Anyone who is serious about building a quality home theater or gaming room knows that audio quality is key to creating an immersive environment perfect for enjoying the fun. But sometimes using a surround-sound system for the entire room isn’t feasible for a number of reasons: whether it’s a need to reduce noise for your roommates or apartment neighbor next door, or when you’re only watching or playing on your own while your spouse works in their office in the next room. Having home theatre or gaming headphones will be a great alternative to replace or supplement a large sound system. But what key features should you look for in your headphones to provide the best quality?
To get the most out of your headphones, we recommend looking closely at these key traits and features below. Gamers and movie watchers should look for a headset that accomplishes these three top “C” goals: communication, compatibility, and comfort.
One of the most important components to a good set of gaming headphones is its communication and listening features. First, check if it’s capable of at least 5.1-industry standard surround sound, as most video games and films provide record their audio at this standard. Many are also capable of switching between 5.1-to 7.1-surround sound for 3D gaming standards, which can be great when you’re working with various games and consoles. Sound equalizers can also make a difference. In addition, the microphone should allow you to communicate clearly. Look for features that also allow for flexibility in its use, such as a mute button or ability to swivel out of the way or detach when a microphone is not needed. Really, no one wants to buy a headset with a microphone that can’t mute, especially if you’re trying to strategize with your buddy in the same room against a team online.
Compatibility is the next important component for both movie watchers, but especially gamers. If you plan to game on multiple consoles, you will want a headphone set that allows you to plug in and play, no matter what OS you will be using. Does your headphone set come with a jack and USB-compatible conversion? Can it be used cross-platform on your PS3 to Xbox One to gaming laptop or tablet? If you switched to a Mac, will it also still be recognized? Many headsets are compatible across platforms and come with a detachable USB inline gaming control extension, but other models might require you to buy it separately. Movie watchers might want to watch a movie that’s compatible with their flat-screen TV, the large Mac in their office, to the tablet for long commutes. Many gaming headsets actually fulfill a lot of the qualities that you should look for in audio-movie headphones, like the Califone GH507 Gaming Headset: with the detachable microphone, you can use these headphones for great surround audio while watching a movie.
And of course, if you’re planning to go at it for hours on end, finding a headphone set that is comfortable is key to your gaming performance or watching comfort. Check for headsets that are adjustable, whether you prefer on-ear or over-ear use, and the weight of the headphones. For example, the Lightweight Califone GH131 Headset is great for those looking for on-ear, lightweight comfort, without sacrificing other gaming features, while the LTB Audio MG51-USB Magnum True 5.1 Surround Sound Headphones with built-in microphone adds lots of comfy padding without adding the weight to the design, or a bulky in-line microphone in front of your face when unneeded.
Overall, focusing on comfort, compatibility, and communication will cover the most important bases for your headphone/headset needs. For more help finding the right headphones or headset for your gaming system or entertainment set up, contact us.