how to improve your gaming headset graphic

How To Improve Your Gaming Headset: 7 Effective Strategies

Today, I am going to show you the 7 best ways to improve your gaming headset for a killer performance.

In fact:

We have covered every aspect of your headset working so that you can extract unbelievable results!

Let’s get started right now:

#1: Adjust Your EQ Presets For A Perfect Sound

EQ Presets

Headset manufacturers can’t bulldoze their ideas on how your headset should sound, so they have introduced the EQ settings so that you can choose your perfect sound.

EQ presets help you to adjust the bass, mids, and treble frequencies of the output produced by your headset.

By adjusting these frequencies, you cancel out any unnecessary “noise” which helps you focus on the frequencies that matter the most like the footsteps of your opponents.

With that being said, here is how you can adjust them:

Step 1: Add Virtual Surround Sound To Your Gaming Headset

Virtual Surround sound

Many headsets have virtual surround sound features pre-built for the users. This feature may help give you a better gaming experience by adding more sources of sound than are actually present.

But if your headset doesn’t have this feature built-in, there are a good number of virtual surround apps in the market that allow you to add this feature to your current headphones for free or at a certain price.

Find all your options here:

A) Check Out The Options Pre-Built In The Games You Play

Gaming

Many games already have built-in sound processing installed in the system. For example:

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive has its own 3D audio. This game recommends you to keep it on but without any post-processing (which you will certainly disable if you prefer other options, but more on that later).

Overwatch has a slightly better option I feel as it offers you the Dolby Atmos For Headphones feature in its Sound Menu. What all you need to do is:

Turn the feature on and the gaming software will do all the virtual surround sound for you. No hassles of downloading this app or that.

This means you can easily put the feature on or off while playing the game to find which setting best suits you.

Download PDF version of this guide

Now, if you play some other game, you need to check its settings to find the best EQ preset. This option is the easiest one here.

For some games, this option will be all you need.

But for others, let’s check option b):

B) Use Windows Sonic For Headphones

Windows Sonic For Headphones Screenshot

The year was 2017. Microsoft introduced a new feature to Windows called Spatial Sound. It does two major things:

First, It allows different programs and games to have a direct interface with the audio stream in Windows.

Second, and the most important for us, it helps you to add virtual surround sound to headphones.

Now for there are some games that are specifically designed to work with this new Windows feature. Here is a quick list:

What Games Use Spatial Sound

So for these games, there is no problem.

Now, even if your game isn’t designed for Spatial Sound, this feature can help provide a surround sound effect through your headphones by “upscaling” a stereo signal.

(However, the games that supported the latest Windows feature sound much better than those that don’t)

Ok, so what about Windows Sonic?

Windows Sonic For Headphones is bundled free with Windows 10 and is basically Microsoft’s own version of that Spatial Sound which we were discussing for so long.

Use this setting to try the feature while playing your favorite games or even watching movies:

Spatial Sound > Windows Sonic for Headphones

Pro Tip: Turn off any in-game or third-party surround sound options while switching Windows Sonic to avoid double virtual surround sound effects.

I will be honest:

When I used this option, the sound was a bit “colored”, so this option isn’t the best one on the list!

But hey, your choice may be different from mine. You don’t pay a penny trying this feature so go check it out!

C) Take Dolby Atmos For Headphones Feature In Your Advantage

This option is pretty similar to the Windows Sonic one. But with one big improvement:

You enjoy amplified ambient noise with no coloring of sounds.

So, it basically solves out the major problem in the previous option.

And that’s pretty good.

Some games are designed for this tech and some are not but all games will work with Dolby’s own version of virtual surround sound tuning.

Just like the Sonic feature. There is something different as well:

Dolby Atmos doesn’t come pre-built with Windows. Instead, you have to download the Dolby Access App from the Microsoft Store free of cost.

There is one problem though:

You can use the app to play games with Dolby Atmos speaker systems, but you need to sign up for a $15 in-app purchase for the headphone feature. There is a free 7-days trial (just like any other paid feature) so you try it to see if it actually sounds the way you want during the game.

Ok, once you enable this paid feature, you just need to:

  • Open your game of choice
  • Find the Sound Icon in the Systems Tray
  • And choose Spatial Sound > Dolby Atmos for Headphones

The Dolby Access App also offers you an equalizer for different types of audio.

