Are Bluetooth Headphones Good For Gaming?

When it comes to gaming, being a solo player or multiplayer competition, sound quality and no latency of Bluetooth headphones are major things that will give you an immersive experience during gameplay. 

The sense of community you get when you can voice chat simultaneously with your friends in multiplayer games takes the experience to a new level. 

Bluetooth headphones are becoming increasingly popular these days, allowing you to move around without being anchored to your console or pc. 

But are Bluetooth headphones good for gaming? 

Yes. Bluetooth headphones are great for gaming, provided they have an aptX low-latency codec and are used for only single-player games. However, they don’t have the bandwidth or enough audio channels to accommodate stereo and integrated mic at the same time when you want to voice chat in a multiplayer game. Using an external mic in such a case gives you a better gaming experience. 

Mic and stereo require three distinct channels, and Bluetooth can only handle two at a time. 

Thus when you start using a microphone, usually in a multiplayer game, it converts stereo sound to mono, allowing you to play via one channel while using the other for the mic. 

And this doesn’t matter whether you’re using high-end Bluetooth headphones. The sound will go bad as soon as you voice chat while playing the game. 

That being said, you really have to understand Bluetooth headphones codecs for low latency gaming experience besides the Bluetooth channels. 

Bluetooth Headphones Audio Codecs For Gaming

What you don’t want to experience in gaming is a delay in your audio and video synchronization. It will mess up your day for you. 

Standard Bluetooth headphones don’t have the appropriate codecs for a low-latency gaming experience. So you want to ensure that your Bluetooth headphones have the right codec for the unnoticeable delay. 

When it comes to gaming, Bluetooth headphones that support AptX low latency, AptX Lossless, AptX Adaptive, and LC3 (rare to find on the market) codecs make the scene now. 

They make really good audio quality with low latency when you’re not using mics simultaneously.

AptX Low Latency (LL), Adaptive, and Lossless

AptX LL: Bluetooth headphones that are AptX LL supported drastically reduces latency up to 40 milliseconds, making it highly responsive in fast-paced games. 

MEE audio matrix cinema, Paww WaveSound 2.1, Sound Blaster JAM V2, and AKSONIC Athlete Bluetooth headphones are some AptX LL-based headphones suitable for gaming. 

Your hosting device needs to have AptX LL in order to have the full effect of the codec in gaming. Although getting AptX LL-supported Bluetooth headphones is not difficult, it’s rare to find smartphones or tablets with this codec. 

One way to take full advantage of low latency AptX in Bluetooth headphones is to have a dedicated transceiver like Qudelix-5K Bluetooth USB for your console or pc for immersive gaming. 

You can have an amazing gaming experience with this codec either on your phone, pc, or console if you use it without voice chat. 

AptX Adaptive: This is a scalable AptX codec that supersedes AptX and AptX HD with resolutions of up to 24-bit/96 kHz. The codec is optimized to reduce Bluetooth interferences by automatically adapting to new environments. 

The AptX adaptive codec automatically switches to game mode, offering you low-latency AptX LL benefits under optimized conditions for gaming. 

However, not many phones have built-in AptX adaptive codec as it requires Qualcomm’s own chips. Also, there aren’t many Aptx adaptive-supported Bluetooth headphones in the market. 

Yamaha YH-L700A and Sennheiser Momentum 4 Bluetooth headphones are some of the available products with this codec. 

AptX Lossless: This is Qualcomm’s most recent AptX codec, revealed to the public in 2022. It promises all the benefits of AptX adaptive with a near-perfect bit delivery of CD quality at 16-bit/44.1kHz. 

However, this codec is only available in devices with Snapdragon Sound certification. It may take a while to have them on most devices.

Low Complexity Communications Codec (LC3)

LC3 is a new codec introduced by Bluetooth to address the limitations of low complexity sub-band codec (SBC). The Bluetooth company promises developers of wireless devices higher quality audio and technological flexibilities with this codec. 

They promise bit depths of 16, 24, and 32 bits per audio sample, sampling rates up to 48kHz, and an unlimited number of audio channels. 

Perhaps the LC3 codec will enable developers to develop Bluetooth headphones that can simultaneously support stereo audio and mics during gaming without audio quality downgrade. 

However, currently, you can only enjoy single-player games or no voice chat gaming with Bluetooth headphones that support the low latency Aptx LL feature. 

