Trying to find the right Xbox One headset can be a tricky proposition. There are so many options out there, it can be hard to tell what’s actually good, and what’s just—you know—there.
Sure, finding something good is simpler here than with a Nintendo Switch, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t a number of things to consider. Here are the best options we could find, based on our reviews, as well as research into products we haven’t gotten our hands on yet.
Editor’s note: This list was updated on June 24, 2021 to include the Turtle Beach Recon 500 in the notable mentions.
The best Xbox One headset is the SteelSeries Arctis 9x
If you’re looking for a premium experience tailored from start to finish for the Xbox One, look no further than the SteelSeries Arctis 9x. Built on the same frame as great headsets like the Arctis 7 and Arctis Pro, the 9x variety is one of the only headsets to offer a truly wireless experience on a console.
SteelSeries Arctis 9x
That’s right, this headset uses Xbox Wireless connectivity, previously reserved for console controllers exclusively to connect to the Xbox One. Just pair the Arctis 9x with the console and you’re set—no dongles or base stations required.
This Xbox One headset sports a durable aluminum frame with a comfortable suspension band modeled after the elastic band of a pair of ski goggles. It’s headphones come with pads made out of a material SteelSeries calls Airweave, which breathes extremely well and offers a nice balance between the plush of a velour pad and the rigidity of leatherette. It also boasts up to 20 hours of use on a single charge.
The Arctis 9x’s bidirectional microphone is flexible and can even retract back into the left headphone when not needed. Surround sound is also supported through Windows Sonic Spatial Audio, so you should be able to hear the direction of enemies trying to sneak up on you in Fortnite just fine.
What you should know about Xbox One headsets
Gaming on an Xbox One introduces audio complications typical of any gaming console. Here, the primary constraint revolves around connection options. The Xbox One features a number of USB ports and hardware to support Bluetooth connections, yet it supports neither Bluetooth headsets nor most USB headsets.
The most common connection method is to use the 3.5mm jack at the bottom of the Xbox One controller. However, this isn’t quite as simple as it perhaps should be. Older Xbox One controllers don’t have headphone jacks built in, so you’ll need to buy an additional adapter if this is the route you decide to take.
What is Xbox Wireless?
Xbox Wireless is Microsoft’s proprietary device protocol that allows you to connect your gaming headset to the console, without the use of wires. That being said, even if your gaming headset includes a USB wireless dongle, it won’t connect to the Xbox unless the product is designed to support Xbox Wireless. The use of this protocol is one of the reasons why you’re less likely to find wireless gaming headsets for Xbox, compared to other platforms like PlayStation.
If sound quality is the only thing you care about, check out the Bose QuietComfort 35 II Gaming Headset
The Bose QuietComfort 35 II Gaming Headset is the company’s first foray into the world of gaming peripherals. In a way, this product is the answer to the question: what if you took a pair of noise cancelling headphones and slapped on a boom microphone?
Bose QuietComfort 35 II Gaming HeadsetFull Review
This headset is based off Bose’s former flagship ANC headphones, the Bose QuietComfort 35 II. That being said, the QuietComfort 35 II Gaming Headset features the same neutral-leaning sound signature of its non-gaming counterpart. While mid-frequency sounds like vocals and acoustic instruments are reproduced accurately, a bump in the low-end adds a slight emphasis to kick drums and bass lines. This headset’s sound signature will definitely appeal to fans of hip-hop or electronic music. As a cherry on top, this headset offers the same great active noise cancellation found on the Bose QuietComfort 35 II, for a truly uninterrupted gaming experience.
The Bose QuietComfort 35 II Gaming Headset can connect to a PC, Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and the Nintendo Switch, via USB or a 3.5mm cable. When you’re not gaming, this headset acts like a normal pair of Bluetooth headphones, with support for SBC and AAC streaming codecs.
As a gaming headset, these cans are pretty barebones, omitting any frills like RGB lighting, surround sound, or wireless connectivity for gaming. However, if you’re looking for a basic gaming headset that works just as well when you put the controller down, the Bose QuietComfort 35 II Gaming Headset is a compelling option.
For booming bass, consider the Beyerdynamic Custom Game
The Beyerdynamic Custom Game is a behemoth of a gaming headset, and it lets gamers customize its bass in a pretty unique way. Each ear cup has bass reflex vents, which are easily revealed or concealed with a simple sliding mechanism. Adjusting the bass reproduction also adjusts the influx of ambient noise that can permeate the headphones. In a quiet environment? Open up those bass vents and experience a boomier sound. For tournaments with plenty of chatter, just close the ports to drown everything out.
