If you are just getting into sim racing, or if you are simply looking to upgrade your existing gear, you will probably want to get your hands on a decent set of headphones. Sound quality is important alongside the rest of your setup, so you need to be sure to go for the best option for your budget.
The 6 best headphones for sim racing are:
- Astro A50 Wireless
- SteelSeries Arctis Pro Wireless
- HyperX Cloud II
- SteelSeries Arctis 7
- Logitech G533 Wireless
- Corsair HS70
Any of these headphones will do a good job of giving you a high-quality audio experience for sim racing, but we will go into the details of each one below. First, lets take a look at the kinds of things you should be looking for in a good set of sim racing headphones.
What To Look For In Good Headphones For Sim Racing
Designed For Gaming
It will be hard to come by a set of headphones designed specifically for sim racing. Headphones are usually aimed at anyone that wants any kind of audio delivered to them in a simple, cost-effective manner. This means they are designed to be good at playing music as well as taking phone calls and watching movies. But there are plenty designed specifically for gaming in general.
The audio aspect of sim racing is often overlooked, as most people focus on things like steering wheels and pedals, and then think about the screen size and shape and so on. Many will simply use their monitor or TV’s sound system, or external speakers. Others might choose to use a pair of existing headphones or ear buds, but there is a lot to gain from choosing a high-quality set of headphones.
Headphones come in all different shapes and sizes, and so it is important to consider what you are looking for. You can find ear bud style options that fit right into your ear, or you could go for the full, over the ear options instead. The option you choose will have an effect on the comfort that your headphones offer you.
Some find ear buds too small and sometimes sore to wear after a while, while many find that their ears get too warm when they wear on-ear or over-ear headphones. Have a think about which one you think you will prefer, as you will most likely be wearing them for several hours at a time and comfort is definitely important.
The next thing you will want to look for is build quality. Cheaper headphones might seem like the ideal choice if you just want something that sounds alright for gaming, but if they are not made out of high-quality materials, they could be prone to damage with even small knocks or bumps. Buying cheap when it comes to headphones can definitely mean buying twice – or more.
Solid headphones with sturdy construction will last a long time, but you also need to consider the size and weight. This will tie in with comfort, as heavy headphones will cause pain if you wear them for long sessions. Look out for some high-quality padding on the ears (if applicable) and around the headband for a balance between weight and comfort.
Wireless Is Better
Next you might want to consider whether you want wired or wireless headphones. Bluetooth is a common feature of gaming headphones, as it eliminates any extra wires. This could prove to be vital if your racing rig already has plenty of cables, and wireless options just tend to be far more convenient as you can get up and move around without needing to take them off.
Battery life is the next thing to look at if you are going wireless. Many headphones out there boast battery life in between charges of 15 hours or more, which will last you several racing sessions. Charging time isn’t too important, but obviously very long charging times might hinder your racing experience if you need a quick power boost.
Compatibility & Customization
Compatibility is also something to look out for. If you are a console racer you will obviously need to ensure your headphones of choice will work with your console of choice, but PC users will generally find less issues with compatibility. Although rare, look out for any glaring issues with certain games or platforms in the reviews and FAQ sections so you don’t make the wrong decision.
You will also want to go for a set of headphones that offer a decent amount of customization and functionality. A simple volume control is obviously essential, as you want to be able to change the noise levels on the fly. Some headphones will offer bass, treble and other dials or switches, which can allow you to further customize your audio experience.
Too Many Options
But on the other hand, you don’t want too many options. Too much going on will make it a pain to get used to and find all the right buttons in game. You don’t want to be scrambling to find the mute button when you are taking corners at 100mph in a race that really counts, so be aware that some choices have a bit of an excess of functionality that really is not important.
One other feature that is becoming more and more popular with gamers is noise cancellation. It is nothing new, but it is often something that will drive the price up fairly high. It will help to eliminate any unwanted background noise so that you can race in peace, but this might not be essential if you already live or play in a quiet space and don’t plan to use the headphones elsewhere.
A Good Mic
Another option that might not be useful for you is a microphone. Opting for headphones with a microphone is often a given when it comes to gaming, but if you are not planning to race with friends or make new ones over the live chat, you probably don’t need to worry too much about a microphone. Lots of options do come with them, but it might not be a dealbreaker if it doesn’t.
On the technical side of things, you will want to go for a set of headphones with low latency. This means there is little delay between what is happening in the game and what you hear through the headphones. Some cheaper options have noticeable delays, and this can really hinder your overall sim racing experience.
