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Surround sound gaming headsets are an excellent way to increase the immersion of your experience. Games benefit from loud spatial sound effects, and while speakers can potentially replicate this experience, a mind-blowing speaker setup is outlandishly expensive and impractical for most buyers. Only people living a mile away from their nearest neighbor can use a 7.1 sound system’s to its full potential without risking a visit from the police.

A gaming headset 6 Accessories That Can Make You A Better Gamer 6 Accessories That Can Make You A Better Gamer Most games are a test of skill. You either face the game itself, or other players, and in either case your ability to interact with and manipulate the game ultimately determines success or failure. Or... Read More is a far more practical choice that offers an even more intimate audio experience for a fraction of a price. High-end headsets supporting virtual 7.1 surround sound typically retail for about $100. They include a mic, as well, which is an absolute must for competitive gamers. Here are the five best 7.1 headsets you can buy right now.

A Note About 7.1 And Virtual Surround

Before reading on, I’d like to clarify how these headsets work. None of the headsets listed here support “real” 7.1 surround. Instead, they emulate it from a 5.1 surround (or less) signal.

This may sound like a bummer, but it’s more of a boon. Why? Because most games don’t output 7.1 sound natively. The Xbox 360 10 Of The Best Xbox 360 Games You Must Play [MUO Gaming] 10 Of The Best Xbox 360 Games You Must Play [MUO Gaming] At this time of year more than any other there will be a host of new console owners getting to grips with their system. And after they get bored of the games bought alongside their... Read More doesn’t support it at all, nor do most computers that lack a discrete sound cards Sound Cards: Do They Really Enhance PC Gaming? Sound Cards: Do They Really Enhance PC Gaming? That has damaged the market for sound cards, of course, but there’s still a niche of high-end cards that promise better sound quality relative to integrated alternatives. Is there any truth to this claim, or... Read More . This gives virtual surround the opportunity to create spatial effects that don’t exist in the source, and the best sets do it well enough to fool the average listener.

Logitech Wireless G930 ($89.99, PC)

logitech930

Logitech’s G930 is the number-one selling PC headset (according to Amazon), and a look at the specifications makes it easy to see why. Besides 7.1 virtual surround, this headset also offers fully wireless operation, programmable keys that can be used to activate or change voice chat settings, and a noise-canceling boom mic that is among the clearest available. And all of this costs just $89.99!

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There’s no major flaw to point out here. Some customers have said the headset’s plastic housing can crack after many hundreds of hours of use, but most competitors do not offer superior build quality. On the whole, this is the default choice for a gaming headset; if you just want to buy a decent one without the hassle of research, stop reading now and grab the G930.

Corsair Vengeance 1500 ($105.99, PC)

corsair1500

If the G930 is the default choice for the everyman gamer, the Vengeance 1500 is the must-have for hardcore competitive players. This headset has earned a number of awards for its top-notch headphone and microphone quality as well as its brushed-metal construction which looks and feels more durable than the plastic offerings on most other headsets. Another nice extra is a backlit volume control dongle that’s easy to access in the darkness of a game-cave.

The metal does increase the weight a bit, and reviewers have noted these cans can feel a bit tight, so gamers with a (literally) big head may want to pick a different headset. This is also a purely wired headset in spite of the price, which means it’s not easy to use in a living room setting. If these downsides don’t bother you, however, the 1500’s superior audio quality makes it a must-have.

Plantronics GameCom 780 ($72.99, PC)

gamecom780

Plantronics is best known for its enterprise-game headsets, which are used in call centers the world over, but the company also has made forays into the consumer market. The GameCom series is its line of gaming products, and the inexpensive 780 is a decent option for gamers on a budget.

While reviewers have generally found that the GameCom 780’s quality is not on par with the G930 or Vengeance 1500, it’s also not far off the mark, and the headset earns praise from most for its big, cushy phones and generous size.

With that said, the 780 doesn’t offer any extra goodies. This headset doesn’t include programmable buttons, backlit volume control or wireless operation. 7.1 audio aside, this is simply a basic headset sold at an obtainable price.

Steelseries Siberia V2 ($97.99, PC)

steelseriesv2

Steelseries’ Siberia is a high-end competitor to Corsair’s Vengeance 1500. Like the Corsair, the Siberia offers solid sound quality for both the headset and the microphone; while professional reviews seem to favor the 1500 overall, the V2 is also highly praised.

