Balancing competitive gaming and streaming is often a tricky proposition for the controversial content creator Nickmercs. The 33-year-old Nick Kolcheff has numerous esports accomplishments to his credit, including three Major League Gaming (MLG) tournament wins and a National Championship. Still, Nickmercs manages to keep his competitive edge while fostering an extremely devoted community of viewers.


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Aspiring esports participants are constantly monitoring what keyboards, mice, and headsets the top pro gamers use, hoping to gain a competitive advantage. For game streamers, a gaming headset is perhaps the most critical component, serving several different roles. Not only do they depend on a headset to communicate with teammates during multiplayer gaming, but it allows them to keep tabs on a stream and talk to viewers. The best gaming headset for streamers like Nickmercs is both durable and versatile enough to game, stream, and record content. So, what headset does Nickmercs use, and how can it help gamers take their skills to the next level?

Who Is Nickmercs?


Those gamers who watch a lot of Twitch content have likely heard the name Nickmercs or at least seen the name on the trending page at one point or another. Nick Kolcheff is one of the biggest names in the business and climbed the ladder to success through a wide array of competitive shooting games. Nickmercs plays several Battle Royal releases, like Apex Legends, Fortnite, and Warzone, while also dabbling in League of Legends and Friday The 13th: The Game. He’s also played several single-player games for his audience, including hits like God of War and Marvel’s Spider-Man.

It’s safe to say that a bulk of Nickmercs streaming content centers around shooters, specifically those that feature competitive multiplayer. The streamer has a natural affinity for the genre and does exceptionally well in the space. In fact, the MLG Champion co-owns a competitive team known as the FaZe Clan. He was also formerly a featured part of the pro team 100 Thieves. Kolcheff is known for cultivating an especially tight-knit community of followers, regularly hosting MFAM events ranging from gaming competitions to barbecue meet-ups.


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Kolcheff is most known for his Call of Duty exploits, but he has had a turbulent relationship with the game at times. In the past, Nickmercs made some criticisms of Call of Duty: Warzone 2, unhappy with AI enemies that were difficult to distinguish from human adversaries. More recently, after making controversial remarks about the LGBTQ+ community, Call of Duty developers removed Nickmercs skin bundles from Modern Warfare 2 and Warzone. As a result, Kolcheff vowed he would not play the recently released Modern Warfare 3, but he continues streaming Call of Duty: Warzone.

Last October, another major development in Nickmercs’ streaming career took place. Kolcheff became the latest in a long line of Twitch personalities to sign a deal with the growing Kick platform. While Nickmercs’ contract with Kick will earn him $10 million over a full year, he continues to stream at a reduced rate on Twitch and record YouTube content.

No matter what game or platform Nickmercs commits to, his loyal MFAM community will undoubtedly stick around to support the always-entertaining streamer.

What Headset Does Nickmercs Use?


In 2019, Nickmercs signed a sponsorship deal with Astro Gaming as his exclusive peripheral supplier. Kolcheff, who had previously relied on an Astro A40 wired headset, was soon spotted with the equally futuristic-looking wireless A50. The high-quality and high-dollar headset comes in two variants, allowing players to use it for PS4/PS5 and PC gaming or on the Xbox One/Xbox S/X and PC. Since the headset is a bit of an investment for some, the fact that it’s also one of the best gaming headsets for the PS5 and Xbox Series X is a nice bonus. Although it’s built with gaming in mind, players can still get additional use out of it, specifically when it comes to listening to music and other audio-based activities, thanks to its Dolby Audio and Atmos support.

Astro A50 Wireless Gaming Headset

Astro A50 Wireless

$250 $300 Save $50

The Astro A50 looks and performs like a wireless headset designed by gamers, for gamers. Astro Audio V2 provides balanced and crystal clear audio to hear in-game sound effects with ultimate clarity. The Astro A50 wireless headset supports many surround sound and spatial audio formats, including Dolby Atmos, allowing gamers to instantly recognize the approach of enemies.
The A50 wireless base station includes connections for multiple sources with USB, optical, and analog audio inputs.  This wireless gaming headset has a 15-hour battery life and is available in 2 different versions compatible with either the PS5/PS4/PC or Xbox Series X & S/PC.


