If you’re thinking about becoming a Twitch streamer you need to make sure you have the right tools for the job. A gaming headset is an excellent solution to allow you to hear your game audio while recording your voice clearly. FilmToolKit has done tons of research, read reviews, and found audio clips to help you find the best headset for streaming that suits your price range and needs.
We’re going to try to provide you with several options to cover a variety of different price ranges and situations. Before we dive in, it is important you understand that if you are looking for the highest quality audio recording, a headset is not the way to go. You can get a very high quality sound which will be more than professional enough even for the biggest streamers. However, if you want the most pristine, clear audio quality possible, check out our recent list of the top 5 desktop microphones for streaming.
With that out of the way, lets take a look at some of the best headsets for streaming on Twitch!
Pro Tip/Warning: Stay away from Turtle Beach. Your experiences may differ but I personally have had many issues with their headsets in the past and when doing research for this article I discovered many encountering similar issues.
- 1 Best Headset For Streaming – Our Top 5 Picks
- 1.1 How Do I Read These Technical Specifications?
- 1.2 1. Best All-Around Headset For Twitch Streaming
- 1.3 2. HyperX Cloud II – A Great Runner-Up
- 1.4 3. Astro Gaming A40 TR Headset + Mixamp Pro TR for Playstation 4 OR Xbox One (Best For Console Streamers)
- 1.5 4. HyperX Cloud Stinger Headset (Best Mid-Priced Headset $50)
- 1.6 5. SteelSeries Arctis 3 / Arctis 5 / Arctis 7 (Well Priced, Versatile Option for Console and PC Streamers)
- 1.7 Honorable mention: Onikuma Pro Gaming Headset – Best Cheap Headset For Streaming
- 2 Features To Look For In A Gaming / Streaming Headset
Best Headset For Streaming – Our Top 5 Picks
How Do I Read These Technical Specifications?
If you care about overall audio-fidelity the most, this should be your criteria for how you choose your headphones. Most Amazon pages actually don’t even list this statistic, so we did a deep dive into the manufacturer’s websites in order to share them with you.
Frequency response range is a representation of the variety of sounds covered by an audio device. For earphones, this refers to the range between the highest and lowest pitches you’ll be able to hear. Conversely, in the case of microphones, this refers to the range between the lowest and highest frequencies you’ll be able to record or broadcast.
Microphone sensitivity is a representation of how much noise is required for a microphone to record a signal. The lower the number of the sensitivity (in the negatives – Ex: -40dB is more sensitive than -50dB), the better, as the microphone will be able to pick up your voice with more clarity, even if you’re whispering.
Like microphone sensitivity, speaker sensitivity is a measurement of how loud of a signal speakers will be able to deliver with a given amount of wattage. Once again, the higher, the better.
Closed Back Vs Open Back
With headphones, you’ll have a choice between a Closed-back design and an open-back design.
Closed-back headphones have a hard enclosure on the outer side of the headphone cups, while open back headphones leave that side open. This means that closed back designs will reduce noise coming in and going out, giving your ears a very focused, but narrow experience. This also means that there wont be any sound escaping to be picked up by your microphone, but we haven’t found that to be too much of a problem with any headphones unless you are blasting your volume.
Open-back headphones on the other hand allow sound to bleed out and for noise to come in. This might not sound like a great idea, but it actually gives your ears the sensation of having speakers further away from you, increasing your immersion. It could also be argued that this design gives you better directional audio quality, which can help you detect footsteps or other audio cues in FPS games or other games with good sound design. Some manufacturers have also claimed that this design helps keep your head cool if you have problems with your head getting hot.
Ultimately, since as a streamer you are going to be recording, our opinion leans towards closed back headphones so that you can keep your microphone stream clean. However, your personal preference may differ.
1. Best All-Around Headset For Twitch Streaming
- Headphone sensitivity: 116dB
- Sensitivity: Microphone: -38 dBV at 94 dB
- Ultimate comfort-plush velvet ear pads
- Frequency Response Range – Headphones: 15-28,000Hz – Microphone: – 50-16,000Hz
- Open-back design
- Quality noise-canceling microphone that automatically mutes when boom arm is raised
- Volume control conveniently located on right ear cup. Braided Exchangeable fabric cables
- Two year warranty
I’d like to start this with a test of the Sennheiser Game One / Game Zero:
Holy crap. You probably haven’t read through this list yet, but that microphone quality simply blows almost every other headset out of the water. Even as we move into 2019, this headset is still arguably the best product on the market.
