by Kris WoukNovember 17, 2014

While so far we’ve covered wired and wireless varieties of headphones and earbuds in addition to Bluetooth speakers, they have all been fairly general purpose recommendations. Our picks are aimed at multiple genres of music, mobile use as well as home use, and a wide range of different ears. While this is fine for many uses, there are some areas where you need a more specialized product. For example, gaming.

While you can game with a regular pair of headphones or even no headphones at all, more serious gamers know that audio cues can be the difference between your or your opponent getting off a key shot. While there are a ton of great headsets out there, we’re looking at three of our favorites, across a wide range of budgets. That said, we’re starting off our list of our picks for the best gaming headphones with the top of the line.

Turtle Beach Ear Force XP SEVEN

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One of the most common responses to the question of “what’s a good gaming headset” is “anything by Turtle Beach.” And that’s not a bad answer, but the company makes a lot of products. What makes the Earforce XP SEVEN headset stand out is that the question isn’t so much what can they do, but what can’t they do?

The amount of options here can be overwhelming, and the setup can be a daunting process at first, but once you’ve got them dialed in, the Earforce XP SEVEN have got you covered no matter whether you game on a PC, last gen console, or current gen console. The audio control unit gives you unparalled control over volume, EQ, and even allows you to change audio presets using software on your PC.

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The Earforce XP SEVEN offer 360 sound and superb positional audio so that when you hear that first bullet, you can make sure you don’t get hit by the second. With the right settings, explosions feel like they should be shaking the building around you. Dial in a different preset, and the headset will amplify quiet sounds to make sure that nobody can sneak up on you.

The Earforce XP SEVEN headset lists for $279 but can often be found for closer to $250 online. It’s an awesome headset, but not everybody wants to shell out that kind of cash. Understandable. If you do most of your gaming on the PC, check out our next pick.

Buy the Turtle Beach Ear Force XP SEVEN from Amazon ($220)

Razer Kraken Pro

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Razer is one of the most recognizable brands in gaming, and with good reason. While they might have started out making mice, there isn’t a gaming accessory they don’t make these days, and headsets are no exception. Like Turtle Beach they make a wide variety, but the Razer Kraken Pro offers a great balance between price and features.

The Kraken Pros may not offer the sheer range of features that the Turtle Beach headset offers, but they are super comfortable and stay that way even though long gaming sessions. The sound is very tuned toward gaming, but works very nice for watching movies. While the mic isn’t removable, it is retractable so it stays out of the way when you don’t need it.

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The Kraken Pros come in a wide range of colors. You can grab them in black if you’re the subdued type, or look at the Neon range if you’re looking for something brighter. They sell for around $90 online and are well worth the price. For more details, check out our review.

If you still don’t want to spend that much cash on a pair of gaming headphones, but do still want to chat with your teammates and get the jump on your enemies before they get the jump on you, take a look at our next pick.

Buy the Razer Kraken Pro Neon from Amazon ($76)

Creative Fatal1ty

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Creative has a relationship with PC gaming that is nearly as old as PC gaming itself. Their SoundBlaster sound cards were and still are practically ubiquitous, so it should be no surprise to see them mentioned on this list. The Fatal1ty headset may skimp on a few features and it isn’t as solidly built as the other two contenders, but for the price it’s absolutely worth a look.

Despite it being the cheapest headset on this list, the Fatal1ty might just be the flashiest looking of the three. The red and black color scheme is the only color available, but luckily it’s pretty sharp looking. The main difference between this headset and the other two is that it feels like it’s quite obviously built from cheaper materials. As long as you don’t throw your headset when you lose (or win), it should last a while.

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One thing this headset doesn’t skimp on is sound. Positional cues might not be quite as spot on as the Earforce XP SEVEN, but considering the price difference, they hold up fairly well to the comparison. The Creative Fatal1ty gaming headset can be found online for under $30, and that’s not a sale price.

Buy the Creative Fatal1ty from Amazon ($23)

As always these three pairs are just the beginning. Depending on what console you favor or what your requirements are, you might not find what you’re looking for here, but we think it offers up a pretty good starting point.

Did we miss your favorite? What is your pick for the best gaming headphones?

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