Tech

The best PS5 headsets: Get better sound from your favorite new console

Killer audio is the unsung hero of the PlayStation 5. Sony’s new console features a host of incredible upgrades — sharper visuals, improved framerates, an SSD that dramatically cuts down on load times, and a new DualSense controller with enhanced haptic feedback. One of my favorites, though, is the console’s Tempest audio technology, which imbues your headset with 3D spatial audio, or virtual surround sound that can simulate sounds coming from above or below you, in addition to all around. Tempest is only compatible with headphones and headsets, so to get the most out of your games, even single-player experiences, you’ll want to play with headphones or a gaming headset. (Tempest compatibility for TV speakers is currently in beta). Between that and the fact that a headset is the easiest way to chat with friends and other players, finding the best PS5 headset for you is crucial to getting the most out of the experience.

How We Selected the Best PS5 headsets

As a longtime tech and gaming critic, I have a lot of experience using gaming headsets. I’ve reviewed dozens of them for sites like IGN, PC Gamer and, of course, Popular Science. The majority of my recommendations are based on my own personal testing, playing all kinds of games on PS5. In a couple of cases, I deferred to the accounts of my colleagues past and present, while making sure that the headsets offered high-quality specs and value.

What to Consider When Buying a PS5 Gaming Headset

Buying a headset using the information on the back of the box can be a crapshoot. There’s some useful information on there, but the most important qualities, like sound quality and comfort, cannot be gleaned from specs. Still, there’s a lot of useful information that can help you make a good purchasing decision in the moment.

Compatibility

The most important question is also the easiest to solve… Most of the time. Always check to make sure if a headset works with the platform(s) you own. For consoles like the PS5 and Xbox Series X, the console is frequently referenced in the name of the product, or there’s a large sign on the box with a console logo. Worst case, you need to check a list on the box of compatible devices. Many wireless headsets for PC are also compatible with the PS5, so it never hurts to check their compatibility when you’re shopping.

Wired vs. Wireless Headsets

As with the PlayStation 4, the PS5 supports both wired and wireless headsets. Choosing between a wired and wireless headset is often a question of convenience versus cost. While the gap between the two isn’t gigantic, adding the extra tech to make a headset work untethered noticeably increases its price. 

That said, there are also good, non-financial reasons to consider a wired headset: Even the best wireless gaming headsets need to be charged frequently. Most premium headsets have an estimated max battery life of around 20 hours. (Often, you’ll get significantly less). If you play often enough, you may find yourself plugging the headset in to charge while you play. Some players will tell you that it’s worth it to use a wired headset to mitigate audio lag, but in my experience, that’s not an issue with a dedicated headset, especially if it connects to the console via a 2.4GHz wireless dongle instead of the slightly slower Bluetooth option.

Weight

The weight of your headset matters more than you think. During a long play session, a heavy headset can start to feel heavy on your head. It doesn’t necessarily reveal whether or not a headset will be comfortable over time on its own: Padding, particularly a suspended or self-adjusting headband, can go a long way to easing the burden of a heavy headset. Ultimately, figuring out what’s comfortable is a personal decision, but if a headset looks big and bulky, chances are it’s going to be heavy. If that’s the case, look for thick memory foam padding and/or a suspended headband.

Microphones

Technically, a gaming headset is a combination of two devices — headphones and a microphone. The microphone is half of the equation, but most reviews spend significantly less time on it than the headphones. The fact is that most headsets reach a pretty high bar for quality across the board, and rarely deviate too far from it, so you don’t need to worry about specs too much. There are design qualities to keep in mind, like whether a mic is detachable or retractable. Some high-end headsets feature active noise-cancellation in the microphone to minimize ambient noise, which is always a nice touch, but not necessarily a dealbreaker.

Best PS5 headsets: Here’s what we recommend

There is no singular best PS5 headset for every single person, but I’ve winnowed down my experiences to a shortlist of candidates for most players, depending on a few key factors. All of them are very good, though, so you can’t go wrong with any of these picks.

Best wireless PS5 headset: SteelSeries Arctis 7P

Everything a PS5 player needs

All of SteelSeries Arctis headsets are great, but the 7P is the sweet spot for PS5 players.  SteelSeries

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Specs

  • Drivers: 40mm
  • Frequency Response: 20-20,000 Hz
  • Microphone: Retractable wire boom, bi-directional
  • Connection Types: 2.4Ghz wireless via USB-C dongle, Analog (3.5mm)
  • Estimated Battery Life: 24 hours

Why it made the cut: A great overall headset that’s made specifically for PlayStation.

