The Switch is Nintendo’s newest entry in the home console market, though the tablet-like console also doubles as a handheld console that allows you to play games on-the-go (yes, even while on the toilet). The Switch wasted no time in claiming the title as Nintendo’s fastest-selling gaming console ever, which gives it an achievable chance to unseat the Wii as the Japanese company’s best-selling home console, which sold more than 100 million units.
Like with other gaming platforms, the Switch is best enjoyed when using headsets. Home theater systems made up of expensive-looking speakers and subwoofers are great. But there’s no beating the more immersive and intimate feeling you get when the game sounds are delivered directly to your ears. However, due to certain issues, choosing which headset to use with your Switch isn’t as straightforward as it sounds.
Well, that’s why we’re here: to walk you through the process.
Bluetooth wireless headsets hold several advantages over wired headsets. Like not having to deal with tangled cables every 30 minutes or so. How cables always manage to end up getting tangled the moment you take your eyes off them is a mystery that we’ll probably never solve. Wireless headsets also allow you to comfortably play your games from a couch that’s a few feet away from the TV.
But it seems Nintendo forgot about these benefits. Questionably, the Switch does not support wireless headsets, even though both the Joy-Con controllers and the optional Pro controller use Bluetooth technology to work. The decision is both baffling and disappointing, especially considering the popularity of wireless headsets these days.
Thankfully, there’s a workaround to this. And by “workaround,” we mean spending additional money on certain products. Wireless headsets can be used with the Switch. You have two options if you want to be free from cables while playing The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Let’s start with the cheaper option.
The first option is pretty simple and straightforward. All you need is tobuy a third-party Bluetooth transmitter with a 3.5mm cable, which can be easily bought online. Once you get your hands on one, just plug it into the Switch’s 3.5mm jack located at the top (not on the dock), turn it on, and then have your wireless headset hook up to it.
If you mainly use the Switch in mobile mode, you can use Velcro to hold the transmitter in place. Just make sure to remove it before docking the Switch; otherwise, it will get in the way. Most Bluetooth transmitters should work with the Switch. You can buy one here.
If you don’t like seeing a foreign device latched onto the Switch, you can opt for the second option, which is way pricier. All you have to do is look for an already existing wireless headset that has the capability to pair with the Switch right out of the box.
Well, you don’t really have to look. We already did that for you. Here are three wireless headsets that are fully capable of synching with the Switch without the need for third-party transmitters.
SteelSeries Siberia 800
If you’re looking for a premium headset capable of delivering a drool-worthy sound quality, then look no further than the SteelSeries Siberia 800. Don’t be fooled by its rather simple design that doesn’t exactly scream “flashy.” It packs a serious punch that can embarrass most gaming headsets. The sound quality is beyond superb, allowing you to pick up sounds in your game that you’ve been missing out on.
The on-ear controls allow you to have full command over your headset without leaving the comforts of your couch. It doesn’t have active noise canceling technology, though. But the large and comfortable ear cups do a great job at minimizing unwanted noise. The headband is a little tight, but not uncomfortable enough to warrant constant removal during long gaming sessions.
The headset comes with two lithium-ion batteries, capable of running up to 20 hours, which you can swap on-the-fly. The biggest downside of the Siberia 800 is the price tag that will make your eyes pop. It’s really expensive. But the premium price is well worth it for a premium product. If you’re looking for a long-term investment, this wireless gaming headset is a must-buy.
How to use SteelSeries Siberia 800 with Nintendo Switch
Plug the Siberia 800’s own Bluetooth transmitter into a wall outlet for power. Using the 3.5mm cable, connect the transmitter to the Switch’s 3.5mm jack located at the top of the console. Next, create a new source for the transmitter. Do this: options > sources > add > aux in > analog in. Once you’ve done that, you’re good to go. Simply turn on the Siberia 800 and give whoever is next to you a triumphant high-five.
Astro A50 (3rd Gen)
The Astro A50 is another pricey wireless headset that comes with a truly impressive audio quality, capable of bringing out the best in your favorite games. Like the Siberia 800, it’s worth every penny. It has a stylish design that can make you easily stand out in public when using the Switch in mobile mode. The large ear cups are amazing to the ears, making it seem like you’re not wearing a headset at all.
The right ear cup is home to a number of controls, like the volume and power. Most notably, the MixAmp – which allows you to adjust game and chat audios and was previously an external component – is now housed in the right ear cup. However, due to the number of controls, you’ll be more prone to pressing the wrong buttons.
