Up For Debate - Do you normally use headphones or speakers when gaming?

Written by Neil Soutter on Mon, Dec 28, 2020 5:00 PM
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As PC gamers we all tend to have different rigs and different setups. Some of us have a modest, 1080p, single monitor setup, whilst others can have a 4K triple-monitor immersive beast. It’s what attracts so many people to the platform. And in the midst of classic questions like gamepad or keyboard, we thought we’d switch things up a bit: do you use headphones or speakers when gaming?

Headphones are generally marketed towards gamers more due to their prominent use in competitive games that give you an edge over your opponents. With headphones you can literally hear the faintest change in noise in all directions, allowing you to hear when enemies are attempting to sneak up on you.

Headphones also generally have microphones, which is essential for communicating with teammates in tense and high-adrenaline situations. Games like Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Rainbow Six: Siege, or even Call of Duty Warzone all benefit from the use of headphones.

But sometimes you don’t need that. Sometimes you just want to kick back and enjoy your time whilst playing something like Assassins Creed: Valhalla or Cyberpunk 2077. Do you really need headphones for that? Sure, they’ll increase immersion, but are they worth the hassle?

That’s what we wanted to ask you: do you use headphones whilst gaming? Or speakers? Do you flip flop between the two? If so, when? And what kind of headphones/speakers do you use and would you recommend them to other people? Let’s debate!

Do you mostly use headphones or speakers when gaming?

If both when do you normally use headphones?

If both when do you normally use speakers?

Do you need headphones for a good gaming experience?

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08:58 Jan-03-2021

I usually use my headphones when playing competitive games or just hanging with friends on Discord. I use my speakers when playing single player games, watching movies or listening to music for the best experience since my room has a speaker in every corner.


I really recommend people to not use headphones all the time since it's not healthy.

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23:17 Dec-30-2020

SoundBlaster AE-5 plus with optical connection to my Logitech Z906 5.1. Blast them nukes baby! Sabre Class DACs are the real deal. If you haven't heard this kind of PC gaming sound you do not know what you're missing. For headphones i use Razer Blackshark V2 for night gaming and when i want immersion of horror genre.

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21:11 Dec-30-2020

Headphones at all times even when not gaming there's absolutely no reason to refrain from doing so!
Razer Kraken USB and Man 'o' War.

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15:06 Dec-31-2020

same with me, i am so used to headphones i often sit with them on even when there is nothing playing

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00:35 Jan-01-2021

it warms the ears hehe

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10:30 Dec-29-2020

ok Shout out to all Speaker Users how do you connect the 5.1 system to the PC? the 3x 3.5mm Audio jacks or the HDMI/DP port from the graphic card?

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16:18 Dec-29-2020

If you're using HDMI, then connect the GPU's HDMI to the AV/receiver and then connect the receiver's HDMI out to your monitor.

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07:19 Dec-30-2020

but wont you be increasing your input to screen reaction lag / delay ? i ask cause currently i am on a super reactive screen 1ms pc monitor but my tv even with game mode is like quite bad making me think its like 15ms or somthing wont this

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07:19 Dec-30-2020

worsen it?
that being said should i run any softwares as well to get good 5.1 audio? or only let the game do its thing.
any game youd recommend to enjoy some epic audio?

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22:02 Dec-30-2020

Not sure about a delay, but whether it'll be noticeable is another story. A second option would be to run an optical cable between your PC and receiver, but it would be compressed as optical does not support uncompressed 5.1 audio (e.g., Dolby True HD). You could also run an HDMI to the receiver from your gpu (use DisplayPort for the monitor), however, you're PC display would also show up on your TV screen (be sure to choose "extended display" in Windows if your monitor is >60hz).

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09:13 Dec-31-2020

i will be trying the hdmi option out this upcoming weekend thanks for the idea

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10:00 Dec-29-2020

tbh, it depends on the game, but I prefer using headphones

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09:45 Dec-29-2020

I have a 5.0 system via an amplifier for my PC. If I want to listen to music, watch movies or play single player games I just let it run over the speakers. When I play online games, usually competitive shooters or racers, I plug the headphones into my amplifier, because the more direct sound helps a lot. I've tried playing competitive before with surround speakers, but you just don't hear enough.

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10:07 Dec-29-2020

what sorta 5.0 system do you use? and how do you provide it with audio signals ? do you use the 3x 3.5mm jacks or HDMI/Display port via graphic card?

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08:26 Jan-01-2021

I have it running via HDMI out of my GPU. What do you mean by what sort of 5.0 system? Like which speaker set I use? It's an older Pioneer set, don't know the series.

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07:16 Jan-04-2021

i meant do you run a Amplifier or or PC speaker set? or simply attach a bunch of individual speakers via the 1x 3.5mm to 2x RCA splitter and then attach that to the speaker. A guy i met once had individual speakers as such and they actually

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07:18 Jan-04-2021

sounded great. Except they were all These wireless blutooth speakers so every odd day he had to remove them all from the various corners and charge them then reconnect to use again which i found excessive to say the least.

