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Gaming Headsets vs. Headphones

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The sound in a game is its most crucial component. Your games will appear more intense if you can hear every detail, whether you’re shooting moving targets or sprinting for the finish line. We’ve put up a guide to help you choose between the gaming headsets and gaming headphones if you’re not satisfied with your existing audio or want to hear more of the action if you’re trying to get back into gaming after a break. 

If you want perfect audio/sound quality when gaming, then it is important to know about the difference between a headset and a headphone. Most people mistakenly think that both headsets and headphones are equal but this is not true. Headsets and headphones differ significantly from each other. Let’s compare headsets and headphones. 

Gaming headset

Gaming headsets and headphones usually look similar, but they are considered different products. It can be said that there are more headphones in the world than there are people. If you use a standard pair of headphones, you may be missing various gaming-specific features. Gaming headsets can help with that. They can provide a gaming experience that a set of regular headphones cannot by focusing on a single task.

Gaming headphone

Gaming headphones have built-in special features that are beneficial for gamers. The gaming headphones provide high-quality surround sound. You get directional awareness through surround sound, which makes the users aware of the surroundings. This sense of direction is crucial depending on the game you’re playing. l. It enables you to hear approaching guidelines so that you can respond in time to prevent them from ending your game.

Top 3 Gaming Headsets 

Headsets Type Connection Drive     Price Availability
Razer Blackshark V2 Pro Over-Ear Closed Wireless +Wired 50mm Dynamic $139.99 Amazon
Corsair HS60 Haptic Over-Ear Closed Wired 50mm Dynamic $120.99 Amazon
HyperX Cloud Orbit S  Over-Ear Closed Wireless +Wired 100mm Planar $329.99 Amazon

Top 3 Gaming Headphones 

Headsets Type Connection Drive Price Availability
Philips Fidelio X2HR Over-Ear Open Wired 50mm Dynamic $179.95 Amazon
Sony WH-1000XM4 Over-Ear Closed Wired + Wireless 40mm Dynamic $348.00 Amazon
Sennheiser HD 800 S Over-Ear Open Wired 56mm Dynamic $1,799.95 Amazon

Variations Between Gaming Headsets and Headphones

Price

Some people have the option to purchase headphones and a gaming headset. However, if you have money, your only choice would be to choose. So which one would you pick?

Naturally, as is the case with the majority of consumer technology, you can get inexpensive gaming headsets and inexpensive headphones, and you can find pricey gaming headsets and expensive headphones. The price ranges are, however, not the same. The cost of headphones frequently ranges from a few pounds or dollars for the cheapest pair to several thousand for reference headphones made to the highest audiophile standards. 

The difference in sound quality between one pair of headphones and another will vary, but in general, you can spend more money on higher sound quality.

Most gaming headsets fall somewhere in the £20 to £230 (or $25 to $300) price range, making up the mainstream market. Some high-end gaming headsets are available, but there is little demand for ultra-premium gaming headsets. Or, maybe more properly, the term “ultra-premium” has different connotations in gaming headsets compared to headphones.

Audio quality

An inexpensive headset won’t typically sound as good as a pair of headphones. High-end headphones sound much crisper, sharper, and more textured than gaming headsets. Which is better for gaming, though, can be a little tricky.

Higher Audio Quality in Gaming Headphones

Unfortunately, gaming headsets, especially those at the lower end of the price range, frequently sound not only warm and bright but also muddy, unnaturally heavy, or too bright to be pleasant. That is why headphones typically have higher audio quality than gaming headsets. But there is one important aspect that is the soundstage where gaming headsets frequently shine. 

It’s typically crucial to have a big, open sound when gaming. This not only aids in providing the overall immersion a player seeks, but it also helps to know where a sound originates and allows you to react to it more immediately and precisely. Of course, headphones with large sound stages are possible, but stereo concentration, which is typically more important for music, is frequently given greater attention. 

An important point is that you may frequently use your regular headphones to enjoy the Dolby Atmos soundtrack. For instance, on Xbox or Windows, you can pay a one-time price to enable Dolby Atmos for Headphones, adding Atmos processing to virtually any headphones you connect to your gaming system or computer.

Build-in Spatial Audio in Gaming Headsets

Regarding spatial audio/virtual surround technology, the distinction between gaming headsets and headphones is becoming hazier every day. For instance, you may use your headphones and enjoy Sony’s exclusive 3D sound on the PlayStation 5 by simply plugging them into the controller. This can provide you with the audio positional characteristics of a standard gaming headset, and the cleaner, the more nuanced sound of a good pair of headphones. 

