Gamers can take advantage of gaming headsets to enhance their gaming audio experience. However, like any technology, there is a surplus of options on the market, and not all options are worth buying. To ensure that your money is spent worthwhile, we have provided a checklist of the main factors or questions you should answer. When you complete the list, you will have a better idea of what to look for in gaming headsets. Here is a 10-step checklist for choosing a great gaming headset.
1. Gaming Headset vs Gaming Headset
The first step in this list is to decide whether you want a gaming headset or a gaming headset. So what is the difference between gaming headsets and gaming headsets?
Gaming headset = ordinary headset + independent microphone
Gaming headsets are ordinary headsets traditionally used for music enjoyment. However, they also have the excellent qualities required for the game. Audio features such as excellent micro-detail retrieval, accurate sound stage and immersive sound experience enable them to be used as a pair of gaming headsets. However, most audiophile headsets have neither a microphone nor any microphone connection slot. You will need an external microphone, such as Blue Snowman X communication support.
Ninja is a professional gamer using gaming headsets. He is famous for streaming “PUBG” and “Fortnight”. He uses Beyerdynamic DT 990 Pro and Audio Technica AT2035 Cardioid condenser microphone to play games.
There are several advantages and disadvantages to using gaming headsets to set up games.
1) The benefits of gaming headsets
- Higher audio and microphone quality
Because you have a wider selection of headsets and microphones themselves, you can assemble your game setup with the latest microphones and headsets. The overall audio and microphone quality may be better, especially listening to music and watching movies.
2) Disadvantages of gaming headsets
- Higher initial investment
Trying multiple product combinations can cost a lot of time, effort, and money. In addition, if you buy headphones and microphones separately, there is no guarantee that you will get better performance, especially in games.
- Increased trouble and inconvenience
It is very inconvenient to set up gaming headsets and microphones. This makes playing games while travelling a chore.
Gaming headset = headset + built-in microphone + gaming function
Compared with gaming headsets, gaming headsets are more direct. It has a built-in microphone, which can be detached or retracted depending on the manufacturer. The microphone may also have bells and whistles, such as noise cancellation and two-way.
The functions of gaming headsets are also naturally aimed at games, such as virtual surround sound, tactile headset buttons for in-flight game configuration, and so on.
There are advantages and disadvantages to gaming headsets as well.
3) The benefits of gaming headsets
- Simple and an all-in-one solution
Traditional gaming headsets are designed for players looking for more convenient and portable audio gaming solutions, allowing them to listen and communicate in the game without worrying about the technical details involved in setting up multiple devices.
- Adaptable, attractive and convenient
The original gaming headsets were not designed for everyday casual use. They usually feature the aesthetics of video games. Although this headset is very popular among gamers because its design is inspired by games, compared with traditional music headsets, this headset is not so fashionable. However, in recent years, manufacturers have strengthened their design games.
Many gaming headsets today look more stylish and stylish, with slim designs and retractable microphones.
Today’s gaming headsets provide an ideal multi-purpose audio companion for players who don’t want to spend money on a separate device.
Because gaming headsets come with a built-in microphone, they may be a cheaper option.
4) Disadvantages of gaming headsets
- Poor audio quality
Although the situation has improved in recent years, gaming headsets are by no means audiophile headsets. Compared with similarly priced headsets, gaming headsets generally perform poorly in terms of music.
- Build quality may not be so good
As always, you get what you pay for. However, it is known that gaming headsets tend to be lower quality than headsets in a similar price range due to manufacturers having to pack a decent microphone and good audio without raising the price too much.
Spending more money to purchase advanced options will allow you to get higher quality gaming headsets. However, this does not conceal the fact that gaming headsets at the same price are not as good, sturdy or reliable.
In fact, there is no right or wrong answer to this question. It all depends on what you need, what you like, and what you can afford.
2. What factors should be considered when choosing a gaming headset?
Not all games have the same needs. For example, in PlayerUnknown’s “Battlegrounds”, “Fortnite” and “Apex Legends” games, accurate directional sound cues are critical to your personal and team success. This is why surround sound is a popular choice among professional players.
