HyperX Cloud Stinger Headset
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A closer look at the market's leading gaming headsets to see which is best for under $50
The best gaming headsets don’t always have to put increasing pressure on your mounting PC costs, but can you really get a good headset for under $50? This is one of the main questions we get asked in regard to budget headsets, so we thought we’d answer that question with an article. Budget gaming headsets do make some concessions, so you probably won’t see flashy wireless headphones in this category, but you will see an array of decent features that vary from 7.1 surround sound to flip-to-mute microphones.
However, there is still some very good stuff out there at the sub-$50 price point, you just have to do a little more research. But research is boring so we’ve done that part for you. When it comes to a good headset, you want good sound quality, comfort, and clarity to give you a competitive edge when it comes to esports titles and competitive bouts. These are the aspects we are most concerned about, the other stuff can come second.
In this article, we are going to go through the run-down of our top gaming headsets for under $50 with price-to-performance taking a lead role. All these gaming headsets have been hand-selected based on value, reviews, and our general opinion after extensive usage and testing. We will cover the features of these budget gaming headsets and go into the technical terms in thorough detail to help you pick the best headset for under $50 for your needs. This will be a god-tier, giga-IQ money-saving maneuver.
Why are these the best gaming headsets? How do you know these are the best gaming headsets for under $50? It is all well and good just stating your opinion, but testing products is where we find the true best-of.
It doesn’t matter if it’s mice, monitors, or chairs, our team here takes a few days to gather data and research the best products in whichever category they may be writing about. Once researched, a draft of potential products is selected and purchased, that is if they haven’t been sent by manufacturers already. Once we physically have the products hands-on, we can begin to test and narrow down the number of products to around 5-7.
The gaming headset marketplace has exploded over the last couple of years, now housing what seems like a never-ending list of affordable options to choose from. With so many headsets to choose from, which one is best for your personal needs?
Personal preference can narrow this selection down, but we have decided to outline specific key criteria we think you should consider before buying your new gaming headset.
Communication is key, especially for any competitive players out there. Because of its importance, you need to ensure your microphone is of the highest affordable quality and ideally be flexible in its placement. You often find that gaming headsets under $50 can sometimes feature average microphones that pick up strange hisses or can be oddly quiet.
Despite the budget of $50, we have managed to find gaming headsets with suitable and reliable microphones. This is crucial if you’re an FPS player as reliable and clear vocal comms can mean the difference between winning and losing.
Of course, what would a good pair of headphones be without stellar sound quality? While much of audio quality comes down to preference, each of these headphones provides exceptional quality for the price.
Moreover, virtual surround sound needs to be excellent. Much of what happens in a game is contextual to the environment, so we chose headphones that have excellent location-based imaging, which is particularly important in competitive FPS games as it allows you to accurately find the location of enemy footsteps or gunshots. This has been proven to provide a competitive edge so we consider it to be one of the most important aspects when picking the best gaming headset under $50.
this is one of the areas we consider to be a second priority, especially as you can’t see them during use. It’s less important than the more tangible benefits such as comfort and audio quality. We’ll still be paying attention, but at ~$50, don’t be expecting any of these to be winning product design prizes.
Comfort is a big factor when it comes to not just gaming headsets but headsets in general. It doesn’t matter if you plan on huge gaming sessions or the odd bit of casual play, an uncomfortable headset can drive people crazy. Comfort can be compromised with many gaming headsets in the under $50 category, but we have done our best to select headsets that not only sound good but feel good too.
In many cases, the materials used can contribute heavily to the overall comfort of the gaming headset. It is always good to check your next potential purchase for any gaps in the connecting parts. There should be little wiggle room in a well-built headset, and you want to make sure any stitching on the headset isn’t about to unravel after a couple of uses.
That’s the boring stuff over and done with, so let’s take a look at the top contenders.
HyperX comes to the table with our top pick in the best gaming headset for under $50. The Cloud Stingers are a popular pair of headphones and represent excellent value too. This lightweight gaming headset comes with earcups that can rotate 90 degrees and have 50mm dynamic drivers for audio precision.
The Stingers feature HyperX’s signature memory foam and steel sliders giving this pair of headphones great flexibility and a greater degree of comfort than most in this price range. One of the best design features of this gaming headset is the swivel-to-mute microphone which self-mutes whenever it is swiveled upwards into a vertical position.
