USB vs 3.5mm Headsets: Which Are Better

The 3.5mm connector was always recognizable to us because it was the only interface we used to connect our headsets to our gadgets in the past. We didn’t need to reinvent it because it was so stable and efficient. As a result, we continued to use the same old 3.5mm jack for our typical uses, such as listening to music and playing video games.

Things changed, though, when USB headsets were launched. These USB headphones were touted as the new thing that would put the 3.5mm jack out of business in terms of sound quality, and they were hailed as the new thing that would put the 3.5mm jack out of business.

USB-C was sweeping the smartphone industry, with USB headsets. To encourage the use of the USB interface, most smartphone makers began selling new smartphones without a headphone jack, such as Apple, which stopped making phones and iPads with a headphone jack. If you wanted to listen to music, you’d have to use an adaptor or go wifi.

Modern cellphones removing the headphone port may not be the main problem for gamers and individuals who work with computers. What they care about is how much of a difference USB is claimed to make when working on a computer or laptop. So, in that situation, their main issue will be: “Is switching to the USB interface worth it?”

The quick answer is that USB headsets have higher audio quality. The differences, on the other hand, are in how they transmit audio and how they process it. As a result, “Ye olde” 3.5mm jack would be more adaptable than USB in some gadgets.

We’ll go over things like: To help you figure out if USB headsets are right for you, we’ll go over:

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What are the differences between USB and 3.5mm audio jacks

What are the differences between USB and 3.5mm audio jacks

We learned during the introduction that the USB interface is more powerful and generates higher-quality sound. We’ll speak about how it manages to reach this greater level of quality in this part.

The 3.5 mm jack

The 3.5 mm jack

The 3.5 mm connector is used by most headphones, headsets, and wired earbuds to transport analogue signals, whether it’s analogue signals from the microphone or audio to the speakers. The number of rings in the connector determines the 3.5mm jack’s capability.

The 3-ring jack is the best since it can transmit both stereo sound and microphone signals. These are commonly found in most wired earbuds and are ideal for usage with cellphones and laptop computers. The 2-ring jack is next, which can only transfer stereo audio signals. These 2-ring jacks can be found in vintage gaming headsets. There are two 3.5mm jacks on the device, one for stereo and the other for microphone. If you need to plug this type of headset into a laptop or smartphone, you’ll need an adapter, or you may follow this procedure to use both the headphone speaker and the microphone in one port.

The most significant distinction between USB and 3.5mm jack is that the latter can only transfer analogue sound signals. It is not capable of reading or transmitting digital signals. As a result, the PC or smartphone’s sound card is in charge of converting the digital signal to analogue (DAC) and transmitting it to the 3.5mm socket. As a result, without a sound card, you won’t be able to listen to audio or use the microphone on a headset with a 3.5mm connection.

Headsets with USB Interface

Headsets with USB Interface

A sound card is not required for USB headsets. Because they work with digital signals, they have their own system for processing audio signals. When sending audio to the speakers, they do their own processing and convert the digital signal to analogue. Microphones, for example, convert analogue signals to digital and send the data to a computer or smartphone. All of this is accomplished using their USB adapter.

The USB headsets have their own technique for removing background noise from audio transmissions. They can completely bypass the sound card this way. It can also work with the OS because of the USB adapter. So, even if your sound card isn’t the best, a good USB headset can produce high-quality audio on its own. When you plug it in for the first time, it will also install its own drivers.

What additional benefits does USB provide

What additional benefits does USB provide

A USB headset can manage the volume, answer calls, and regulate the music, in addition to giving superior audio without the use of a sound card. A three-ring 3.5mm jack headset can give some of these capabilities as well, but the USB headset is more reliable, responsive, and offers many more possibilities.

Is it true that the USB headset is superior for gaming

Is it true that the USB headset is superior for gaming

The 3.5mm jack will suffice for informal situations such as listening to music or doing some quick work on your laptop. A USB headset, on the other hand, is the perfect option if you are serious about gaming or business and want a quality audio experience that is speedier and less susceptible to noise.

However, excellent quality comes at a cost. So, if sound quality isn’t as important to you as it is to us, but you still want to enjoy a low-cost USB headset, check out our article on the “Best gaming headsets under $100.”


The 3.5mm jack is gradually becoming obsolete. Modern mobile phones and laptops are beginning to do away with the headphone jack (which I believe is a positive thing because it eliminates the need to remove water from the phone’s headphone jack when it gets wet).

Consumers are being encouraged to go wireless (see also top wireless headphones with wired option here) or USB-C by most manufacturers. It’s a little different story for PCs. Although the 3.5mm connector is still functional, a USB headset is a better choice. Regardless of the sound card, you will hear higher-quality audio.

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Sara Khan

About the Author: Sara Khan

For almost 5 years, I've been passionately blogging about headphones and audio technologies. Hundreds of headphones were tested and tried. Always on the lookout for the "best-value-for-money" headphones. Today, I'm more concerned with back-end content creation and technical concerns.

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