My experience in the film industry has definitely taught me that Sennheiser is a trusted brand even among professionals. Their brand has been built upon delivering audio equipment praised even by audiophiles, so you know their gaming headset is going to stand out from the crowd. Because of this, the microphone and speaker quality is outstanding.
The speakers provide a very well balanced sound by not boosting any bass or treble. Its also noteworthy that the response range of the speakers is the widest out of all the headphones we reviewed, suggesting you’ll get the best audio quality and clarity with these.
The build quality is absolutely incredible. It’s comfortable, sturdy, adjustable, and the entire headset can be flexed very far without doing any damage. The ear muffs are made out of velvet keeping your ears cool while also preventing the deterioration that can occur with other materials.
Volume control is present directly on the headphones, which we think is pretty cool, cause you’ll never have to look for it. The wired headset is connected with a braided fabric cable, which in our experience is the only way to make a cable that won’t rip as soon as you roll over it with your chair. Muting is also handled with a very elegant solution; the mic is muted whenever the mic arm is raised up. The volume control is equally well designed with a comfortable little knob on the side of the headset that is very accessible and even fun to play with.
They also come with a two year warranty in case anything goes wrong, so it’s definitely a safe buy!
The only drawback of this headset is it’s price. It is quite a bit more expensive than our other recommendations, but if you have the budget for it, we believe this is your best option.
Both the Game One and the Game Zero headset come in black and white color options.
The Game Zero is an almost identical offering from Sennheiser which features a closed back design instead of an open backed one. As mentioned earlier, open back headphones allow leakage between the room and your ears while closed back ones isolate your headphones from the rest of the room.
If you know which type of headphone you like more it should be easy to choose between these two. If not, read our discussion at the end of the list!
2. HyperX Cloud II – A Great Runner-Up
- USB Audio Sound Card with 7.1 Virtual Surround Sound
- Noise Cancelling Microphone & Echo Canceling via Inline Sound Card.
- 15-25,000Hz Speaker Frequency Response Range
- Memory foam ear pads with extra set of Velour ear pads and Detachable Microphone
- Compatibility – USB 7.1 Connectivity for PC & Mac. Stereo compatible with PS4, Xbox One
Upon reviewing multiple forum recommendation threads, it seems that the HyperX Cloud II headset has received near universal acclaim. The reviews are excellent and the complaints are few and far between. This is a well build headset used by many Twitch streamers, and for good reason.
Here’s an audio test of the HyperX Cloud II:
While it doesn’t have the clarity and warmth of the above Sennheiser mic, it is still a very strong headset for streaming. Not to mention the price point is much, much lower than the Game Zeroes, coming in at under $100.
The noise cancellation factor is excellent. We saw that one reviewer even said that a man was involved in a stabbing upstairs, and that he wasn’t able to hear it because of how good these headphones are! Wow! That’s Fantastic! 🙂
One of our favorite things about this headset is the comfort factor. When you’re streaming all day long with your headset on, many headphones can wind up being very uncomfortable. The HyperX Cloud II lives up to it’s name with ear pads made out of memory foam, and interchangeable ear cups that have different sound profiles and texture options!
It features an inline sound card that drives echo cancelling technology as well as noise cancellation for the microphone. Both of these features are discussed at length at the bottom of this article. And of course, like many of the other headphones on this list, it comes equipped with 7.1 Virtual surround sound, giving you excellent directional sound that is crucial if you are playing first person shooters.
If you are considering streaming across multiple platforms, the HyperX Cloud II continues to be an excellent choice. The headset works with PS4 and Xbox One, although it requires a stereo adapter for the latter.
The headset is available in two very slightly different colors, red, and gunmetal. Although, these are just accents, so it doesn’t matter too much which one you get.
3. Astro Gaming A40 TR Headset + Mixamp Pro TR for Playstation 4 OR Xbox One (Best For Console Streamers)
- External USB Mixer/Sound Card with customizable stream output.
- Swapple boom microphone
- Headphone frequency response range – 20-20,000Hz
- Speaker Sensitivity – 104dB
- Dolby Surround 7.1
Note: If you have an Xbox one, make sure to choose the right option. The PS4 model is incompatible.
It’s a little bit on the pricey side, but if you are trying to stream professionally with your Xbox One or Playstation 4, the Astro Gaming A40 is pretty much the best of the best. This headset is very popular among professional gamers for communication with their team, and is also used by many streamers who like to play console games. The build quality is excellent, it feels sturdy, and most of all, comfortable.
