There are quite literally thousands of headphones and headsets out there. How can you choose the best one for you? Well, the simplest answer is to look to your peers, those who partake in the world of streaming. For example, Ninja uses the Beyerdynamic DT 990 Pros. If you look at other larger streamers, they may opt for things like the Audio Technica M50X‘s. Others still may opt for Sennheisers. But which is right for you?
I know that these are the best I have used personally. Are they right for you?
Audio is a tricky business, and figuring out your needs will help to narrow down your choices from thousands to hundreds. From there, you apply a budget, and you are in the dozens. We’re here to take that down to just Five.
How will we do this, you ask? By doing a bit of a checklist.
Table of Contents
In a Rush? Here are The Top 3 Headphones for Streamers
In the realm of streaming, where audio quality can make or break the viewer experience, the right pair of headphones becomes an indispensable tool for content creators, and as we are near the end of 2023, the demand for top-notch audio equipment has never been higher.
Luckily for us, there are quite literally thousands of different headphones and headsets available in the market, so it’s safe to assume that the perfect headphone for you is out there waiting to be discovered.
However, having so many options available can also make the process of choosing one a bit overwhelming, which is why we have decided to create this extensive list to help people make an informed decision when choosing the headphones that will help them in their streaming endeavors.
So, join us as we explore the top contenders in the headphone arena, each meticulously crafted to deliver exceptional audio performance, comfort, and versatility to meet the unique demands of the streaming world.
Technical Terms You Should Know
As our intention is to provide you with an exhaustive guide about headphones and all of their characteristics, we should mention that we will be going over some technical terms ahead, so in order to be clear that we stay on the same page, we will clarify some of those terms that an average user may not be familiar with. These terms are:
We’ll start this recap of terms by explaining what a headphone’s drivers are, since they are basically the heart and soul of the audio experience they deliver.
Drivers are the components responsible for converting electrical signals into sound waves that your ears perceive as music, dialogue, or any other audio content. There are several types of headphone drivers, including dynamic drivers, planar magnetic drivers, balanced armature drivers and electrostatic drivers, each with its unique characteristics.
- Dynamic drivers:
They are the most common type found in headphones, mostly due to their widespread availability, cost-effectiveness, and ability to deliver a good balance of audio quality across different frequency ranges. They consist of a diaphragm, voice coil, and magnet and work as follows: when an electrical current passes through the voice coil, it creates a magnetic field that interacts with the magnet, causing the diaphragm to vibrate, and this vibration is what generates sound waves that you hear.
- Planar magnetic drivers:
Planar magnetic drivers in headphones utilize a different technology compared to traditional dynamic drivers. Instead of a diaphragm and voice coil, planar magnetic headphones feature a thin, flat diaphragm suspended between magnets. When an electrical signal passes through the diaphragm’s embedded traces, it interacts with the magnetic field, causing the diaphragm to move and produce sound. This technology offers advantages like lower distortion, faster response times, and improved detail in audio reproduction.
- Balanced armature drivers:
They use a tiny armature suspended between two magnets. When an electrical current passes through the armature, it pivots within the magnetic field, causing it to vibrate and produce sound. These drivers are known for their compact size and efficiency, making them suitable for in-ear monitors and some over-ear headphones. They excel in reproducing high-frequency sounds and are often used for detailed and accurate audio, making them a choice for streamers and audiophiles who prioritize clarity and precision in their audio experience.
- Electrostatic drivers:
Instead of using a diaphragm and voice coil like dynamic drivers, electrostatic drivers employ a thin, electrically charged diaphragm sandwiched between two perforated electrodes. When an audio signal is applied to the electrodes, the diaphragm moves back and forth due to electrostatic forces, producing sound waves. Electrostatic drivers are known for their remarkable precision and ability to reproduce audio with exceptional detail and clarity, making them a choice for audiophiles and professionals. However, they require specialized amplification due to their high voltage requirements and are less common in mainstream headphones due to their complexity and cost.
Closed-Back, Open-Back, and Semi-open Designs
Another important term you should be acquainted with is when sellers specify a headphone’s design for streaming, as it could be one of these three types, each of them with their own particular pros and cons.
