Over the last decade, headphones and headsets have become some of the most popular gadgets among young adults, especially among musicphiles and gamers. However, if you are thinking of getting a nice set as a present for the teenager in the family, beware! Though you might have heard these words used interchangeably, headphones and headsets are actually two different gadgets.
Let us point out the main differences between them and help you decide which is the best option for you according to your needs and likings!
The most basic point in which these two devices differ is that a headset includes an attached microphone, while a pair of headphones doesn’t. That’s the main and the biggest gap between these two.
As a result, they are used for different purposes. A headset can be defined as both a listening device and as a communication utility device. And though you might think you’ve never seen a headset, you can be pretty sure you have. Think of a helicopter pilot or a worker in a customer service call center. Headsets are essential devices for people who perform these and many other jobs.
Headphones, on the other hand, are basically audio equipment. They are mostly used for music, videos, or podcasts. All those people listening to music or watching news videos on Youtube that you see on the subway are most probably using headphones rather than headsets.
To find the best headphones, you first need to ask yourself what you’ll be using them for, or what you need your headphones to be able to do. Are you a music lover who enjoys a powerful bass along with a spectacular detail in the sound of your favorite songs? You should look for brands who specialize in superior sound quality. Do you use your headphones to work at night when your roommate is sleeping? Then you should look for a set which has good noise isolation.
Musicphiles are very demanding when it comes to sound quality and sound detail. They usually look for an intense, immersive listening experience in which high sounds are sharp and shiny and low ones seem to reverberate inside the body.
Also frequently confused, these two terms refer to different features that should also be taking into account when shopping for the best headphones. Noise isolation refers to how well a listening device isolates you from environmental sounds, which would get in the way of a really immersive listening experience. But better isolation also means you’re less likely to disturb other people with your music or whatever you’re listening to. This is very important for people who work next to other people, or those who use their headphones late at night when other people at home might be asleep.
Noise cancellation, on the other hand, implies the correction of background noises. Headphones with this feature are able to detect intrusive sounds, like a fan, or the sound of a TV.
As we explained in the introduction, a headset can be described as a set of headphones with an incorporated microphone. The headset mic is either attached to a boom which can be positioned at will, or it might be attached to the cord which connects the headset to the phone, computer, or another device.
Headsets, then, are largely used for Skype communications, interfacing with a phone system, and playing online games with other players, among other utilities. Office employees, mostly customer service operators, will use a headset as a necessary utility to perform their jobs.
One big difference between these two devices is the overall sound quality of the first one when it comes to gaming, which needs both good qualities when hearing and when speaking. There are a few remarkable headsets in the market that can certainly compete with low-quality products, but they can be very expensive and also hard to find.
In short, you are more often than not going to obtain better sound quality from a loyal pair of headphones. This is because headphones only need to focus on one main function -- excellent sound quality.
On the other hand, if you use headphones for playing with other people you would have to get a microphone and put it on a table or other surface. Wouldn’t it be more comfortable to have the mic in front of your mouth? This way, you can lie in bed or sit back on a coach and not worry about extra wires or positioning the mic so that it will detect your voice. If you don’t have any problems with pricing, and you want a top-notch product no matter what, it might be best to buy two separate products. On the one hand, the headphones, and on the other, the microphone.
It all comes down to personal taste. You should ask yourself which is more important to you, sound quality or comfort and practicality. If you favor comfort and convenience over superior sound quality, then buy a simple headset that will allow you to sit back without worrying about extra wires.
In conclusion, headsets and headphones are two distinct gadgets whose names are sometimes used interchangeably by mistake. The chief difference between them is that headsets have an incorporated microphone which is used for communications. Thus, if you only need to listen, but not talk, you will want to buy a pair of headphones. This could be the best choice for anyone who just wants to enjoy their music or watch a movie with great sound quality. Instead, those teaching online or dedicated to customer support will have some other needs.
Headphones usually have a better sound quality, so they are the music lover’s best friend. Gamers who are looking for an immersive gaming experience might also want to consider buying headphones and a mic instead of a headset. Though using a separate mic could be uncomfortable, the sound detail, especially in low-pitch sound effects and gunshot, will be superior with a pair of sophisticated headphones.
On the other hand, if superior sound quality is not essential for you, and you’re looking for a gear that will allow you to both listen and talk to somebody else comfortably, both at work or for fun you should buy a headset. No matter which you’re getting, either headphones or a headset, make sure to have in mind features such as noise isolation and noise cancellation before you make your final choice.