PS5/PS4/PC or Xbox Series X & S/PC

What’s Included
Basestation, Micro USB cable, Optical cable


Surround Sound

Noise Cancellation

Battery Life
15 hours

That said, the Astro A50 Wireless was crafted with specialized Astro Audio V2, an immersive sound experience with a heavy emphasis on clear in-game sound. It will also deliver top-notch overall sound quality with crisp dialogue and music. This tuning should allow players to hear footsteps and other sound effects to help them know immediately when enemies are nearby. This is an important advantage for Nickmercs as he regularly participates in competitive multiplayer matches. Knowing where an opponent is can help players plan accordingly and keep an ear out for any danger.


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Another major selling point of the Astro A50 is its mixing capabilities, which allow players to custom-tune their listening experience by giving them full control over audio levels. Players can raise or lower the independent volumes for both the game and voice chat, offering them the best mix of volumes tailored specifically to their tastes. This goes into even further detail in the Astro Command Center software, allowing for better overall control with preset and custom sound profiles available.


Although some players may be turned off by the idea of charging a wireless device, the Astro A50 boasts an impressive 15+ hours of playtime on a single charge. Players can even purchase a bundle package with a charging dock for easy recharging when players aren’t at their PC or console. The Astro A50 comes with cables specifically designed for use with console controllers, but it also has USB connectivity, allowing PC gamers to plug it in without relying on optical cables. This can even further increase audio fidelity and enable access to software-enabled features.

One of the best gaming headsets from Astro, the A50 acomes with customization in mind, letting players opt for leather ear cups and components if they want something a bit more luxurious. With its flip-up mic, sleek design, and durable frame, it’s easy to see why Nickmercs puts his trust into this particular headset, which helps to give him an edge over his opponents thanks to its action-heavy sound tuning.

Astro recently debuted the Astro A50 X with a similar design but a radically different wireless base station. If multi-platform competitive gamers struggle to find a suitable headset, the A50 X benefits from a versatile HDMI 2.1 switcher. With a simple tap of a physical button on the A50 X, listeners can instantly toggle between PCs, Xbox, and PlayStation systems without losing sound quality.

A New Setup for Nickmercs

Nickkmercs is never afraid to try new things, and after several years, the streamer and competitive gamer changed his standard setup. Kolcheff surprised viewers when he appeared on camera wearing a pair of what looked like Beyerdynamic DT 990 Pro headphones which he paired with an external microphone. The DT 990 Pro is not a gaming headset in the traditional sense, but many content creators rely on open-backed headphones to monitor audio for higher-quality productions.

Beyerdynamic DT 990 PRO Studio Headphones

Beyerdynamic DT 990 Pro

The Beyerdynamic DT 990 Pro are audiophile-quality headphones ideal for content creators recording and editing their own productions. The over-the-ear DT 990 Pro perfectly balances low, mid, and high tones with a transparent listening experience. The headphones have exceptionally comfortable and stylish gray velour earpads for hours of pain-free listening. The adjustable steel headband is equally pleasant to wear, part of the Beyerdynamic DT 990 Pro’s durable yet lightweight construction.


Steel, leather, plastic

Noise Cancellation

370 g

Frequency range
5 – 35,000 Hz

250 ohms


The German Beyerdynamic has a long history of manufacturing equipment for listening to and recording audio, dating back to 1924. The Beyerdynamic DT 990 Pro headphones are ideal for streamers like Nickmercs who want to edit the highest quality videos with perfectly mixed sound. The open-backed design of the DT 990 Pro produces a spacious audio output with a natural sound that is not possible with closed-back alternatives. Of course, these headphones are best suited for soundproof studios, as they struggle to filter out background distractions, unlike the best noise-cancelling headsets.

