Recently needed to replace my gaming headset below is my journey to picking the right headset for both my Xbox One and PC at under $150. Forgive the long detailed opinion but hope this helps someone in the same position.
Did some research and ended up trying out 6 top headsets according to some popular YouTube and site reviews.
1. Razer Kraken Pro V2
2. Turtle Beach Elite Atlas
3. Corsair HS50
4. Sennheiser GSP 300
5. Kingston HyperX Cloud Alpha
6. Sennheiser Game One / Sennheiser PC37x
I have a slightly larger than normal head and ears that made looking for a new headset a little tougher than it already is. I was looking for something that was very comfortable since I do end up gaming for 4-8 hours at a time. Some headsets either felt too much clamping pressure like the Turtle Beach Elite Atlas or some ear fatigue and heat. Some headsets like the HyperX Cloud Alpha would have noise bleed when there were loud explosions at higher volume.
Also wanted something that gave a good sound balance without over powering bass that distorted or muddied the mids and hight like the Kraken Pro and provide great directional awareness since I play a lot of first person shooters like Siege and Battlefield. I also play open world games like Witcher and Odyssey so I still wanted to get that large world sound profile.
In trying out all these, ended up preferring open back headset so I wouldn't miss a delivery or an important call. Instead of the closed back which did provide a more emersive experience since they had the extra benefit of passive noise cancelation. Open back headsets naturally provides that open and large sound stage without losing detail that surround sound simulators try to emulate.
Audiophiles will tell you that a high quality, well tuned set of open-back headphones being fed standard 2 channel audio will actually emulate sound placement, like direction of gunshots or footsteps, more accurately and deliver higher sound quality than what you get from digital surround sound processing.They say that one of the side effects of all the extra processing used to create virtual surround sound is that audio quality becomes "muddy" or not as clear and crisp. I have switched between Dolby Atmos , Windows Sonic, and stereo uncompressed, only noticing very slight differences in audio quality, with stereo sounding the best overall in most games.
In my opinion the Sennheiser PC37x which are based off and almost identical to the Sennheiser Game One (only difference is color) is definitely the best of the bunch.
Sennheiser stood out because they are an audio company first and foremost and based the Game One off their entry level audiophile headphones. They have no enhancements on the drivers. Instead emphasis is placed in sound fidelity. No low-end boost or treble enhancements which in turn means very balanced frequency response. The bass is tight with very low resolution. Distortion free and doesn't bleed into the mid range. Also very clear element separation. Warm audio with smooth treble that doesn't disappoint. Could hear footsteps and easily tell which direction they came. Being open back, some might find they want the bass to be a bit more heavy. If you like the Beats bass heavy nature this might not be the set for you.
These were also by far the most comfortable of all the ones I tried. Velour ear cups are breathable and fit even my large head and ears didn't cause any heat or discomfort even after more than 5 hours of gaming. Clamping pressure was just right.
The mic was also by far the best one of the bunch. No sound bleed even at max volume. Friends I game chat with could definitely tell the difference. They are noise canceling and does a good job of filtering ambient noises including jumping kid on the upstairs apartment.
Build quality is solid even if it is a plastic construction. Upside is this is very light and helps prevent fatigue during long gaming sessions. Cable is braided and replaceable.
Price is on point for my budget at just over $111 on massdrop website. Also best buy will occasionally put the Game One on sale for $125.
Icing on the cake is that this headset is understated. They look good, no overboard design like some of the other ones but might not want to wear this in public since the mic is not datachable. In trying these for myself no wonder a lot of reviewers stated this is their daily driver and went back to using it even after reviewing even much more expensive ones.
If you want a more bass heavy sound and don't mind an overboard design and can spend $180 get the Sennheiser GSP 500.
Razer Kraken Pro V2
- Too bass heavy. Ear pads get hot after extended use.
Turtle Beach Elite Atlas
- Good mids and highs. Too much clamping pressure. Could barely wear it for an hour.
- Good balanced sound even competing with headsets twice the price. Very budget friendly. Best headset I've tried under $50. Cables not braided or replaceable. Plastic build is solid but far from premium. Ear cups may get slightly warm over extended periods.
Sennheiser GSP 300
- Great price at $80, good balanced sound, comfortable, great mic. Closed back. Good noise isolation. No sound bleed even at max volume. Wires not braided and not detachable, ear pads not very breathable will get hot after extended use.
Kingston HyperX Cloud Alpha
- Closed back. Great immersive sound. Braided and detachable cable and mic. Solid construction. Ear pads not as thick and soft as it should be. Pads not very breathable. Deal breaker was the noise bleed at higher volumes including loud explosions.
Sennheiser Game One / Sennheiser PC37x
- By far best of the bunch. Great balanced sound. Extremely comfortable even for bigger head and ears. Ear pads soft and breathable. Great mic. No sound bleeding at all even at max volume. Mic does a good job of filtering ambient noises. Wires braided and replaceable. Bass is slightly understated.
Hope this helps.