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If you’ve got your hands on a new Xbox Series or PlayStation 5 you did a great job. The supply chain issues have kept console supplies low across the globe and I had to go through a long waitlist to get my hands on the consoles. However, I was pissed to find out that I couldn’t use a single console on both headsets.
If you have a wired headset that uses a 3.5mm audio jack or a USB-A port it can be connected to the console. However, most console players in this day and age don’t use wired headsets anymore. I move around a lot while playing and a wired headset is an inconvenience that gets in the way.
The headset incompatibility issue
When it comes to wireless headsets, both consoles only support WiFi-based wireless connection and don’t support Bluetooth headphones natively. It’s mainly for audio quality and low latency reasons. Moreover, the wireless headsets need to be licensed by the consoles and need Sony or Microsoft’s approval for being compatible. Since both camps don’t play nice with each other, manufacturers usually make headsets that are compatible with either the PlayStation or the Xbox Series X/S.
So, if you have both consoles like me and wanted to save a few bucks on wireless headsets, you’re out of luck. However, I did a lot of digging and have shortlisted a few models that have a PlayStation version and an Xbox version. These headsets are mostly the same and have two separate versions. Before you check out the in-depth reviews, take a sneak peek at this list.
|Headsets||Astro Gaming A50||Audeze Penrose||Turtle Beach Stealth 700 Gen 2||Razer Kaira Pro||HyperX Cloud Flight||Steel Series Arctis 9|
|Price||Check Price on Amazon||Check Price on Amazon||Check Price on Amazon||Check Price on Amazon||Check Price on Amazon||Check Price on Amazon|
|Drivers||40mm Neodymium Dynamic Drivers||100mm Planar Magnetic Drivers||50mm Nanoclear Neodymium Drivers||Triforce Titanium 50MM Drivers||50mm Neodymium Dynamic Drivers||40mm Neodymium Dynamic Drivers|
|Frequency Range||20Hz to 20kHz||10Hz to 50kHz||20Hz to 20kHz||20Hz to 20kHz||20Hz to 20kHz||20Hz to 20kHz|
|Weight||0.83 pounds||0.70 pounds||0.84 pounds||0.72 pounds||0.69 pounds||0.80 pounds|
|Battery||15 Hours||15 Hours||20 Hours||15 Hours||30 Hours||20 Hours|
Things to look for in a gaming headset
While all the headsets listed below have their strengths and weaknesses, they all have the basic attributes I’m looking for in a gaming headset. Here’s what I look for:
1. Wireless Connectivity – Although I prefer wired headsets for PC gaming, I detest them while console gaming. While gaming on a console I’m far away from the ports and don’t like to plug them into the controller since it’s going to move a lot as well. Wireless headsets are just more convenient, don’t suffer from latency issues as they used to, and deliver high-fidelity audio.
2. Comfort – Comfort is also a priority while I’m picking a new gaming headset. I don’t get the time to play games every day and when I do, it’s for at least 7 to 8 hours. If the headset isn’t comfortable enough I won’t be able to do that. Even if you’re gaming for just an hour every day, comfort should be a top priority.
1. Astro Gaming A50 (Best Overall)
The Astro A50 has been out there for a long time and offers all the bells and whistles you expect from a premium gaming headset. If you own a PS5, you need to buy the PS5 model. If you’re a console gamer, you’re very familiar with Astro and its flagship A50 headset. Since its release in 2011, there have been many iterations for improvements and compatibility with newer generations. However, with its high price tag, there are high expectations.
The A50s are designed to stand out with a futuristic “gamery” look. The headphones mostly have a polycarbonate body to keep the weight low. However, the body is covered with a soft touch rubber to give it a premium feel. The headband is also made from a mix of plastic and rubber and seems flexible enough to not break easily. The mic is also adjustable and can be bent in any way you want.
The cups also rotate at 90 degrees so that you can rest them on your chest while eating or during breaks between gaming sessions. I love the extremely fluid headband adjustment that’s made from metal and the base station is just too convenient. It doubles as a stand and has metal connectors for charging the headset. Even the earpads are very plush and are connected to the headset via magnets. I love how they can be removed and replaced within seconds.
When it comes to sound quality, the Astro A50 gives most headsets in its price range tough competition. Clarity and soundstage are great and help you to locate your enemies before they can locate you. However, I would suggest turning off the Dolby Atmos feature while gaming. It just makes sound muddy and ruins the experience. Instead, I turn them on only while listening to music or watching movies.
The headset also features a nifty equalizer and you can set different presets for different games. However, I didn’t like that Astro cramped in all the control buttons on the right earcup. I often have a hard time locating them and press the wrong button. I don’t like the microphone either. While it has sidetone out-of-the-box, I don’t expect this kind of quality from a headset that costs hundreds of dollars.
- Can be charged while gaming.
- Offers good sound quality and positional accuracy.
- Mic quality could be better.
