Make horror games scarier with these three great headsets

Dave James

I've been playing around with the Early Access disturb-o-fest that is Darkwood. Last night I had to stop as every hair on my body stood to attention.

I'm not normally that much of a frightened lamb, but the combination of a 1am gaming session, a big screen in a darkened room and a fantastic gaming headset meant every nuanced creek of a floorboard, every beastly howl and every ghostly scream had me jumping out of my ample skin.

That's the power of a great audio soundscape, and of linking that up with a quality gaming headset. A decent set of speakers is fine for music and the bluster of a gunfire-racked war zone, but if you want to hear every little touch of a game's audio track then the aural isolation of good headphones is impossible to beat.

An excellent gaming headset doesn't mean frightening levels of bass response, simply because 'splodes. We're not all Michael Bay, and you ideally want to have a headset with a balanced EQ that can deliver clear bass notes as well as crisp high-ends.

Kingston's HyperX Cloud

1. Kingston HyperX Cloud

Price £86 / $80

Frequency response - 15Hz-25KHz

My favourite wired headset right now is Kingston's HyperX Cloud. They've done the unthinkable and taken one of the best-value sets around, QPad's QH-90, and improved on them.

The only thing the original design was light on was their bass response and Kingston have gone in and augmented it just enough to give the low frequencies a definite punch in the ear that's more felt than heard. In a good way.

The rest of the design has been left alone, which is grand as it makes them a robust but relatively lightweight headset.

The sound quality is immense and the detachable mic is rather impressive too.

Gamdias' wallet-friendly Eros

2. Gamdias Eros

Price £42 / $60

Frequency response - 20Hz-20KHz

These glossy-looking cans were a surprise when I first tried them out. My first experience with a Gamdias headset - the Hephaestus - wasn't a particularly pleasant one, and so I wasn't expecting much from the Eros. But for such a decently-priced headset they deliver some seriously impressive aural clarity.

In-game the booming bass and pin-sharp treble makes them a quality little set, even if they are a touch lacking when it comes to music.

Steel Series H Wireless setup

3. Steel Series H Wireless

Price £205 / $295

Frequency response - 20Hz-20KHz

If you're tired of trailing wires all over your desk and are craving a decent wireless headset then Steel Series are only too happy to oblige. Their H Wireless headset is my favourite cable-free set of cans and delivers that holy aural trinity of confident bass, clear mid-range and crisp high-end.

Unfortunately it's not the sort of class-leading audio quality you might reasonable expect given the sky-high price tag, but it's effective stuff and the overall package almost makes up for the fact it can't quite reach the levels of QPad's glorious QH 1339 set.

The light, comfortable H Wireless headset has the mic coiled away inside the left-hand ear cup with rolling volume controls and a mic-mute button on the right. It also comes with a charging station for the batteries which is part transmitter and part amp.

It's got a host of inputs and outputs as well as an OLED display on the front and a push-button dial for control too.

Best of all it comes with a pair of batteries so you can have one charging while you game with the other and you'll barely miss a beat swapping between them. Where many wireless headsets make you cable up to charge them the Steel Series set stays wire-free all the time.

Want to make the most of your horror-handling headset? Check out the 100 best horror games on PC .

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