It comes with a large mixer which allows you to set up your audio streams when streaming off of a console, as well as tune every single input and output for your setup. When combined with a suitable capture card, it creates a very streamlined experience (sorry) and makes streaming console games almost as easy as PC games.
Let’s check out the audio test for the microphone:
I don’t know about you, but I think that’s one of the best headset microphones I’ve ever heard. I wouldn’t think twice if someone told me it was a more extensive recording setup. So, as you can tell, the microphone is excellent and will blow people away when you talk to them in your party chat.
Like many other headsets on this list, it features Dolby Surround 7.1 to hear every gunshot in perfectly precise directions. The headphones are open ear, which means that they have a very broad sound stage and deliver a more accurate Dolby 7.1 experience than most of the other headsets we reviewed. This also means that your ears will easily remain cool, and you will be able to hear things in the immediate vicinity.
While they are open-backed, we found it quite interesting that by purchasing an additional mod kit, you can swap the parts to change the headphones from open-backed to closed! We love this, because it means you won’t need to drop another $250 on an additional headset if you want to reap the benefits of a closed-back design.
There are two color options, black and white, but unfortunately these are used to differentiate between the two platforms. The black Mixamp and headset are only compatible with the Playstation 4, and the white Mixamp and headset are only compatible with the Xbox One. If you try to buy the black headset for your Xbox stream, you’re going to wind up disappointed when it doesn’t work.
4. HyperX Cloud Stinger Headset (Best Mid-Priced Headset $50)
- Lightweight headset with 90-degree rotating ear cups ,
- Headphone Sensitivity – 102dB
- Frequency Response Range – Headphones:18-23,000Hz – Microphone: 50-18000Hz
- Hyperx signature Memory foam. Adjustable steel Slider
- Intuitive Volume control on headset ear cup
- Swivel-to-mute noise-cancellation Microphone. Multi-platform compatibility.
If you wan’t high quality performance at a much more reasonable price point, the HyperX Cloud Stinger is the headset for you. This headset is priced at around $50 and at that price point is about the best you can get.
The design is really cool, featuring the same Swivel-to-mute microphone tech we saw earlier on the Sennheiser model. It doesn’t fully flex in every direction like some headsets on this list, but the ear cups rotate 90 degrees to fit just about anything. The volume control is also located on the ear cup in a very intuitive spot. They are not as immediately comfortable as some of our other recommendations, but many users have stated that once broken in they’re definitely not too uncomfortable!
Here’s an audio sample we found for the Cloud Stinger:
I think that it’s pretty awesome that the microphone performs that well even though it is less than half the price of some of these other headsets. The audio fidelity of the speakers is great, and everything sounds good, but the frequency response range is slightly smaller than most of the other headphones on our list. You’ll also only be listening to the game in stereo, so if you are really looking for that perfect surround sound experience, check out any of the other headsets on this list.
The HyperX Cloud Stinger is also compatible for use across consoles as well as the PC. However, without input/output equipment like the mixer that comes with the a40 TR, you won’t be able to hear your game audio while outputting your microphone to your PC for recording. If you’re just going to be chatting with your friends in
5. SteelSeries Arctis 3 / Arctis 5 / Arctis 7 (Well Priced, Versatile Option for Console and PC Streamers)
April 5, 2019 Update: All Of these headphones are the newest 2019 models, new features are highlighted in red!
Our last excellent pick is actually a collection of three different headphones from SteelSeries. The SteelSeries Arctis Line is a very well constructed headphone that combines excellent sound with a comfortable design. All three of the headsets below have the exact same stats, which we will list right here.
- Headphone Frequency Response: 20-20,000Hz
- Headphone Sensitivity: 98dB
- Microphone Frequency Response: 100Hz-10,000Hz
- Microphone Sensitivity: -38dB
- Retractable microphone with on-ear volume control and mute toggle.
- Game/chat audio balancing wheel
Here is an audio sample of the SteelSeries Arctis 5 Headset
The mic is quite sensitive, and has a surprisingly good sound despite its somewhat disappointing 100-10,000Hz response rate. The mechanism that contains the mic is excellent. It pulls out in a very non intrusive fashion, and is able to retract all the way into the headset if you want to use them in public as a regular old pair of headphones. Speaking of which, the audio fidelity is much better than what you would expect at the price and the surround sound works flawlessly.
