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The gaming world has grown into a massive industry that’s here to stay. Thus, gaming accessories are now a need for most users that want to be part of electronic sports since they have contributed to the success of computers that are specifically designed for gaming.
Wireless headphones have latency. What this means is that when you use this type of headset, there might be a delay between what is currently playing and what users can hear. However, you barely notice the wireless headphones lag as long as the delay is only in milliseconds.
If you want to know more about whether wireless headphones are worth it or not, keep reading and find out more about their benefits!
Are wireless headsets good for gaming?
Yes, wireless headphones are an excellent choice for gaming because they improve the sound quality as well as your gaming experience itself.
It is a fact that video games have become one of the favorite activities to do at home. Nowadays, it’s very different from what it used to be a few years ago, you don’t need an expensive console or a unique computer, and you just need your smartphone to access the hundreds of games available in the app stores (for free!)
Wireless headsets have a series of advantages when playing games that normal headsets do not have.
They offer deeper and better quality sound, for example. This is a cool fact to notice since smartphone speakers sometimes don’t offer the best sound quality. If you want to obtain a deeper sound, using high-quality wireless headphones is the first thing you should do. In gaming, some games such as shooting games, need great quality sound to discern the origin of the shots or the position of the enemies.
You must understand now how crucial it is to wear good headphones since these can make the difference between winning or losing a game.
Another thing benefit that people underestimate sometimes is the fact that you can play in public places without disturbing others. Many users access game applications when traveling by public transport or having to wait somewhere. This is the moment I always recommend having wireless headphones nearby so you’re able to play with sound without disturbing those around us.
Then you have the live gaming session you can have using these types of a headset.
Gaming has become more competitive so it’s getting more popular to use voice chat applications like Discord, which are really useful to help you cooperate with your teammates to achieve better results. Games become social, fun, and more like a strategic activity. If you look at it from this perspective, headphones with a built-in microphone facilitate listening and good communication.
Besides, everyone loves having their hands free of any items, you can have comfort and freedom of movement. You can start a game from your sofa and then finish it in the kitchen.
Charging your device and playing at the same time is also possible here. You don’t want to be left to zero in the middle of a game if you’re playing on your mobile, but many modern devices have only one input with the USB Type-C connection standard, that you can’t use with a wired headset while it’s charging. Using Bluetooth technology is the best solution for this situation.
If you already have found headphones, you should now check what microphone you’re going to use. You have two options, you either buy an external microphone or get an accessory that you can attach to any headset so that it is available with a microphone. You must be aware that the last option might not have the best sound quality, but it is an interesting solution that can save you from any problem.
Do wireless gaming headsets have latency?
Yes, wireless headphones have latency. Yet, it depends on the device you’re using and the type of game, but don’t worry, it’s common to find some delay between what is currently playing and what you hear. Sometimes, this delay is just milliseconds, so you barely notice it.
A pro tip; don’t pay attention to headset colored lights, they might look cute, but what matters is their sound quality.
There is no relevant difference between traditional headphones designed for listening to music and those designed for playing games if you stick to its design and its sound properties.
Keep in mind that latency is a type of delay. It happens when an audio signal encounters delays after entering the sound card; as a result, the signal cannot exit the sound card at the same moment it enters.
If you’re wondering why you should be concerned with latency when playing games, viewing movies, making music, or recording a performance, consider the time difference. The time difference might be challenging for you and your gaming moments. Latency may be a major issue for artists, producers, and even engineers nowadays, but if you’re just listening to music with headphones, you shouldn’t be too concerned.
Continuing with mobile games, latency can make an important difference in tactile versus intentional response. As a result, while selecting a headset, most gamers are concerned with latency. Furthermore, latency can cause everything in a film to be out of sync.
Wireless headsets don’t only have benefits, so you may also find some disadvantages. For example, these headphones usually have a higher price than others for their features and design.
Why do wireless headphones have latency?
