Speakers or headphones for gaming?

By Scorpus ยท 39 replies
Mar 7, 2015
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  1. One of the debates I often have with fellow gamers is whether you should use external speakers or a pair of headphones while gaming. This week, I'm bringing the debate to TechSpot through the Weekend Open Forum.

    I've always been an advocate of gaming through speakers. Grabbing a solid set of 5.1 channel surround speakers can give you a multi-dimensional, immersive sound experience in games. Without having the audio drivers affixed to your head, your gaming experience can be more comfortable and your ears can breathe. And with a good subwoofer, you can feel the explosions.

    But there are also good points to gaming with headphones. The close proximity of drivers to your ears can give you cleaner sound, with less interference and the potential for noise cancelation. Headphones are also portable, easier to set up, have fewer wires, use less power and can contain a nearby microphone for crisp team chat.

    Let me know your preferences in the comments below, and feel free to give your recommendations for the best speakers or headphones out there.

    Permalink to story.

  2. misor

    misor TS Evangelist Posts: 1,285   +243

    Cheap: grover 2.1 speaker system (made in china, re-branded by cdr king for Philippine market), less than 15$ :), perfect for my cheap needs. :)
    (as a person suffering from partial hearing loss, I doubt I will have a better experience if I buy/use an expensive speaker system)
    Skidmarksdeluxe likes this.
  3. Tye Lucas

    Tye Lucas TS Rookie Posts: 18

    When the wife is away the cat will play... I turn up the speakers all the way!!! =) When the wife is near I put the on the headphones which she bought me. I use some nice Altec Lansing speakers and Turtle Beach Seven Headphones. I love them both =)
  4. Skidmarksdeluxe

    Skidmarksdeluxe TS Evangelist Posts: 8,647   +3,274

    It's all a matter of circumstances, choice and preference.
    Personally I use nothing but headsets (Roccat Kave XTD stereo & HyperX Cloud). I love my gaming but I have my 95 year old mother, my wife, and often my grandkids staying with me over weekends, I can't have them listening to the foul language, violence and gunshots in a lot of my games.
    If I was a young bachelor living by myself I would definitely have opted for a 5.1 channel surround sound speaker setup for gaming.
    I own a Logitech Z906 speaker system and it's connected to my PVR & TV and does a stellar job by the way.
  5. Skidmarksdeluxe

    Skidmarksdeluxe TS Evangelist Posts: 8,647   +3,274

    Wouldn't you be able to hear better with a headset?... My sister is quite deaf but she reckons headphones makes her hearing aids distort the sound.
  6. MrBlkfx1

    MrBlkfx1 TS Evangelist Posts: 863   +204

    Just as most pointed out, it all depends on the particular situation. I typically game with headphones(Sennheiser HD 600 or my Sennheiser G4me One). But, I do have a decent set of 5.1 speakers for when no-one is around and I can let them loose.
  7. davislane1

    davislane1 TS Grand Inquisitor Posts: 4,738   +3,757

    As others have stated, it's a matter of situation. Generally speaking, I prefer headphones because they provide better immersion and surround quality. If I am playing a game where that isn't important or if I need to be aware of my physical environment (phone calls, etc.), speakers are the go-to option. I also prefer to use earbuds rather than proper headphones.
  8. hahahanoobs

    hahahanoobs TS Evangelist Posts: 2,045   +680

    Speakers when playing solo, and headset when playing with friends.
    trgz and madboyv1 like this.
  9. Route44

    Route44 TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 11,984   +72

    5.1 speakers; I would use headphones but I have yet to find a comfortable set that doesn't hurt my ears when wearing them.
  10. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 10,742   +421

