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SteelSeries Arctis Nova 1 review

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The SteelSeries Arctis Nova 1 is a solid budget gaming headset

(Image: © SteelSeries)

Tom’s Guide Verdict

The SteelSeries Arctis Nova 1 provides pretty good sound and a comfortable fit. However, at $60, it’s somewhat more expensive than most budget gaming headsets, and the 3.5 mm connectivity limits its utility with certain platforms. It’s worth considering for entry-level console gamers.


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SteelSeries Arctis Nova 1: Specs

Compatibility: PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, Switch (handheld)
Drivers: 40 mm
Frequency Response: 20 Hz – 22 kHz
Wireless: No
Weight: 8. 3 ounces

Among the new Arctis Nova headsets, the SteelSeries Arctis Nova 1 is the least expensive one. It’s not “cheap,” exactly, either in terms of price or functionality. But it’s a somewhat tougher recommendation than the robust SteelSeries Arctis Nova 3, the versatile SteelSeries Arctis Nova 7 or the premium SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro.

The $60 Arctis Nova 1 is essentially a replacement for the SteelSeries Arctis 3: a budget gaming headset that still employs the premium Arctis design. Like the Arctis 3, the Arctis Nova 1 is a wired model that connects exclusively via 3.5 mm audio jack. But such a device is a much tougher sell now than it was in 2017, especially when it costs $10 more than most of its closest competitors.

There’s more to like than dislike about the Nova 1. The sound quality is pretty good, the design is solid and the controls are intuitive. On the other hand, it’s not the best gaming headset you can get in this price range. Read on for our full SteelSeries Arctis Nova 1 review.

  • Steelseries Arctis Nova 1 (PS4 White) at Amazon for $49

If you’ve seen the rest of the recent Arctis Nova redesigns, then you should be familiar with how the SteelSeries Arctis Nova 1 looks. The device has a plain black plastic chassis, with foam earcups and a SteelSeries logo on each side. There’s an elastic headband with two different placement options, and you can also adjust the height of each earcup independently.

(Image credit: Tom’s Guide)

There aren’t many controls, but that means that the Nova 1 is incredibly easy to operate. On the left earcup, there’s a mic mute button, a volume dial, a 3.5 mm jack and a retractable microphone. There’s nothing on the right earcup. The headset attaches to most devices via a single 3.5 mm cord, but there’s also a splitter, in case you want to hook up the audio and mic feeds separately.

(Image credit: Tom’s Guide)

The Arctis Nova 1 is one of the more easygoing gaming headsets out there, with a low-key design and almost no extra features. It’s not pretty, exactly, but it’s refreshingly straightforward.

SteelSeries Arctis Nova 1 review: Comfort

Similar to the Nova 3, Nova 7 and Nova Pro, the SteelSeries Arctis Nova 1 is comfortable, but a little on the tight side. The earcups felt sufficiently plush, and didn’t squeeze my ears, even with glasses on. However, unlike the old Arctis models, the Arctis Nova headsets don’t use the elastic headband exclusively to get a good fit. You’ll also have to adjust the height of the earcups, which is an imprecise process due to the lack of numbers or notches.

(Image credit: Tom’s Guide)

The Arctis Nova 1 is also somewhat tighter than I expected, although it never got into “painful” territory. I was able to wear the headset for hours on end, and never felt like I had to take them off. It’s possible that the device could loosen up over time — but hopefully not too much, since the elastic headband is an important part of the whole fitting process.

SteelSeries Arctis Nova 1 review: Performance

Since the SteelSeries Arctis Nova 1 has the same drivers as the Arctis Nova 3, the overall audio quality is similar. However, the Nova 3 benefits from a USB connection, which can take full advantage of the SteelSeries Engine software to produce better sound quality on PC. As such, the Arctis Nova 1 sounds good, but not great.

I tested the device on a variety of consoles, including the PC, PS5, Xbox Series X and Nintendo Switch. Generally speaking, PC performance was stronger than on consoles — which is ironic, considering that a 3.5 mm headset with a relatively short cord is better-suited to console controllers than to PCs.

