Visuals are usually the element of modern games that draws the most attention, but the sound design of a game is just as important. We’re also in the era of online multiplayer, where broadband lets players talk to each other directly (for better or worse), so you need the right equipment to enjoy games the proper way.

Not too long ago, it was aspirational to have a big surround-sound speaker system for your gaming PC. However, gaming has moved out of the dedicated game room and is mobile or in the living room, and happens with other players present. So the preferred way to port those sweet game sounds to our ears is the gaming headset. What started out as a niche category of gear is now essential. If you need some help picking the right headset for you, check out my headset buyer’s guide, but if you just want to see some interesting choices, here are a few products that might just fit your needs to a tee.

The Audiophile Option: Sennheiser Game ONE

I will put it right out there that I am a huge Sennheiser fan. Almost every set of headphones I have ever owned that I could tolerate was made by this company. There’s little doubt that the company knows how to make headphones that sound excellent. Though gaming headsets are a different kettle of fish, it turns out any concerns that I had were for nothing. Time and time again you’ll hear gamers wax lyrical about the Sennheiser Game ONE headset. Yes, its pricing puts it in the upper echelons of headsets, but you can see where every penny has gone.

In terms of styling we have the common black and red scheme, or an option with a white shell. I’m not a fan of the white since it looks much less coherent. The black set has the clear DNA of other Sennheiser headphones, with a little bit of gamer flair built in.

Build quality looks great and there is ample padding. The mic is noise cancelling, with pretty respectable specs. Crucially, this is an open-back design that is shared with high-end audiophile headphones. From an audio perspective this is a great move, but be aware that this means sounds leak from the headphones so that others can hear. Compatible with PC and consoles, thanks to a swappable cable, this is the clear choice in the price range.

HyperX Cloud II

The Cloud II is another headset that has lots of recommendations from gamers, who are happy to tell anyone how much they love their cans. It has big 53mm drivers, 7.1 surround support, and a noise cancelling mic. These are amazing features at this price point. You can use it with a PC or console and, really, you’ll have a hard time finding a better deal for the money. BUT, I have to take away points for the look and styling of this headset. Honestly, I think it looks pretty cheap and too old-school for my tastes. It’s personal preference, but it looks like something from the 80s and certainly not like a premium product. Still, if you don’t care about looks it’s highly recommended.

The Budget Champion: HyperX Cloud Stinger

Now this headset from HyperX looks the business. It’s a much cheaper model with worse specs, but HyperX got the styling just right. It’s cool and modern, without looking too audacious.

The drivers are a respectable 50mm in size and the mic has a neat “swivel to mute” function. Memory foam ear pads are a nice touch, as is the 90-degree swivel function of the ear cups.

This is the cheapest headset I would touch. Yes, if you spend twice as much you’ll get something better, but not something twice as good. For the gamer on a budget, the Stinger would be my recommendation.

Best Midrange Choice: SteelSeries Arctis 7 (2019)

Steelseries has a fantastic legacy as a gaming peripheral maker. From keyboards to gamepads, these guys have done it all. The Arctis series of headsets are beloved by gamers and the 2019 Arctis 7 model sits in the absolute sweetspot of price and performance.

Before I get into that, I have to say that these are some of the most beautiful phones I have seen. The design is wonderful and would easily pass for regular premium headphones at a glance.

This is a wireless headset, with a 2.4Ghz lossless wireless connection. The battery is good for 24 hours of continuous use and the ClearCast mic is, by all accounts, something really special.

There is a wired version that has a lot of negative feedback around it thanks to quality issues with the cable. This wireless version is, however, a wonderful all-rounder.

Most Versatile Choice: Logitech G433

The last headset is from veteran hardware maker Logitech. I’m a fan of its work, and when it comes to keyboards, mice, or speakers I’ve owned almost nothing else. Logitech has a large range of excellent headsets, but I’ve highlighted the G433 for a somewhat selfish reason – I bought one.

So why did I feel like this headset was a good choice? First of all, at this price I feel it’s a better overall deal than the HyperX Cloud II. While I’ll admit that the CloudX has better audio specs, the G433 is close and looks way more attractive. It’s also a very good bundle and the most flexible headset I’ve seen. Logitech designed the G433 for people who also wanted to use it as headphones, so the mic is removable. You get oodles of cables to connect it to just about anything. You get a 7.1 surround USB DAC too. It’s covered in a fabric texture which is very classy. It also comes with a carry bag and two sets of ear pads – breathable pads that make it comfortable for long use and soft microfiber ones in case you can’t stand the slight scratchiness of the other pads. Obviously, I like the G433 very much and recommend it heartily.