How to Choose the Best Headphones for Gaming and Everything Else

Buying headphones is an essential thing for a lot of people. The process of buying a pair of good headphones can be a difficult one because many people do not really know what they should be looking for whenever they are in the market looking for headphones. The thing that you need to know about the headphone buying process is that you have to be very careful.

While we were reviewing the best gaming earphones, we realised that having a buyer’s guide is only going to help you. Thankfully, you are in the right spot. As we have decided to pen down the definitive buying guide that will help you choose the best headphones for gaming and everything else.

Understanding the Type of Headphones

First things first, whenever you are in the market, you need to understand the type of headphones available in the market. This type refers to how they are worn; when you are in the market, you will find three distinct styles of headphones that you can buy.

In-Ear Headphones

These are also known as in-ear monitor, earbuds, or earphones. These normally ship with our phones and music devices. Honestly speaking, there are a lot of reasons to buy these headphones, but the biggest reason is that they are portable. You can just tuck them in your pocket and carry on with your day without having to worry about anything.

They are lightweight as well, and the best part is that the modern ones are actually a lot better, and provide sound that is very close to the sound of actual, full-sized headphones. Thanks to how snug they can get, they offer great noise cancellation, and they are even great for working out. If you are bothered by the wire, you can go wireless and not worry about anything.

On the flipside, with these headphones; the sound quality usually suffers. Simply because the drivers are smaller, and they normally struggle. However, we would like to mention that the sound quality of higher end pairs is catching up, especially when you talk about pairs that offer multiple drivers because in that case, there are multiple drivers handling different frequencies.

On-Ear Headphones

This is one of the kinds that are not as common as some might think. On-ear headphones do not go inside your ear canals, but they sit on top of the ears instead. These headphones are relatively smaller in size, but much bigger than your traditional earphones.

There are some advantages and disadvantages to this type of headphones; for starters, the biggest advantage is the improved sound quality over the in-ear headphones. These are able to produce a sound that is much better as compared to some of the in-ear monitors available in the market.

However, the downside is that they do not provide noise isolation that is good enough. Simply because they sit on top of the ears, and there is often a gap that can come in the way.

Over-Ear Headphones

When it comes to the size alone, these headphones are the largest of the bunch, and also among the most common. You can mostly find one over-ear pair of headphones sitting on your table as well.

These headphones provide you with the best sound you can get; simply because they have larger drivers in them, and when you wear them, the headphones cover your ears without any issues that might come in the way. If you are going for the wireless options, the good news is that they will have larger batteries in them and will allow you to have a great listening experience that can go on for long hours.

Honestly, there are not many downsides, to begin with, nothing at all, actually. Just make sure that the headphones you are buying of this category are actually good in general.

Do You Want to Go Wireless or Wired

When it comes to Bluetooth headphones, there is generally a controversy that manages to stir up in the process. Normally, the enthusiasts, or audiophiles as they would call themselves hate wireless headphones simply because they think that the sound is simply not good enough on these headphones. This was largely true in the past but based on our experience with Sony’s WH 1000XM3 and Sennheiser PXC 550, we can assure you that the sound quality is slowly catching up.

All of the headphones that we have mentioned above can be purchased in both wireless and wired variants. However, the situation with specific models might vary. One of the most famous pair of earphones that is available in both wired and wireless form is the Audio-Technica ATH-M50x; this is perhaps the most legendary pair of headphones available in the market.

Picking the Right Gaming Headphones

Gaming headphones are often looked down upon by the enthusiasts because they are mostly gimmicky. However, the one thing that we cannot deny about them is that they are becoming more and more popular in the modern day and age. If you are looking for a good gaming headphone, there are a few things that you should look out for.

  • For starters, you should look out for a microphone that is good. The Sennheiser Game series of headphones is pretty great when it comes to microphones and overall general sound quality.
  • Secondly, make sure that the color scheme matches your build since that is one of the main things that most people are concerned with.
  • Last but not least, do pay attention to the material that goes on the ear cups; you do not want to go with something that makes the wearing experience uncomfortable.

Active Noise Cancellation vs Passive Noise Cancellation

Whenever you are trying to find a good pair of headphones, you will normally run into active noise cancellation headphones. These are normally the wireless headphones like the Bose QC 35, or the Sony wireless options like the WH-1000XM3. These headphones have a chip inside them that provides the noise cancellation by blocking out the additional noise from outside.

However, there is another breed of noise cancellation headphones in the market that is called passive noise canceling headphones. These are basically any pair of headphones that provide you decent noise cancellation without any ANC chip inside them. Which simply means that any regular pair of headphones like the M50x by Audio-Technica can also be called the headphones with passive noise cancellation.

Sadly, most manufacturers do not really go ahead and market the passive noise cancellation on the headphones that are available in the market. Passive noise cancellation is also known as noise isolation.

Open Back vs Closed Back

Another really, really important factor to stress on whenever you are looking for a good pair of headphones is the case of open back and closed back. This is normally found only in the over-ear headphones, but believe it or not, it makes a world of difference.

For starters, open back headphones do not have their drivers closed off in the ear cups. Instead, the backside is left open and covered with some sort of grill or mesh. The outside noise can pass through the mesh, and the music you are listening to can actually pass through, as well. This means that people will be able to hear what you are listening to and you will be able to hear the outside noise. This can be seen as a negative but in reality, it gives you a much wider soundstage, and you often feel like you are actually present in the room with the artists.

Closed back headphones, on the other hand, work in the opposite manner. The drivers are enclosed; these headphones offer a tighter pass, and the soundstage is not as wide. That is not to say that the sound on these headphones is good.

In reality, none of them really wins in this case because both headphones are largely subjective in nature.

Conclusion

Choosing the right pair of headphones is not as difficult as you might think. However, it can easily confuse the best of people when it comes to buying them. There are many factors involved in the process, and some real science, too.

With our buying guide, we have decided to make things easier for the laymen by staying away from the technicalities as much as possible but including them in such a way that you will have an easier time understanding what you should buy and what you should not.

Bill Wilson
Bill is a certified Microsoft Professional providing assistance to over 500 remotely connected employees and managing Windows 2008 to 2016 servers.