Finding the best headphones for enjoying your favorite music or online games is important. Sorting through so many potential options can be time consuming, however. There are so many things to consider when it comes to what headphones will work best for your needs.
In this article, you will see a quick break down of six headphones that can meet the needs of hardcore gamers, serious audiophiles, as well as meeting some middle-ground requirements that will make them suitable for almost any use you have in mind.
How To Pick The Best Headphones for Music & Gaming
One of the most important features of a good set of headphones is the sound quality. Whether you are a complete audiophile or a casual gamer just wanting to get an edge in your favorite FPS, ensuring you have high quality audio is important.
Choosing the best sound quality comes down to bass and treble quality, as well as how each hits their low frequencies and peaks. When looking at headphones to fit your needs, balancing the sound quality is vital.
For gamers this might be more of a concern than for one who may only be wearing their headphones for an hour or two a day. Comfort consideration includes the overall weight of the headphones as well as the headband thickness and support it provides.
In addition to the headband comfort, it’s also important to ensure the ear cups are sized correctly as well as being properly padded. Regardless of how long you might be wearing your headphones, ear cups that are too stiff or not well padded can quickly cause ear fatigue and discomfort.
Wired vs Wireless
Wireless headphones are an extremely common choice for gaming where sound quality is not as important as being able to move. Especially if you game at a standing desk, or happen to get up frequently for snacks and drinks.
For audiophiles expecting the best sound quality, a wired headset is vital. Wired headphones of all brands will give you a much more reliable and crisp audio result. However, the freedom of movement is obviously limited and you will be removing and replacing the headset on your head much more often.
Microphones are not normally a consideration for headphones that will only be used for enjoying audio. However, there are some headphones that can accept external microphones without too much hassle.
For gaming headsets (even gaming headsets under 0), having a microphone is almost guaranteed. However the quality of microphones can vary greatly. If your focus is on a gaming headset with a microphone, be sure to test the microphone quality before making your decision.
The standard connection for audio headphones is normally a 3.5mm jack. Some will have 6.35mm adapters as well, which is common for studio quality headsets. You will very rarely find USB connections for studio headphones.
For gaming headphones, however, a USB connection is extremely common. You will also find a large number of gaming headsets that have a 3.5mm jack. Between these two connectors, gaming headsets are compatible with PCs, consoles, tablets and more.
Do I Need An Amplifier? Sensitivity & Impedance Explained
Most headphones are rated from 8 to 600 ohms of impedance, with a range of 32 or 35 becoming more and more popular. Audio impedance, however, normally stays around 4 or less ohms unless you’re looking at specialized amplifiers in which case the ohms can reach 120 or higher. Lower impedance rated headphones before 50 are great for portable device usage, but higher ohms of 50 or more will require amplification to give their best performance.
Most headphone models are only found in a single impedance rating. However, the Beyerdynamic brand is currently the only major commercial producer of multiple versions of the same model. The reason for this redundancy is that each version can carry a different impedance to suit the unique needs of specific users.
Do I Need To Get An External Mic? What Are The Options?
Having an external mic will depend on your intended usage for the headset you have chosen. For online gamers, having some way to communicate through voice chat can be a vital part of your gaming experience, while for others this is not something they are concerned about. Most gaming headsets will have a built in microphone, so no external mic considerations will be needed.
Headsets that are more focused on audiophiles or studio use will likely be lacking a built-in microphone. In this case you will need to consider an external microphone such as an in-line mic, a desktop mic, or an entirely separate studio microphone option.
Open Back vs Closed Back Headphones for Gaming & Music
When it comes to open back or closed back, the benefits of each will depend on the user’s focus and goals. The biggest benefit of closed back headphones is the addition of sound isolation and noise cancellation. This gives you a very immersive audio experience, but can limit you being unable to hear things around you in the real world.
Open back headphones allow you to remain focused on hearing your audio in the headset, while also being able to switch your focus to sounds and voices in the space around you. The biggest downside, however, is that you will lack some of the depth of sound in both treble and bass.
From casual to professional gaming, to serious audiophiles, finding the right headphones for your uses will take some research and potentially a bit of trial and error. The biggest concern you may have is about the general sound quality when it comes to treble and bass balancing. Some headphones lack a bit in this regard, while others will shine. It’s up to you to decide how important the overall sound quality is to you.