The frequency may not be quite as good as a high-resolution headset but for the price, in this budget gaming pair, it ain’t half bad!
HyperX delivers a simple yet aesthetically pleasing gaming headset with enough features to make this a serious gaming option. The comfort is decent from the Cloud Stingers thanks to its memory foam padding and adjustable ear cups, making this a great pair of headphones for under $50.
The name Logitech is a brand a lot of gamers and enthusiasts trust. It’s even a name that professional esports players and companies trust. But is it really worth getting the G430? Right off the bat, it’s a guarantee that you really do get what you pay for. This has an attractive black-and-blue color and really does have the appearance of a gaming headset.
The G430’s share a similar feature with our top pick since the ear cups can be rotated 90 degrees for convenience. Aside from that, it also shares yet another feature with the SADES A60 since this also has a DTS and Dolby 7.1 surround sound system.
Weight won’t be an issue when worn since this is also lightweight and comfortable. The earcups of the Logitech G430 can also be adjusted easily, which makes it really great if you intend to wear this for hours on end. In fact, we didn’t really have issues with discomfort as we tested this out
The audio quality isn’t the best but it did deliver the needed performance and output fairly well. The gunshots and the footsteps can definitely be heard clearly. We’ve read some users find the surround sound to be a little off but as we tested this out – it was just perfect.
The microphone also delivers how it should but the problem is that this isn’t incorporated with a noise-reduction feature, which could cause a problem for your teammates if there are environmental or ambient sounds around you.
The HS35 didn’t use to have a place in this guide, but the newest revision of the budget superstar has earned its location here with a feature-complete, budget-friendly overall package that performs with excellence straight out of the box.
It’s going to sound weird, but one of our favorite features of the Corsair HS35 headset is the actual choice of colors available. Normally you can choose between black and white, that’s it. White isn’t even always an option but Corsair has produced this headset with 5 colors to choose from which shouldn’t be as rare of a gift as it is.
Additionally, the removable microphone is a nice touch as you can toss it to the side when you don’t need it, making for a more streamlined overall package.
Given that it’s the cheapest option on this list you shouldn’t be surprised to learn that it is only stereo, meaning that it won’t make for top-tier competitive performance, but if you’re more of a casual gamer who just needs a plug-and-play audio upgrade, the HS35 will do very well for you.
Astro Gaming is better known for its high-performance gaming headsets that fall into the “premium” price bracket. Having said that, their Astro A10 headset which comes in at just under $50, might be one of their best value-for-money products available right now.
The Astro A10’s come to shelves with a very aesthetically pleasing design which, if not for the microphone, could certainly pass for an everyday headset. The build quality is superb and easily one of the standout features of this headset. Premium materials have been used throughout, making this headset feel much more expensive than its price would suggest. The A10 is definitely the most durable in this list and should stand the test of time.
The 40mm drivers that this headset comes equipped with offer a very boomy sound profile which sounds great for immersion whilst gaming or listening to music. Whilst the highs and mids do leave a little to be desired, the spacial awareness and in-game sound queues were bang on point. It was easy to pinpoint where enemies were from footsteps and gunfire.
The headset features a very good microphone that sounds clear and accurate. On the downside, it is slightly tinny, but for under $50, you can’t really complain.
The Razer Kraken X is one of the latest arrivals to the Kraken lineup of headsets. This one comes to shelves boasting an array of cool features, excellent comfort, and good sound quality too – when comparing to similarly priced alternatives, that is.
This Kraken X headset has a very subtle and understated design, compromised of mostly plastic with steel found in the earcups and headband. The color theme is, as expected, all-black – giving this headset a sleek and sophisticated look.
The 40mm directional drivers do provide pretty good sound if truth be told. The bass isn’t too overpowering and the highs have been tweaked to allow better understanding of your enemy’s position in competitive esports titles. The Krakens weigh in at a slender 250 grams and feel extremely comfortable while in use.
The microphone, which is non-detachable, offers very good sound recreation as far as budget headsets go. The cardioid technology used in the microphone allows sound to be picked up from several different directions, providing a clearer, more accurate portrayal of your voice. On the downside, it can pick up a decent amount of ambient noise.
