For this review we listened to all headsets to get an impression of the audio reproduction for both games and music. In addition, we tested all of them using a self-built setup with a 'test head' containing a Dayton Audio EMM-6 microphone, coupled with an Icon NeoPreAmp microphone preamp. This is in turn connected to an Asus Xonar Essence STX sound card, which also controls the output signal to the headset. Using the Audiotester program, we analyze the reproduction of a number of test tones, looking at the produced frequency curve and harmonic deviation (distortion).
We also look at comfort, construction quality and possible extra features. For example, many, but not all, headsets have a 4-pole 3.5 mm plug for use with a smartphone or laptop with that connection, as well as an adapter or extension cable with separate plugs for microphone and line connections. There are also models with and without a built-in USB sound card, which is in some cases disconnectable.
The average standard deviation of the frequency curve gives an indication of the measurement variation; the less variation, the better.
Average harmonic distortion over the frequency curve of 20-16,000Hz. The less distortion, the better.