For Gaming

D) DTS Headphone:X Feature Can Be Your Unknown Superhero

You may not have heard of DTS as much as Dolby, but the reality is that this American Company has been showing up a decent performance in the surround sound space in recent years.

Like Dolby, DTS tech also implements Windows Spatial Sound using DTS Headphone: X Technology.

Here is how to use it in a step-by-step process:

Like the Dolby option, the DTS headphone feature is paid and you have to spend $20 after a 14-day free trial period.

This paid feature offers some useful options in the Sound Unbound app, including getting a specific tuning for your headset by clicking on the DTS tab and choosing settings under DTS Headphone:X.

Use the Search Bar to choose from over 500 actual headset models (Like AKG Q701 which is my personal favorite!) along with generic over-ear and earbud options.

Plus, the choices available in the balanced and spacious tunings in addition to the tuning profiles can help you further optimize the audio output.

Download PDF version of this guide

Comparing the DTS feature with the previous options, I found that:

It expands the soundstage more than the Windows Sonic and Dolby Atmos (meaning that the audio sounds further away from your ears) and you get a good sense of directionality too.

However, DTS:X does not amplify those ambient sounds the way Atmos or Sonic does.

So, if you love a more subtle approach during gameplay, take this DTS option.

But in case you want those ambient sounds to be audible in the heat of the battle, take the Atmos option.

You have a free trial period for both of these premium choices so try and test in a real gaming environment to find which one works for you.

Pro Tip: If you plan to purchase the DTS feature in Sound Unbound App, don’t just purchase the cheap DTS:X decoder. Buy the DTS Headphone: x decoder.

The reason?

You get EQ options for both your gaming headset and your home theater systems. Dual benefit at one go.

E) Here Are Is The List Of Some Other Options That Is Worth Your Try!

  • Spatial Sound Card (Free + Paid)
    The basic feature-set of this software includes a few equalizer presets and adjustments for each virtual “speaker”. The $10 pro version gives you the flexibility to try out multiple configurations based on different room environments along with low latency.
  • Equalizer APO with the HeSuVi Plugin 
    (Free)
    This is an open-source and free tool that aims to imitate the sound effects of DTS, Dolby, CMSS-3D, Sonic Razer, and many other implementations. Here is a helpful guide on how to set up this on your hardware!
  • Razer Surround
    (Free + Paid)
    You can get the latest version of Razer’s surround software but it costs $20 with a free trial. There is also an older version 2 which is available free for download on some third-party sites. You can try that to get a feel of how Razer’s implementation sounds but it lacks advanced customization options available in the paid version.

As you can see there are various solutions and options for your virtual surround sound experience. You need to try out different options in various gaming titles to find out what works best in a given game.

If you ask my opinion, I will go with the DTS or Dolby option.

Ok, so you have successfully figured out the surround sound optimization…so, what’s next to improve your gaming headset?

Step 2: Flip The High Frequency and Low-Frequency Sounds

Sound Frequency

You need to adjust the frequency levels as per the intensity of the game for a better experience. This hugely depends on the type of games you are playing:

  • For action-packed games like FPS games, try setting higher frequency sounds for higher values.
  • If you want to hear the footsteps better in action-paced games, try adjusting the frequency to 2000 to 4000 Hz.
  • For atmospheric games like Demon’s Souls or Silent Hill Series, try setting low-frequency sounds to a higher value. This will help you feel the story environment around you.

But remember, these are only “general guidelines”. So try these adjustments and see what works for you.

I already have said this quite a few times by now, but this is the TRUTH:

There are no universal EQ settings for gaming as every audio hardware and the games you love to play are insanely different. The settings which work awesome for me may not work well for you.

So what you can do is:

Adjust and fine-tune the existing EQ presets with the guidelines we are providing here till you get the results you are craving for!

Try, test, and win: this is the mantra for EQ adjustments!

