In a world that has become reliant on peer-to-peer online interaction both professionally and casually, it is clearer than ever that audio stream quality is by far more important than visual quality. You can still get your point across with a dodgy video feed and clear audio but flip the issue on its head and it’s likely your point will be lost.
Similarly for streamers of video games, audio has taken up an extremely important competitive role. With the introduction of surround sound, proximity chat, and location effects, audio is now almost AS important as visuals when trying to get the upper hand on your enemies or even listening to text to speech donations as you stream.
In times gone by, the headset market was dominated by a few large brands who set themselves apart with high-cost, high-performance products. On the other end of the scale, there were cheaply built and shoddy sounding models and there was not much else in between.
Nowadays there is a huge selection of extremely successful and competent headsets. The question is, which one is right for you? Keep reading to find out the best streamer headsets in 2021!
Streaming Headset Buyers Guide
Headset with or Without a Microphone?
90% of the headsets that are on the market today come with a built-in microphone. These microphones can be okay in high-cost sets but are more than likely very low spec.
We would always recommend buying a separate headset and microphone for audio output and input accordingly to ensure the best quality audio on your streams. For more XLR microphone tips, check out our Streamlabs OBS Audio Tips article right here.
That being said, the headsets ranked below are ranked predominantly on their audio output quality and NOT their microphone quality.
What Makes a Good Headset?
When you’re looking to buy a headset for your setup, keep an eye out for these important features:
Connection Type (Audio Jack or USB) – Audio jack connection is via 3.5mm jack and does not allow for in-built mic compression or pre-amp. USB connection is preferable.
Audio Type (Mono, Stereo, Spacial, or Surround) – Mono provides 1 channel of audio, stereo 2 and spacial and surrounds multiple channels. Spacial or Surround are preferable.
Audio Controls (On Headset or In-Line) – On Headset, controls are audio controls that you can find directly on your headset. In-line are controls you find on your headset cable. These controls include volume, bass boost, and sometimes noise suppression. Neither one is better than the other.
Software Included (No or Yes) – It is nice to have software included with your headset where you can change the audio filters or equalization. This will only be available for USB headsets.
Build Quality (Tacky or Sturdy) – Just like it says on the tin. How does the headset feel and how well is it built? This could also include comfortability so make sure to try on a preview headset before purchase.
With the above features, the options in the brackets are ordered from least to most desirable.
Headsets vs In-ear Headphones
In-ear headphones can be preferable to a lot of audio consumers these days. They provide an extremely direct bassy sound into your eardrums and very often have great noise cancellation due to their positioning inside the ear.
The main issue with in-ear phones would be a lack of 7.1 surround sound, headset software, and USB connectivity, although you could of course use them for casual gameplay and streaming if you find them more comfortable than a standard headset.
USB vs Jack Headsets
If you hear a hissing sound when you connect your Audio Jack headset, you’re probably going to need a USB set. A USB headset completely bypasses your PC sound card due to it having in-built compression and preamp software and can drastically improve the quality of your stream sound.
When purchasing your headset, we would almost always plump for a USB connection. The only cons are that USB sets are generally a little more expensive and of course take up a valuable USB slot in your PC.
All things considered, here are our Top 5 Streaming Headsets of 2021!
Top 5 Streamer Headsets of 2021
The Beyerdynamic DT 990 Pro are brilliant middle-of-the-road headphones and a fan favorite amongst large streamers. They have a fantastic sound quality and produce sharp, clear results.
They leak A LOT of sounds externally so make sure there is no one else working around you before you crank them up. This is due to their design which allows for the set to be more comfortable than others.
They are slightly treble-heavy but not so much so that it is regularly noticeable. The felt pads can be slightly warm during the summer months but can be switched out for more comfortable alternatives which are sold separately.
Steelseries is a brand that has been synonymous with streaming since day one. Surprisingly enough this is our only wireless model to make it onto this list. Wireless headsets come with some fantastic pros but unfortunately a few cons.
First up, the ability to walk around and not have a care in the world about tripping over cables or knocking over glasses is INCREDIBLY satisfying and the USB dongle that comes with the Arctis 7 is reliable with an extremely impressive 12-meter range. Its build is very strong and feels fantastic to wear.
Now the one big downside with wireless headsets is that they do not have a constant power input. This does make them susceptible to lower sound quality and sound issues. The Arctis 7 produces sound equal to the quality of all the below headsets … but take a look at the price difference. It should really match the Beyerdynamic’s range but unfortunately, the sound quality takes a slight hit in order to accommodate wireless connectivity.
Nevertheless, it’s still a brilliant addition to anyone’s setup.
It doesn’t seem like too long ago that Logitech was only in the market for webcams. Nowadays they have an entire catalog of PC equipment and are really starting to take hold of the middle-end market.
The G432 is a fantastic choice for affordability and quality. It’s structurally sturdy and comfortable to wear for hours on end. Not to mention its microphone is one of the few on this list that actually sounds relatively clear!
As Logitech continues to make a name for itself in the gaming industry, this is a great buy. It’s tough to say it’s the best streamer headset but it’s definitely the ‘best of the cost-effective rest’.
If you are a regular viewer of streamers, you’ve no doubt seen the Razer Kraken X in action. Every you look nowadays it seems someone is sporting the X in its classic black or vibrant lime green.
The Kraken X is a perfectly capable little headset that produces solid sound and holds itself together well physically. It can be a little small for those of us with larger heads but does have slight adjustability.
Okay so this headset choice is a bit left-field, but bear with us. The Mad Dog GH705 is manufactured in central Europe and can only be bought from certain Polish online retailers (who do ship internationally), but it is a FANTASTIC build!
Comfort, sound quality and build in the GH706 are all comparable to high-end headsets and in some cases even outperform their expensive competitors! Once on, they feel light and dainty despite being a pretty large headset and block out most if not all external sound.
The Mad Dog even comes with product software that allows you to edit your sound output even more. If you’re looking for an original and unique headset to make yourself stand out, opt for the GH705 and you won’t be disappointed.
There are a lot of headsets on the market today and it can be extremely tough to choose one or the other. The above choices are 5 of the most reliable sets that produce extremely satisfying audio quality. Pick one of these and you’ll be well on your way to the perfect streaming setup!