Quality gaming headphones

I’m in the market for high quality gaming headphones, which will also be used for listening to music. I know this topic has come up a few times in the past, but if IIRC, most of the recommendations were for headphones that didn’t have a built in microphone. For my purposes, the mic is an absolute must.

A friend of mine swears by the Sennheiser PC 166 USB Stereo Multimedia Gaming Headset. It’s my understanding that Sennheiser has a very good reputation and these headphones in particular have received a very good aggregate customer-review score on Amazon.

But I’m a bit apprehensive because this unit has built-in sound hardware and I’m worried that my fancy Sound Blaster X-Fi will be going to waste. I’m not even sure if that’s how it works but I suspect it is. Provided this is true, does anyone know how the sound hardware in a pair of headphones like this would compare to my Sound Blaster?

Oh, and I don’t necessarily have my mind set on these particular headphones. I’m open to other recommendations as well.

http://www.steelseries.com/us/products/5hv2/information ?

I use these and like them a lot:

Those look really good and they don’t have a built-in sound hardware, which is good IMO. How’s the sound quality for non-gaming stuff like music? And how comfortable are they?

FWIW, I’m currently using some Logitech headphones that are commonly found at Best Buy. They run like 30 bucks or so. Alas, I forget the model offhand. But I’m certainly looking for something better.

I recently picked up some Tritton AX360’s and like them a lot. I used the for gaming on the PC (standard and optical connections), on the 360 (via optical) and I also use them when playing guitar. Yes, there’s a mic and they’re an all around great set of headphones.

In my experience, you’re better off with an external mic and a pair of high-quality phones. I use the cheapie mic-on-stick that came with my SB Audigy, and I’ve never had any problems with it. Regardless, you’ll note that those Sennheisers are not adjustable and that the head strap is plastic. That brand has a reputation for quality, but the ergonomics also have a reputation for discomfort over long periods. Some people find the units fit too tightly on their heads.

I use a pair of AKG 240s, and I forget they’re on my head sometimes. High-quality materials, detachable cord (handy for when a pet or rugrat gnaws through it). Plus, they’re “semi-open,” so you can still hear the phone or doorbell. I’ve also accidentally stomped on the cord countless times, and the 'phones periodically get knocked off my desk, but they’ve stayed rock-solid.

No matter what you choose, you deserve better than a plastic head strap, for that kind of money.

The A40 from Astro is so far the best gaming headset I’ve used, hands-down. Really nice if you happen to have an Xbox 360 hooked up to your PC monitor or something, too (or just need a headset for playing 360 on your TV that will take optical audio input from the 360 and mix 360 sounds with headset audio traffic).

The downside is that I have a first-run production unit, and the actual production units they’re shipping to customers aren’t coming until like late April. So it’s preorder only right now. :(

Still, fantastic headset. Very comfortable for long periods, good quality construction, very good audio, very good quality mic.

If you need one right now, I give a big thumbs up to the Steelseries 5H v2.

Shadari, just remember fit and comfort are subjective. I love my pair of AKG 240s, but I love them in spite of their pleather ear pads turning the sides of my head all hot and sweaty after 45 minutes. I think Roger Wong had the same complaint with them.

I’m leaning that way.

Can someone comment on how well those headphones deliver music?

Very well imo.
They’re a bit on the heavy side, but still very comfortable to wear. Since I hardly ever use the mic I very pleased with it being completely retactable and very flexible. Sound quality is excellent a better than an equally priced pair of Sennheisers.

Thanks for the suggestion. I just ordered it from Amazon to support my new LOTRO addiction. I’ll post impressions when I receive it if anyone is interested.

Regarding the Steelseries 5H v2, how much does it actually reduce background noise? Put another way, if I’m talking to someone on Ventrillo with these headphones on, will I be able to hear my own voice to some reasonable degree?

Welp, I broke down and ordered the Steelseries 5H v2. I’ll post some impressions once I’ve worn 'em in a bit.

FWIW I love my Sennheiser HD580’s (although I would like to get a pair of beyerdynamic DT660 cans), and I use a Zalmann mic that attaches with clips to the headphone cord and is possibly the best computer mic I have ever used (I previously went through three pairs of different types of mics such as one that sat around your neck, one that was headphones/mic in one, etc). I have them plugged into my Klipsch ProMedia 4.1 speakers for amplification.

Anyone tried Shure E420 for gaming or music? I got a pair for christmas. I think it’s really great, especially at work when I want to work in peace and quiet.

I have the Sennheiser PC 161. It’s the open-ear model, because I am used to my Sennheiser headphones (forget the exact models, HD5xx and HD650?).

USB is kinda useful because the cable can be much shorter than routing 10’ around the table.

They superior to that cheapo headset that came with Battlefield 2. The microphone quality is excellent. Music not even close to real sennheisers. Excellent for gaming.

Yes. Even noise canceling headphones are not a sensory deprivation chamber. I don’t even think it’s possible in a sensory deprivation chamber to muffle a person’s vocal chords. You hear through induction through your jawbone.

Are you worried that if you can’t hear the sound of your own voice that you might not know what you are saying? If so, don’t be. Human speech doesn’t work like that. Stick your fingers in your ear and talk.

Not terribly worried, but I do like to hear myself when I talk. It’s a form of feedback that allows you to adjust your voice in certain cases where it’s needed. As an example, sometimes my voice gets scratchy and I won’t really know it unless I can hear it for myself.

Throwing my vote behind these as well. My turtlebeach phones didn’t last a year but my Tritton’s have sailed past the one year mark. My only complaint so far is that they don’t adjust down to a small enough size for my head, to fix this I just added a little more padding to the top and they fit just fine.

My headphones arrived today and I just put them through the paces and I must say that I’m very pleased. These are definitely a major step up from my old Logitech el-cheapos. I expected better audio quality and certainly got that, but I wasn’t expecting them to be so darn comfortable.