Limited Bluetooth Audio Channels For Mics In Gaming

While you can have Bluetooth headphones that deliver low latency for smooth gaming with the right setup, the Bluetooth technology is currently limited to two channels. 

This means that only mono (single channel) or stereo audio (2 channels) can be sent via Bluetooth when using your Bluetooth headphones for games. You can’t really have a good audio quality mic and low latency at the same time. 

In a multiplayer game, where you have to voice chat with your friends using the mic, you need three channels: stereo audio (two channels) and mic (one channel). 

Since the existing Bluetooth headphones with integrated mics have only two channels, it will flat out your audio (switch to mono) the moment you use the mic. This also affects the latency of the Bluetooth headphones significantly. 

Hence, with a multiplayer game setting where you have to use mics, Bluetooth headphones don’t cut for it. Maybe now that there’s Bluetooth 5.3 and LC3 technology, those limitations will be eliminated in a couple of years. 

Until then, one way to have a better experience using Bluetooth headphones for gaming without trading off voice chat is utilizing an external mic – it’s the best thing to do now. 

Related ==> Can You Connect Multiple Bluetooth Headphones To One Device?

The below video explains much in detail about this experience.    

Do Bluetooth Headphones Affect Gaming Performance?

Bluetooth headphones will have no significant impact on your gaming performance if they support the low-latency AptX feature and are used in single-player games without needing integrated mics at the same time. The headphone shouldn’t be stretched beyond its two-channel available feature in gaming with low latency codec. 

However, you can have a terrible playing experience when you want to use stereo audio and integrated mic simultaneously. In this scenario, your audio quality will be affected, as well as the latency in audio and video synchronization. 

As a result, you may have an increased missing rate in whatever game you’re playing which will affect your scores badly. 

Note that standard Bluetooth headphones are generally not good for gaming except those with low-latency codecs. Hence, the type of Bluetooth headphones you have affects your gaming scores. 

Bluetooth Headphones For Gaming FAQs

A guy using Bluetooth headphones to play game.
Bluetooth headphones on gaming test.

Do Bluetooth Headphones Cause Lag In Games?

Yes, mostly Bluetooth headphones with no appropriate codecs for gaming. However, such lags can be hard to notice if the Bluetooth headphones are low latency supported

Even with low latency supported Bluetooth headphones, lags can be introduced into the game by signal interferences and overstretch of audio channel use.  

Related ==> Why Do My Bluetooth Headphones Keep Cutting Out?

Are Bluetooth Headphones Better Than Wired Ones For Gaming?

Bluetooth headphones provide the comfort of not being anchored to wires but in terms of audio quality and latency, their wired counterparts do a better job for gaming. However, you can have Bluetooth headphones with unnoticeable latency and good audio. 

Hence, if you’re not worried about wires entangling you, going for wired Bluetooth headphones should be an ideal choice for gaming. 

On the other end, if comfort (no wire wahala) is your priority, rightly setting up your game using Bluetooth headphones with low latency aptX codec should be fine. 

Note, however, that such a case would require an external mic for voice chat for a better experience. You’re good to go with the is you don’t need stereo audio and mic at the same time. 

Should I Use Wired or Bluetooth Headphones For Gaming?

Wired headphones are ideal for gaming if you’re comfortable having the wires hanging around. While you don’t have to worry about any audio or latency issues, mobility is limited as you have to be closer to your pc or console. 

On the other hand, if you want wire-free comfort and mobility flexibility, Bluetooth headphones that support low latency aptX codec make a good candidate for gaming. 

The only downside is you can’t have good quality stereo audio when you want to simultaneously voice chat with the mic in a multiplayer game. However, using an external mic handles audio quality. 

Read Me Next ==> Top 13 Low Latency Bluetooth Earbuds For Gaming

Conclusions/Key Learning Points

So in a nutshell, you can have a good or bad gaming experience with Bluetooth headphones based on your needs or setup. In bullet points:

  • Bluetooth headphones with low latency AptX codec can give you a good gaming experience when you don’t use the headphones’ integrated mic. 
  • The worst day of gaming will be at your door if you try to use stereo audio and integrated mics for voice chat with Bluetooth headphones during gaming. Not even high-end Bluetooth headphones can do that because Bluetooth currently is a two-channel system. 

Until the LC3 codec promised by the Bluetooth company revolutionized the audio channel system to multiple ones, you have to weigh your options for a better gaming experience. 

Have you had any gaming experience with Bluetooth headphones? You can drop it in the comment if you don’t mind sharing. 

Until then, be blessed!

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