Posts Tagged ‘audio’

Best gaming headset 2018: Our top PC picks

Best gaming headset

So you’ve built your PC, bought the best graphics card and the best gaming monitor to go with it; now all you need is some kind of new-fangled listening device to appreciate the sights and sounds of your favourite games, which is why I’m here to help you find the best gaming headset for your needs and budget.

For whatever reason, PC desktop speakers seem to have gone the way of the dodo these days, and the piddly speakers you’ll find in your monitor usually aren’t fit for anything but the briefest of email pings. What’s more, with several games now utilizing online play and various types of co-op mode, a gaming headset with a built-in microphone is often much more convenient than simply having a pair of regular headphones and a separate mic.

Finding a good gaming headset, however, is fraught with problems, as you’ve not only got to find one that sounds decent, but there’s also the quality of its microphone to consider as well as its overall comfort. There’s no use having an incredible sounding headset if the headband suddenly turns into a vice-like torture device after 30 minutes of use. To that end, I’ve created this handy guide, complete with everything else you need to know about buying a new gaming headset. Below, you’ll find my current favourites out of all the headsets I’ve tested here at Castle Shotgun, but as with any kind of ‘Best’ list, these picks aren’t set in stone. It will continue to change and evolve as I get new headsets in for testing, but for now, let’s count ourselves in…

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Alienware cut cords with their first wireless headset, plus a new mouse

Alienware Wireless Gaming Headset and Elite Gaming Mouse

It’s been almost ten years since Alienware released their last headset, but now Dell’s gaming division are diving back into the heady world of RGB lights, chunky microphones and oversized audio drivers with their very first wireless gaming headset, the appropriately named Alienware Wireless Gaming Headset. Or the AW988 for short.

Oh, and they’ve also released a new mouse to go with it that has interchangeable side ;plates in case you want to switch up the number of buttons you have for FPS games and MMOs. Let’s take a look.

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Move over ROG, Asus’ new TUF mouse, keyboard and headset are in town

Asus new TUF Gaming range

PC gaming’s E3 is finally here. No, not that other PC gaming show that’s taking place next week at E3 proper. I’m talking about Computex 2018, Taiwan’s yearly tech bonanza where the weird and wonderful of PC gaming hardware is shown off to the world for the first time. Sometimes these bits of hardware actually see the light of day. Sometimes they don’t. I suspect Asus’ new entry-level TUF peripherals, however, will fall into the former camp. Let’s see what’s in store.

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Corsair HS70 Wireless review: My new favourite wireless gaming headset

Corsair HS70 Wireless

PCs are a messy business. Most of us have wires up the wazoo, and probably not an insignificant number of knots and snarled cables to go with them. Problem is, not many of us are willing to forgo the speed and reassurance that comes from having a wired set of peripherals – except, that is, when it comes to our headsets. Life is so much better when you’re not getting throttled as you desperately try and untangle yourself from your wider pool of leads and flexes when you need to answer the doorbell or go downstairs for dinner, but good grief wireless headsets do cost a lot of money, don’t they?

Fortunately, Corsair have taken note, as their brand-new HS70 Wireless headset has finally arrived for just £100/$109. That’s a heck of a lot more appealing than the £140/$160 demanded by HyperX’s Cloud Flight and even the £130/$150 you’ll need to spend on the excellent Steelseries Arctis 7. Corsair hasn’t skimped on features, either, as you’re still getting virtual 7.1 surround sound and up to 16 hours of uninterrupted play time. Can it break into our best gaming headset rankings? Let’s find out.

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HP Omen 15 gets Intel Optane Memory refresh, plus new ear-cooling headset, mice and keyboard peripherals

HP Omen 15 2018

HP unveiled a mother lode of new Omen bits and pieces this morning, including a 2018 refresh of their Omen 15 gaming laptop with Intel Core i5+ and i7+ processor options (the + bit meaning they come with Intel’s super fast Optane Memory gubbins). HP also announced a swathe of new mice and keyboard peripherals for PC, plus the world’s first gaming headset with something HP’s calling ‘active earcup cooling technology’. Chilly earlobes is something I’ve always wanted from a gaming headset, so this has me very excited indeed. Click below for more ice-cold deets.  Read the rest of this entry »

Cougar Phontum review: A great headset for $50

Cougar Phontum header

Best known for their PC cases, power supplies and cooling fans, peripherals maker Cougar have a new gaming headset on the block: the Cougar Phontum. Eschewing the eye-catching spaghetti-style headbands of Cougar’s previous headsets, the Immersa and Immersa Pro, the Phontum (definitely not Phantom) aims to win hearts and minds with its oversized 53mm audio drivers, universal platform support and its rather nice price of just £43 / $50. Is it best gaming headset material, though? Let’s find out. Read the rest of this entry »

