Gaming has truly evolved since the old arcade days.
Now, it is a forced to be reckoned with in media and current pop culture. With the rapid rise of esports, gaming-based manufacturers have evolved their products in order to tailor to the pro player’s needs. Even if you’re simply a hardcore gamer who loves to prove your skills to online games, you’ll definitely need competent accessories for the competent player.
While monitors, computer mouses, keyboards, arcade sticks, driving wheels, chairs, and the PC, in general, have esports/competitive versions, there’s no denying the fact that one of the most important key components in skill-based games is sounds. What you hear in the game’s surroundings is as vital as what you see in the game.
Alright, so you must be looking for the best of the best in gaming headsets of the year or at least a decent gaming headset while on a budget but do you even know how to pick the right one? Don’t worry, we’ll show you 4 valid reasons why you need a good pair of headphones for competitive gaming.
1. Clearer sounds mean better alertness
This should be a no-brainer but what’s the point of turning into a competitive player when all you hear is muffled sounds from your headset? High-profile brands like Turtle Beach, Razer, Sennheiser and HyperX offer headsets with the crispiest sounds swirled in with the widest frequency response. Okay, so fighting games don’t really need top gear headset but when you’re dealing with games like CSGO, Rainbow Six: Siege, League of Legends, DotA 2 or ANY battle royale game, you know that sound is a factor. Footsteps, enemy screams, certain sound effects, distant gunshots, they all matter for a competitive gamer.
And with a good headset, you’ll hear these always in clear fashion. Like what Todd Howard said, “It just works.” For that, you will want to prioritize a headset that offers surround sound. That way, it’s like a theater in your ears. ] Primarily, look for headsets with a Dolby 7.1 or THX 7.1 to deliver the fullest surround sound experience that works best on war games.
2. Communication is Key
Do you know what else improves your competitive skills? Communication. As long as you’re not looking to just purely trash-talk other players, a good quality microphone does its job well for team-based games. After all, clear communication means better cooperation. If you really are a team player, you will need a headset that comes with a microphone that doesn’t sound like one of those earrape compilation memes. No, it doesn’t need to be studio-tier but as long as your mic sounds more of decent discord/streaming audio then that’s all that matters. You don’t want to let down your crew just because they can’t hear you from all that muffling.
3. Good Frequency Response = Good Experience
Do you know what’s as irritating as low-quality sounds? Sounds that emit like it came from a soda can. So, why is this a thing? Because some headsets do not have the right balance in frequency response. Very low frequency means really lowered volume to the point where only ants can listen to it. Very high frequency is the same equivalent to scratching a nail onto a chalkboard while the Crazy Frog song is playing.
So, how do you determine when a headset has the right numbers in terms of frequency? Look for numbers between 12 Hz to a max of 28 KHz. Anything lower is too soft but higher than 28 KHz will give you noise pollution. However, the sweet spot ranges between 20 Hz to 20 KHz - perfect for any competitive game. Just don’t overthink the numbers too much. But do take note that headsets that include a 20 Hz to 20 KHz frequency response don’t come cheap. After all, those are the same numbers the human ear can hear. Therefore, in the case of competitive gaming, you don’t get that sound-tearing effect as you play the game.
4. Comfort is King
Last but not least, comfort also improves your competitive experience. You may have the comfiest gaming chair, the most responsive mouse, the extremely ergonomic keyboard, the best in PC and monitor but you won’t get the full package if the headset irritates you. You see, prolonged usage of a headset can gradually squeeze your ears, making it really painful when you decide to take off your headphones. In another case, sweat can result in two things: your muffs become soaked or it becomes drippy, depending on the muffs’ material. And while you adjust your ears, it voids your focus on the game, costing you precious milliseconds especially on an intense match. But if you have a really comfortable headset perfect with the right muff-to-ear ratio and water-absorbent fluffy muffs, you are certified with a GG. Search for headsets that offer memory foam paddings or breathable fabric so you don’t break a sweat even under those big epic gamer moments. Some headsets have measurements to show if they fit your ears. Look for the ones that have 12 oz paddings since they feel like pillows in between your head. That way, all your attention is on the game and not on scratching or massaging your ear due to the headset’s flawed build.
A good headset will not be inexpensive. Sure, you can find more “budget-friendly” ones but even those are more expensive than the average casual headset. You know what they say, “It pays on its own.” Choose the right brand, seek its surround sound capabilities, observe the frequency responses and feel if it is comfortable to your own standards. Hopefully, this is one step forward into getting all the W’s you need for your favorite competitive game.
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