Step 3: Try and Test With These EQ Settings For FPS Video Games

To help you in your trial and error, here is a handy chart of EQ settings:

General FPS Games

16 kHz10 kHz6.3 kHz4 kHz2.5 kHz1.6 kHz1 kHz630 Hz400 Hz250 Hz160 Hz100 Hz63 Hz40 Hz25Hz
-9 dB -7.8 dB-5.8
dB
-4.6
dB
-4.2
dB
-4.6
dB
-4.6
dB
1.8
dB
1.4
dB
1.4
dB
0.6
dB
0
dB
-3
dB
-4.6
dB
-4.6
dB

Here are the EQ settings of three specific games (which are my favorite!):

PUBG

16 kHz 8 kHz4 kHz2 kHz1 kHz500 Hz250 Hz120 Hz60 Hz30 Hz
5
dB
10
dB
15
dB
4
dB
0
dB
0
dB
6
dB
6
dB
8
dB
1
dB

Counter Strike: Global Offensive

16 kHz8 kHz4 kHz2 kHz500 Hz250 Hz125 Hz63 Hz32 Hz16 Hz
6
dB
8
dB
10
dB
8.5
dB
5.5
dB
4
dB
2
dB
0
dB
0
dB
0
dB

Call of Duty: Warzone

16 kHz8 kHz4 kHz2 kHz1 kHz500 Hz250 Hz125 Hz62 Hz31 Hz
8
dB
8
dB
8
dB
3
dB
3
dB
3
dB
-7
dB
-7
dB
-7
dB
-7
dB

This will surely help you find your ideal settings during the game!

#2: Use An AMP For Louder Sound Performance

AMP

If you have directly plugged your gaming headset into the motherboard for high-quality sound performance but still get too low volume output, there are good chances that your headset has medium to high impedance.

This means that you need a good amp to listen to in-game sounds at the volume you want.

But what is an amp anyway?

But What is an Amp Anyway?

Amp stands for an amplifier. As the name suggests, these devices amplify low voltage signals to high voltage ones, thereby increasing the volume range of your headset.

If you have connected your headset with your PC for gaming, the signal from your PC must be at the apt level to sound decent from your headset.

An amp in this case would have helped to make that decent connection for the optimum sound.

But in most cases, you will not need an amp.

This is because the sound cards on your motherboard have already a pre-built amp within them.

Without such pre-builts, you wouldn’t have been able to hear any sound from your headset connected with your PC.

If you have high-end gaming headphones, the sound cards can well serve your purpose in terms of loud output. But in case you are using your audiophile headphones, you will need an external amp as such over-ears are primarily meant for high-fidelity audio.

Sound cards have another device pre-built in them, but before we go into that, let’s understand what an impedance is.

This will help you get a clear idea of whether or not you need an amp:

Headphone Amp

You may have already felt that impedance is not a feature commonly seen in gaming headsets. They mainly impact the volume of sound transmitted.

The higher the value of the impedance (measured in ohms), the more likely you need an amp.

Lower impedance headphones don’t need an amp when connected to your PC or tablet, but they can emit dangerously loud sounds if you do.

This table will make your task a lot easier:

The impedance of your headset (ohms)CategoryComment
8-32Low ImpedanceNo Amp needed. Can connect to any battery-powered device and show decent performance.
33-39Medium-ImpedanceWill need an amp when paired with your tablet or smartphone.
100+High-ImpedanceWill need an amp to work with any device. Mainly used for studio settings.

Okay, you understood when you need an amp. But amps come built-in with…

#3: Eliminate All Unwanted Sounds With A DAC

Noise Isolating Microphones

DAC stands for Digital-to-Analog convertor. As evident with the full form, they convert digital signals coming from your personal computer and tablets into low-voltage signals so that the amp can amplify the sound.

DACs help clean up the signal so that you don’t hear the unwanted hissing sound or external noise coming from your headset.

As dedicated gamers know, one bad noise during a crucial moment can be a matter of life and death.

It is important to know that:

Most digital devices have built-in DACs. Otherwise, you cannot hear any sound from your device once plugged in.

Headphone DAC

Then what’s the point of buying a separate DAC?

Because your purchase will help you boost the seller’s revenue, which in turn will help benefit the economy, especially in these challenging times.

Just kidding.

A separate DAC will give you more control over the quality of the sound coming out from your headset.

If you already have a nice pair of gaming headphones (or are planning to buy one), then a separate DAC can help create that difference in the audio setup which will help you ace the game.

