Quality audio is an underrated commodity in PC gaming, yet it's so fundamental to a great gaming experience. Take Hunt: Showdown, for example, probably the most competitive game I play. If you don't have your audio game turned up to 11, you'll probably miss an all-important audio cue and by blasted to smithereens before long. It's pretty cutthroat like that, and all the more reason to get yourself a pair of quality cans.
The three gaming headsets (opens in new tab) released this year that we deem worthy of your setup are listed below, as these are the headsets that rose to the top in our testing. Each one brings something to the table—be that bang for your buck, useful features, or simply excellent sound quality. Each one is comfortable enough to wear for an extended gaming session, as that's something we just can't compromise on.
But only one can be named champion and take home the coveted PC Gamer Hardware Award. Here are the three best gaming headset nominees in all their glory.
Best gaming headset 2021: the nominees
Razer Barracuda X
You'd think PC Gamer would be all about the gamer aesthetic, and, well, we are. But that doesn't preclude greatness in products that shun that style, and the Barracuda X is Razer bringing the essentials and little else. It's wireless, so that's a big plus, and it'll connect to a whole range of devices with a handy USB Type-C dongle. It also offers great audio quality, comfort, and a decent battery. Compared to some wireless headsets it's not too pricey, either. All the makings of a great wireless headset, then.
This is the first homebrew flagship from Epos, and the company's gone all out. New features include 42mm drivers, a removeable and flippable microphone, and open- and closed-back options. It's a premium headset, too, which means it's a little on the expensive side for a wired model, but it feels like it's a high-end headset. It's comfortable, lighter than previous Epos models, and we found little wrong with it in our review.
We love an open-back headset, especially for gaming. They're not as good as closed-back designs for noisy spots, but if you're in a quiet area then they deliver a spacious and wide soundstage. That's great for games, where atmosphere and expanse are king. The ATH-GDL3 is also really comfortable and built to last, so we really like its chances.
Those are the three nominees, and the best, as decided by PC Gamer's editors, will be decided on New Year's Day. Stay tuned for that.