Pros Cons
Balanced sound Bluetooth is on a more expensive model
Comfortable Micro-USB charging port
Great battery life

SteelSeries Arctis’ line of headsets is incredibly well-rounded. They’re comfortable and deliver sharp sound and a solid connection. The PlayStation-specific Arctis 7P delivers the best bang for your buck if you’re looking specifically for a PS5 headset. (Technically it also works on Switch and Android phones with USB-C, too). If you also want to play on PC or Bluetooth support to pair with a phone, the more expensive Arctis 9 is also an excellent choice.

Best wired PS5 headset: Asus ROG Delta S

All the features

Superior listening and lighting. What can’t this thing do!? Asus

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Specs

  • Drivers: 50mm
  • Frequency Response: 20-40,000 Hz
  • Microphone: Detachable, Unidirectional with Noise-Cancellation
  • Connection Types: USB-C, USB-A (with extension cable adapter)

Why it made the cut: The Asus ROG Delta S sounds incredible and comes with loads of stellar features, including MQA audio codec support, customizable RGB lighting, and more. 

Pros Cons
Some of the most nuanced sounding headsets I’ve tested Some features are primarily for PC, like MQA streaming audio support
USB-C or USB-A with an adapter that doubles as an extension cable Expensive, especially for a wired headset
Distinctive style, including RGB earcups

The Asus ROG Delta S is, if nothing, distinctive. A concentrated burst of flashy features, like an internal quad-DAC, triangular ear cups, RGB lighting, and support for Master Quality Authenticated (MQA), a high-fidelity encoding format required for streaming services like Tidal’s “master” quality audio. Normally, overloading a headset with showy bells and whistles is a red flag — a sign that maybe the headset underneath all the features isn’t so great. In this case, however, those features are all icing on the cake, so to speak. The Delta S delivers sharp audio across its range and a rare level of clarity among gaming headsets. It is a USB wired headset, so you will need to have a cable running from the front of your PS5 to your head, but with a 5-foot cable and a 3.2-foot extension cable, it isn’t as restrictive as other wired models. Plus, you know… It sounds really good.

Best PS5 headset for Esports: SteelSeries Arctis Prime

Playing to win

The SteelSeries Arctis Prime is focused on fundamentals. SteelSeries

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Specs

  • Drivers: 40mm
  • Frequency Response: 10-40,000 Hz
  • Microphone: Retractable, Bi-directional with noise-cancellation
  • Connection Types: Analog (3.5mm)

Why it made the cut: Everything about the Arctis Prime is simple and clean. Simply put, it is the best analog-only headset I’ve ever used. (And the only one I recommend).

Pros Cons
Suspended headband is very comfortable Limited customization
3.5mm means it works with every platform A bit expensive for limited feature-set
“High fidelity” drivers sound better than most 3.5mm headsets

I’m continually surprised to find myself returning to the Arctis Prime over and over. As an esports headset, its simple design focuses on the basic functions of a headset: It needs to sound clear and it needs to make you sound clear. It excels on both counts, thanks to “high-fidelity” drivers previously reserved for SteelSeries’ most expensive headset, the Arctis Pro, and a noise-cancelling microphone.

Best PS5 headset for audiophiles: Audeze Penrose

Luxury listening

The Audeze Penrose brings high-fidelity hardware to PS5 Audeze

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Specs

  • Drivers: 100mm
  • Frequency Response: 10-50,000 Hz
  • Microphone: Detachable, Wire boom
  • Connection Types: 2.4 GHz wireless, Bluetooth, Analog (3.5mm)
  • Estimated Battery Life: 15 hours

Why it made the cut: A luxurious sounding headset from an audiophile headphone brand? What’s not to love?

