When it comes to hearing the sounds of your favorite games in the best way possible, you have two options. The first is to pick up a really great desktop speaker, and the second option is the purchase of a gaming headset.
Both have their advantages, but when it comes to serious gaming, a gaming headset is definitely the way to go. In fact, even if you are not a serious gamer, the advantages of a gaming headset far outweigh computer speakers, which are pretty much a one-trick pony.
For those who play games like first-person shooters, sound matters as the difference between not hearing footsteps one room over can determine your victory or defeat. The same goes for ambient noises, which you want to try and block out so your focus is solely on the task at hand.
Let’s take a look at the 7 reasons why you want to buy a gaming headset today.
What is a Gaming Headset?
At a high level, a gaming headset is not so different from any other headset if you keep your definition of a headset very broad. You use a gaming headset to listen to conversations and chat with friends or other gamers.
The chat aspect does lead to one of the big differences as non-gaming headsets don’t often include protruding microphones in favor of more discrete microphones built into the headset itself. By adding a dedicated microphone that comes closer to your mouth, gaming headsets can provide more clarity and enhanced microphone quality.
Top 7 Reasons to Buy a Gaming Headset
One of the biggest reasons to choose a gaming headset over an alternative piece of headphone hardware is the quality of the microphone. Yes, Bose, Apple, Sennheiser, and other well-known brands make great headsets with good microphones for phone conversations. However, when it comes to gaming, which is likely the primary reason to buy one of these headsets, you need an even stronger, extended microphone.
The notion of a microphone coming closer to your mouth all but ensures it will better pick up exactly what you say and how you say it. In games where communication is key, there is no room for miscommunication or asking someone to repeat themselves. You need a reliable microphone that gets it right every time, and this is one reason why a gaming headset is a solid purchase decision.
If you see a manufacturer like Razer indicate they have a Boom microphone in place on their gaming headsets, you know that means they have gone to great lengths in order to ensure that your voice can be well heard, even in an environment where you can’t get rid of all ambient noise.
The best headphones from Apple, Sennheiser, Bose, and the like can cost upwards of hundreds of dollars. While gaming headsets can be expensive, costing upwards of a few hundred dollars, that still puts them $200 to $300 below the cost of higher-end non-gaming headsets that offer similar comfort and sound quality. What’s more, you can get some great gaming headsets from the brands like HyperX for under $100 that sound far better than their price.
There is no question that high-end gaming headsets exist but for most people, they are an unnecessary purchase unless gaming is quite literally your life or business. In the gaming world, what are thought to be premium headsets are often far less expensive than the non-gaming headphone world. The price difference isn’t likely to be small either, as premium headphones of the non-gaming variety can go as high as $500 and higher.
One of the best reasons to pick up headsets made by Razer, SteelSeries, or Logitech is that many are compatible with each brand’s proprietary software. When that software is hard at work, you can use headsets from the likes of Razer and Logitech to tweak the equalization to make sure the audio is as exactly as you want it. A couple of tweaks here and there and the overall sound quality on your gaming headset is going to be top-notch.
Yes, it’s true that many non-gaming headsets will often have better overall sound, but there is just something about how immersive a gaming headset is that takes sound quality up a notch.
Whereas non-gaming headsets will often have better highs and lows, when it comes to having a sound that just feels truly immersive, a gaming headset wins each and every time. Non-gaming headsets focus more on having better stereo sound while a gaming headset incorporates spatial or virtual surround sound technology that makes it feels as if you are right in the middle of the game.
Regular headphones don’t offer the same type of virtual surround sound, and if this is one of the biggest factors for you, go with a gaming headset.
Comfort is King
When it comes to gaming headsets, you need something that you can wear for hours on end without feeling any fatigue. Between the earcups and the way the headband fits over the top of your head, everything about the materials that go into a gaming headset plays a role. Whether it’s your e-sports league you’re playing in all day long or a friendly match among friends, there is a good chance you’re going to be wearing a gaming headset every day for many days out of the year.
Brands like HyperX, Razer, and Logitech, just to name a few, put a significant investment into finding the right type of foam or leather for your ear cups. The same goes for the leather that goes around the headband as too much weight can make it uncomfortable while a headset that’s too light might make you worry about durability.
The thicker cushioning, something that is more likely to be found on gaming handsets than regular ones, is one of the mainstay reasons why a gaming headset may be in your future.
External Noise Blocking
Anyone who has ever bought even a moderately expensive pair of headphones is likely familiar with the idea of noise cancellation. Active noise cancellation can be found on hundreds of headphones, from the biggest manufacturers even to many new brands only found on Amazon.
