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Gaming Headsets vs Regular Headphones

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There are a number of headphones to choose from right now. This is thanks in part to the success of brands like Sony, Bose, Beats and more. When you look at headphones, you see that they fall into three primary categories. High quality gaming headsets are not built with the same features as high-end headphones, so don’t get confused. A lot of these products are built differently. Consumer headphones are the headphones that most people use when walking around and listening to music. Studio headphones are a higher quality headphone used in studio recordings by professionals. Gaming headphones are built with special features that are beneficial to gamers. Let’s take a look at what you get with a gaming headphone set and why most gamers will likely prefer gaming headsets over consumer models.


Recommended: Check out our Best Open-Back Headphones for Gaming

TL ;DR – Some of the Best Gaming Headsets

HeadphonesDriverTypeWith MicConnectionAvailability
Corsair HS60 Haptic50mm DynamicOver-Ear ClosedYesWiredAmazon here
Massdrop x Sennheiser PC37XDynamicOver-Ear OpenYesWiredAmazon here
ASTRO Gaming A40 TR40mm DynamicOver-Ear ClosedYesWiredAmazon here
HyperX Cloud Flight S50mm DynamicOver-Ear ClosedYesWirelessAmazon here
Razer Blackshark V2 Pro50mm DynamicOver-Ear ClosedYesWireless+WiredAmazon here
Steelseries Arctis 9X40mm DynamicOver-Ear ClosedYesWireless+WiredAmazon here
HyperX Cloud Orbit S100mm PlanarOver-Ear ClosedYesWireless+WiredAmazon here
Audeze Penrose100mm PlanarOver-Ear ClosedYesWireless+WiredAmazon here
ASTRO Gaming A50 Wireless40mm DynamicOver-Ear ClosedYesWirelessAmazon here
SteelSeries Arctis Pro Wireless40mm DynamicOver-Ear ClosedYesWireless+WiredAmazon here

TL ;DR – Some of the Best Headphones

HeadphonesDriverTypeNoise CancellingConnectionAvailability
Philips Fidelio X2HR50mm DynamicOver-Ear OpenNoneWiredAmazon here
Sony WH-1000XM340mm DynamicOver-Ear ClosedYesWired + WirelessAmazon here
Sony WH-1000XM440mm DynamicOver-Ear ClosedYesWired + WirelessAmazon here
Bose 700 Noise Cancelling40mm DynamicOver-Ear ClosedYesWired + WirelessAmazon here
Sennheiser HD 60040mm DynamicOver-Ear OpenNoneWiredAmazon here
Audeze LCD190mm PlanarOver-Ear OpenNoneWiredAmazon here
Bowers & Wilkins PX743mm DynamicOver-Ear ClosedYesWired + WirelessAmazon here
Sennheiser HD 660 S38mm DynamicOver-Ear OpenNoneWiredAmazon here
HiFiMan Ananda80x50mm PlanarOver-Ear OpenNoneWiredAmazon here
Sennheiser HD 800 S56mm DynamicOver-Ear OpenNoneWiredAmazon here

Reasons to Buy a Gaming Headset

The number one reason why people opt for a gaming headset is because they offer the convenience of having the microphone and the headset all in one place. You could purchase a separate, like one that you can attach to your shirt or a standing mic, but why would you do that when there are so many high quality gaming headsets available? If you purchase a separate mic for your headphones, you have to deal with an additional cable, additional connections, and the risk of an additional product malfunction.

An argument that some have made for purchasing a microphone apart from a headset is that the microphone quality of gaming headsets is not up to par. That may have been true a few years ago. But now the microphone quality and the audio quality of gaming headsets have skyrocketed to the point that there is no reason why you should feel embarrassed of purchasing a gaming headset, thinking solely on convenience.

Gaming headsets are designed to allow you to hear audio and virtual surround sound. True, not all of these headsets are created equal. Some are going to give you mind-blowing surround sound, and others are going to be somewhere in the middle range. In most cases, with gaming headsets, you will get to the quality that you pay for.

If you are playing games on a PC, you will have the option to use surround sound software that makes it possible for you to enjoy surround sound regardless of the headset you are using. But there are a lot of people who use Xbox One or PS4 to play games. In these cases, you will only benefit from surround sound if you use their gaming headset.

HyperX Cloud Alpha Gaming Headset

Gaming headsets are unbelievably versatile. If you want to use them for gaming, talking on Skype, or voice dictation, they work. Most gaming headsets have either a removable or retractable microphone. If you want, you can use them as a common everyday headset. Gaming headsets give you the most for your money.

Many view gaming headsets as the Jack-of-all-trades when it comes to headsets. They work well with your portable set up and your home set up.

The Drawbacks of Gaming Headsets When Compared to Traditional Headphones

Traditional or consumer headphones are designed for music. As a result, the drivers that they have offer a full body mid-range sound, the treble sound is controlled, and the bass can be tightly adjusted. All of this creates a pleasing musical experience.

Gaming headsets put a lot of emphasis on bass. If you want to use your gaming headset for listening to music, the sound they produce might be tiring. It could even spoil your overall experience, leading to a musical sound that is mushy. Since they are designed for games in mind, you usually don’t have the ability to adjust the treble in gaming headphones. As a result, the musical instruments you listen to will have a muffled or unclear sound.

Sony WH-1000XM3 Wireless Noise-Canceling Over-Ear Headphones

Gaming headphones focus on creating surround sound. At times, they do this by sacrificing overall quality. Consumer variety headphones are made to provide the best in the listening experience. With consumer headphones, you can choose the variety of headphone that is right for you. There are some that are primarily designed for listening to music, and others are made for answering phone calls. The features that consumer headphones offer is what makes them perfect for listening to music and an okay option for playing games because of their sound quality.

Since gaming headphones do not have a proper mid-range, they create distortion. This distortion can be disturbing to the ears and can lead to fatigue for the listener.

A Comfortable Surround Sound Experience

When you purchase gaming headphones, you are looking for something that you can comfortably use for many hours at a time. Most people do not use consumer headsets for as many consecutive hours as individuals who use gaming headsets. It is not uncommon for gamers to have their headsets on for four or even five hours at a time.

When choosing gaming headphones, you want headphones that give you high quality surround sound. Surround sound gives you directional awareness so that you know what is going on around you. Depending on the game that you’re playing, having this directional awareness is essential. It lets you hear the footsteps of someone walking up on you so that you can react before they bring your game to an end.

Audeze Mobius Planar Magnetic Gaming Headset

Audeze Mobius Planar Magnetic Gaming Headset 3D and Surround Capable

Surround sound on gaming headphones is implemented in two ways, either real or virtual. Real surround sound headphones have multiple drivers on each side that are in charge of particular audio channels. These are divided into side, subwoofer, center, and rear channels. With the real surround sound, all of the drivers work as a unit to create a nice sound, giving you three-dimensional rotational audio.

Virtual surround sound is created through the software on your computer or on your headphones. The upside of this is that it gives you a larger audio environment, which leads to a superior gaming experience.

Here are the basic differences between traditional headsets and gaming headsets. We hope this information helps you when you decide to purchase headphones. As always, we are excited to hear from you. What type of headphones do you use for gaming? Is there a particular brand of gaming headphones that you like? If so, tell us about it in the comments section below.

Amazon and Newegg links in the post are affiliate links. As an affiliate, we may earn from qualifying purchases.
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