But if you have a budget headset, there is little scope for improvement. Your pre-built DAC/amp is enough to produce sound from the device.

In that case, you may want to look for a new pair of headsets, but more on that later.

#4: Optimize Your Headset Mic For Best Performance

Optimize for Gaming

You are playing Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and your team is at a critical juncture. You noticed something and tried to communicate with your team immediately.

But they reply: “Eh, what?”

Such a situation can really be a disaster to your team’s performance. And your headset mic is there to blame.

Here are some of the simple ways you can use to improve your gaming headset mic audio quality:

Solution #1: Get Yourself A Stable Connection

We will discuss this solution for both wired and wireless headset users.

A snug plug fit will nicely ensure the stable fit of your wired headset. In case your headset plugs get bent or its jacks become loose, you can clean, adjust, or repair to fix the headphone jack

In case you are using a wireless device, these are the tips you need to follow:

Correct All Interference Issues

Correct All Interference Issues Graphic

Interference issues occur because the devices and appliances in your home use the same frequency as used by the Bluetooth feature in your wireless headset.

To correct such interference you will have to:

  • Try to get your wireless Bluetooth headset as close to your audio device (which is your PC or tablet) removing all physical barriers.
  • Keep your Bluetooth headset away from fluorescent lights or microwaves. They will interfere with the mic audio as they run on the same frequency band which is 2.4 GHz.
  • Close all applications on your device which you are not currently using to avoid interference with BT transmission.
  • Try moving your Wi-Fi router closer to your device to make the connection more robust and avoid interference as they are running on the same frequency as Bluetooth.

In case you are experiencing an intermittent connection (meaning your modem/router drops your broadband connection at random intervals), the above tips may not work well. In that case, try to reset your Bluetooth connection.

Download PDF version of this guide

Match The Audio Codecs Between The Headset and The Device

Bluetooth Audio Codecs Illustrated

Bluetooth codecs help in encoding audio data from a device which is then sent to another device for decoding and producing output audio.

In most cases, all audio data will be transmitted without any problems. However, Bluetooth has its own limitations. There are several types of codecs and not all transmit data smoothly.

The rule says:

Your audio source should support the same codec as your wireless headset. If not, then it will change to default audio codec, which is not very reliable.

Which codec will be ideal for you depends on the source device you are using to play games. Android devices will do well with aptX or aptX LL whereas iOS devices will work well with AAC.

Solution #2: Adjust The Position Of Your Mic

Gamer wearing headset with mic

Mic positioning is the distance between the headset mic and your mouth. This can be a difference between an echoey mic sound and a clear output.

Moreover, the right position of your headset mic will avoid unnecessary interference and annoying audio feedback. Here are the steps you need to follow for boom mic placement:

  • Find the most comfortable position to place the headset on your head.
  • Make sure that the front side of the mic is facing you.
  • Bend the headset mic and position it at the edge of your mouth. There should be at least a 1-inch distance between the side of your mouth and the microphone.
  • If during usage, the position of the mic gets displaced, then adjust accordingly.

The optimum distance should be followed at all costs. Nothing more and nothing less. If the mic is too close to your mouth, the receiving line will annoying breathing sounds.

Now, what’s the optimal distance depends on the type of usage and the user himself. The 1-inch distance is just a general guideline. The size of the person’s cheek, the breathiness of the user’s voice production, or even the constant smiles of the user can affect the distance mics.

I don’t expect you will smile constantly during a heated action game!

But my suggestion here is that you should be conscious enough to leave enough distance between the mic and your mouth for clear audio.

If you have a problem maintaining the distance between your mouth and mic, check Solution #3!

Solution #3: Optimize The Sensitivity and Volume Of Your Mic

Different microphones have different mic sensitivity. This means that even if the sound source is the same, the volume of no two mics is similar.

But what is mic sensitivity exactly?

It is the amount of sound your microphone absorbs. If your mic sensitivity levels are off, you may hear static sounds or absolutely nothing from the audio source.

So, an optimized level of mic sensitivity is very essential for a high-quality sound.