A closed-back headphone design refers to a construction style where the back of each earcup is fully sealed, creating a closed chamber around the headphone driver. This design choice effectively isolates the sound within the earcups and prevents external noise from entering. Closed-back headphones are known for their excellent noise isolation properties, making them a popular choice for situations where privacy and environmental noise reduction are essential, such as during streaming sessions in noisy environments or while recording audio in a studio setting.
Contrary to a closed-back design, an open-back headphone design refers to a specific construction style where the back of each earcup is not fully sealed or closed. Instead, it is typically perforated or vented to allow air and sound to pass freely in and out of the earcups. This design choice creates an open pathway for sound to escape into the surrounding environment and for ambient noise to enter the headphones. Consequently, open-back headphones tend to have a more natural and spacious soundstage, which can provide a more immersive and accurate listening experience.
The open-back design offers several advantages, especially for critical audio applications like streaming and professional audio production. It can deliver a wider and more detailed soundstage, making it easier to pinpoint audio cues in games or accurately assess audio mixes in recording and editing sessions. However, it’s important to note that the open-back design also means that sound leakage is significant, and external noises can interfere with your listening experience. Additionally, open-back headphones do not provide effective noise isolation, making them less suitable for streamers, especially those working in noisy environments as their mic might pick up that leaked sound and introduce some echo.
A semi-open headphone design combines elements of both open-back and closed-back designs, creating a hybrid construction. In a semi-open headphone, the earcups are partially sealed, allowing some airflow and sound leakage while also providing some degree of isolation, aiming to strike a balance between the advantages of open-back and closed-back headphones.
They can provide a more natural and spacious sound compared to closed-back headphones while still offering some degree of noise isolation, although it’s generally not as effective as fully closed-back models. This makes semi-open headphones a suitable choice for streamers who value a balanced sound signature and a reasonable level of noise control, especially in environments where some ambient noise is present.
Impedance (Electrical Resistance)
Impedance in headphones is a measure of their resistance to electrical current, typically expressed in ohms (Ω). It represents how difficult it is for an audio source, like an amplifier, to push an electrical signal through the headphone’s drivers.
The higher the headphone impedance, the more power is required to drive them effectively. Lower impedance headphones (around 15-50Ω) require less power and can be easily driven by devices like smartphones or laptops, while higher impedance headphones (typically 250Ω or more) may require dedicated headphone amplifiers to achieve optimal performance, but deliver clearer sound, which is why it is the range you’ll find on most high-end and premium headphones.
A headphone’s noise characteristics refer to how it handles external sounds and how much it attenuates or lets in ambient noise, and are usually labeled as noise isolation and/or noise cancellation. These characteristics are crucial for streamers because they directly impact the quality of audio recording and the streamer’s ability to focus on the content they’re creating.
Noise isolation in a headphone refers to its ability to block out external or ambient sounds and create a more immersive listening experience. This is typically achieved through physical design features such as having a closed-back design as we mentioned earlier, which effectively isolates the listener from the surrounding environment.
Noise isolation headphones are particularly useful in loud or noisy settings, as they allow users to enjoy their audio content without external distractions. They also help to preserve audio quality by reducing the need to increase the volume to overcome background noise.
Noise cancellation, on the other hand, is somewhat of a more complex concept as it is a technology designed to actively reduce or eliminate ambient noise from the surrounding environment. It works by using built-in microphones to pick up external sounds, then generating sound waves that are precisely out of phase with the incoming noise. When these counteracting sound waves meet, they cancel each other out, effectively diminishing the ambient noise and creating a quieter listening environment.
Sound pressure refers to the force or intensity with which sound waves are delivered to the listener’s ears. It is a measure of how loud the headphones can produce sound and is typically measured in decibels (dB).
Sound pressure level (SPL) is an important factor to consider when choosing headphones for streaming, as it determines the headphones’ maximum volume output. Higher SPL headphones can deliver louder sound, which can be advantageous for immersive gaming experiences, but it’s crucial to use them responsibly to protect your hearing.
Most headphones are engineered to operate within a sound pressure level range of 85 to 120 dB per milliwatt (dB/mW), but in order to gain a clearer perspective on this concept concerning various sound levels, let’s consider some examples.