Our favorite thing about these headphones is the construction. They have a lot of flex, and feel very difficult to break. The woven material on the ear cups helps a lot with dissipating heat, and the headband along the top goes a long way in making them comfortable. Many users have cited this headset as the most comfortable pair they have ever used.
It has drawn a little bit of criticism for having cables between the headphones and volume mixer that are proprietary and not replaceable, but the headphones do come with a warranty, so in the very rare case that something goes wrong with yours, you can always get a replacement!
Each different model (3,5,7) is nearly identical, but the higher tiers are equipped with more bells and whistles.
The following improvements have been made to all products in the Arctis Line in 2019:
- Thicker ear cushions, improving the comfort, as some found the previous cushions to be too shallow.
- The low end has been bumped up lightly, improving sound while gaming.
- On-ear controls made slightly smaller and firmer, to address the complaint of them getting bumped by accident.
- Perfect For Console Gaming
- Simple, Solid, Affordable.
The Arctis 3 is basically a no-frills, excellent quality headset with all of the features we described above.
If you’re going to be gaming on consoles, buy this one instead of the 5 or 7. The Arctis 5 and 7 have great features, but they are not features that are compatible with console gaming. So if that’s what you’re looking to do, this is the best option for you.
Originally, this model included a 3.5mm mobile adapter which could potentially be misplaced. In the updated 2019 model, this connector has been integrated into the main cable.
- Additional RGB lighting features
- USB connectivity
- Upgraded DTS Headphone:X V2.0 providing a more immersive, accurate sound, with increased surround sound goodness.
The Arctis 5 features RGB illumination lights, as well as USB connection capabilities in addition to the preexisting analog connections.
It also includes separate volume channels for your game and chat audio. Some may find this to be useful, but in our opinion if you don’t need a wireless headset it’s better to go with the 3 and save the cash.
- Lag-Free 2.4GHz wireless audio
- Long Lasting 24-hour battery!
- Improved Comfort Headband
- Upgraded DTS Headphone:X V2.0 Surround Sound
This headset’s main feature is it’s wireless capabilities. It has lag-free 2.4 Ghz wireless audio up to 40 feet away with a battery life of over 24 hours.
It is important to know that when using the wireless functionality the audio quality of your microphone will slightly diminish. It will still get the job done, but if you’re streaming and care about having the highest quality microphone, stick with the wired connection. But if you’re gonna end up doing that, you might as well just buy the Arctis 5 or 3 and save yourself some money. Below is a sample of what the Arctis 7 quality is like when it is like in wireless mode Vs USB.
It also has the multiple volume channels just like the Arctis 5, although it lacks the RGB lighting.
Honorable mention: Onikuma Pro Gaming Headset – Best Cheap Headset For Streaming
April 2019 Update: There’s a lot of people making cheap headsets nowadays, so we’ve replaced our previous favorite with the Onikuma!
Just because the only food you can afford is instant ramen doesn’t mean you have to give up your dreams of being a twitch streamer.
- Very Cheap!
- Impressive 114dB Speaker Sensitivity and -36dB Microphone Sensitivity
- Closed Back Design
- 20-20,000Hz Frequency Response Range
- Durable Knit Cable with In-line mic switch and volume control.
Not everybody is a professional streamer making a six-figure salary. Some of you will just want the cheapest thing that will get the job done without sounding absolutely terrible. If you are just getting started, or need a headset to communicate while gaming with your friends, this is the choice for you.
As you can probably tell from the frequency response range and surprising sensitivity figures, this pair of headphones gives you a lot of bang for your buck for under twenty dollars. Sure, you’re not going to get the same build quality, durability, and comfort that you’ll get from a Sennheiser product, but not everybody games enough to warrant paying for all of that.
There’s not a ton going on in the way of additional features. The mic is omni-directional and swivels up to stay out your way while not in use, the earphones are comfortable enough, and the braided cable is definitely not flimsy. All in all, we noticed that a lot of headphones at this price point gather a lot of complaints, but it seems as if the Onikuma receives the least complaints by a large margin.
In our honest opinion, if you want to take streaming seriously, you should probably invest more than $25 dollars in your most critical piece of equipment. However, if you want to get started right away and are low on cash, this option is an excellent choice that will definitely exceed your expectations.
