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If you’ve been around the block for a while you will know that buying a headset for CS:GO often feels like a series of compromises. At least it would be quite accurate to say that it was like that until the tiny niche of competitive gaming blew up exponentially.
In the earlier days of gaming headsets one would always sit on the fence – I want a headset but I also want to enjoy audio outside the game. Previously this would have meant that you had to purchase two separate products: either 1) a headset for playing and hifi headphones for everything else or 2) hifi headphones and and an external mic for playing.
Luckily times have changed and the modern gaming headsets are perfectly suited for both. Well, not “perfectly” if you ask hardcore audiophiles but well enough for 99% of the people. At least for us older gamers who grew up playing on a pair of medium range Sennheiser’s while hanging a $10 general headset around the neck.
We’ve already probably lost about 100% of the younger readers with all this “old nerd rambling” stuff so let’s move on.
Best Gaming Headsets - Comparison Table
|Connectivity||Frequency Response||7.1 Surround Sound||Price|
|SteelSeries Arctis Pro + GameDAC||Wired (USB, 3.5 mm)||10 – 40,000 Hz||No||$186.99|
|SteelSeries Arctis Pro Wireless||Wireless||10 – 40,000 Hz||No||$269.00|
|ASUS ROG Centurion||Wired (USB)||20 – 20,000 Hz||True 7.1||Check on Amazon|
|Asus ROG Strix Fusion 500||Wired (USB)||20 – 20,000 Hz||Virtual 7.1||$148.79|
|Sennheiser GAME ZERO||Wired (3.5 mm)||15 – 28,000 Hz||No||$135.77|
|HyperX Cloud Revolver S||Wired (USB & 3.5mm)||12 – 28,000 Hz||Virtual 7.1||$118.00|
|HyperX Cloud Alpha||Wired (3.5 mm)||13 – 27,000 Hz||No||$92.99|
|Corsair Void Pro||Wired (USB)||20 – 20,000 Hz||Virtual 7.1||$69.99|
|HyperX Cloud Flight||Wireless||20 – 20,000 Hz||No||$135.99|
|SteelSeries Arctis 3||Wired (3.5 mm)||20 – 22000 Hz||Virtual 7.1||$69.99|
|Corsair HS50||Wired (3.5 mm)||20 – 20,000 Hz||No||$48.99|
What Headsets Do CS:GO Pros Use?
We gathered data of the top 30 teams (based on HLTV ranking) from Liquipedia. If the data was outdated it was gathered from the player’s Twitch channel description as some players list their gear there. On headsets this means a total of 129 entries (data is missing on some players), so by cutting some corners we could say that the data is based on the absolute best players of the world. Yes, teams do not equal individuals but you get the point.
The data was gathered in April 2018 and will get updated once there’s a noticeable shift towards any direction.
Updating on a daily, weekly or even monthly basis is not quite worthwhile for reasons we’re about to discuss.
Conclusions About The Results
A lazy man would jump straight into conclusion: these are the headsets most used by the best CS:GO players in the world, thus they must be the best headsets for CS:GO. Truth be told this is probably exactly what most of the people trying to sell you gaming gear will do.
However, some factors should be taken into account.
1. These players are bound by sponsorship deals.
Some of them HAVE to use gear by a certain brand because the brand pays significant amounts of money to the organizations they represent.
I remember watching a pro who also streamed (can’t remember who) a few years back. His team had just gotten a new gear sponsor and he had to switch to a new mouse, for the sake of the anecdote let’s say from a small Zowie EC2 to a remarkably bigger SteelSeries Rival. He played badly and after a horrible spray he raged something about “THIS F*KING PIECE OF… BRILLIANT NEW MOUSE”. One could tell that he wasn’t liking the mouse at all.
These days as the scene has gotten a lot more professional this would probably not be taken as lightly by the sponsor in question as back then.
2. These players are professional gamers, not professional gaming headset experts.
Playing a game professionally does not mean that the player is capable of judging what’s “best”. He will only know that it’s working for him (though even this is dubious because of the sponsorship deals, one might have to publicly use gear he doesn’t like). Besides, even if you get free gear sent to you whenever you want it doesn’t mean that you would want to switch to a newer model immediately just when you have gotten used to the previous one.