Ordinary car traffic typically generates sound at approximately 81 dB, a forceful scream or loud voice registers around 107 dB, and the noise produced by a plane during takeoff reaches roughly 132 dB.
Occupational Safety and Health Administration guidelines suggest that the threshold for experiencing discomfort due to sound is approximately 120 dB. So, as a result, individuals are generally advised about the potential risks of prolonged exposure to sounds exceeding 85 dB, as this extended exposure may result in hearing impairment and even ear canal health issues such as cancer.
Frequency response in a headphone refers to its ability to reproduce a range of frequencies across the audible spectrum, typically measured in Hertz (Hz). The audible spectrum encompasses the full range of frequencies that the human ear can perceive, roughly from 20 Hz (representing deep bass tones usually indicated as “Dark”) to 20,000 Hz (representing high-frequency treble tones usually indicated as “Bright”).
A headphone’s frequency response is often graphically represented as a frequency response curve, showing how the headphone responds to various frequencies. Ideally, a headphone should have a flat frequency response, meaning it reproduces all frequencies evenly without emphasizing or de-emphasizing any specific range.
However, the graph of a frequency response curve doesn’t really translate into good sound quality, as frequency response is important in the sense that it helps you choose the headphones with the perfect sound based on your particular preferences.
You see, many headphones are intentionally tuned to have a specific frequency response curve to cater to various preferences or audio applications. For example, some headphones designed for music production might have a flatter response for accurate monitoring, while others aimed at consumer listening might have a slightly boosted bass or treble to enhance certain elements of the music.
Equalization in headphones refers to the adjustment of the audio frequencies, such as bass, midrange, and treble, to fine-tune the sound output to your personal preferences or the specific requirements of your audio content.
It allows you to boost or reduce certain frequency ranges, enhancing the clarity, depth, and balance of the audio you hear through the headphones. This feature is particularly important for streamers and audio professionals as it enables them to customize the headphone’s audio output to suit their needs, ensuring accurate audio monitoring, clear communication, and an immersive listening experience.
Connectivity in a headphone refers to the means by which the headphones establish a connection with audio sources such as smartphones, computers, gaming consoles, or audio interfaces. It encompasses the type of cable or wireless technology used to transmit audio signals from the source device to the headphones.
Common headphone connectivity options include wired connections using 3.5mm audio jacks, USB, or proprietary connectors, as well as wireless technologies like Bluetooth and Wi-Fi. The choice of headphone connectivity is essential for streamers as it determines compatibility with their streaming setup and the convenience of mobility, with each option having its advantages and limitations, influencing factors like audio quality, latency, and ease of use.
How to Choose the Best streaming Headphones for You:
Choosing the best headphones as a streamer involves considering several key factors to ensure you have the right gear for your specific needs. This means that before you make your choice, you should first have a clear picture of what the perfect headphones look like for you.
Therefore, prioritize asking yourself these questions before making any purchase:
- Do you want them to have a closed-back because noise isolation is your priority? Or do you want them to have an open-back design for a more immersive and comfortable listening experience? Or better yet, you want the best of both worlds with a semi-open design?
- Do you want your headphones to have a high sound pressure level so they can deliver a more immersive experience (especially for gaming) or would you rather have one with a low sound pressure level more for safer and more comfortable use for extended periods?
- Do you want wired headphones that deliver high-fidelity audio? Or do you want wireless headphones that provide you with better mobility and versatility?
- Do you want them with low-frequency response for more immersive and impactful sound effects? Or do you want them with high-frequency response for a clearer and crispier audio quality?
- Do you want low-impedance headphones that serve as a cost-effective option that is compatible with a wide range of audio sources? Or do you want high-impedance headphones that deliver premium sound quality?
- And last but not least, how much are you willing to pay for a new pair of headphones? $100, 200$, 500$+? Having a clear budget for your new headphones can greatly reduce the list of options right off the bat, making the whole decision process a lot easier.
Best Headphones for Streaming, our Top 9 Recommendations
Now without further ado, let’s go over the headphones that are, in our opinion, the best ones available in the market right now. All of the following headphones vary in terms of connectivity, sound pressure, price range, etc., in order to give everyone (or at least as many people as possible) an alternative that meets their needs and preferences.
