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The great GamesRadar headphones roundup

SteelSeries Siberia V2
http://steelseries.com/
Price: $119.99/£119.99

These may be a bit pricier, but they are the most comfortable headphones we have tested. The ear cups sit around your ear with a nice, cushy feel and they are extremely light despite their bulky appearance. The head band features a soft, flexible strap with elastic connectors, meaning the entire headset just hugs your head beautifully and lightly. If you want to go for marathon gaming sessions and be able to forget you’re wearing headphones, the Siberia fulfills that role perfectly. It doesn’t hurt that they sound great, too. The headset we tested is designed for PS3, but it works on 360, PC, and anything, really. The microphone is especially cool – the stem is super thin and flexible, and the whole thing retracts into the left ear cup so you don’t have a silly mic sticking out of your head when you’re not using it.

The Siberia V2 is USB powered, has separate game and chat volumes, and has a 16 foot cord, but due to its need for a separate cord for the 360 controller, you can have quite a bit of cord draped all over your floor. There’s really nothing of note we have to complain about with these, and wholeheartedly recommend them.

SteelSeries Spectrum 7XB
http://steelseries.com/
Price: $179.99/£179.99

Above: This is a rear view of the set - you can see the head of the microphone sticking out on the left

These are contenders for our favorite headphones as well – they’re ultra-comfortable and super convenient without wires to trip over. If you want to use the microphone there is a cord that runs from the headset to the controller, and the mic won’t work for PS3 (they still work fine as headphones). They don’t sit quite as lightly on your head as the Siberia, but they also feel a bit snugger and we dig the big puffy cushions around the ears and on the head band. Yes, they are pricey, and what you’re mostly paying for is the luxury of going wireless. It might seem trivial, but after using these quite a bit we love having no wires around – it’s really nice to be able to just set the headset down when you’re done and not have to gather up all the cords, keeping your gaming area neat with no extra effort on your part.

They sound great for the most part, although we did encounter some distortion when we turned them up high. They also require two AAA batteries to run and they eat through them fairly quickly – we’d previously invested in several pairs of rechargeable batteries and a charger, so the battery thing is pretty much a non-issue for us, but if you don’t like having to deal with replacing batteries, it could be a deal breaker for you. Like the Siberia, the Specrum has the sexy retractable mic. It also features some cool sound customization: The LiveMix, when turned on, automatically drops the volume of game sound when teammates are talking so you can better hear what they’re saying. It also has a simple equalizer with three presets, and both features are activated by buttons on the headset itself.

NuForce BT-860
http://www.nuforce.com/
Price: $79.99

This extremely sleek and futuristic headset unfortunately has limited use for gamers due to its purely Bluetooth functionality. While it pairs successfully with the PS3, it only works for chat sound and not game sound, so it’s mainly for PC gamers, and even then you need Bluetooth on your PC. We have to say, though, that these sound fantastic, and with a bit of stretching of the head band, comfortable as well – note that at first they pinched our ears after extended wear. They have a build-in microphone (there’s a tiny hole in one side) and it can be paired simultaneously to two devices, which means you can pair it to your phone and then answer calls in the middle of your PC gaming without ever putting down the headphones. One issue is that you need the provided charger to replenish the batteries – lose that and you don’t have functioning headphones anymore. Also, while they’re not nearly as compact as a set of ear buds, they look super cool and work great for listening to music around town or when playing games on your phone/tablet.

V-MODA Crossfade M-80
http://v-moda.com/
Price: $229.99/£169.99

Take a look at that price. Yikes. These puppies are certainly extremely stylish, and the sound has beautiful range, with some nice highs, if not super deep lows. They sit on-ear similarly to the iFrogz headphones, but they don’t pinch nearly as much. We found them to be comfortable after stretching out the head band some, and they sit very lightly on your head. Some of our editors found them perfectly comfortable while others felt like their heads were being squeezed. They’re pure headphones and don’t have a mic, with a rather short cord. Yes, they sound and look very nice, but again, look at that price.

Turtle Beach Ear Force DSS 7.1 Channel Dolby Surround Sound Processor
http://www.turtlebeach.com/
Price: $89.99/£49.93

What the heck is this thing? That’s what everybody asks when they see it. It’s an innocuous little black box only a few inches across, and it’s not cheap. It’s kind of like magic, though. See, the DSS claims to transform any pair of headphones into virtual 7.1 surround sound. The amazing thing is that it actually works. We tested it while playing Dead Island – we managed to trap a zombie to where it couldn’t get at us, but was moaning continuously. We then stood our character in front of the zombie and slowly rotated in a full circle. Sure enough, the zombie’s moans seemed to float in a continuous, uninterrupted arc around our head. It’s like having 360 degree sound from your cheapo headphones. The fancy tech behind it messes with the way sound can be delayed from one speaker over the other, tricking your brain into interpreting it as coming from in front of or behind you. So if you already have some headphones and want an easy way to upgrade them, we absolutely recommend the DSS. It will increase your immersion in single-player games and give you a distinct advantage in multiplayer by allowing you to precisely pinpoint enemies.

