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by Sophia Connelly July 05, 2021 11 min read

Gaming headsets are an important part of a gamer’s headset.

Whether you’re casual, a hobbyist, or a professional, your headset will help you not only to win but to enjoy the journey there.

These headphones need to be comfortable, allowing you to wear them for hours, communicate with your teammates, and hear the ambiance of the games you play.

But different headsets work best for different desks.

This complete guide helps you to break down the components of a headset based on your needs, figuring out precisely what you want and how to get the best setup for you.

What Is a Gaming Headset?

A gaming headset is one that people use while they are playing video games.

It is specifically designed to make their gaming experience easier, much like a gaming mouse is designed to be ergonomic and functional.

This means that the headset makes it easier and more efficient to communicate, has a different sound quality, and is more attuned to your specific environment. Its job is to streamline all of your other needs, making it easier to fulfill them, so that you don’t have to be distracted from your games.

What Are the Differences Between a Gaming Headset and Regular Headphones?

A women playing online games with her gaming headset

Regular headphones are amazing, especially for use in public, in transit, or while watching shows.

They’re especially necessary if you like to stay up late, get up early, have roommates, or need to let kids sleep.

But regular headphones have some setbacks in the gaming world.

They don’t always come with a microphone that allows your voice to be high quality.

This can hurt your teammates’ ears.

Sometimes their sound quality is ideal for YouTube, but not for hearing the other teams’ footsteps.

And overall, their quality and longevity tend to be shorter, though this can also be partially accredited to their overall breadth of use and inclusion in different environments where wear and tear are more numerous, such as weather conditions or backpacks.

In these cases, it’s best to purchase a set of gaming headphones, which are designed for you to play games in and are designed with your specific needs in mind.

Add your gamer headset to your video game room setup

Do Headsets Come With a Microphone?

Most video game headsets come with a microphone for your convenience.

This just makes it easier to communicate without needing the whole stand to be set up.

The microphone is small, similar to what professional singers use when dancing.

There are a few different styles, mostly relating to how the microphone is moved rather than sound quality.

One style is a wrapped wire, meaning the microphone is very elastic.

This allows greater freedom of movement, especially if you speak with a lot of air in your vocal inflections.

Another style simply shifts a rigid microphone up and down, setting it into place in a fixed location before your mouth.

This is fine if you’re worried about potential damage to a softer version.

Do I Really Need Gaming Headphones for my Use?

The short answer is, definitely.

If you’re going to be gaming with other people, definitely.

Gaming headphones improve the quality drastically.

They allow you to clearly hear those around you, allowing you to communicate effectively and succinctly.

They also more accurately distinguish between different sounds, so that you can hear special effects that are necessary to know what abilities the opposing team might be using, while also listening to teammates’ feedback.

Furthermore, they allow for your teammates to hear your voice clearly so that when you’re giving commands, they understand you.

Gaming headphones also need to be worn for long periods of time, with ease.

Regular headphones are meant for trips between classes, or lunch breaks.

Gaming headphones exist to be worn for hours on end, so your comfort is a high priority, as a part of their function.

Their headbands are padded, their ear cups tend to be larger and softer.

Everything is thought through so that your head is as comfortable as possible, largely so you can forget you’re even wearing a headset.

How To Pick Up the Best Gaming Headset That Suits Your Needs?

To pick the correct gamer headset, you need to first understand what your needs are.

These needs may change depending on your environment, the types of games you play, and your professionalism.

Rather than trying to break these categories down based on individual lifestyles, this list will break down different types of headphones commonly found on the market.

It will include examples that you may identify with so that you can read through and figure out what traits you’re looking for, that are most compatible with you.

From there, you’ll be able to look at the market while discerning the types of headphones that function best for you.

Buy gaming headsets and game headphones

1 - Audio Quality

Audio quality is important for good headphones, regardless of use.

However, gaming headphones need to allow you to hear the nuances within games.

Oftentimes, games will have different sounds for their abilities, some of which will clue you into teammates’ movements, traps in-game, or possible danger in-game.

So, being able to hear these noises helps you to perform better.

We could write countless articles on sound quality, but we’ve listed the basics to help you better understand what you’re buying.

Sounds are measured by frequency, with a typical human frequency able to be measured by Hz.

But buying higher isn’t necessarily the only factor.

Headphones between 20Hz and 20KHz are typical and of fine quality.

The other huge factor in headphones is the driver, which is the small device that controls the sound.