The A50 – which comes with a Base Station for charging – boasts an excellent battery life that runs up to 15 hours, giving you enough daily juice in your quest to steadily uncover all the secrets in Breath of the Wild. Headsets aren’t meant to last forever. But you can at least make them look brand-new every year, right? You can do this with the A50, thanks to its modular ear cups and headband that allow you to easily swap out parts with new ones via Mod Kit support.
The mic is quite disappointing, though. Even when you’re practically kissing the mic, the output is still lacking. Another turn-off is the A50’s companion app, the Astro Command Center, which can be annoyingly confusing to use, especially if you’re not really adept at tinkering with audio options. But despite these two drawbacks, the A50 is still one of the best wireless gaming headsets around.
How to use Astro A50 (3rd Gen) with Nintendo Switch
Like with the Siberia 800, the first step is to power up the A50’s Base Station, which doubles as its Bluetooth transmitter. There are two ways to do this. You can connect the Base Station (using the USB cable) either to a wall outlet or to the Switch’s own USB port. Afterward, use a double-ended 3.5mm cable to connect the Base Station to the Switch.
SteelSeries Arctis 7
We can’t blame you if your wallet is vehemently protesting against buying the Siberia 800 and the A50 above. After all, you could have used the money to buy another Switch console. If you’re looking for a relatively cheaper option, one that doesn’t give up a lot of its premium-ness in exchange for a lower price, then the SteelSeries Arctis 7 wireless headset is for you.
The Arctis 7 is perhaps the most flexible of the three wireless headsets in our list. Literally. It has adjustable Velcro straps that make it easier to tighten or loosen the headset, instead of extendable rods seen in most gaming headsets. The headband is also flexible enough to adjust to different head sizes. The ear cups are excellent on the ears and are large enough to help in minimizing background noise. It doesn’t have active noise canceling, so don’t rely on it to completely shut out unwanted noise.
The audio quality is perfect for gaming, allowing you to pick up all the massive explosions and subtle footsteps with impressive clarity. You can also tinker around with the audio settings and assign a different setting or profile to each game you play. Sadly, the Switch’s game library is still tiny at the moment, so you don’t really have the incentive to explore the feature.
With the Arctis 7, you’ll definitely get more than what you paid for. It has great sound, a very comfortable design that’s perfect for gaming marathons, and enough customization options for a more personalized experience.
How to use SteelSeries Arctis 7 with Nintendo Switch
Pairing the Arctis 7 to the Switch is pretty much similar to the Siberia 800 and A50. But just in case you skipped the previous two wireless headsets as soon as you saw their price tags, we’ll go over it one last time.
First, you need to power up the Bluetooth transmitter that the Arctis 7 comes with. You can do this by plugging the transmitter’s USB cable to the Switch’s USB port (located on the side). The next step is to connect a double-ended 3.5mm cable into the transmitter’s Line In jack and the Switch’s headset jack. Take note that you will need to separately buy the 3.5mm cable. Lastly, power on the headset. That’s it.
Unlike Bluetooth wireless headsets, wired headsets have been fully compatible with the Switch since launch. Just connect them via the Switch’s 3.5mm jack and you’re good to go. Wired headsets also have their benefits. Like being cheaper than wireless headsets and not having interference issues.
However, the cables can be a pain in the ass to deal with. This is even made more complicated by the fact that the Switch’s Joy-Con and Pro controllers don’t have 3.5mm jacks like the PS4 and Xbox One controllers. Meaning, you will need long cables if you typically play a few feet away from the TV when the Switch is docked.
If your headset’s cable is too short, you’ll also risk yanking the Switch console off its dock. Same goes for the headset itself, which can be yanked off your head. On the flip side, headsets with shorter cables are a better fit if you mainly use the Switch in mobile mode, to minimize the chances of getting treated with tangled wires (good luck with that).
Here are our picks for the best wired headsets for the Switch.
Logitech G231 Prodigy
If you think the Logitech G231 looks familiar, that’s because it’s basically a recolored version of the G230 and G430. Instead of having red (G230) or blue (G430) highlights. The G231 sports orange highlights on the ear cups and headband. But there’s a bit more to the G231 than the color change.
