Usually, yes. Wired headsets have better sound quality compared to wireless headsets.
Although the difference in sound quality in wireless headsets (like those that use Bluetooth) and wired headsets have significantly reduced over time, most hardcore audiophiles still believe that wired headsets provide better sound quality than their counterparts.
And it’s true. While wired headsets cannot beat wireless models for their ease of use and convenience, it’s a well-known fact that wired models still deliver the best audio quality.
According to Maria Rerecich of Consumer Reports product testing department, “if you’re looking for superior sound quality, you’ll ultimately find it in wired headsets.
And although wireless is great overall in terms of convenience and everything, their sound quality certainly doesn’t match wired headsets.”
Why is Wired Headsets Better in Terms of Sound?
From gamers, djs, to casual music listeners, wired headsets are often praised for their excellent and reliable sound quality.
For most audiophiles, wired connections deliver a more authentic sound compared to wireless connections.
The most common explanation is that wired headsets specifically receive an analog signal which tends to handle more data compared to those that use wireless connections like Bluetooth.
For example, wired headsets generally support a maximum of 2304kbps while a standard Bluetooth headset can only handle up to 768 kbps.
Of course, this entirely depends on the device and output ratio the signal is being sent through.
There is a simple explanation as to why wireless headsets have poorer sound quality than wired headsets.
You see, headsets with wireless connections consume part of their bandwidth while communicating with the receiver.
So practically, less data is transmitted. This, of course, leaves wired headsets at a greater advantage.
But then, given that most digital audio files have a standard bitrate of 256kbps with the highest ranging between 320-520kbps, you’ll only experience poor sound quality with wireless headphones if you listen to high-quality audio files.
Typically, the higher the kbps, the better the sound quality. But then high-end wireless models are perfectly capable of delivering better sound quality with high-quality audio files.
What’s the Problem with Bluetooth Headsets?
Thanks to recent advancements in wireless technology, most wireless headsets are perfectly capable of replicating that audio quality of wired headphones.
However, the fact that a big majority of these headsets use the standard 2.4 GHz Bluetooth makes it practically impossible for these headsets to match the sound quality of wired headsets.
But besides the sound quality issue, Bluetooth headsets are more likely to cause interference compared to wired headsets. Why is that?
Bluetooth utilizes the same frequency as numerous other Wi-Fi devices.
This simply means that your wifi-enabled Smartphone or tablet may cause some interference, preventing you from enjoying consistent and quality sound.
Bluetooth wireless headsets are also known to make things even more complicated with their compressed audio.
Older versions of wireless Bluetooth headsets focused exclusively on compressing audio, thus resulting in poor sound quality.
This is one of the biggest sound quality issues with Bluetooth headsets.
Thankfully, this old technology is slowly being phased out as the latest Bluetooth wireless headsets.
Additionally, through the integration of audio distribution profile (A2DP), wireless headsets are now capable of streaming superior stereo audio through the SBC codec.
Something important worth noting is that the sound quality of Bluetooth wireless headsets is largely affected by two things- the build quality of the headsets as well as the audio device being paired.
For example, by using high-quality audio devices with a wireless headset, you’re likely to achieve better sound quality.
If the devices you’re using are of poor quality, then you’re likely to experience poor audio as well.
Effect of Proximity to Audio Device Causes Interference with Wireless Headsets
With wired headsets, the only thing separating you from the connected device is the cable.
Since most wired headsets come with cables measuring 4-6 feet, they can provide enough distance between you and the device, thus delivering better sound quality.
The sound quality of wireless headsets is often affected by interference from devices within proximity.
Usually, most wireless headsets provide a range of up to 30 feet or more.
In most cases, interference tends to increase with distance. This means that if you’re listening to music in the living room or playing games on TV but the audio device is located farther away in the house, the audio quality may not be as clear.
Of course, wireless headsets give you more freedom than wired models. All the same, you might want to consider the sound quality effect of interference in wireless headsets.
Wired headsets provide better sound quality. But in terms of convenience and freedom of movement, wireless models are an excellent choice.
However, this should not discourage you from getting yourself a wireless headset.
As discussed earlier, the wireless technology is so much advanced, which means the audio quality in wireless headsets has significantly improved.
Things to Consider If you Want to Buy Headsets with the Perfect Sound Quality
You already understand that wired headsets let you enjoy better audio quality compared to wireless headsets. Of course, your choice will depend on your personal preferences.
This means that it’s upon you to decide whether to choose a wired or wireless pair of headsets for your music listening, movie watching, or gaming needs.
All the same, you must learn a few headsets audio technicalities to enable you to make an informed choice. Let’s dive right in;
Headsets with a High-Resolution Audio
Headsets that support high-resolution audio are known to deliver audio signals with bandwidth and dynamic range that is impressively greater than that delivered by CDs.
With such kind of high-res audio, you’re bound to enjoy the far better sound quality.
Such headsets allow you to listen to music the way sound technicians and singers hear it- crisp and clear.
Gamers, music listeners, and any other casual headset user will surely appreciate headsets that feature high-resolution audio.
Stereo vs Mono
Stereo sound includes two separate channels. They include a right and left channel.
When it comes to stereo headsets, each channel delivers different audio in each one of your ears.
The goal of this technology is to provide you with a sense of direction for what you’re listening to.
On the other hand, a mono sound delivers identical audio in each one of your ears as it includes just a single audio channel.
Your choice will, of course, depend on your preferences.
Frequency response is defined as the range of frequencies that a pair of headsets can reproduce accurately.
Generally, the standard frequency range is between 20HZ-20KHZ for normal human hearing. Unless your hearing is impaired, this is simply the ideal range.
The higher the frequency response of headsets, the better the audible sound they can reproduce.
Some high-end models offer wider ranges though. It’s not uncommon to see headsets with a frequency response that goes up to 33, 000 Hz.
Although this has nothing to do with sound quality, headsets with excellent sound amplification help eliminate background sounds, allowing you to have conversations even in noisy environments.
Consider choosing headsets that offer excellent noise-cancellation and noise isolation capabilities.
Both wired and wireless headsets offer noise cancellation and noise isolation.
All you have to do is choose a model that delivers the best sound performance as well as sound amplification and control.
Microphones and Controls
Headsets come with built-in microphones that let you make conversations or even use voice assistants like Siri, Alexa, or Google Assistant.
Wired headsets often include an in-line microphone mounted on the cord.
You’ll also find volume controls and other types of controls mounted on the cord. They are located strategically for ease of use and convenience.
In wireless headsets, you will most likely find the microphone and controls mounted in the earpiece/earcup.
The strategic placement of the microphone and necessary controls helps enhance your call experience.
For example, it becomes easy to transition from your tracks to pick incoming calls.
Does a Wired Headset Sound Better than a Wireless Headset? –Bottom Line
Well, it’s quite clear that wired headsets deliver superior sound quality compared to wireless headsets.
It’s not surprising considering the fact that wired headsets have been around for decades, yet most people still swear by their excellent audio quality.
But like stated earlier, wireless technology has very much improved, which means that the sound quality gap between wired and wireless headsets is increasingly becoming smaller.
So as you shop around for the perfect headphones, sound quality is an important factor to consider.