After learning about gaming headsets, the technology behind them and their applications, I felt it was time to check in with some pro gamers to see how much of that technology actually resonates with them. To this end, I spoke with three members of Benelux based e-sports team LowLandLions, each specializing in a different game genre. They all tried out the various models and headset types described in our initial article, and took some time to give us a pro gamer’s perspective on things. Our gamers are Dennis Seesing (a seasoned Counter Strike player), Rob Janssens (who specializes in TrackMania) and Quake Live-player Jeffrey Debipersad.
Some people might say a headset’s just a headset. How are ones developed for gamers different?
Dennis Seesing (Counter-Strike 1.6):
Well, a gaming headset needs to be even better than a normal headset. Usually when gaming you are wearing your headset for long sessions. You want a headset which is comfortable and which isolates you as much as possible from your environment. For big events it is also required to have a microphone attachment because a separate stereo array microphone will record way too much environmental sounds.
Rob Janssens (TrackMania: Nations Forever):
Personally I think a gamer’s headset has a lot more benefits than a normal standard headset. In the past, I’ve tested a couple of pro gaming headsets and I must say that I could clearly hear a lot better than when I used a cheap headset. I think any benefit in experiencing the game can improve your skill in the game as well.
We learned a lot talking to Sennheiser. What are your experiences with them?
I always knew Sennheiser is generally known for their quality headphones (I’ve used a HD448, which is wonderful and inexpensive) and I also heard lots of reviews about the PC350 and PC360. Personally I like Sennheiser more because of the comfort I get with these headsets. They fit a lot better than others (big ear pads for example) and I think that comfort is a must have for every gamer. You want to focus on your game, not your ear that has pain because the comfort is terribly bad.
Jeffrey Debipersad (Quake Live):
I have tried a lot of headsets, and on most big stages the tournament organization always provides big noise canceling headphones such as the Sennheiser HMEC 460. These headsets give you an advantage when playing on stage, but are on the big side for home use, where I had the pleasure to use the PC350 model.
When gaming competitively, what benefits do you have over others who do not use (gaming) headsets?
First of all, people who do not use a headset at all can’t be gaming competitively, at least not first person shooters like I’m playing. Sound nowadays is a really important factor when playing games. With a quality headset you are sure not to miss any footsteps or other important sounds. The biggest advantage is the fact that you are isolated from your environment and this makes sure you can completely concentrate on your game and sounds.
Rob: Of course, you can hear much better than others. The biggest advantage I think is in FPS games, where even the smallest sound can reveal to an opponent where you are, which is of course a big disadvantage for you. At the same time, it can be an advantage if that opponent makes the same mistake again and you heard it. In a game like Trackmania a lot of people would think that it isn’t that much of an advantage, but I had lots of situations where I didn’t dare to watch the checkpoints to see how far in front I was. Sometimes the road between 2 checkpoints was that far that I was listening to the sound of the other cars, and the better you know the position of the others, the faster you can race without crashing.