Roundup: 3 Multi-platform Headphones for Superior Gaming Experiences

 3 Multi-platform Headphones for Superior Gaming Experiences

After visiting E3 and PAX in 2015, I have received a few headsets to look at. These gaming headsets work on PCs as well as mobile devices. Each has its own advantages and disadvantages when it comes to using them on an iOS device.

My top pick is the Plantronic RIG 500E because it is lightweight and modular, offers comparable options for PC sound, and does this all pretty simply. The Turtle Beach PX24 Multi-platform Gaming Headset comes in second because I like its built-in amp and lightweight design, but I find the microphone boom a bit annoying. To be fair, the Logitech G633 Artemis Specturm RGB 7.1 Surround Gaming Headset comes in third only because this is an iOS-focused review. If I was writing for pure PC gaming, and looking at the headset as part of a system, the G633, combined with a compatible Logitech gaming keyboard (like the G410 Atlas Spectrum RGB) and mouse (like the G303) would top the list because it has all the bells and whistles that a PC gamer could ask for. As an iOS headset, they are a bit overkill.

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1. Plantronics RIG 500E ($149.99)

Of the three headphones reviewed here, these are my favorite because of their lightweight, wearable, modular design. The sound is outstanding when connected to the PC and employing their driver software. It is very good when connected to iOS though the 3.5mm plug. On a PC this plug extends into USB cord, providing power and an interface to the RIG 500E Surround Sound software.

It comes with closed earcups when you want to block out the world, and optional open, ventilated earcups, when you want to hear more of the world, or just plan a long day of gaming in warm conditions. The interchangeable earcups, along with the removable boom microphone offer the best configuration options — going from a USB-powered social gaming headset, to solid mobile headphones.

The RIG 500 self-adjusting headset kind of floats on your head, which makes them very comfortable to wear for long periods of time. My only complaint is the round earcups, which you have to tuck long ears into. They aren’t uncomfortable, but they aren’t nearly as roomy as those on the Logitech G633’s. They are made of memory foam, so they do adjust

On the PC, these headphone crank Dolby 7.1 simulated surround sound at the flick of a switch.

2. Turtle Beach PX24 Multiplatform Gaming Headset ($79.95)

This is the most mobile friendly of the headsets reviewed here, because the PX24 has its own onboard amplifier. Like the Blue Mo-Fi cans, Turtle Beach recognizes that an amplifier is required to improve sound on an iPhone or iPad. The PX24’s amp is built into the cable and works with any device, unlike the other headsets reviewed here, that require PC software to create enhanced sound. With the PX24 all the features are built into the headset and include amp.

The negative with the PX24: the boom microphone. The microphone is functional and flips out of the way, but the mic itself fits at the end of a very bendy metal appendage that contorts very easily. Even when flipped up, I find myself hitting it so it bends into weird positions. I’m a little worried, perhaps unnecessarily, that all of the microphone gyrations may one day lead to a broken boom. The plastic strain relief isn’t held in place, so it slips around and doesn’t seem to restrain strain.

The PX24 is light, comfortable and offers a range of sound include Virtual Surround Sound, Superhuman Hearing that enhances the sound of characters sneaking up on you in a game, and Variable Bass Boost to enhance lows. Variable Mic Monitoring supports feeding back your own voice into the system which cuts down on shouting.

50mm Neodymium speakers, the biggest in this review batch and the same size at the Blue Mo-Fi audiophile phones, offers very good sound quality especially when paired with the electronics in the amp.

 

3. Logitech G633 Artemis Specturm RGB 7.1 Surround Gaming Headset ($149.99)

The Logitech G633 is the ultimate in gamer headsets. When connected to a PC running Logitech gaming software, they can have their sound and their LEDs coordinated with other Logitech gaming product. My keyboard, mouse, and headset all “breathe” with eerie blue light, pulsing on and off like there is a giant beast hiding within my PC. Even though an iOS device can’t configure these features, the onboard memory retain certain features like sound profiles. Without power from USB though, the beasts don’t breathe.

On the PC though, switch on the surround sound and they literally immerse you in another world. Movies and games are incredible personal experiences when donning these cans.

Connecting to a PC requires a USB controller. The 3.5mm plug connects to that USB cable. Remove the USB connector and plug in the auxiliary cable mobile and you add mobile features like in-line volume control, microphone muting and microphone selection. The boom microphone, which tucks neatly out of the way into its integrated notch, also picks up your voice for phone calls, but if you want the microphone in the controller, just flip the switch..

Another big selling point for the G633: dual source sound. Sure, some Bluetooth headsets can connect to two devices, but how many wired ones can pull the same trick?  With the G633 the USB connection takes on the game while the 3.5mm plug handles the phone.

All of that technology not only makes the G633, but it also drives up weight. These are big headphones, but they are beautiful and well designed — and featured packed for the PC Gamer. If you swap between PC gaming and mobile, and if you have committed to Logitech gaming gear, these headphones are a no brainer. 

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Daniel Rasmus's picture

Daniel W. Rasmus is the Founder and Principal Analyst at Serious Insights. He is the author of Listening to the Future, Management by Design and Sketches of Spain and Other Poems. Rasmus teaches at Bellevue College where he teaches Social Media and Personal Branding.