Headphones vs. Headset – Which Is Best for Gaming?

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Sound and communication are two of the most important things when it comes to multiplayer games.

If you want to improve your game play significantly then you should invest in a good quality audio device because most multiplayer games have 3D sound technology which means that an opponent nearby can be heard and spotted by using sound. Additionally, the communication between team members is also significantly important.

Most people refer to headphones as a headset and vice versa since both of these share a lot of common characteristics between themselves. One of the clearest differences between headsets and headphones is the presence of an integrated microphone in a headset.

This article will give you the knowledge needed to select the best option between headphones vs. headset depending on the characteristics and the technology that both of these audio devices have to offer. 

Types Of Audio Devices

Generally, the audio devices can be classified under 3 main categories:-

  • Studio headphones
  • Ordinary headphones
  • Gaming headsets

All of these vary based on their objective demographic and their proposed usage, alongside other variances that we will look in detail at and this will allow you to choose the winner depending on your preferences.

Studio Headphones

Studio Headphones

Studio headphones are specifically designed for professionals. They are most often preferred by music specialists and music enthusiasts because of the excellent sound quality reproduction.

One of the key characteristics offered by this headphone is that the sound that the studio headphones offer is extremely neutral. That is to say that the sound that is repeated is close to the original sound. This denotes improved fidelity nonetheless a more “uniform” listening capability in comparison to more bass hefty headphones.

These headphones are also extremely sturdy and durable and additionally, they can be repaired pretty easily.

When we look at the key purpose of their creation that is to say for professionals one thing that pops up in our head is that for gaming purposes these might not be the very best choice. This is due to their functionality and purpose of creation. So you may not expect an excellent gaming experience with studio headphones especially when there are other products available in the market that give a more pleasant experience.

As good as these might be for professional studio use, when we look at gaming experience these fall low on the list of audio devices that we have compiled on this list.

Ordinary Headphones

Regular Headphones

Another option that we consider is ordinary headphones.  These are most commonly used by people around us and are more generally denoted to as multipurpose, trendy, and affordable.

These type of headphones prioritize convenience and design before everything. Since these headphones are designed for casual users who may intend on using them in different situations, that’s why they propose a versatile decent auditory experience. Their design includes smooth exteriors that present them with an attractive look.

Unluckily, since the primacy is given to things that are mentioned above, such kind of headphones fall below the level of comfort and build value that is expected of them. Moreover, the sound quality of these headphones might not be the greatest. Also, it can vary depending on the manufacturer which is a letdown.

We have already talked about the importance of sound and communication in a multiplayer game so  headphones might not be the best choice because of the quality of sound as well as because you would need a microphone additionally for communication. Such headphones might not be the most expensive selection in the market but they may also not be the best choice when it comes to gaming.

Gaming Headsets

Gaming Headset

For gaming, there might not be a better choice than gaming headsets.  These are headphones that are equipped with a built-in microphone for communication which is a plus point for gamers since in-game communication between the teammates plays a key role in multiplayer games.

Gaming headsets attempt to present the user with immersive sound quality, clear and strong communication, they are most often constructed  using colorful and unique designs which makes them attractive for gamers around the globe.

When we talk about the sound reproduction the gaming headset can be considered to be closer to the ordinary headphones rather than the studio headphones and this is because they are intended to offer a more enjoyable gaming experience. This signifies a more clear sound quality with potent bass, in addition to virtual surround technology or some instance such headsets also offer actual surround sound technology. Another key feature that such headsets provide is the noise reduction ability which is extremely useful for gamers.

Their design is also quite portable, lightweight and comfortable. This makes them ideal for prolonged gaming sessions

When we consider the position of gaming headsets in a headphone vs. headset comparison, they might be the best choice for gamers based on the fact that they offer excellent sound quality and a built-in microphone that offers clear communication. They also provide sound reduction technology. It is a useful feature if you have a noisy environment around you while you play games. Since every sound in the game is important this feature becomes significant in that aspect.

Best Choice For You

After reading the various features that these different types of audio devices have to offer you may still be unsure which is best for you. Gaming headsets may be the best choice for just gaming, but if you expect more than just a good quality gaming experience than you may need to look a little deeper.

We will look at all of the options and their suitability in more detail down below. This will allow you to reach a better conclusion regarding your preferred option in the headphones vs. headset comparison.

Do You Need A Built-In Microphone?

The first thing that you need to consider is if you need a built-in microphone. This is particularly useful if you are a person who prefers multiplayer gameplay. One that requires a complete squad instead of solo gameplay. We know that most of the multiplayer games now days have a 3D sound. This means you can use the sound to find out the exact location of the opponent. Additionally, it is extremely important to communicate with your teammates with a microphone.

Having an integrated microphone saves you the hassle of using an additional microphone with your headset. For this purpose, you may go for a gaming headset that might come out on top because it will fulfill this requirement and present you with extraordinary gaming experience.

However, if you play other games and don’t want a microphone then you can go for other options as well.

Are You Looking For Compactness?

Multiplayer games are not the only types of games that people play. So your gaming preference might be a game in which sound might not be that significant. Hence, you want to go or an option that you can use apart from just gaming. For instance, the likes of listening to music or listening to online recorded tutorials and lectures.

When we are looking for an option based on the requirements above then ordinary headphones may come out victorious for you. Apart from that, they have a much portable design that we can easily use in public. Also, the smaller frame allows us to carry them around much more conveniently.

There are many manufacturers out there that make excellent quality headphones and it depends on your affordability. There are excellent designs and technologies available in ordinary headphones as well that will make you stand out in public.

Are You Thinking Of Audio Editing As Well?

The final question that you may ask yourself is that if you would be doing audio editing. For this purpose, your choice should be the studio headphones.

Studio headphones are perfect for the purpose and this is since they propose the greatest fidelity along with the most precise sound reproduction which is an excellent feature if you are someone who likes recording gaming clips and posting it online.

However, there is a downside to using studio headphones for gaming purposes. That is, they might not give you the best gaming experience in comparison to other options available in the market.


Looking at all the aspects and detailed analysis of the features provided by different types of headphones and headsets we can finally conclude the debate.

As already mentioned above that if you intend on using it just for gaming and not for other purposes then a gaming headset might come out as the winner among the two. This is due to the integrated microphone and the excellent sound quality and noise reduction quality of such headsets. Moreover, the design also gives you a sturdy look. Nevertheless, if you intend on using it for other purposes as well, an ordinary headphone or a studio headphone might be your best choice among the headphones vs. headset comparison.

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Luke Kline

Luke Kline

Hi, I'm Luke Kline and I've been a gamer my whole life. When I was 13 years old, I built my first gaming PC from scratch to compete with the kids on the block. Since then, I have built dozens of other gaming PCs for various friends and family members and found a love for many PC games too. Most notably, League of Legends where I have worked to become a platinum player for many seasons. That led me to earn my bachelor's degree in cyber security and technology, which eventually culminated into what you see today: a gaming expert who has hands-on experience with hundreds of gaming and tech products. I have been writing reviews, how-to articles, streaming gameplay, creating YouTube videos, and have extensive knowledge about everything gaming!