Choosing a good gaming headset can be like stepping out into a minefield. There are no shortage of headsets at every price point from hundreds of different brands. But getting a good one can make a big difference to your experience.
AVerMedia is a familiar name in the gaming space, but not necessarily for its headsets. The $50 SonicWave is suitable for PC and console gamers alike, and while not perfect, offers very good value.
$50Bottom line: A solid headset for console and PC gamers alike.
- Works with console and PC.
- Good sound quality.
- Excellent volume.
- Choice of leather finish or fabric ear cups.
- Long braided cable.
- Doesn't fold flat.
- Microphone doesn't detach.
- Ear cups are a faff to change.
- No noise cancellation on the microphone.
What you'll like about the AVerMedia SonicWave
AVerMedia isn't likely to be the first brand you think of when shopping for headsets, but the company's audio products are every bit as exciting as its capture cards. This version of the SonicWave is the less expensive one, with the added bonus of supporting both PC and console gaming.
Despite only costing $50, you get a lot of headset for it. That extends to what's in the box, with not only a 3.5mm splitter cable for using with dedicated headphone and microphone jacks on PC, but also replacement ear cups.
|Frequency Response||20Hz to 20kHz|
|Connection||3.5mm with included PC splitter|
|Compatibility||Xbox One, PC, PS4, Mobile, and Nintendo Switch|
As standard it comes with plush, extremely soft leather finish ear cups, but if you prefer fabric around your ears while you game, AVerMedia is looking after you by including some of those as well. The leather finish ones seem a touch more comfortable to me and slightly thicker, but the choice is always welcome.
The SoundWave is a traditionally designed headset without a suspended headband, but since it's also entirely plastic there's not a lot of weight. The headband cushioning is very thick and soft, and there's a lot of adjustment for larger and smaller folks. The ear cups have some lateral movement, too, albeit not a lot, but enough to get a tight, but comfortable fit.
The SoundWave is also a closed back design, isolating you from the outside world. There's no noise cancellation, but you do get a very good seal around the ears, certainly good enough to dim the ambient noise of children playing loudly in the next room!
The sound quality is generally very good, though it doesn't have any virtual surround sound capabilities, I found a decent level of directional audio pushed through when the SonicWave was connected to my Astro Mixamp and PC, with good definition and a pleasing, smooth quality with ample bass. Hooked up directly to the Xbox One controller the sound quality took a slight hit, with slightly harsher tones and less definition. But with additional hardware doing some of the processing the sound quality matches more expensive headsets.
The SonicWave benefits from 50mm drivers, larger than some competing headsets at this price point. Volume levels are also extremely good. Almost too good in some games, with the higher reaches in a game like Forza Horizon 4 shaking the eardrums as if you actually were inside the car.
Whether on console or PC, the braided cable is long enough to hook up to most setups without issue, and the inline controls for volume and mic muting are easy to find without taking your eye off the game, thanks to being quite large. It's high quality and doesn't seem prone to tangling.
What you'll dislike about the AVerMedia SonicWave
While the microphone offers decent sound quality for $50, it's the main source of criticism on the SoundWave. The first point is that it's fixed to the headset. In many cases this likely isn't a dealbreaker, but the SonicWave handles music pretty well since the bass isn't overblown as on some gaming headsets.
But no-one wants to go outside with a microphone fixed to the side of their head. It rotates up out of the way, but that's it. It doesn't bend to position right in front of your mouth, either, which doesn't lend well to the second criticism.
The microphone has no noise cancellation at all. Again, this is a $50 headset, but it sits a fair way from your mouth and if you're not in a dead quiet room your buddies will hear any background noise. And your keyboard.
Otherwise there are only a couple of very mild complaints. The SonicWave doesn't fold flat, so it's not great for the gamer who travels, and while its great to have a choice of ear cups, changing them is a bit of a faff. There's no magnetic latch as you'd get on something like an Astro A40, you have to feed the back of the cup over the headset.
Should you buy the AVerMedia Sonicwave
AVerMedia has plenty of competition in the gaming headset space, and it's going to be tough to stand out. However, at $50, the SoundWave is certainly good value and worth some attention.
It sounds great, there are no ridiculous styling 'features' often peddled on gaming hardware, and it's comfortable to wear.
A good headset for console and PC gamers alike.
With an attractive price, solid hardware and good sound quality, the Sonicwave is a sound investment for PC or console gamers who don't want to spend a fortune.
It's a particularly nice touch that you get not only a splitter cable in the box, but also some more ear cups in a different finish. Sure, they're a pain to attach and the microphone could have been a bit better, but overall it's an excellent headset for gamers looking to keep their budget tight.
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Richard Devine is a Managing Editor at Windows Central with over a decade of experience. A former Project Manager and long-term tech addict, he joined Mobile Nations in 2011 and has been found on Android Central and iMore as well as Windows Central. Currently, you'll find him steering the site's coverage of all manner of PC hardware and reviews. Find him on Mastodon at mstdn.social/@richdevine