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08:25 Dec-29-2020

Headphones are good for competitive games like CS or maybe horror games for immersion other than this speakers are fine and better if they are 5.1 or 7.1.

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06:06 Dec-29-2020

5.1.4 Speaker system on my TV for couch gaming (I connect my pc to the the TV with long HDMI cable, wireless controller). Otherwise Headphones when playing on the PC.

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05:12 Dec-29-2020

Had 2.1 sound system long long time ago on my gaming PC, tried headphones once but it simply did not seem right... something was off and tbh it did not feel good at all!


Then i found a good quality 5.1 surround sound system and the difference in some games was immense!

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11:03 Dec-29-2020

Yeah for sure, properly setup 5.1 speaker system with proper sound card is really nice for games as long as you can drive them at quite loud level, i remember first time trying bf3 on my speakers and its so nice, the explosions have much more power in them and gunshots in the distance behind you are sweet as well.

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04:59 Dec-29-2020

cant play fps without my roccat 5.1 analogs.

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00:16 Dec-29-2020

If only Windows hadn't removed the audio layers in 2005, I miss EAX, actual 3D directional audio, Dolby Atmos is bringing PC gaming back to where it was 2 decades ago.

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11:08 Dec-29-2020

Many modern games did catch up with eax level but as i recently played gothic 1 and i have creative ae-5 with creative alchemy capable it was very nice.

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17:20 Dec-29-2020

I also use Dolby Atmos. Love it, add so much more to the sound!

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12:00 Dec-30-2020

Nice card, I recently received the G6, and playing Star Wars: knights of the old republic with EAX 3 enabled is on another level compared to Atmos or DTS Headphone:x, but there is hope going forward at least for modern PC gaming.

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14:01 Dec-30-2020

Ah g6 is nice unit too, since i have 5.1 speaker system as well as headphones ae-5 was the way to go. I love that it has dedicated headphone jack for it as well as full 5.1 support so i dont need to switch between them. One of my main aims going with creative was full eax support in older games and im definitely happy with my choice as eax really renews them. Not to mention that the dac and amp in that is really good. Too bad it was discontinued like 1-2 year after it was rel

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22:30 Dec-28-2020

Personally I only use headphones, so I can adjust volume to whatever I want and not worry about noise and neighbors. I have nothing against speakers, just kind of don't feel like everyone listening in on what I am doing. Though I didn't use speakers for a long time, so I kind of can't really say how they compare. But then again, I definitely am not audiophile, so I guess I am easy to please. :-D

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22:07 Dec-28-2020

headphones however i got those in ear headphones and im using them for everything as i dont own any speakers

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21:56 Dec-28-2020

speakers all the time, much better than headphones for sure,
since I do audio mixing and production, I use some decent studio monitors, 3-way active coaxial and 12" studio subwoofer :)

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21:26 Dec-28-2020

Speakers 99.9% of the time on PC and anything on TV. Got decent systems because I like good and powerful sound. Headphones are more for if I'm doing something (games, music, youtube) in public, at work or in bed at night - basically not to disturb people nearby. Except at home, my missis is ok with speakers :D (bless her)

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23:19 Dec-28-2020

Imagine having a missis :') I'm envious

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21:17 Dec-28-2020

7.1 when playing on console and headphones when gaming on pc, or sometimes just no headphones at all for games like Warships.

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21:11 Dec-28-2020

Only game I've used headphones with was Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice. In that game it really does make the difference.
Otherwise I like cranking up the volume on my speakers.

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21:02 Dec-28-2020

I generally play with Headphones... specifically a pair of DT-770 Pro... because that is just my usual setup for making music... I don't usually use monitors simply because my neighbors exist, and the walls are thin, and I don't live alone. and, frankly, the acoustics in the entire house are crap, and I simply do not have the money to fix that issue.


So, I make do with my headphones.

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22:19 Dec-28-2020

DT 770 are great, what audio interface are you using for making music? :)

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01:19 Dec-29-2020

I|m using a UMC1820... mainly because it was relatively cheap and I wanted a bunch of outputs and inputs to use for outboard gear.
...after the last couple stunts Behringer pulled, I'd think thrice about buying anything from them anymore, tho.

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14:02 Dec-30-2020

I'd say Behringer is fine as long as there is correct driver support (or class-compliant mode),
I use RME ADI-2 DAC as my main audio device for speakers and headphones, kinda expensive but worth it for my needs I guess,
though I do have 4 units of Behringer P1 headphone amps in studio for years working without hiccup :)

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20:34 Dec-28-2020

I have to say "no way" to headphones unless I'm playing a MP game. There's nothing like making the room rumble with surround sound speakers. IMO, it's the only way to play.

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20:30 Dec-28-2020

I used both. I use my headphones at night and speakers during the day. I personally love Bose and so for my PC I have a set of 2.1 Bose speakers with Creative Sound BlasterX AE Plus. And a set of Creative Blaze cans...

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