Speakers or headsets?

What do you guys use for gaming, speakers or headsets?

I’ve got some Logitech THX 5.1 speakers that I bought probably 10 years ago. Have headsets improved where they sound as good as a decent set of computer speakers? Do headsets simulate surround sound pretty well?

5.1 , its a Altec Lansing set, probably 5+ years old. I don’t like things touching my ears, so no headphones for me.

Headsets (stereo, not 5.1) because most of my gaming happens when everyone else in my home is sleeping.

I do have a set of (crappy) speakers for when I play games with my kid on the PC, but that doesn’t happen often - we usually play together on consoles (Wii U and PS3).

I have a nice pair of SENN 350 head sets I use when I know I won’t be interrupted (nothing worse than being tapped on the shoulder when you are engaged in a game, I’ve come to believe) and/or when the game in question has great sound design. It’s an incredible experience - a great pair of headphones is something you can never really describe, everything sounds better and has just more fidelity. It’s awesome.

That said, 70% of the time I use a pair of decent sounding desktop speakers. Why? Because if my wife is calling for me and I don’t hear her I get in trouble. :) Also, like I said, I hate it when people come in and tap me on the shoulder, which means I can only use my headphones when I have the house to myself or late at night (or very early in the morning) when every one else is asleep. The software that came with my headphones let’s me toggle between the 2.1 sound or the headphones, very handy (Xonar Xense).

(faked) surround sound wireless headset. More immersive, less disruptive to the people living above, below, and next to me on either side - I mean, the soundproofing here is pretty good but I’ve definitely heard people’s TVs on the other side of the wall and I don’t want to do that to my neighbors, especially given my night owl tendencies. Also I live alone and so generally don’t need to put sound out to the rest of the apartment. And of course, if all the sound is going to headphones, it won’t get picked up on the microphone when you’re doing voice chat. Now that I have a girlfriend and we may do some local coop at some point, I might see about putting up a couple of speakers so we both get sound, but it’s still not going to be the main way I game.

Stereo hi-fi headphones. I was using 5.1 speakers+receiver but switched to headphones when I bought Sennheiser HD595 years ago.

While I like the immersiveness of a good headset, I don’t like wearing something on my head/ears while playing. I’m using speakers 97% of the time.

When I’m playing a “stealth” kind of game or something like Elite Dangerous, where the sound quality is epic, I break out the headphones.

I run my PC/consoles through a Sony 5.1 home theatre setup where I’m sitting in the middle, and the answer is no - there are no headsets that simulate surround to that level of immersion. Not sure specifically about computer speakers. Also the rumbling of the subwoofer is something you’ll miss with a headset.

I’ll use headphones if in-game communications are required, or to listen to music. Clarity is improved with good headphones, you’ll hear more subtleties, but spatial positioning is far inferior - I tried those Razer 7.1 headphones, and the newer Sony PS4 headphones with the virtual surround, and both were weak.

I haven’t tried 7.1 headphones, but the 5.1 I was testing were indeed pretty poor for surround sound. That said, I can honestly say I have excellent spatial awareness with stereo headphones. All the magic is done at software level anyway and your brain does the rest. Note that this is strictly for gaming, for movies things obviously change.

HyperX Cloud II headset. Haven’t used speakers in a decade.

Both: Sennheiser headphones, Boss speakers.

Varies by time of day I’m playing (if I’m likely to bug anyone I switched to headphones), and as a couple have mentioned already, if the game has a well designed soundscape headphones bring it out better, I find at least for me they do a much better job than any speaker set up I’ve ever used really for just about any game.

Oh, and totally agree w/ Scott, when using headphones I’ve got to know no one else in the house is going to come in and tap me on the shoulder. ;)

Those are on of the ones I’ve been considering. Did they change much over the original HyperX Clouds. They are rated slightly better in AMazon reviews.

These are the other ones, much cheaper.

Are you specifically looking for a 7.1 / 5.1 headset? I think you’d be better off with stereo headphones/headset with better driver quality.

If you have any spare stero headphones (earbuds, whatever) laying around, and want to test how well they simulate surround sound, check out this video - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IUDTlvagjJA .

My headset simulates surround sound pretty well but I can’t recommend it because the driver and signal disruption problem (wireless). I will say I switched to headset not because of any noise problems here but because I couldn’t find a setup that allowed me to talk to my gaming group and also not have them frequently ask me to turn down various sounds outside of a headset.

I guess I was only interested in 5.1 or 7.1 headphones if they actually did a superior job with positional sound. I’ll have to dig up my old headphones for that video. I listened to it through my speakers with my eyes closed.

I use the Logitech Wireless 930 headset and it works fine for me. I tried that youtube video listed above and the sound does change position very well (at least good enough for my purposes). I wear glasses and they are comfortable - I feel no pressure on the glasses being squeezed.

I have been thinking to purchase a speaker set for those times when more than one person needs to hear something but have no idea what would be a good/affordable set to purchase (I do not care if the speakers are positional sound.

You need to use headphones for that, it doesn’t work on speakers. There are some similar examples that do work on stereo speakers, but they don’t work as well on headphones. And that’s the problem with things like that famous barber shop video, they are specifically recorded for that one situation using that one type of hardware. Games don’t use that kind of tech anyway, you won’t get anything near that quality in reality.

7.1 headphones are a gimmick, and computer headsets are overpriced for the quality they offer - just get a good set of proper stereo headphones.

This x100

What Profanicus said: it needs to be listened to on headphones! It’s wonderful! That video pretty much sealed the deal on ‘surround’ headphones for me. Glad you posted it up Bateau because I was about to :-)

My current setup is a 5.1 home theatre separates system hooked up to my consoles and PC for gaming and movies, and sometimes music. I also have a pair of Sennheiser HD280 Pros which are getting a bit haggard now. Recently I played through Alien Isolation and was amazed by the sound design, in much the same way as I was with Dead Space when I first picked up my 5.1 setup 7 years ago, almost to the day. I played 99% of Alien Isolation using 5.1 but because my last play session went on forever (I thought it was going to be over any minute now) it got very late and naturally my girlfriend went to bed so I had to switch to headphones for the last 2 hours or so. It sounded terrible in comparison, disappointingly so. In fact, I’ve been looking for a replacement pair just in case this happens again!

I’m not saying my experience is all you need to know, but a good 5.1 system takes some beating. You get a more open and expansive sound, clearer positioning, and delicious low frequencies from your sub.

As for using a mic with speakers: it’s absolutely possible provided you use one that’s close to your mouth with extremely low sensitivity. I’ve been doing it for years now using a cheapo headset for just the mic, after my girlfriend complained that I was shouting all the time with headphones on because I couldn’t hear my own voice! The joy of having speakers and a mic, once you’ve set it up properly, is that, firstly, you can hear other people shouting you or entering the room or the phone ringing or whatever. Secondly, other people can hear the context in which you’re speaking; no more will you sound like someone babbling incoherently to themselves in a room. And thirdly, you can hear your own voice so you don’t end up talking loudly (I have a boomy voice so it carries through the house).

So I’m totally a 5.1/surround person but I know that sort of setup isn’t possible for everyone. That said, I’m in the market for a good pair of stereo headphones! I’m eyeing up the Grado SR80i’s at the moment. From what I gather, open headphones are great for home use, and they’re not as hot and sweaty as my closed HD280 Pros.

I use Klipsch 5.1 surround speakers with a Jabra Evolve mono call-center headset for voice communication. I would love for someone like Sennheiser to make a high-end, super-comfortable mono headset for this purpose but such a thing doesn’t exist.