Having a high quality pair of headphones is essential to getting the most out of your gaming experience. It gives you better immersion in your games and helps you accurately locate sounds within the game. In addition to that, having a comfortable headset is a blessing that can't be understated. There's nothing worse than having a headache or earache after a few hours of gaming because of your headphones.
Shopping for headphones can be confusing; there are hundreds of options out there and the ones marketed to be the best can cost upwards of $500 or even thousands of dollars. With all brands advertising the best audio quality you've ever heard, it can be hard to determine which headphones are actually worth it. Well, now you can stop shopping, because these three headphones offer fantastic audio quality, comfort, and are built to last, without emptying your wallet.
The key to getting the best value out of gaming headphones is to shop hi-fi brands. They specialize in audio products and don't markup the price for a gamer audience. Audio-Technica is one of the leading manufacturers of consumer hi-fi gear, well-known for producing top-of-the-line turntables, headphones, and microphones at affordable prices. As they have experience manufacturing headphones for professional studio use, an Audio-Technica headset is going to deliver fantastic audio quality and will still be comfortable after hours of use. These three models offer a great blend of quality and affordability:
The AD series has been a forerunner in best-value gaming headphones for years, and that's because ingenious design is timeless. This model was designed for audio quality and comfort, so they offer the best sound quality of all the models in this list, and that may be at the sacrifice of some convenience features or aesthetics. In other words, these headphones are all meat and potatoes -- cut the fancy stuff.
The AD500X features 53 mm drivers with CCAW voice coils for incredibly accurate sound reproduction in an impressive dynamic range. The open-back design is also a key sign of a quality headphone. Ventilation on the back is important to allow excess vibrations to escape the headphones instead of interfering with the audio signal. It also reduces pressure on the ears, making them more comfortable to wear. So even if you don't like how it looks, it serves a purpose. This headset also has self-adjusting 3D Wing Support Housing for comfort after hours of use. The lightweight honeycomb aluminum casing makes for a sleek finish and durable build quality.
Now that there are newer versions of the AD series, the AD500X is an extremely affordable purchase that still has all the cornerstone features that make these headphones great. If you're looking to spend a little more, check out the newer models like the AD700X and the AD1000X.
The ATH-G1WL is one of the few headsets by Audio-Technica that is specifically designed for gaming. As such, it includes a detachable boom mic with directional pickup so only your voice gets picked up clearly. Additionally, the wireless functions operate in the 2.4 GHz range so you get a lag-free signal all the time.
Now, a word about these convenience features: having an attached mic and wireless capabilities aren't preferred by all gamers. These two functions are what makes this model more expensive than the other two on this list, however, many serious gamers prefer to not have these features in a headset. If you stream regularly or want to have more control and accuracy in your microphone signal, you probably want to use a separate microphone. A separate mic will offer higher recording quality than any attached boom can, and will allow you to get a higher quality headset for a lower price. Similarly, many people prefer wired headphones just to have a more reliable connection and to avoid having to charge them. If you always use your headset in the same room, you may not need wireless function at all. Audio-Technica knows this, so this model is also available in a more affordable wired version, the ATH-G1.
In terms of audio quality, the 45 mm drivers truly bring studio-quality sound into your gaming experience; there is also a 7.1 surround sound mode to deliver an even more immersive experience. These headphones are wireless, and the battery can support around 15 continuous hours of use, and can be used while charging.
The M-Series line is known to be a great combination of studio quality sound in a consumer-friendly package. These studio monitor headphones have 45 mm large-aperture drivers, copper-clad aluminum wire voice coils, and even built-in sound isolation pads. While not specifically designed for gaming, these headphones give you everything you need in a quality gaming experience, and they are a great versatile option if you want a pair of multi-purpose headphones. They have a collapsible design and detachable cables so you can easily fold them up and take them on the go. If you want sound isolation, portability, and style while maintaining accurate bass response, the M50X is the headset for you.