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 – Top 5
- 1.1 1. The Sennheiser Game One / Game Zero Headset (Best Quality, Higher Price)
- 1.2 2. The HyperX Cloud II Headset (Best All Around Headset for Streaming)
- 1.3 3. Astro Gaming A40 TR Headset + Mixamp Pro TR for Playstation 4 OR Xbox One (Best For Console Streamers)
- 1.4 4. HyperX Cloud Stinger Headset (Best Mid-Priced Headset $50)
- 1.5 Honorable mention: Bengoo G9000 – For The “Homeless Shelter Streamer”
- 2 Features To Look For In A Gaming / Streaming Headset
Best Headset For Streaming – Top 5
1. The Sennheiser Game One / Game Zero Headset (Best Quality, Higher Price)
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 water.
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 frequency response by not boosting any bass or treble. This combined with the excellent audio fidelity and surround sound means you will have the most crisp, clean sound experience with these headphones.
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, but the link below is actually to the Game Zero.
The Game Zero is an almost identical offering from Sennheiser which features a closed back design instead of an open backed one. We discuss the pros and cons of open back and closed back headphones at the bottom of the page. In short, 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. The HyperX Cloud II Headset (Best All Around Headset for Streaming)
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)
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 amongst 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.
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)
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)
Alright, fine, this is technically three different headphones. They’re pretty similar to each other though. The SteelSeries Arctis Line is a very well constructed headphone that combines excellent sound with a comfortable design.
Here is an audio sample of the SteelSeries Arctis 5 Headset
The mic is quite sensitive, but it won’t give you any problems so long as you don’t put it directly in your mouth. 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. We’ll give you a little section here that details what these differences are.
The Arctis 3 is basically a no-frills, excellent quality headset with all of the features we described above. It’s priced around $80, which we consider to be very reasonable for the quality you are receiving.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
Actually, believe it or not, this is the only headset on this list that I myself would buy. I’m not a streamer, and I have an audio studio equipped with expensive gear if I need to record high quality sound. However, it’s nice to have a headset that you can throw on regardless of gaming platform and have an improved experience. It’s a significant upgrade the poorly made stock Xbox one headset at an affordable price. If you’re just looking to game with your friends without streaming it’s an excellent choice.
Of course, that is not to say that it is not a very capable headset for streaming. It’s comes with a free Y splitter so that it can be compatible with all consoles and other devices, and while the microphone is not going to turn any heads, it’s a cheap solution for recording your voice. The speakers have a very decent sound profile and all of the reviews we checked seemed very impressed with them. Many users even said they couldn’t tell the difference between these and other headphones that cost over $100!
When inspecting the build quality in comparison to the other headphones, it is quite weak. However, it still manages to be surprisingly comfortable and pretty sturdy as long as you handle it with care. There are simply more points in which things can snap if handled improperly. It’s even got LEDs on the headphones and microphone!
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. But hey, 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.
Closed Back Vs Open Back
When it comes to headphones, you’re given 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.
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.