- Sleep mode can be a hit or miss.
2. Audeze Penrose (Best Sound Quality)
The Audeze Penrose is far from a flagship headset from Audeze. However, it costs as much as the Astro flagship – A50. If you want this headset for Xbox, you can pick up the Penrose X. If you’re an audiophile you’re very familiar with Audeze. They are known for their high-end headphones that usually cost over a grand. While the Penrose comes with 100mm planar magnetic drivers it doesn’t come with that hefty price tag.
When it comes to technology the Penrose easily beats most other gaming headsets in its price range. Unlike most other gaming headsets it uses planar magnetic drivers. Unlike regular drivers, planners have a thin sheet of mylar or some other material with wires passing through it floating in the middle of two large magnets. The magnets push and pull the wires on the mylar sheet and move it to create vibrations and produce sound. This allows planar magnetic drivers to be lighter with a faster bass response and incredible clarity in the higher frequency range.
Due to the incredible drivers, this headset sounds amazing. I haven’t heard of any wireless gaming headset that sounds better than this, except its pricier cousin – Audeze Mobius. The details are incredibly crisp with a balanced bass response and the imaging is also exceptional. Apart from identifying your enemies to your left and right, you also get superb vertical positioning for FPS games. Moreover, when you activate the spatial audio settings on the PS5 and the Xbox, it gets a wider soundstage that’s hard to beat.
While it’s lighter than the Astro, it isn’t as comfortable since the leatherette earpads are very shallow, get very hot, and can be worn out easily. The microphone is also barely decent for the price. However, it makes up for that with its wide compatibility across a vast array of devices. Apart from supporting the specific console camp it’s licensed for, it can also connect to your PC, and phone via wired connection and Bluetooth.
While the headphone sounds best in their class and category, I would have preferred a less buggy experience on consoles. For instance, the controls need improvement, by a wide margin. I couldn’t get the chat and game sound mix at a workable level by moving those wheel controls on the headset. On PC, there’s software that allows great control for all the features of this headphone. This headset is for console gamers who prefer sound quality over anything else.
- Best-in-class audio quality.
- Compatible across many platforms.
- Supports both wired and wireless connections.
- Lacks features compared to cheaper options.
3. Turtle Beach Stealth 700 Gen 2 (Most Comfortable)
The Turtle Beach Stealth 700 Gen 2 shows that Turtle Beach may not be so great at naming their headphones but do an incredible job at making great audio gear. Apart from an Xbox and PS version, the headphone comes in black and white color options. For the price, this headset is incredible and has some features that I’ve only seen on flagship headsets. The headband is flexible and has a padded cushion to distribute the weight perfectly. Combine that with its thick memory foam earpads and the headset doesn’t feel like it weighs as much as it should.
The earpads are easy to remove, stay cool, and even when I’m gaming with my glasses, they don’t dig into my skull. The mic quality is also great for the price. While I couldn’t find any buttons to control the mic’s sensitivity, the headset has a mobile app that allows me to enable a noise filter.
The Stealth 700 also boasts great sound quality for the price. It has 50mm drivers that are light yet stiff due to the ridges around the driver. This allows the headset to deliver accurate and clear sound with some beefy bass. They can also get uncomfortably loud. I didn’t have the courage to crank up the volume all the way up. If you’re not happy with the sound quality, you can connect it to your phone and change the EQ profiles via the companion mobile app. Just do yourself a favor and don’t use the Superhuman Hearing preset.
I was also impressed with the battery life of these headsets. It far exceeded the 20-hour battery life promised by Turtle Bleach. However, I don’t know if I got lucky and somehow got the best one out of the production line. When it comes to buttons, you get two dials. One of them is dedicated to the game volume while the other one can be configured to control sidetone, Bluetooth volume(when your headset is also connected to your phone), and chat mix.
The headset also works well with both PC and phone. It has buttons for media control and there’s also a configurable Bluetooth pairing button that can double as a button for summoning your favorite smart assistant. If you’re a gamer who prioritizes comfort, it’s very difficult for me to recommend anything else at this price.
- Very comfortable despite being heavy.
- Long battery life.
- Decent microphone quality.
- The headband cushion isn’t removable
- The “Superhuman Hearing” EQ preset is a joke.
4. Razer Kaira Pro (Great for Immersive PS5 Haptics)
Similar to the other headsets on this list, the Razer Kaira Pro has two versions for Xbox and PS5. However, unlike the other headsets, the PS5 version has an edge over the Xbox version and maybe that’s why it costs more. The headset is mostly made out of plastic with a wide and thick metal adjustment headband and thick ear cushions.
Unlike the Stealth 700, you don’t forget that the Kaira Pro is a heavy headset even after several hours of gaming. The earpads are also different. The Xbox version has fabric earpads while the PS5 version has a leatherette material. I expect the PS5 version to get quite hot during warmer seasons. The headset is quite comfortable since the earpads have a full range of motion and rest very naturally on your head.
