What hardware are you using for Hangouts gaming?

This is not strictly gaming-related, but that’s my primary use for this tech, so I’m putting it in this collection.

I’m still pretty new to Hangouts, but after one session of using my earbuds and inline mic I knew that I needed more suitable gear.

First, I got a Logitech H650e headset; it’s intended for conference calls, but I figured it would be my speed. While it worked okay, it was lacking something. It was light enough to be comfortable, but I still felt like I was straining to hear others, or at least like I had to seriously concentrate.

Digging deeper, I recently bought a Sennheiser GAME ONE PC Gaming Headset. It’s pricy, but HOLY WOW is it an improvement. Despite being larger, it’s more comfortable than the H650e, and it uses a standard audio jack instead of a USB port. Bonus, it’s also a really nice pair of open-back headphones; I’ve used it with a Fiio DAC/amp to listen to music and they sound great. Audio sounds ambient instead of buried deep in your head. (I am now totally sold on open-back headphones.)

As for video, currently I’m using the built-in camera in my MacBook Pro. It works fine, but the angle — having to look down, hunched over my laptop — and how it handles the light in my study makes me a look a little weird. Ergo, I’m considering adding a Logitech C920.

Part of me wonders if this is overkill for playing RPGs via hangouts, but given than I’m sitting for 2-3 hours at a clip trying to communicate clearly with other people it seems like a worthy investment. Hangouts gaming is the most compatible with my married-with-a-kid status, so making that experience as delightful as possible seems worth it.

18 thoughts on “What hardware are you using for Hangouts gaming?

  1. For video I use a Logitech c920. It’s great for display but I did have to disable to mic so I was not capturing sound with it and the headset mic at the same time. For a while I thought I had muted the audio with the headset only to have it picked up by the camera.

    The headset I use I picked up around 5 years ago. It’s a Turtle Beach, over-the-ear Ear Force X12 (it’s an Xbox set but works excellently with the Windows machine). It’s comfortable and has this really nice feature so I don’t feel like I am yelling. The mic has a pass-through that sends my own voice back to my ears. When using them it doesn’t sound like I am muffled out from my local surroundings but I can also hear everyone else clearly.

    Once in a while I have had to turn the volume up on particular people with Hangouts because their side was not set right or they were too far from their mic.

  2. Victor Wyatt _The mic has a pass-through that sends my own voice back to my ears._

    Not being able to hear myself was always an issue I had with the Logitech headset. The Sennheiser’s open-back design makes it really easy to hear my own voice without any actual monitoring.

  3. Mark Delsing, oh, I suppose I do miss the visual feedback of seeing someone’s face, but the hassle of setting up the technology just wasn’t worth it. The truth is, I simply realized that I’m never going to enjoy online gaming as much as the face-to-face experience. That seems obvious when I say it, but knowing that allowed me to simplify the set up without too much fretting.

    I’ve played a few things, but lately it’s just been a weekly 5e game.

  4. Mark Delsing, I like that!

    As for Google drawings, it’s definitely pretty cool. We usually have at least two drawings and two text documents open at the same time. We can all add to them simultaneously. It gives us a great way to share maps, images, and other visual cues.

  5. I also use a Logitech C920 for Hangouts gaming (and G+ calls for freleancing). It’s wonderful and can push pretty good video if you have the bandwidth available.

    For audio, I use Logitech G230 headphones with built-in microphone. They’re big bucket headsets with separate mic and audio plugs. Having bucket phones helps eliminate distractions for me and I trust the microphone in the headset more than the one in the webcam.