Thursday, March 12, 2015

My addiction to gaming headsets - reviews on the ones I've owned

This post is one of those typical Navi posts that make you roll your eyes - first world problems, too much money to spend, over indulging myself and my family.  If you're someone who is a bit thrifty, then this post is not for you.

I have this really bad habit of buying lots of different headsets.  I have worn out a couple and I bought some as gifts also, but it's unbelievable to me the amount of headsets I have used. I still look at headsets now and think about whether I'd like to own that one.

Now that my daughter is playing World of Warcraft with me, her computer noise is rather distracting, so I thought it was time she got her own headset. More reason to feed my addiction.

When you research headphones for kids there are concerns about damaging their hearing, and the recommendations are:
  • Limiting the length of time the child uses the headphones to 2 hours
  • Limiting the maximum volume of the headset to 85dB.
Comfort and fitting for small heads is another important consideration, and I would also like the kids to be able to hear me when I'm yelling for them.

Some headsets were on sale, so I decided to buy something for my daughter, and I decided to get her an Audio Technica PDG1.  My Audio Technica ADG1 is on the left, my daughter's Audio Technica PDG1 is on the right. And that's my Frostwolf pup 


Audio Technica ADG1

One big difference is that the ADG1 is for big headed people.  This headset was recommended to me by CTwin (who has a big head) and he quite likes that this headset doesn't hurt his head.  I think Xyn also had one once.  I chose the open headset (and was rather skeptical) and after having closed headsets previously, I must say I really love the open headset.  Basically it means that I can put the headset on and hear the sounds around me (like kids talking) and the sound is a little better because the noise isn't bouncing around inside a closed earpiece.  Game sounds are crisp and the headset can also be quite loud, which is not great for kids.  The top of the headset has these paddles which are supposed to rest on your head but it doesn't work well on my head (headset slips down) so I tied them together with some elasticised string so it wouldn't sag so much and drag on my ears. However, the massive ear cups are quite comfy and they have never given me earaches/headaches like other headsets I've had.

The mic is a little annoying on mine, it's little and I feel like I'm licking it half the time when I put it close to my mouth and it doesn't swivel out of the way to mute.  It also feels like it would be easy for my kids to rip it off and break it.

Pros: Great sound, able to hear family talking to me, easily used for PS4, comfortable on ears
Cons: Price ($200+), head paddles and non retractable microphone

Audio Technica PDG1


So my daughter's headset, the PDG1, doesn't have those paddles (it has a proper headband) and the earpieces are smaller.  Though the sound is good, it's not as loud as my ADG1 (Sensitivity of 92dB/mW for PDG1 vs 100dB/mW for ADG1), which is good for the kids.  What I also like is the changeable mic options.  There is the goose neck mike which adjusts nicely and a 3.5mm audio jack (which you can use for PS4); there's a smartphone cord with a built in mic; and a long extension cable for 3.5mm for audio and mic.


One thing I worry about are those little red cords between the earpiece connector and the headband.  I nearly cut them off when I was removing the headset from the box, and I worry that they will be easily broken or damaged because wires hanging out are just bad news with kids around.  Some idiot is going to pull them...

So far, it's been great. She's used it for her Ipad, we can use it for the PS4 and I've even used it on my phone! I think I'm in love with this headset!

Pros: Fits on kids heads, great cross functionality, good sound, easy to use
Cons: Sits a bit tight on adult head! Expensive for kids item ($150+), might be a little fragile for child use

Sennheiser G4ME one


I bought my husband a Sennheiser G4ME ONE open acoustic headset, as he liked my headset a lot but wanted to try something different, and, well it's a SENNHEISER. And it was pricey like every other Sennheiser!

When I speak on it, Luxy and Xyn said similar things - Luxy said I sounded like I was in a small room, whereas Xyn said I sounded like I had my head stuck in a box. It might be the noise cancelling mic that makes it sound like that.  The mic is on a large boom and easily swivels to mute, and I like it because it looks sturdy

Hubby Hyad also said that he preferred the sound on my ADG1 - he can actually hear outside better with my headset than with his.  The sound is still good, but it's more enclosed and I think the headset is a little hotter on the ears than mine because it seems to be a little less open.

The other crappy thing about this headset was that it didn't come with adapters for the PS4.  It would have been nice if it did, though I know they are easy enough to buy.

Pros: Comfortable, good sound, easy to use
Cons: Lousy mic, price ($250)

Steelseries H Wireless headset


On HK's birthday I got him a Steelseries H Wireless headset. To tell you the truth ever since I put a Steelseries on at Blizzcon I wanted to get one (though that was a Siberia), but they really weren't getting excellent reviews.  However, this one seemed neat because of the wireless part, and Aimei was my guinea pig to see if I wanted to get one for myself. Wireless headsets are great for taking to the toilet kitchen and still hearing what's going on.  I love wireless headsets!