    I don't game much, but I am a bachelor and have a pretty nice 5.1 system for HT. Problem is, I live in a 4-plex apt, so I can't fully utilize it very often. I have some BeyerDynamic DT 880 headphones (250 ohm) for the times where I want to hear something loud but without getting the authorities called.
    Skidmarksdeluxe and Route44 like this.
  11. I currently use the Audio-Technica ATH-M40X, which is cheaper but much more balanced than the more popular, and relatively bass-heavy, M50X. Occasionally I also use Thinksound ts02 IEMs.
    This is so I don't bother anyone with the sound. I've never lived by myself, I lived with my parents until finishing high school, and since starting college I rent rooms on student appartments and stuff like that. Because of this, I never really grew the habit of using speakers, and used headphones all my life.
    Future plans include a Xonar DX sound card and a nice pair of open headphones, like the HD 598. But still no speakers.
  12. EClyde

    EClyde TS Evangelist Posts: 1,310   +432

  13. My big brother works with so many behringer devices (and I don't understand what's the function of those devices), so, yeah, I'm using speakers combined with those devices, vacuum tube compressor, FDA-DAC, ultra-gain, etc etc.. :D
  14. Unearthed

    Unearthed TS Enthusiast Posts: 36   +11

    I use a SADES A60 headset for gaming. I only use my speakers Logitech Z-5500 for music and movies.
  15. Skidmarksdeluxe

    Skidmarksdeluxe TS Evangelist Posts: 8,647   +3,274

    They sound like very nice headphones especially with that high resistance but I'm a very poor example of an audiophile, the sound quality would probably escape me.
  16. TomSEA

    TomSEA TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,718   +860

    Corsair SP2500 gaming speakers during the day, Sennheiser PC 363D headphones during the night (after 10pm).
  17. zavrix

    zavrix TS Enthusiast Posts: 26   +12

    Razer Caraharias headphones for me, very comfortable to wear even when wearing glasses. I do have a logitech 5500 system but I find wearing headphones is less distracting and I can get on with the pew pew stuff.
  18. Axle Greese

    Axle Greese TS Enthusiast Posts: 31

    I've spent big on the visuals but stuff all on the audio. The main sound hardware is from 1986 and it emits a hum, yet I prefer that over a headset. I dislike hardware attached to my head. Glasses are bad enough. My Logitech G930 headset is alright for those nighttime BF4 sessions. I really do need a better speaker system. I guess it's back to reading reviews...
  19. darkzelda

    darkzelda TS Evangelist Posts: 302   +108

    Speakers, but I really want one of the headsets recently review here, specially the Polk Striker P1, they seemed awesome. Right now I have the Logitech live chat, they aren't great so I only use them when playing online with friends.
  20. TitoBXNY

    TitoBXNY TS Addict Posts: 236   +50

    While I prefer speakers, I use my headset when playing with friends. My Logitech Z-5300e has been with me since 2003.
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2015
    hahahanoobs likes this.
  21. madboyv1

    madboyv1 TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,471   +375

    Pretty much the same with me.
    hahahanoobs likes this.
  22. Grabix

    Grabix TS Rookie

    If I'm on my laptop I either use my Sony MDR-V6s with velour earpad swap or my new AKG K7XXs and I would use headphones on my desktop if I'm doing something competitive but otherwise I use my old set of Yamaha 2.1 speakers which are still pretty good.
  23. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 10,742   +421

    Based on your earlier post, you are probably too old anyway :)
  24. Alpha Gamer

    Alpha Gamer TS Evangelist Posts: 354   +116

    I, for one, find the vibration delivered from subwoofers very unpleasant. So, I only use my 2.1 edifier x100 when the missus insists on watching my latest performance on whatever it is I'm playing at the moment.
    The other 99% of the time, I'm wearing my Audio-Technica ATH-ANC7B with Noise-Cancelling enabled specifically so that I won't hear anything but my game, be it her calling me to help her with some mundane task or my neighbor lecturing her daughter on the importance of not losing the toothpaste cap...

    I've seen some people complaining about headphones being uncomfortable and making their heads hot. I shave my head bald twice a week, so I've never had such problem.

    But by the end of the day I'd say the sound from headphones is way more clean than any speakers I've known.
  25. dimuthu

    dimuthu TS Rookie

    Creative X-Fi CMSS 3D all the way with stereo headphones. It creates a virtual 7.1 environment and that is brilliant.

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