Headphones with an open-back design provide a natural, lifelike sound quality that gamers enjoy. Before anything else, you need to understand the headphones’ features better and compare them to your needs. Here are the best open-back headphones for gaming:
|Best Open Back Headphones For Gaming||Audio-Technica ATH-AD700X||Check Price|
|Best Open Back Headphones With Mic For Gaming||Sennheiser GAME ONE||Check Price|
|Best Open Back Headphones Under $100||Philips Audio Philips SHP9500||Check Price|
|Best Open Back Audiophile Headphones For Gaming||Sennheiser HD 650||Check Price|
We’re keen to explain why our recommendations are the best you can find on the market and how they can meet the requirements of every league of gamers out there. Let’s take a closer look!
Table of Contents
- Best Open Back Headphones For Gaming
- Best Open Back Headphones With Mic For Gaming
- Best Open Back Headphones Under $100
- Best Open Back Audiophile Headphones For Gaming
- Open Back Headphones For Gaming Worth Mentioning
- How To Pick The Best Open Back Headphones For Gaming
- Open Back Headphones For Gaming Frequently Asked Questions
Best Open Back Headphones For Gaming
The ATH-AD700X’s build quality is excellent. Despite its plastic construction, it doesn’t look cheap and has a sturdy build. This is expected from headphones under the $200-and-below price category, but the ATH-AD700X is relatively durable.
Along with this, the headphones feature a lightweight and adjustable honeycomb steel casing that ensures there’s no pressure on the ears. The self-adjusting wing support automatically adjusts to the user’s head shape and size, so it stays snug and comfy around your head.
Adding to the comfort are the cushy earcups covered in soft and breathable velour material and joined with two aluminum wires that make them feel sturdier.
Meanwhile, the headband comes with a pair of thinly padded plastic with a unique spring-loaded mechanism that causes the headphones to “float” when worn, thereby limiting tension and clamping pressure.
The lightweight design, combined with the reasonably thick padding on the earcups and headband, make the ATH-AD700X a premier choice on our list of the best open-back headphones for gaming.
But where the ATH-AD700X truly shines is in its overall sound quality. It delivers well-balanced and detailed sound. With the game-changing 53mm audio drivers, these headphones boast a superb combination of superior highs and mids for the ultimate listening experience.
These headphones are light on the bass but are punchy and accurate enough not to get boomy or muddle the mids. Meanwhile, the mids are clear and detailed. At the same time, the treble is warm and defined enough to make subtle details easily discernible.
As with most headphones by Audio-Technica, the ATH-AD700X isn’t marketed for gaming. Still, the wide soundstage, clarity, and well-balanced sound profile make it the perfect choice for serious gamers.
It delivers superior positional audio that allows you to hear and locate nearby enemy footsteps, reloads, gunfire, and explosions for its price. Even the most subtle of movement sounds. Fans of CS:GO, Fortnite, Apex, and COD will definitely love the ATH-AD700X.
With its 3.5mm connector, it’s a versatile pair of headphones that can easily connect to any device with a 3.5mm audio port. Including smartphones, PCs, and gaming consoles like the PS4/PS5, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch.
- Self-adjusting wing support that adjusts to any head size
- Lightweight, comfy, and open-air design for long, fatigue-free gaming sessions
- Clear, high-precision sounds
- Weak bass
Best Open Back Headphones With Mic For Gaming
GAME ONE is a legendary name when it comes to comfort and wearability. It’s made with high-quality lightweight materials, an amply padded headband, and plush velvet oversized earcups for improved immersion and maximum comfort for long hours of intense gaming.
Owing to its open-back style, the GAME ONE has a significantly wider soundstage than other headsets. But it’s also because of this that the headset has poor noise isolation, making it less ideal for use in loud environments and outdoors.
Regarding its microphone quality, the GAME ONE is built with an active noise-canceling microphone that filters out breathing noise while optimizing audio clarity and crystal-clear communication.
With the flexible boom arm, you can easily adjust it for optimum voice pickup positioning. Simply raise the arm to the open-back headband’s level to mute audio.
We don’t like that Sennheiser has separated the audio and mic jacks. Users will need a splitter if their gaming rig supports an audio-mic output for mic monitoring.
