The debate on whether you can use normal headphones for gaming is never-ending. While some gamers are convinced that playing Overwatch or CS: GO with regular headphones does the magic, others will tell you that the only way to enjoy an immersive gaming experience is by using a pair of quality gaming headsets.
So where does the truth lie in? Should you simply buy one of those explicitly labeled gaming headsets with inbuilt microphones or a pair of normal consumer headphones with a separate mic will just do?
Well, it does seem confusing, right? Thankfully, it doesn’t have to be anymore. In this article, we discuss whether it’s a good idea to use normal headphones for gaming or simply buy those visually appealing headsets that are specifically designed for gaming.
Gaming Headphones vs Regular Headphones- What’s the Difference?
Gaming headphones are headphones that are designed and constructed with features that are beneficial to gamers. For example, gaming headsets have the convenience of having a microphone that gamers can use to chat with their gaming buddies or teammates while playing team-based games.
You get to enjoy using the headset and mic all in one place.
Also commonly referred to as consumer headphones, normal headphones are the headphones you see most people wearing while listening to music. They do not offer as many features and functionalities as gaming headsets. Plus they do not come with microphones. Of course, this is understandable if you’re only to use them for watching movies or listening to music.
There is also another type of headphones-studio headphones. As the name suggests, studio headphones are typically used for studio recordings by professionals.
Why are Gaming Headsets Better than Regular Headphones
A lot of people are constantly trying to convince others that you can just use normal headphones for gaming.
There is some truth in it, especially since a lot of gamers use them and say they are just fine. Furthermore, some regular headphones can be a little bit cheaper compared to those high-end gaming headsets.
However, we can comfortably say that these gamers have no idea what they are missing. Gaming headsets may be expensive, but they offer gamers a more enhanced and immersive gaming experience.
Here are some of the reasons why you should consider using gaming headsets instead of regular headphones.
1. Gaming Headphones have an Inbuilt Microphone for In-Game Chats
The availability of an inbuilt microphone is perhaps one of the major reasons why many pro gamers opt for gaming headsets. These headsets offer the convenience of having a mic and headset all in one place.
With regular headphones, you can always purchase a separate microphone, like a standing mic or a small mic that you can attach to your shirt.
However, doing so does have its disadvantages. For example, a separate mic means you’ll have to constantly deal with additional connections and cables.
So why go through all this hassle while you can simply get yourself a quality headset with a built-in mic?
Plus if you’re concerned about the quality of microphones in gaming headsets, you can always go for reputable brands. Some models do not come cheap, but you can at least be sure of the high-quality microphone and audio quality.
2. Gaming Headsets are Designed to Be Comfortable for Extended Gaming Periods
Another reason why many pro gamers swear by gaming headsets is that they are designed to be comfortable for long gaming sessions.
With regular music listening headphones, you might find them extremely uncomfortable after wearing them for just a few hours. This is more likely to happen if you’re using those cheap brands.
Gaming headsets are designed and shaped to match your head and ears to ensure a comfortable fit.
For example, the earcups are fitted with premium memory foam that conforms to your ears while exerting little or no pressure on your ears. Basically, the memory foam makes the ear pads feel soft to your ears, so you can wear them every day and for many hours without your ears getting numb or painful from excessive pressure.
The earpads are also covered with a material that is not only soft to your ears but also super porous, which makes them incredibly breathable. By increasing airflow, your ears will always remain dry and comfortable.
Another crucial factor in gaming headset comfort is the comfortable headband design. A good headset has a headband that sits tightly in your head, but not too tight to exert excessive pressure on your head and ears.
On the flipside, gaming headphones may be a little bit heavier than regular headphones due to the attached microphone and integrated control features. However, the weight should not be uncomfortable as the overall construction of gaming headsets is lightweight, so you can be sure they won’t weigh you down even during long gaming sessions.
Of course, this doesn’t mean that gaming headsets are better in terms of comfort than regular headphones. Most headphones are ergonomically designed as well. But when you combine the convenience of gaming headsets with comfort, you’ll find that they win in every situation.
3. Gaming Headsets Offer Added Features like Surround Sound
Another outstanding feature of gaming headphones is surround sound. Surround sound is a special and unique kind of sound that gives you the feeling that sound is occurring from multiple directions, rather than from one direction.
But what’s the main purpose of surround sound in gaming headphones?
Well, surround sound is important for one reason- you can hear your enemies coming and from which direction they are coming from. And using the microphone, you can even warn your team players of looming danger so they can stay alert. Of course, this will increase your chances of winning the game. Sounds pretty awesome, doesn’t it?
4. Gaming Headphones Offer Excellent Audio Profile
Consumer headphones are specifically designed for music. They offer great audio quality as this is what matters most. These headphones technically offer a full-body mid-range sound, a more controlled treble sound, and just the right amount of bass that can be adjusted. They tend to be more balanced as they are designed to be used for all types of music.
In addition to great sound quality, Gaming headsets are designed to offer more bass. To provide a more explosive and immersive gaming experience, gaming headsets tend to have a heavier bass as part of their audio profile.
You’re bound to enjoy a fully immersive gaming experience with a pair of gaming headset that with regular consumer headphones.
5. Noise Cancellation and Noise Isolation
As far as noise cancellation and isolation are concerned, both gaming headsets and regular headphones offer the best of both.
Both are great at filtering sounds directly into your ears. This allows you to hear gaming sounds more clearly. This means you’ll be able to easily hear from which direction your enemies are coming from through their foot noise or even gun reloading sounds.
Headphones and headsets with noise isolation are also less disruptive to those surrounding you.
Basically, how well a pair of gaming headphones or regular headphones can cancel and isolate sounds depends on the design. Some features an open-back design while others feature a closed-back design.
Close-back design headphones are very good at cancellation and isolation as you won’t hear any external noises, plus you’ll be able to hear gaming sounds more clearly. Those with an open-back design do allow sound to leak from your game, so those close to you won’t appreciate the noises. However, this can only happen in an extremely quiet setting or when a person is too close to you.
So in this case, both gaming headsets and regular headphones offer ultimate noise cancellation and noise isolation. If you’re only focused on these two features for your gaming, then you can opt for regular headphones.
6. Impressive Aesthetics
The aesthetics of gaming headsets has nothing to do with their performance but they do make them stand out from the rest. They have unique visuals like a distinct design, bright colors, and larger gaming brand logos. Some models even have LED lighting that can be easily coordinated with the rest of your gaming set up.
And since most gamers often buy brands, visuals do play an important role in their choices. Furthermore, most gaming set-ups are visually appealing- from brightly colored gaming chairs to sleek gaming peripherals.
Like any other product, there are both cheap and expensive gaming headset models. There are numerous affordable gaming headsets in the market, which is great for new gamers who don’t have a big budget.
There are also those high-end brands that cost an arm and a leg. The same goes for regular headphones.
But generally, gaming headsets are quite affordable. You can even get a quality brand for less than $50. Some high-end models cost up to $200.
All the same, you should be able to get a decent pair of gaming headsets at a fair price. There are numerous reputable brands so you should be able to find one pretty quickly.
Can I Use Normal Headphones for Gaming? -Bottom Line
Normal headphones may offer a few similar features to gaming headsets, but this doesn’t make them better for gaming. Since gaming headsets are specifically designed for gaming, they offer features that are much more suitable for gamers.
The good news is that some of the most popular gaming headsets brands are quite affordable. If you’re on a budget, you won’t have to break the bank to get one.