Finally, a word on price. We always advocate going for the best option that you can afford, and headphones are no exception to this rule. Going for cheaper options will often result in a sacrifice of sound quality, comfort and longevity. You don’t need to go for a premium set, as we will list options for those on a budget too. But you should always go for quality over low price where you can.
The 6 Best Headphones For Sim Racing
1. Astro A50 Wireless
First on our list of the best headphones for sim racing is the Astro A50 wireless gaming headset. Astro is a name that many gamers will be familiar with, as they have been one of the top names in the headphone market for a long time. This is a premium headset for sure, and for its price you are getting a lot of functionality.
The first thing to note is the Dolby audio, which is another name that is renowned for quality. There is even 3D sound on offer with the A50s, which makes for truly immersive racing. The audio can be fully customized too, with the Astro Command Center that gives the user plenty of room for customization, being able to set multiple presets as well for quick access between setups.
The A50 headset comes with a docking station, which offers a few key buttons and switches, and it is what allows for the wireless connectivity and charging of the headphones. It has a built-in mix amp, offers very low latency which is ideal for authentic sounding gaming, and it also offers the ability to connect via USB soundcard, so there is no need for an optical cable.
The headset also has a microphone so you can chat with your friends or other racers, and you can simply flip this up when you want to mute it and get it out of your way when you aren’t using it. As for comfort, you can enjoy the premium materials of the headset, and although the headphones are a little heavy at roughly 380g, you won’t find it hard to wear these for long racing sessions.
Plenty Of Playing Time
The rechargeable battery will give you around 15 hours of playing time, which is more than enough for most sessions. You can also enjoy a decent wireless range of 9m too, which will allow you to leave the room to grab a drink without cutting off the conversation with your friends.
It should be noted that there are a few different versions of the Astro A50 headphones, with models specifically for the PS4 and Xbox One. If you are a PC racer you will be able to use either one, but it is something to be aware of. Overall, this premium headset balances sound quality with comfort, and for the high price you do get a lot of features and functionality.
2. SteelSeries Arctis Pro Wireless
Another Premium Choice
In second place, but not by much, we have the Arctis Pro wireless headset from SteelSeries. These headphones are another premium option. They are made out of premium fabric, with some metal finishing too which provides great aesthetics while also balancing comfort with weight. They are lighter than the A50s at roughly 360g.
The 40mm neodymium drivers help to provide high resolution audio up to 40,000 Hz, which SteelSeries claim is double what their competitors offer. Similar to the A50s the Arctis Pros come with a separate ‘Bass Station’ which allows you to control various aspects of the headphones, from the bass control to the volume and chat settings.
One of the nice additions on this external transmitter is the ChatMix control which lets you mix the volumes of the game and chat to find the right balance between your engine noise and your friends in the other cars. You can also mess around with the equalizer to find the perfect mix for each game, and of course the master volume control.
The wireless version of the Arctis Pro headphones offers more flexibility than its wired counterpart, and you can enjoy 10 hours of battery life on each of the two batteries. That’s right, you can enjoy essentially unlimited playing time (not that we encourage infinite gaming sessions!) as you can simply swap out and charge one battery while using the other.
This really sets the Arctis Pro headphones apart from a lot of its competitors, and so does the ClearCast bidirectional microphone. This microphone is often called the best mic for gaming, and with noise cancelling capabilities you can trust that your friends will have no trouble picking up what you are saying. The wireless range of these headphones is roughly 12m.
Another nice feature of the Arctis Pros is the ability to customize the color of the LED band that goes around the headphone cups. It should also be noted that they are only compatible with PC and PS4, but you could always grab the wired ones instead. But the wireless Arctis Pros are definitely deserved of their spot on our list for premium build quality and functionality.
3. HyperX Cloud II
Cheap & Light
Next up we have the HyperX Cloud II, which is a much cheaper option than our first two choices. Don’t be fooled by the low price point, as this is a headset that offers plenty of functionality, comfort and sound quality. It is also substantially lighter than the previous options at around 320g, which helps to make the headset much easier to wear for longer periods of time.
Also aiding the comfort factor is the memory foam and leather accents that not only help to make this one of the best-looking headsets on our list, but also very comfortable. Aside from the comfort you also have a lot of practicality in the Cloud II, with a detachable noise cancelling microphone that lets you play with friends with no interference, and an even lighter headset when you don’t need it.