Features To Look For In A Gaming / Streaming Headset
Some companies like to use trademarked gimmicky buzzwords to try and sell you their stuff. As appealing as “ez-glide-420-noise-cancellation-maximum-technology” sounds, all these selling points can be kind of overwhelming. We’re going to break down some of the key features you should be keeping an eye out for when picking the best headset for you. This part of the guide should help you understand the differences between headsets, and also help you identify which features you need or don’t need.
Comfort / Features
If you’re choosing to use a headset as your audio solution while you’re streaming, it is important that you consider what kinds of features it has, and how comfortable it will be. Comfort also is largely representative of a headset’s build quality. How long will this pair of headphones last you? Will the cords start to rip within a few months of use? These are questions we asked when combing through data to recommend the best headphones.
In addition to examining the comfort and build quality of your headphones, it is also important that you understand what features your headset has and what they mean.
- Wireless Functionality – This one is pretty self explanatory. Some headphones are wireless while others aren’t. This feature is largely up to personal preference. You remove the hassle of excessive cords and being tethered to your PC, but introduce several small hassles in its place. The trade off will force you to deal with battery life, potential connectivity issues, and marginal amounts of latency. Most importantly however, wireless headphones typically have much worse microphone quality. It’s up to you to decide which set of cons bother you more!
- Cross Platform Capabilities – What platforms are you going to be gaming on? Although things are simple when you are a part of the PC master race, finding a Xbox One or Playstation 4 headset can complicate things. Some headsets are compatible with only one platform, others with one platform + PC, and some are universally compatible. Knowing which platforms you will be gaming on can save you some cash.
- Noise Cancellation Technology – Many headsets implement some form of noise cancellation. This greatly improves your immersion factor and can be integrated in active, or passive ways. Passive noise cancellation blocks sound waves with the physical headphones, sometimes with thick, high density foam. Active noise cancellation works by creating sound waves that mimic the incoming sound waves around you, but are 180 degrees out of phase with them. This effectively results in the waves cancelling each other out and you being able to focus on the sounds that you want to hear.
- Echo cancellation Technology – In terms of becoming a streamer, this is far more important than noise cancellation. Echoes are very unpleasant and can ruin a conversation or a stream. Headphones with active echo cancellation technology have hardware that prevents echoes from audio sources in your room. This is important because talking to someone on stream can quickly devolve into loud high pitch screeching if echo cancellation is not implemented.
- Volume Control – Almost all of the headsets we looked at had some sort of mechanism to control the volume of your headset and microphone. Some implementations are better than others.
Headphone and Microphone Quality
Of course, the only thing more important than the comfort of your headset is the quality of sound it produces and records. Your stream might come off as unprofessional if your microphone is tinny or doesn’t have enough dynamic range. Like we mentioned at the top of this guide however, if you want a truly crisp premium sounding audio feed, you’ll need to go with a proper dedicated microphone. Headsets sacrifice quality for price and convenience, and while all the products we recommended are definitely serviceable, they pale in comparison to what you can get with a dedicated desktop microphone.
Likewise, even if the headset you wear all day is really comfortable, you’re bound to get a headache if the audio quality sucks. Here are some simple standards you can use to evaluate the quality of the headset speakers and microphone.
- Frequency Response Range – The frequency response range of a headset refers to a measure of the output spectrum of your microphone in response to stimulus. Typically you want a flat frequency response, or 20Hz-20kHz. Expensive recording microphones typically always have the same response range and it doesn’t matter too much. With headsets however, the microphones are cheaper and the frequency response range can be much smaller.
- Noise Reducing Microphone Technology – We already talked about noise reduction in terms of headphones, but microphones can also have noise reducing features. A sound card within the headphones can be used to reduce background noise from your audio input resulting in a cleaner stream for your viewers.
- Sensitivity – Some microphones are much more sensitive than others. This can require you to keep your microphone at a certain distance when streaming. Unless of course you want your entire stream listening to every breath you take.
There is one last aspect of headphone quality that doesn’t matter too much to your stream. However, it will have a pretty major effect on your ability to game well…
7.1 Surround Sound vs Stereo
As you probably know, the term “Stereo” refers to audio with two channels, left and right. This is a “2.1” set up. Logically, it follows that 7.1 Surround sound refers to a set-up with 7 speakers surrounding you to give you great directional audio and immersion. For many years headphones were limited to stereo audio output. In recent times, there has been emergence of headphones claiming to be able to mimic this effect while remaining on your head.
Sometimes this is achieved with software, other times with hardware, but in our experience headsets that incorporate 7.1 surround sound work excellent when you’re playing FPS games, or any game where directional audio feedback is importatnt.