I have been a serious gamer for over 10 years. My experience ranges from CAL teams for Day of Defeat to COD Ghosts. I own a pretty nice home rig and have experience with over one hundred headphones. To me there is no substitute for the Turtlebeach EARFORCE X12 which remains my gaming headset of choice.
Here are my reasons:
Cost: The headphone costs less than $80 making it really affordable right off the bat and if a replacement is needed it will not break the bank.
Connectivity: There is no wireless to fiddle with and the headphone is completely wired. This lends itself to less noise than wireless counterparts.
No Compromises: Of all of the headsets I have tried the X12 is the one with no compromises. The sound quality is quite good for a headset, the mic gain is tuned perfectly, and the pickup pattern is small enough to not broadcast everything in the gaming environment.
Volume Controls: The X12 comes with a Bass Boost, Mic Volume, and Game volume control interface. The amp is actually pretty quiet even at ear bleeding sound levels.
Build: I am not super careful with my gaming headphones. They typically rest in a pile by my Xbox 360 ready for future use. I by no means slam them down on the ground or abuse them, but I typically store and connect them in a hurry thus not being super careful. To that end I have had no issues from my mild abuse and the headphones still stand strong. The headband is comfortable and padded, the earcups nicely padded, and the mic perfectly positioned.
Of all of the headphones out there the X12 is the one I recommend and remains the one all of my gaming buddies thank me for when they actually pick it up.
The earcups are a tad small meaning if you know you have large ears then you may have some discomfort wearing the X12.
There are quite a few cables that will tangle with the X12 so if keeping cables out of the way is a must look elsewhere. I run mine from my HD TV and Xbox 360 to a nearby couch with no problems, but caveat emptor!
The X12 is not a sealed headphone champ so if you are gaming in really loud environments you may want to invest in something a little more beefy in the seal department.
The X12 is my only recommendation so do not extrapolate this suggestion to other headphones including the X11, etc. The X12 is the headphone to get.
Have you tried the X12 before? If not I highly suggest it and you can pick them up from GameStop and if you do not like them you can bring them back.