Since I tried a lot of wireless gaming headsets lately, and since they are inherently on the higher side when it comes to price, I’ve dedicated to checking something more affordable, and wired, enter these three contenders – Steelseries Arctics 1, Razer BlackShark V2 X and SPC Gear Viro Plus.
These three headsets basically come in at around the same price of 50€ where I live, but that tends to move around a few digits up or down, depending on the season and place you’re getting them from. One of them stands out in particular, as it’s not a worldwide known brand, they’re mostly selling in Europe, but they have a growing fan base and I’ve already checked some of their chassis and coolers, bottom line they offer a very good balance of value for your money, so it will be interesting to see how this stacks u up. So, let’s see what’s the best gaming headset under 50$
Right from the get-go, compared to the other two, the Arctis 1 lacks that premium build quality feel as it’s mostly plastic from outside, it’s decently made, don’t get me wrong, but the perceived quality is just different, especially since the headband is basically nothing else other than the plastic on the outside, it has padding just beneath it, but I feel like I have to point this out as everyone upped their game in this price segment, although I’m confident this one won’t have any durability problem. On that note, the Viro Plus and BlackShark V2 X feel closer to an upper-tier segment of headphones, with the from the outside noticeable metal use in construction and other details, a lot of soft and leatherette textures, although the V2 X looks to be a bit more flimsy due to using this type of ear-cup mounting. As for the design and looks, we all have different taste, I’m personally leaning more towards the clean-looking Viro Plus, but I wouldn’t mind going for the BlackShark V2 X, on the contrary, I’m OK with just flipping a coin on this.
Razer V2 X vs Arctis 1 – battle to look at
When it comes to features, they all pretty much have the basics covered, you’ll find a mute switch and a volume rocker on all of them, Viro Plus has both of those in-line with the cable, while Arctis 1 and the V2 X have it on the left ear-cup, Razer’s one actually has this cool big volume knob, making the headset, even more, aviation looking for some reason. The SPC Viro Plus does take the win here in a way with the features as it also packs a separate USB sound card as another connection option besides the 3,5 mm TRRS connection that comes from the headset, plus an added splitter so you have a separate 3,5 mm microphone in and audio out jacks, and similar analog options for connecting up can be found on Razer’s and Steelseries headsets, with 3,5 mm TRRS connection being a baseline, while in the bundle you’ll get a splitter cable. Since I’m talking about cables, both the Arctis 1 and V2 X have a rubber one, while Viro Plus has a braided one.
Out of the three, I feel like the BlackShark V2 X was the most comfortable, it is really light and has a nice soft cushioning on the ear-cups, with plush padding on the surface of the ear-pad, leatherette on the walls. Side-note – all of them are replaceable. Although the lateral pressure is slightly more pronounced, I have a big head though, The same can be said for the Arctis 1, even more so since it has a really big opening for where the ear goes, created by its plush ear-pads, so it’s not touching your ears on their outer edge, while the other the ones leave less room. The Viro Plus is a bit heavier and sturdier, but it didn’t affect me on the long runs, it’s just that you could feel that difference in weight and stiffness compared to the other two. They all have a decent level of adjustability, although the V2 X and Viro Plus don’t have any swivel options for their ear-cups, they are flexible enough, especially the Razer’s one which uses this thin wire-like railing, making it a bit breaky breaky looking as they move all around, while ear-cups also slide up and down on them so get that level of adjustment for your head, instead of pulling it from the headband to make it larger with other two. Arctis 1 on the other hand does have the swivel and rotate options for their earcups joints.
OK, enough about that, most of you’re are here for their sound and microphone quality, so what about it? Since these are gaming headsets, let’s start off with the microphone quality.
Who’s got the best mic – Viro Plus or?
As I said, the lack of the pop filter on the Arctis 1 wired is somewhat audible, but it wasn’t that bad sound quality wise, far from it. I would have to give the win to Viro Plus, it sounds the best out of the box, really well rounded, and all in all, I didn’t have any major complaints on any of them when it comes to microphone quality, especially having in mind what price bracket this is. As I mentioned earlier, all of them have a microphone mute switch, while the microphone boom arms are very flexible and adjustable, and only BlackShark V2 X came with a non-detachable microphone, while the Viro Plus comes with this flush rubber cover in case you don’t want to use the microphone that often or at all.
As for the sound quality, going back and forward between them, I found the Viro Plus, as an outsider, not lagging at all when it comes to sound performance with its 53 mm drivers, while the BlackShark V2 X, with its 50 mm drivers, and Arctis 1 with its 40 mm, sounded a bit more muffled in the treble, which is especially noticeable in dialogues. On the other these two are really punchy and warm for music, with a little bit of clarity missing in the mids and highs, something that SPC Viro Plus has, but then again It lacks a punch in the lower end and warmth in that regard, although it’s a very precise headset for gaming, I had no problem orientating myself in-game, neither with the other two when you draw the line.
As for the USB sound card that comes with the Viro Plus, it’s alright, serves its purpose, but If you have a better onboard sound-card, something like a Realtake’s ALC1200 series, you’re better off with it, especially since the USB one is lacking in the loudness department.
The verdict – best gaming headset under 50$
There’s one advantage to having a USB sound card in this case, and that’s that it brings software support and control, as well as, of course, the 7.1 surround sound. With the software, I could dial in the headphones sound profile a little bit more using equalizer or the freeloaded presets, albeit that’s not going to help much since the sound is not that good with the USB sound card, it gets easily distorted, while when it comes to 7.1 surrounds, I’m still not a fan of it, especially these virtual ones, they are good for orientation and all, but sound quality-wise, they’re just not good. The same goes for the V2 X, which surprisingly also has a 7.1 surround sound support although uses an analog connection, I would stick with its regular stereo.
Other than that, I’ve used the Burson Audio Playmate DAC throughout my testing, which could easily drive all of these headphones with only 40-50% of volume with them being really loud and not distorted, while I also used it’s microphone input to get the best possible sound of them hardware-wise. Stay tuned for a separate review of this, I have an interesting video coming out soon. The ear-cups provide a decent level of passive isolation, they do cover the whole ear, after all, so not a lot of outside noise will come through, nor sounds that you’re listening – out.
So, what’s the final verdict? Well, for me it would be the Viro Plus or the BlackShark V2 X, probably the Viro Plus as it has a bit better microphone and sound, that is if you don’t use its USB sound-card, although I would go for the V2 X if the comfort was in question, I would be willing to sacrifice that little bit of difference in audio quality between these two for a better fitting headset.
That’s it for this time, thanks for checking out my BlackShark V2 X vs Arctis 1 vs SPC Viro Plus comparison, if you have any question feel free to hit me in the comments section of my YouTube video listed above, you can contact me via my social media channels!