Fury and Sound: The 7 Best Xbox One Headsets

Aug 15, 2015

Category: Tech

Microsoft was notoriously cagey when it came to gaming headsets with the Xbox 360. They didn’t want outside developers to be making anything that would work with their console, forcing gamers to use only MS approved products so they could get more of those sweet, sweet dollars. Even those that did work often did so with strange caveats and bugs that made them inferior. Thankfully, Microsoft has loosened their restrictions with the Xbox One and created a niche for third-party Xbox One headsets, making a richer market and offering more choices to the users.

Now, with a simple MS adapter, you can use whatever headphones you like with the Xbox One, but compatibility can be sketchy. In selecting our headsets we went only for those that either didn’t require an adapter, or used it without flaw. We wanted rich sound and sterling chat capabilities for those times when you’re taking on Crota (again) in Destiny or yelling at the Russian team in FIFA. For the best experience for any price, each of our 7 best Xbox One headsets will keep you on point.

HUHD 2 4Ghz Fiber-optical Wireless

HUHD 2.4Ghz Fiber-optical Wireless

Pro: Inexpensive yet wireless
Con: Mic is stiff and hard to adjust

Budget Wireless: Wireless headphones are typically pretty costly, yet these manage to come in well under $100 for cord-cutting players looking to slash costs as well. They’re not going to give you the best sound, but for the scratch you lay down and a balance of features, quality, durability, cost, and, of course, wirelessness, these are top shelf. Nuances such as footsteps come through brightly on the 20-20,000 Hz frequency range and the staging gives you a good sense of where actions are taking place. These do a serviceable job of blocking out noise for better immersion, though the microphone is omni-directional and often picks up atmosphere around you. You’ll get relatively good wireless range, though try not to venture too far afield. [Purchase: $59]

Xbox One Armed Forces Special Edition

Xbox One Armed Forces Special Edition

Pro: Includes adapter for use with other systems
Con: No voice feedback

Standard Issue: Just because you can go with aftermarket upgrades for your Xbox One headset doesn’t mean you need to. The standard stereo headphones from Microsoft are damn fine, and their special edition model is a whole lot of bang for a reasonable amount of bucks. You’ll get a nice frequency range of 20-20,000 Hz that capture all of the mids and highs, though the bass won’t really rock you with explosions. The unidirectional mic cuts down on ambient noise and tucks away neatly when you don’t need to curse a camper or congratulate your team. No batteries are necessary and the exacting interface between the Xbox and the headset make your outgoing audio commands come through loud and clear. [Purchase: $64]

Skullcandy SLYR for Xbox One

Skullcandy SLYR for Xbox One

Pro: Specifically made for the Xbox One
Con: Works poorly with anything other than an Xbox One

Most for the Money: Skullcandy was clearly not messing around when they designed the SLYR gaming headset, though we think there’s a typo in their price. These seem far too good to be worth only a C-Note. They start off with a GMX-1 mixer that jacks right into your controller comfortably with no interference in your grip and all buttons clearly marked for quick, tactile access during a frag-fest. Mic feedback is solid so you aren’t accidentally yelling at your friends. Skullcandy has been awfully recalcitrant about giving out specs, but these seem to land in the 10-20,000 Hz range with more emphasis put on bass than on mids or highs, which give gunfire and explosions a nice, visceral feel. The staging can be strange with background noises feeling too far away and near sounds feeling a bit too close, but that’s subject to interpretation. [Purchase: $100]

Turtle Beach Ear Force XO Seven

Turtle Beach Ear Force XO Seven

Pro: Passive noise cancellation
Con: Removable mic is typically inconvenient

Sound Off: Turtle Beach was one of the first manufacturers to make a gaming headset for the Xbox One and their XO line is still among the best in the business. You can use the Four or the Seven and get exceptional sound along with a simple, MS-friendly interface, but expect the Seven to win in every category. With big 50mm neodymium drivers wrapped in comfortable memory foam, the sound staging and comfort are ideal. Each of the thick earcups provides enough isolation to allow these to work as noise-cancelling headphones for better immersion. Despite their size, they come in at a reasonable 12 oz to reduce fatigue. They claim mobile compatibility, but their features are hit-or-miss. The uni-directional mic is removable, but that’s as much of a hindrance as a help. Frequency response lands in the 20-20,000 Hz range. [Purchase: $155]