Sennheiser GSP 600 review: Bass overload

Sennheiser GSP 600

It’s a stupid thing to get excited about in the grand scheme of things, but Sennheiser’s new ‘contact pressure slider’ on their flagship GSP 600 gaming headset really caught my eye when it was announced at this year’s CES tech bonanza. It wasn’t exactly clear what it did at the time thanks to Sennheiser’s rather vague description in its press materials, but it gave me hope that maybe, just maybe, it might help alleviate my ongoing battle with the dreaded headset headband pinch and become the best gaming headset of all time. Here’s how I got on.
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Asus ROG Strix Fusion 500 review: A great, bassy headset undermined by fussy touch controls

Asus ROG Strix Fusion 500

The Asus ROG Strix Fusion 500 is probably the first headset I’ve used in quite some time where I haven’t had to automatically put the headband on the tightest possible setting. This surprised me, considering the enormous size of its ear cups, but the tight, rigid design of its headband meant there was no way I was getting this thing over my head without loosening it first. Finally, a USB headset for people with smaller noggins than I.

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Roccat Khan Aimo review: Better for bass lovers

Roccat Khan Aimo

The Khan Aimo is the final piece of Roccat’s smart RGB peripheral puzzle – or at least it is so far, anyway. Like their Horde Aimo keyboard and Kone Aimo mouse before it, the Khan Aimo uses Roccat’s intelligent RGB system to create a synchronised light show that adapts to the way you work and play, rippling and fading with every click, tap and pause across each of your devices.

Of course, unless you regularly have out-of-body-experiences when you’re playing games, the RGB effect on the headset will be pretty much lost on you, as there’s no way to actually see any of it once you’ve put it on. Not that it’s particularly overt in the first place, with only a thin strip down the side of each ear cup and a tiny little sliver at the base of headband, but at least your mates will think you’re “Très Cool” when you rock up with everything at your next LAN party. Okay, so the lighting might be a bit pointless, but to dismiss the Khan Aimo on those grounds alone would be short-sighted, as this is also another Hi Res audio certified headset just like the Steelseries Arctis Pro. It can also do Hi Res and surround sound at the same time – something the Arctis Pro is decidedly lacking.  Read the rest of this entry »

Steelseries Arctis Pro review: The best headset just got better, at a cost

Steelseries Arctis Pro

Ever since the Steelseries Arctis 7 rocked my eardrums at the end of last year to claim the top spot in my best gaming headset rankings, no other gaming headset has even come close to matching its supreme comfort or exceptional sound quality – until now. Enter its brand-new shiny upmarket sibling, the Arctis Pro.

Borrowing the same understated design and ski goggle headband as the rest of the Arctis line, the Pro takes everything up a notch, introducing Hi Res audio support, a dash of RGB lighting around the ear cups and some primo build quality to make it extra feel durable and luxurious.

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Turtle Beach Elite Pro review: Not for those with tiny skulls

Turtle Beach Elite Pro

A lot of headsets sound like they’re playing a game of buzzword bingo these days, and the Turtle Beach Elite Pro is no exception. Are you a pro gamer who’s into esports and want to play like the athletes you see on the internet? Well, the Elite Pro and its Superhuman Hearing tech, TruSpeak microphone, Aerofit ear cushions and ComfortTec fit and ProSpecs glasses relief system (yes, all actual words printed on the side of the Elite Pro’s box) could be the headset for you! Sorry, you’ll have to excuse me a minute, I think I just threw up in my own mouth.

Marketing jargon and crimes against the English language aside, though, and the Elite Pro is actually a very nice headset. A rather bulky,  heavy gaming headset, but a nice one nevertheless. But is it the best gaming headset? Read on to find out.

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Roccat’s Khan Aimo RGB brings LEDs and Hi-Res audio to its classic gaming headset

Roccat Khan Aimo RGB

Hot on the heels of their Kone Aimo mouse that came out at the end of last year, Roccat are now following it up with an all new Aimo-themed headset. Dubbed the Khan Aimo RGB, this USB headset is about to bring Hi-Res audio and its ‘smart’ Aimo lighting system to your waxy ear holes.

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HyperX Cloud Flight review: Near wireless gaming headset perfection

HyperX Cloud Flight

It’s been barely a week since the annual CES tech bonanza shut up shop for another year, but HyperX has wasted no time getting in its very first wireless gaming headset out into the wild. Dubbed the Cloud Flight, this 2.4GHz headset boasts the longest battery life of any of its wireless competitors – up to a whopping 30 hours to be precise.

