need to run and get a drink, you will still hear what is going on in the game. 74 percent of all the reviewers on Amazon have given this headset a four star rating or higher. It can be purchased for about $100 on Amazon.
#3 Bronze pick (3rd place): Corsair Gaming H2100 Dolby 7.1 Wireless Gaming Headset
View it on Amazon for $156.05*
*Price typically updated every 24 hours. Current price may be different.
Our bronze pick is manufactured from another company that has been providing us with innovative PC devices for over two decades. Corsair is devoted to bringing you innovative hardware, and in 2014, they launched a new focus on gaming products. The H2100 is one of these products, and it features high end technology and features to give a gamer a great gaming session every time they put the headset on their head.
The H2100 is compatible with PC gaming, but it is a headset that has more freedom than many other wireless computer options. It has a range of up to 40 feet, and it utilizes a battery that will give you at least ten hours of continuous gameplay. The headset is designed with a mostly black surface, but you can see a yellow ring where the ear cups are connected to the rest of the headset. There is also a soft blue light on the outside of the ear cups that can be seen when the headset is in use.
Insofar as comfort is concerned, this headset utilizes memory foam as a way to increase the comfort on your head. That memory foam is wrapped in a microfiber material that is great for extended gaming sessions. It will conform to your head without causing discomfort in any way. This headset is easy to control as well; in fact, it has a volume knob right on the left ear cup.
This headset features a 7.1 surround sound audio system that is designed to give any gamer an audio experience where you can not only hear every in game detail, you can also pinpoint the exact location where the sound stems from. The H2100 utilizes oversized 55 millimeter neodymium drivers to reduce distortion and optimize low frequency effects; in fact, these drivers are designed to give you an out of this world gaming experience.
The microphone itself has a noise cancelling feature that minimizes the sounds heard by your team mates who are in the same channel. So that means that young children who may be playing nearby will not be heard through the microphone. It also has a feature that mutes it completely. All you need to do is push the microphone into an upright position, away from your mouth, and it will be muted out of sight.
When it comes to reviews, the H2100 is enjoyed by the majority, but some are not happy with the compatibility options of this headset. On Amazon, 58 percent of the users who reviewed this product gave it a four star rating or above. Here is an example of a five star testimonial “My husband uses these headphones daily for conference calling at work as well as for gaming. Sound quality is great for both. He hasn’t complained about them at all (which is a change of pace, as he hasn’t been super happy with headphone purchases in the past).” This headset can be purchased on Amazon for about $110, and a two year warranty is included.
#4 Budget pick (Best cheap): Logitech Wireless Gaming Headset G930
View it on Amazon for $69.99*
*Price typically updated every 24 hours. Current price may be different.
Gaming is something for adults and kids alike, and not everyone who enjoys gaming is able to purchase a top of the line headset. In fact, many casual gamers who only play games a few times a week will not want to spend a ton of cash on a headset, especially when there are options out there that deliver very similar levels of quality at a much lower price point. Our ballin’ on a budget option is the perfect solution for those who are in that category. The Logitech G930 is also perfect for teenagers who may not have a cash supply of their own. Some parents may not be too happy about spending almost $300 on a headset, but offering them an option that is less than $100 will likely sit better and get you more of the features that you desire.
Logitech is a leading hardware manufacturer that has provided us with a low cost option in gaming and computer needs since 1981. Today, their products are distributed in over 100 countries worldwide. The G930 is a great headset that features an innovative design that will not look odd on your head. It is an all black style that adds red details to the design, which are stylish and subtle. The ear cups are padded with a faux leather fabric that is less abrasive on your skin than some of the other headsets on the market.
It features 7.1 Dolby headset technology, which is great for optimal audio quality that will enable you to determine the location of your enemies and your allies. It is perfect for gaming and hearing your surroundings from 360 degrees, which allows you to feel more immersed in the game you are playing. It utilizes a USB to ensure that the connectivity is optimal, which means it will have less interference than many headsets in this price range.
The G930 is designed with comfort in mind; the headband is fitted with memory foam to allow you to play for longer periods of time and the ear cups are made from the same material. The ear cups are also able to completely surround your ear, which allows this headset to easily block out ambient noise.
The microphone is designed with noise cancellation technology that allows you to play games in a noisy room and nothing but your voice is picked up. It also features an automatic mute when the microphone is pushed up into a non-active position. When the microphone is muted, there is a red indicator light to give you a visual queue. Nothing is worse than giving a whole scenario on how to defeat an enemy while you have your microphone muted.
The headset also features three programmable G-keys that can be bound to control different aspects of the game that you are playing. Maybe you want to use them to control different chat channels. Maybe you are in a channel with a group of individuals ready to take down a dungeon, but you are also in a channel to chat with your friends. These buttons can be the method you use to switch between channels. You can also use them to play music if you desire. There is also a volume control that is located right below the three G-keys. This gives you a means of quick access that makes it easier to control the in game volume to hear someone who is talking to you. There is also a mute button that can be pressed on the ear cup as well.