1. The ultimate headset for streamers is Beyerdynamic DT 770 PRO (80 ohms variant)
If you don’t yet own an audio interface but still want a top-notch microphone that delivers high-quality audio, we have an excellent headphone choice for you: the Beyerdynamic DT 770 Pro 80-Ohms model, designed with a closed-back construction.
The Beyerdynamic DT 770 Pro headphones come in different impedance variants, such as 80-Ohms and 250-Ohms, allowing streamers to choose the model that suits their audio setup. The 250-Ohms variant, for example, delivers even better audio quality but requires an audio interface, mixer, or headphone pre-amp to reach its full potential.
I happen to have the 250-Ohms version of these headphones, which I pair with my Behringer UMC 204HD, and I can safely affirm that they offer a truly remarkable audio quality.
However, the 80-Ohms version is also a very solid choice for streamers, especially for those that are just starting their journey and don’t want to spend another $100+ on an audio interface or mixer.
- The DT 770 Pro offers high-quality audio with a well-balanced sound signature, clear mids, and deep, punchy bass, making them suitable for a wide range of audio applications.
- Near-Zero sound leak, no worries about your mic picking up sound from it.
- These headphones feature plush, velour ear cushions and an adjustable headband, providing long-lasting comfort during extended listening or streaming sessions.
- The Cable is hardwired into the headphones. Unless you are handy with a soldering iron, we recommend taking extreme care of the wire for long lasting use.
- No swivel of ear cups.
- The cable can be relatively long for some users, which may lead to tangling or inconvenience when using the headphones on the go.
- While comfortable, the DT 770 Pro’s large ear cups and robust build can make them less portable than some other headphones.
Sennheiser Momentum 4 is also a good headset for streamers
Sennheiser is renowned for its high-quality sound, and the Momentum 4 continues this legacy with rich, detailed, and well-balanced audio that allows streamers to hear every nuance of their content.
The Momentum 4’s ergonomic design and plush ear cups ensure comfort during long streaming sessions. Plus, their stylish and durable build adds a touch of professionalism to a streamer’s appearance.
Besides, their arguably the highest quality wireless headphones out there, offering users a wired-like sound fidelity that just blows my mind.
- It has an impressive battery life of 60 hours.
- It can be folded flat, making it very easy to transport and carry around in a bag.
- Sennheiser’s next-generation Adaptive Noise Cancellation automatically adapts to ambient noise so you can stay immersed and hear every detail, even in noisy environments.
- Not the sturdiest of builds, forcing you to be extremely careful when handling them.
- Sennheiser Momentum 4 headphones are premium-priced, making them less budget-friendly compared to some alternatives.
Hyperx Cloud Alpha S
If you haven’t acquired a dedicated microphone yet, then we recommend you getting a high-quality headset like this one offered by Hyperx. As you may already know, headsets come equipped with an integrated microphone, making them a cost-effective choice for those starting as live streamers.
In particular, the HyperX Cloud Alpha S offers certain features that emulate more expensive options, including a Hardware Mixer-like audio balance toggle switch. While it may not be an exact replacement for dedicated faders, it’s a valuable addition.
When you’re just starting, the audio quality doesn’t need to be a top priority. As long as your audience can clearly hear you, a headset serves the purpose perfectly well.
HyperX has established itself as one of the most renowned names in the gaming gear industry, and this reputation is well-deserved. Their headsets consistently set high standards for audio quality, not only benefiting gamers but also offering an excellent choice for streamers who seek top-notch equipment to kickstart their streaming journey.
- 7.1 Virtual surround (though we prefer it off in most cases).
- Game balance/Chat Balance buttons.
- Audio quality is fairly good with a wide frequency response: 13-27000 Hz.
- The microphone is designed to be detachable, allowing you to remove it when you decide to upgrade to a separate desktop microphone.
- The sound is accentuated in the bass frequencies instead of following a flat response curve. As a result, adjusting the EQ for these headphones may pose a bit more of a challenge, though it’s not impossible (it is worth mentioning that this is a con for me, but could very well be a pro for you, it depends on the personal preferences).