Here is how you will do this for different gaming platforms:

Optimization For PS4

Ps4 optimization

If you are facing issues of echoed sounds or background noises on your headset mic while playing in PS4, these amazingly easy steps will surely help you out:

3 Simple Steps

  • Step #1
    On the PS4 controller, hold down the PlayStation icon to access the Quick Menu.
  • Step #2
    Inside the Quick Menu, choose Sound/Device and click on Adjust Microphone Level.
  • Step #3
    Adjust Your Microphone Level by dragging the slider to the lower-middle level to prevent unnecessary mic echoes and background noise.

If you keep your mic level too high, you will have to bear all background noises. So make sure you keep it in the low mid-range.

Optimization For Windows PC

PC optimization

Let’s jump straight away to the 5 easy steps:

5 Simple Steps

  • Step #1
    Head over to the Control Panel of the platform and click on Hardware and Sounds.
  • Step #2
    In Hardware and Sounds section, select Sound.
  • Step #3
    A dialog box will appear. Select the Recording tab and choose your active headset mic.
  • Step #4
    Right-click on the mic option and choose Properties
  • Step #5
    A dialog box titled Microphone Properties will appear with 4 tabs. Choose the Levels tab. Drag the pointer (of mic sensitivity) to somewhere in the lower-middle region for distortion-free audio. Alternatively, you can also use the mic booster setting.

Remember what I said for PS4. Too high mic level and you invite all sorts of unwanted background noise spoiling your gaming experience.

Optimization For Xbox

Xbox

Here is the step-by-step guide for a clear mic output for all the Xbox fans out there:

(Don’t forget to check out the points below!)

2 Simple Steps

  • Step #1:
    Plug your headset into the Xbox Controller. You will see a glowing Xbox icon. Click on it to access the menu.
  • Step #2:
    Click on Audio and adjust your audio settings at close to mid-range to find the right balance between the volume level of your headset and mic monitoring.

There are two things to note here:

The first one is obvious. If you turn up the headset volume and mic monitoring too much, you will hear echoes or audio feedback.

Second, there are no customizable options to adjust mic sensitivity in Xbox. You can cover your headset mic with a mic foam cover to reduce background noise. Alternatively, you can cover your mic with a piece of tape first before using a foam cover if it is highly sensitive.

Optimization In Mac

Mac Optimization

Unlike Xbox, Mac has a pre-built option to adjust mic sensitivity. Here are the steps you need to follow:

4 Simple Steps

  • Step #1:
    Head over to System Preferences.
  • Step #2:
    Next, click on Sound.
  • Step #3:
    Choose the Output tab and click on your Active Headset/Microphone
  • Step #4:
    Now, select the Input tab. Adjust Mic Sensitivity by dragging the arrow to right or left.

You already know what are the preferred mic sensitivity settings (Hint: It’s somewhere in the lower mid portion).

If your house (or wherever you are planning to play games with) suffers from excessive background noise, tick the box that says “Use Ambient Noise Reduction“.

Optimization In Discord

Discord optimization

As an avid gamer, it is much unlikely that you don’t know what Discord is. It’s a popular live-streaming platform where you can broadcast your gameplay live, interact with fellow gamers, and discuss different strategies.

It has both free and paid plans and had 300 million registered users as of July 2020.

As an interactive platform, the mic plays a huge role here. It has separate mic settings for better output and this step-by-step guide will help you achieve just that:

4 Simple Steps

  • Step #1:
    At the Discord interface, look at the bottom-left portion. You will find a gear icon. Click on it to open user settings.
  • Step #2:
    Under App Settings, click on Voice and Video.
  • Step #3:
    In the Input Device drop-down menu, select your Active Headset Microphone. Adjust the Input Volume as per your requirement.
  • Step #4:
    In the Output Device drop-down menu, select your headset. Adjust the Output Volume according to your preference. You can also select any other speaker you want to use.
  • Step #5:
    (For Streamers)
    Tick the box saying Voice Activity if you want Discord to broadcast your audio whenever it picks up any sound.
  • Step #6:
    (For Streamers)
    Tick the box saying Push To Talk if you want to open the broadcast audio option by pressing a specific button. You can customize it by clicking on Edit Keybind and choosing your favorite button option

Apart from the steps above, there is something else that you can use to eliminate unnecessary background noise coming from your headset.

