Gaming headsets are a must have if you want to enjoy immersive gaming experiences. With so many brands and headsets out in the market, it is sometimes hard to find the perfect headset for your budget. This guide will help you narrow down your choices and figure out what are the key specs and feature you should take into account when choosing a gaming headset.
If love to go on long gaming session, comfort should be at the top of the list when it comes to headsets for gaming. You will be wearing the headset for long periods of time and it would be unwise to wear uncomfortable cans for hours on end. Not only because it might distract and make you lose focus while playing, but it could also pose some health risks.
While gaming headsets are built similarly to most standard headsets, they come in various styles, each having advantages and disadvantages. Some headsets, especially cheap ones can be quite unbearable to wear for just a few minutes, while some tend to become uncomfortable after an hour. But there are some out there that are just so comfortable to wear for long sessions without breaking your bank.
How durable is a headset? For durability, it may well come down to the brand for the materials they use and how the user would handle them. But nonetheless, buyers deserve durable headsets and this can most likely be determined through the price as cheaper ones tend to be flimsy. By reading reviews, a buyer can also discern as to the build of the headset.
Also known as In-Ear Monitors (IEMs), these are the smallest and most portable sound device available. Each ear bud would fit directly into your ear canal and can deliver sound at close proximity to your ear drum. Also, the nature of the design, IEMs seal in sound. Most IEMs come with different size tips that the user could swap to find the perfect fit for their ear. Though some do not like IEMs and this is merely out of user preference.
On-ear headsets also known as supra-aural headsets. These sit directly on top of your ears and comes with a headband that will securely fit the two large ear cups that deliver the sound. On-ear headsets have large drivers that deliver sound and are usually around 30-40mm but can go larger.
On-ears, as the name suggests do sit on top of the user’s ears and can get quite uncomfortable if worn for long periods of time. These headsets also have the tendency to leak noise to those nearby. Many would on-ears to be more comfortable compared to in-ears and again, this is out of preference. Also, on-ears have less tendency to trap heat unlike it larger brothers.
Over-ears or circum-aural headsets are the largest of headsets. While similar to on-ears, over-ears are larger and the cups are large enough to that these would go over your ears rather than sit on top of them. These provide great comfort but at the cost of them being more bulky.
Despite being large, these headsets come with larger drivers, deliver louder and more detailed sound.
By the nature of its design, over-ear headsets offer good noise isolation but there are some variants that allow external noises into the headsets.
Being covered, over-ears while they are able to deliver great sound quality, these headsets have the tendency to trap heat and can be quite uncomfortable during long sessions. This depends highly on the type of cups that comes with your headset. Some have leatherette type cups while some have cotton which are a bit more comfortable to wear.
Stereo or Surround Sound (5.1 / 7.1)
Another important consideration when purchasing a gaming headsets is surround sound. Many games today already feature surround sound which allows to hear directional sounds in the game itself. This brings quite a great advantage especially in first person shooters which you will be able to hear where your opponents are.
There are varying types of headsets available in today’s market and among these are the stereo headsets uses two drivers to deliver sound into the headset. Stereo headsets are the more traditional type of headsets available in our market today.
Surround sound has been around for quite some time and these type of headsets deliver that experience through multiple drivers installed in the cups. And there are two types of surround sound currently available and these are the 5.1 and 7.1.
As the name suggest, 5.1 (five point one) uses five drivers to deliver sound focused at one point wherein that one point is the listener. The listener then can hear these directional sounds and any varying level on each of these can be heard easily. This application is the same with 7.1 (seven point one) but uses seven drivers instead of five adding more variability in the sound.
When it comes to surround sound, some headsets come in with physical drivers or real drivers and there are some that uses virtual software-based surround sound instead. Some can get away with the virtual while some prefer physical drivers.
When it comes to gaming and competitive teamplay, microphones are a necessity in order to coordinate between team members. Headsets for gaming come with a microphone but you do not just need a microphone, you need a great microphone if you’re planning to do multiplayer. Having a microphone delivers great voice chat quality and helps your teammates to properly identify what you’re saying and also differentiate the background noise and your voice. Some headsets can actually provide crisp voice quality with the microphones that they come with.
Noise cancelling is also a feature that you have to look out for when considering to buy a gaming headset. Why? Noise cancelling uses an extra microphone to detect external noises and cancels these out. As a result, you can play with your friends online and deliver clear voice chat despite on whatever is happening around you.
Wired or Wireless?
Here comes a dilemma for some gamers whether to purchase a wired or wireless headset. For most brands, they have both versions available for a certain type of headset. Some users prefer wireless mainly for being tangle-free and without being disturbed by a dangling cable from the headset. Despite being wireless, these have to be charged from time to time so battery life has to be considered as well. For some, the thought of having a battery to charge just irks them.
Wired headsets remove the hassles of wireless headsets and just comes usually as a plug and play device.
Open or Closed?
When talking about open or closed headsets, this mainly talks about the construction of the headset. Some headsets are fully closed creating a passive noise isolation in the cups while some headsets have open construction that allows ambient sounds to come in but this also allows sound from the cups to leak out.
Closed headsets helps users focus in sessions from getting distracted from external noises due to the noise isolation. If you are the type of person who does not like to be distracted when gaming, go for closed headsets or closed back headsets.
Open back headsets on the other hand brings its own taste for sound. Some audiophiles prefer open back headsets because of what they call as natural sound being that the sound is not restricted unlike closed headsets.