Gaming headsets typically have built-in spatial audio and virtual surround technologies that give them openness. In other words, this technology may imitate surround sound virtually and make sounds appear more three-dimensional. Depending on your headsets and game platform, you can use this technology with conventional headphones; however, headsets frequently have built-in spatial audio/virtual surround technology, while headphones don’t really.

To sum up, you should always aim for the highest sound quality when gaming, and enable spatial audio and virtual surround if possible. Outside of a dedicated surround sound system, you should ideally utilise a good set of headphones with spatial audio/virtual surround compatibility. However, this isn’t always practical or possible. Therefore, you can also use a gaming headset.

Build quality

If you get cheap headphones or a cheap gaming headset, there is a good risk that they won’t last forever. If you’re lucky, you might be able to replace a cord or fix a problem here and there, but generally, you pay for durability. Thus cheap items typically don’t work for a long time.

Gaming headsets are typically less robust compared to headphones. The main reason for this is finances: a gaming headset with many features, such as a big microphone and virtual surround technology, has less money in its budget to spend on premium materials than a pair of headphones that only need to sound nice. Therefore, if you choose a pair of high-quality, well-built headphones, you can use them for years. Many headphones are made to last a very long time with frequent use. You could need to replace a part every few years, and you might even need to get something repaired over a long time. You may expect gaming headsets not to last as long as a good pair of headphones. There are game headsets with exceptional build quality, but on average, they’re less-priced items with more features.

Role of Microphone 

A regular pair of headphones and a headset perform much the same functions if you see their characteristics. But various locations frequently have different priorities. For instance, even though many headphones now come equipped with microphones, a gaming headset is still required to include one. In addition, a gaming headset’s microphone is frequently fixed on a stalk to put it closer to your mouth, and that stalk may even be removable. While the microphone of a pair of headphones will typically be smaller (sometimes almost invisible) and will normally rely significantly on smart processing for delivering speech clarity. 

Role Of Wire 

Even though many gaming headsets are wireless, they frequently also have 3.5mm jacks and USB ports so you can use them with your PC, your console, or even your controller without making any adjustments or doing any work. Though not always, headphones typically have fewer connectivity options. On the technical side, many headsets have built-in spatial audio or virtual surround systems. 

Design 

Gaming headsets frequently have a design that puts the player first. They also frequently have useful features, including a dedicated mute button, a volume slider, a mixer for balancing chat audio and game audio, buttons for switching between audio presets, etc. Naturally, headphones can also have some of these functions, but the trend is away from having more buttons and toward having fewer. The main purpose of headphones is to listen. Outside of water resistance, noise-cancellation, and the occasional standout feature, a good pair of headphones is primarily concerned with sounding excellent. They can be wireless (with large batteries, too) and support different audio technologies, but they are mainly concerned with sound quality.

A gaming headset is designed to provide a wide range of functions that make it simple for you to game, communicate, and move around your environment freely. Additionally, gaming headsets attempt to do all of that while remaining affordable. Although you aren’t required to, you can spend more money on headphones to obtain greater sound quality and additional features. However, if you don’t have access to spatial audio or virtual surround, headphones might not be the greatest option for gaming.

Comfort and Ease

It’s frequently a matter of personal preference how comfy something is that lays on top of your head and over your ears. Then, there are various designs and materials to choose from, multiple weights to take into account, and numerous other factors that affect comfort. Its distinguishing feature is the ability to wear a good gaming headset comfortably for four, six, or even eight hours or more at a time. Although this can and will be done with headphones, comfort is perhaps less of a defining characteristic. 

Quality of Material 

The quality of material used in both headsets and headphones enhances their comfort. The on-ear headphones are made of Polyvinyl Chloride ) Plastic.  The around-ear headphones use Thermoplastic Polyurethane. Artificial leather used in around-ear headphones improves their comfort level. The more comfy headphones you buy, the more you enjoy your gaming. Comfort is considered even more crucial because gaming sessions can extend for hours. 

The gaming headsets are often so uncomfortable. The reason for this discomfort is that the in-ears are too deeply implanted – Your inner ears may become injured if your earbuds or IEMs are inserted too deeply. When the earbuds or IEMs are placed a bit too close to the eardrums, the vibrations they produce can be painful. So headphones would be a better option for comfort while gaming. 

Connectivity

Connectivity is an important element to be considered while selecting between headsets and headphones. Headphones and headsets are both available in wires and even wireless. Let’s check which one is better for connectivity. 

