By Alex Maidment (nSanity Beach)
For years, I relied on the gaming headset that came in the box with the Xbox 360 and either TV audio (quietly at times so as not to disturb others in the house) or a crappy pair of earbuds and a very long 3.5mm extension cable. At the time, this seemed logical – after all, I didn’t care that much for game sounds when playing online and I just needed a method of chatting to friends and team-mates.
Then… one day, I stepped on my Xbox 360 headset, you know, the one with a foam ear-piece and a microphone and I was DEVASTATED! How was I going to talk to people online? The first thing I did – search online for a replacement.
This is where it all began. In the search for a replacement Xbox 360 headset, I was welcomed to the world of ACTUAL gaming headsets, ones with two headphones, decent audio and a fairly decent microphone.
It took some thinking but eventually I just bit the bullet and bought myself a half-decent Tritton headset. From the first time I wore the headset my life as a gamer was transformed, and I’m not even exaggerating. The game audio was suddenly crisp and I didn’t sound like a robot to all of my friends.
I started hearing things in game that I didn’t even know existed. And best of all, it actually made me better at gaming! Just the ability to hear every footstep, every gun shot, every car skidding and vehicle approaching made the game easier and more interesting to play. There isn’t a game I can think of that wasn’t improved by having a decent headset!
Halo has always been one of my favourite examples. I distinctly remember playing a game on Halo 4 and being able to hear the grav-lift being activated around the corner from my position and that sound meant spinning round, facing the direction of the grav-lift and having an advantage over any opponent that came around the corner, simply because I could hear they were coming.
This was particularly useful in the Swat game type on Halo where every shot and every headshot counts for so much more and having this awareness could give you a great advantage.
These days, I’m running the Halo 5 Edition Astro A40s with the Xbox One and on PC and they are brilliant! They’re comfortable, good quality and all-round pretty good! They’re not that cheap though so if you’re in the market for something decent but don’t have much to spend, there are a lot of options on the market, from the Astro A10s to the Corsair HS50s to the Razer ManO’war, all which can be purchased for less than £60 with the Astros coming in at more like £40.
If you like your gaming and don’t already have a decent headset, I can’t stress enough the difference it made for me in terms of both enjoyment and how I played the game.