The Beyerdynamic DT 990 Pro is constructed with premium materials, including a surprisingly comfortable steel headband and velour earpads that do not irritate listeners even after hours of use. Other prolific streamers like Ninja choose Beyerdynamic headphones for their sound reproduction and build quality. Nickmercs can wear these headphones continuously, without making streaming competitive gaming to thousands of viewers any more stressful.


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As convenient as a gaming headset with a built-in mic is, it’s difficult to match the listening and recording quality of a separate headphone and external mic setup. As far as what external microphone Nickmercs uses now, he has utilized a Shure SM7B in the past, which is among the top microphones for gamers and streamers and records the most lifelike representation of the human voice. Nickmercs’ viewers weren’t all thrilled by the move away from Astro headsets, noting how different the streamer’s voice sounded using a separate microphone. However, as with any time a popular streamer makes changes, MFAM eventually embraced the Beyerdynamic headphones.

Nickmercs Goes Back to His Roots

Suddenly, it seemed Nickmercs would not wear his Beyerdynamic DT 990 Pro for long. In April 2023, Corsair announced a partnership with Kolcheff, as they often work with popular streamers to showcase their gear. In a promotional photo the company released, Kolcheff can be seen wearing headphones that look suspiciously like a Corsair Virtuoso model. The headset in question also has MFAM branding on its earcups. Other major content creators like MrBeast also endorse high-end Corsair headsets like the Virtuoso RGB Wireless XT. However, there is no evidence of Kolcheff using a Corsair headset during broadcasts, and the company no longer lists him as an official partner.

ASTRO Gaming A40 TR

ASTRO Gaming A40 TR Wired Headset

$100 $130 Save $30

The ASTRO Gaming A40 TR is a sleek, professional headset with quality audio and a sturdy design. Stay tuned into the action with ASTRO Audio V2 audio systems, which help deliver quality sound and surround-sound technology to any gaming experience. With a lightweight finish yet rugged construction, gamers can use this headset without worrying about durability issues, even on moving parts such as the mic. 


369 grams

Retractable, adjustable

PC, Xbox, PS4, PS5

Nickmercs continued to wear the Beyerdynamic DT 990 Pro until several months ago when an old friend returned. Recent broadcasts have seen Kolcheff again using the wired Astro A40 TR without speaker tags. Similar to the Beyerdynamic DT 990 Pro, the A40 TR is a partially open-back headset, depending on a gamer’s preferred configuration.


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Why Nickmercs returned to the A40 TR is an open question, but perhaps his experiences with the DT 990 Pro reaffirmed his commitment to wired headsets. The A40 TR also includes an excellent microphone, easing the burden of traveling with an external mic. Undoubtedly, Kolcheff is busy with content creation and his growing family, making recharging another device an unwanted task. Without speaker tags, the A40 TR allows him to keep tabs on his surroundings and make more natural-sounding productions. If gamers prefer more immersive listening, they can purchase a mod kit with closed-back speaker tags, more sealed-off earcups, and a noise-isolating microphone.

No observer will mistake the Astro A40 TR for another brand of headset, with its trademark silver piping that the ear cups slide up and down on. Even with considerable plastic in its construction, the A40 TR has a reasonably weighty feel at 369 grams, with better build quality than a budget headset. Astro Audio V2 is another reason competitive gamers flock to the A40 TR, focusing on subtle audio cues while explosions still sound impactful.


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The A40 TR’s physical controls are somewhat limited, lacking even a volume slider. That’s why many owners purchase the MixAmp Pro TR, which gives streamers like Nickmercs access to far more settings. The headset connects to the mixer with an analog audio cord, while this accessory communicates with PCs through a USB cable. Since the MixAmp Pro TR also has optical and auxiliary input/output ports, there are various ways to use the A40 TR with consoles and controllers. PC headset buyers will gain the most functionality thanks to Astro’s software, but all listeners can select EQ profiles on the fly and adjust game and chat volume levels.

