As Fast As Possible
If you plan on using your headphones mostly for gaming, streaming, and voice-chatting, you should get a gaming headset as it’s specially made for that. In case you enjoy listening to music in high quality as well, for the money you’d spend on a gaming headset, you could get a pair of headphones with a much better audio quality but usually without the mic, exclusive software, and similar features.
Gaming headsets may seem as an obvious choice for gamers as you get an attached microphone and usually a remote control to quickly adjust audio and mic volume as well as the exclusive software, improved noise isolation, and virtual 5.1 or 7.1 surround sound support.
However, all this adds to the cost of the headset which in the end leaves you with a pair of expensive headphones with plenty of features but only mediocre sound quality.
So, while the gaming headsets are convenient as the all-in-one device for gamers, audiophiles won’t be satisfied with the sound quality they get for the money spent.
Additionally, the gamer-inspired aesthetics of most of the gaming headsets will repulse many users. If you’re spending $100 on a pair of headphones and you might want to put them on while traveling by train or plane, you’d look quite dopey wearing them if the headset is too flashy and the microphone isn’t even detachable.
Apart from that, certain gaming headsets boast the support for 5.1 or 7.1 surround sound audio, but there is numerous free software which can add virtual and positional audio to any stereo headphones.
Lastly, some high-end gaming headsets feature USB connection with an integrated sound card. While USB connectivity with the built-in sound processing is great if you’re only using the basic sound output on your motherboard, it also means that you won’t be able to take advantage of your D.A.C. (Digital to Analog Converter), amplifier, or dedicated sound card which could offer better audio quality.
Overall, if you’re just looking for the cheapest way to communicate with your teammates and to isolate the sound of your environment so you can focus on the game, a gaming headset is the most cost-effective solution.
In case you want to invest a bit more and wish to use headphones for listening to music in high quality as well, you should get a pair of regular headphones and then get the microphone separately.
Rob is a software engineer with a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Denver. He now works full-time on writing for DisplayNinja while coding his own projects on the side.