When testing Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, Pentiment and Mario + Rabbids: Sparks of Hope, I noticed that the headset didn’t do a great job of balancing volume among music, sound effects and voicework. The sound effects were often too prominent, while the music was too subdued. I had to fiddle with both the console volume and the headset volume for a while before I found the right balance, and even then, the soundscape was far too insistent on treble and voices.

(Image credit: Tom’s Guide)

For whatever reason, the headset did much better on PC, where it provided a balanced (if not exactly nuanced) soundscape for games such as Doom Eternal and Final Fantasy XIV. The directional sound in Doom Eternal worked especially well, alerting me to where enemies might be, even when I couldn’t see them. The overall experience was more workmanlike than rich, however.

Some of the Nova 1’s aural drawbacks probably stem from the fact that there’s almost no bass. While listening to music from Flogging Molly, Old Crow Medicine Show, The Rolling Stones and G.F. Handel, the bass parts were almost inaudible. (The vocals and treble instruments did sound pretty good, to be fair.) If you’re not too picky about how your music sounds the Arctis Nova 1 might work as an everyday music headset, but it’s definitely a gaming peripheral first and foremost.

SteelSeries Arctis Nova 1 review: Features

Without a USB connection, the Arctis Nova 1 doesn’t have full access to the SteelSeries Engine software. You can still use the interesting SteelSeries Sonar protocol, which optimizes soundscapes for certain games, and offers surround sound options. But that obviously doesn’t work on consoles, and I’ve found Sonar to be either useful or distracting, depending on the title.

(Image credit: Tom’s Guide)

Because the Nova 1 connects only via 3.5 mm audio jack, it’s both more and less versatile than it could be. You can connect the device to a PS4, PS5, Xbox One or Xbox Series X/S controller easily, and the cord should be long enough for most desktop and laptop setups. On the other hand, there’s no way to connect it to mobile devices without a headphone jack. Similarly, you can hook it up to a handheld Switch, but not a docked one.

A 3.5 mm-only gaming headset still has a lot to offer. Just be aware that it won’t work with every gaming system — and depending on your setup, you might be better off with a USB or wireless model.

SteelSeries Arctis Nova 1 review: Verdict

The SteelSeries Arctis Nova 1 is a good gaming headset; it’s just not an impressive one. The audio quality is pretty good, the fit is pretty comfortable and the connectivity is pretty versatile. At the same time, the HyperX Cloud Stinger 2 is a better device, and $10 cheaper, to boot. The Arctis Nova 1 doesn’t have any night-and-day advantages over the Razer Kraken X, or a handful of other budget headsets from major manufacturers.

Due to its Arctis Nova design, the Nova 1 does have a much more premium look than many other gaming headsets in its price range. That, along with its general competence, merits a serious look if you’re a gamer in the market for an entry-level headset. But it doesn’t have any distinct advantages over a fairly wide range of competitors.

Steelseries Arctis Nova 1: Price Comparison






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Marshall Honorof is a senior editor for Tom’s Guide, overseeing the site’s coverage of gaming hardware and software. He comes from a science writing background, having studied paleomammalogy, biological anthropology, and the history of science and technology. After hours, you can find him practicing taekwondo or doing deep dives on classic sci-fi. 

Best Xbox Series X/S gaming headsets

Finding the right gaming headset can be tricky—not as tricky as tracking down an Xbox Series X/S, mind you, but there are a lot of things to think about when you’re shopping around. The console’s relative audio exclusivity means you may end up needing a dedicated Xbox Series X/S gaming headset, but if you don’t mind plugging in your headset that’s something you can definitely avoid.

Editor’s note: this post was updated on August 16, 2022 to include the Turtle Beach Stealth 600 Gen 2 MAX and to add the Stealth 700 Gen 2 MAX to the notable mentions.

Why is the SteelSeries Arctis 9X one of the best Xbox Series X/S gaming headsets?

SteelSeries Arctis 9X


When the SteelSeries Arctis 9X first came out, it was one of the earliest gaming headsets to use Xbox Wireless. And when we reviewed the multiplatform version of the headset, we loved its ability to connect to your gaming platform and your Bluetooth devices simultaneously—that’s also an option with the Arctis 9X.

