Professional esports players usually wear noise-canceling headphones or headsets during pro gaming tournaments for obvious reasons. However, one can't help but notice that players sometimes wear a second headset on their necks. But what is it for anyway?
Let's find out why pro gamers sometimes wear two headsets in an esports event. Is it just a quirk of pro players to look more awesome, or are there legitimate reasons for doing so?
- So why do esports players wear two headsets?
- Why do pro players wear headphones with earbuds underneath them?
- Which is better for gaming? Headsets or earbuds?
So why do esports players wear two headsets?
The answer is simple: the over-ear headphones or headsets the event organizers provide are typically used to eliminate external noise in the tournament. The ones on their necks are from sponsors that players must show as part of their contract.
Image from IGN Southeast Asia
The headphones that the pro-gamers are wearing over their head pump out white noise to aid in dampening crowd noise and voice-overs of the commentators that would give away the other players' positions in the game. They use earbuds underneath the headphones to hear the game audio and their teammates.
Additionally, the player can use the external microphone on the second headset to talk with their team members if the ones they are wearing on their head do not have one.
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Why do pro players wear headphones with earbuds underneath them?
Professional gamers are subjected to a lot of noise when playing in a tournament setting, which may affect their focus on the game. In addition, most esports titles are team-based and require coordination and precision to dominate the competition.
The headphones used in esports tournaments are usually good enough to prevent outside noise. However, if you have ever been to an esports event, you know it can be a pretty noisy environment.
Here are some of the common reasons why pro gamers wear earbuds or earphones under their noise-canceling headsets:
Eliminate External Noise
The noise-canceling technology of headphones provided at a live gaming event is usually effective at reducing ambient noise in an ordinary setting. However, it is not enough to drown the crowd and other outside noise at big tournaments.
The tournament organizers provide the headphones or headsets that players will use and usually cannot be replaced with their own. However, if the event organizers allow it, participants use their earbuds to hear in-game sounds underneath the headphones.
White noise is played over the headphones to improve the elimination of unwanted noise.
Players' Audio Preference
The sound quality of the provided headsets in an esports tournament may be something that a player is usually not accustomed to, and using earbuds underneath offers a good solution. In addition, the best gaming earbuds have excellent sound quality that is sometimes better than the one provided at the event.
Some earbud brands have noise-canceling features that may even improve the prevention of external noises when paired with noise-canceling headphones.
Which is better for gaming? Headsets or earbuds?
This is an inevitable question. If pro gamers wear earbuds during gaming tournaments, surely, it would only mean that it's the better choice than wearing a headset, right?
The answer might surprise you.
Gaming headsets generally have surround sound (virtually simulated via built-in software or can be enabled), which makes them an excellent choice for gaming. In addition, high-end brands offer true surround sound (headsets with several mini-speakers on each side) and noise-canceling features for an even more immersive gaming experience.
On the other hand, gaming earbuds are not far behind when it comes to audio technology. Pricier earbuds have great sound and active noise cancellation features. However, compared to headphones of the same price, earbuds simply can't hold a candle to the former.
So when it comes to gaming, you'll have to choose based on your preference. But here's our two cents:
Gaming headphones generally have better audio compared to similarly priced earbuds.
A dedicated gaming headset has virtual surround sound, and some (i.e., expensive) variety even have true surround sound.
Headsets work well with most sound drivers and software.
Some headphones are heavy and bulky.
It may cause discomfort in long game sessions.
Light, compact, and easy to travel with (especially perfect for mobile gaming platforms).
Relatively comfortable for long game sessions.
Earbuds work well with most devices.
It does not support surround sound.
The level of sound quality is not at par with headphones.
Wireless earbuds can easily get lost.
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Professional players sometimes wear two headsets in LAN tournaments to showcase a product from their sponsor and utilize the outer headphones provided by the organizers to minimize external sounds. In addition, white noise is also played in the headphones to improve noise canceling.
Under the over-ear headphones/headset, they usually have earbuds where they hear the in-game sound and team communication.