Want to have the perfect gaming experience? Then you need the right sound system. Having a subwoofer and surround speakers around you might seem like a good idea, but it poses a few problems: They’re bulky, they take time to set up, and you can’t use it during late hours without raising a ruckus and waking the dead. So, what’s the best solution?
Get yourself a Gaming headset.
Finding a pair should be an easy enough task, but if you really want an immersive gaming experience, using any working headset just won’t do. First, there’s the sound quality to worry about. Also, the unit you’re using may not come with a microphone, so you have to find or buy a separate one so you can talk with your teammates. Then, there’s the distracting, uncomfortable feeling of ill-fitting cans over your ears.
You don’t want to deal with those. You don’t need an ordinary headset. You’re a gamer, so you need a good gaming headset that will last you a long time.
Make the switch to a gaming headset from your regular cans and you will notice a difference of night and day. The extra comfort, the audio quality, the convenience – you’ll never go back to playing with regular headsets again. However, many gamers are worried that whatever gaming headset they purchase today might not be good enough to keep up with the kind of gaming experience they expect to have a few years from now.
Computer components are easy to future-proof since there’s a lot of info online about each new part’s performance, but what about gaming headsets? Today, we take a closer look at different future-friendly features found in gaming headsets.
The Basics of Future-Proofing Gaming Headsets
Before we talk about the actual features you have to look for in gaming headsets, you must first understand what it means to future-proof this gaming peripheral. For computers, future-proofing is mostly about getting components that, for years, will allow the computer to smoothly run even the latest programs at the highest settings. On the other hand, future-proofing a gaming headset is mostly about looking for the features that will make the unit compatible with expected changes in audio technology and allow it to provide consistent levels of comfort and convenience for years.
Gaming Headset parts that add to one’s comfort are fairly straightforward. You want features that will make sure that wearing your gaming headset won’t feel like you have hard plastic rubbing against your scalp for hours on end during a gaming marathon.
Cushions are found in two key areas of the gaming headset: the earphones and the drum. In regular headsets, these are usually made of a thin rubber membrane with a bit of foam enclosed within. Unfortunately, the outer layer of the cushion tends to flake off or crack over time, exposing the foam. On the other hand, good gaming headsets have a durable fabric or faux leather mesh on top of the foam, which is much tougher and provides additional sound proofing.
2. Headband Adjustments
Adjusting a headset’s headband can be a tricky task. Make it too tight and the gaming headset will be painful to wear for extended periods, make it too loose and the headset will just slide off the user’s head. You want a gaming headset that features auto-adjusting headbands or at least something with finer adjustment options. A good example would be Turtle Beach Elite Pro’s unique fitting system that allows users to adjust the tension on the headband as well as the position of the ear cups for a more personalized fit.
3. Wireless Feature
Back in the day, gamers scoffed at the idea of using wireless gaming headset due to problems regarding audio delays, weak battery life, and limited signal range. This is no longer the case with today’s technologies because wireless gaming headsets now boast extended range and impressive battery life. Best of all, wireless headsets are responsive enough to be used when playing fast-paced games like first-person shooters. Also, no pesky wire running down your neck and shoulders, so that’s extra comfort points down the road.
Note: Wireless gaming headsets require batteries to run. Most models will give you about 7-8 hours before they have to be recharged again.
Development of video game audio technology calls for newer and more compatible hardware. For example: before these technologies, most people considered playing with stereo headsets sufficient. Fast forward a few years and now surround sound has become a common feature for most mid- to high-end gaming platforms.
1. Device Compatibility
There are so many gaming devices available today and it would be a waste if you can’t use your new gaming headset to fully immerse yourself in the game’s audio tracks. When shopping for a new headset, make a mental list of the gaming platforms you most often play on and see if your chosen gaming headset is compatible with those. Otherwise, just move to the next option.
Note: Some gaming headsets include adapters for different platforms. While some prep time is required to set up the adapter, this can be a better option compared to buying separate headsets for each console or PC you own.
2. Surround Sound Technologies
There are two main types of surround sound, namely:
- True surround sound – uses a series of smaller speakers (drivers) to emulate directional sound
- Emulated surround sound – has only two drivers, but uses software to help alter the sound waves coming from the two speakers to recreate directional sound
There are gaming headsets that feature true surround sound, but they are generally more expensive than most other types of headsets. The second option is much more affordable and also just as popular. For best results, look for headsets that support the newer sound technologies such as Windows Sonic, Dolby Atmos, and DTS Headphone:X.
One of the main purposes of gaming headsets is to provide an immersive gaming experience while causing as little distraction as possible. This can be achieved by making a few added features more convenient to use. Examples of these are volume adjusters or a switch that instantly mutes chat.
Clear communication is just as important as hearing when playing games, especially when you’re into competitive team games where pre-programmed quick messages don’t tell much and typing messages takes too much time. For this reason, you’d want a decent microphone for real-time voice chat and other purposes.
Most gaming headsets today feature boom mics that either swivel up and down or can be retracted. Some gamers prefer hidden mics that will not block their peripheral vision. Unidirectional microphones are preferred since they’re less likely to pick up background noise when talking.
2. Charging Stations, Docks, and Stands
When you’re not using your gaming headset, you probably just leave it lying on your desk, TV stand, or side table. This may be okay for low-end, regular headsets, but you have to remember that gaming headsets need a bit of TLC. When looking for a gaming headset, see if there are products that come with accessories such as charging stations or headset stands. These not only prevent your gaming headset from accidentally falling on the ground, they make it easier for you to pick up or charge your wireless headsets.
Other Factors to Consider When Shopping for a Headset
These don’t really count as features, but should still be a factor when you’re shopping for a future-proofed headset.
This one may have the least impact on performance but, at the end of the day, it’s one of the major deciding factors when buying a gaming headset. Sure, you can spend a lot on the most expensive, feature-rich headset available today, but what if there are already cheaper alternatives that carry all the future-proofing features you need? It’s best to have at least several reasonably-priced options in your buy list and prioritize the ones that you think would give you the most value for the price.
There’s a saying that you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but when it comes to gaming headsets, the brand can be a good indicator of how good a product is. Popular brands include Turtle Beach, Razer, Logitech, Roccat, and Asus, to name a few. These brands have a good track record when it comes to the quality of their gaming peripherals so if you can, go for the more well-known brands. Furthermore, these brands often tend to update product drivers and firmware more frequently compared to lesser-known brands, so your headset is more likely to get a performance improvement update in the near future.
Despite their namesake, video games are not just about visual impression, quirky mechanics, and epic storytelling. Without good sound effects or music, you won’t be able to get the full video game experience. This is why picking the right gaming headset is just as important as choosing your controller. Have a headset that’s ready to deliver even a couple of years from now and you’ll be able to immerse yourself with the latest games without having to buy a replacement every year.