It’s krisp.ai, a free app that offers advanced noise suppression settings.

Remember that Krisp will need at least a Windows 10 64-bit OS to operate on your Windows PC. For Mac computers, it needs a minimum macOS 10.12 update to operate.

To use Krisp on Discord, follow the steps below:

2 Simple Steps

  • Step #1:
    Click on your Channel in the Discord server and select Noise Suppression Icon.
  • Step #2:
    Turn Krisp on.

You can run a mic test on Discord to see how Krisp’s noise suppression works. Here is what you need to do:

Speak through your mic and clap your hands at the same time. Notice that only your voice should be transmitted in Discord and not the sounds of your hands clapping.

(To better understand how it is done, check out this tutorial)

In quiet environments, it is better to keep Krisp off to protect your mic audio quality.

Solution #3: Use A Mic Pop Filter For Clear Audio

Headset Mic Pop Filter

Mic Pop Filters can be pretty useful during multiplayer games and streaming. This is because they eliminate “plosive energy” and allow us to get closer to the microphone.

When you speaker keeping the mic close to your mouth, the tiny blasts of air from your mouth hit your mic’s diaphragm harder than natural sounds, causing the “pop” in the mic signal.

Mic pop filters have a perforated screen (usually made of nylon or metal) positioned in between your mic and mouth to absorb that “plosive energy”.

It can be very handy for multiplayer games as your teammates can hear you more clearly with no conscious effort on your part.

But for streaming, the bulky device can block your face or prevent your audience to see your face completely. But the transmission of your voice becomes more audible for sure.

You can get these mic pop filters in online or offline audio stores.

(I am very bad at the DIY craft. But if you aren’t, then check out this tutorial to make a DIY pop filter at home with no extra cost!)

#5: Update Sound Drivers To Get The Most Out Of Your Headset

Update Sound Drivers

Gaming devices like gaming consoles and PCs come with pre-installed drivers and sound cards.

However, in certain gaming conditions, they may not work as well as you expect them to do.

To get the most out of your headset while gaming, you upgrade your audio drivers or soundcard with the latest version that is compatible with the recent peripheral or software devices.

This will make it easier for you to listen to the audio instructions and commands and get clear and crisp in-game audio.

We will be discussing 4 simple ways to update your headset drivers in Windows 10 because that’s the most common OS worldwide.

Let’s dive in:

Option #1: Update Sound Drivers Manually In Windows 10

Follow this step-by-step process:

Device Manager Screenshot

6 Simple Steps

  • Step #1:
    In your PC, press Windows Key + R
  • Step #2:
    To open the Device Manager, type devmgmt. msc and click OK.
  • Step #3:
    Expand the Sound, video, and game controllers category in the Device Manager.
  • Step #4:
    Right-click on your headset name in the list and select Update Driver.
  • Step #5:
    Next, select Search automatically for drivers.
  • Step #6:
    Your task is done. The Device Manager will download and install the compatible drivers for your gaming headset.

You can connect your headphone to the PC to check how it’s working once the drivers are installed.

Option #2: Update Audio Drivers Using The Official Tool

Many gaming headsets have their official tool to update sound drivers. Here is how to use it in this step-by-step guide (Case Point: Razer Headset):

Razer Cortex

2 Simple Steps

  • Step #1:
    Download and Install the Razer Cortex application.
  • Step #2:
    After you launch the app, click on the Update Software button.

Additionally, you can:

  • Manually check for updates by going to Settings (gear icon) > Software Updates. Choose Check Now to start the scanning for pending updates.

Option #3: Update Sound Drivers Using A Professional Program

You don’t have to go through all the drivers manually one by one. The program will update your computer hardware drivers automatically.

These driver apps are specialized to identify and update the latest and most compatible devices for your OS. You get features like automatic scanning, bulk update, one-click update, scheduled updates, and multi-lingual support.

You should install only a trusted driver app that is reliable and convenient to use. Installing programs from unverified sources will be an open invitation for viruses to harm your PC.

There are several good driver apps in the market. You just need to install and run the application to let the app find all the driver issues so that you can choose and fix them without any hassle.

