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Gaming Headsets, I have no idea what I'm looking for.

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January 31, 2013 7:32:19 PM

Hey there, Tom's!

So for the past couple of years, I've been buying TekNMotion's $20 headsets. They have a decent mic on them, and are lightweight and comfortable. Unfortunately, I can't say that they've got good build quality, even though, for the most part, they do. Be that as it may, they have a fairly big issue - every pair I've owned has, after roughly half a year, began to fail because the solder on the in-line volume control isn't reinforced at all, meaning that the wire simply falls out. I've tried splicing the wires back together after taking out the volume control, but without a soldering iron, it's rather difficult.

So after having my latest pair die on me in a middle of a firefight, leaving me stranded from my team, I decided it was time to upgrade my sound system to match the quality of the rest of my computer. I was trying to find a headset that I'd like, but there are so many options, and so many mixed reviews, that since I'm not familiar with the world of audiophiles, I figured I'd ask you guys. Here's what I'm looking for:

1) Good build quality. This is very important; I do NOT want to blow $100 on a headset and then have to replace it a year later. Going off of what I've been doing (Spending $40/year for replacements, I'd like it to last at least two and a half years if it's about $100.) Going off of this are two things; while I don't treat the headset itself too badly, I have an unfortunate tendency to coil the wire around my finger and fiddle with it; that means that a thicker cable is a plus, as is not having an in-line volume transistor.

2) Comfort. I'd (obviously) like them to be lightweight, and not tight, as I have a fairly wide head. (Since this also pertains to looks somewhat, I'll just throw out there that I prefer non-flashy accessories - black metal would be ideal.)

3) Sound quality. If I'm going to spend a lot of money on headphones, I'd like the sound to be decent. Now, I do have speakers for when watching movies or listening to music, but the headphones and mic both have to have decent clarity of sound. Also, my onboard sound card is 8-channel audio (I have an AsRock z77e-ITX) - I've heard good things about 5.1 or 7.1 surround for gaming, so I have a couple questions about it. Would I still get the surround effect if the headphones were plugged into my front audio headers, or would I have to switch them with my speakers in the back when I wanted to game? Second, for those of you who have 5.1 surround headphones, do you think that the benefit you get when gaming was worth the investment? I do tend to use audio a fair amount in the games I play, so I'm leaning towards it if it isn't just a marketing fad.

Thanks for the responses, and for helping me out - this is the only part of my computer that I'm not totally happy with.


EDIT:

So far I'm considering the following:

Astro A40/A50 (Is the only difference that the A50 is wireless?) [Hesitant about the price, but if it's worth it and will last me five or six years...]
Steelseries Siberia V2
Triton AX Pro
GX Gaming Cavimanus (It's the cheapest on the list - how much is that going to show up in terms of build quality?)
Saitek PH06 Cyborg ($20 for virtual 5.1 surround? What's the huge drawback? And how much does being a USB headset affect it?)

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January 31, 2013 8:46:06 PM

I just got a pair of A40s, and can honestly say Ive never heard sound from a headset that compares to it. Ive used sennheisers and skullcandy's, and turtlebeach but these are far beyond it. Build quality is great, and with the mixamp, assuming your setup has optical output, you get 7.1 surround. It makes a big difference, and the detachable mic is a bonus, plus it means you can unplug the mic, and from the mixamp and just wear them as headphones.

Also Ive heard the A50s weigh more because of the batteries and amp is all built in. I prefer a wired headset for a desktop, and they have a thick cable with is a bonus. The inline mic mute switch is pretty damn solid too.

I hope this helps your choices!
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January 31, 2013 8:55:36 PM

Burgies said:
I just got a pair of A40s, and can honestly say Ive never heard sound from a headset that compares to it. Ive used sennheisers and skullcandy's, and turtlebeach but these are far beyond it. Build quality is great, and with the mixamp, assuming your setup has optical output, you get 7.1 surround. It makes a big difference, and the detachable mic is a bonus, plus it means you can unplug the mic, and from the mixamp and just wear them as headphones.

Also Ive heard the A50s weigh more because of the batteries and amp is all built in. I prefer a wired headset for a desktop, and they have a thick cable with is a bonus. The inline mic mute switch is pretty damn solid too.

I hope this helps your choices!


Wonderful, thank you so much! That's pretty much what I've been reading, that they're the way to go.
I'll be honest, the A40's are what I'm leaning towards right now, but they're so expensive that they scare me off a little.

How long have yours lasted, and do you happen to have the bad habit of fiddling with any cords within reach?
(Also, I've heard complaints that they don't block noise very well. I do play in tournaments, so it would be a big plus if they did - any experience with gaming with a lot of ambient sound?)
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January 31, 2013 10:41:17 PM

Welp, considering my headphones just quit working entirely and that I have a moderately large tournament just around the corner of the weekend here, I bit the bullet and went for the A40s.

Excited and a bit nervous - I hope they live up to their reputation.
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January 31, 2013 10:41:57 PM

Best answer selected by DarkSable.
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