Like non-gaming headsets, a gaming headset can do an excellent job of limiting the amount of sound that leaks in from the outside world. As communication between you and your team is critical during gameplay, any interruption that can disrupt the team’s flow could be detrimental and lead to defeat rather than victory.
There is also a strong partnership between the type of materials in use, which plays a role in comfort as much as it does blocking external noise. For example, Razer uses a specially designed closed-ear cup with super plush cushions that are designed for comfort but also for enhancing the company’s advanced passive noise cancellation feature.
If you look at the same Razer headset design, the design is built to block noise, and so too is it built to make controls easy to access.
On a traditional non-gaming headset, controls like volume are often flat against the headphone unit so it’s seamlessly designed and appears very smooth. Gaming headsets take an entirely different approach as they make it so buttons like volume protrude so you can easily get to them without having to feel around the ear cup.
HyperX provides an audio control box that hangs down off the headphone cord so you don’t have to move your hands far off a controller to make microphone or volume adjustments. It’s this ease of use with advanced controls that can make a gaming headset such a fantastic purchase.
Even if you are not someone who plays games regularly, having easy access to volume may be super helpful in an office environment where you want to quickly mute your music if someone approaches you to chat.
Great for Music
Perhaps the most important component of a gaming headset that is often ignored is how they are not just ideal for gaming, but for music as well. The thing about gaming headsets is that they work well in both scenarios, gaming and audio, while non-gaming headsets are really only good for audio.
This makes gaming headsets multifaceted as they often deliver 40-50mm drivers, which can provide excellent highs, mids, and good bass delivery. It’s easy to ignore the idea that a gaming headset can be more than its original design but spatial sound can also make music sound like you have your own virtual surround system while listening to your favorite songs or podcasts as well.
The Best Gaming Headset Available Now
SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro
- Excellent audio quality with premium high-fidelity drivers
- Includes 360 spatial audio for an immersive gaming experience
- The ComfortMAX system provides great comfort for all day gaming
- Easily adjust EQ settings on the built-in amplifier
Widely considered one of the best gaming headsets around, the SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro is a decidedly premium gaming headset.
What’s most notable about the Nova Pro is that it proves a gaming headset has strong enough sound quality courtesy of high-fidelity drivers to make them competitive with non-gaming headsets. The inclusion of 360-degree spatial audio helps you feel immersed in your game, and with an AI-powered noise-canceling microphone, your teammates are all but guaranteed to hear you perfectly.
SteelSeries is also home to its ComfortMAX system for comfortable ear cups and headband that feels good on your head for hours at a time without feeling any fatigue.
HyperX Cloud Alpha Wireless
- A single charge lasts up to 300 hours
- Feature a groundbreaking dual-chamber driver system
- Lightweight and comfortable
- Made with a durable aluminum frame
The creme de la creme of the HyperX gaming headset lineup, the HyperX Cloud Alpha Wireless unit offers an outstanding combination of battery life and audio quality.
On a single charge, this HyperX headset can last up to 300 hours on a single charge. Audio quality is boosted by the inclusion of not just dual chamber drivers for strong mids and highs, but also DTS-powered spatial audio for a virtual 3D sound. A noise canceling (and detachable) microphone is among the best available and it easily removes ambient noise so your team can hear you as if you are in the same room.
The Cloud Alpha Wireless also arrives with HyperX’s signature breathable leatherette, which is not only very comfortable, but also lightweight.
Logitech G535 LIGHTSPEED Wireless
- Discord certified for outstanding voice quality and crystal clear communication
- All-Day comfort with memory foam ear cups and mesh material headband
- Plug and play with included USB connection for both PC and PlayStation gaming
- Includes 40mm neodymium drivers
Logitech has long been a positive force in the gaming headset world and the G535 LIGHTSPEED Wireless shows why.
A little utilitarian by design, the wireless headset offers up to 33 hours of battery while only weighing in at a lightweight 236 grams. Powered by 40mm drivers, there is a clear and crisp sound delivered to the user, which not only makes these great for gaming but for music as well. The quality of the Logitech microphone is also so well-received it has earned Discord certifications for excellent voice clarity.
The adjustable headband makes it easy to find the ideal fit for you, so you can continue gaming for hours on end without needlessly adjusting the G535s while in the middle of a match.
Among the seven reasons outlined above, it’s easy to see why a gaming headset can be such a strong addition to your lineup of gaming, or nongaming accessories. As these types of headphones can play a dual role for both music and play, this makes them more advantageous than just buying a single nongaming headset pair.
As most gaming headsets allow you to remove the extended microphones, you can comfortably wear them around and most people will never be wiser that you are listening to music on a gaming headset.
The image featured at the top of this post is ©EKKAPHAN CHIMPALEE/Shutterstock.com.