Up For Debate - How much does a gaming headset actually matter over cheaper headsets?

Written by Chad Norton on Sat, Aug 7, 2021 5:00 PM

PC peripherals have long been a staple of PC gaming. Sure you can hook up a PC to a monitor with a bog standard keyboard and mouse and call it a day, but why do that when you can enhance your setup with some specific gaming hardware?

However, is it even worth it? Gaming chairs have long been a contentious debate online, with some claiming they are overpriced for what they are and to just get a normal office chair instead. This isn’t anything new, as we have long seen specifically ‘gaming’ branded peripherals that are essentially overpriced copies of cheaper products that are not aimed towards gamers.

So the ‘gamer’ branding has a bit of negative connotation associated with it when it comes to PC peripherals, but which ones? Does it apply to all of them? And is there a point of diminishing returns?

More specifically, this week we’re talking about headsets. We originally proposed who was your go-to brand for PC peripherals, so let’s take a deeper dive into a specific piece of hardware. Thanks to Zenmaster who proposed this suggestion in the comments of an article last week, and let us know which peripheral you want us to focus on next!

Diving deeper into gaming headsets, we want to know which one you use and does it actually benefit your performance/immersion? As headsets are mostly advertized to hear sounds more clearly, like enemy footsteps, to get an edge over your opponents. Additionally, they can greatly enhance immersion with clearer sound quality.

But the important part is does that really matter all that much? If the best gaming headset costs $200, you can bet most people will be happier sticking with a $50 headset they got from a local retailer. Is that $150 increase justified? That’s what we want to chat about today.

So what do you think? Which headset do you use? Is it specifically a gaming one? How much does it actually matter for gameplay performance? And what’s a good price point to look for in a gaming headset? Let’s debate!

Do you own a gaming or regular headset?

How much does a gaming headset actually matter for performance?

If you own a gaming headset what do you think of it so far?

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02:16 Sep-12-2021

In the past I have spent a lot of money on Expensive Gaming headsets but this time I grabbed a $29.95 set from my local computer shop and firstly they are the most comfortable set Ive owned and if they break in 12 months they were well worth it I could buy 5 of these compared to my last set that were extremely uncomfortable.

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19:08 Aug-10-2021

got myself Radon 610 for 30$ 2-3 years ago, best decision of my life, my ears are in heaven for 12+ hours

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08:33 Aug-09-2021

In shooters decent headphones, with good equalizer settings and a mini map that shows your teammates on it is basically a wall/map hack.

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01:23 Aug-09-2021

Any peripheral that has "gaming" slapped on to its name is gonna be over-priced and will offer little, if any, benefit over a "non-gaming" one.


But they most likely offer no real benefit of any kind.


It's BS really.

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17:53 Aug-11-2021

Agreed. Only gaming headset I'd consider (if I didn't have my HD600 now) is the HyperX Cloud Orbit, because it has planar drivers and at this time and age, you rarely see them, especially on sub 400 euro headphones.

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00:23 Aug-09-2021

am using a webcam as mic, and a home cinemaset for sound.
Best thing you can ever get.. Gonna buy a webcam though with active noise canceling :) so its even better.
This way my ears wont get hurt at all after a long gaming time

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22:29 Aug-08-2021

im using a logitech G933 its the best ive ever had for gaming

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22:09 Aug-08-2021

I'm currently using an Hyper X Cloud II headset, and it's the best I've ever used. Best €100 I've ever spent. Sound is so clear that I lower the volume down to 40%. Any other headset or whatever I used before had sound so bad that I had to crank them up to at least 80% just to understand lyrics and talking.

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18:59 Aug-08-2021

Main reasons why I choose gaming headset for games instead of high end audiophile ones are comfort, good microphone, surround sound and a frequency response (usually more bass) that gives an advantage by highlighting some sounds like gun shots etc.
And true gaming headsets does not provide most accurate sound reproduction but if it gives you an advantage over other headsets when playing I think trade off is worth it

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08:13 Aug-08-2021

To me, the only reason I use gaming headphones is to be able to communicate during online games. If I play a singleplayer games or listen to music, I rather use speakers or my Hi-Fi headphones. So gaming headphones having a weaker quality of sound doesn't really bother me at all. I have a pair of HyperX Cloud Alphas and they sound quite decent actually, definitely not as good as my Bose QC35 or Beyerdynamic DT770 though.