On top of the smooth wireless experience, this headset sports the same excellent chassis as other higher-end Arctis gaming headsets. Its aluminum frame is lightweight, and its ski-goggle-like suspension headband is super comfortable. The headset’s ear pads are covered in a proprietary mesh fabric that manages heat very well, too.

For around $200 USD, the SteelSeries Arctis 9X brings you almost 20 hours of battery life, great sound, and a decent mic, and it’s comfortable enough for extra-long gaming sessions. Add in the dongle-free wireless connectivity, and you get plenty of features with this Xbox Series X/S gaming headset.

The move to a USB-C dongle brings compatibility with mobile devices that weren’t possible before.

The SteelSeries Arctis 7+ Wireless is a newer gaming headset with some of the best battery life that we’ve tested at 71 hours, 42 minutes. You don’t get Xbox Wireless support with the Arctis 7+ as you do with the Arctis 9X, but you can plug it into your Xbox controller’s headphone jack and still take advantage of the Xbox’s built-in surround sound. We highly recommend the Arctis 7+ to multi-platform gamers because it works just about anywhere, is very comfortable, and is feature-packed.

The Razer Kaira Wireless brings high performance for a low budget

Razer Kaira Wireless


Razer is well-known for its gaming headsets and the Kaira Wireless from Razer is the cheaper of two Kaira gaming headsets (alongside the Kaira Pro). While the Kaira Pro brings Bluetooth support, it’s still pretty much a single platform gaming headset, especially given its poor PC compatibility. The Razer Kaira Wireless is similarly limited, but it’s also a cheaper, more focused device.

For $99 USD, you get a Xbox Series X/S gaming headset that connects using Xbox Wireless and brings more than 21 hours of battery life, accurate audio, and a great-sounding microphone. There’s not much more to it than that—the Razer Kaira Wireless is a comfortable, straightforward gaming headset. This won’t break the bank if you’re staring down the barrel of multiple headset purchases for different platforms.

Razer Kaira Wireless

All prices listed in USD unless otherwise specified. Prices may change over time, and vary by region. Unfortunately, we cannot list Amazon prices on the site, as they vary greatly by currency.

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The SteelSeries Arctis 7X is a great option for all-day comfort

SteelSeries Arctis 7X


SteelSeries’ next-gen refresh of the Arctis 7 is a real contender, whether you’re looking at the Xbox or Playstation variant. The SteelSeries Arctis 7X is a rarity among recent Xbox Series X/S gaming headsets, in that it doesn’t actually use Xbox Wireless for its connection.

This gaming headset uses a USB-C dongle to connect wirelessly to your console. While going back to using a dongle may not immediately seem like a positive thing, it opens up a much wider range of compatibility. This is one of the only wireless Xbox gaming headsets to come out in years to support connection to not only Xbox and PC, but also Nintendo Switch and Android smartphones (provided they have a USB-C port). The headset comes with a USB-A adapter, so it’s compatible with the Switch whether it’s docked or undocked.

On top of such wide compatibility, the SteelSeries Arctis 7X brings fantastic battery life—the identical PlayStation 5 version clocked in at over 27 hours of playback on a single charge. The headset also brings accurate audio, and a clear and loud microphone, though people with deeper voices may find they come through a little distorted.

SteelSeries Arctis 7P

All prices listed in USD unless otherwise specified. Prices may change over time, and vary by region. Unfortunately, we cannot list Amazon prices on the site, as they vary greatly by currency.

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The JBL Quantum 50 brings great gaming audio to a pair of earbuds

JBL Quantum 50


Whether you wear glasses or you just don’t like the heat and sweat that inevitably builds up over time, if you’re not a fan of over-ear headphones, there aren’t a lot of gaming headset options out there for you. That’s where the JBL Quantum 50 comes in as some of the best gaming earbuds available.

