As a gamer, when your audio sucks or you are listening on speakers, you might not hear your opponent sneaking up on you from behind.
And without a mic, you can’t ask your teammates to cover for you when you are flanking the enemy.
Now, there’s always the option to go for a headphone and stand-mic combo, but those are very expensive to come by, and they don’t always play nice with consoles.
Because of that, I have rounded up five PS4 headsets that are under $100 and that will give you the ultimate gaming experience. So if you love gaming but hate spending huge sums of money on it, then this article is for you.
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If you are a big fan of headset design and build quality, then you will love the HyperX Cloud II.
From the gun-metal grey frame and matching stitch work, to the embossed logo across the top, this product is fantastic looking and feeling.
The headband is made of memory foam and artificial leather, which you will find comfortable across the crown of your head as it spreads the overall weight of the headset evenly.
One criticism that some users of this headset have levied is that the pair is somewhat small for people with large heads even when extended, though if you are not over six feet, you should be fine.
For the ear cups, the HyperX Cloud II comes with a matte black housing and a satin brushed aluminum backing on the drivers. The finish also extends to the headset frame.
Out of all HyperX color schemes, the gun-metal grey happens to be the most popular choice amongst gamers, but the classic red and black option is also available.
Leather ear-pads are the standard on HyperX Cloud II, though an extremely soft set of velour ear cushions are included as well.
Both options feel great.
The leather is cool on the ear and the velour is very breathable. Even after several hours of ‘marathoning’ on your favorite battle royale, you will hardly find any nasty sweat with either material.
One downside to using both materials is that changing them out may be quite difficult and could be a pain if you switch them often.
Passive noise isolation is slightly better with the leather ear-pads, though with the velour material your experience won’t noticeably decrease.
The noise canceling mic is detachable, so if you want, you can wear the Cloud II out as regular headphones.
The analog audio cord is not removable though, so if you experience any scratchiness or left and right channel issues later on, you won’t be able to switch it out.
One of the biggest selling points of the HyperX Cloud II is its USB audio controller. It has a built-in sound card with digital signal processing (DSP), which allows for the virtual surround sound.
With this, you can control the volume of your microphone, as well as the game audio, without having to go into your system settings.
Also included in the package is an airplane adapter, as well as a cushioned mesh carrying bag, and although it’s not the most premium-looking material, it is very springy and gives a surprising amount of protection to your headset.
The HyperX II audio drivers are huge at 53mm, making them the largest drivers in HyperX’s headset line and larger than most competitors.
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This headset features a pretty wide band at the top that follows through down to the sides. Each side features a detachable plate for customization, if you choose to do so.
The headband itself is very soft and supple, with a cool feeling leather texture.
Its earphones do graciously fold in for easier stowing, but it would have been so much better if the hinges were a bit more firm because they click and clunk around a bit, just like the ear cups.
Now, the ear pads are not memory foam, but they are cushioned enough for comfort.
The crown on the head doesn’t cause any discomfort, but the clamping on the sides are a bit firmer than other headphones on this list.
It’s hard not to notice how heavy it can be since it weighs a bit above 300g, but after wearing it for a long time, you will get used to it.
As for the buttons, the volume and chat ones are all located on the left ear cup and they are seamlessly covered by silicon, but over time you will remember where everything is located.
On top of the ear cup is the VSS button, which is abbreviated for virtual surround sound, and at the bottom, there is an on and off switch with numbers 1 and 2 available.
Leaving it on number 1 basically offers a standard sound, while putting it on number 2 provides a bass boost, which is highly recommended.
Underneath, there is a three and a half millimeter port, so you can put it into your controller or your phone to listen to music. Once you plug this headset in, it will turn off to save battery life.
The microphone will still work, but everything else turns off, so no control over bass boost and no control over the volume level. You will only need to adjust the audio in the Playstation settings or on your phone if you are not connected that way.
There’s also a mute button on the bottom rear of the left ear cup, and the last connection is a micro USB port for charging the headset.
As for sound leaking, those around you are very likely to hear what you are playing. On your part, If you have the volume up, you don’t hear too much, but if you are playing a silent game, then there’s really not much passive noise isolation.
For its price point, this headset provides a very good sound stage. You can hear ambient noises from your left to your right, but more importantly, from front to back.
It does provide that competitive edge over those who are just using those $40 and $50 headsets that only provide the stereo left and right separation.