Their components make the sound quality better or worse.

Dynamic coil drivers are good for bass notes, so they’re ideal if you focus on the soundtracks of games.

However, planar magnetic drivers are better at picking up whispers, gravel crunches, and things of that nature, so they’re more useful for soft sounds in games.

Stereo Sound (2.1)

To achieve a higher sound quality, many people prefer purchasing headphones that feature stereo sound.

Stereo sound is played through multiple channels, allowing a layering effect to be heard.

This means that you can more accurately pick up on subtle sounds within a game.

These headphones are becoming more normalized, but some of the best are high-end.

Stereo sound headphones can be a good choices for casual gamers

Virtual Surround Sound (7.1)

Many gamers have begun wearing virtual surround sound headphones.

These allow for multiple speakers to send sound waves from different directions around their ears.

This causes them to hear sounds and think that it is coming from a different angle, which makes certain games more realistic, and enjoyable to play.

These headphones can be customized and provide an overall better sound experience than stereo sound.

2 - Sound Isolation

Noise Cancelling

Noise cancelling headphones are good for roommates, but not children.

If you tend to stay up late gaming, or prefer to game while others are in meetings where they need to be able to speak, then noise cancelling headphones are a must.

They’re designed to block out the noise in your room and house, allowing you peace within your gaming.

However, these types of headphones aren’t ideal if you need to hear what’s going on in your house.

If, for instance, you have children who need your attention for a moment, then it’s best to have headphones that allow you to hear them.

3 - Platform

When you have to pick up an headset, one of the most important thing is to select one which is compatible with your plateform or system.

Some are only compatible for certain devices, such as computers, phones, tablets, or console gaming systems.

It’s important that you choose headphones that will be useful with whatever devices you currently own.

Some devices will also come with adapters, meaning you can use the same pair of headphones for different devices, even if they would not normally fit.

4 - Wired or Wireless

Wired video game headphones on a gamer desk

Video gaming headsets can be wired, meaning they plug into another device to function, usually your computer.

They can also be wireless, much like a phone, meaning they need to be charged to be functional but are more likely portable.

There are advantages and disadvantages to both of these styles.

Wireless Connection

Wireless headphones are portable.

These are a good choice for people whose video game headsets are also going to function as their regular headphones.

If the same pair you use for Call Of Duty is going to be used on campus, then a wireless headset might be a better option.

It’s far easier to walk around without worrying about getting tangled in a cord or getting it caught on a door.

The drawback is that a wireless headset will need to be charged, and sometimes it comes with a specific type of charging cord that only fits that device, meaning it’s more costly to replace, and another thing to remember to bring along.

But overall, it’s a solid choice for its ability to transcend rooms and usage during travel.

Wired Connection

Wired gaming headsets are convenient for at-home use, as they simply plug into the computer.

They often come with microphone switches along the cord, meaning that they can be muted from the switch.

This is sometimes easier for someone’s hand to find during a game, leading to ease of access.

However, the cord by being plugged into the computer can get tangled, especially when you stand up and try to walk away.

These headsets are standard and tend to be less expensive than wireless headphones, so overall they are a good investment.

Should you choose a wired headset, you may also want to consider how that headset can be plugged.

Your choices are typically a headphone jack or a USB port.

Headphone jack

Headphone jacks are good if you have a space for them on your computer that’s close by where you’ll be sitting.

They’re convenient for laptops and easily plugged in.

They can also be useful for using headphones on other devices, such as phones or gaming consoles. However, they do break rather easily.

USB

USB jacks are convenient, as they can be plugged into a computer and basically left alone.

However, they typically can’t be used on a phone without an adapter.

That being said, they can be used on PlayStation.

They do tend to take up more space, however, so someone who needs to use multiple USB ports for other functions may prefer a headphone jack.

Buy headset holders and headphone stands

5 - Comfort

Comfort is a huge factor in picking out headphones, especially for those who game for long hours or commonly are making use of their set.

You don’t want your head to become sore, or your ears to feel uncomfortable!

There are three main factors to discuss when looking at comfortable headsets.

The first is the headband which goes over the top of your head.

The second is the ear cups, which can range in size and function.

The third is material.

Headbands

Headbands go over the top of the headphones, holding them in place on your head.

If uncomfortable or not properly fit, these can cause headaches or stiffness.

It’s good to pick out cushioned headbands if you feel it’s necessary to be comfortable.