These 3.5mm wired gaming earbuds will work on any platform with a headphone jack, and they sound good enough to be a solid daily driver option. The Quantum 50 also features decent isolation, and a very comfortable design. Each earbud sports a rubberized disc set back from the ear tip, which nestles into the shape of your ear for a very secure fit.

The in-line microphone is pretty average, but given this is a pair of earbuds, that shouldn’t be terribly surprising. And given the Quantum 50 is only $30 USD, it’s easy to excuse things, given how good the overall package is.

JBL Quantum 50

All prices listed in USD unless otherwise specified. Prices may change over time, and vary by region. Unfortunately, we cannot list Amazon prices on the site, as they vary greatly by currency.<br />

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The Turtle Beach Stealth 600 Gen 2 MAX brings wireless PlayStation compatibility

Turtle Beach Stealth 600 Gen 2 MAX

The Turtle Beach Stealth 600 Gen 2 MAX offers something for which gamers have been looking for a long time: wireless audio that works just as well on PlayStation consoles as Xbox ones. This update to the Stealth 600 Gen 2 brings two main improvements over over its predecessor: a USB dongle with a switch that allows for different platform modes, and a greatly expanded battery.

This wireless gaming headset brings a new red color option, but otherwise looks just like its predecessor. It’s made primarily of plastic, with mesh fabric-covered ear pads, and a microphone that collapses into the left headphone. The included USB-A dongle features a switch with two settings, XBOX and USB—turning the switch to USB opens up compatibility to PlayStation 5, Nintendo Switch, and PC, and the Xbox setting behaves like a standard Xbox Wireless dongle.

While the expanded compatibility is the real showstopper, the headset’s expanded battery performance is no slouch. The Turtle Beach Stealth 600 Gen 2 MAX can last over 78 hours on a single charge, over 30 hours more than its predecessor. Add into the mix the headset’s decent sound and microphone, and this is looking like a really nice option for a reasonable price.

Turtle Beach Stealth 600 Gen 2 MAX

All prices listed in USD unless otherwise specified. Prices may change over time, and vary by region. Unfortunately, we cannot list Amazon prices on the site, as they vary greatly by currency.

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The console experience is pretty smooth for PlayStation owners.

The HyperX Cloud Alpha Wireless looks very similar to the Cloud Alpha but it can only connect to your console via wireless connection. While we recommend the HyperX Cloud Alpha Wireless to PlayStation, Switch, and PC gamers for its best-in-class battery life (327 hours) and good isolation, it won’t work with the Xbox Series X/S.

Should you buy the Astro A20 (Gen 2) for Xbox?

The flip-to-mute microphone is flexible and long enough for anyone to find the right position.

While most wireless Xbox headsets work exclusively with PC and Xbox, the Astro A20 (Gen 2) is unique because you can purchase a separate wireless adapter for PlayStation consoles. This extra adapter will cost you another $20 USD, but for Xbox gamers who want the option to use the headset on PlayStation, it’s a worthwhile expense. The default frequency response from the second-gen A20 headset is pretty good, though with more treble emphasis than our house curve recommends. This kind of sound can be to your benefit in game, because it makes it easier to hear delicate noises like nearby footsteps. You can cycle through three EQ profiles, but they don’t make a huge difference in sound quality and we would have preferred Astro giving gamers the option to create a custom EQ instead.

This headset is very comfortable but overall, a pretty plain pick. If you only have $120 USD to spend and game on more than just Xbox, there are better values available.

The best Xbox Series X/S gaming headsets: Notable mentions

The detachable TRRS cord on the MMX 100 works just as well for connecting to phones with headphone jacks.

