Audio is often an underrated element in productivity, entertainment, and even day-to-day digital mundanity. That’s why most people wouldn’t really care where their sound comes from, be it speakers vs headphones.
But we’d like to disturb your blissful innocence about audio with our attention to detail and craving for efficiency. So here we are with the speakers vs headphones debate.
As always, there’s no simple answer as to which is superior between the two. Each option has its own pros and cons. But if you’re fussy about your immersion in entertainment, be it gaming or motion picture– or if your job involves a fair amount of video or audio editing, then your auditory device is rather important.
We’ll be taking into account their advantages, disadvantages, financial considerations, and of course, the audio quality. So lend us your ear for a moment as we find out the best audio source for the occasion.
But to summarize, here’s a brief conditional verdict:
- For gaming and meetings/classes: Headphones are better.
- For music and movies/shows: Speakers are better.
- For productivity (sound design, editing, etc.): Get both.
If you click on any link on Unslider.com & decide to buy it, we may earn a small commission.
Speakers are bigger, bulkier, and will likely introduce a wider range of sounds compared to the smaller headphones. But there are more factors involved that you need to take into consideration, and some of these might make or break the deal.
Speakers have better bass
The common consensus with earphones or headphones is that the sound they produce can often feel like it’s echoing from a tin can chamber. They lack good bass.
When listening to audio in your headphones, your ears are the only ones engaged; this limitation can often introduce a disconnect in immersion, especially in scenes where you need to feel the impact and the rumble of a dragon’s jaw snapping a smaller dragon in half.
Speakers usually have better bass due to their bigger components. This amount of bass means the full volume of the scene or music can travel through your body, not just your ears, creating a more immersive impact. It’s like you’re there on the scene.
You can best explore this with surround setups, though your neighbors might not appreciate the noise for such an experiment.
They usually won’t damage the ears
The biggest concern when using headphones is ear infections. The closer the output is to the ear canal, the more likely it is to cause ear problems in the long run.
Besides, a lot of headphone users tend to absent-mindedly increase the volume based on the ambient sound of their surroundings. This can cause more damage to the ears if they’re subjected to this treatment on a regular basis.
Speakers, on the other hand, aren’t bombarding the ears at point-blank range. And turning up the volume too much to the point of auditory pain is not something speaker users will subject their surroundings to, lest there be noise complaints.
Speakers aren’t invasive or annoying to movement
If you like moving freely or even dancing to some sick beats from time to time while playing Spotify, then headphones will feel like chains or leashes.
Sure, there are wireless headphones, but they still cling to the ears or hug your head a little too tight or a little too loose for some sharp and energetic movements.
With speakers, you can just set them in a nice spot in your workspace and then have no worries. If you’re wearing eyeglasses, headphones become even more frustrating since they can dislodge or clash with your spectacles. Taking them off with just one hand is also unwieldy.
While headphones typically offer less sound quality or range compared to a decent set of speakers, they still have their place in an audiophile’s world. These are some of the reasons to consider headphones over their bigger cousins.
You can hear more audio details
There’s a good reason why recording studios use headphones instead of speakers for any audio with voices, dialogs, or lyrics in them. Headphones allow you to hear more of the finer details in an audio recording.
The smaller ambient sounds won’t get drowned out in the reverberating roars of the bass; the other smaller details such as crackling leaves, footsteps, coughs, and even pin drops are more audible with headphones.
Part of the reason for this is due to the headphones shutting off most other external sources of sound since they cover the ears entirely. Even earphones that are loud or good enough can achieve similar results.
There’s also the fact that headphones are closer to the ears.
For gaming, headphones tend to give a better advantage in games where you need to hear your enemy’s footsteps so you can be better alerted to their presence.
Although you can technically achieve the same level of audio clarity with an excellent set of speakers, those will likely cost a lot more than the usual setup; in such cases, you’re better off using cheap headphones.
They’re more affordable
Speaking of affordability, a decent pair of headphones will definitely cost you less than a decent set of speakers.
Cheap speakers are a hit or miss, but cheap headphones can still provide you with some half-decent audio quality.
Of course, there are expensive speakers and there are expensive headphones, but headphones also have the advantage of including other functions. But if you’re comparing speakers vs headphones with the same expensive ($200 or more) price point, the general consensus is that speakers will usually have better audio quality.
Headphones are better for privacy and portability
If you don’t want to disturb your poor, overworked roommate with some unwanted audio, or if you’re a night owl, then headphones have a clear advantage here. You and only your ears can hear the sound.
With smaller headphones, you can also take them to the subway or a grocery trip without disturbing others. You will need to have some wireless headphones for such an activity, of course, but those are also relatively inexpensive.
Most headphones come with a mic
With headphones, you’re not just getting an auditory device, but you’re also getting a half-decent mic that lets you perform other tasks.
Whether it’s for classes, meetings, video game communication, or even some basic voice recordings, a headphone with a mic can go a long way.
Speakers vs Headphones, it’s Up to Your Use Case or Preference
Now, despite all the factors we’ve laid out here for you to consider, whether you’ll be getting a speaker vs a headphone is still up to your needs first and foremost, followed by your preference.
If you need it for competitive gaming, classes, meetings, or sound editing that requires more precision, then headphones take the clear win.
But if you want the best home theater and immersive experience that your ears can pick up, or if you need to hear a wider sound range and bass for musical editing, then speakers are hard to beat.
Of course, if you have ear problems like tinnitus or chronic ear infections, we recommend not exacerbating them by wearing headphones all the time; you might be limited to choosing speakers.
But whatever the case, and whichever you choose in the eternal speakers vs headphones battle, we hope you’re grinning from ear to ear with whatever you’re listening to.