Some are fixed, meaning their length is adjusted at the sides, near the ear caps, manually.

So you can place them higher or lower over your ears as you see fit.

Others are tension set, so you simply lift them on and they rest over your ears.

Materials

Headphones can be made out of different materials.

Some of the cheaper ones are made out of plastic, without much padding.

They’re rather stiff but portable and good for everyday use without being worn down quickly.

Some of the more expensive headphones come with padding, which can be cloth or leather.

Cloth padding is comfortable and highly padded, ideal for warm climates.

But it’s trickier to wash than leather, and wears down at a higher rate.

Leather padding is some of the best on the market, coming in more expensive but maintaining its form longer, with higher quality.

Breathability

Some headphones are more breathable than others, meaning they allow your skin air.

Snug earphones are useful for noise cancellation, but can get sweaty if used for too long.

Breathable headphones are typically made out of cloth or plastic.

They’re very comfortable for long periods, so for someone who is gaming many hours at once, they’re an ideal choice.

Gaming headsets are a part of professional gamers setup

Weight

Headphone weight is another factor to consider when purchasing.

Headphones that are too heavy are going to be uncomfortable to wear.

It is important to compare the weight of any pairs you may own, to any future pairs you may want to purchase.

This can ensure you’re not picking something out that might be too heavy.

Earcups

Ear cups are the things on the side that cover your ears.

These are where the noise cancellation effect comes into play, as well as whether or not the ear cup is closed or not.

Closed

A closed ear cup is ideal for noise cancellation. They typically have extra padding and are snug around the ear itself.

They don’t allow for much breathability, so this is a factor to consider when purchasing.

But overall, they are made to be comfortable and secure.

Open

An ear cup that isn’t closed is good for someone prone to ear infections, such as swimmers.

They’re also ideal for someone with a hearing aid, to allow the aid to be worn without much discomfort.

They’re helpful for those who may need to hold conversations while wearing a headset.

6 - Communication With Teammates

A headphone on a holder in a geek room

With microphone

Choosing to use a microphone or not depends on the setup that you have.

Even if you think you won’t need a microphone, they do come in handy for talking to teammates, giving voice commands, writing documents, participating in Zoom lectures, and playing that one horror game, Stifled, that listens to you through your microphone.

Without microphone

There are some instances where someone may not need a microphone directly on their headset.

This is popular amongst YouTubers, and streamers, as the microphone can sometimes sit before their mouth at an angle that feels awkward for them while on camera.

They may prefer to buy a separate microphone and stand, which has a slightly different sound quality, allowing for excitable yelling.

If this is the case, a microphone on your headset is not necessary, and you can focus on a headset that looks for other qualities instead.

Keep in mind that if you don’t already have a microphone, that is an additional purchase, along with space in the room for the stand.

7 - Style

How a headset looks is a fun way to ensure that your environment isn’t dull.

It can add some color to your desk, or be a way to express your tastes.

Colorful Headsets

Colorful headsets are great if they’re going to be taken outside.

They don’t typically come with extra features that would make them tricky to transport, nor do they have lights that could break in different weather conditions.

But they’re still fun, and as flashy or neutral as you prefer.

LED Headphones

LED headphones are lit up, typically along with the ear caps.

They may glow one specific color, or pulse through several.

Some of the more expensive varieties can even be set to different modes.

These are ideal for a gaming room setup where you already have or plan to install other LED light decorations.

They can match lighted keyboards, or anime themed lamps.

They’re best for use at home and are fine for professional environments due to the lighting being so often on the side, or at least able to be shut off when needed.

Cat Ear Headphones

Cat ear headphones are a fan favorite, a fun treat for anyone who enjoys them.

Some headsets come with cat ears attached to the headband, in a variety of colors.

Other fake cat ear shaped decorations are sold separately, able to be attached to existing headphones, to decorate them for your enjoyment.

Streamers have been known to wear cat ear headphones, as they add something extra to the screen.

Buy 3D LED lights and 3D night lamps

Conclusion

The designs for headsets are numerous, including ones that cover noise differences, volume control, and what devices they are most compatible with.

It’s important to choose one that reflects your current gaming setup, and the setup you want to achieve.

Once chosen, they can help you to win your games comfortably.

Sophia Connelly
Sophia Connelly

Sophia Connelly is a columnist for Dubsnatch. She studies Psychology and is an avid gamer in her free time. Diablo III and Horizon Dawn are her favorite getaways.


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