  • Beyerdynamic MMX 100: This is a wired gaming headset that includes a 1. 2-meter 3.5mm cable and a 2.4-meter PC cable. It lacks bass compared to other gaming headsets but this shouldn’t be to your detriment since game audio engineers typically mix explosions and gunfire to be the loudest sounds anyway. The microphone is very good for a $100 USD headset.
  • HyperX Cloud Core: This basic gaming headset plugs directly into your Xbox controller’s 3.5mm input, and there’s nothing too fancy about it. Our favorite feature: the $34 USD price.
  • EPOS h4PRO Hybrid: If you’re a multi-platform gamer, the EPOS h4PRO Hybrid works everywhere and brings tons of features. It can only connect to Xbox via 3.5mm, but it sounds great, it’s comfortable, and it has ANC. Plus it supports Bluetooth and USB wireless audio to other platforms.
  • Razer Kaira Pro: If the Kaira Wireless looked interested, and spending $50 USD more for Bluetooth is attractive, the Razer Kaira Pro is a solid option.
  • Razer Kraken X: This very cheap wired gaming headset is a great option for listeners who just want to a plug-and-play experience. Because the only way to connect is via 3.5mm TRRS plug, you can use this headset just about anywhere.
  • Turtle Beach Stealth 700 Gen 2 MAX: This is the bigger sibling of the Stealth 600 Gen 2 MAX, and it adds Bluetooth support into the mix. However, given the price increase, and the fact that Bluetooth isn’t that important for a gaming headset, it makes for a slightly lesser value. It’s still a great headset, with big battery improvements and that same USB dongle with a switch.

Hold up! Something’s different:

Some of our picks’ and notable mentions’ frequency response and isolation charts were measured with our old testing system. We have since purchased a Bruel & Kjaer 5128 test fixture (and the appropriate support equipment) to update our testing and data collection. It will take a while to update our backlog of old test results, but we will update this article (and many others!) once we’re able with improved sound quality measurements and isolation performance plots. These will be made obvious with our new chart aesthetic (black background instead of white).

Thank you for bearing with us, and we hope to see you again once we’ve sorted everything out.

What you should know about Xbox Series X/S gaming headsets

If you’re upgrading from the Xbox One, the first thing you should know is that the Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S have identical audio capabilities to the Xbox One. The new consoles support wireless audio connections over Xbox Wireless and the occasional USB dongle, but if a headset connects with anything other than the 3.5mm jack on the controller, it needs to be made exclusively for this console (PC compatibility is okay, though). Just like before, this means multi-console gamers may need to have separate gaming headsets: one for their Xbox, and one for everything else.

The Xbox Series X/S doesn’t have a brand new audio processor like the Sony PlayStation 5, but it supports three different virtual surround sound options. Windows Sonic is the default spatial audio standard for all Microsoft platforms, including Windows, and it works with any stereo headset, whether you’re connected over Xbox Wireless or 3.5mm. Additionally, the Xbox Series X/S allows you to download apps for DTS Headphone: X and Dolby Atmos for Headphones, two premium spatial audio standards made by third parties. Both these standards can work with compatible headsets, but they’ll require a separate subscription if your new headset doesn’t grant access for a period of time.

Why you should trust


Like all of our best lists and reviews, none of our writers benefit from championing one product over another. We adhere to a strict ethics policy. If we award something, it’s because it’s a good product—simple as that. We subject each product that comes our way to a battery of tests that are appropriate for its specific category.

No glowing LED lights on the Razer Kaira Wireless.

The gaming headset space, much like many other parts of the audio industry, is rife with exaggerated language and gimmicky features that often don’t add much of anything to your experience. It’s easy to get caught up in the flashy lights and promises of immersive audio and bass so intense it’ll rupture your eardrums (in a good way, somehow), but most of that stuff flat out doesn’t matter. That’s why we review headsets, and why we have lists like this.

When it comes down to it, we don’t just review gaming headsets because I’m passionate about good audio. Most of what I do here at SoundGuys focuses on gaming content, and that’s because I’ve been a gamer my whole life. You name it, I’ve probably played it. I know what kind of audio features are important for different kinds of games, and maybe more importantly: which ones aren’t.

Frequently asked questions about the best Xbox Series X/S gaming headsets

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The best microphones for calls and conferences in 2023

Polina Morovova-Sheyner

talks a lot on the microphone every day

Author profile

A good microphone is the key to a normal zoom meeting or calling with friends.

Some call several times a day, and a good microphone is a guarantee that you will hear each other normally and will not become nervous due to excessive noise. Microphones for calls are different.