- Their leatherette cushions. These things fall apart in a few months and cause the headphones to move if you get sweaty, which is extremely annoying.
Bose QuietComfort 45
When it comes to noise-cancellation technology, I don’t think any other headphones outplay the Bose QuietComfort. For more than two decades, Bose has been a leading force in the realm of noise-canceling headphones, consistently establishing the industry standard with its QuietComfort series, so that should already tell you a lot about these headphones.
However, they’re not all about noise-cancellation. The Bose QuietComfort 45 headphones provide superb audio quality as well. At higher, imprudent volume levels, the bass depth remains robust without distortion, while at lower, more reasonable listening levels, the bass maintains its strength and blends well with the sculpted higher frequencies.
In addition, the QC45 has adjustable EQ, allowing you to tune the bass, midrange, and treble to your liking, or select from a number of preset options, which is very convenient.
- Second to none noise-cancellation.
- The headphones allow you to adjust the level of noise cancellation, giving you control over how much external sound you want to let in.
- While the touch controls are convenient, they can be sensitive and may accidentally register commands if touched inadvertently.
- The noise-canceling feature cannot be adjusted to meet your needs at particular scenarios.
Audio Technica ATH-M50X
These headphones fall within the same price bracket as the previously mentioned Beyerdynamic DT 770s but come with the added advantage of a detachable cable. It is true that they do not match the comfort level of the DT 770s, but they still rank among the top headphones within this price category.
Interestingly, many voice actors and streamers (mostly IRL streamers) opt for these headphones over the DT 770s, primarily because of their foldable design that makes them convenient to use on the move. This feature facilitates easy portability and allows them to fit neatly into a compact carrying case. Coupled with the detachable cable, these headphones offer a streamlined and hassle-free audio experience.
- Superb sound quality.
- The fold-away design makes it easy to transport.
- Detachable cable.
- Fairly neutral response curve.
- Durable build.
- Leather backing makes it slide easily on your head if you get sweaty.
- Somewhat excessive clamping force. This becomes less of an issue as they break in though.
- Not enough low-end
The Sony WH-1000XM5 headphones represent the latest advancement in Sony’s top-tier noise-canceling headphone series. They deliver impressive sound quality characterized by a well-balanced audio profile spanning bass, midrange, and treble frequencies, all customizable through an EQ feature.
These headphones also boast robust noise-canceling capabilities capable of adapting to diverse environments, effectively minimizing background noises. Design-wise, they sport a sleek appearance complemented by touch controls, a foldable headband for portability, and arrive with a premium leather case for protection.
Moreover, they offer an extended battery life of up to 30 hours, with a quick charge function that grants 5 hours of playback after just 10 minutes of charging. These headphones are also equipped with compatibility for voice assistants like Alexa and Google Assistant and feature a convenient multipoint connection capability, facilitating seamless switching between two connected devices.
Streamers seeking a blend of exceptional sound fidelity and distraction-free environments will find the Sony WH-1000XM5 an excellent choice.
- Sony’s WH-1000XM series is renowned for its top-tier noise-canceling technology, which effectively blocks out ambient noise for a more immersive listening experience.
- Up to 30-hour battery life with quick charging (3 min charge for 3 hours of playback).
- The headphones feature a remarkably comfortable and lightweight design, enhanced by plush leather padding for a gentle and cozy fit.
- Its premium characteristics come at a premium price.
- The various features and controls may take some time to get used to, particularly if you’re new to premium headphones.
- While they are generally comfortable, some users may find over-ear headphones heavy during extended use.
I have to admit that I may be a little biased here because the G935 headset has been my loyal companion for over three years of personal use, and it has consistently delivered exceptional performance during this period, so I had to add them to this list.
One standout feature of this headset is its ability to seamlessly handle both wireless and two simultaneous wired connections without the need for additional hardware.
This functionality allowed me to enjoy a versatile gaming experience, such as hearing the audio from my WiiU while immersed in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, simultaneously streaming my favorite tunes on Spotify, and engaging in lively discussions with friends on Discord. Additionally, the headset boasts a stylish RGB lighting feature, which, while initially captivating, I opted to disable recently due to its impact on battery life.
