Using a Headset vs Speakers for Gaming

Updated: Feb 14, 2024 11:34 AM

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 speakers. In general, a gaming headset is better if you want to isolate outside noise, while speakers can be better for a more immersive experience, especially if using surround sound. Continue reading as we compare these two options.

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.

Which Is Better: Gaming Headset vs Speakers

For various reasons, many gamers prefer using a gaming headset instead of their laptop or TV speakers. Still, others prefer their stereo speaker systems or soundbars. Both options provide good audio quality and comfort for your gaming experience.

insider tip

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

But gaming headsets also reduce ambient noise, including a microphone.

Alternatively, you might want to use gaming headphones without a mic if you already have a desktop microphone, especially if you’re not sure of the differences between gaming headphones and normal headphones.

Ambient Noise

A headset can help increase your focus and productivity within your favorite games if you live in a noisy area or with many people. 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.

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

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.

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

When you use a microphone for team play, your game sound may leak into your microphone, which creates an echo for your teammates.

Comfort

speaker system controlled by a remote

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 headset

A surround speaker system immerses you in your game or other content by filling the room with the sounds of the content and 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.

As such, headsets offer better audio detail and precision as they are closer to your ears, and you can differentiate where the sound is coming from, allowing you to highlight the target’s exact location more easily.

Additionally, if you have a pair of headphones you love but want a gaming headset, you can learn how to make a gaming headset. Alternatively, we have resources to help you with issues you may face with your headset, such as controlling popping on your gaming headset.

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