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When pitting audiophile headphones vs gaming headsets, it’s essential to consider your gaming setup. The background noise you deal with will help determine what option will provide a better listening experience.
The best gaming headset should come at a reasonable price for your budget. While you might covet expensive headphones, they aren’t your only option for high-quality headphones.
The term “audiophile” doesn’t refer to one specific brand. Instead, audiophile headphones refer to any number of high-quality headphones made to produce accurate sound.
These expensive options are fantastic for anybody looking to avoid the sound quality problems that come with budget models, like sound leakage and inaccurate sound reproduction. And there are other options on the market if you’re looking for different comparisons, like a computer headset vs. a gaming headset.
If you invest in expensive headphones, make sure they have magnetic drivers for a completely neutral sound profile.
Audio quality makes a huge difference for gaming. The engineering behind audiophile earphones creates immersive, accurate soundscape experiences. Of course, you can get a fantastic pair of gaming headphones with excellent sound quality and excellent virtual surround sound, but they won’t be your run-of-the-mill budget gaming headset.
If consistent audio reproduction is essential to you and you’re willing to spend extra money, go with audiophile earphones. We’ll unpack more on the overall cost of each below. For a deep-dive into virtual surround sound, read our article comparing 7.1 vs. a stereo gaming headset.
When it comes to models at an affordable price, you’re more likely to find gaming headphones or headsets within budget. A budget model should run around $50, with more expensive models running a few hundred dollars. However, the sound quality won’t be top-notch. Audiophile-quality headphones can run anywhere from $250 to several thousand dollars.
Another consideration is the lack of a built-in microphone. If you purchase an audiophile-friendly pair of headphones, you’ll likely need to buy a gaming microphone attachment or a desktop mic, which increases the cost. Headsets with a built-in microphone are more affordable and convenient.
Many headsets or headphones for gaming tend to be bulkier than their audiophile counterparts, which makes them heavy. Of course, a quality gaming headset will be more comfortable than its cheaper counterparts thanks to better materials and padding. However, audiophile headsets are also made to be comfortable, so it might make more sense to buy a low-end audiophile model at a similar price.
Built-in mics are tempting, but they are often sensitive to external sounds. Purchasing an external mic will provide better microphone quality.
Do all gaming headsets have virtual surround sound?
If you invest in a quality headphone set-up, then they should. A Dolby headphone model will always come with surround sound. However, you can enable spatial sound in your computer settings for any pair of headphones.
Are wireless gaming headsets better?
A wired connection can get in the way of movement and lead to sticky situations if you get up too quickly. Wireless connections are almost always better than a wired connection for that reason. Of course, wireless models have the potential to drop signal and have batteries that need to be recharged.
What pair of headphones do pro gamers use?
There are a few different styles that are popular for pro gamers:
What should my budget be for high-end headphones?
You can expect to spend at least a couple hundred dollars on a high-end headset. A quality headphone setup isn’t cheap, especially for a wireless model. That said, the Steelseries Arctis Pro is an excellent pair of over-ear headphones that are within a reasonable price range.
STAT: In 2020, a survey reported that over 60% of online gamers in the US play games on their mobile phone. (source)