Gaming Headphones vs. Studio Headphones for Gaming

When it comes to choosing your peripherals, you’ll find that a lot of people recommend you stick to “gaming” products for gaming. And while for some products that might make sense, like using a gaming mouse that’s lightweight, has an accurate sensor, and zero tracking issues, for others, like gaming headphones, there might be better alternatives.

That being said, one of the things you’ll see recommended pretty often lately is swapping out your gaming headset, for a pair of studio headphones. Well, any high-quality audio headphones, to be exact. But, what is the difference between these two types? And which ones should you get? Let’s find out.

Gaming headphones – what are they?

Even though they pretty much didn’t exist some time ago, gaming headphones are pretty popular nowadays. The more correct name for them would be a gaming headset. This is because they usually, if not always, come with a microphone as well. And that’s what differentiates them from conventional headphones.

Now, the microphone wasn’t a big deal a couple of years ago. But multiplayer games are rising in popularity, and having one is now a necessity. You need a microphone to talk to your teammates when you’re playing team-based multiplayer games because it has a massive impact on the quality of gaming.

That being said, the microphone found on gaming headsets isn’t always the best. Sure, you have some great examples – SteelSeries’ ClearCast mic is just stunning, and so is HyperX’s microphone. But with many others, you get an “average” microphone quality. You also don’t get any decent noise-canceling from it either.

To add to this, gaming headsets also often focus on “features”. We aren’t talking about sound quality. Instead, we’re talking about virtual surround setups, sound tuning to enhance footsteps, and exterior things like RGB. Sound quality does take a back seat here. And that’s why you’ll be hard-pressed to find a gaming headset that actually sounds good with music.

But on the other hand, you’ll get an all-in-one solution that gets you gaming headphones and a microphone. You’ll be able to game with your friends and enjoy a decent gaming experience. You can even go wireless if you want, too!

What about studio headphones?

Studio headphones, and other audio-oriented headphones, take somewhat of a different approach. They usually come with high-quality drivers that get you great sound reproduction, as well as a comfortable fit that allows you to listen to music for hours at an end.

With that in mind, there are two types of studio headphones you’ll want to know about, closed-back and open-back headphones. The difference between the two is that open backs come with less isolation, and leak a bit of sound. But, in terms of sound quality, you get a much more open, much wider soundstage. When you’re gaming, this allows you to get directional sound cues, and get a much more immersive experience. And all of this is without any artificial enhancements like virtual surround, for example.

Gamers will notice that we haven’t mentioned a microphone yet. That’s because studio headphones are made for listening, and not talking. And yes, that means you don’t get a microphone. If you want to play multiplayer games, you’ll need to buy one. Fortunately, there are plenty of great options, like the ModMic Wireless, which you can use with literally any pair of headphones out there. Yes, it’s an extra thing to buy, but it also comes with a quality that’s oftentimes much higher than what you’d get with a regular pair of gaming headphones.

The other thing about studio headphones is that when you’re not gaming, they’re much better for actual music listening than gaming headphones. If you don’t only need them for gaming, this is a massive benefit. And this is why sometimes they’re a better pick than gaming headphones if you can afford an extra mic.

Are gaming headphones or studio headphones right for you?

With all of this said and done, the question remains unanswered – which ones are right for you? And quite frankly, it depends on what you want and need. If you’re only using your headphones for gaming, and nothing else, then a pair of gaming headphones is probably a good pick. You’ll get decent sound quality, and probably a good enough mic for communication. You can also enjoy some of those extra features like RGB lights or other nice-to-haves.

On the other hand, if you’ll also be listening to music, and don’t mind stretching your budget a bit, a pair of studio headphones is probably a better pick. You get to pick and choose in terms of design, sound quality, manufacturer, etc., and there are a lot more options than gaming headphones. You can also choose how much you spend on a mic, too. And overall, you get a lot of versatility, something that can’t be said about gaming headphones.

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