The real reason to buy the Siberia V2, however, is because it’s different. The design is open an airy compared to other headsets, which feels more comfortable to some users, and the microphone actually retracts into the headset when unneeded; a more elegant solution than a mic that flips up or detaches. Another advantage is the set’s removable virtual 7.1 sound card, which can be left at home to improve portability.

I imagine that most gamers will be happy with what the G930 or Vengeance 1500 offers, but for those who aren’t, the Siberia V2 offers a different path. This headset also manages to limbo under the $100 mark, which makes it a bit more obtainable than the Corsair.

Astro A30 Audio System ($199, Xbox 360/PS3/PC)

astroa30

Console headsets with Virtual 7.1 surround are rare, and by rare, we mean “basically non-existent.” Only a few companies offer a 7.1 console-compatible model, and even fewer have bothered to keep their products up to date. This makes the Astro A30 an obvious choice for the console crowd.

Astro makes virtual surround possible on multiple systems through the use of the Astro MixAmp, a separate piece of hardware (sold with A30 Audio System, or available alone) that can mix virtual surround. The amp also has selectable equalizer settings and allows for on-the-fly voice volume adjustment, which is handy when trying to communicate with teammates through a volley of weapons fire.

Audio quality is only respectable; not bad, but not as good as the $199 price tag suggests. Better quality can be had with the Astro A40 and A50, but they’re even more expensive. PC gamers should probably stick with a Logitech or Corsair, as the Astro’s benefits are most relevant to the console crowd.

Conclusion

As already mentioned the Logitech G930 is very much the go-to for 7.1 virtual surround headsets. It does everything well, is the only wireless model, and is reasonably priced. Competitors are better suited for niche cases, or for buyers who won’t accept anything but the best audio quality possible.

Do you own a 7.1 surround headset? Let us know which model you own and what you think of it in the comments!

  1. john titor
    August 29, 2016 at 3:30 am

    the xbox does actually support surround sound, do you even know what you're talking about or are you making shit up and being a clueless fa*? no offense kid but stfu if you dont know what you're talking about?

  2. Arnold Palmer
    June 21, 2016 at 10:34 pm

    I have the Razer Man 'O War, they have actual 7.1 and are completely wireless through blutooth, they have amazing bass and a great quality mic. Ive had them a few months and show no signs of wear, music on my mobile devices sound great with the extra bass, and they get so loud i can use them as speakers

  3. Rich
    April 27, 2016 at 12:11 pm

    I have had my Logitech G35's (the wired version of the G930) for a few years, and until just recently when the mic stopped working, they have worked flawless. Good sound quality, good simulated surround, and until the recent driver update that eliminated them, the voice morph software was fun to use on occasion to rub it in to opponents (taunting someone in a squirrel voice is awesome). I hear many people complaining that they are flimsy...what do they do to them, throw them across the room? I game a LOT so they have a lot of "miles" on them. have a large noggin (hat size 7-3/4) and they fit comfortably, and have never broken like so many say. I take care of my stuff, others don't, so maybe that's where many complaints of build quality come from. I am looking to replace my beloved G35's, maybe with a true 7.1 surround set with multiple drivers in each earcup rather than simulated surround. If I cannot find a set in my budget, I would not hesitate to buy another set of G35's, as I really don't need the wireless feature of the G930's.

  4. David R.
    April 13, 2016 at 3:44 pm

    I have the G930 and, as others have mentioned, the plastic frame is flimsy and broke within 30 days. I repaired it somewhat with some superglue, but lost the swiveling on the side that broke. The sound and noise canceling are excellent. I haven't used them for gaming. My primary use is having a background noise free environment while on Webex, GoToMeeting and other conference calls using my PC at work (High end HP Laptop with excellent sound capability.

    I just put together a gaming rig with 7.1 sound and look forward to trying the G930 on it. My rig is based on ASUS MoBo and Strix 980 Ti and was hoping to see info or a review of their Strix 7.1 headphones. They appear to have similar control setup to the Razer Tiamat. Both are priced in the same range as the Astro A30. Decisions, decisions...