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07:21 Aug-08-2021

I currently have Audio-Technica ATH-M50X. I asked people through the shout (beside the GD logo) about headphones and they suggests to get gaming headphones instead. I'm currently trying to sell my headphone but seeing the comments on this article making me confused and worried about my decision. What do you guys think I should do?

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08:15 Aug-08-2021

Are you happy with your current ones? In case you are, I see no reason to change. M50X surely sound better than about any gaming branded ones.

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08:51 Aug-08-2021

I once tried my cousin's gaming headset. It feels quite amazing to be able to feel the "thump" of the gun-firing and hearing footsteps much clearly. Still torn on what need to do. I don't necessarily need to get a headset because I already have a mic, but I'd like to hear the aforementioned sounds again when playing.

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12:08 Aug-08-2021

Then I guess you should ask your cousin what headphones exactly were the ones you tried and found enhancing the experience. I personally don't really hear a difference in my so called gaming headphones and music headphones when it comes to quality of sound effects, or direction of sounds. I guess there are gaming headphones which are more tailored towards enhancing those qualities than others.


And of course, sound profile can also be tuned with equalizer software. I'm using APO equalizer to change my headphones and speakers sound profiles more to my liking.

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00:20 Aug-08-2021

i use a "gaming" headset if a headset with an attached mic of better than call centre quality is the base line. currently using the Astro A50's cost £300 but for incredible build quality, audio quality and a charging dock rather than just a usb cable is worth in my opinion.

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00:21 Aug-08-2021

when i studied my Music degree i was using some AKG 272's which were about £250 of Audiophile studio reference headphone, i can barely tell the difference with my Astro A50's.

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22:29 Aug-07-2021

I used to use cheap headsets with microphone, but eventually I started trying better stuff, first ones I liked were Plantronics GameCom 367, I think, then I went through few more, but didn't like them as much and they all had in common some structural weakness, which basically meant I broke them pretty fast, either cable lost contact on one side, or something snapped.

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22:31 Aug-07-2021

But afterwards I loved HyperX Cloud 2 and that is what I am sticking with. I like sound quality, or at least it is good enough for me. And overall they seem to be doing best at surviving me, so that is always big plus in my book too.

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23:17 Aug-07-2021

Yeah i dont see most people getting into DAC´s and studio headphones that cost 150€+ easly. Just get headphones that are good enough diminishing returns and all that.

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22:28 Aug-07-2021

Tried all the hyper X headsets, thought they had awfull sound and were very quiet even with max volum. They were nice on the head though. Ended up getting a Rocat Khan Aimo and it has amazing sound & you can crank the volum up higher than any of the HyperX series.

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22:52 Aug-07-2021

I have HyperX Cloud Stinger and I couldn't be happier with it given the price I bought it for (40 Euro), and it's not quiet at all at max volume, sometimes I even have to reduce it.
But then again, I use speakers most of the time, I love that kinda bass that shakes my room lol

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21:15 Aug-07-2021

after the use of my hyperx headphones and the ear plugs either be made from leather or memory foam to me all types of these headphones sucks. It doesn't matter how good they're if they're made of this material the earphone will wear out and get sticky everywhere and since then no matter the brand if they use the same stuff after 2,3 years it'll be the same so i've given up for headphones usage.

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21:16 Aug-07-2021

the thing outside i could suggest is using good speakers but be careful of the buzz sound especially if ure planning to get them with the subwoofer. Also i suggest to try them out before purchasing. As for headphones i use mobile headphones whenever i need to talk to someone and i havent any problems with the mic. Everyone hears me. But if u want better sound a quality headphones is a good start

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19:50 Aug-07-2021

Simply, it is best to buy professional or studio grade headphones. Gaming headphones are often cheap which produces not good quality. I found out in July when I tested Bose QuietComfort 35 II which was graciously lent by company where I work then I decided to pick Sony WH-1000XM3 due to awesome noise cancelling. Man, Sony WH-1000XM3 are so mindblown. I got it for 180€ (during the huge sale) and I would and will never replace ever! Maybe I will replace if they keep upgrading Sony WH-1000XMx series.