Sometimes the best option is a smartphone microphone. It will most likely be better than anyone up to 15,000 R. For home calls, it’s better to just buy a stand or tripod for the phone and call from it. In addition, it has a built-in front camera that shoots better than any webcam up to 10,000 RUR. On it you can adjust the volume of your voice, remove noise and key clatter, smooth out the sound if you are outside or in a noisy place. This microphone is also suitable for podcast, music, songs, blog.

External microphones connect via rectangular USB port or round 3.5mm plug. A USB microphone is more expensive than a 3.5mm plug, but more practical. It usually has its own sound card built into it, so the sound will not deteriorate due to interference and noise from a bad sound card in a cheap working laptop. And it is more convenient to connect it to most computers.

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Selection criteria

I studied customer reviews, ratings of English-language publications and bloggers. I was looking for microphones on Yandex Market, Ozone, M-video and DNS. I compared them at once on several parameters.

Sensitivity. This is how well the microphone converts sound into electricity for the computer to understand. The more sensitive the microphone, the louder the sound it will produce.

Housing location and design. Microphones are built-in headphones, desktop, floor and pantograph-type suspension mounts. Others are worn on the head, attached to clothes or a laptop. The choice depends on the tasks.

Connection type. The microphone may require an additional power supply, an amplifier, a specific computer operating system, a special connector. For calls, the most important thing is to have a universal connector and a Plug and Play system – plug and play.


The best gadgets of 2022: smartphones, tablets, headphones, smartwatches

Polar pattern. This is the range in space in which the microphone hears the sound. There are four types:

  1. Omnidirectional – hears from all directions, five people can sit around the microphone.
  2. Cardioid – hears only from one side of one person in front of him.
  3. Supercardioid – hears only one, like a cardioid, but in an even narrower range and slightly picks up sound from behind.
  4. Bidirectional, or figure eight, hears two people facing each other.

Cardioid microphone is best suited for calls.

Microphone type. There are two of them – dynamic and condenser. Dynamic captures sound at a small distance from the microphone, but as much as possible around itself. Condenser – at a great distance, but only in front of you.

Features of the model. Some have a full mute button, others can be converted from cardioid to omnidirectional, others have a detachable cord.

The result is a list of nominees – they have good recommendations, reviews and ratings from 4. 5 to 5:

  1. Apple EarPods.
  2. Blue Snowball iCE USB.
  3. Fifine K669 USB.
  4. Apple AirPods Pro MagSafe.
  5. Samsung Galaxy Buds2.
  6. Shure Motiv MV5 USB.
  7. JBL Live 460NC.
  8. Blue Yeti nano USB.
  9. Samson Go Mic USB.
  10. Fifine T669 USB.
  11. Audio-Technica AT2020USB+ USB.

Our recommendations

Optimal Headset Large headphones
Fifine K669 USB Apple AirPods Pro MagSafe and Samsung Galaxy Buds2 JBL Live 460NC
Inexpensive, desktop, no installation required. Provides clear sound for calls, podcasts and music Smartphone headphones with good microphone Wireless over-ear headphones with headset. Good isolation from the outside world
In DNS – from 2999 R;
in “M-video” – from 2860 R;
on Yandex Market – from 2190 R
On Yandex Market: Apple — from 16,380 R, Samsung — from 6,990 R;
in “M-video”: Apple – from 16 499 R, Samsung – from 6999 R;
in DNS: Apple – from 15 999 R, Samsung – from 8999 R
On Yandex Market – from 8990 R;
in DNS – from 7499 Р
Portable Lux semi-pro
Samson Go Mic USB Audio-Technica AT2020USB+ USB
Portable microphone for outdoor or car calls High quality audio – for calls, podcasts, radio, song recording and music. Without special connection
In DNS – from 6599 R;
on “Ozone” – from 4900 R;
on Yandex Market – from 3860 R
In DNS — from 17,199 R;
in “M-video” – from 17,190 R;
on Yandex Market – from 14 486 R


Fifine K669 USB

Inexpensive, desktop, no installation required. Provides clear sound for calls, podcasts and music

