How to Choose a Gaming Headset
When it comes to gaming, having the right headset can make all the difference in your overall experience. A good gaming headset can help you hear every detail in the game, communicate clearly with your teammates, and immerse yourself in the action. However, with so many options available on the market, choosing the right gaming headset can be a daunting task.
In this article, we’ll guide you through the process of choosing the perfect gaming headset for your needs. We’ll discuss the key features to look for in a gaming headset, such as sound quality, microphone clarity, and comfort. Whether you’re a competitive gamer or just looking for a better gaming experience, this guide will help you find the perfect gaming headset to suit your needs.
Headsets vs. Headphones
The question of whether gamers should pair a standalone mic with gaming headsets or conventional headphones is one that is frequently discussed.
In conclusion, choosing a dedicated standalone microphone and a good set of traditional headphones will give you the best sound and microphone quality possible. But not everyone can use this setup, and those with little desk space or who don’t want to deal with extra cables can still choose a gaming headset.
You can read more about this in our article here
Comfort Is Important For Long Periods Of Use
One of the most crucial aspects to take into account when selecting a gaming headset is comfort. Whether we’re playing a game or not, we gamers can spend hours on end wearing our headsets, and many of us don’t remove them until we get off the computer.
Making sure I am satisfied with my headset’s level of comfort is the most important lesson I’ve learned from playing games on headphones over the years. It was always hit or miss after switching between a number of different brands and models. Finding headphones that are noticeably comfortable across the board for all different head sizes is the best way to prevent this.
Some headset styles might feel too heavy on your head or compress your ears too much. Fortunately, online reviews have made it very simple to identify models that frequently have fit problems. I would suggest looking up online reviews to get a general idea of how comfortable any headset you are considering buying is.
Not all aspects of a gaming headset’s comfort relate to how it fits on your head. The cable’s length can affect how you sit, lead to neck flexion, and limit your ability to move around at your desk. Consider where your computer case will be in relation to where you will be sitting, and make sure you have enough extra cable length.
You would require more cable length if your case were on the right side of your desk (for right-handed gamers) or on the floor as opposed to the left (depending on the exact distance). For cases that are further away from the seating area, we advise choosing a 3-meter cable, though 2.5m may occasionally be adequate. Even though you might be able to get away with less if your case is to your left, I still advise choosing something around 2.5 meters.
Another aspect to take into account when picking a gaming headset is noise isolation. You need a headset that can cancel out outside noise if you’re playing in a noisy setting so you can concentrate on the game. To help reduce outside noise, look for headsets with closed-back ear cups. Additionally, some headsets have noise-canceling features that can help lessen outside noise. There are several methods for noise cancellation, including:
While Active Noise Cancellation employs microphones to phase-cancel unwanted sounds, Passive Noise Cancellation uses the proper materials to create a tight seal around the listener’s ear. Passive noise cancellation should work for the majority of gaming applications.
However, ANC is still a relatively uncommon feature on the majority of gaming headsets and is more typical of consumer headphones. Therefore, if you choose to use a headphone and independent microphone combination, you’ll have the most ANC options available. You can still find specialized gaming headsets that have this feature, though.
While a microphone is not required for single-player games, it is absolutely necessary if you play multiplayer games and need to communicate with teammates. Additionally, it is crucial that your microphone sounds good. In the world of online gaming, making fun of the player with the poor microphone in the lobby is almost required. Nobody wants to be that person…
Thank goodness, there are lots of gaming-specific headsets available with top-notch microphones. Although the sound quality won’t always be as good as a dedicated desktop condenser microphone, it’ll be good enough to prevent you from sounding like the old Call of Duty lobby memes.
Some gaming headsets have detachable microphones, allowing you to swap them out if they develop any issues after a few years. These do function, but in my experience, by the time the microphone fails, the headset model has been changed, and the older microphones are a little more difficult to locate. However, they are still valid.
Open vs Closed Backs
Closed-back and open-back headphones are the two main types. Instead of bouncing all the sound inside the earcup, open-back headphones allow air to escape from the earcup in the opposite direction of the ear. As a result, open-back headphones often give the impression of a wider soundstage. However, open-back headphones typically respond to bass less aggressively.
Contrarily, closed-backs restrict sound waves, making the soundstage smaller and more directly aimed at your ear. While the soundstage is smaller with this style, the bass response is larger.
In the past, gamers tended to choose closed-back headphones, but in recent years, open-back headphones have become much more popular, especially those made by Sennheiser. This is particularly true for gamers who also love music and audio and who desire a more rich and more immersive listening experience.
Wired vs. Wireless
In the world of gaming, the debate between wired and wireless has been raging for more than ten years. Wireless technology wasn’t very good for gaming until the middle of the 2010s. When compared to modern wireless devices, battery technology was ineffective, and wireless speeds were constrained by both physical technologies and the absence of effective codecs.
Today’s wireless devices, including headsets, are much more dependable when used for gaming. The latency on wireless devices has significantly decreased thanks to newer technology like aptX, which offers a completely different experience.
Going wireless or wired is now more of a matter of personal preference than of objective right or wrong. The biggest issue with wireless headsets is how to charge them. In the early stages of the adoption of wireless technology, it’s fairly common to forget to charge your headset, which is never a fun experience. Over time, you will develop a charging habit, but in the beginning.
Console or PC
We won’t delve too deeply into this subject. There are, however, specific headsets made for particular consoles. Changing the headset’s primary jack is typically how to accomplish this. 3.5mm aux or USB-A are the two most popular connection types for computers. The same is true for PlayStation and Xbox users; some connect directly to the console while others plug an aux into the controller. Instead, USB-C connections are more commonly found on devices like the Nintendo Switch and cell phone headsets.
These headsets typically work with all other platforms that have the same kind of connection. For instance, using a USB-A PlayStation headset with a computer is simple. However, if you wanted to use a Switch headset, you would require a USB-C to USB-A adapter.
Establish a sensible spending limit for a gaming headset. What you can purchase will depend a lot on your price range. For single-player games, we suggest investing in a set of traditional headphones without a microphone. Depending on the level of quality you want, these can cost anywhere from $50 to $200. We advise investing in something like the $150 Philips Fidelio X2HR if you intend to listen to music through your headphones.
Dedicated gaming headsets will provide you with the simplest solution for multiplayer gamers who play casually with friends, and it doesn’t always cost a lot of money either. If you’re more audio-centric and want high-quality sound, we’d also advise looking to spend around $100 on a good pair of gaming headphones that can accommodate both casual music listening and gaming.
A focus on good directional sound is crucial if you play games competitively in the multiplayer realm, especially in FPS games like Valorant, Counter-Strike, or Apex Legends. In these games, you’ll want headphones that can give you good detail of the enemy’s position. Additionally, we advise choosing a standalone condenser microphone to use with it. A good pair of headphones may cost you between $150 and $200, but they can last you for many years and are versatile enough to be carried with you even if you stop gaming. Expect to pay a little bit more, but there are some great microphones on the market that don’t cost much.