Overall, as far as cheap headsets go, this one is pretty damn good. The only downside is that the build quality doesn’t feel overly robust. At this price range though, it isn’t the worst on the market.
If you’ve recently decided to delve into the world of gaming, you might be wondering whether it’s better to go for a pair of headphones or stick with the more traditional choice of a gaming headset. Standard headphones can be used for gaming purposes and indeed can offer similar features that a designated gaming headset could, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re the better choice.
Generally speaking, if gaming is important to you and you’d like the most immersive experience, then it’s best to go for a gaming headset as, unlike headphones, they have been specially designed to be able to allow you to hear virtual and surround sound. On top of that, gaming headsets will also feature an integrated microphone, which will allow you to easily converse with your teammates.
In addition to that, another reason why it’s a good idea to choose a gaming headset over a pair of headphones is that gaming headsets are usually more fine-tuned, which ensures that you’ll be able to enjoy a more immersive experience, as the headset will be able to deliver full-body midrange, as well as controlled treble. This means that, if you were to choose a gaming headset, you’d be able to more clearly hear the intricacies of the gaming audio, which will help to make the game feel more realistic.
Regardless of whether you’re a beginner gamer or seasoned expert, it’s likely that you’ve come across the term ‘7.1 gaming headsets’ and wondered if they’re worth the hype. Though it should go without saying that surround sound gaming headsets will no doubt offer a more immersive experience while playing games, standard stereo headsets are still extremely popular and favored by many professional gamers for their clear and authentic sound.
Despite that, 7.1 gaming headsets do offer a few benefits that stereo headsets cannot, with the two most important being:
Of course, 7.1 gaming headsets aren’t perfect, and one of the biggest downsides is that many latest-generation games do not support 7.1 channels, which means you will be restricted as to which games you can use them on. Nevertheless, 7.1 headsets offer an unparalleled audio quality that makes you feel as though you’re really in the game and, with them growing so quickly in popularity, it’s also safe to assume that more games will begin to be compatible with them.
Though a 3D sound setup is recommended by many, there are some benefits to choosing to stick with stereo. Many gamers agree that stereo headsets are able to offer a slightly better overall sound quality than 7.1 headsets, which is the main reason why many pro-gamers choose to stick with them despite the lack of surround sound.
If you like to watch professional gaming tournaments in your spare time, then you might have noticed that many (if not all) of the gamers participating in the tournament will tend to wear two headsets at one time. Usually, pro-gamers will choose to wear earbuds and a headset at the same time, while also keeping a spare headset around their necks. The reason for this is because the earbuds are used to play the actual gaming audio, while the headset over the top is used to cancel out any external noise that could potentially distract them from the game. Interestingly enough, the third headset that you may have seen some pro-gamers sporting is almost always there for decorative purposes, as many sponsors pay the gamers to wear their headsets for marketing reasons. The more you know!
No matter the brand, all latest-generation headsets should offer a service life of around 2-5 years before they need to be replaced, though this will greatly depend on how frequently they are used, as well as how well they are cared for.
When it comes to breaking down the differences between these two types of audio, the answer is pretty simple. Mono headsets utilize just one microphone, which means that there is only one audio signal. This means that, while playing a game, you will only be able to hear the audio from one channel at any given time, so the sounds you hear coming from both speakers of the headset will be exactly the same. In contrast, stereo headsets utilize two microphones and channels, which means they are able to output different signals at the same time. For this reason, stereo headsets will be able to create a more immersive gaming experience, as different signals can be sent to each side of the headset, meaning that what you hear in your left ear may be different from what you hear in your right. This will help to create a more realistic gaming experience.
Surround sound is great for gaming because it allows for a more realistic experience. Not only does surround sound make it easier to detect the location of other players within the game, but it also helps to create an immersive experience that will feel as though you are actually inside the game, all while elevating the overall cinematic experience.
So, there you have it, our complete guide to the best gaming headset for under $50. If you venture deep enough on Amazon or Ebay you can find some better headsets if you don’t mind going for something used.
Unsurprisingly, the HyperX Cloud Stinger still came out on top for their exceptional build quality, comfort, and price. For less than $50, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better pair of headphones despite their few weak points.
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