At play time, it is common to take into account aspects such as the platform used, the size of the TV screen or monitor and, in the case of PC, the video card and other hardware components.Amid these choices, a very important aspect of the experience ends up being ignored by a good portion of the players: the audio.
Although cheap speakers and the sound outputs of your television can play the audio of your games in an acceptable manner, a quality headset can totally transform your experience.In a horror game, for example, a quality headset can determine whether you’re going to be scared by a noise or whether you’re going to look at it as an element that can be ignored.
In this article, we highlight the elements that you should take into consideration before choosing an accessory capable of highlighting the qualities of your favorite games.At the end of our explanation, we also show a small selection with some of the best products of the category currently available in the market.
The function of sound within a game
Sounds reproduced within games generally fall into one of the following categories: cosmetic or functional.In the first we can include elements such as soundtrack and various effects whose main goal is to contribute to the setting and emphasize dramatic moments – not unlike what happens in a Hollywood movie.
Functional sounds include indicators that exhibit some mechanical function and certain ambient effects.This category includes noises that indicate the proximity of an important object or some enemy, elements that help you prepare for battles or avoid ambushes.
This second category is very important for the competitive scenario: in an FPS, for example, being able to listen to the footsteps of your opponents or the sound of distant shots can help you prepare for a counterattack.In an RTS, sound effects may indicate when your base is in danger or when a task has been completed.
Although the headset you use is always a personal choice, a good handset in the category should be able to work well with these two distinct areas of audio.Otherwise, the experience gained from your favorite games may not be exactly what the developers tried to convey.
Which platform will I use?
The first aspect that you should take into consideration when choosing a headset is the platform used to play.Although most of the headphones available in the market work perfectly well in any medium, there are models whose best functions are restricted to a specific platform.
In this respect, the PC ends up being the main beneficiary since the tradition of the medium to bet on high performance accessories.However, platform-specific peripherals do not always feature full functions when attached to a computer – the Sony headset line for PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4 is a good example.
Account must also be taken of the fact that certain brands have clear preferences for particular platforms.Razer devices are designed with the PC and Xbox line in mind, and while they can be adapted to Sony and Nintendo platforms, this often means leaving features such as audio communication aside.
The game headsets available in the market usually adopt one of the following connection patterns: P2 (3.5 mm) or USB.The first is more versatile in allowing you to use the product next to computers, TV monitors, desk consoles and portable players, among other devices.
In contrast, the USB inputs are better when attached to a computer.In Windows, for example, you can use the system settings panel to make the audio stream to the accessory, while the microphone functions are the responsibility of a specialized product – a division that is not always allowed by devices that use Connections P2.
If you plan to spend several hours in front of the television or monitor, you must bet on accessories that provide comfort.After all, it’s no good possessing a powerful headset with an immersive 7.1 surround system if, after half an hour of use, you feel like pulling it out of your head because it makes your ears ache.
Unfortunately, there are still few Brazilian stores that offer the possibility to test a great diversity of headset models. This way, the best solution in this regard is to test the headset that some friends have or give online reviews that deal with this issue – videos on YouTube are especially useful in this regard, as they give a more accurate idea of how an accessory fits the User’s head.
Before choosing a headset, you need to take into account the features you expect from it.Currently, it is possible to find from light models, whose cushions usually stay on the ears (which tends to generate a certain heating), to products more comfortable and big whose exits of sound have a considerable size and totally surround the ears.
While the intensity of the audio played by a headset varies depending on the situation, so does our voice conversations.So when choosing a headset it’s good to keep in mind the quality of the microphone that comes with it: a product that leaves that feature aside can make you unable to communicate with your team.
Unfortunately, it is common for this to appear secondarily on many popular products on the market, making it impossible for you to use them as a way to communicate with Skype, for example.Although studio audio quality of a category accessory should not be required, try to avoid models that do not insulate sound from the environment or leave your voice with erased or “robotic” features.