  5. Sean L.
    December 21, 2015 at 3:45 am

    I've tried atleast a few of these, including the top recommended G930 and corsair vengeance 1500.

    The G930's wireless is nice, but ultimately the frame holding one of the earcup/speaker/whatever broke, leaving it hanging by its wires. Flimsy plastic. Also, the logitech headsets in particular suffer from a somewhat low maximum volume.

    The corsair 1500, on the other hand, is still in one piece to this day, having owned it for about 3 years now. It's just the entire left speaker died about 2 years ago. Still, for the 1 year it was actually working, it had the best sound quality and seemed to be the sturdiest headset i've tried.

    I've also used a razer meglodon, which is an abortion of a headset in many respects. Overpriced, underwhelming 7.1 mixing, and utterly horrid drivers. I had to flash mine the day I got it for windows 7 to even recognize it as a 7.1 audio output. Silver lining though, it has the loudest maximum volume of all the headsets I've tried. And it's still intact after roughly 6 months of use.

    Right now I'm back to basics, using a logitech G35. It's basically the wired equivalent of the logitech g930. Same build quality(not the great) and same underwhelming volume, but it's fairly cheap (60 bucks or so) and emulates 7.1 very well. Being wired, it has a wire, shock, I know. But the wire on the G35 is extra annoying in that it has a bad habbit of curling in upon itself into impossibly tight spiral knots; you have to regularly unplug it and dangle it by the usb side for it to unwind itself. As an aside, I'll mention now that I'm on my third G35 headset, the first two having broken in some manner. One had the left ear-thing fall off, the other had the headband snap in half.

    I still favor the G35 because they're cheap and I seem to have horrible luck with headsets failing or breaking.

  6. Cam P
    September 27, 2015 at 8:20 pm

    I've had my G930 for 3 years. I've had to use a lot of electrical tape to keep it together. The largeness of the headphones cause them to be hit against walls when I am in close spaces walking around the house. This has caused a lot of damage that is now covered up by the electrical tape. The microphone also randomly fell out of its socket, so I had to tape that back too. The mic quality is not so good; If you plan on recording with the intent on quality, you will need a better mic. Otherwise, the sound quality of the headphones is excellent. I have my surround sound always enabled as it adds a certain depth to all audio - even audio that is not surround sound. It works with the PS4 in stereo. You need the G930 software in order to use the surround sound. The connection is not so good; Walking about 20 feet you will start to get cutouts. Random cutouts are also common, even when you are right next to the transmitter. The battery lasts a few hours, not the best. The headphones create a big divot on your head, so I'd recommend wearing the top of the headphones near the back of your head. Not to mention the software glitches. Even if the software is running and your headphones are on, the programmable buttons, the surround sound, mute button, and even the power button don't work properly all the time. Resetting the headphones and software in different patterns is required when these things don't work. Pressing the small reset button with a needle is required when the power button doesn't work.

    So pros:
    Good quality audio
    Good surround sound
    Somewhat comfortable

    Cons:
    Weak structural integrity
    Fuzzy mic quality; Good for gaming chat; Bad for recording
    Range is not the best (Going through about 1 or 2 walls)
    Random cutouts
    Unreliable programmable keys, surround sound switch, mute button, and power button

    • Mihir Patkar
      September 28, 2015 at 6:23 am

      What a fantastic, thorough reply. Thanks so much for detailing your experience with the G930, Cam

  7. Daniel Schofield
    August 12, 2015 at 12:15 am

    Coming from the camp of cheap stereo to 7.1 virtual I had a huge leap. I picked up the G930's on a sale shortly after release and definitely enjoyed them the whole time I had them. I still have them though I've replaced the ear and top padding and battery as well (once - time for another as I write this).
    I dove for the 780's when they released and couldn't enjoy them for more than a couple hours at a time - especially in the summer, they're hot and pinch my ears. Using them with glasses makes it worse. No real sound blocking so you hear a lot around you.

    My friend picked up the 780s from me and ended up doing that same thing. He used them for a few months and the quality was/is still decent from them but they certainly don't beat the price/quality of the G930s in my mind.

