Defining what makes for a good quality headset really depends on a single factor. No, it’s not the price, although obviously, that’s an important factor. It’s also not the look of the headset, even though no one wants to look stupid wearing one.
The overriding factor that must be considered is the intended function of the headset. What you plan on using it for will determine the type of headset you should buy and how much it should cost.
For this function, your best bet is to get a monaural headset. This is a design that involves just a single earpiece. It mimics the way you use a telephone, except of course your hands are free. Sounds coming from the telephone are in mono, not stereo, so you don’t really need two speakers.
These headsets are often the most affordable, so you won’t have to overspend if you’re looking to use it for your Skype communications. They’re great for the office and call center environments, since you can use it to talk to someone, your hands are free to type on the keyboard, and you can still hear what your officemates are saying to you.
You just need to make sure that you’re understood and that you can understand the voice coming from the headset.
This time you need a binaural design covers both ears. That’s because gaming sounds often come in stereo mode (at least). This can be either wireless or wired—gamers are split into 2 camps as to which design is better.
Here you need to think about the immersive experience. You want the gamer to feel as if they’re there in their virtual world.
So you need to think about comfort since gamers can play for long hours. The padding should be adequate, and the design must be adjustable. The controls on the headset should be easy enough to adjust.
For the sound quality, the vocals must be clear so they can understand the people over the headset. It’s not enough that the audio sounds great with the satisfactory bass of explosions. The user will also want to know “where” the sound is coming from. That’s because sounds represent a danger or a target. That’s why many gaming headsets offer a 7.1 virtual sound so that the direction isn’t simply from the left or right of the gamer.
The mike should be adjustable as well, and it should be good enough that your voice can be understood easily by other players. The headset should also look “cool”—gamers would rather not look like dweebs.
This is perhaps the most demanding of tasks for a headset. If you’re using a headset for sound recording, then you will need some high-quality speakers in the ear cups. That’s the most important feature, far more than how comfy the headset is on your head. You may also want to look for noise cancellation features.
Some mics also have noise cancellation features, and you need to look at this as well. With the mics on headsets, you’re looking for the most faithful mikes that can reproduce your voice.
So there you have it. Now that you have the basic ideas on what makes for a good quality headset, at least you won’t make the mistake of buying a monaural headset for gaming!