Headphones vs Headset
When it comes to gaming, having the right audio setup can make all the difference in your gameplay experience. But should you choose headphones or a headset? While headphones are designed for music and audio listening, gaming headsets are optimized for gaming, with features such as built-in microphones, surround sound, and enhanced communication capabilities. In this article, we’ll explore the differences between headphones vs headsets and help you decide which option is best suited for your needs.
Gaming headsets are distinct from conventional headphones because they come with a built-in microphone, which is necessary for both competitive and social multiplayer gaming. What if the microphone was not a factor and the gaming headset was compared to a standard open-back headphone with a similar price tag solely on the basis of sound quality? Is the disparity really that bad? Or can gaming headsets compete?
We decided to look at an aggregate across the market, comparing the results of some of the top headsets with the performance of some of the more reasonably priced, but high-quality headphones currently on the market, rather than looking at two comparisons that would only be useful to those with the same products.
Overall, we discovered that the performance of gaming headsets wasn’t as good as traditional headphones for multi-purpose use, but that the cost was a little more reasonable than the headphones we’d advise using, which helped to make up for it. For instance, a fairly well-known gaming headset costs less than $100, whereas our top picks for premium headphones to replace the headset cost around $150, not including the standalone or attachable mic you might want to add.
The quality of the microphone on gaming headsets is another significant problem. There are few gaming headsets that offer both high-quality sound and high-quality microphones, though that’s not to say they don’t exist. A lot of gaming headsets either excel in their microphone quality or their sound quality.
Comparing The Two
However, it should be noted that when comparing some products in the same price range, for instance, the Philips SHP9600 and the Logitech G635, both of which retail for about $85 and are designed as traditional headphones, there are some differences.
The SHP9600 is the undisputed champion when it comes to music with a richer sound and a more well-balanced sound signature when we compare the sound quality of these two pairs of headphones. Because of how they are tuned, the Logitech sometimes performed just as well as the SHP9600 in games where the difference was less obvious. It is impossible to discount the SHP9600’s overall sound quality and adaptability.
While the treble does slightly degrade as it approaches the high treble range, the G635 overall delivered excellent gaming performance with a strong bass response and rich treble. The G635 didn’t perform nearly as well as the SHP9600 in music, though; the highs felt overturned, the mids were recessed, and the bass was amplified and occasionally muddy.
This experience is very similar between conventional headphones vs headsets, with the latter performing better for gaming but less well for music. This is not to say that gaming headsets always sound bad; in fact, many users may not even hear a difference. However, if you value high-quality audio and intend to listen to a lot of music, you should be aware of this.
You might be wondering why there are audio differences of this nature between headphones vs headsets. Most gaming headsets are tuned for the gaming experience, which is great if you’re just gaming. However, when you use the same headset for media or music, you start to notice the shortcomings in this strategy.
Additionally, headset manufacturers do not specialize in audio. When you consider the companies that make your favorite headset brand, you will likely think of computer companies focusing more on peripherals than audio, for example, Logitech. While these companies employ qualified audio engineers, the outcome will depend on the company’s direction.
What To Look For In Gaming Headphones
There are still some things you should think about before making a hasty purchase if you choose to go with a more balanced and adaptable audio option for gaming by picking up a pair of headphones. In audiophile forums, headphones are frequently touted as the best because of their balanced sound signature, but while this is great for reference and critical listening, it is not ideal for gaming.
We advise concentrating on items that produce a V-shaped sound signature instead. If the bass and treble levels are controlled, these headphones can be used for music and video games. The sound produced by a slightly elevated V-signature is frequently referred to as “fun” and is more conducive to the gaming experience.
The separation of sound frequencies makes it easier to distinguish the location of the enemy, so a good soundstage representation will also help in this regard.
Finally, spending money on a quality desktop or boom-mic will typically result in much better results.