Last Updated on Samuel Franklinby
Best Escape From Tarkov Headsets / Headphones 2021 – Tarkov Guide
Which is the best Escape From Tarkov headset/headphones to use for in raid advantage? Learn the differences, pros and cons of each active headset in Tarkov to discover your best option.
If you’ve been wondering if headsets do anything in Tarkov and wondering why headsets are a common new player recommendation then the answer is yes and in fact they can can give you a strong hearing advantage in raid. Allowing you to determine enemy position clearly, remove ambient noise and in some cases dampen your own movements (from your ears only) you’ll regularly see committed Tarkov players leveraging them to hear player movements and capitalise on that vital information. Pairing this improved hearing with choosing the correct ammo and the best armor for your Tarkov raids you can vastly improve your odds of extraction.
This is a topic that Veritas with his traditional Tarkov science experiments explored in depth in 2020 and is a great starting point for understanding the mechanics of this item slot.
With the expansion of options since his original test Veritas revisited this topic in 2021 and I recommend you watch this video as well before reading on as it can allow you to take a blind sound test for all the core earpieces in the game and demonstrate the Tarkov headset differences. Players can perform a similar test in the offline mode of Escape From Tarkov by bringing all available headphones into a raid with them.
Currently there are 8 total headsets implemented in Tarkov and for the purposes of this headset tier list I’ve focused on the top 6 options only given they are the core options. The Ops-Core FAST RAC Headset has not been considered as it is used in only specific circumstances and the Walker’s XCEL 500BT Digital Headset has been excluded as this was introduced in late 2020 and as of 2021 is still not consistently obtainable for it to be an affordable option at 2 or 3 times the cost of the other earpieces below without a clear benefit (although it makes a great flex for the wealthy player).
What do Headsets do in Tarkov?
The goal of headsets in Tarkov is to improve your ability to hear the important (often quiet) game noises that in turn provide you information on enemy movements that are near you. This can include doors opening, looting, healing, footsteps and other indicators of movement while making your own noises (but not the noises from Tarkov friends in your squad) quieter.
Veritas covers the 3 major mechanics that active headsets use in Tarkov in order to achieve this; ambient volume reduction, compression and equalisation. To summarise his video above they serve the following purposes:
- Ambient volume reduction: Reduces the sound of unimportant game noises such as wind, rain, birds and other Tarkov ambient noises.
- Compression: Increases the volume of quiet sounds while dampening the louder sounds to create a more compressed sound wave.
- Equalisation: Modifies and even completely cuts sounds based on their associated frequency.
With the above in mind the best headset for footsteps in Tarkov will be one that has high ambient volume reduction and compression which is thus a major consideration in this guide.
Tarkov Headset Differences
Headsets in Tarkov can be a confusing mechanic for both new and intermediate players with it often taking dozens if not hundreds of raids to learn the subtle Tarkov headset differences between the available options.
These differences include value for money (starting from around 13,000₽), trader availability (important after a wipe) and how the headsets treat sound using the 3 mechanics described above. Weight also differs slightly however, this is only a minor consideration and unlikely to impact your raid experience with the current Tarkov weight mechanics.
I’ve ranked each of the headsets below based on these factors to determine the impact on your raid experience but it is important to note that ultimately the best Escape From Tarkov headset for you is going to involve some element of personal sound preferences (using the Veritas video above is a great start in addition to in raid experience).
That being said while Veritas provides a great sound test you’ll likely come out with 2 or 3 on your list of favourites and this guide of the best headsets in Tarkov will explore additional elements of each. With over 500 hours of Tarkov gameplay (survival stats at the end of this article) I’ve experimented broadly with all the available headsets to reach these conclusions. You’ll also find some useful links to community polls that have been completed over the years that have thousands of Escape From Tarkov player votes at the end of this article if you are still unsure.
6 – GSSh-01 Active Headset
Starting off the list for best headset in Tarkov is the GSSh-01 active headset which is one of the more common headsets available with its early trader level accessibility and occasional Scav spawn. Unfortunately, as one of the first exposures to headsets for new players this set can quickly turn you off headsets and leave you wondering what the point is.
