Trying to find the right gaming headset for the Xbox One can be a tricky proposition. There are so many options out there, it can be hard to tell what’s actually good, and what’s just—you know—there.
Sure, finding something good is simpler here than with a Nintendo Switch, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t a number of things to consider. Here are the best options we could find, based on our reviews, as well as research into products we haven’t gotten our hands on yet.
What you should know about audio on the Xbox One
Gaming on an Xbox One introduces the typical audio complications you could probably expect from any gaming console. Here, the primary constraint revolves around connection options. The Xbox One features both a number of USB ports, and hardware to support Bluetooth connections, yet it supports neither Bluetooth headsets nor most USB headsets.
Wireless audio on the Xbox One, with a few notable exceptions (one of which is on this list) requires a compatible USB dongle. However, this isn’t always just a plug-and-play situation—only headsets made specifically for the Xbox One will work over a USB connection, whether wired or wireless.
Instead, the more common connection method is to use the 3.5mm jack at the bottom the Xbox One controller. This too isn’t quite as simple as it perhaps should be. Older Xbox One controllers don’t have headphone jacks built in, so you’ll need to buy an additional adapter if this is the route you decide to take.
With all that said, there are still plenty of great options—here are some of the best.
The best gaming headset for the Xbox One is the SteelSeries Arctis 9x
If you’re looking for a premium experience tailored from start to finish for the Xbox One, look no further than the SteelSeries Arctis 9x. Built on the same frame as great headsets like the Arctis 7 and Arctis Pro, the 9x variety is one of the only headsets to offer a truly wireless experience on a console.
SteelSeries Arctis 9x
That’s right, this headset uses Xbox Wireless connectivity, previously reserved for console controllers exclusively, to connect to the Xbox One. Just pair the Arctis 9x with the console and you’re set—no dongles or base stations required.
The headset sports a durable aluminum frame with a comfortable suspension band modeled after the elastic band of a pair of ski goggles. It’s headphones come with pads made out of a material SteelSeries calls Airweave, which breathes extremely well and offers a nice balance between the plush of a velour pad and the rigidity of leatherette. It also boasts up to 20 hours of use on a single charge.
The Arctis 9x’s bidirectional microphone is flexible and can even retract back into the left headphone when not needed.
Surround sound is also supported through Windows Sonic Spatial Audio, so you should be able to hear the direction of enemies trying to sneak up on you in Fortnite just fine.
If sound quality is the only thing you care about, check out the Audeze Mobius
Audeze makes some of the best headphones in the world, so it makes sense that when the company decides to bring its planar magnetic technology to the gaming space, the results are pretty special. If you were playing on PC, the Audeze Mobius would likely be just about the best gaming headset you can get. It’s got top-notch sound, with planar magnetic drivers that accurately reproduce audio across the frequency spectrum, without over emphasizing bass.
Audeze MobiusFull Review
The headset’s memory foam pads and super-flexible band make it a joy to use, though they take a little getting used to. It supports 3.5mm, USB, and Bluetooth connectivity. On top of that, Audeze teamed up with Waves Nx to bring 3D audio to the Mobius, which brings traditional 7.1 surround sound, and fascinating head-tracking tech that makes for a pretty unique experience.
However, this isn’t a list of best PC headsets, and unfortunately the experience isn’t quite as expansive on the Xbox One. For starts, only 3.5mm connections are supported, plugging into the controller’s headphone jack. Additionally, because that’s an analog option, surround sound isn’t available either. The 3D audio environment and head tracking features still work, but they’re not all that useful for gaming, so on Xbox One it feels a little more gimmicky.
All the same, if audio quality is what you’re after above all else, and you don’t mind spending a pretty penny for it, the Audeze Mobius sounds better than just about anything out there.
For booming bass, consider the Beyerdynamic Custom Game
The Beyerdynamic Custom Game is a behemoth of a gaming headset, but it lets gamers customize its bass in a pretty unique way. Each ear cup has bass reflex vents, which are easily revealed or concealed with a simple sliding mechanism. Adjusting the bass reproduction also adjusts the influx of ambient noise that can permeate the headphones. In a quiet environment? Open up those bass vents and experience a boomier sound. For tournaments with plenty of chatter, just close the ports to drown everything out.
Beyerdynamic Custom GameFull Review
The cardioid boom microphone is forgiving when it comes to placement and hones in on your voice while simultaneously filtering out extraneous background noise. If customization is your thing, well, you’re in luck. The Custom Game headset includes interchangeable ear cup plates to non-verbally convey your style. If you’re not a fan of the all-black aesthetic, Beyerdynamic also has a bunch of customization options, as well as velour pads for people who wear glasses on their raids.
Because this is a 3.5mm headset, and a lot of its appeal is hardware-based, everything works on Xbox One just like it would on a PC.
The HyperX Cloud Stinger Core offers solid features on Xbox One for $40
HyperX Cloud Stinger Core
The HyperX Cloud Stinger Core is the prolific gaming peripheral maker’s entry level gaming headset aimed at the Xbox One. For just 39.99, you get a straightforward wired audio experience, with decent sound, a built in microphone, and in-line controls.
There’s not a whole lot more to say about the Cloud Stinger Core—You plug it in via the Xbox One controller, and it works. The microphone is flexible and offers completely workable audio quality.
Sure, this isn’t the HiFi audio solution for the discerning competitive console gamer, but again, it’s 30 bucks. If you’re in the market for something in this price range, you know what to expect—and this sits on the higher end of that.
The Astro A40 TR Headset + MixAmp Pro shows you can’t have too many features
If you’re a competitive gamer and you absolutely need just about every feature possible in a gaming headset, the Astro A40 TR Headset + MixAmp Pro bundle is probably your best bet. This wired 3.5mm headset will work with most consoles on its own, but the MixAmp Pro TR is device specific, and brings a lot added value.
Astro A40 TR Wired Headset + MixAmp Pro TR
The Astro A40 TR comes equipped with a unidirectional mic, thick cloth-covered memory foam earpads, and a comfortable suspension band. Its lightweight, open backed design is great for long sessions at home.
Should you want something a little more contained: Astro also sells Mod kits with synthetic leather headphone pads, headphone caps, and a voice isolating microphone. These kits are designed for tournament situations, where background noise can become distracting. They also come in a variety of colors, so you can personalize how your headset looks.
Of course, this bundle doesn’t just include a headset. The MixAmp Pro TR brings a lot of value to your gaming audio set up by allowing you to set the balance between game and voice audio, switch between EQ presets, and turn on Dolby audio processing, which brings surround sound support to the headset. Basically, if the only thing you’re sure about is that you’ll need something that can cover every kind of audio need for gaming, this is a great option to keep your bases covered.
Why you should trust Sam
When it comes down to it, I don’t just review gaming headsets because I’m passionate about good audio. Pretty much everything I do here at SoundGuys focuses on gaming content, and that’s because I’ve been a gamer my whole life. You name it, I’ve probably played it. I know what kind of audio features are important for different kinds of games, and maybe more importantly: which ones aren’t.
The gaming headset space, much like many other parts of the audio industry, is rife with exaggerated language and gimmicky features that often don’t add much of anything to your experience. It’s easy to get caught up in the flashy lights and promises of immersive audio and bass so intense it’ll rupture your eardrums (in a good way, somehow), but most of that stuff flat out doesn’t matter. That’s why we review headsets, and why we have lists like this.
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