At the same time, the situation is different for MOBA games such as Dota 2 and League of Legends. Because, although having excellent sound quality is a good thing, it is more of a reward than a necessity. Either way, you need to choose a game setting that suits the type of video game you often play. What is your gaming platform?
Your gaming platform will affect the choice of gaming headset. The most common gaming platforms today include:
- Windows computer
- Xbox one
- Playstation 4
- Nintendo Switch
Generally speaking, a 3.5mm connected headset should work on all platforms. However, due to some software-dependent features, a specific host may not support all the functions of a specific gaming headset. A good example is the official Sony PlayStation Wireless Gold and Platinum gaming headsets.
Sony’s custom-made set of official gaming headsets for PlayStation 4, once connected to the console, will have game-specific audio configurations and functions, including 7.1 virtual surround sound effects. However, if you decide to use Sony PlayStation Wireless Gold and Platinum gaming headsets on Xbox One, you must manually connect the gaming headsets via the cable included in the original package. Then, you must connect the jack to a headset adapter that Microsoft sells specifically for Xbox One.
You can bypass the Xbox One headset adapter by connecting the Sony PlayStation Wireless Gold and Platinum gaming headsets directly to the Xbox One, but this is not an ideal solution now, is it? Surround sound support is another important factor.
Both PlayStation 4 and Xbox One only support a few gaming headsets that can provide 7.1 surround sound. If you are using a gaming headset that does not support 7.1 surround sound, it will still work. However, the audio will be 2.0 stereo, not 7.1 surround sound. Most wired gaming headsets, as well as some wireless USB gaming headsets, should work seamlessly with Nintendo Switch.
3. Wired vs. wireless gaming headset
You must learn to choose a suitable connection type. There are advantages and disadvantages to both wired and wireless connections. Choosing the right connection method will greatly affect your gaming lifestyle. Let’s take a look at the basic principles of each type of connection.
1) What is a wired connection?
A wired connection involves using a cable to connect your headphones or earphones to a compatible audio source. The most common connection options are 3.5mm jacks or USB ports. Here are the main benefits of a wired connection
Compared with wireless earphones, wired earphones are relatively cheap. They usually provide more features at a lower price, which is a more valuable purchase for thrifty players and players with limited budgets.
- Have more options
From entry-level to high-end, compared with wireless headsets, there are more wired headsets to choose from on the market.
- Batteries and/or charging are not required
This is a clear advantage of using wired headsets instead of wireless headsets.
- Convenient to use
Because you don’t need to worry about connecting wired headsets to a game console or PC via Bluetooth or a wireless dog, their use and settings are much more convenient. They usually plug and play. Wired gaming headsets are generally lighter than wireless headsets, are not limited by the platform, and can have USB or 3.5 mm connections, or even both.
2) Disadvantages of a Wired Connection
Besides, there are also some disadvantages of a wired connection.
- Easily damaged and broken
Especially the cables of wired gaming headsets are prone to tangles and wear out over time. This makes them more susceptible to damage and breakage than wireless gaming headsets.
- Restricted movement
Because these headphones have cables or wires, they are very inconvenient when you want to sit on the sofa and play video games, or when you want to go to the kitchen between games without putting down the headphones.
3) What is a wireless connection?
A wireless connection is the exact opposite of a wired connection because it does not involve the use of wires and cables.
To make up for the lack of a physical wired connection between the audio source and the receiver, wireless gaming headsets use Bluetooth technology or a wireless USB dog to maintain the connection. Here are some main benefits of wireless connection:
- Fewer restrictions
As long as you are within the range of the wireless gaming headset, you can play games anywhere.
- Future proof and better cross-platform compatibility
In 2016, Apple cancelled the 3.5 mm headphone jack, which set off a trend in the field of smartphones, which will soon affect the host. Although today’s three major game consoles are still equipped with 3.5mm jacks, who can say that the next generation of game consoles will have 3.5mm jacks?