So What’s The Point Of The Data?
The most accurate conclusion you can come up with is that these headsets are suited for professional grade gaming. This doesn’t mean that they are bad, most of them are actually excellent and included in our picks.
The point we are trying to make is that you should never jump into buying something just because a certain player uses it too. It only means that it’s good enough, not that it’s the best one for your speficic needs.
What To Look For?
Buying a gaming headset is not exactly rocket science. Let’s have a look at what qualities you should base your choice on.
The most obvious one. Not many of us are operating on unlimited funds. Set a budget and stick to it. We’ll introduce both premium and budget alternatives, with “value” choices in between.
Quite obviously the single most imporant factor on a headset. How much focus you should put on this depends on what your purposes for the headset are and how much of a golden ear you consider yourself to be.
CS:GO-wise none of these headsets will make you a better player. There’s no magic switches for hearing footsteps better and the improved sound quality wont magically amp up your or your teammates’ in-game communication.
Keep in mind though that “sound quality” beyond a certain point is always a subjective thing. Some like warm sound, some cold. Most don’t even know the difference. If you’re listening to music from Spotify or Youtube, you shouldn’t even be too concerned about this.
Wireless Or Wired?
Wireless gaming headsets have become more and more relevant in the recent years. In the past they were useless for competitive games such as CS:GO because of the latency. Now the choice between these two is up to your personal preference. Wireless headsets are more expensive and charging is an additional daily task to your chore list – no matter how effortless it is it’s still a tiny detail you will have to remember. On the other hand being freed from the cable is nice if you want to chill on your bed listening to a stream.
Features (7.1 Sound For CS:GO? Open Or Closed? Mic?)
7.1 surround sound has been a real buzzword for a while in gaming headsets. Virtual 7.1 surround is absolutely useless for CS:GO. Enabling it will actually make pinpointing sound cues harder, not easier.
However, if you enjoy casual games it’s a nice feature to have as it certainly adds to the cinematic feel and overall immersion.
True 7.1 surround sound is an entirely different discussion though, as there actually are multiple drivers in the earphone. As this technology improves (and more importantly the whole in-game audio of CS:GO) you might even gain some advantage at some point, but as of now you can easily live without the possibility. Ultimately your aim is to be the best and the best always compete at LAN’s where you will have to deal with just earplugs.
The quality of the microphone is somewhat trivial when it comes to gaming headset – they’re all pretty similar (unless you buy something absolute trash) and more than sufficient for the job. Naturally there are differences on how crisp, deep, etc they sound, so if you are overly self-conscious about your voice you can always check out mic test videos from YouTube.
Whether you should get closed or open headphones is up to your personal preference again. If you really want to go splitting hairs then obviously closed is the way to go as they eliminate outside noise more efficiently. Also if you’re playing in noisy environments like a busy household with kids or your gaming setup is located next to the family TV you might be better of with a noise cancelling headset.
The comfort of a certain headset is something that you can only be sure after testing out how the ear cups match your ears, but generally speaking every headset we have chosen should have ear cups that are extremely comfortable for the average ear.
Best Headsets For CS:GO - Quick Reviews
We will introduce you our picks from three different price ranges: high, medium and budget. Generally speaking the “medium range” is your sweet spot if you’re looking for the best gaming headset for CS:GO and nothing else.
But in reality pretty much all of us want to listen to music, watch movies and so on without the hassle of using different headphones for different scenarios. The medium and budget range headsets are perfectly suitable for these purposes too, but if you have the money and want to have a taste of premium in your daily life then you might as well go for the high range ones.
High Range - $160+
SteelSeries Arctis Pro + GameDAC
SteelSeries Arctis Pro Wireless
ASUS ROG Centurion
Asus ROG Strix Fusion 500
Medium Range - $100-$160
Sennheiser GAME ZERO
HyperX Cloud Revolver S
HyperX Cloud Alpha
If you are wondering why we didn’t include the most used headset of our CS:GO pro data chart it’s because the HyperX Cloud II is an old model. Cloud Alpha is the “Cloud III”.