One noteworthy experience with the G935 was when I encountered issues with battery charging and a hinge breakage. I promptly reported these concerns to Logitech, elaborated upon in the drawbacks section, and to my pleasant surprise, they promptly sent me a brand-new G935 headset as a replacement, completely free of charge, so I couldn’t be happier with Logitech.
Although I no longer use them everyday or for streaming, they are still in use as my TV headphones for late-night TV to not disturb my partner.
- Good audio quality.
- Convenient simultaneous listening from multiple sources.
- Comfortable for extended wear.
- Impressive wireless range.
- Respectable directional audio in 7.1 (Available in Wireless mode only).
- The microphone can be neatly stowed away and automatically mutes when not in use.
- These headphones come with a substantial weight, which can lead to discomfort during extended use, leaving noticeable pressure marks on your head.
- Exercise caution with these headphones as they feature an all-plastic frame, and my initial pair experienced hinge breakage after dropping them twice.
- They have a tendency for a loose fit with low clamping force, occasionally sliding off the head, which is the reason why I dropped them twice and damaged the frame in the first place.
- Unfortunately, the battery life falls short, lasting less than 5 hours before requiring recharging.
- These headphones tend to be bulky due to their wireless design and quick-access plates, resulting in added weight and size.
SteelSeries Arctis Nova 7P Wireless
The Arctis Nova 7P is equipped with SteelSeries’ signature audio technology, ensuring clear and detailed sound reproduction, which is crucial for streamers when it comes to in-game audio and communication with the audience.
Although they deliver quality results in pretty much any scenario, I particularly recommend them for gaming purposes as their bass-rich sound profile helps emphasize sound effects like footsteps in gameplay.
Nonetheless, for those with distinct sound preferences, their associated software provides a parametric equalizer and preset options to assist you in customizing the audio to your liking. Additionally, this headset boasts an impressive battery life of over 33 hours for uninterrupted playback and ensures comfort during extended gaming sessions.
And to top it off, just like the Hyperx Cloud Alpha S, the SteelSeries Arctis Nova 7P Wireless are a high-quality headset, which means they come with an integrated microphone, which means you’ll be saving lots of money in case you haven’t bought a microphone for streaming already.
- Parametric EQ and presets available via companion software.
- The microphone provides excellent voice clarity, making it ideal for in-game chat and streaming commentary.
- 360° spatial audio.
- Their dual audio streams.
- They are designed for gaming consoles and have full compatibility with all of them, including PlayStation 5, Xbox X, Nintendo Switch, but also for PC of course.
- Not the greatest noise isolation performance.
- Mic is sensitive and very much prone to picking up great details of the background noises.
Beyerdynamic DT 770 Pro 250 ohms Limited Edition
Now, let’s delve into the ultimate and most appealing choice under $250, particularly for those equipped with the necessary audio gear.
I already kind of spoiled the surprise by mentioning them earlier, but I have to say that the Beyerdynamic DT 770 headphones in their 250 ohms variant emerge as a top-tier selection for streamers and content creators who prioritize audio quality without exceeding their budget.
I have been rocking these headphones for over a year now for daily use, and I couldn’t be happier with them. The Beyerdynamic DT 770 Pro headphones feature a closed-back design that excels in delivering a balanced, neutral, and lush sound profile, covering an extensive frequency range and boasting nearly flawless mid-range representation.
These headphones are renowned for their robust build quality, ensuring durability, and provide exceptional comfort, thanks to plush pleather padding on both the headband and ear cups. Additionally, they offer remarkable noise isolation, effectively minimizing ambient distractions.
All in all, these headphones offer outstanding audio performance suitable for studio use and come at a price point that represents excellent value for money.
- Exceptional audio fidelity
- Unparalleled comfort akin to the DT 770’s, ensuring extended wear without discomfort
- Enhanced self-monitoring capability compared to the DT 770s, enabling more natural speech. If you possess a mix knob for monitoring both your voice and output, this aspect becomes less significant.
- Some users might find the non-detachable cable a minor inconvenience.
- In quiet environments, they exhibit a slight sound leakage issue.
- No swivel earcups.