It wouldn’t be shocking to see Nickmercs wear yet another headset in the coming months. Still, for now, the Astro A40 TR remains one of the most versatile gaming headsets, both in terms of its modular components and sound mixing capabilities.

Nickmercs is No Keyboard Warrior

Scuf Reflex Pro Nickmercs

Scuf Reflex Pro

The Scuf Reflex Pro is simply a better DualSense controller. This is not a mean feat considering the DualSense and its higher-end sibling, the DualSense Edge have upped the ante on what is possible for PS5 controllers in terms of control, build quality, and experience.


PC, PS5, Mobile Devices

Up to 8 hours

Wireless: Bluetooth, Wired: USB-C

Headset Support


Extra Buttons

Most competitive esports pros use mechanical keyboards and gaming mice, but Nickmercs, with his Call of Duty roots, prefers a controller. The wireless Scuf Reflex Pro is far from ordinary; however, it offers more customization than possible with the stock DualSense. Kolcheff was so enthusiastic about the controller that Scuf released a Nickmercs edition of the peripheral with an MFAM logo.


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Considering Corsair acquired Scuf several years ago, it’s hardly a shock that Nickmercs would now endorse both brands’ products. One of the main advantages of the Reflex Pro is its four back paddles, which are removable but can also be programmed for various other commands. Since reaction time is everything in FPS games, these additional back paddles allow Nickmercs to access controls faster than reaching for triggers on the top of controllers. The Reflex Pro also retains many innovative features of the standard DualSense, including adaptive triggers, which more accurately react to in-game events like collisions and firing off a weapon.

The Nickmercs version of the Scuf Reflex Pro ships with a stock configuration, but usually the controller is highly customizable. During checkout, gamers can select everything from the faceplate’s color to the thumbsticks’ size and shape. The controller connects wirelessly to both the PS5 and PC through Bluetooth, and readers can check out Game Rant’s review of the Reflex Pro for more information about this pro-grade controller.

Level Up Your Gaming Rig Like Nickmercs


Nickmercs’ larger-than-life personality plays a significant role in his accomplishments in the world of competitive gaming and streaming. Still, whether playing Call of Duty or Apex Legends, it’s never wise to go into battle without the right weapons. Communication is vital when teaming up with friends or strangers in an FPS title, and the combination of the Beyerdynamic DT 990 Pro headphones and the Shure SM7B external microphone is hard to top for sound clarity. Most gamers prefer to use a headset with an integrated mic, and Nickmercs has also relied on the Astro A40 TR for a simpler gaming setup.

Console users are often scorned in competitive gaming, but with the Scuf Reflex Pro, Nickmercs demonstrates what controllers can do. This souped-up DualSense enables gamers to customize nearly every aspect of the controller and access additional remappable paddles on the back of the device.

While accomplished gamers tend to stick with the same devices for many years, Nickmercs has been willing to switch up his headset and controller regularly. What works for any gamer at one time may not be the best option later on, so keeping tabs on the latest gear to hit the marketplace pays off.


What Headsets Do the Pros Use?

With serious amounts of money at stake, which gaming headsets do the best esports professionals rely on?


Q: Are gaming headsets worth it?

Pairing your rig with the right headset is a must for anyone looking to add to the immersive gaming experience. Headsets provide several advantages including various types of noise-cancelling and in-game environmental notifications such as approaching enemies.

Q: Why do some esports pros wear two headsets?

During LAN tournaments, esports pros sometimes wear two headsets, one over their ears and one around their neck, to showcase a product from their sponsors. Still, they use the organizer-provided headset to minimize external sounds.

Q: Why do pro gamers use wired headphones or headsets?

Wireless gaming headsets can suffer from signal interference in crowded tournament arenas. Also, wired alternatives often reproduce audio at a higher bitrate and competitive gamers don’t have to worry about running out of power.


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