How to choose the perfect pair of gaming headphones
Since sound has a huge role in constructing your gaming experience, you want the best gaming headphones to make that experience the best possible. But how do you choose the ones that are best for you? In this article we’ll help you understand how to find the best gaming headphones.
Audio plays a huge role in modern gaming. From the immersive sound effects of virtual environments to spotting the footsteps of the opposing players or listening to bombastic musical scores, sound design can often make a break a game.
And unless you have a highest quality full surround audio system, and live alone so nobody can complain about the noise, you need a good gaming headset to fully enjoy your games.
But how to pick the correct ones? There are numerous models offered by a variety of manufacturers, so it’s easy to get lost in the market. So we’re here to give you some advice on picking a headset that would satisfy your personal needs.
Let’s see what to look for to up your gaming experience to the next level:
Are Your Headphones Compatible With Your Gaming System?
It is a fundamental question before getting started. What is the point of buying gaming headsets if they’re not compatible with the gaming platform you’re using? While the majority of headphones use the standard connector, some need a USB connection and additional drivers to work properly – which might not work on a console. When it comes to video game consoles, you’ll want to go for the official headphone accessories.
Most of them fall under $200. Anything over $200 is too expensive unless you’re looking for the top of the line hardware that might have extra cost associated with the brand. Don’t go for wireless headsets under $100 because quality wireless headsets cost above $100 and anything cheaper will have significant downsides. For quality gaming-oriented headphones the price range you’re looking at is between $100 and $200.
You need to make sure you choose the most comfortable and non intrusive headphones especially if, like most of us, you want to play for many hours. Check out some reviews of the models that interest you and decide whether you prefer comfortable lightweight (L) comfortable fit (X) or extreme comfort on the ear (XXL).
You need to check the materials used in the earcups and the headband to get an idea if the headsets are comfortable. Although leather earcups are comfy, if you use them over long periods of time, they’ll make you sweat. A spongier set will not give you that problem but might not feel as nice to wear.
Your headband shouldn’t be so tight that it crushes your skull. It should rest gently on your head so that you can wear it for hours and avoid being in actual pain. Padded models provide more comfort compared to the ones without padding on the headband. You should also consider the weight – if the headset is too heavy you might start to feel neck pain after a few hours.
Considering that more and more games offer voice chat options – as well as widespread usage of software like Skype, Teamspeak and Discord – when choosing gaming headphones you really should go fo the model that has a built-in microphone. While combining a headset with an additional mic is a possibility, it’s way less comfortable and a microphone like that tends to pick up other sounds.
A bonus feature is having the ability to completely turn off and on the microphone on the headset with a switch. Some games have the auto voice chat turned on by default, so you might end up spamming the voice chat with random sounds.
Open or Closed?
There are generally 3 types of headphones – open, half-open and closed – relating to the composition of the earcups. Open headphones allow you to hear your surroundings as well as the sounds from the headset, closed headphones cut out your surroundings and half-open are in the middle.
Gaming headphones are made to let player fully focus on the game and letting hear all the sound cues, so the majority of them are closed, with a few half-open models. For optimal gaming experience you have to shut out your surroundings and focus on the game without the risk of mistaking something happening IRL for something in-game.
You need headsets that will last the test of time. Ensure that they are of high quality material. The price usually is a representation of quality. The cheaper models tend to have tiny screws, they are fragile and break easily. But sometimes even more expensive models have good hardware but weak composition, which may lead to them easily breaking and wasting you a lot of money. If you know that you’re a very careful person and would avoid any risk of damage you can try that but for most of us it’s better to look at headphones that have some metal reinforcing the composition.
They must have superior sound, otherwise what’s the point? Regarding sound quality, look for:
- Sound Balance – Good gaming headphones (and their drivers) balance the audio in such a way that even in a middle of a loud song or a firefight you can still hear footsteps of the enemy player.
- Simulated Surround Sound – Not only does it bring better immersion to the game, but also gives you better orientation. As well as being able to hear the footsteps, you’ll be able to tell where they are coming from.
- Noise Cancellation – It’s a handy feature for your sets to have. The external microphone inverts any outside noise and thus cancels it. Therefore, you can game regardless of the noise surrounding you.
Having a fantastic gaming experience requires that you invest in a quality headset. When you take the above aspects into consideration, then you shouldn’t have any difficulties picking the right ones that suit you best.
If you have more suggestions or opinions about headphones, share your thoughts in the comments.