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21:29 Aug-07-2021

I bought the WH-1000MX4 headphones and they are really extraordinary, specially the noise cancelling, i was blown by it, also when turned on the sound is way more clear , i use 90% of the features on these headphones but still think they are a little bit ovrpriced , i upgraded from the original beats solo wired from 2012 and it was a huge change.

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22:31 Aug-07-2021

Hehe, I know. XM4 is quite better than XM3 in noise cancelling. But yeah, due to the quite high price I didn't want to pay a lot. Maybe if it was 300€-ish then I maybe would buy it.

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18:56 Aug-07-2021

Just buy professional music gear (by professional I mean made for music production, or similar) rather than gaming. Better quality, last more, dont taint the sound (you hear what the devs intended) and dont look retarded

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19:02 Aug-07-2021

I agree, but, I really would like to try out the HyperX Cloud Orbit. Audeze™ planar magnetic drivers, I have never seen planar drivers in 300-400 euro headphones.
I tried the HyperX Cloud (1 or 2, don't remember) and for a gaming branded pair, it's really good, even for EDM type of music.

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19:42 Aug-07-2021

Uff, damn, $400 for HyperX Cloud Orbit and yes, I also have never seen this Audeze™ planar magnetic drivers. I tried Cloud II and those were okay-ish. Currently I have been using Sony WH-1000XM3 and those are damn beyond every headphones I have owned.

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18:02 Aug-11-2021

Aparently Audeze has two "cheap" gaming headsets priced under 400 USD, but the rest is all abouve the 800 USD. That's some high end planar driver stuff. I'll definitely buy a planar pair in the future (about 10 years from now I recon).

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18:55 Aug-07-2021

First one was a Turtlebeach P11 and boi, what a disappointment. The drivers were interfering with the microphone, meaning that the other side could hear what I heard, even at low volumes. Had this as well on another gaming headset of which the detachable mute/volume buttons cable was faulty.
Then I bought the Sennheiser HDR170 and man, what an upgrade. It isolated the outside a lot better, and frankly, I think the P11 are even more "open back" than actual open back headphones. About half a year ago I upgraded to the Sennheiser HD 600, which is even..

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18:59 Aug-07-2021

...100x better in comfort (I really can't even wear the HDR170 anymore, it just hurts my ears lol). Sound quality wise I wouldn't go with a gaming headset. You can just use programs like HeSuVi and EqualizerAPO to fine tune a good pair of headphones for gaming use.


Topping it off, a standalone mic doesn't have to cost hundreds of euros. BM800 or the well known "snowball" do very well. Just use RTX Voice or if you have an AMD/Intel GPU RNNoise with EqualizerAPO.


I stand by the common saying: anything branded with gaming is crap quality.

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17:53 Aug-07-2021

I have some Creative Fatal1ty headphones. I can't say they are good nor bad but they are worth the $20 I paid for them.

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17:27 Aug-07-2021

i had the same thinking with my keyboard/mouse, thinking why bother paying over £100 when £30 is good enough, but then i bought an expensive keyboard/mouse and now a headset, the AKG K712 PRO, and i love them so much, much better audio and build quality compared to the many cheaper pairs, i never had better before so i didn't know what im missing out on

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19:05 Aug-07-2021

Nice to see that you're also rocking open backs. When I just got my Sennheiser HD600 I was shocked about how well and clear the bass sounds like. I really thought that bass would be thin on open backs.

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17:24 Aug-07-2021

I had a few gaming headsets in the past and the majority of them were terrible. Never go for a gaming branded headset as they have weird audio settings that just sound terrible. I would rather recommend good headphones and a dedicated mic. Would be far ahead of what's on the market now and for cheaper depending on what you go for.

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