In DNS – from 2999 R;
in “M-video” – from 2860 R;
on Yandex Market – from 2190 R


Apple AirPods Pro MagSafe and Samsung Galaxy Buds2

Headphones for a smartphone with a good microphone

On Yandex Market: Apple — from 17,000 R, Samsung — from 6,000 R;
in “M-video”: Apple – from 16 499 R, Samsung – from 6999 R;
in DNS: Apple starting at £15999, Samsung starting at £8999

Oversized headphones

JBL Live 460NC

Over-ear wireless headphones with headset. Good isolation from the outside world

On Yandex Market – from 8990 R;
in DNS – from R7499


Samson Go Mic USB

Portable microphone for outdoor or car calls

V DNS – from 6599 Р;
on “Ozone” – from 4900 R;
on Yandex Market – from 3860 R

Semi-Profi Lux

Audio-Technica AT2020USB + USB

High quality sound – for calls, podcasts, radio, recording songs and music. Without special connection

V DNS — from 17 199 Р;
in “M-video” – from 17,190 R;
on Yandex Market – from 14,486 R

But we do not distort or embellish the reviews. The choice of specific things does not depend on whether we receive a commission.

Product reviews in Tinkoff Magazine are independent. We make a verdict based on reviews of things and devices that we carefully studied, or how these things performed during editorial tests.

For reviews, we either request goods from the manufacturer for a test, or we buy them ourselves, or we study reviews in other publications and user opinions. Our reviews are subjective, but honest and expert: opinions are written by authors who have more than one review behind them. The editorial team of Tinkoff Magazine double-checks the texts, proofreads them and conducts fact-checking.

All prices are at the time of publication of the material, but we update them periodically to keep the reviews up to date.

From 3990 R

Optimal – Fifine K669 USB

A small, cheap desktop microphone that produces clear sound. Weighs 550 g – it is stable, it is difficult to accidentally drop it. Stands on a tripod with rubber tips, this isolates the microphone from sounds from the surface. Sometimes it picks up too much key tapping, but for calls, voice messages, and podcasts, the sound quality is just right.

The microphone is easy to connect – just plug into a standard USB port. You don’t have to set anything up and speak right away.

The cord is not removable. But the stand is removed, so you can pick up another mount, such as a tripod on the floor or a pantograph with a spider. Or buy the same model, but with different mounts – Fifine T669 USB.


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How much:

  • in DNS – from 2999 R;
  • in “M-video” – from 2860 R;
  • on Yandex Market – from 2190 R

Apple – from 17 000 R, Samsung – from 6000 R

Headset – Apple AirPods Pro MagSafe and Samsung Galaxy Buds2

Lightweight wireless in-ear headphones with good noise isolation that fit comfortably in your ear. We chose two options at once, because each is better suited to its operating system. For iOS devices, you should take Apple AirPods Pro MagSafe, and for Android, Samsung Galaxy Buds 2.

Earphones may feel strange in the ears. If you use earplugs or other in-ear headphones, it will most likely be ok. There are three sizes of soft silicone pads – ear pads in the kit, you can choose comfortable ones.

Apple AirPods Pro MagSafe for Apple devices. There is built-in noise reduction – only the voice from the headphones sounds in the ears, and not the surrounding sounds. Audio from one device can be streamed to two Pro pairs at once. There is a pressure sensor to receive a call, stop the music. Siri voice control. For 2-3 hours of a call or 3-4 hours of music, they are discharged, but quickly charged. Can be recharged one at a time. Charging cable – USB-C Lightning.

There is a transparency mode, like JBL wireless, when you hear ambient sounds in the headphones. AirPods Pro have problems with the headphones themselves: they start to rattle inside, especially during a call. If the warranty on them is still valid, you can contact a certified salon – and there they will replace the broken ones.

Alternative: wired Apple EarPods. Those older than 2016-2017 have a 3.5 mm jack, the latter have Lightning. Both can be purchased separately. Suitable for any Apple device and for others if there is a “microphone and headphones” output in one connector. They are compact, there is volume control from the wire. They sit in any ears. Regular AirPods, on the other hand, have a rather weak sound from the microphone, and they often capture extra noise around them.