We hope you found our roundup helpful - let us know if you'd like to see more features like this.

Topics

Hardware

22 comments

  • KishouTenpi - September 30, 2012 9:29 a.m.

    Could you do a more recent update of this? I've just recently bought a gaming PC so an essential list of phericals would be nice!
  • Jedipimp0712 - December 31, 2011 1:02 a.m.

    could you review more headsets and PC peripherals? I am looking for a new headset and mouse, and would like to buy some that are going to last me a long time, and are durable. Thanks
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  • ApplePieHitlerStevenson - December 23, 2011 7:25 p.m.

    while i don't use them for gaming the v-moda crossfades LP(not the newer M-80)sounds and feels amazing and are decently priced on amazon http://www.amazon.com/Crossfade-Over-Ear-Noise-Isolating-Headphone-Gunmetal/dp/B003BYRGKY/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1324696882&sr=8-4
  • Aforextreme - December 23, 2011 3:21 p.m.

    You guys tried a lot of iFrogz stuff which makes me happy, but you didn't try iFrogz EarPollution Throwbax? I don't think they've been discontinued, but I swear by those cans. If the "on the ear" style is too painful, these things go completely around the ear (at least, they do on my ears), they have amazing bass and they're really cheap too. ($20-$30). Also, they look like old-school headphones from the 60's, so they're stylish, to boot.
  • ZDrummer731 - December 23, 2011 10:13 a.m.

    I have X11's, love them. But, they flatten my hair.
  • Kieran712 - December 23, 2011 10:12 a.m.

    I have Astro A40's and I love them. They are just perfect for gaming and the Mixamp can be used to make any 3.5mm headset compatible with consoles if for any reason you prefer others
  • tacoman38 - December 23, 2011 8:28 a.m.

    the turtle beach DSS system is awesome. It's especially great for shooters, like in BF3, where I can here a tank long before it arrives, and hear the guys in the next room, and most useful, when a bullet whizzes by me, I can hear where it comes from. Highly recommended. And all of that carries over to other games, like Skyrim. track a dragon through the mountains by sound alone.
  • pr0tostar - December 23, 2011 2:38 a.m.

    This could possibly be the greatest article on gamesradar, but mind you that opinion is that of a headphone collector ;) Personally, I don't bother with bells and whistles. A nice, affordable pair of headphones that will change your concept of sounds is Skullcandy's skullcrushers. They may not look like the sleekest design, but the built in subwoofers; auh-mazing.
  • KillerTofu - December 22, 2011 8:38 p.m.

    Definitely keep doing features like this! There's way too many accessories and special hardwarez to keep track of on my lonesome. I use the wireless Turtle Beach Earforce X41's, got them for super cheap on a Woot sale. Can't listen through regular speakers during the serious gaming sessions anymore, the sound is too good with decent headphones!
  • Shinn - December 22, 2011 8:33 p.m.

    I don't know why anyone would go for a headset without a mic if they want to use it for gaming.
  • pr0tostar - December 23, 2011 2:39 a.m.

    Skullcrushers. Built in subwoofers and noise cancellation= poor man's surroundsound :D
  • d3v - December 22, 2011 6:50 p.m.

    Missing reviews for Razer, Tritton and Astro. Personally using an Astro A30 with their Mixamp and am very satisfied with it.
  • Pwnage19 - December 22, 2011 6:31 p.m.

    Why didn't you test any Trittons or Astros?
  • GamesRadarCheryll - December 22, 2011 5:57 p.m.

    Just going to take responsibility here for that backwards shot of the SteelSeries Spectrum 7XB. Whoops! Sorry Matt!
  • shawksta - December 22, 2011 5:54 p.m.

    My Turtle beach X11 broke so i need a new one thats better but similar, and by similar, i mean that i can connect the red and white av pieces to my Wii's red and white Av Cables so i can hear High Quality music while playing my favorite games,( I NEED IT FOR SKYWARD SWORD DAMMNIT) Interesting choices for Headphones GR...
  • JangoFettN7 - December 22, 2011 5:46 p.m.

    Great article! I might pick up that Ear Force DSS, if it really works that well.
  • mattmanmcfee36 - December 22, 2011 5:29 p.m.

    im suprised you guys didnt test out any trittons... but yeah. i have some x11s and i absolutely love them!
  • Jackelsburg - December 22, 2011 4:58 p.m.

    I've been thinking about getting a set of headphones and this guide definitely helps a lot. I would definitely like seeing more features like this. I know sony released a headset for the ps3 a little while ago, any chance you guys might see how well it performs? and if it works on anything else besides the ps3?
  • HankVenture - December 22, 2011 4:32 p.m.

    I hear... prizes :P

Showing 1-20 of 22 comments

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