A great headset can really take your gaming to the next level, and as such it can be important to find a headset that fits your needs. There are, however, plenty of things to consider when shopping for a decent pair of gaming headphones.
That’s why we’ve put together this guide – here are the essentials you should keep in mind when buying a new gaming headset.
With any pair of headphones, sound quality is the most important thing, however, you’ll likely want a different frequency profile for a gaming headset than music-listening headphones. When you buy headphones for listening to music, often you want a flat frequency curve, with maybe a little extra bass and high-end. For a gaming headset, however, a wider frequency curve helps make the game more realistic.
For example, extra bass can help give explosions in first person shooters a little more oomph, while simulated surround sound can help give your music a bit more of a sense of depth.
While sound trumps all other things for music headphones, when it comes to a gaming headset comfort is arguably just as important as sound. That’s because gamers expect to be able to wear their headsets for hours at a time.
So how do you judge whether a headset is comfortable or not? Well, first of all, wear them. If you have a chance to head to an electronics store and try them on before buying them, we highly recommend doing so. If not, look at the type of foam used in the headset – many brands often use a premium memory foam over standard form. The thickness of the foam also plays a part, as does whether the headphones are over-ear or not. For gaming headsets, we recommend choosing a product that goes completely around your ears rather than on or in them.
Some headphones offer noise cancellation, ensuring that outside noise isn’t a distraction during your game playing. Most gamers play at home, so distraction from outside noise may not be as much of an issue, but for those that live near busy streets or in a noisy family, noise cancelling headphones may be worth looking into.
Noise cancelling technology basically involves the use of a chip that processes an“anti-sound,” or the opposite sound to the sound happening around you. To learn more about how noise cancelling headphones work, head here.
Since gamers often only use their headsets at home, it’s a perfect opportunity to go with open-back headphones rather than closed-back headphones. What’s the difference? Open-back headphones aren’t as isolating, allowing what you’re listening to to bleed out the sides, which in turn helps widen the sound stage and produce a slightly more realistic sound.
Of course, there are disadvantages to open-back headphones – they also let outside noise in, so if you don’t want that than you should steer clear and instead go for closed-back headphones.
To learn more about the difference between open-back and closed-back headphones, head here.
A decent microphone is more important than ever in gaming headsets, especially if you plan on talking to others during the game. Normally, gaming headphones don’t go overboard with the microphone quality because they don’t need to if all they’re picking up is a voice, but ensuring that the microphone is at least decent quality can be helpful. We recommend getting a headset with a microphone arm (as opposed to one built into the earpiece), which will help pick up your voice better and ensure that those on the other end can understand what you’re saying.
This article was written by Christian de Looper, editor-in-chief for HeadphoneReview.com. For gaming and non-gaming headphone reviews, head to HeadphoneReview.com.