Wireless headsets are more durable and have better cross-platform compatibility because they usually work with any console or device that supports wireless standards. Wireless headsets with a wireless dog are not suitable for multi-platform use, because they cannot work on devices that cannot be plugged into a wireless dog.
- Greatly improve battery life
In the past few years, the battery life of wireless gaming headsets has improved significantly. This is especially true for more expensive models.
4) Disadvantages of wireless connection
Besides, there are also some disadvantages of a wireless connection.
Unless you plan to spend a lot of money on a more expensive fast-charging mode, you will have to endure wireless gaming headsets with short battery life and long charging times.
Because manufacturers have to worry about maintaining audio quality on the basis of wireless performance, wireless gaming headsets are expensive. Cheaper options do exist. However, they have made too many compromises in terms of build quality, audio quality, and/or wireless performance. Not all wireless gaming headsets use Bluetooth connectivity, and some require a separate dongle, usually bundled next to the original packaging.
4. Build quality
When you are looking for gaming headsets or headsets, quality, especially comfort and durability should be one of your top priorities.
Gaming headsets may wear out. This is because they will be used continuously for several hours, during which there is nothing but short breaks. The situation is even worse when you consider the time you wear them outside of the game, and the occasional frustration that occurs during the game.
Good build quality also means the addition of more comfortable materials and design features, making the headset more suitable for long-term gaming.
Therefore, investing in gaming headsets made of high-quality materials is not only longer life, but also more comfortable, and is more suitable for minimizing possible complications such as neck and ear pain, rashes, and hearing damage.
The following are different factors that affect the quality of gaming headsets.
Ideally, you would want a game headband with an all-metal curved structure, or at least a metal frame, to increase durability. Sometimes high-quality plastics are also used. However, it is not so durable. It’s best to stay away from gaming headsets that are mainly made of plastic materials to avoid wasting your money on easily broken things.
It is also important to consider other materials used in the headband. Usually, in addition to plastic or metal used for curved structures, you will find either pure foam, velvet, leather, or leather. The material of the headband cushion and the amount of cushioning will have a huge impact on the wearing comfort of the game helmet. For example, thicker cushioning can help relieve the stress of wearing headphones, which is especially useful for heavier gaming headsets.
Similar to headbands, earmuffs are also an important factor in the comfort of gaming helmets. Earmuffs can be made of pure foam, velvet, leather or leather.
Memory cotton velvet is the most comfortable fabric. They are soft to the ears and allow a moderate amount of air to circulate, so even after a few hours of use, the ears will not feel sweaty. Compared with leather, especially leather, velvet is much better in terms of comfort. However, genuine leather is also good, especially if durability is your first choice. Original and/or after-sales replacement ear cups or earpads are usually available, especially popular and more expensive gaming headsets.
3) Clamping force
The clamping force is the force exerted by the headset on your head. This is one of the key factors in determining whether a gaming headset is right for you. Unfortunately, although there are many ways to measure the clamping force, the only way to truly know if the headset fits is to wear it yourself.
Pay special attention to the pressure and tightness of the head. If you wear glasses, it is best to wear them when trying out headphones. Excessive stress can cause fatigue and discomfort, especially after prolonged use.
However, please remember that too weak a clamping force is not good. If you move your head a little, the headset will fall off. In gaming headsets, what you want is an even clamping force throughout the important contact points, especially around the headband and earmuffs.
Lighter earphones are usually more comfortable when worn for long periods of time. However, this does not mean that heavier headphones should be completely discarded, especially because heavier headphones are generally more durable and are made of higher quality materials.
It should be pointed out that the extra cushion pad can help alleviate the extra discomfort caused by the extra weight of heavy gaming headsets. Of course, comfort is a preference. What works for you is not necessarily useful for others, and vice versa. It is best to try the gaming headset for about 30 minutes before buying.
It is even better if the supplier offers free returns after a period of time. This will give you a chance to really “break” the headset, so you can see if the material is bent and fit to improve after a few hours of use. If not, try to see if you can find a headset rental service that provides specific headsets, you have your eyes. Remember, anyone can endure a little discomfort within a few minutes, but over time, minor annoyances will gradually accumulate.