That’s enough time to play a complete run through of AC Oranges or that same cathedral at the start of Dark Souls III over and over again because god damn Vordt of the Boreal Valley is just too damn hard. The question is, is it actually any good?

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Roccat Khan Pro review: A small wonder?

Roccat Khan Pro header

As gaming headsets go, the Roccat Khan Pro is delightfully diddly. Normally when I put on a headset, it feels like I’m encasing my head in something akin to a bike helmet, so large and cumbersome are their various ear cups that they’d probably provide adequate protection in the event of a roadside collision.

That might be because of my apparently pea-sized head, judging by the number of adjustments I always have to make to get a good fit, but it’s a rare thing indeed when I find a headset that could almost pass for a regular pair of over-ear headphones. You know, if it didn’t have a mic poking out the side or gigantic logos emblazoned on the ear cups.

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Best of CES 2018: The top PC gizmos you’ll want to own this year

CES 2018

The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) is over for another year. It was a slightly weird show this year, marred by an embarrassing power outage, one too many pointless robots (Cloi, I’m looking at you) and the creeping feeling that the world’s biggest tech show might just be becoming a bit irrelevant.

Fortunately, PC gamers still have plenty to look forward to in 2018, from giganto gaming screens and teeny tiny powerhouse NUCs to mouse mats that can charge your phone, metal-clad motherboards, and probably yet another hike in GPU prices when EVGA unleashes its crypto mining dream machine power supply that can run something silly like 14 Nvidia GTX 1070s all at the same time (thanks, guys). But all that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Read on for what I’m officially deeming the best of CES 2018, all without a single stroppy robot in sight.

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Corsair Void Pro RGB review: Supreme comfort marred by underwhelming surround

Corsair Void Pro RGB header

I thought it would be ages before I found another pair of headphones that could rival Steelseries’ superb Arctis 7 for best gaming headset, but it turns out great headsets are a bit like buses. You wait ages and then two come along at once. This time, it’s Corsair’s Void Pro RGB.

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Steelseries Arctis 7 review: The best gaming headset bar none

Steelseries Arctis 7

Readers, I think I’ve found it. The best gaming headset. For me, anyway. Thanks to a simple strip of fabric, Steelseries’ Arctis 7 is hands down the most comfortable gaming headset I’ve ever used. Instead of cushioning that damnable headband with memory foam and other such gubbins you normally find in online mattress ads, Steelseries’ so-called ‘ski-goggle’ design puts all the weight on a stretchy piece of material that wraps tightly, but snugly round your skull, while the main aluminium frame sits suspended above your head. No pinching, no headache, nothing. It’s beautiful.

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Steelseries Siberia 800 review: A great wireless headset let down by its microphone

Steelseries Siberia 800

For a wireless gaming headset, the Steelseries Siberia 800 sure does come with a lot of cables. Open up the box and you’d be forgiven for thinking you’ve bought the wrong headphones, as there’s a whole other mini box crammed inside it with more cables than you know what to do with. This is mostly because, unlike a lot of wireless headsets, the Siberia 800 uses a dedicated transmitter box that can be connected to a variety of different devices instead of a traditional USB dongle. Don’t get me wrong, it still feels like a slap in the face when the whole point of wireless headphones is to get rid of said wires, but there is method to this cable-hogging madness.

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Black Friday 2017: The best mouse, keyboard and gaming headset deals

Asus ROG Claymore

Your mouse and keyboard are vital parts of your PC setup, but they also break the most often, making Black Friday a great time to get a good deal on a new mouse and keyboard without spending an arm and a leg. We’ve also got some great deals on the best gaming headsets here as well, just in case you fancy upgrading your audio setup as well while you’re at it.

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Black Friday 2017 has already started at Currys PC World, now with even more deals

Twas the Monday before Black Friday and all through the web, the deals were stirring, yes, it’s that time of year again, let’s prep. That’s how it goes, right? As you may have noticed, it’s Black Friday this week, but instead of waiting until the big day itself, dozens of retailers like Currys PC World have started their discounts early, letting you beat the crowds and bag that all important deal before the masses start clicking feverishly at any saving they can find.

There are loads of  Black Friday products on sale at Currys PC World right now, with more being added all the time. Many products, for instance, have a handy ‘Black Friday Price Now’ sticker next to their listing, telling you their prices won’t change between now and the day itself. Others require you to enter a code on checkout.

Are they all good deals? Not necessarily. Black Friday’s a notorious time for retailers to get rid of unwanted stock and generally unwanted tat items, but we’ve done our best to round up what we think are the sales highlights. Of course, if you also fancy a new TV, camera, soundbar, fridge, washing machine or microwave oven, then you’re on your own. Read the rest of this entry »