Users who decide to purchase gaming headphones are faced with a large selection of models of different designs, functionality and a huge price range. Beginning esportsmen in such a variety are quickly lost. What is the difference between budget models and more expensive counterparts besides the brand logo? Why you shouldn’t save on headphones if you’re an esports player? Let’s go over the points.
Not all novice gamers are aware of the striking differences between specialized gaming headsets and regular headphones for everyday use or models for music lovers. It’s not just about the unusual design. Like any other product for gamers, specialized headphones are aimed at gaining a competitive advantage during the game. They are no better or worse than the audiophile versions – they are different .
The first thing you notice is less powerful bass and lack of balance. This is not a marriage. This is done specifically so that loud game sounds (explosions, shooting, engine roar) do not interfere with the perception of ambient noise. All this is complemented by surround sound , allowing you to clearly identify the source of the sound and its location. For example, in the midst of a battle, you can hear the rustling of the enemy approaching from the side of the blind zone. Or wait for the moment when the enemy behind the door starts reloading or leaves the area.
In addition, the benefits of gaming headsets include:
Gaming headphones are designed with the needs of the audience in mind and are suitable for long gaming sessions.
Sound is one way of touching the gameplay. The features of the perception of the game world depend on the headphones.
To realize the benefits, manufacturers use various technologies and solutions.
It is common for esports players to want to install the most productive components, but very often no attention is paid to the choice of a sound card. Connecting through the motherboard is a common occurrence. This decision does not allow to unleash the potential of an expensive gaming headset, and the difference between models of different price ranges will hardly be noticeable.
The way out is to buy an internal or external audio card. An example is a simple external sound card HyperX HX-USCCAMSS-BK , as well as Creative Sound Blaster X7 , which can also be called a sound receiver. These devices will come in handy if the manufacturer has not equipped the headphones with its own audio station to create a full-fledged audio system.
What characteristics should be taken into account when choosing a suitable model?
Emitter membrane diameter . Determines the quality and detail of the sound, so the larger the better. Good headphones are equipped with speakers with a diameter of 45 mm or more, top-end ones can have drivers larger than 100 mm, such as, for example, the Audeze LCD-GX.
Amplitude-frequency characteristics (AFC) . Our ear hears sounds in the range of 16 Hz to 20 kHz. The frequency response of the top models went far beyond these limits, which guarantees sound clarity at maximum volume. For example, you can see the range from 10 Hz to 40 kHz.
sensitivity and power. Determine the volume of the sound. Most suitable devices have a sensitivity of about 100 dB or more.
Coefficient of harmonic (nonlinear) distortion . The error in fidelity, measured as a percentage. The lower the value, the more accurate the sound is transmitted and the more realistic it is, and it is easier for the user to determine the nature of the sound. In budget models, the value can reach up to 15-20%, in top-end headphones – less than 1%.
Impedance (resistance) . Indicates playback quality. For gaming models, 32 ohms is considered a sufficient level, but the higher the resistance, the better. Models with high impedance usually have a built-in amplifier and their own DAC (powered by a built-in battery or cable) or are equipped with an audio station.
Many budget models are characterized by a discrepancy with the declared characteristics. Deviation from the declared parameters can be traced both from the first day of use, and after a short period of time (a week, a month).
Eminent brands are interested in ensuring that their products meet expectations. To achieve this, in-depth research and quality control in production are used. The probability of buying an expensive gaming headset with a marriage is much lower.
To get a realistic detailed sound output, you need not only a high-quality element base, but also advanced software.
The usual stereo mode is not enough to get a detailed soundstage. Surround sound helps to expand the boundaries. Manufacturers use schemes 5.1, 7.1 and 9.1.
In most cases, emulation is created on devices with one speaker on each side. There are also exceptions. An example is the ASUS ROG Centurion 7.1 gaming headset, which comes with its own audio station, supports stereo, 5.1 and 7.1 modes, but the most interesting thing is that it has as many as 10 speakers (5 for each ear). Of course, such surround sound is better than imitation.
The essence of 3D positioning is to track the position of the user’s head using sensors, followed by sound adaptation.
Wired headset HyperX Cloud Orbit S HX-HSCOS-GM black 27 999 *
Based on this technology, manufacturers are already implementing gesture control. So, in the HyperX Cloud Orbit S gaming headphones, using Waves Nx technology, the position of the head is read 1000 times per second. Thanks to this, you can use the binding of game functions. For example, in shooters, you can peek out from behind cover, as is done with the “Q” and “E” buttons. This contributes to a better immersion in the gameplay. True, it’s faster to press the button.
The future of motion-tracking video games looks something like this:
Another interesting tool for better immersion in the atmosphere of the game is vibration feedback. The essence of the solution lies in the installation of vibration actuators that create vibration to complement the audio effects and not only.
Razer Nari Ultimate RF Headset Black 15 999 *
As an example, we can mention the implementation of THX Spatial Audio in the Razer Nari Ultimate headphones. It uses Razer HyperSense technology, developed jointly with the German company Lofelt. Actually, this is a tactile response based on audio effects. The drive supports a huge range of speeds, which allows you to play a wide variety of sounds. Pleasant impressions are guaranteed.