With this one, you get to hear all the little details without any distractions. It is just subtle enough to be enjoyed.
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If you are familiar with Astro, you’d know that they make some quality components, and the A40 TR is no different.
The aluminum rail at its top for adjusting is nice and thick. The magnet that holds the backplate and ear pads is super strong.
The fact that they offer their own mod kit to change out the mic, headband, ear pads, and ear cut backplates is nice. They are quite easy to replace; just pull them out and slide the next one back in.
Getting into comfort, if you find the right balance, the Astro A40 will work out quite well, but if you are slightly off, such as extending the weight a little too much, then there is too much weight at the jawline. If it’s not extended enough, you will likely notice a pinching at the crown of your head.
The aluminum rails make a good design, but it’s quite hard to retract them or make them shorter while they are on your head. You’ve got to take off the headset, shorten them, and once you put it on your head you can’t actually extend them.
If you try to adjust them on the fly while gaming, it becomes a little bit cumbersome.
This headset weighs similar to other premium headsets in the market, coming in close to 360g with the factory accessories.
If you are using the mod kit, ear pads, backplates, etc., the weight does jump to 400g, which is on the upper end for a gaming headset.
As for heat build-up, the Astro A40 has over-ear headsets leaving your ears feeling quite airy and free inside. This also helps in keeping temperatures at a reasonable level.
Also, these are open back headsets, which means that you can hear others in the room while you play your game, but at the same time, you might get a better sound stage.
The backplates are thicker and seal the back of the driver, giving you a closed back design. With the passive noise isolation, you can sense the difference and the amount of noise that it blocks out.
These headsets themselves don’t have any buttons at all. The mute button is on the cord that they provide. The three and a half millimeter input into the headset is quite sturdy and takes a little bit of effort to yank out.
The microphone itself is detachable and has the ability to swivel up and down.
For the in-game audio, there are four presets that you can fine-tune and save to the mix amp. You can toggle through the four in real-time while playing to hear what suits your needs.
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If you are one that pays attention to design details, you will love the combination of black and red on this headset.
From the red stitching up top, to the tough leather, to the cold aluminum arms on the sides, and down to the aluminum stealthy black metal ear cups, everything looks and feels very premium.
The headset, unfortunately, doesn’t fold in and ear cups don’t swivel, so leaving them on your neck when you are taking a break from gaming could be a little bit uncomfortable.
But speaking of comfort, the HyperX Cloud Alpha is very easy to wear. It weighs about 336g and comes with a cord and mic attached. You will never have wear fatigue or any issues along the jawline due to its clamping force.
Now, although the Cloud Alphas are very comfortable while wearing and gaming, it’s a very similar experience with the ear pads.
They are made of soft and supple leather, and while wearing, they will feel plush against your face.
The passive noise isolation in the Alphas is very impressive. When your audio is running, the Alpha does block out a moderate amount of background noise.
It is able to muffle much of your keyboard presses, family in the background talking, and the like.
The microphone is detachable, so you won’t have to swivel it up when you are not using it. It is flexible and very easy to articulate to your position.
Touching base on the wires, there is a connection for both PC and consoles. Each is fabric-braided and feels great when yanking hard on it.
It’s also removable, which helps with transport and in the inline controller, there are no DSPs inline amps. As such, it has a simple vine wheel and a mute button to use.
It has enough feedback and resistance, so most accidental bumps won’t happen.
The headset comes with a carrying pouch that is simple and less bulky, but considering that it was built like a tank, the pouch doesn’t provide much protection.
The biggest selling factor for this device is its duo chamber driver.
Separating the bass response for the mids and highs helps create a cleaner experience, a better distinction in audio, and less distortion.
The bass is very good for an aimed at, preempt non-DSP included headset. It’s not a deep resonating base like the Revolver S, but the Alpha provides a very balanced bass experience.
Compared to other headphones in its class, the Cloud Alpha sounds better than most and is also louder in volume.
Its vocal performance stands out with the sound of your own footsteps running on different terrains; different surfaces are heard with very good distinction.
The Cloud Alpha prevents a lot of listening fatigue that some very bright and in-your-face types of headsets can cause.
In the end, the biggest part of this headset in terms of audio performance is how well defined the headset is, and its duo drivers may be the reason for it.
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If you ever find yourself looking for a headset that is compatible with the PS4 and works flawlessly, then your ideal choice isn’t far from any of the ones we have talked about.
They are reliable, come in great designs, and most important, they are under $100.