Here are some examples:

  • Ashampoo® Driver Updater
  • Outbyte Driver Updater
  • System Mechanic Ultimate Defense
  • DriverFix

Option #4: Install Windows 10 Updates

This is pretty easy. If you install Windows 10 Updates, the headphone drivers and their outdated sound will be updated automatically.

Here is what you need to do:

Install Windows 10 Updates

5 Simple Steps

  • Step #1:
    Open your PC and press Windows Key + I
  • Step #2:
    Click on the Updates & Securities Tab.
  • Step #4:
    Select the Windows Update on the left-hand corner.
  • Step #5:
    Proceed from here and download and install pending Windows 10 Updates.

Simple, isn’t it?

#6: Replace Ear Pads To Improve Your Gaming Headset

We spent a good amount of time playing games with headsets on:

average gameplay duration in a week

And we play games all our attention is on our enemies and the virtual settings.

Till one fine day, we find our earpads getting stiff and increasingly flattened making them extremely uncomfortable.

If your headset ear pads have started to crack or are emitting an awful rote smell, you desperately need to change them.

Again, if your ear cushions are thicker, you get less bass intensity as the distance between your ears and drivers increases. Angled ear cushions match the shape of your ear and deliver better sound to your ear through the better position of drivers.

And, replacing your ear pads isn’t as hard as replacing the horseshoe. Here is a helpful guide for you to check out:

First Up: Keep Your Tools Ready For The Operation!

You need to have this list of tools ready before we start our ear pad replacement operation:

1. Replacement Ear Pads:

Replacement Earpads

This is the first thing you need to get at hand and that’s pretty obvious. If your manufacturer has provided replacement pads, then use them.

Or else find the headset pads used by your manufacturer for the specific model you use. Also, check if the warranty of the headset covers the replacement of ear pads.

2. Earpad Tape:

Earpad Type (Credits: eBay)

In most cases, earpad tapes come with their own replacement pads. You will need them to secure the replacement pads.

You need to buy a separate pair if it doesn’t come with replacement pads.

3. Prying Tool:

dull knife

This can be anything from a dull butter knife to an unused plastic card which you will use to pry/remove the headphone pads.

You can also use your fingers for this provided that it doesn’t damage your headphones in the operation!

4. Old Toothbrush:

old toothbrush

This will help you clean the dust along with the glue residue left behind by your old headphone pads.

So, you have your tools ready. The stage is set and your mind is itching to get rid of those old stiff pads.

But wait…

Every headset model has a unique way of attaching the earpad to the device. We have listed detailed instructions for each scenario you may face so that you can replace the old pads with the new ones without any hassle.

Ready for the operation?

Here we go:

Scenario #1: Easily Removable Earpads

headphone earpads

This is the easiest scenario for the entire process. It works for gaming headsets that are not attached to glue or other adhesives.

Here is how you will open the old pads:

4 Simple Steps

  • Step #1:
    To ensure that no glue is used, use a prying tool to lightly pull away at a small portion around the edge of the headset pad.
  • Step #2:
    After you are sure that no glue is involved, continue pulling away the rest of the headphone pad until it completely comes off the sound driver.
  • Step #3:
    In some cases, you may notice of ring of material or cloth around the back of the headphone pad that uses a plastic lip to connect to the main earpiece.

    Be brave and pull on the pad even if it feels tight!

    The ring of material will stretch just enough for you to remove the pads without any damage if you are careful!
  • Step #4:
    Repeat the process for the other side.

Here is how you will replace the ear-pads:

3 Simple Steps

  • Step #1:
    Line up on one side of the material/cloth of the new earpad into the groove or plastic lip of the headset.
  • Step #2:
    Once you have got a small portion of the cloth material securely in place within the groove, continue with the rest of the headset pad by sliding the material into the groove using your fingers.
  • Step #3:
    For a snug fit, try to slightly rotate the earpad to secure the cloth material in its place.

Scenario #2: Glued Headphone Pads

Glued Headphone Pads

Some headphone brands (like Beats) use glue to attach the ear pads to the headphone drivers.

Here is how you will open the ear pads:

4 Simple Steps

  • Step #1:
    Gently insert the prying tool in between the earpad and the speaker housing of the headset.
  • Step #2:
    Start prying away a small section of the headset pad first. Then work your way around the entire pad until it comes off.
  • Step #3:
    Now, take your old toothbrush and brush off any glue or dirt left behind on the headphone driver.