One thing is certain: latency occurs when there is a delay in translating an audio signal into an audible sound in the ear. It’s simpler to comprehend Bluetooth latency when you compare the audio signal conversion process between a wired headset and a Bluetooth headset.
The digital audio conversion process for wired headphones is straightforward and quick. When an audio signal is detected, it is sent straight to the amplifier through the cable. The amplifier receives the audio stream and amplifies it so that everyone can hear it. In most cases, the complete conversion procedure takes less than 7 milliseconds.
Bluetooth headphones require a separate conversion method since they are more time consuming. The audio stream is compressed by an encoder before being sent to a Bluetooth transmitter, which then connects to a Bluetooth receiver inside the headset. Furthermore, the receiver transmits the audio signal to a decoder, which then delivers it to the digital to audio converter, abbreviated as DAC.
The audio signal must be sent to the amplifier. When you hear it, it comes from the DAC, where it is transformed into audio sound. The rest is self-explanatory; Bluetooth headphones requires a longer period if the signal path is longer or takes longer. This is the point at which you will notice a discrepancy between what you see on your screen and what you can hear.
As I mentioned above, Latency is measured in milliseconds or ms. You probably didn’t notice this, but it’s actually there whenever you listen to audio through headphones.
There are some ways you can reduce this type of delay. The best advice is that you should always update codecs on both devices, that’s right, update the audio codecs on both devices, whenever possible. Luckily, manufacturers sometimes release new versions to improve quality.
I also recommend using compatible devices. The best codecs sometimes are not available on your device, if it is old. Moreover, most systems have included new and better codecs to avoid Bluetooth audio problems.
Yet, this is something that applies to certain versions of operating systems. If you use an old device and it probably won’t receive these updates, you will not be able to benefit from it. Therefore it may be interesting to try on a more recent device and see if the problem persists.
What causes latency on a wireless headset?
Your wireless headset might suffer from latency if there’s a delay between the audio signal entering the headphones at the moment you can hear your music. You will not notice this latency if you are listening to music, but if you are watching a video the sound might be different. Bluetooth 4.0 has low latency, so you get better results than previous versions. It also improves with the aptX codec.
The quality of the connection between the Bluetooth device and the connected device is determined by the Bluetooth signal. As a result, the Bluetooth signal is responsible for a large portion of the delay. It undoubtedly has an impact on it.
Several things can affect the strength of a Bluetooth signal. The distance between the Bluetooth unit and the connected device has a considerable impact on the Bluetooth signal and, as a result, on the latency. Physical items between the devices can potentially interfere with the Bluetooth signal, causing a delay.
There are some ways to measure the milliseconds, for example, most people don’t notice latency lower than 20 ms, and many don’t feel anything between 40 and 80 ms, either. That’s completely different when it’s above 150 ms.
Bluetooth headphones should offer a latency of at most 100 ms, but the reality is very different. Most of the improvements you can find in the market are related to the wired headphones, not Bluetooth, although Google has worked on reducing sound latency,
Many of them add small delays because of the way Android works. That’s to say, latency depends on each manufacturer. For example, many devices that have low-latency APIs are optional, so some phones offer lower latency than others. Phones that help control CPU performance to improve battery life suffer from longer lag as well.
The Bluetooth standard adds quite a bit of latency itself so it doesn’t help much either. You have that the latency of Android can be about 100 ms and that of Bluetooth can add another 100 ms at the end.
You can also consider Bluetooth 5.0 to reduce latency. The latency of Bluetooth 5.0 is lower than that of older Bluetooth versions. Furthermore, it provides a more solid connection that assures a reliable signal and lowers latency.
Should I be worried about latency from my headset when playing games?
Yes, you should worry about latency once you determine what you’re going to use your headset for. Latency is sometimes responsible for seeing jumps in action or making your character freeze (if you’re playing games). If you have high latency, the time required to complete will be very high, and you will not enjoy a real-time experience.
Having this type of delay is one of the aspects that can most influence your user experience when you are playing online titles, so imagine what it would be like when you browse the Internet or watch live streams. This is sometimes an underestimated topic, but if you’re here it means that you’re doing something for it. Remember that high latency can ruin even the fastest internet connection on the planet.