Companies like Turtle Beach invest in proprietary technologies such as “Chat Boost” – which levels the level of their microphone with the intensity of the sounds played by their games – as a way of differentiating themselves in the market.It is also possible to find in the stores a series of models that allow to adjust the distance of the entrance of sound in relation to the mouth, which facilitates the capture of his voice.
Design open or closed?
If you’re looking for a headset that keeps your head cool, but allows for ambient sounds, it may be a good idea to bet on open-design products.However, those who do not want to be disturbed by outside elements – or do not want to bother who is around – the best option is a closed accessory.
One of the advantages provided by the second category is that it tends to highlight a greater amount of detail while you are playing.On the other hand, devices of this type tend to turn to the competitive public, which results in a generally higher price range.
Wired or wireless?
Until a few years ago, professional players would never think of using any kind of wireless accessory.Problems related to loss of connectivity and exaggerated latency were common elements that made wired products the only truly viable option on the market.
However, this is no longer true thanks to the adoption of technologies such as WiFi Dual-Band, which prevent your wireless home network from influencing the operation of such devices.That way, anyone who wants to be able to move their heads from side to side without cables getting in the way no longer has to worry about having a lower audio experience.
The only point at which wireless headsets present a certain disadvantage is that they rely on batteries to function.Usually this means that these products have a slightly larger weight and are not always adapted to long hours of play due to the need to carry out periodic refills.
Although you will not be throwing your headset from one side to the other (at least we recommend not doing so), investing in an accessory with enduring features is highly recommended.The construction of a product of the type must prove resistant and able to withstand the test of time – generally, the materials used also denounce easily the sound quality of the product.
Before choosing a model, look for analyzes that take into account details such as how the audio outputs fit the center rod and which materials are used.Less durable models are usually made of cheap plastic and use low quality screws that usually give way easily after a certain time of use – which will force you to resort to patching or buying a brand new phone.
One requirement that can never be overlooked is the audio quality of the accessory you intend to purchase.However, one needs to pay attention to the fact that an excellent headset for listening to music will not necessarily prove to be an ideal choice for electronic games.
Much of this is due to the fact that most games, especially those of the action genre, tend to prioritize bass and treble tones in their design.Thus, it is no surprise that well-known companies in this universe such as Razer, Corsair, Kingston, Turtle Beach and Steelseries often offer products that privilege this type of frequency.
A good headset should not only be able to play soundtracks of your games but should also highlight the effects that will help you stand out in a match.In an FPS, for example, it is important that your headset can transmit the positioning of your enemies from the sound produced when they move.
The audio quality of a headset is one aspect that also depends a lot on personal tastes.While some players may prefer heavy-duty models, others may want to invest in more balanced models that allow them to perform a greater variety of tasks.
Virtual surround, DTS and other effects
With the growth of the gaming accessories market, stores have been flooded with accessories that promise features like Dolby Digital, 5.1 Virtual Surround or 7.1 and other technologies.Although in some cases certain features are no more than marketing tools, in general these acronyms determine much of the sound experience you will get.
Devices with Dolby Digital (or DTS) technology use a system that emulates the operation of a surround sound system from stereo sound outputs.Although not always the spatial positioning offered by these headphones cherish for accuracy, this solution allows you to have a more complete experience without having to spend as much.
The same goes for products that promise virtual 5.1 or 7.1 audio experiences, which in general mimic the feel of a software-like system.Unfortunately, there are still rare products that offer drivers dedicated to different sound channels, and options of the type are often accompanied by prohibitive numbers.
It is worth noting that, although desired, these effects are not exactly necessary for a headset to be considered quality.The main beneficiaries of such technologies are players who bet on games whose positioning is a key element – as in FPS – while those who prefer RPGs, MMOs or sports titles can use conventional sound outputs without major losses.
In recent years, many manufacturers are betting on proprietary software that promises to “turn” the sound signature of a headset.Usually this is in the form of mixing tools with predefined profiles or systems that emulate surround systems.The results provided vary in quality and whether or not to use a tool of the type is something that is up to you to decide if it is worth it.