Sennheiser G4ME ONE

Sennheiser G4ME ONE

Pro: Versatile
Con: Not specifically meant for Xbox One

All-Purpose: You’re going to need to get the Xbox One adapter for this, but it uses it to the best effect and allows you to switch quickly to a PS4 or PC rig without causing a drop in quality. These have a 50 ohm impedance that leverages more power but really makes audio pop while the open-backed design gives you more comfort and ventilation than most of the closed model Xbox One headsets out there. You’ll get a little bleed, but it’s a small price to pay for some of the most astounding gaming audio you can get. These are engineered specifically to work with every kind of game, whether you’re an FPS elite sniper, an RPG maven, or the maverick of the RTS arena. Chat is completely clear without overshadowing game noises and the overall responsiveness works for fast-paced games that necessitate communication. [Purchase: $180]

Astro A40 with M80 Mix Amp

Astro A40 with M80 Mix Amp

Pro: Easy tactile adjustments
Con: Drains controller battery

More Power: Rather than relying on the adapter from Microsoft, these A40’s come equipped with their own mixing amp that jacks right into the controller and give so much more than just a different plug. With it you get not only voice balance and a simple mute feature, but an adjustable EQ that lets you get as much bass as your ears can stand. Switch between the bangs and burst-fire from COD and into the more refined Shadow of Morder without missing a beat. Voice chat and volume are easily changed without taking your eyes off the screen. This easy access is undermined by the quick drain that the Amp puts on your controller’s battery life. If you enjoy true 7.1 surround, you can upgrade to the A50’s, or spend the same amount and get the A40 system bundle if you prefer. [Purchase: $200]

Turtle Beach Ear Force Stealth 500X

Turtle Beach Ear Force Stealth 500X

Pro: Deep, directional sound
Con: Microphone is awkward

Premium Wireless: Full-blown 7.1 channel DTS surround sound without being tethered to your controller is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the 500X. Bearing an over-ear headphone design that is light and comfortable along with 50mm neodymium drivers, dynamic chat boost, and mic monitoring, total control is at your fingertips. Syncing up with most mobile devices and able to bring text and call notifications, you’ll be free and clear even when the flash-bangs aren’t flying. The true 360 degree sound stage is strikingly effective with no sound delay or drops. Tack on a rechargeable battery with a 15 hour life span and you’re getting a lot for your money. [Purchase: $200]

More From Tech

Randolph Revamps An Eyewear Favorite With The Archer Fusion Frames

Metal frames with hand-laid Mazzucchelli Acetate and matte black inlays.

Posted By Chris West

Partner

GoPro's HERO 8 Black Is A 4K 1080p HD Camera For Any Occasion

Perhaps the single most versatile camera on the market.

Posted By Sean Tirman

Partner
Featured Image

The 12 Best Bike Lights For Commuting

A deep dive into lighting equipment for the pedal-powered traveler.

Posted By

Dec 13, 2019

Featured Image

Leica & HODINKEE Partner On A Timeless ‘Ghost Edition’ Camera

An homage to founder Ben Clymer's love-affair with age and evolution.

Posted By

Dec 12, 2019

Featured Image

This Pocket GPS Can Track 30 People Without Cell Service Or Monthly Fees

A 3.7-mile range, IP67 water- and dust-proofing, & 72 hours of battery.

Posted By

Dec 12, 2019

Featured Image

8 Unexpected Ways To Use The New GoPro HERO8 Black

You don't have to jump out of planes to make the most of this top-tier device.

Posted By

Dec 11, 2019