There’s been a long-standing debate on gaming headsets vs. studio headphones.
Gaming headsets are known for their game-centric branding while being extravagant-looking and feature-packed. One of their most common features is a built-in microphone. Studio headphones, on the other hand, are excellent for music listening and mixing as they’re known to offer superb sound quality.
If you’re trying to decide if you should get a gaming headset or have studio headphones and a separate microphone setup, then you’ve come to the right place. In this post, I’ll be discussing the essential ins and outs of gaming headsets and studio headphones.
We’ll also discuss some critical details that can help you decide what to get. Let’s dive in!
Gaming Headsets vs. Studio Headphones: 6 Key Differences
To start things off, let’s take a look at the critical differences between gaming headsets and studio headphones.
Gaming headsets and studio headphones are built for different purposes.
As the name suggests, gaming headsets are designed mainly for gaming, so they often come packed with features that revolve around improving your gaming experience and making it more immersive, as some might suggest.
On the other hand, studio headphones are designed for those who work with anything related to audio. Musicians, DJs, music producers, and others who work in the same industry mainly use studio headphones for their accurate and high-quality audio presentation. Studio headphones are excellent for tweaking and refining sounds.
In recent years, studio headphones started to gain notoriety. While they’re designed for music professionals and audiophiles, gamers have also started using them and this caused a trend in the gaming community.
More and more gamers have become aware of the advantages of using studio headphones. And this isn’t too hard to believe since studio headphones do a way better job of producing quality audio than compared to run-of-the-mill gaming headsets in the market.
#2: Sound Quality
Now, let’s move on to sound quality.
Gaming headsets are often tuned to make sounds more immersive. For example, they typically have boosted treble and bass frequencies, which is the V-shaped sound signature as some audiophiles call it, which can both be good and bad.
The good thing is that, for most consumers, they do offer an immersive experience when gaming. Sound effects are more crisp and prominent, making you feel as if you’re actually in the game. This is especially great for certain games, like FPS, when you have to rely on sounds to pinpoint where your opponents are.
However, with gaming headsets, the overall sound quality is compromised to compensate for the features that come with them. Yes, they’re great for gaming but if you also want to use them for music listening, then their sound quality just doesn’t cut it.
And this is where studio headphones come in. These headphones are designed to produce an accurate presentation of sounds, so they offer much higher-quality audio monitoring. Their precision is critical, especially for those who work in the music industry.
The sound quality is what sets studio headphones apart from gaming headsets. While gaming headsets are packed with features, studio headphones offer accurate and high-quality presentations of your sounds, which can enhance your listening experience.
Since studio headphones are designed to reproduce sounds as faithfully as their recording can be, the flaws in the sound come out as well. With these headphones, certain sounds may not be that entertaining, especially for gamers who are used to a boomy and bassy sound signature.
It’s common knowledge that gaming headsets often come branded with different features, such as surround sound, built-in microphone, noise cancellation, and even wireless compatibility. These are all great features and come in handy when you need them, plus they’re designed to improve your gaming experience.
Wireless compatibility means you’re not restricted by the dreaded wires that can sometimes tangle when gaming and a built-in microphone comes in handy when using in-game communications. Noise cancellation makes your gaming experience more immersive, helping you focus more on your game.
Studio headphones lack heavily on this aspect and for a good reason. These headphones focus on precision, accuracy, and providing the highest quality audio presentation.
Their high-quality sound sacrifices the lack of onboard features, which doesn’t make them inherently wrong. Some of the features found on gaming headphones can easily be replicated on studio headphones with the help of some software.
With the use of equalizers, you can achieve similar or even better bass and treble levels. There’s also software that allows you to replicate the surround sound experience that you’d normally get from gaming headsets.
Both gaming headsets and studio headphones have various options for different price points.
Gaming headsets have more budget-friendly options. While a cheaper price tag doesn’t always mean great value, there are still decent options that work well enough for casual gamers. For enthusiasts, there are also premium options that come with hefty price tags.
The price of studio headphones has a different story.
While there are brand-new items that you can find on a budget, some people scour through the second-hand market to save extra bucks. This is fine, though, as studio headphones usually have high-quality audio and performance unmatched by gaming headphones within the same price range.
Some studio headphones can go upwards of thousands of dollars, which may not be reasonable if you plan to game with them. The sweet spot for those looking for a pair of studio headphones to game with is around the $100 to $200 mark. Excellent options include the Beyerdynamic DT770 and DT990 Pro and the Audio Technica ATH M50x.
#5: Build Quality
Studio headphones are more durable and have the quality to match their price. Even for models under the $100 price range, the build quality is excellent compared to similarly-priced gaming headsets.
A great pair of studio headphones from a reputable brand can last long, making them a better investment than gaming headsets.
Although the build quality of gaming headsets has improved a lot in recent years, it’s not uncommon to come across gaming headsets, even from well-known brands, to have quality control issues. This can be frustrating, especially if you used your hard-earned money to purchase one.
Quality control issues are often caused by manufacturers trying to cut costs while maintaining all the features in one package. The cost is distributed through the different features, resulting in poor build quality in some aspects.
Studio headphones are simplistic and more durable since they mainly focus on producing high-quality audio. Manufacturers just focus on putting high-quality drivers and materials on studio headphones.
Regarding comfort, gaming, and studio headphones have their fair share of very comfortable and competitive products.
Gaming headsets are designed to provide comfort even for those intense gaming sessions that can sometimes last for hours on end. Studio headphones are built with comfort in mind for prolonged listening and mixing sessions in the studio.
While comfort depends on the quality of materials used for the headphones, this factor is relative to its price and it’s the same for both gaming headsets and studio headphones. It’s also worth noting that being more expensive doesn’t always mean more comfort. There are great value options for every kind of budget while providing you with comfort alongside the features that you’re looking for.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I use a gaming headset for a studio?
You can use a gaming headset or headphones to listen to music. However, for mixing and mastering, gaming headsets tend to be lacking in terms of sound quality, so they may not be able to present sound as accurately and precisely as studio headphones.
Can I use studio headphones for gaming?
Yes, you certainly can. Studio headphones offer better sound quality and soundstage than most ordinary gaming headsets. They also feature better durability and comfort, allowing your ears to not get fatigued quickly, even for hours.
Are studio headphones worth the money?
Depending on your situation, studio headphones can be worth the extra penny. They have far better build quality and durability, ensuring that they’d last a long time. Additionally, the sound quality is rarely matched by gaming headsets, making them a worthy investment.
Are there studio headphones that are reasonably priced for those on a tight budget?
Most certainly! There are a lot of studio-grade headphones retailing for under $100 and sometimes around $50 when looking at the second-hand market.
Gaming Headsets vs. Studio Headphones: Which Should You Choose?
The answer to this question highly depends on what you value or what you’re looking for in a pair of headphones.
If you want something to use heavily in gaming, you’d have various options for gaming headsets and studio headphones that’d be suitable for your needs.
Then it boils down to the specifics. Are you on a tight budget? Do you want something straightforward to use for gaming? Don’t want the hassle of a separate headphone and mic setup? Then, the plug-and-play nature of gaming headphones is for you.
On the other hand, if you value sound quality and versatility, look no further, and get yourself a pair of studio headphones.
We all have our preferences, and you shouldn’t be afraid to rock your choice, whether you opt for gaming or studio headphones. Before buying, it’s always best to weigh your needs correctly and base your decision on that so you won’t fall victim to the dreaded buyer’s remorse.
A man of many interests, Querho is passionate about discovering new things that stimulate the mind. When he is not writing about the things he is passionate about, Querho can be found making music at his home studio.