A Journey of Headset Discovery

So with all the talk surrounding 4k, HDR, Pixel count, something seems to have been under the radar for a while and that is your ears.

Not yours specifically, but the stuff that goes into them…more precisely sound.

There are so many different options out there and at massively differing price points its a scary world to decide what headset you want to buy with your hard earned money.

Then you have to decide which brand you are going to ally with, be it Astro’s, Turtle Beach, Razer, Tritton, Senheisser or Sony (other brands are available)

Once you have a rough idea of who you want to go with then you have to think about what can that headset do for you, be it surround sound in differing levels and qualities, then do you have a closed cup or open cup headset.

As you can imagine the headset world is a scary place. So this article…what is it? Whats the function? Well quite simply its going to give you an indication into how I went about choosing my current headset.

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Firstly, you have to decide in the function that the headset is going to carry out, are you solely going to use this for gaming or are you going to want to listen to music or watch movies?

Secondly, you have to take a look at the types of games that you play, and by that I mean…do you play more first person shooters where determining player location is important, or do you just want a headset that will give you a great sense of atmosphere. Both of these can be achieved in one headset, but knowing what your ideal is will help.

Once you have got these two decisions you are ready to go out into the big wide world of headsets and attempt to make a decision on which direction to head in.

My own personal journey was relatively straight forward. I wanted a gaming headset that was more angled towards determining location of enemies as well as making those explosions really boom. So 7.1 surround sound was on the menu for me, which the majority of headsets seem to include in some form or another with both virtual surround sound and, I guess you would call it actual surround sound.

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Now there are a ton of different factors that you have to think about when you look at headsets, budget, whether you want open or closed back, 3D audio, type of ear cup material, wired or wireless, brand alliance, gaming of format among others.

So what do all these mean? Well quite alot really, let me attempt to describe what each option means…bear in mind that I am in no way an expert on headsets.

Budget – how much cash you want to spend on your shiny new headset

Closed back or open – This simply means do you want to hear outside sounds while playing a game. You know that person who always shouts down the microphone? It’s probably because they are using a closed back system and they cant hear their own voice. Quite a few headsets have a voice passthrough system that helps against this, basically giving you the ability to hear your own voice back through the headset speakers so that you can moderate your own vocal levels.

3D Audio – essentially this gives you the ability to accurately pin point where a sound is coming from, this is particularly handy if playing a game like Rainbow Six: Siege where you need to be able to hear where your enemies are coming from to give you the advantage.

Material – generally you get two types of material…a standard fabric earcup or a faux/real leather one. Each have their own plus points, fabric ones allow your ears to breath more and the leather ones kind of prevent the audio from leaking through them.

Wired or wireless – well this one is pretty self explanatory right?

Brand alliance – Do you prefer a particular brand? Or are you open to any brand?

Gaming format – PC, Xbox, PlayStation..simples.

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So now I have given you the tools it should be straight forward to go out there and find your perfect headset right? Well wrong! When i first got my PlayStation 4 I decided that to get the best out of this new powerful machine I needed to get a top of the line headset to get the most of out of it. Again, I was wrong, I started looking at the expensive Turtle Beach and Astro headsets, and whilst they were the top of the line and looked like they would have been used on the Enterprise by Wil Wheaton, they all just seemed….expensive. So I started looking at lower budget headsets, this is when I stumbled across the Sony 2.0 headset (Gold in USA), these things were simplistic, but they were packed full of features, virtual surround sound, closed back, voice pass through, wireless. They were the mutts nuts, the dogs danglies, and even giving you change out of £100 notes they were affordable. Even at time of writing you can find this headset for between £50-£60 from certain online retailers which in my opinion is a great price for a headset that will serve you well.

Being made by Sony and for use with the PlayStation 4 it even comes with a companion app on the console for you to download. Giving you the ability to load certain profiles to the headset….want to play a racing game and hear all the roar of the engine as you put your foot (finger) down onto the accelerator then load up the specially created Driveclub profile. Certain games have got their own specially created profiles that you can load onto the headset by connecting the headset with the charge cable to the console.

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The Sony 2.0 headset just works…there are no bells and whistles, all the buttons are location on one of the earcups, mute, volume up and down, chat/game mix, virtual surround sound and a power switch and it sounds pretty good too. Being able to have a good idea where the bad guys are coming from is a great advantage when playing any game. Even playing GTA Online and being able to hear all the environmental sounds from where they are on screen is a great experience.

Now whilst the Sony 2.0 headset has surround sound it is virtual surround sound and my quest for even better sound is still ongoing. I want that pure 7.1 surround sound…none of this virtual business, so I have started the journey all over again, starting from scratch I have to decide where to lay my proverbial hat once again.

Are you heading out on your own journey of headset discovery? What headset are you leaning towards? What headset do you use already? Post your comments down below.

 

 

Stuart Shortland

Been playing games since I can remember, from spectrum all the to current consoles. Always been interested in video game news and recently got the opportunity to head up a great team of eager people. I’m generally a man of many words but I try and be succinct and to the point in everything I write.

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