Excellent Sound Quality
The sound quality of the HyperX Cloud II is the really surprising aspect when you consider the price, as the HyperX 7.1 surround sound makes for immersive sim racing in every game. It is compatible with PS4 and PC, but due to the wireless nature of the headset it won’t work with Xbox One. There are wired versions available, however, if you need them.
For a wireless headset you also get one of the longest lasting batteries, giving you up to 30 hours of playing time. You can also enjoy 20m of range, and the aluminum frame makes the HyperX Cloud II headset an excellent choice for those on a budget that don’t want to miss out on the immersion that good sim racing headphones can offer.
4. SteelSeries Arctis 7
Lots Of Features
Next, we have another entry from SteelSeries, with the Arctis 7 headphones. These are a much cheaper option than the Pro version. For its price you are making the most of excellent microphone technology in the ClearCast mic, lossless 2.4 GHZ connectivity and excellent compatibility with platforms.
The headset comes with a wireless receiver which will allow you to play on any console with a USB port, although for Xbox One you will need to use the wired connection. There is a black and a white option, but both come with the same functionality. It sits in the middle in terms of weight, at around 350g it shouldn’t be too heavy on your head after a long racing session.
You have the high quality, DTS 2.0 surround sound at your disposal, which makes for some truly immersive racing. From the engine noises to the ambient sounds, you will really feel like you are in the car. Pair that with the ChatMix control found on the Pro, and you have a very versatile headset fit to make the most of any racing game you use it with.
The headset also offers a good range of 12m, and you will have up to 24 hours of charge with the battery. This makes it one of the beefiest headsets in terms of battery life, and it really justifies its appearance on our list of the best sim racing headphones.
5. Logitech G533 Wireless
Middle Of The Road
In fifth place we have the Logitech G533 wireless headphones, which sit somewhere in the middle of budget and premium. They come in at a very reasonable price considering the features of the headphones. They are also in the middle in terms of weight, coming in at roughly 350g so they won’t be too uncomfortable or straining on your neck.
The DTS Headphone:X 7.1 surround sound makes for some excellent audio quality, but you have enhanced control over the finer details with the Logitech G Hub, where you can really customize a lot of the aspects of your audio experience. You can also enjoy a noise cancelling microphone, ideal for ensuring your friends experience good audio quality on their end too.
The lightweight sports mesh pads ensure the headphones are very comfortable, and these can be removed for cleaning too which is handy. The Logitech G533 headphones boast 15m of range, along with 15 hours of battery life too. Although not the longest lasting on our list, 15 hours should be more than enough for several sim racing sessions before you need to recharge.
You can enjoy compatibility with the PS4 and PC, but as is common with a lot of wireless headphones, the USB nature of the Logitech G533 headphones means they will not be compatible with Xbox One. Nonetheless, these are a good option if you are looking for something in between budget and premium that has lots of functionality and high-quality audio.
6. Corsair HS70
The Budget Option
Finally, we have the Corsair HS70 headphones. These are at the low end of the budget range, but that does not mean they are not well made. They come in at a very friendly price, and are compatible with PC and PS4, and they boast a large wireless range of about 12m.
Its not just the range that is good on the HS70s, as the battery will last you around 16 hours before you need to charge it up again. This is plenty of time to get a lot of racing in, and while you do it you can make the most of the 7.1 surround sound for a realistic sim racing experience, packed with sharp, immersive sounds.
Light & Comfortable
These headphones also come with a unidirectional noise cancelling microphone, which is impressive for a headset at such a low price point. The build quality is good too, with the mesh design favoring overall comfort too. At just under 330g these are also some of the lightest gaming headphones on the market, ideal for those with a focus on comfort.
The headphones have the usual volume control and mute buttons on the headphones themselves, but your audio experience can be further customized via the software that is available for the HS70s. At such a low price, it is impressive to be able to have this much control over your audio, and this is just one of the reasons the HS70 headphones from Corsair made it onto our list.
There are lots of options out there if you are looking for good headphones for sim racing. If you are on a budget, you might want to consider the HS70 headphones from Corsair, as they offer a lot of functionality and customization at a low price. Alternatively, you could choose the slightly more functional HyperX Cloud II headphones.
If you are looking for a good balance between comfort and sound quality, the Logitech G533 headphones are an ideal choice, while anything from SteelSeries’ Arctis line will do a good job of a more premium choice. But our number one choice for sheer customization, construction and sound quality is the A50 headset from Astro Gaming.