Beyerdynamic DT 770 Pro 80-Ohms, the Best Headphones for Streamers With No Mixer or Audio Interface
Editor’s Choice – I Use these Daily
Beyerdynamic DT 770 Pro’s
If you do not yet have a fancy XLR mic or are using a USB mic, then this would be the best option for you. I am referring to the Beyerdynamic DT 770 Pro 80-Ohms variant, a closed-back design.
This is actually the same pair of headphones that I myself use, though I use the 250-Ohms variant that I run through my Behringer UMC 204HD. I can honestly say that I’m a Beyerdynamic fan now. They are amazing! I’ve seen many streamers utilize these headphones, including Devin Nash, and after buying them for myself, I can see why.
A quick note on the 250-ohms variant – You will need an audio interface, mixer, or headphone pre-amp to use them to their full potential.
- Literally, the most comfortable pair of headphones I have ever used in my life.
- Blows my old Logitech G933’s sound quality out of the water
- Near-Zero sound leak, no worries about your mic picking up sound from it.
- (Could be a con) Excellent noise cancellation. I literally could not hear my nephew 3 feet away calling me with moderate volume.
- The Cable is hardwired into the headphones. Unless you are handy with a soldering iron, we recommend taking extreme care of the wire for long lasting use.
- The DT 700 Pro X refresh resolves this con.
- The contact point that goes into the drivers are made of plastic, while the band itself is metal. It certainly feels like it will last, but just try to not drop them often.
- Closed-back design reduces the depth of the audio a bit
- No swivel of ear cups
If you plan to opt for higher than 80-ohm headphones, you will need an audio interface or Mixer. Just a heads up. If you plan to use these headphones with your phone, you will have the best result from 32 ohms as it will be sufficiently powered (I/e, loud enough to hear).
Hyperx Cloud Alpha S, the Best Headset for a New Streamer With No Mic
If you do not have a microphone yet, your best bet would be to buy a headset rather than a pair of headphones. Headsets come bundled with an attached mic, so they are the most cost-effective means of getting a mic and getting started as a live streamer.
In Particular, the HyperX Cloud Alpha S has some features that imitate the more expensive options that involve a Hardware Mixer, such as an audio balance toggle switch. While this is not a perfect substitute for faders, it is nice to have.
The quality of your audio when starting out isn’t a major factor. As long as your audience can clearly hear you, a headset is perfectly fine.
- 7.1 Virtual surround (though we prefer it off in most cases.)
- Game balance/Chat Balance buttons
- Audio quality is fairly good with a wide frequency response: 13-27000 Hz
- Bear in mind you won’t hear past 20,000 Hz. Read this forum thread if you want to know why this matters
- The microphone is Detachable, so you can remove it when you upgrade to a standalone desktop mic.
- The sound is boosted in the bass rather than a flat response curve. This means EQing it will be a bit tougher, though not impossible.
- Could be a pro, though. Depends on your taste.
- Faux Leather ear cushions. These things fall apart in a few months and cause the headphones to move if you get sweaty.
HyperX has worked itself up to be one of the most widely recognized brands for gaming gear, and for a good reason. The quality of their headsets has constantly been pushing the boundaries of audio standards for gamers. With that being said, they are not gamer exclusive. Streamers can just as easily take advantage of their gear and begin their journey.
If this headset is too much to swing, pretty much any headset that HyperX makes is pretty decent quality, so feel free to browse within your budget.
Audio Technica M50x – A Solid Offering With a Detachable Cable
These headphones are in the same price range as the Beyerdynamic DT 770s I mentioned above but have the added benefit of a detachable cable. While not as comfortable as the DT 770s, they are still one of the best headphones within this price range.
Many voice actors actually prefer these over the DT 770s for on-the-go, as they fold in on themselves. This makes them easy to transport and allows them to fit snugly in a smaller carrying case. Add the detachable wire, and you will have a tiny, mess-free experience.
- Great Audio
- The fold-away design makes it easy to transport
- Detachable cable
- Great Noise Isolation from noisy environments
- Fairly neutral response curve.
- Leather backing makes it slide easily on your head if you get sweaty (According to a friend)
- Somewhat excessive clamping force. This becomes less of an issue as they break in. (According to a friend)
Now a bit of a disclaimer. I have not personally used the M50X headphones. This made a list purely on their huge following and from second-hand recommendations by a few friends who have used them.
