The gap between cheap and inexpensive widens to a yawning chasm when you’re talking audio gear, which is why we’re so pleasantly surprised with the Rocketfish gaming headset. We didn’t realize this was a Best Buy private-label product until after we’d given it a listen, but we’re glad we didn’t dismiss it out of hand.
The Rocketfish headset looks much more expensive than its $50 price tag would imply, despite being fabricated primarily from plastic, thanks to earcups and a mic stalk that are wrapped in a matte black, rubber-like skin accented by glossy red stripes. The stalk is flexible, but non-removable (it pivots up out of the way when you don’t need it).
The mic supposedly has noise-cancellation technology built in, but we weren’t impressed with its filtering capabilities: It picked up plenty of both environmental and breathing noise. Despite that criticism, the mic sounded better than those that came with some of the more expensive headsets we’ve reviewed lately.
The Rocketfish delivers surprisingly deep bass response, and it sounds much better than we expected from headphones in this price range. The oval ear cups both pivot and spin, rendering them comfortable for long gaming sessions, and they do a good job of isolating your ears from outside noise. We found them to be just a bit small for our ears, but they still prevented audio from leaking out.
A volume control consisting of a thumb wheel and a slightly awkward slider switch for muting the mic is located on the generously long 9-foot USB cable. This is the best headset we’ve seen for gamers on a budget; in fact, the only feature on the Rocketfish that really passes for cheap is the cheesy elastic suspension headband