Pros Cons
Planar magnetic drivers Very expensive
2.4 GHz and Bluetooth wireless OK battery life

Audeze, a brand best known for its impressive audiophile-grade headphones, also makes some of the best gaming headsets on the market. Though it isn’t quite as feature-rich as the Audeze Mobius headset for PC, the PlayStation-specific Penrose and Xbox-specific Penrose X bring the company’s superior sound to consoles. The secret, so far as we can tell, are the headset’s Planar magnetic drivers, which are able to achieve a bassy, but nuanced sound that pairs especially well with games. At $300, the Penrose is very pricey for a gaming headset. Then again Audeze’s newest headphones, the Audeze CRBN, costs $4,500, so everything is relative.

Best for single-player experiences: Sony PlayStation Pulse 3D

The classic

The Sony Pulse 3D wireless headset is perfect for PS5 because it was made specifically for the console. Sony

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Specs

  • Drivers: 40mm
  • Frequency Response: N/A
  • Microphone: Dual internal microphones with noise-cancelling
  • Connection Types: 2.4 GHz Wireless, Analog (3.5mm)
  • Estimated Battery Life: 12 Hours

Why it made the cut: Sony’s own headset is designed to take special advantage of the PS5’s spatial audio technology.

Pros Cons
Large ear cups pair great with spatial audio Doesn’t work as well with other platforms
High-quality for the price So-so battery life
Light and comfortable

The Sony Pulse 3D, PlayStation’s own PS5 wireless headset, is a unique and, in some ways, perplexing device. It’s cavernous ear cups create a great soundstage that gets the most out of the console’s spatial audio tech, Tempest, and makes games sound great, particularly when you compare it to other headsets at the same $99 price point. That said, it uses internal microphones, similar to what you’d find on a pair of wireless headphones, rather than a boom mic. Even with noise-cancelling tech, you can expect them to let in more ambient noise than other microphones. Hence, the caveat. The Pulse 3D is an excellent budget-conscious headset pick if you’re looking to get the full audio experience out of the PS5, but don’t care so much about chat quality.

Best multi-platform wireless headset on a budget: Razer Barracuda X

Play where you want

The Razer Barracuda X works equally well on PS5, Switch, PC, and Android. Razer

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Specs

  • Drivers: 40mm 
  • Frequency Response: 20-20,000 Hz
  • Microphone: Detachable, Unidirectional
  • Connection Types: 2.4 GHz wireless via USB-C dongle, Analog (3.5mm)
  • Estimated Battery Life: 20 hours

Why it made the cut: The Barracuda X offers solid sound and a versatile wireless connection thanks to its USB-C dongle.

Pros Cons
USB-C dongle works with almost every core gaming device Sound is good, but not quite as impressive as other picks
Affordable
Good battery life

The Barracuda X is the move for players who care about convenience above all else. With a USB-C wireless dongle, it easily pairs wirelessly with the PS5, Switch, PCs, and most modern Android phones. Its balanced sound profile doesn’t punch your eardrum with bass like lesser headsets, which narrowly put it over much of the mid-to-budget wireless pack. That said, it doesn’t achieve the same level of nuance or audio isolation as the other headsets on this list. Even so, the Barracuda X is the closest thing to a one-size-fits-all wireless headset that I’ve tried, and that’s valuable for a lot of players.

FAQs

Q: What headsets work with the PS5?

The PlayStation 5 works with wireless headsets that support its specific wireless standard, and wired headsets that connect via USB-A, USB-C, or an analog 3.5mm headphone jack. (Technically, you can also connect Bluetooth headphones to a PS5 with a USB Bluetooth adapter, but I wouldn’t recommend it). The easiest way to determine whether a headset is PS5 compatible or not is to simply check the box. There is almost always some mention of what platforms it’s designed for.

Q: Can I use my PS4 headphones with the PS5?

In most cases, you should be able to connect a PlayStation 4 headset to the PS5, especially if it pairs using a USB dongle or 3.5mm analog port. In fact, you’ll find that many new headsets brand themselves as PlayStation compatible, rather than PS5 compatible, because they work with both PS4 and PS5.

Q: How much do PS5 headsets cost?

In my experience, most worthwhile gaming headsets cost between $99 and $200, though there are exceptions, including some of the high-end headsets on this list. 

Last thoughts on the best PS5 headsets

Everyone has their own priorities when buying a gaming headset. Some people want the best sound. Others prioritize comfort, or price, or convenience. Though there’s a lot of variation as you explore the range from budget models to audiophile-grade gear, keep in mind that there are great options at every price, and that the idea of the “best PS5 headset” is different for every person.



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