Studio monitors provide the best-quality signal possible, which is why they are optimal for mix and master engineers in music production. But are they good for gaming?
It depends on how you play. Since you’ll be gaming, there is a high chance most attention will be on the gameplay. A studio system reproduces audio with immersion and quality, but you might benefit from not-so-HiFi audio systems depending on the game’s genre.
Therefore, consider these things before getting studio monitors for your gaming rig:
- The game’s genre
- The room’s setup
- The immersion (surround system)
- Console limitations (How to use your headphones with Xbox Series X & Series S | Windows Central)
It’s essential to understand and analyze whether a headphone is fit for studio, casual, or gaming uses. In addition, most headphones portray a sound signature, which consists of attenuations or emphasis at particular points in the signal’s frequency range.
Therefore, gaming headsets commonly contain accentuation in the low-bass and clarity over the mids, though this is not a rule. However, studio headphones, on the other hand, deliver sound neutrality at best.
In this sense, using studio headphones for gaming purposes might deliver a quality experience. However, it’s like wearing professional scuba diving gear for a quick dive in the pool. Different purposes that need context.
The Game’s Genre
A lot will depend on the game’s genre. For instance, a high-quality studio headphone can deliver an excellent frequency response throughout the spectrum. But, they focus on sound neutrality and not too much on making the tones unique.
However, by hearing signals with improved frequency response towards sound neutrality, one may perceive frequencies ranges such as the mids to be extremely clear and airy. Therefore, game genres that portray a narrative storyline with a lot of dialogue, such as “Life is Strange,” can take advantage of studio headphones.
Moreover, the vocal range is mainly around the mid frequencies, between 600 Hz to 3.5 kHz, and a good treatment around this area can make voices more impactful and meaningful, which is a plus for emotional games.
In addition, studio headphones might not be ideal for intense sound effects in action games. Still, games that portray rich soundtracks like ABZU will benefit from the high quality of the frequency response of professional headphones, making the music richer.
Most studio headphones nowadays feature an open-back design. Therefore, most sounds coming from the earcups will leak, and this can be troublesome if you share the gaming space with other people.
In addition, there is no noise isolation with the back design. In this sense, players who enjoy total immersion and rather not hear any external noise in the gameplay might find this an obstacle.
However, many closed-back studio headphones can achieve quite a good seal around the ears and provide an excellent external noise block. Still, most headphones that focus on the gaming niche also feature high noise isolation capacity.
Studio monitors can sound good regardless, but they won’t provide the high levels of immersion that gaming headphones usually do. Since most games nowadays have intense features to enhance immersion, most modern gaming headphones portray 3D sound modes or 7.1 surround settings.
Hence, sounds coming from all directions of the spatial field, to provide the player with a sense of realism, might not come out as intended through studio headphones.
Gaming headphones, such as the Audeze Mobius and Corsair Virtuoso Wireless SE, have 3D sound modes and a 7.1 surround system setting that focuses on gameplay scenarios.
A significant difference between pro-level studio headphones and gaming headphones is their prices. Of course, gaming headsets like the Audeze Mobius might be more expensive than good-quality studio headphones. Still, most gaming headphones, such as the HyperX Cloud Alpha, will feature a friendlier price and a performance that aims towards games better.
Not to mention that gaming headsets commonly feature a built-in microphone and, if you were to buy these two items separately, it would be pretty expensive.
Since gaming is also a social activity, players typically use microphones for communication most of the time. Moreover, most gaming headsets feature a built-in microphone for this purpose.
Every HyperX and Corsair gaming headset, for instance, has a microphone for gamers to play together in groups within a voice chat. However, headphones for professional studio use do not require a microphone since their finality is exclusively for analytical and critical hearing in the mixing and mastering stage.
In addition, people may use a studio monitor and buy a microphone separately. However, this can significantly impact price, which is something you can avoid by just high-quality getting gaming headsets.
For instance, if you buy a Sennheiser HD 280 Pro for $99 and a microphone for about the same price, you’ll expend double the cost of the HyperX Cloud Alpha, which comes with a built-in mic.
Moreover, gaming headphones have convenient control over the microphone’s volume in their design, enabling quick monitoring of voice and sound levels.
Most headphones for professional use feature a jack connector, typically between 6.5mm to 3.5mm. Therefore, this can be a significant obstacle if you want to use these headphones on a console, which typically does not feature a compatible port.
On the other hand, most modern gaming headsets come with a wireless feature that allows them to connect to many devices apart from a PC. Therefore, consoles such as PlayStation and Xbox benefit from these connections and are compatible.
In addition, it’s challenging to find an external microphone compatible with consoles. Hence, gaming headsets that feature a built-in microphone and allow for wireless connection on consoles can provide two essential services at once.
For example, when connected with a console, the Corsair Virtuoso Wireless SE will reproduce sounds through its earcups and allow for voice communication over its microphone. All of this with a simple BlueTooth connection.