5. Noise Isolation
Poor noise isolation can have a negative impact on sound quality. This is especially true in games like Counter-Strike: Global Offensive because directional audio cues are very important. When choosing a gaming headset, you will encounter terms such as “passive noise isolation” and “active noise cancellation” (ANC).
These are two completely different terms, although most people often use them interchangeably.
Passive noise isolation often referred to as noise isolation, is a term used to describe the physical design of headphones to block the sound of external noise sources. A common feature of gaming headsets with good isolation is the closed-back and tight fit, especially around the earmuffs and headband, because both help ensure sealing and isolation of surrounding sounds.
As for ANC, this is a term that refers to a technology that can actively filter background noise to obtain clearer and better sound quality. Of the two methods, noise isolation is more effective at isolating higher-pitched sounds, while noise cancellation is better at filtering lower-range sounds, such as ambient noise, typical chat sounds, traffic sounds-even jets The sound of the engine—wait.
6. Surround Sound
Surround sound can give players a special advantage. Although surround sound is regarded as an additional feature in entertainment, in competitive games such as Overwatch, surround sound gives players a huge advantage because it provides accurate omnidirectional hearing.
Stereo vs. virtual surround vs. 3D sound
“Stereo”, “virtual surround” and “3D sound” are three terms you often encounter when buying gaming headsets.
Stereo headphones play audio through the speakers on the left and right. At the same time, virtual surround headphones can change the same audio, making the sound look like speakers or channels coming from multiple directions. Finally, there is three-dimensional sound, or 3D sound, also known as “spatial audio”. In the headset, the audio is manipulated so that the sound heard by the wearer looks like the sound heard from a visual position in real life.
Although virtual surround sound effects and 3D sound effects sound the same, they are actually completely different. By processing the audio first, the virtual surround headset tricks your brain and makes you think that the sound comes from multiple sources and channels. However, with 3D audio headsets, the sound will be further processed through technologies such as Windows Sonic and Dolby Atmos. Therefore, instead of mixing the audio into a separate channel, they map it to a virtual 3D location, where specially calibrated speakers locate the sound for a more precise and realistic listening experience.
Although 3D audio is a significant advancement in virtual surround, current support is limited. Only a few games currently support this technology, and it may take some time before it becomes mainstream.
A good microphone is one of the most important factors. Whether you are buying a headset with a built-in microphone or choosing a microphone connected to the headset, you need to pay attention to the following points:
- Noise cancellation properties, improve sound clarity and minimize external interference.
- Convenient mute function, and privacy protection.
- Speakers, the sound quality is better.
There is no doubt that most games are done indoors. So some players may not pay much attention to appearance when choosing headphones. However, with such a basic investment, such as something you may use every day, why not choose something attractive?
Some designs are too exaggerated for some users, while other styles may be considered too simple and boring. The choice is entirely up to you. In addition to colour and design, some headphones also have RGB capabilities. This will make the headset bright colours. Sometimes this is used to indicate to the user that it is open and connected. Other times, this is purely for aesthetic purposes.
If you are using a wireless gaming headset with RGB functionality, please note that the additional lighting will reduce battery life when turned on.
9. Replacement Parts
Don’t we all hate damaged gaming headsets? The natural wear and tear of hours of use and the occasional angry exit can cause damage to gaming headsets. In addition, some things may be misplaced, lost or damaged. A spare part can be very useful in this situation.
To save time and money, you can ask someone to repair and maintain the headset, or replace the damaged or missing parts yourself instead of throwing it away. From replacing the headband seat belt to replacing the ear pads and cables, you first have to figure out whether the headphone manufacturer you want is selling spare parts or replacement parts. If not, there may be after-sales accessories on eBay or Amazon.
Like most things in life, gaming headsets are what you pay for. But the price is not everything. To make sure that you finally choose the right gaming headset, you need to do some research. When looking at the product specification sheet, be careful not to be confused by the numbers. Most of the time, they are designed to deceive. Consider these factors instead and think critically.
We hope this helps you know exactly what to look for in a gaming headset or headset. When the time is right, you will make the right choice!