In the end, a fast connection is very important, so it is not something you should ignore. It’s a fact that once you have higher upload and download speed you will be able to download and upload content in less time, but if the latency around you will have such a bad experience that it be a mess.
I am sure that the ideal amount of latency when playing games is not more than 40 ms. Even 70 ms the experience can still be acceptable depending on how fast the game is, but when you move above 90 ms the problems begin.
Most programs and games do not need a high Internet connection speed, but they do require reduced latency and minimal stability without interruptions if you want the overall experience to be good.
Processors in the wireless headphones are crucial in this part, they improve the sound quality so some high-end wireless headphones can have built-in processors that update and clean the sound quality.
Yet, there is less information available when the sound has to be compressed. This happens when there is very limited bandwidth. Nowadays, the bandwidths are good enough for good sound quality, but most artists notice that difference (not your case, gamers!)
That is why some headphones have small processors to alleviate this loss in sound quality.
If you want to avoid this problem, you should know that it’s not easy (not impossible either) since high latencies sometimes come from problems with the destination servers or by some technical failure of your Internet provider. There’s not much you can do here. I want to share with you some other series of recommendations that may be helpful.
Close downloads in the background, most people don’t know they generate network traffic by consuming resources.
Try to use wired connections for gaming, as they are more stable and less vulnerable to interference. You can also restart the router if you have high latencies since in many cases it can be to solve the problem.
In the end, using a good router for games is key to enjoying a great experience.
On the other hand, you should check your CPU for malware as well. Some security threats consume network resources, another important problem that you must avoid is to ensure you do not have intruders on your network.
How do I check my wireless headset latency?
Latency is an important factor that users have to consider when choosing a headset for gaming. You can use many methods to check audio latency an easy way to measure latency without spending that much money is using free programs.
I recommend using WavePad Audio, Ocenaudio, Adobe Audition CC, Audacity, and Radium.
Most of them have different features, but when it’s about measuring latency the process is almost similar. These tools are amazing for editing and recording sounds and they’re useful in most operating systems.
First, you might need to find a loopback cable will be needed to perform the verification since some programs ask you to plug it into your PC’s USB audio interface.
The important thing here is to configure the program to be in “View” mode so that you can see the Set Selection Format section.
From there it is only to follow instructions depending on the program you chose. Just select the appropriate input for your sound card and set the input level using the audio level meter function (the program already has it built-in)
There will be a part where you will have to start transferring the audio. The top should be the input signal once the audio waves show on your screen and the output signal appears on the other side.
Once the waves appear, you will be able to visualize much of the delay, you have to pause the audio transfer for this.
Here is when people get a bit confused because they don’t know which audio wave provides the latency measurement. You have to look for the first point that appears which is the non-delayed wave. There you just have to left-click to drag the selection of this wave to the detail point to see more information about it.
There you should appreciate the latency time reading which will be the first you will see. How I explained above, it should appear in milliseconds or more at the bottom of the screen.
If you are wondering what to do if you do not have a cable that connects the USB audio interface, I am happy to tell you that remote measurements are possible.
Measuring the delay when input and output ports are not together is more complex but not impossible. Microwaves and satellite systems are your only options for achieving this.
Don’t worry, because it’s just looking for a common program source that doesn’t have latency. For this, think about the radio stations that you have nearby, for example, an easily accessible signal is a medium-wave high-power AM station.
This type of frequency will provide audio with separate sources despite being at a great distance.
If you are wondering how far you can be to perform this measurement, there is no specific distance, but in these cases, there are services in some countries that provide help you. Radio stations can always tell you where to go first depending on your location.
I recommend that you use a wireless gaming headset. However, depending on the model and the type of game, you may or may not have to deal with latency. For example, high-end wireless gaming headphones offer minimal latency.
They also contain high-quality components that assure high-quality output. Any gaming experience you have will be worthwhile and will be no different from their wired equivalents.