Speakers or a headset?


How do you feed your ears when you’re gaming? We’re listening!

You’re sitting down for a gaming session, and you have a choice to make. Will you use your PC’s speakers? Or will you put on a headset?

There are pros and cons for both. Headphones submerge you much more deeply in the sounds of the game and make directional audio cues, like footsteps, much clearer—very important in multiplayer games. They also prevent game audio from passing through your mic if you’re on voice chat. But speakers mean you aren’t completely cut off from non-game related sounds like your doorbell ringing or your dog destroying something in the next room, and they don’t make your head sweaty, either.

Andy Chalk

Speakers all the way. Headsets deliver more detailed and immersive audio, but I hate being cut off from the outside world so I’m constantly slipping one of the cups off my ear take a listen to what’s going on around me, and that’s plenty immersion-breaking in its own right. They uncomfortable too, although that’s not the worst thing: The worst thing is when they’re not so uncomfortable that you can’t forget you’re wearing them, so you do forget, and then you stand up and walk away, gank yourself, and smoke the front headphone and mic jacks on your PC case in the process. Not that I’m speaking from experience or anything.

To be fair, I’ve never had the pleasure of using a really good headset, so that might change my perspective. But circumstances have forced me into exclusive headphone use recently, and I’ll tell you this—I can’t wait to go back to speakers.

Steven Messner

I don’t even own any speakers for my computer—I’m a headphone boy all the way. Part of the reason is that I just think headphones are the more courteous option if you live with someone who doesn’t want to constantly be subjected to the sound of gunfire or murder every day. It’s already bad enough that she has to listen to the clack-clack of a mechanical keyboard or the furious clicking of me trying to avoid a gank in LoL. But I also prefer headphones for the superior sound quality and experience. 

When I first became a headphone devotee years ago, it’s because a friend sold me a pair of Seinheisers studio headphones that were nothing but a revelation for my ears. I’ve changed headsets to these swanky Victrix Pros, but in my opinion, speakers just can’t offer that same quality of audio unless you’re willing to invest significantly in a good setup—which I’m not because I’m poor and can only afford one expensive sound device.

James Davenport

I prefer speakers, but alas, in this online gaming world picking up someone else’s game audio through their mic is grounds for excommunication from PC gaming. I love filling a room with sound, juicing some juicy speakers, woofing that woofer, inciting my neighbors to punch the wall and scream at me. One of my greatest PC gaming memories is stealing a smelly, off-white Dell 7.1 speaker system from my high school school and setting it up with Half-Life 2. Didn’t care how shrill and tinny it was; I could hear the Strider popping off behind me. Turned it up way too loud. My dad got upset. It was then that I learned PC gaming wasn’t built for the speaker world unless you are also rich and powerful and don’t have a mean dad. It’s been headphones for me for some time now, even though my big weird head makes them all hurt after some time. I’ll flirt with my speakers and throw on some music here and there, but I get anxious before too long and switch back to cans.

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