The microphone is an essential attribute of gaming headphones, and also the most problematic element of the system. This is easy to verify by reading the comments of buyers of headsets in different price ranges. The essence of the problem is that many manufacturers seek to reduce the cost of products, and install mediocre microphones. In models of the upper price segment, this is not necessary, so the solution to the problem is usually associated with the need to configure the operation of the equipment through software.
Microphones are used for the convenience of communication and team coordination in multiplayer games. Cheap solutions will hinder more than help, so you should pay attention to this issue as well.
In terms of frequency response, a good microphone should support a frequency range of 100 Hz to 10 kHz, but the wider the range, the better. In addition, sensitivity (-dB) is important. The closer the value is to zero, the higher it is.
Unidirectional digital microphones have proven themselves well. And of course, it’s hard to imagine top models without good noise reduction . Its features depend on the implementation of the technology. To simplify the operation of noise filtering algorithms, the so-called windscreen and auxiliary microphones are used.
A useful option is the activation of the backlight during recording, which eliminates awkward situations.
Wired headset Beyerdynamic MMX 300.2 black
The microphone can be retractable, removable or non-removable, movable and fixed. A separate advantage is a flexible tripod that allows you to adjust the position for yourself. Here you need to focus on your own preferences.
Ergonomics and reliability
Entry-level or mid-level models use simpler design solutions and inexpensive materials in whole or in part to reduce the cost of production. As a result: discomfort when wearing, low reliability, strength and durability. Sitting in these headphones for several hours is a real torture. Although over time, many get used to it.
You can feel comfortable in models of the middle price range, but there is one caveat. Before choosing a suitable device, you need to try on and compare. The adjustment possibilities are quite mediocre, so it often happens that the headphones fit one user perfectly, and the other complains about their inconvenience.
Top models are not only increased comfort, but also an extended adjustment range with convenient mechanisms. In other words, the user gets the opportunity to customize the design for themselves, which is important for long gaming sessions.
Wired headset Sennheiser GSP 600 black
Elite models have a double headband with elastic bands or soft padding in the contact area with the head. Headphones of the upper price segment usually use a metal frame, which has a positive effect on the strength and durability of the structure. Plastic is used only as an exception to reduce weight.
Other factors affecting the convenience and reliability of the accessory:
Interchangeable ear pads with different upholstery materials: leather, leatherette, velor. As a filler, it is better to choose memory foam, and cooling gel provides comfort during long-term everyday wear.
Soundproofing . Depends on the tightness of the fit and the material of the ear pads .
Selecting a connection method . Popular options: via USB cable or radio signal (wireless). The included adapters make the headset compatible with various devices.
Fabric braided cable. Protects wires from wear and tear.
Adjustable cable length . The best option is a modular structure, where an extension cable is offered in the kit.
Quick sound adjustment . To do this, there are the necessary buttons and sliders on the case, remote control and / or audio station. The included audio card can be equipped with a display for fine-tuning equipment without utilities. In some cases, you can display information from the game on the screen: HP level, number of rounds, timer, and so on.
Touch control panel . Replaces standard buttons and can support gestures.
Build quality and durability
Backlash, squeaks, coating defects, uneven seam of the ear pads, flimsy fasteners – this is not a complete list of small flaws that entry-level gaming headsets sin with. All this in the end is reflected not only in the appearance of the accessory, but also in durability.
Of course, it cannot be said that all budget models are poorly assembled or will not work for long – there are always exceptions. Moreover, even eminent brands sin with flaws in a seemingly top-end headset. The only thing that can help out in such a situation is the experience of other users. Therefore, before buying an expensive headset, you should study the reviews.
What separates a real esports player from a video game lover, besides skills? Appropriate equipment. And here every element, every accessory is important, and not just a productive computer. It is unlikely that other esports players will take a player seriously with a set of inexpensive accessories.
Elite gaming paraphernalia provides quite tangible gaming benefits, so the importance of good headphones can hardly be overestimated. Thus, an expensive headset not only demonstrates the level of a gamer, but also benefits in games. Top gaming headphones inspire respect from other esports players, this is a source of pride for the owner and the envy of others.
The unusual stylish design of headphones for professional gamers immediately catches the eye even for those who are far from video games and do not understand brands. A great way to draw attention to yourself and stand out from the crowd.
Cool backlighting, which is present in almost all models of the upper price range, will help to enhance the effect. The top models’ RGB neck has a more complex pattern, a larger area or an extended range of display modes. In other words, a backlight enthusiast with a serious budget after buying gaming headphones will be able to more fully satisfy their desires.
You can complement the picture with the help of a stand, but this attribute is rarely included in the basic package. This is quite logical, because the stand does not affect the sound quality, but leads to an increase in the price of the product, which is unacceptable for models in the budget and middle price segments. You can find the stand, for example, in the box with the already mentioned ASUS ROG Centurion 7.1 headset. And you can buy the stand you like separately.