Headset Microphones vs. Standalone: ​​Which Is Better?

Home studio microphone for a laptop.
Alex van de Rock/Shutterstock.com

Looking for a new microphone that sounds really good? You can choose a headset or a stand-alone microphone, but which is better? Let’s compare the two to see which one you might prefer more.

A headset microphone, as the name suggests, is a microphone built into a headset. You often find them on gaming headsets, because they are designed as an all-in-one solution to hear and be heard. The microphone quality is usually decent, but you don’t have many options to customize the way you sound. You need to find and use audio editing software to make adjustments.

Standalone microphones do not come with a headset attached. You can clip them to your shirt, put them on your desk or attach them to a compatible arm. These microphones have no speakers, so they focus on delivering the best audio quality possible. Since they aren’t all-in-one solutions, you have more options to fine-tune your voice the way you want, but that also means there’s a bit of a learning curve.

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Comfort

One of the main differences between these two types of microphones is their comfort. A headset microphone means that you wear headphones over your head. While there are many headsets that are comfortable to wear, for some people it can get a little tricky after a while.

That’s why you see some people wearing headphones around their necks and holding the microphone to their mouths. They then listen remotely through the headphone speakers, which is not really useful. Whether they use external speakersbut the microphone picks up sooner background noises and people’s voices, creating an unpleasant echo. Again, it’s not convenient.

In contrast, you really will never have an issue with comfort when dealing with standalone microphones as you don’t have to wear anything over your head. You can simply place them on your desk and face you. You can also attach them to a boom arm to get them closer to your mouth if needed. However, the boom arm can get in the way if you don’t have it a good setup for it

A big problem for both headsets and standalone microphones use external speakers for sound. Your microphone is much more sensitive to picking up sounds from your speakers, which can create an echo that others can hear. Wearing headphones is the best way to avoid this, but it’s not the most comfortable option. A few Earphones is a better solution, but they may not offer the best sound quality.

In general, stand-alone microphones will definitely be more comfortable to use for extended periods of time in terms of comfort alone.

Bosa microphone shock

This shock mount is ideal for condenser microphones. It removes vibration, is widely compatible and has a sturdy, metal construction.

Sound quality

The audio quality determines how well your voice is heard by others. A microphone with good sound quality makes your voice sound clear and full, without annoying background noise. This includes any distortions, echoes, static, buzzing or unwanted sounds created in your environment.

Quality microphones do a pretty good job of reducing background noise, but they may not eliminate it completely. In general, standalone microphones will provide much better sound quality than headset microphones. They have better internal parts designed to produce superior audio, especially for professional use such as recording voiceovers and podcasts

Headset microphones usually do not produce the same level of quality because they are also used to hearing. It’s harder and more expensive to find headphones with good sound quality and a full-sounding microphone. Standalone microphones don’t have speakers, so they only focus on producing the best audio possible.

Focus

While some mics sound good right out of the box, you may need to do some fine tuning to get the perfect sound you’re looking for. This is where standalone microphones have an advantage over headset microphones.

With standalone microphones, you have much more flexibility to adjust and fine-tune the audio. For some people, using the included table-top stand may work, but it’s not always the best because the mic isn’t that close to your mouth. The closer the microphone isthe better the sound quality will be.

This is where a shock mount comes in handy. The holder allows you to place the microphone exactly where you want it while absorbing vibrations and sounds from your keyboard. It also frees up some desk space. Fortunately, it is an indispensable accessory that is relatively inexpensive. You can also use a pop filter to reduce or eliminate popping and hissing sounds when speaking.

You can play around with these accessories to help you get the best sounding sound from your standalone microphone. In addition, standalone microphones usually come with software that allows you to fine-tune the audio. With the Blue Yeti Xfor example you can install Blue VO!CE to add vocal effects and make EQ adjustments to make your voice sound perfect.

Headset microphones are more limited in fine-tuning because they are designed as an all-in-one solution. You usually don’t get software to help you improve the sound quality, so you’ll have to find and learn how to use voice editing software to make adjustments.

That said, if your headset’s microphone doesn’t reduce the popping and hissing sound well, you can use a windscreen† This can ensure that your microphone sounds the way it was designed.

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What is better?

Now that you know the main differences between the two types of microphones, you will realize that stand-alone microphones are better for delivering high-quality audio. If you want to record a podcast, do voiceovers or streaming on Twitch, then a standalone microphone is the right choice. Connect with headphones that deliver high quality sound give you the best of both worlds.

However, if you’re looking for an easy solution to talk to friends, a headset microphone might be a better option. They offer decent sound quality and the microphones are still good enough for most people. Just don’t expect studio-quality audio.

As for the price, the two are not far from each other. You can find a decent standalone mic around $50-100 with more expensive options around $150 or higher. However, don’t forget the cost of any necessary headphones and other accessories.

Decent headsets also start around $50-100. You can get more expensive models for over $150 with better sound and mic quality, but the mic alone still doesn’t compare to standalone models.

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