Advantages of Wire are wireless headphones 

Regarding connectivity, headphones often keep things quite straightforward with a 3.5mm connector, a wireless connection (almost commonly Bluetooth), or both. With gaming headsets, it’s a bit less simple. Some models, especially the more affordable ones, will only feature a 3.5mm connection, but many will also come with a USB cable for usage with a computer. Wireless is ubiquitous, of course, but it always requires the use of a proprietary dongle that very definitely only functions with one or possibly two of the gaming platforms that are currently available.

Why not use Bluetooth to make things simple? Because Bluetooth audio is not supported by Xbox and PlayStation systems. Using Bluetooth adapters, there are innovative methods to get around this. Still, wireless gaming headsets generally choose to use 2.4Ghz wireless technology over Bluetooth  Because it has a more consistent signal and faster data transmission rates than Bluetooth. The 2.4GHz wireless frequency offers superior sound quality than Bluetooth headsets. However, it’s interesting to note that many gaming headsets today come with Bluetooth connectivity and dongles for console use, allowing you to use them as regular wireless headphones with other devices like your phone.

Pros and Cons of Gaming Headsets

Pros

  • Top-quality sound  
  • Good price range
  • Blocks the external noise
  • Better communication

Cons

  • Cable damage
  • Charging and battery
  • Durability 

Pros and Cons of Gaming Headphones 

Pros

  • More accurate imaging
  • Good sound quality
  • Better communication with friends
  • Noise cancellation

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Sacrifice on quality and comfort 

Final verdict

Why choose Gaming Headsets?

The finest gaming audio experience you can have outside of a simple surround sound setup is having a combination of a pair of high-quality, open-sounding headphones with some type of spatial audio/virtual surround tech and your dedicated microphone. However, this kind of system will be quite pricey, difficult to set up, and almost definitely somewhat cluttered. That is why most gamers choose a gaming headset, which may be slightly poorer in quality but will be much more affordable and practical.

For a reasonable price, a gaming headset can be wireless, noise-cancelling, include a microphone with various settings and capabilities, and even provide its brand of simulated surround sound. Additionally, headsets’ virtual spatial audio is typically the most dependable. Not every game has Dolby Atmos support. Unless you only play on the PlayStation 5, where you can turn on 3D Audio with your headphones, speakers, or headset. Offloading this audio technology to your headset is frequently more practical if you’re a regular player.

A gaming headset is probably the best option if you only have a sound bar, a few speakers, or a standard set of headphones to use when you game. It can be simpler to use the microphone on your headset if you game in your living room on a TV because spatial audio/virtual surround is a big factor for games.

Conclusion

Although gaming headsets and headphones look similar, they are different as they do not work at the same pace. Both are vulnerable to use, but both perform various functions according to their quality and structure.If one is best for its operations and features, the other offers the best connectivity support. You can hear audio and virtual surround sound using gaming headsets. Gaming won’t be as pleasurable without one because your experience won’t be as immersive. 

I find a headset much more practical for gaming and talking, particularly when travelling. If you enjoy playing video games, a gaming headset is a great investment as it can deliver a gaming experience that gaming headphones may not. Now you know about gaming headsets and headphones. So, what are you waiting for? Go and buy yours. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What should I consider before buying a gaming headset?

Looking for all the specifications before buying a gaming laptop is important. The most important things to consider are sound, build quality, comfort, and a microphone. Although a gaming headset with these qualities lasts for a long time, the microphone is an additional aspect that improves the users’ overall experience.

How can I select the right headset?

Selection of the right gaming headset is not easy, but it totally depends on your choice of how you plan to use them and what specs you want in the headset. You also need to select between a wired and wireless headset. The most important thing is choosing the most trustworthy brand and authorised dealer that provides you with the best product.

Is a wired headset best for gaming?

Although there are both wired and wireless gaming headsets, most users prefer to buy a wired gaming headset because they show better results in terms of connectivity. There are fewer chances of signal loss if you use wired headphones. The wired gaming headsets have better sound quality because they transmit audio directly. In short, wired headphones are most suggested as compared to wireless headphones.

Can a gaming headset work for more than a year?

Yes, you can surely use your gaming headset for more than a year if you buy a better quality gaming headset. You can replace them after two years, but if there is no issue with your gaming heads, you need not worry about replacing them. Taking care of them can also last three to four years. 

I hope you have enjoyed reading the article. Please share it with your family and friends if you liked the content. 

Muhammad Fawad
Muhammad Fawad is a Technical News and Research writer at Techywired. He received a Bachelor’s degree in Economics and Computer sciences and Master’s degree in Economics. He is quite passionate about Technology and Research from a young age. His major areas of expertise are Social media giants, Technology giants, and gaming. He has a keen eye for Technology and keeps writing about the latest crunches in the tech world. He loves to hike, travel, and do photography when not writing.

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