Though it’s marketed as a PC headset, the G231 works well with all other gaming platforms. Yes, including the Switch. It has a rather short wire that’s about six feet in length, making it more suitable when playing the Switch in mobile mode. The comfortable swiveling ear cups allow the headset to be laid flat, making it more portable to carry around if you mainly play your games on-the-go.
The sound quality is great for its price. It’s solid and can get extremely loud, though at higher volumes the sound loses some of its quality. But unless you have terrible hearing, you’ll probably just stay below the 50% mark. So don’t worry too much about it.
The G231 is pretty straightforward, with no audio customization options. If you like plug-and-play budget headsets that won’t leave you disappointed, you’ll be at peace with the G231.
Kingston HyperX Cloud II
The Kingston HyperX Cloud II is another excellent wired headset when using the Switch in mobile mode. It has a three feet long 3.5mm cable by default, perfect when playing games on-the-go or while lying on your bed. It has an optional sound card attached to a longer cable (about six feet long) but, unfortunately, it ends with a USB connection. It’s a shame, really. It would have made the HyperX Cloud II perfect for both modes of the Switch.
Perhaps the biggest highlight of the HyperX Cloud II is how comfortable it is to wear, even during long gaming sessions. It is lightweight and never feels the least bit awkward on the head. The ear cup covers are modular. You have the option to remove the default leatherette covers and replace them with plushy covers, which are also included in the package.
For its price, the sound quality is excellent, though if you’re a bass enthusiast, you might find the bass a little lacking. But don’t be disappointed that you won’t be able to use the virtual surround sound feature. It doesn’t really add much, really. If you’re looking for an extremely comfortable wired headset, with more than enough punch in terms of sound quality, then the HyperX Cloud II should definitely be on your to-buy list.
Turtle Beach Ear Force PX24
Bummed out about the HyperX Cloud II’s inability to pair its in-line sound card with the Switch? The Turtle Beach Ear Force PX24 can help you forget about that. The PX24 comes with the fully Switch-compatible “SuperAmp” in-line amplifier that’s separately charged using USB connection.
The PX24 gives you access to a number of goodies. The Mic Monitoring prevents you from raising your voice to uncomfortable levels when there are people around. The “Superhuman Hearing” feature basically allows you to hear the sound at ear-splitting levels. This is perfect if you really want to drown out unwanted noise as much as possible. At the risk of breaking your eardrums, of course.
It also has Virtual Surround Sound, though it only provides a slight boost to the already good default sound. There’s also the Bass Boost to tinker with if you want a more booming sound to your game. However, the trade-off for all those features is that the PX24 comes with a rather short cable, making it more suitable only when using the Switch in mobile mode. But you can always buy an extension cable, right?
Check the current price on Amazon Here.
Turtle Beach Ear Force X12
If you don’t care about the PX24’s cool audio options and simply want a wired headset that comes with a long cable by default, look no further than the X12. The X12 has a 16-foot cable, which should allow you to move around on the couch while gaming with little worry about yanking the Switch from its dock. Need we say more?
Okay, maybe we do. The X12 has large over-the-ear ear cups that help in reducing background noise, though they can be a little tight on the side of your face. Nevertheless, it’s still comfortable to wear and can get you through long hours in Breath of the Wild with minimal discomfort and irritation.
For an affordable budget headset, the X12 boasts a surprisingly good sound quality. It also comes with a Bass Boost feature, which immediately enhances all the explosions in your game to deafening levels. The mic is clear, too, unlike many gaming headsets that have trouble picking up your voice even at an extremely close range (read: the mic is almost inside your mouth).
The drawback to the X12 is its reliance on USB power to operate. It’s also not recommended when playing the Switch in mobile mode. Because, well, a 16-foot cable isn’t exactly the most portable of things. Overall, the X12 is an excellent piece of hardware – one of Turtle Beach’s most popular products – that gives you a lot of mobility when using the Switch in docked mode.
Hopefully, Nintendo does something about the Switch’s compatibility issues with Bluetooth wireless headsets soon. Because it severely limits the audio options for gamers, especially those who already own wireless headsets and are not really amenable to buying a new wired headset just for the Switch. There’s also the issue with the lack of a 3.5mm jack on the Joy-Cons and the Pro controller.
As always, choosing between wired and wireless headsets is mainly a matter of personal preference, especially when it comes to dealing with those damn cables. Each has their own set of advantages and disadvantages. At the moment, using wired headsets on the Switch is the easier and cheaper option. But feel free to look into our suggestions above if you want to go wireless.