Is there any advantage/disadvantage between getting a headset or getting a mic and headphones separately?
What qualities do I need to look for in a mic?
I've been using a $30 headset and so far I have found that the mic quality isn't great but sound seems fine.
Think i'll upgrade for the mic and also I want some durable headphones since I tend to sleep/step/sit on them...
To build on the above, it also might be worth it to consider buying a discrete sound card to put into your computer. This will make pretty much any headset or speaker setup sound better (if for no other reason than it has a headphone amp which will boost the signal), and gives you more options.
Most discrete sound cards can be found relatively inexpensive (Asus Xonar DG comes to mind at 20$ after a rebate), and also allows you to have virtual 5.1 surround sound out of any stereo headset. As well as adjustable EQ, and other features.
Also on a sidenote I'm not sure if I buy into the "true surround" headsets. By adding 5 drivers to each side of the headset, the drivers must be smaller and therefore I would think the sounds quality (especially bass) would suffer. Thats just my opinion though, they are convenient in that everything is included in the headphones.
The best option for me were some decent 60$ studio quality headphones, and the Xonar so that I can control it whether i want 5.1 for games, or just nice stereo for music. Everything sounds good on it
if you have a motherboard with a decent onboard soundcard you dont need a slot sound card. the only reason i would suggest getting one is if you have a crappy onboard soundcard, you need extra ports or you need a specialty soundcard with an amp.
most good music player software and movie player packages offer an eq and you dont really need an eq for games.
They will be used for gaming, but I do want awesome sound so I can hear someone reloading or walking quietly etc in FPS or other games that might need quality sound.
The mic is also extremely important... I hate when I hear other people talking through a bunch of static etc - don't want to be another one of those guys. I also speak at a high volume and low volume sometimes and maybe the 2 extremes are harder for some mics to handle.
of course I could always average out my talking but.... lol.
and yes I was considering buying a sound card - assuming I have the money, I see no reason not to, unless there is something else I can put in a standard PCI slot that would be more useful for gaming.
You might be able to tell I like headphones that cover the ears, and I prefer ones that can't be heard by someone sitting next to me. so I don't disturb others when I play in the dead of night.
I don't care one way or the other if I can hear them though (I would assume they go hand-in-hand though)
you still did not say whether you would like a surround sound set of headphones or if stereo headphones were okay.
this is my personal preference but i prefer my audiotechnica ath-m50 set. they are a pair of studio headphones which cover your ears and most ratings place them on the same level of equipment in the next price class above them. they can be had for $80-180 depending on where you buy them and what type of deals you get. its only a stereo set of course but the sound is crisp and i haven't really had any problems with the limited gaming i've done on them. i say limited because i only game with them when traveling as i have a full home theater set at home. i do use them for music quite often though and so far they are the best pair i've owned.
i've heard sennheiser offers good headphones as well.
if you want 7.1 sets realize that while it may sound sort of like surround sound.. it is not going to be the same as having a speaker set. as stated before sound quality might suffer as well.
not sure that i can recommend any good microphones as i very very rarely use one. i stick with a cheap $15 one bought at walmart which although not great in any sense of the word... does work for the limited needs i have.
i can't view links to shopping sites so i cannot advise about your choices...
whether you want to upgrade your soundcard is up to you. personally if i had a high end motherboard with a good integrated soundcard already i wouldnt bother. if you buy a studio headphone set you might benefit from the one xonar model with an amped headphone port but you lose the ability to use a speaker set with it. the other option is to buy a desktop amplifier instead and keep your current soundcard. this allows you to use either. of course if you buy a "headset" it really doesnt matter since most are usb driven and have their own sound processing i believe.
Well I think surround sound would help in locating where an enemy is, so yes I would prefer it, but it's not necessary if it goes beyond my price range.
The ATH-m50 was one of the ones I linked, but it also lacks a mic.
Browsing around Amazon there doesn't seem to be a huge variety of standing mics... at least for gaming purposes. Most are used in conferences and stuff like that. (and therefore built to pick up every little sound.)
Is browsing shopping sites not allowed or are the links broken?