How much it costs:

  • on Yandex Market – from 17,000 R;
  • in “M-video” – from 16 499 R;
  • in DNS – from £159.99

Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 for Android devices. There is an ambient sound mode, like Apple and JBL, playback control and noise reduction. They can work 2-3 hours on a call, 6-7 hours with music. Charging cable – USB-C.

Suitable for all ear sizes. There are three sets of ear pads in the set. When you write an audio message, the headphones muffle the surrounding sounds and focus on the voice.

It happens that the headphones are disconnected from the phone. Support recommends downloading the latest version of the Galaxy Wearable app and allowing it to run in the background, updating the headset software, or turning off the phone’s power saving mode. If it doesn’t help, contact a Samsung service center with a receipt.


99 R;

  • in “M-video” – from 6999 R;
  • on Yandex Market – from 6990 R.
  • From 9700 R

    Large headphones – JBL Live 460NC

    Wireless headphones on the head. JBL can work both completely via Bluetooth and through a 3. 5 mm jack cable. Headphones are foldable – they can be put into a backpack for transportation or just on a table.

    They sit comfortably on the head, but can be pressed if the head is large. The ear is not completely closed, but tight enough so that you do not have to be distracted by external noise. Even the headphones can unpleasantly squeeze the upper part of the ear. There is a special Talk Through mode that allows you to hear sound only from the headphones, or from the headphones and outside, or only from the outside, and mute the headphones to a minimum. So you can talk to a colleague or a child without removing the headphones.

    Branded orange USB-C cable included for charging. A full charge takes about two hours. If you only listen to music a few hours a day, the battery lasts for a week. If headphones are needed for calls, then for two or three days. There is a fast charging option: in 10 minutes it is charged for four hours of work. If the headphones are dead, connect the cable and use them like regular wired ones. A headset cord with an L-shaped plug and a fabric braid will not fray.

    To connect the Bluetooth headphones correctly, read the instructions on the JBL website. Sometimes the wireless connection can drop – for example, you stop the video and the headphones turn off. Usually this happens occasionally and does not bother much. If it happens frequently, call the JBL Service Center.


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    0 Р;

  • in DNS – from £74.99
  • From £48.00

    Portable – Samson Go Mic USB

    Small foldable microphone with storage pouch. Attaches to a laptop or stands on a table. There is a voice capture range switch between cardioid and omnidirectional – speak into it alone or hold a meeting for five people.

    Samson does not have an off button. It will turn off if you just take out the cord. There is a headphone jack. This is useful to record sound and hear what the microphone is recording.

    On the Samson website, you can listen to a sample – an example of recording on this microphone – on the Samples & Videos tab. There is also an instruction in English in the Downloads. It is worth registering a device in order to contact brand support and use branded programs.

    How much:

    • in DNS – from 6599 R;
    • on “Ozone” – from 4900 R;
    • on Yandex Market — from 3860 R.

    From 11 500 R

    Semi-Profi — Audio-Technica AT2020USB+ USB

    vocal recordings – if you decide not only to conduct work chats, but and write music and songs at home or in the studio. There is a headphone jack, volume control. The cord is detachable, can be replaced with a longer one.

    Removable stand included – small tripod with rubber tips. Users write that it is easy to drop it, but it is more convenient to buy a pantograph and a spider holder. You can not apply to the microphone, but speak at a distance. The sound is clearer than analogues from Hyper and M-Audio without complicated settings.

    The Audio-Technica website has an English manual in PDF file and detailed specifications.


    • in DNS — from 17 199 R;
    • in “M-video” – from 17 190 R;
    • on Yandex Market – from 14 486 R.

    How to choose a microphone

    1. Think about what tasks you need it for. Are you planning to call only or are you going to record podcasts or music at the same time.
    2. Determine the conditions under which you will use it. Do you need a microphone at home and without sound equipment, in a homemade studio with minimal soundproofing, or in a special room for professional recording.
    3. See how much space you are willing to allocate for the microphone. Some stand on a table, others can be attached to a table on a pantograph stand or placed on the floor on a tripod.