Using a Headset vs Speakers for Gaming

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Updated June 27, 2022

As a gamer, you know how important audio quality is to your gaming sessions, and you have to choose between using a headset vs speakers for gaming. Most of the time, the best gaming headsets are comparable to or better than a surround sound speaker system.

KEY TAKEAWAYS:

  • Gaming headsets offer better audio quality than most laptop speakers or stereo sound systems.
  • A surround sound speaker setup helps immerse you in your gaming experience, though newer gaming headsets provide a similarly immersive experience.
  • If you play online with teammates, the sound from your speakers will leak into the microphone, causing an occasional echo.

As such, you may prefer a headset’s audio quality, background noise cancellation, and immersion to a laptop, computer, monitor, or TV speakers at least a portion of the time. However, you may sacrifice comfort as the price for these advantages. When you consider different gaming headsets, you will have to choose between an open vs closed back headset for gaming.

Insider Tip

A surround sound speaker system generates sound from multiple speakers to imitate your in-game surroundings.

Which Is Better: Gaming Headset vs Speakers

Many gamers prefer using a gaming headset instead of their laptop or TV speakers for various reasons. Still, others prefer their stereo speaker systems or soundbars. Both options provide good audio quality and comfort for your gaming experience. But gaming headsets also offer ambient noise reduction, and many include a microphone. For more information on a headset vs headphone and mic for gaming, check out our article on the subject.

Ambient Noise

If you live in a noisy area or with many people, a headset can help increase your focus and productivity within your favorite games. A microphone connected to your headset may feature noise cancellation that other microphones do not offer. These headphones will also keep the game audio from entering the microphone.

Most speakers do not block the sounds from your house or family because they do not sit on or over your ears. Because of their design, your speaker’s audio instead mingles with this ambient noise. When you use a microphone for team play, your game sound may leak into your microphone, which creates an echo for your teammates.

Comfort

A speaker system provides a more comfortable overall feeling. You won’t have the heavy gaming headset and its hardware pushing into the top of your head or your ears. You can easily control the volume with a remote for surround sound systems, meaning you don’t need to go through a specific menu for your console or laptop.

Gaming headsets sometimes become heavy with all the technology added to cover new features. However, they offer padding on or around the ear, depending on which headphones you get. If you select an over-ear headphone, the ear cups will go around the ear instead of sitting directly on them for the duration of your gaming session, reducing the pressure on your ear and ear canal compared to on-ear models.

Audio quality

A surround speaker system immerses you in your game or other content by mimicking directional sound coming from multiple speakers. This phenomenon’s performance surpasses even the best true 7.1 surround sound headset because when you wear a headset, you only have two ear cups for the sound to generate.

If you don’t have an expensive soundbar or speaker system, you most likely want a dedicated gaming headset. The audio quality performance of these true or virtual surround sound devices surpasses most laptop or TV speakers, which often sound tinny. Gaming headsets include features like true or virtual 7.1 surround sound audio and 3D audio. Unlike surround sound, 3D sound comes from all directions, including on all sides and higher or lower than the player, highlighting the target’s exact location.

Warning

Stereo and surround sound speakers and soundbars will not block background noise, so you may want a gaming headset for loud locations.

F.A.Q.S

Is stereo or surround sound better for gaming?

Surround sound provides an edge in competitive gaming by immersing you in your game rather than your real-life surroundings.


Do professional gamers use stereo or surround sound for gaming?

Most professional gamers use surround sound with or without a cable to take advantage of directional audio.


Are headphones for music good for gaming?

Although you can use music headphones for gaming, headset designs include bass-heavy audio for gaming, on which many video game producers rely when designing their audio experience.



STAT: By using sound isolating earcups that form a strong seal around your ears, most outside noise will be blocked. (source)