December 18, 2022Gaming Headset vs. Regular Headphones: What’s the Difference?

You might be thinking, “Should I get a gaming headset or will regular headphones work?” Well, that will usually depend on what games you typically play, your budget, and, of course, your personal preference. 

Both headsets and headphones may look almost the same, but they’re different in their own right. However, when you compare a gaming headset and regular headphones, there are some categories that differentiate them, but there are some that are almost exactly the same. But, which one should you get to get optimal enjoyment when used for gaming? 

Today, we’re going to discuss the key differences and similarities between the two to help you decide which one you should get for yourself. But before that, what are gaming headsets and regular headphones?

Gaming Headsets vs. Regular Headphones

Regular Headphones

Gamers use gaming headsets to improve their overall gaming experience, making it one of the most important gamer equipment a gamer should own. It immerses users in the game’s action by placing them at the heart of it all. It also allows you to interact properly with your buddies (or team) during team matches.

Gaming headsets also incorporate sound enhancement features such as surround sound or stereo sound. Furthermore, gaming headsets are usually equipped with noise-canceling technology to reduce background noise. 

Now that you know what a gaming headset is, you might be wondering what a regular headphone is. Regular headphones are almost exactly like gaming headsets, but unlike gaming headsets, regular headphones are not usually equipped with gaming sound enhancers. They’re also a lot less bulky compared to a gaming headset. However, this does not mean that they lack sound quality.

That being said, let’s dive even deeper between the differences and similarities of the two.

Gaming Headsets vs. Regular Headphones: Build and Build Quality

In terms of build quality, it would mostly depend on the brand and the price you pay. When you choose a cheap gaming headset or cheap headphones, the chances are that both of them won’t last very long. But if you buy a higher quality headset and headphones from a reputable brand, then both of them have a higher chance of lasting for several years. You get what you pay for. However, we’re not saying that there aren’t any good, affordable gaming headsets or headphones. They’re just typically made with cheaper materials, thus their shorter lifespan.

But generally, gaming headsets tend to be less durable than headphones. This is due to the fact that a gaming headset with a huge mic, surround sound audio technology, and even noise-canceling, among many other features, has less resources to devote to high-quality materials than just a pair of headphones that only need to sound great.

When it comes to build and look, gaming headsets tend to be bulkier since they’re usually built with either a built-in microphone or a detachable microphone. They’re also built to take on the “gamer-esque” style. Meanwhile, regular headphones are a lot more minimal and timeless. 

Gaming Headsets vs. Regular Headphones: Sound Quality

Sound Quality

Sound quality is where it gets kind of complicated.  Headphones will typically sound better than a comparably priced headset. And high-end headphones will sound noticeably clearer, crisper, and more detailed than a gaming headset. However, deciding which is ideal to use for gaming can be difficult.

Sadly, gaming headsets, especially those at the lower end of the price range, might sound sloppy, unnatural, or irritatingly bright. As a result, headphones typically sound much better than gaming headsets. Nevertheless, there is one aspect in which gaming headsets frequently excel, and that is surround sound.

Among the top advantages of gaming headsets is that they provide surround sound. This allows you to hear where sounds are originating from more precisely, which can be quite useful in intense shooting games like Resident Evil, where you need to know where your opponents are and what’s going on around you.

Gaming headsets achieve this by installing several drivers at different angles in both ear cups. Each driver is intended to manage separate sound channels, which are then combined to provide you with a comprehensive surround sound experience. The current surround sound technology you’ll find in most gaming headsets is the  7.1 surround sound. This means that it has seven dedicated drivers that flow into seven sound channels for better and more realistic audio.

With regular headphones, you won’t get the same level of awareness as you would with gaming headsets. 

Gaming Headsets vs. Regular Headphones: Microphone

As mentioned before, gaming headsets usually have microphones attached to them, unlike regular headphones with a hidden microphone. 

Microphones are one of the most important features any gaming headset should have. It allows you to have clearer communication, which is especially needed with multiplayer games. That being said, most gaming headsets come with microphones that pick up your voice clearly. 

Meanwhile, most standard headphones do not include a high-quality microphone. They might not even have one! Regular headphones typically prioritize sound quality over communication. So, if you want to speak with others, you’ll need to buy an additional external microphone.

However, using an external microphone is not entirely a bad idea because it can sound just as good as, if not better than the built-in microphones on gaming headsets. So, it’s entirely up to you at this point.

Gaming Headsets vs. Regular Headphones: Price

Obviously, like the majority of consumer technology, there are affordable gaming headsets and affordable headphones, as well as premium gaming headsets and pricey headphones. It entirely depends on some of the features mentioned above.

Regular headphones of medium quality will normally cost just under a hundred dollars. However, higher-quality headphones that audiophiles will undoubtedly enjoy will cost more.

The same is true for gaming headsets. Higher-quality gaming headsets, on the other hand, not only have a high-quality build and sound but also extra features such as surround sound and noise-cancellation which can increase their price.

Overall, the price generally depends on their quality, brand, and extra features.

So, Should I Buy a Gaming Headset or Regular Headphones?

Both of them are really great choices. But, of course, gaming headsets focus on the extra features that allow you to have that extra awareness and immersive experience with the use of surround sound and noise-canceling technology. While regular headphones focus more on sound quality, which will enhance the music and add bass. 

If you’re an avid gamer, then a gaming headset is something you will definitely need for your gaming sessions. But if you’re more of an audiophile, then headphones will be your best bet. 

Overall, the choice is entirely up to your personal preference and needs.

Are Gaming Headsets Worth It?

In my opinion, it is well worth it because it improves your gaming experience and makes you feel as if you are truly immersed in the game. Plus, it is also a fantastic addition to any gaming setup. 

If you’re worried about price, there are numerous budget-friendly and premium alternatives available, each with its own set of benefits. So, take your time and pick the one that appeals to you the most.

That’s a Wrap

Both are great in their own right, so think carefully about which one you should get!

We hope this article helped you come to a decision! If you want more articles like this, you can check out our blog here.

Happy gaming!