If you are looking at buying a new pair of gaming headsets, it can be a bit annoying to go through all the technical stuff. Normally we want to just get something that is good, and that works. With all the options, though, choosing the right headset can be tricky. Choosing between a USB headset and one that uses jack, doesn’t have to be that difficult.
USB headsets are better than jack in terms of sound quality and features. USB allows for digital transmission, while a jack can only output analog, and that is what allows USB to offer better sound and features. If you are gaming on a console, headsets that use a jack offers more convenience in most cases.
Still don’t know what to choose? Maybe you are still curious. In this article, I want to go over everything that you need to know regarding the differences between the two types of headsets. I also want to discuss the pros and cons, as well as different use cases.
USB gaming headsets
As we mentioned above, USB allows for digital transmission. This type of transmission allows for more features like virtual surround sound, 3D audio, and richer audio. That being said, headsets that offer these features do tend to cost more.
So, while USB has the capability, it is up to the manufacturer to implement these features.
Are USB headsets better?
USB headsets can be better because the connection type allows it. That does not mean that all USB headsets are better than 3.5mm jack headsets. It depends on what the quality of the components are and what features are built into the headset.
Do USB headsets have their own sound card?
Some USB headsets do have their own built-in soundcard. The card often presents itself as an in-line control where you can control things like volume, different headset presets, and game/chat volume. These in-line controls also act as the sound card.
Sometimes the sound card is just built into the headset itself.
Here are some of my favorite USB headsets
The Corsair Void RGB Elite 7.1 USB surround sound Carbon headset.
Wow, that is a mouthful. Corsair is well known for its great quality peripherals. Everything that they do revolves around the user experience, and when it comes to gaming headsets, they produce some of the best.
- The headset features multi-channel, 7.1 surround-sound audio, which gives you an immersive gaming experience.
- The headset is fitted with custom 50mm neodymium drivers that produce great sounds.
- The omnidirectional microphone has great clarity, and for added convenience, you just flip it up to mute the microphone.
- We cannot forget the RGB goodness. The headset RGB works with Corsair’s own software for complete freedom of customization.
- The microfiber mesh memory foam pads allow for longer play sessions due to their lightweight comfort.
If you are interested in this headset, you can find it on Amazon for $79.99. It does go on special sometimes.
The Razer Kraken X USB ultralight 7.1 gaming headset
Razer was founded in San Diego, California, in 1998. Since then, they have become one of the more favorite brands for gaming equipment. The Kraken X is a midrange priced headset that doesn’t hold back in its performance.
- The Kraken X has custom-tuned 40mm drivers that produce some of the best sound I have heard from 40mm drivers.
- The oval ear cushions, coupled with the ultralightweight feel of the headset, make it perfect for long gaming sessions.
- The 7.1 surround sound makes gaming immersive and rewarding.
If you are interested in this headset, you can find it on Amazon for $59.99. The price for performance is unbeatable, in my opinion.
Just because jack headsets don’t offer the same features as USB headsets, it doesn’t mean that all of them are inferior. Some headsets that use jack are still really good. In terms of sound quality, it’s mostly audiophiles that can tell the difference between good 40mm drivers through a jack and good 40mm drivers through USB.
What size is a normal headphone jack
The most common size for headphone jacks is 3.5mm. It seems like ages since I last saw a device use anything different. The last time I saw the smaller headphone jack (2.5mm) was in 2006 with my old cell phone.
Gaming headsets for consoles
Gaming consoles support three types of headphones. They support Jack headsets, USB, and wireless headsets. So, when choosing a headset, you don’t really have to worry about the connection type. I do recommend making sure that the headset you want does support consoles.
Please note: Headsets that use more than one jack will not work on the PS4 or Xbox One. If they do support consoles, then they will come with an audio splitter with one male connector that has more than one female connector.
USB headset on console
Before we jump into this section, it is important to note that consoles won’t always support all the features that a headset has. Sony, for example, uses their own 3D audio surround sound. Their own first-party headsets are supported with their surround sound but not other third-party USB headsets.
It can leave a bad taste in your mouth, knowing that you paid a premium price for something but cannot use all the features. In my opinion, the premium price tag still got you a great sounding headset, so it shouldn’t matter too much.
Using a USB headset on console is pretty straight forward but it has its pros and cons.
Pros of Using a USB headset on a console
- Great sound quality
- Ease of use
- Less latency when using chat
- Sometimes has in-line controls that allow you to control more feature. The features include: Different headset sound presets and game audio/chat audio controls.
Cons of Using a USB headset on a console
- You often pay a premium price but don’t get all the features like surround sound and so on.
- Even though most are supported, not all USB headsets are supported by consoles. It is best to make sure that a headset works before buying one.
Console gaming headsets that use jack
In most cases, you can get a great sounding headset that has excellent mic quality. Then you have the convenience of just plugging the headset into the controller and, you are ready to play.
The best headset to use with the PS4
The Playstation platinum wireless headset is, in my opinion, the best headset to use on the PS4. It offers all the features you would need. Those features are:
- Sony’s own 7.1 surround sound and 3D audio.
- You can use this on the PS4, the upcoming PS5, your mobile device with the included 3.5mm jack, and a PC. This makes it great for people with multiple devices.
- Sony exclusive audio mode presets that allow you to hear a game the way a developer wants you to hear it.
Although USB headsets, in general, are better than jack headsets. In most cases, the difference in sound quality can only be noticed by audiophiles, so I believe that it shouldn’t sway your decision. What should influence your decision is the extra features that USB headsets offer.
Jack headsets offer a certain, plug and play, convenience when used on consoles.
While most headsets are compatible across different devices, it is important to check if they are compatible with your device. Even if you are on PC, some headsets require certain sound cards to work. A jack headset with 7.1 surround sound, will need a 7.1 sound card that has extra connections for the headset.