Having a high-quality headset is a must for all gamers. While playing without one is possible, certain features such as in-game team communication often don’t work too well in its absence. On top of that, headsets make the gaming experience a lot more immersive. Gaming headsets come with a diverse array of features that can make them more comfortable for users with different needs and preferences. When buying a gaming headset, there are multiple factors worth considering that should play a role in your choice. These are some of the most important features to pay attention to when looking for your dream headset.
Gaming headsets vary in style and price range, as well as in audio quality. To choose the best option, it’s important to take into consideration multiple factors, with sound quality being one of the most important parts of the selection process. Clear and immersive audio takes your gaming to the next level, creating a much more powerful in-game experience. When you are evaluating your options, keep in mind that a high-quality headset should provide crisp mids/highs as well as good bass. Other important features that you should look out for in gaming headsets can be divided into various categories, like:
This feature plays a very important role in in-game spatial awareness, as it deals with the perception of spatial location through sound. Good gaming headsets provide a wide and precise soundstage.
- Bass Response
Finding a headset that comes with a strong bass response is a must. Game immersion is determined greatly by the sound quality, and a powerful bass response elevates the experience.
- Driver Size
Drivers are what we call the components that produce sound in a gaming headset. Larger ones are usually able to produce a higher quality, more detailed audio. The common size for a gaming headset driver ranges from 40-50mm.
- Frequency Response
Wider frequency ranges can render a broader reproduction of the sound spectrum, which can go all the way from high treble to deep bass. This is a feature that also helps to create a better game immersion.
A higher sensitivity rating allows gaming headsets to produce a louder volume than other less sensitive headsets, without the need for a different input power.
Audio channels also contribute to your headset’s sound quality and can be divided into two categories:
- Virtual Surround Sound
Gaming Headsets such as DTS Headphone:X and Dolby Atmos feature this technology, which is used to simulate a multi-channel audio experience. This provides gamers with more of an immersive 3D audio feel.
This system is composed of two channels: left and right. Suitable for most games on the market, this is the most popular audio system that most gaming headsets offer.
Microphones are an essential part of headsets as they play a big role in online gaming. Having a good, noise-canceling microphone is essential for clear in-game communication. Co-op missions and other multiplayer features are a big part of the experience for many gamers, which is why a high-quality microphone is a must-have in your headset. Some of the features that make a great microphone are the following:
- Noise Cancellation
Noise cancelation or noise rejection are great characteristics to have in a gaming headset. Microphones with these built-in features are very efficient as they effectively block the sound of background conversations, fans, keyboard clicks, and any other noises to allow for your voice to come through the microphone clearly.
- Unidirectional- these types of microphones help to reduce background noise, as they pick up sound mainly from one direction (usually the gamer’s mouth).
- Bidirectional- these microphones can pick up sound coming from two completely different directions, which causes there to be less background noise reduction. However, if well-designed, these headsets can still offer a good amount of noise blockage.
- Wind protection and pop filters
These features help to diminish wind noise as well as plosive sounds, like those made by the letters “p” and “b”, which in turn helps to improve speech quality.
- Voice Clarity
A high-quality microphone provides speech clarity, making it easy for other gamers to hear you well and to understand you without dealing with interferences or distortions.
Wired vs. Wireless
Whether you prefer the convenience of wireless gaming or the reliability of a wired connection is a very important thing to consider when you shop for your new headset. Wired headsets tend to be more affordable than wireless ones, but their sound quality can be very similar. Both options offer advantages while also suffering from certain disadvantages. When it comes to wired gaming headsets, these are the pros and cons you should consider:
Pros of wired headsets:
- Lower Latency
This characteristic allows for audio to be transmitted with minimal delay which is great for competitive gaming.
- No Battery Needed
Wired gaming headsets, as their name suggests, do not need to use a battery or charge as they connect to the console through a wire. This makes using them simpler, as no need to wait for a charging period is required.
- No Signal Compression
While compression is a factor that can affect audio quality in wireless options, this is not an issue that wired gaming sets have.
- Connection Stability
A reliable connection is a gamer’s friend, which ensures consistent audio, no signal dropouts, or wireless interference.
Cons of wired headsets:
- Tangling Risk
Wired headsets can run the risk of getting tangled often. While this might seem like a minimal issue, repeated tangling is a real issue that can lead to potential damage and a shorter lifespan for your headset.
- Restricted Mobility
Cables also restrain your ability to move around which sometimes leads to inconveniences and discomfort.
When it comes to wireless headsets, these are the pros and cons you should consider:
Pros of wireless headsets:
- High Customization
Many wireless headsets allow you to create and customize different sound profiles in multiple ways to create a curated experience. Other features like virtual surround sound contribute to enhancing the audio immersion experience.
- Multi-Device Connectivity
A lot of wireless headsets can connect to multiple devices at the same time, which gives you the freedom to switch between your gaming system and computer or device.
- Movement Freedom
Another advantage of wireless headsets is the better movement freedom that they offer. Without the need for a cable, you can avoid tangles, inconvenience, and discomfort.
Cons of wireless headsets:
- Battery Life
One of the biggest cons of wireless gaming headsets is their battery life, which varies. This leads to having to monitor battery levels during long gaming sessions, which can create inconvenience.
- Higher Latency
Wireless technology continues to evolve and improve; however, many gaming headsets still suffer from a higher audio latency than their wired counterparts.
- Signal Dropouts
Wireless headsets are at risk of experiencing interference or signal dropouts. This can in turn lead to audio disruptions which lowers the sound quality.
Other characteristics you should take into consideration when buying your new gaming headset are compatibility, durability, and pricing, Ensuring the headset works with your gaming platform (PC, console, mobile) is number one on the list, as not all gaming headsets are compatible with every device. A sturdy build quality is a must, as it can extend the headset’s lifespan, increasing durability. Evaluate the pros and cons of every option and keep yourself up to date on the latest releases. Research reputable brands and read user reviews for feedback.
Last but not least, try out the gaming headset in-store if you can, to get a taste of what the at-home experience will be like. Ultimately, finding the best gaming headset for you will be dependent on the games you enjoy playing, your console or platform, and your budget. Consider these factors and you will surely find a gaming headset that suits your needs and preferences and will provide you with the best experience possible!