It has a spare battery so that when the battery in the headset runs out, you just pop in the second batter which is charging in the base unit. However, Aimei reported problems in that it would sometimes NOT charge and then he'd be stuck with no headset.

The audio isn't as good as my AT - it's very bass-y, and teenage boys love their bass.  Also the ear cups are not as comfortable and my ears get sore after a while - not sure about Aimei's ears but the headset can get a bit sweaty.  The mic is reasonably clear and is at least easy to put out of the way and less likely to be snagged by naughty grabby kid fingers.  And oh, this headset is PRICEY.

Pros: Mobile, exchangeable battery, good sound and mic. Comfortable
Cons: Price ($200+). Can be fiddly. Not easy to find replacement padding.

Corsair Vengeance 2100 wireless



I didn't get much opportunity to use this headset. However, I bought it before I bought the Steelseries for Aimei, and I wanted to try a cordless headset.  This one was cheaper than the Steelseries, and seemed to be easy to setup. I liked the fit of the headset and I liked the mic boom being able to be flicked out of the way.

It has to be plugged in to charge, but at least you could still use the headset whilst it's charging.  I felt like it ran out all the time, and so I left it charging most of the time.

It had this hissing sound through the headset which really irritated me, and I was quite unhappy about it.  I am not sure if it was because I didn't have the right drivers or wrong audio setup but it was irritating. The mic was reasonably clear though, with little complaints.

However, it only lasted a week.  On the left ear piece side you can see the rectangular power button and I never turned off my headset when I hooked it up to charge and walked away from the computer.  I left it charging overnight with the computer off and then the headset didn't work, and I couldn't turn it off.  I let it run down and tried to recharge it and see if that "reset" would fix it.  It didn't. So I had to return it and it was fully refunded, but I would not recommend this headset to anyone.

Pros: Wireless
Cons: EVERYTHING. Price ($150+). Bad sound with hissing. Mic was slightly muffled sounding. Unreliable electronics because it broke and was unable to be used because of a strange electrical fault.

Logitech G930

My longest lasting headset, but it worked well.  The reason I changed because I was tired of USB headsets and wanted to go for a more standard audio/mic combo.  My headset had some little glitches like it wouldn't turn off unless I unplugged it from power, but at least you could charge it whilst you were talking.  In fact, the on and off button was annoying, having to press it for a long time and it was hit or miss if it would turn off or on or not.

Sound quality was decent. It was my first wireless headset and I liked it - the mobility convenience was cool. The mic did a good job and was muted when you swung it back to the upright position. However, the headset could get a bit hot and my family complained that I talked very loud when I was using it because it was enclosed and I couldn't hear them talking to me.

HK had the same headset and he must have some rough ears, because he wore out the earcups.  I gave him mine and hopefully he can get some extra life out of his headset.  This headset is not too expensive and I wouldn't mind buying one again.

Pros: Mobility, easy to set up and use, good sound and mic, Comfortable. Soft parts easy to replace.
Cons: Price ($150), that dongle thing is irritating and takes up desk space, on/off button fiddly. Also a pity I couldn't use this for the Playstation, that wireless thing would be really useful.

What would I think of buying in the future?

So, my son needs a headset for his Ipad and he is really rough with his gear.  I have been thinknig about what I would choose as a headset for him and I think a headset that covers the whole ear (rather than pressing on the ear with a soft pad) is the best thing. Unfortunately, a lot of the headsets are closed headsets and it would make it hard for him to hear me. And he doesn't talk to anyone so he doesn't need a mic or a gaming headset.

Sennheiser HD201



This headset is cheap ($35-$50), durable and also has a lot of impedence so that you can't get the volume too loud.  The big ear cups look comfortable and it has decent sound for a child who isn't going to worry too much about the 7.1 surround sound or the lack of extra bass.  The cords are also a bit long (3m) which means there is the risk of tangling, tripping or breaking the cord.

Skullcandy Slyr
OK I said that he doesn't need a mic or a gaming headset but this headset is just so sturdy looking, and it's a midrange price ($140).  I like the colours, and it looks like it would fit a child's head.  It's also another multifunction headset compatible with PS4, Xbox or a mobile device.

Audio Technica TAD300


I know I do love these open headsets, and this is another one, but the big drawback is the long cord. It's $89 and it's not too loud.  Sound is good but I'm not sure if I should have another Audio Technica headset in the house - might need some variety!

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