Beyerdynamic Custom GameFull Review
The cardioid boom microphone is forgiving when it comes to placement and hones in on your voice while simultaneously filtering out extraneous background noise. If customization is your thing, well, you’re in luck. The Custom Game headset includes interchangeable ear cup plates to non-verbally convey your style. If you’re not a fan of the all-black aesthetic, Beyerdynamic also has a bunch of customization options, as well as velour pads for people who wear glasses on their raids.
Because this is a 3.5mm headset, and a lot of its appeal is hardware-based, it’s every bit as good an Xbox One headset as a PC headset.
The HyperX Cloud Stinger Core offers solid features on Xbox One for $40
The HyperX Cloud Stinger Core is the prolific gaming peripheral maker’s entry level Xbox One headset. For just 39.99, you get a straightforward wired audio experience, with decent sound, a built in microphone, and in-line controls.
HyperX Cloud Stinger Core
There’s not a whole lot more to say about the Cloud Stinger Core—You plug it in via the Xbox One controller, and it works. The microphone is flexible and offers completely workable audio quality.
Sure, this isn’t the HiFi audio solution for the discerning competitive console gamer, but again, it’s 30 bucks. If you’re in the market for an Xbox One headset in this price range, you know what to expect—and this sits on the higher end of that.
The Razer Kaira Pro for Xbox One brings the features
While most of Razer’s headsets are typically geared towards PC gamers, the Razer Kaira Pro is the company’s first headset designed specifically for Xbox.
Razer Kaira ProFull Review
The Kaira Pro sports several Xbox-exclusive features. For starters, the headset offers support for Xbox Wireless, which allows you to connect the headset to your Xbox without the use of any cables, dongles, or adapters. For people who want an immersive gaming experience, the Kaira Pro also supports Windows Sonic surround sound.
Outside of gaming, the Kaira Pro functions like a regular pair of Bluetooth headphones. The headset uses Bluetooth 5.0, with support for the SBC and AAC streaming codecs. While this good news for Apple device owners, Android users are out of luck since the headset doesn’t support any platform-friendly high-quality streaming codecs, such as aptX.
In regards to sound quality, the Razer Kaira Pro isn’t the most accurate-sounding headset around. The extra bass emphasis may appeal to electronic and hip-hop fans who like to feel the oomph in their kick drums, however this sound profile tends to mask higher frequency noise—such as high-pitched vocals, strings, and high-octave synths. Then again, this type of sound profile is not unheard of amongst gaming headsets. Just don’t expect audiophile-level sound quality when listening through these cans.
If you’re a die-hard Xbox fan who needs a gaming headset and a pair of Bluetooth headphones, and aren’t a stickler when it comes to sound quality, the Razer Kaira Pro may be worth considering. For people who don’t need all the features of the Pro, and want to save around $50, consider its paired-down sibling: the Razer Kaira Wireless.
Best Xbox One gaming headsets in 2020: notable mentions
- HyperX Cloud Orbit S: When it comes to great sound quality, this headset is among the best. Featuring 100mm planar magnetic headphone drivers, these cans deliver a very pleasant listening experience, coupled with additional features like 3D Audio and multi-platform compatibility.
- Razer BlackShark V2: This is one of the best headsets to come out of Razer in a long time. The BlackShark V2 sports a clean design, soft memory foam ear cups, a very accurate sound signature, and great isolation—all for less than $100.
- Razer BlackShark V2 Pro: This sports the same design and feature sets as the BlackShark V2, with added support for wireless connections and a significantly improved microphone… if you’re willing to pay double the price.
- Razer Nari Ultimate: This headset features Razer’s Hypersense technology, providing haptic feedback from low-end sounds for a more immersive listening experience—whether you’re gaming or jamming out to your playlists. It also features a comfortable design, good mic quality, and strong wireless performance.
- Razer Kaira Wireless: The stripped back version of the Razer Kaira Pro, this headset still offers all the same features for Xbox users—minus Bluetooth. Considering this is a gaming headset, that’s no great loss, especially when it shaves $50 off the price.
- Turtle Beach Recon 500: This straightforward 3.5mm gaming headset gives you a solid microphone and decent audio, and that’s about it. However, plugged into your Xbox controller, that’s just about all you need a headset to do. It’s also pretty reasonably priced.
Why you should trust Sam
When it comes down to it, I don’t just review gaming headsets because I’m passionate about good audio. Pretty much everything I do here at SoundGuys focuses on gaming content, and that’s because I’ve been a gamer my whole life. You name it, I’ve probably played it. I know what kind of audio features are important for different kinds of games, and maybe more importantly: which ones aren’t.
The gaming headset space, much like many other parts of the audio industry, is rife with exaggerated language and gimmicky features that often don’t add much of anything to your experience. It’s easy to get caught up in the flashy lights and promises of immersive audio and bass so intense it’ll rupture your eardrums (in a good way, somehow), but most of that stuff flat out doesn’t matter. That’s why we review headsets, and why we have lists like this.
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