Logitech G933, a Handy Headset to Hear Audio From Multiple Sources Without a Mixer
Logitech G933 Review
The G933 is the headset that I have used for over 4 years, and it served me well during this time. A notable feature of this headset is that it can accept both a wireless signal and two wired signals simultaneously without assistance from additional hardware.
For me, this meant having my WiiU audible through my headset while playing Breath of the Wild, listening to Spotify, and chatting with friends on Discord. It was a very nice thing to have on multiple occasions. Plus, it had RGB! Everybody likes RGB, right? RIIIIGHT???!! (I turned that off effective yesterday. Kills your battery time.)
One interesting thing that happened was when I reported the battery charging issue and the fact that the hinge broke to Logitech, which I described more in the cons section, they shipped me a brand new G933 headset to replace mine, free of charge.
They didn’t even want the old headphones back for refurbishment. Brownie points for Logitech here.
They are still in use today as my TV headphones for late-night TV to not disturb my partner.
- Decent Audio Quality
- Very handy simultaneous listening from multiple inputs
- Comfortable to wear
- Wireless range is Very good.
- The battery lasts about 12 hours at first.
- Decent directional audio in 7.1 (Only available in Wireless mode…)
- The microphone can be stowed away and out of sight when not in use. Also mutes the mic when up.
- Heavy! Will leave a nice dent in your scalp for long sessions
- Heavy! Don’t drop them. The frame is entirely plastic, and the hinge broke on my first pair after dropping them on two separate occasions.
- Low Clamping force. Slid off my head easily a few times. Caught them most of the time…(See above)
- The battery lasted less than 5 hours before I retired them.
- Had serious issues with not taking a charge (flashing red led) needed to unplug the battery, then plug in the charging plug, then re-connect the battery when fully depleted.
- Bulky – The wireless design, coupled with the quick-access plates, resulted in a lot of extra heft to this headset.
Despite all of the Cons, these were the best headphones I had ever used prior to falling into the audiophile rabbit hole. The simultaneous listening of multiple devices being the biggest factor of my praise. The 7.1? Dodgy at best.
But if it’s good enough for me for over 4 years, its good enough to be here on this list.
The Best Overall Headphones for Streamers – Beyerdynamic DT 880 Premium 250-Ohms
Now, let’s talk about the final and best option for under $200 for those who have the equipment necessary to handle them. The Beyerdynamic DT 880’s are quite possibly the best option for streamers and content creators who deal with audio. And they don’t break the bank in the process!
They only have a very minor sound leak, which is easily managed by proximity to your mic, and vst noise cancellation, so it’s really a non-issue.
- Legendary sound quality
- Same comfort as the DT 770’s, which is to say extremely comfortable
- Ability to hear yourself a bit better than the DT 770s, allowing you to speak more naturally. If you have a mix knob where you can monitor your voice and output, Then this point is moot.
- No Detachable wire.
- See DT 700 Pro X or DT 900 Pro X
- Same contact point flaw as the DT 770s. The peg that connects to the driver is plastic, with the band being metal.
- No Swivel earcups.
- Doesn’t make me breakfast in the morning.
With that being said, there is a 600-Ohms variant, but unless you know for sure if your hardware is capable of driving these, you may want to steer clear of those. I know my Behringer UMC204HD has no chance to aptly drive those, that’s for sure.
Honorable mention – Sennheiser HD 650
I didn’t include the Sennheiser HD650 in the top 5 to pick from because its price exceeded what I’d recommend spending on a pair of headphones meant for streaming. With that said, these are widely considered one of the best audiophile headphones under $600, so if audio is important to you, then these will serve you well. Just make sure you aptly pair it with something like the Schiit Magni 3+ to get the power it needs.
They are Open-back, so they leak a ton of sound, so be aware of that when making a purchase decision.
Got your Headphones? Now choose your microphone 🙂
Now that you have seen my recommendations for some of the best headphones out there, the next piece of the audio puzzle is your microphone. You may want to also read about some pretty handy microphone speaking techniques that will help you improve your sound on stream. Good luck with your streaming endeavors, and thanks for reading!