Why Do Gamers Use Wired Headphones? (And why you should too)


Girl with wired headphones play video game

Wireless headsets have come a long way from the early days of signal interruptions, terrible lag, and disappointing mic quality. Despite the significant improvement in wireless technology I usually prefer a wired headset over a wireless headset. Like me, most gamers still prefer wired headsets, and for a good reason. 

Gamers use wired headphones since they offer more value for money in terms of build and sound quality unless you have serious cash to spend on headphones. Moreover, wired headphones are often more reliable and convenient. There’s also no significant lag on wired headphones.  

Let’s check out why gamers use wired headphones. 

Sound Quality

This is the primary reason why wired headsets still sit high on my priority list. The sound quality is unmatched with wireless headphones that sit at the same price tier. With wired headphones, the audio signal is directly sent to the device via cable with minimal chances of signal interference or data loss. 

On the other hand, my console or PC needs to encode the audio data and transmit it wirelessly to my wireless headset. This exposes it to signal interference and latency issues along with loss of data. Imagine you hear footsteps of the enemy approaching when he has already knifed you in the game. I don’t need to imagine it since I’ve lived through that frustrating experience. 

If I use a Bluetooth wireless headset, it has limited bandwidth. To maintain the signal strength, it often switches to a lower bitrate encoding that results in poor sound quality. Even when I use headsets that come with a dedicated dongle and establish a connection over WiFi, numerous WiFi devices in the room often interfere with the signal. 

This gap in sound quality is bridged when I opt for high-end wireless headsets. However, I have a bunch of great headphones and after spending half a grand on my gaming console, I don’t want to spend the same amount for a gaming headset. 

Convenience and Compatibility 

Wired headsets are extremely convenient. I don’t need to download additional software or keep one of the USB ports occupied with a dongle when I use wired headphones. It’s simple plug-and-play. No software or driver updates are needed to get that tithing to work. Software or driver updates may improve its performance and provide additional features, but they aren’t strictly necessary. 

I don’t have this luxury with wireless headphones. The problem is amplified when I try to connect wireless headsets to consoles. Both the PS5 and Xbox Series consoles don’t support Bluetooth headphones. That means I have to go through extra hoops like plugging in Bluetooth adapters or HDMI audio splitters to connect my Bluetooth earbuds. 

Moreover, the consoles are mostly compatible with wireless headsets that are licensed and approved by the console makers. I have to search the market for compatible headsets. If I play games on PC, the problem is lessened but doesn’t disappear. I need to download companion software for wireless headphones and they sit as bloatware that consumes resources even when I’m not using my headset.  

I can also get USB wired headsets and have advanced features like simulated surround sound, bass boost, and tweak my EQ settings any way I want. If I want my headphones to sound really nice, I can get headphones with digital audio output and plug them into compatible devices for high-quality and almost distortion-free sound.   

Batteries

Wired gaming headphones usually have the standard impedance of 32 Ohms or something around that value. That means I don’t need to plug it into an amplifier to get the most performance out of it. It’s so efficient that I can even use them with my phone. Usually, a single cable(some wired headsets have two cables) carries both the power and audio signal from my PC or console to my headset. I don’t have to worry about running out of power while I’m gaming. 

Wired headphones have beefy batteries to power them. They need to be bulky so that they can provide a decent gaming time of at least 8 hours on a single charge. However, sometimes that’s not enough. Sometimes gaming sessions can last over the weekend and other times I may forget to charge the batteries. Listening to the low battery warning while I’m gaming or when I put on the headphones is very annoying. 

The weight of the battery also makes wireless headphones very bulky. That’s why my wired gaming headphones are usually lighter than wireless alternatives. That extra weight adds up over time and the fatigue sets in quicker. They also increase the pressure on my temporal bone and give me a headache. 

Affordability 

As mentioned before, I have to spend a lot of money to get good quality sound from my wireless headphones. I can always pick up wired headphones with better sound and build quality than wireless options in the same price range. Wired headphones have a simpler design and the technology is old yet reliable and hence more easy to make. That’s why they cost less than wireless alternatives. 

Wireless headsets are more expensive since they have batteries, wireless transmitters and also need to use better materials to make them long-lasting yet lightweight at the same time. The cheaper options you get on the market always cut costs usually in sound or build quality to keep their prices competitive with wired headsets. I can save a lot of money by buying a mid-range wired headphone without sacrificing anything apart from movement. 

Conclusion

Wireless headphones usually have an upper hand in mobility. I can move around without restrictions or a tangled mess. However, I solve that problem partially when I buy a better and longer coiled cable for my headphones. 

Moreover, gamers like me know that wired headphones last for a very long time and don’t get damaged easily. I’m still holding on to my HyperX Cloud II even when I don’t use it much. It gets the job done and I haven’t replaced anything other than the ear cushions. 

HyperX Cloud II 

Another one of my favorite wired gaming headsets is the Razer BlackShark V2 which feels light and comfortable even during long gaming sessions. Plus, I personally believe these offer much more bang for the buck when compared to their wireless version. I hope the information in this article will allow you to make a suitable choice for your next headphone.

Difference between Bluetooth versio... x
Difference between Bluetooth versions

Rune Bearson

As you can see, I love my headphones! I use them every day when commuting, watching YouTube videos, playing guitar/piano and doing chores. I'm a podcast addict and I like all kinds of music from metal to chillout ambient.

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