This is because the GSSh-01 stands out from the other options here as it makes your own noises significantly louder compared to the other headsets and the lack of general ambient reduction. This can result in your own running and bush collision driving you insane with loud noise especially on a lush map like Woods. The lack of significant amplification of enemy player noises (although there is still some compared to none) also results in a non-significant difference that makes most players question whether headsets do anything in Tarkov. Because of this I find it hard to recommend bringing these into a raid even at the low cost unless they are a winner in the blind test for you.
5 – Opsmen Earmor M32 headset
Added in patch 12.10 in late March 2021 to the Escape Form Tarkov headset category these have a similar sound to the Peltor ComTac 2 headset for the majority of players. Like the GSSh though above this headset lacks significant reduction of your own noises that make it difficult to utilise in practice as you’ll often muffle any enemy movement with your own.
However, a strong benefit of the M32 headset is the early availability from traders (Skier Level 1) that combined with a reasonable price can make these an early game option. The ability to level up Skier through purchasing these is also a nice early game benefit and moves some of your headset purchasing money away from the other game traders.
The biggest negative of these though is that they conflict with popular headwear (e.g. the SSh-68) that makes them impractical for the majority of situations.
4 – Walker’s Razor Digital Headset
The Walker’s Razor are actually quite a good Tarkov headset overall with solid sound that is similar to the Peltor Tactical Sport and Sordin also featured on this tier list. That being said though the Razor Tarkov headset is not available through traders currently and can only be obtained in raid.
This short supply has two significant issues as it drives the price high on the Flea Market which increases the cost of your overall loadout unnecessarily (although towards the later stages this can be as low as 5,000₽ extra). It also makes it difficult to acquire sufficient affordable supply to regularly use and test the headset as you level up to learn the little subtle sound differences and maximise your headset advantage.
So while the sound quality and advantage is there it’s hard to recommend over the top 3 options below given the cost of entry on this headset during the Tarkov levelling process.
3 – Peltor Tactical Sport Headset
The first usable headset in my eyes on this list of best Tarkov headsets is the Peltor Tactical Sport Headset. Like the Razor though it is let down by availability being locked behind a high level 4 Ragman trader level. Accessibility issues aside though the Tactical Sport are often a fan favourite providing a balance between the ComTac 2 and Sordin although slightly more on the bass heavy side.
The Tactical Sports in particular offers a balanced increase across all sound ranges that keeps the sounds similar to their native no headset versions which provides a pleasing sound experience and makes it one of the easier headsets to use without significant adjustment. This seems at ends though with the fact that you’ll unlikely get a pair until late game which relegates it to third on my recommendation list of the best headset for your Escape From Tarkov raids.
2 – Peltor ComTac 2 Headset
Another fan favourite in the best headset rankings is the ComTac 2 and another early experience players are likely to have due to it’s availability, Rouble price and even barter trade that make this a Ragman level 2 staple item.
With the ComTac 2 you’ll get a good amount of ambient sound reduction to help you hear other PMCs or Scavs while muffling some of the noises that you make. Often described as the treble headset you’ll find more treble to the game sounds and creates a distinctive pinging (sometimes scratchy) sound atmosphere. Overall it’s a good reliable workhorse of the headset slot and one you’ll likely use regularly as you loot it from players or take it into raid yourself.
1 – MSA Sordin Supreme PRO-X/L Active Headphones
My favourite and arguably a favourite of the Tarkov community when it comes to best headsets is the Sordin. While it takes Ragman level 3 to unlock these headphones they still maintain a competitive price that makes them a staple of player builds from the mid to late game.
Boosting the bass across the board you’ll find deeper sounds that are pleasant but do alter common sounds slightly which requires adjustment. With the reduction in ambient sounds, limiting your own sounds to your ears and boosting the subtle noises of the game with added bass the Sordin like many of the other headset options here will let you pick up more sounds of your enemies.
That being said either the Sordin or ComTac 2 are a capable Tarkov headset with the preference largely to you based on sound preferences from the YouTube sound test at the top of this article. For many in the Tarkov community this often comes down to a Sordin vs Comtac debate.
With this Tarkov headset guide you’ll now understand what headsets do in Tarkov and the tactical advantage that they provide. While the recommendations above are a great starting point I encourage all Tarkov players to experiment to find their own favourite as there is clear evidence everyone has different headset tastes in the community with several reddit polls reflecting this.