  8. Alexandre Alencar
    February 19, 2015 at 10:45 pm

    I have a Turtle Beach Stealth 500X for XBOX One. It´s a full wireless headset with 7.1 channels. It works great, nice battery life, optical connection, external sound monitoring and more... http://www.turtlebeach.com/product-detail/xbox-one-headsets/ear-force-stealth-500x/552

  9. Adel
    January 22, 2014 at 2:53 am

    i have the logitech g930 and i love it, comfortable / great audio great mic, my only grip about it that is wireless, dont get me wrong it will give atleast 8 hour on a single charge but i would LOVE wired version

    • stefabb
      January 7, 2016 at 6:34 pm

      There is a wired one usb

  10. Chris Rodriguez
    January 21, 2014 at 5:27 am

    It was hard for me to decide which headset for me to get for COD but I saw a bunch on this site and settled on the Logitech G35 I love it and glad I made the choice! Check out the specs here: http://gamingheadsets.info/logitech-g35-7-1-channel-surround-sound-headset/

  11. Jen
    January 12, 2014 at 2:12 am

    Hey nice website.. I am an gaming guru and headsets are always a big deal. You get what you pay for. Has anyone read about the ear force xo 7 from turtle beach.. I just wrote a few reviews on the product after review it from the company.. if anyone is interested.. Not trying to spam just thought someone might be interested in it.

    http://www.bestgamingconsoleheadsets.com

  12. Cain Kamikazi
    December 19, 2013 at 1:06 pm

    i've bought and had the Corsair Vengence 2000 for a while now, and this puppy is beautiful, sound is amazing, there is just one thing that pulls me, quite litterally yanks me from recommending it to anyone else, cheap plastic, sure they look like metal, like brushed aluminum, however that couldn't be further from the truth, the plastic "popped" and hit my temple hard enough to throw me off balance, i looked around cuz i thought my friend threw something at me, but it was the headset spring tension that slammed that broken shard into my head. For about a week it held together with a Zip-Tie and some tape, but then that cheap plastic cracked even more, and now, a chunk has fallen off and its back to its useless lopsidedness. I will never buy a headset from Corsair again, so far the only good thing they make in my opinion is their PSU's, of which i own several, and the AX1200i.

  13. Matt S
    December 3, 2013 at 5:45 pm

    That's a good find, I wonder what the quality is on it. Also, it's only $179 here in the states, which is quite a lot but also not outrageous if the headset provides quality audio.

  14. Dave Vaughan
    November 15, 2013 at 3:00 am

    Sony Pulse Elite Headset, GTAV edition ( approx NZ$278 from eb games )

    A Wireless headset with a usb dongle soundcard, which also doubles as a base for use with regular mp3 players or iDevices, where you plug the dongle into a usb power source and the included 3.5mm cord to plug the player into the unit.

    It has an invisible integrated mic, which I haven't used, and all the controls are located on various sliders in the edges of it. You can adjust the main volume, the voice / sfx mix, VSS processing and the rediculous bass driver. It has modes for music, movie, brawler shooter and a custom mode for gta, which takes advantage of its bass to give feedback like things hitting you and heartbeat. Its like having a rumble-pack attached to your head. Skrillex and Deadmau5 have gotten even cooler for me now.

    I get approx 8-10 hours of play time with them, they charge using the same dated usb mini plugs that the ps3 controllers use (I'd have preferred micro but it is a sony product after all), and offer driver free installs on windows (have yet to try on xbox). Jiggery pokery with a razr driver allows amazing surround on pc, but i only managed this once as the setup tool sucks...

    They are nice big closed cup headphones, over ear (not on) so they are really comfortable for an 8 hour workday listening to my tunes. They are REALLY comfy, yet have enough weight to them that they dont feel cheap either.

    Anyway, my 2 cents. Other than the fact sony should be offering these more readily though other stores here, the only store that had any idea of their existence was eb games.

    Oh and as for why I'm commenting on this page, I'm looking for another headset that has better ( for tech muppets like myself) support out of the box for ghosts and bf4 on PC with full surround . As for ps3 gaming sound, I dont believe anyone could make a better headset.

  15. gzylo
    October 27, 2013 at 10:22 pm

    G930 here, love it.

    Had wired version before.

    The G930 has a small issue, usual stuff, its charged by mini usb and sockets tend to break. I had to RMA mine, but got replacement without any problems. Still would recommend to buy them, you know still listening to music while quickly getting coffee :)

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