Insofar as reviews, the 58 percent of the Amazon users who have reviewed this headset have given it a four or five star rating. It has some flaws, but for a headset at such a low price point, many reviewers agree that it is a great headset for gaming. The G930 can be purchased on Amazon for about $79.
Having a headset that is comfortable is extremely important, especially since you will be using it for extended periods of time. Comfort levels will be dependent on different aspects of the headset. Firstly, the ear cup needs to be big enough to comfortably fit over your ear. It needs to be padded enough to be comfortable on your ears as well. The headband is another feature that you should consider in terms of comfort. Does it adjust to fit your head snuggly or will it be sliding down the back of your head? Also, make sure that the headset is not too heavy, you want a device that you can wear for hours and not worry about your neck getting stiff because it weighs a bit too much.
Sound Quality and Audio Features
Sound is an important aspect of gaming, but it is not only about hearing the sound in the game. A good headset will have surround sound features that make it seem like shots are coming from a certain direction. You will know where the in game NPC is standing in relation to your character, and you will be able to adjust the bass, the ambience, and the music to different levels while you play. A good headset will also have noise cancelation features that will use a microphone to pick up excess noise and determine if it is important or just ambient external sounds that can be ignored.
Make sure that the headset you are looking to purchase has volume controls. This is a great feature for gamers who are away from the console and want a little more of a surround sound experience during a cut scene. Some headsets also add vibration features to intensify the sounds and make you feel like you are really in the game.
Wireless Connectivity and Responsiveness
If you are getting a wireless headset, make sure that it does not have problems connecting to the transmitter. Having a slow connection speed can cause unwanted lag and latency in your chat, which means that your teammate may receive crucial information a moment too late. It also can mean that your audio does not line up with the game that you are seeing on the screen. Have you ever watched a movie when the voices are a few seconds off from the video display? It is an unfortunate experience that you do not want to repeat during your online gaming session.
Microphone Control and Chat Features
Some headsets have an open mic feature that allows you to talk at any point and the other individuals in your channel will be able to hear you. This is a great method to communicate with your team in a tense combat situation, but the down side is that they will also be able to hear every time you sigh, sneeze, or cough. They will also be able to hear others that are in the vicinity of your microphone, so if you have someone who is extremely talkative nearby, you may want to use a push-to-talk setting. Often times you can adjust this mode to utilize a button that is right on the headset.
Battery life is crucial for a gamer. Imagine you are leading your team through an important mission when your batteries die. You keep talking, but no one hears your commands. You ask your team to split up and flank from both sides, but instead you all end up on one side and the enemy sees you approaching. Your team suffers many casualties because the team did not know the game plan. Make sure to avoid this situation. Purchase a headset that clearly indicates when your batteries are low and also make sure that they can be changed in a quick and efficient manner. Don’t forget to always have spare batteries on hand during your gaming sessions.
If you are a gamer that plays on multiple platforms, then you will want a headset that can be plugged into each one of them. If you can have a headset that is compatible with your computer, your Xbox One, and your Playstation 4, then you can spend more to get that one amazing headset that will last you for years and can be used on all of your hardware.
Conclusion (Wrapping it up)
Gaming is an activity that people of all ages enjoy. Whether you are a teenager playing Call of Duty with your friends after school or an adult who enjoys blowing off some steam, gaming has a genre that everyone can enjoy. Headsets are part of the gaming experience that allows you to be fully immersed in the gameplay without disturbing others that may be nearby. You will need a headset that is wireless, so you can move freely without removing the headset as well as one that is comfortable enough to wear through long gaming sessions. What do you look for in a gaming headset? If you are not sure, then take a look at our pre-purchase considerations to find the path that will lead you to a purchase that will provide you with hours of entertainment.
Discussion and comments
We want to know what you think. Do you own any of the products we discussed? Which did you buy and how did it work out for you?
Do you know of an even better product?
- SIBERIA 800, SteelSeries
- Adam Roffel, STEEL SERIES X800 HEADSET REVIEW, Games Reviews, November 25, 2015
- Icehole, SteelSeries Siberia 800 Gaming Headset with Dolby 7.1 Surround Sound for PC/Mac PS3/4 Xbox 360 and Apple TV (Formerly H Wireless), Amazon, August 23, 2014
- Michael Andronico, Turtle Beach Ear Force Stealth 450 Review, Tom’s Guide, November 9, 2015
- Adam Beck, Review: Turtle Beach Ear Force Stealth 450, Hardcore Gamer, September 23, 2015
- James, Corsair Gaming H2100 Headset Review, PC Gameware, October 21, 2015
- Cilah12 (forum member), Corsair Gaming H2100 Dolby 7.1 Wireless Gaming Headset (CA-9011127-NA), Amazon, February 18, 2014
- Logic Lounge, Logitech G930 Wireless Gaming Headset Review, YouTube, November 6, 2012
- Shawn Sanders, Logitech G930 Wireless Gaming Headset Review, Gadget Review, March 29, 2016