    You can also rub off the residue of the adhesive using a small cloth dabbed in alcohol.
  • Step #4:
    Don’t forget to do the same for the other side.

Here is how you will replace the ear pads:

4 Simple Steps

  • Step #1:
    Apply the earpad tape to each headset pad and ensure that it’s in the proper place. You can do this by checking if the holes of the tape are perfectly lined up with the holes of the ear pad’s frame.

    If the earpad tape is already applied at the back of your replacement pad, skip this step.
  • Step #2:
    Now, remove the paper cover from the backside of the tape. If you are having trouble peeling off the paper, use a small flat edge screwdriver.
  • Step #3:
    Properly align the ear pad before attaching it to the headset. Ensure that the seam of the pad is facing towards the charging port/cable.
  • Step #4:
    Attach the earpad to the headset. Hold it until it is safely installed.

We have used all your tools in this method!

There is one more scenario for “Non-Removable Headphone Pads”. This is applicable for some select headphone models where you have to pry open the entire headphone driver housing to remove the ear pads.

Obviously, this requires more skill and effort, so you should take the help of your nearby audio store to do the job.

Before we head on to our last strategy, here are some tips to better take care of your ear-pads:

  • Use a cloth dabbed with soap water to clean your ear pads once a week.
  • After every session, wipe off any excess moisture from your headset using the inside of your shirt.
  • Clean your ears regularly to remove excessive wax.
  • Keep your headset inside the cupboard or a case when you are not using them.

#7: Look For A New Pair Of Amazing Gaming Headsets!

Gaming Headset

When all the above strategies don’t work or your headphone is too worn out for any of them to work, this is your last resort for a good experience.

And believe it or not, there are a lot of misconceptions when it comes to looking for a good headset.

The first being: what’s the difference between a gaming headset and an ordinary headphone?

Let’s resolve this issue first:

Gaming headphones have a dedicated mic attached to them. Plus they offer great noise isolation and clear detailed audio even at low volume.

Whereas ordinary headphones have a separate mic that is not attached to the device.

Having cleared these basics first, let’s look into some more critical factors:

7 Key Factors

  • Compatibility:
    See if your headset is compatible with the gaming platform you play. Look for versatile headset models so that you can play games on multiple platforms.
  • Sound Quality
    Gaming headsets equipped with the latest Dolby Surround Sound feature with 360-degree audio will well serve your purpose in most video games.

    Consider 3D sound or spatial audio as that’s best for precise and realistic sound. If that’s not available, then go for virtual surround sound as that’s best to pinpoint your enemies.

    Plus if you get better sound effects and bass-rich output, it will be really worth your investment.
  • Comfort
    Choose headsets that are lightweight (around 225 grams), have an adjustable headband, offer nice and soft ear padding, and fit well in your head.
  • Mic Quality
    A headset without a good mic is not worth buying at all. Your in-built mic should have a great noise-cancellation feature, should have a mute function. Look for a boom mic for awesome results.
  • Durability
    If you are planning to spend money, let it be for a minimum of 2-3 years. Headsets made of robust materials like aluminum are the best.
  • Wired vs
    Wireless
    Wired models are usually lighter than their wireless counterparts. They are more affordable too but don’t have any battery function.

    Wireless is the new trend in the gaming space and they offer better compatibility than the former. But they do come at a hefty price.

    Your final choice should be based on other factors and not just a headset being wired or wireless.
  • Price
    Don’t compromise on noise isolation, audio clarity, and comfort while looking for budget options. One good investment is better than two poor choices.

I hope these factors will be more than enough for your ideal choice. A gaming headset is more than an accessory. It’s a tool and finding the right one can be the difference between an average gamer and a pro one.

Obviously, personal skills do play a part. But getting your ideal tool is also a skill of another level!

Happy searching 🙂


Download PDF version of this guide

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improve your gaming headset infographic

Now, it’s your turn…

What Did You Think?

What’s Your Take

Now, I’d like to hear from you:

Which strategy are you going to use first?

Are you going to adjust your EQ settings or improve your gaming headset mic performance?

Either way, let me know by leaving a comment below right now.

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