If you aren’t acknowledged with audio devices too close, you may think there’s no significant difference between headset and headphones. However, it isn’t so and it’s better to know the difference before you spend your money. Frankly speaking, most people think they’re the same thing, however, there are some key differences that make affect your choice.
What are headphones and when you should choose them?
Headphones are usually two speakers connected with a band that you should wear on your head. After you wear the headphones, the speakers would be over your ear, providing great noise cancellation (in case you will buy quite good headphones) and a good sound experience, as audio sonics are delivered directly to your ears.
Headphones vibrate quite large segments of air, so they deliver not only sound, but also additional vibrations, like beats in music, so if you like to listen to it, that’s a better choice than earbuds.
Of course, the quality of sound depends a lot on a segment you would be headphones from, the common rule is that the more expensive headphones are, the better sound quality they would provide (at least this rule works to some extend).
However, the headphones do not have a built-in microphone, so if you need to use them to communicate, you will also have to buy a microphone.
What are the pros of headphones?
There are a lot of pros of headphones, but I will highlight three main features that make me suggest you using this type of audio device.
A wide range of models and form-factors
There is a wide range of models available on the market – you can start with a cheaper model if you want to test this type of audio device or buy a more expensive one if you want to get a better sound quality.
Also, there’s a wide range of form-factors: headphones with the massive band, headphones with a tight band, wireless Bluetooth headphones, and so on. Wired headphones usually provide better sound (however modern Bluetooth headphones can provide almost the same sound quality). Wireless headphones, however, would be much better if you want to use them outdoors, when walking or doing sports, for example.
Usually, headphones provide quite a good sound quality, even if we talk about cheap models, just due to the fact that they would block surrounding noises, so you can enjoy music in your headphones.
Usually, the sound quality in headphones is higher, especially in the low and middle range, and due to a large amount of air, they have good bass.
There are headphones with active and passive noise canceling, and more expensive models offer additional features that allow you to concentrate on sound and avoid unnecessary noise.
If we’re comparing headphones and headsets, headphones are usually more focused on sound quality. That means you get a better experience, especially if you want to listen to music first.
Usually, the headphones are comfortable enough and there are models with a light enough weight so that you almost don’t feel them on your head. If you choose a wireless Bluetooth model, you avoid wiring problems and can use them when you are active.
However, the problem with the headphones is their size. They are usually not compact enough to fit easily in your pocket.
What are headsets and when you should choose them?
Now let’s look at the headsets. They also come in different sizes and form factors, but the main difference from headphones is the presence of a built-in microphone. So it’s a good choice if you want to use them for communication in the first place.
For example, headsets are usually chosen by people who often need to communicate with clients at work, as it is more convenient than using headphones and a microphone separately.
What are the pros of headsets?
The main advantage is the presence of a microphone. As I said before, in this case, you don’t need to buy a microphone separately and you get two audio devices in one.
This is a good choice if you are using the audio device for communication, because you can walk around and still communicate with a client, for example.
The built-in microphone solves many of your problems, so I recommend choosing a headset in case you need to communicate often. Whether it’s at work or you just like to play with your friends, it’s better than using a separate microphone.
They are just as comfortable as headphones, just for a different purpose. If headphones are comfortable for listening to music, then headsets are comfortable for communication.
In this case, it just depends on your needs, so all I can say is that if you use the microphone a lot – headsets would be a better choice than just headphones (without the microphone).
There are monaural and binaural headsets – the first one is worn only in one ear, the second one is worn in both ears, like common headphones. A monaural headset would be a nice choice if you still need to hear sounds around you – for example if you’re working in an office and you should hear your co-workers as well, even if you’re talking with someone using your headset.
What is better to choose: headphones or headset?
It all depends on your needs as I said. I can’t decide that for you, so the choice is yours.
You should choose headphones if you just want to listen to music, as they provide good sound quality, especially in the mid and low tones.
You should choose a headset if you communicate a lot, as it will be much more comfortable than using a bulky microphone and headphones separately.
However, analyze your needs first and make your decision based on what you really need.
Featured image credit: The Georgetown Voice