The key difference between the two headset variants lies in HyperSense. It’s Razer’s haptic feedback technology that works similar to the haptic feedback of the PS5’s DualSense controller. It creates more lifelike vibrations and makes your gaming sessions more immersive. The PS5 version also comes with a separate RF transmitter for connecting wirelessly to the PS5 and can be used across different platforms.
When it comes to sound quality, the headset is noticeably loud and has good instrument separation. However, the sound profile is quite warm and may even sound boomy for music listening and watching movies. The headset also does a bad job of audio normalization. That means when the volume is set high, the footsteps are very clear. However, if there are loud sounds like explosions, they can be very ear-piercing. I was able to fix that by tweaking the EQ profile via the companion app.
On the EQ, the Xbox version also feels more seamless since the EQ profile can be changed directly from Xbox. One more thing that this headset excels in is RGB. While I personally stopped caring about RGB, many gamers just can’t do without it. You can change the color of the Razer logo on this headset with the companion app and choose from several animations.
- The companion app is full of features.
- Great microphone for the price.
- The PS5 version has solid haptic feedback.
- The Xbox version isn’t as great as the PS5 version.
- The frequency response isn’t consistent.
5. HyperX Cloud Flight (Best Budget Gaming Headset)
When it comes to value, the HyperX Cloud Flight just makes sense. The Xbox version is aptly named HyperX CloudX Flight and both of them offer tremendous value for the price. HyperX does a good job of making this headset mostly out of plastic to offset the weight of the chunky battery. However, the plastic quality isn’t too great and you should be very cautious while handling these.
For a budget wireless headset, the Cloud Flight does very well with comfort and noise isolation. I don’t feel a skull-crushing clamp force and the noise isolation is surprisingly good even at moderate volume. For volume control, on the right side, there’s a scroll wheel. However, there are no tactile clicks and hence no precision. However, I love the mic control. An entire ear cup is a giant button for muting the mic and you can never hit the wrong button.
Connectivity is quite solid on this one except for the missing Bluetooth. Since the headset doesn’t have any software, you don’t need to download drivers. It’s plug-and-play and works quite well. But the same feature is its weakness. There are other headsets in this price range that offer software control, EQ presets, and more. The microphone quality is also average. It sounds highly compressed. But the noise cancellation keeps ambient noises from mixing with my voice and that’s a win in my book, given the budget price.
The wireless range and battery on this thing are also insane. I was able to get more than 30 hours of battery life and while gaming I was still able to talk to my team while I was in another room fixing myself a snack. The game audio was also clear without any loss in quality.
When it comes to sound signature, it’s very similar to the original HyperX Cloud. That means you get deep bass that doesn’t overpower the mid-range and the treble is emphasized without sounding too harsh. Moreover, I wasn’t expecting the stellar stereo imaging this budget pair delivers. It’s an easy recommendation if you’re on a budget.
- Incredible battery life.
- Great value for money.
- Good noise isolation even in low volumes.
- No software control.
- Joints and hinges feel fragile.
6. Steel Series Arctis 9 (Best In Style)
The Steel Series Arctis 9 is a looker and the same holds for the Steel Series Arctis 9X (Xbox version). It’s the best-looking headset on this list. Despite those graphic lines on the headband, this is the only headset on this list that I wouldn’t mind wearing in public. When it comes to the build, the headset is completely plastic, apart from the headband. However, the plastic is of high quality, and apart from the notch that connects the headband to the earcups, I wouldn’t worry too much about it.
The controls and features are a strong point of this headset. On the right earcup, there’s a mic button and volume wheel while the left earcup has a chat mix and the retractable microphone. The headset also has a 3.5mm share port that allows you to connect another headphone and listen to the same thing that’s playing on the Arctis 9. It’s a cool and niche feature, to say the least. The companion app is also very powerful and allows all kinds of EQ tweaks.
The sound profile is also very impressive. I’m very comfortable using this headset for both gaming and listening to music. It sounds very natural and balanced without the bass or treble overpowering or leaking into the mids. This makes the headphone great for playing all sorts of genres, from FPS to RPGs and those AAA titles with cinematic sound. I was surprised at how clear the footsteps and gunshots were despite explosions going off right in front of me.
The mic quality is also very good on this headset. While it’s connected to my console I can connect it to my phone or computer via Bluetooth and change everything from sidetone settings and EQ to mic volume and chat mix. It’s highly customizable and delivers one of the best performance in gaming headset mics at this price range.
- Slick design.
- Great mic quality.
- The companion app has graphic EQ.
- Bulky build
- Tight fit.
When it comes to gaming headsets you have many choices and due to the console licensing issues, there’s no single model that works natively on everything. However, the above-mentioned gaming headsets come in both flavors – Xbox and PlayStation and you can choose one that best suits your needs. I hope this article was able to narrow down your choice.