Is There an Advantage in a USB Headset vs 3.5mm Jack Headset?

Posted on Friday, Aug 30 2019 @ 14:55 CEST by Thomas De Maesschalck
If you’re using a headset for gaming, editing music or just for relaxing, chances are you have come across a certain detail whenever you are plugging it in your PC or your media playback device. The detail that we’re talking about is its connection type. Whether it comes in the form of a USB or a 3.5mm jack, there are clear differences between the two. In this article, we will discuss each of the advantages that they offer to the user.

USB Headsets
USB headsets, though not as popular as the headsets with 3.5mm jacks, offer features that are only possible through a USB connection. They are usually more expensive than 3.5mm jack headsets. This connection type is commonly found in business and gaming headsets. Here are some of its unique features:

They use their own sound cards
Because of their connection type, they don’t go through the usual audio input and output ports. Instead, they are inserted into an open USB port that bypasses your computer’s sound card. What this means is that they use their own sound processing system which then allows them to work alongside other sound devices connected to your computer. For example, you can task your computer to play music for your room over analog-connected audio speakers while sending your business phone calls to your USB headset.

Good sound quality
USB headsets usually have better sound quality compared to traditional ones. Their own sound processing system allows them to create unique features like 3D surround sound and adjustable sound levels. This is the reason why these headphones are frequently used in gaming.

Voice Recognition
As mentioned before, USB headsets have their own unique features. One such feature on the more popular side is dictation. Speech recognition systems of today have very high accuracy, especially when they are well-trained and have a clean input of your voice. These headsets not only have a well-positioned microphone to provide a high-quality audio signal, but also make dictation very easy to use.

Extra Layer of Noise Cancellation
Some USB headsets offer additional noise-cancellation features built-in its sound processing system. A number of 3.5mm jack headsets offer these, too, but they’re run with a battery. USB on the other hand, processes digital sound from your device and runs it through its sound system that filters out the audio and removes ambient noise, resulting in much cleaner sounds.

3.5mm Jack Headsets
The more popular of the two, 3.5mm jack headsets are generally cheaper than USB ones. They’re really simple to use: just plug it in and you’re good. The market has a lot of these for you to choose from. Use it on your PC, your phone or any of your portable devices. These headsets offer a number of benefits like its USB counterpart. Here are some of them:

Timeless Design
3.5mm jack headsets have a three-channel communication interface: One channel in, for the microphone, and two channels out for the left and right stereo channels. All phones and portable devices of today accommodate 3.5mm, though higher-end audio equipment do use larger 6.2mm jacks. No need to worry about whether it’s compatible or not because in most cases, it is. Its connection design has been around for decades now, so most devices accommodate its jack. It's truly the most ubiquitous connector.

Relies on Sound Card
These headsets are great if your PC has a decent sound card, allowing you to take full advantage of all its sound features. When using a 3.5mm connection to your PC, the analog conversion is processed inside your computer by your sound card or by a chip integrated into the motherboard. This results in unmatched sound quality, given that you have a good sound card.

Audiophile Standards
The higher-end 3.5mm jack headsets in addition to its microphone, offer very high-quality audio matching audiophile headphones. Some offer audio quality that is almost as good as the best bass headphones on the market, emphasizing the warm sound levels for voice communication and music. But other models emphasize the mids and highs to make audio. Overall, they give good audio outputs across the board.

USB and 3.5mm jack headsets have a wide variety of benefits unique to their design. USB headsets are slowly becoming more popular due to their quality-of-life features and their versatility from having their own sound processing systems, both adding to the sound quality and noise cancellation. The more traditional 3.5mm headsets boast its compatibility to a lot of devices and its reliability to a PC’s sound card, adding another level of audio control. With communication being more accessible than ever, both headsets have something special to offer that makes them stand out from each other.

About the Author

Thomas De Maesschalck

Thomas has been messing with computer since early childhood and firmly believes the Internet is the best thing since sliced bread. Enjoys playing with new tech, is fascinated by science, and passionate about financial markets. When not behind a computer, he can be found with running shoes on or lifting heavy weights in the weight room.

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