Are Headphones Necessary for Gaming? (A Snapshot Overview)

Introduction

Most people who get into gaming typically end up using a pair of headphones for most of their in-game audio experiences, but why is this, and are there any significant advantages to doing so?

Well, yes, however, it may not be as clear cut as you’d imagine, especially since headphones and gaming headsets can vary wildly, not to mention that they’re usually built with different audiences in mind e.g. casual gamers, single-player game experiences, immersive warzone experiences, and even competitive games.

First of all, though, let’s take a look at some of the reasons why we think gaming headphones are necessary.

Why Gaming Headphones are Necessary (In Most Cases)

Gaming headsets and headphones, in general, allow for a more immersive experience in-game, mainly because they help isolate you from undesirable external sounds that may be going on around you, and also because it’s cheaper to deliver a high-end experience to a pair of headphones than it is a speaker system.

Headphones are also far more convenient and more courteous when considering things like your location and proximity to other people; most people live with friends and family meaning it’s likely you’ll need to consider them when there’s a possibility you’ll be making noise.

Games inevitably make noise and thus, headphones are almost always useful to have if you need to consider other people.

However, headphones also help us get closer to the true experience that the sound engineers intended for us to hear.

Even the best speakers will struggle with this because it depends on quite a few factors such as the type of room you’re in, what materials are around you, how big the room is, and what height you have the speakers set at.

With a set of headphones, the room (headphone cups), in this instance are just bigger than the size of your ears and are perfectly designed to deliver the sound at just the right points to deliver the perfect experience.

What is the difference between gaming headphones and normal headphones?

The main difference between gaming headphones and traditional headphones often lies in how they’re made and what features they offer.

Gaming headsets are made with premium materials meaning they’ll typically fair better for longer sessions (they’re more comfortable) and they’re almost always likely to include an in-built microphone for clear communication between teammates that can be adjusted through software apps to tailor your sound experience.

Conversely, traditional headphones are designed for shorter stints of usage such as making Skype calls to family members or having a quick business meeting over Teams, and thus, building them with an expensive feature kit doesn’t make much sense.

Are gaming headphones better for competitive gaming?

Without a doubt, gaming headphones give you all the necessary features that a gamer could want in a competitive environment i.e. a built-in microphone, noise-canceling earcups, comfortable cushions for long gaming sessions, and an adjustable frame.

Relatively speaking, the cost of gaming headsets is extremely low when compared to something like studio headphones or surround sound speaker systems meaning they’re also great for gamers on a budget.

In terms of quality to cost, gaming headsets should give you everything you need to support you very well in a competitive gaming environment meaning you should definitely consider getting a pair if you have the option.

The only setup that might slightly beat a gaming headset in terms of quality is a pair of studio headphones and a dedicated studio microphone for communication, however, the difference is so slim that the difference is probably negligible not unless you’re playing FPS games that heavily rely on hearing enemy movement.

Who makes the best gaming headsets?

In most cases, this will come down to personal preference as the differences between high-end gaming headsets are rather slim these days.

For this reason, we always recommend going into a gaming shop to test out the equipment so you can judge these small differences for yourself.

However, the biggest names in the business include Razer, HyperX, Sennheiser, Logitech, Corsair, Turtle Beach, and Steelseries.

Some popular studio headphone brands that are worth considering (you’ll need a dedicated microphone) for gaming include the likes of Beyerdynamic, Audio-Technica, and Sennheiser.

In most cases, the headset you choose will come down to the feature kit that they offer such as the materials they use for cushioning, the frequency range for the sound, and whether they include things like noise-canceling to filter out sounds around you outside of the game.

Which gaming headsets do we recommend?

If you’re looking for a gaming headset specifically for FPS then we recommend checking out this dedicated article to get a full overview of what to select.

However, for most people, the comparison table below should highlight a few of our favorite headsets include their key feature/audience:

Title
Best Value
HyperX Cloud II - Gaming Headset, 7.1 Surround Sound, Memory...
Lowest Cost
Razer Kraken X Ultralight Gaming Headset: 7.1 Surround Sound...
Ultra-Premium
beyerdynamic MMX 300 (2nd Generation) Premium Gaming Headset
Image
HyperX Cloud II - Gaming Headset, 7.1 Surround Sound, Memory...
Razer Kraken X Ultralight Gaming Headset: 7.1 Surround Sound...
beyerdynamic MMX 300 (2nd Generation) Premium Gaming Headset
Price
$69.99
$56.99
$249.00
Prime Eligibility
Best Value
Title
HyperX Cloud II - Gaming Headset, 7.1 Surround Sound, Memory...
Image
HyperX Cloud II - Gaming Headset, 7.1 Surround Sound, Memory...
Price
$69.99
Prime Eligibility
Buy Here
Lowest Cost
Title
Razer Kraken X Ultralight Gaming Headset: 7.1 Surround Sound...
Image
Razer Kraken X Ultralight Gaming Headset: 7.1 Surround Sound...
Price
$56.99
Prime Eligibility
Buy Here
Ultra-Premium
Title
beyerdynamic MMX 300 (2nd Generation) Premium Gaming Headset
Image
beyerdynamic MMX 300 (2nd Generation) Premium Gaming Headset
Price
$249.00
Prime Eligibility
Buy Here

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