The GAME ONE is integrated with the EPOS-engineered proprietary speaker system, allowing the headset to deliver the most realistic and natural sound.
The headset is heavy on the bass but is balanced enough to work with other frequencies. The result is full-bodied acoustic clarity that lets you hear all the in-game details and cues—perfect for FPS games.
The Sennheiser GAME ONE boasts versatile compatibility. Thanks to the exchangeable cables that allow seamless connectivity with multiple platforms like smartphones, PCs and Macs, gaming consoles, and any device with a 3.5mm jack input.
- Flexible mic with lift-to-mute boom arm
- Open acoustic design for real-life sound quality
- Multi-platform compatibility
- Separate audio and mic jacks
Best Open Back Headphones Under $100
Coming to the top spot for the best budget open-back headphones is none other than the Philips SHP9500. At the current price of under $100, these wallet-friendly wired stereo headphones come with a decent passive soundstage, with a spacious and immersive feel that’s perfect for fans of open-world games and RPGs.
Given its price, the SHP9500 has a moderate build quality, with extensive use of plastic in its construction. This is expected from headphones at this price point, but the SHP9500 neither feels cheap nor flimsy.
Meanwhile, the oversized earcups and headband come with foam padding underneath the mesh fabric material, making it breathable and comfy enough for long hours of gaming sessions. Even better is that the padding on the headband is removable, allowing you to handwash it when needed.
The headband even has a self-adjustable system to accommodate any head size or shape easily. Overall, the SHP9500 has pretty decent comfort levels with minimal clamping issues.
These headphones have outstanding neutral sound performance. It’s built with 50mm neodymium drivers that deliver a full spectrum of well-balanced sound that suit most kinds of audio content.
It has well-defined bass, but most open-back headphones under this price category struggle to reproduce low bass, and the SHP9500 is no exception. They lack the punchy explosive effect you might need with your game. So for bass heads, you might need to look elsewhere.
On the other hand, mids are perfectly balanced with vocals and music, while the highs might come out a bit muddy at high volumes. However, it compensates with the more expansive soundstage.
While the SHP9500 may not have the best sound quality, it’s good enough for immersive games and for identifying subtle in-game cues like enemy footsteps in competitive shooters.
The SHP9500 comes with a 1.5-meter detachable 3.5mm cable that you can use to connect to your smartphone, PC, gaming console, or any device with a 3.5mm audio input. You can easily remove it for switching sources or adding an external mic.
- Self-adjusting headband with large earcups to accommodate larger ears
- Light bass, with well-balanced mids and highs
- Long, detachable cable
- Plastic build
Best Open Back Audiophile Headphones For Gaming
Sennheiser remains unbeatable when it comes to producing audiophile headphones. This company is one of the most popular and highly respected brands in the gaming community, particularly for its audio equipment built and designed for discerning gaming enthusiasts. The Pro Audio HD 650 gaming headset is no exception.
Considering its price, you can expect nothing but high-quality materials and premium-grade construction on this beautiful pair of headphones. And if you want superb sound performance to go with the aesthetics, the unique “Sennheiser sound” that comes with the Pro Audio HD 650 will not disappoint.
Across all frequencies, these headphones deliver precise, high-definition, and lifelike sound reproduction. You’ll hear the rustling of grass, a twig snap, or the soft thud of a nearby opponent’s footsteps in any game you’re playing.
If you’re into MMORPG, competitive shooters, or hardcore survivals, you’ll be immersed like never before with the Pro Audio HD 650.
As with most open-back audiophile headphones, the Pro Audio HD 650 is a bit light on the bass response but doesn’t fall short in any other areas. It has a wide and airy soundstage that produces crystal-clear sound in both the highs and lows, making it suitable for any type of game.
The Pro Audio HD 650 falls in the upper mid-range price category, but don’t let that stop you from enjoying fully immersive gaming and audio experience. One perk of purchasing a Sennheiser headset is that they’re built to last, so they hold their value well.
What’s more, these headphones come with a 3.5mm jack plug. So it’s universally compatible with any device or platform, be it a PC, smartphone or tablet, or gaming consoles like the PS4/PS5, Xbox One, or Nintendo Switch.
- Made with premium-grade materials
- Accurate, high-definition sound across all frequencies
- Compatible with most popular devices and platforms
- Bass response is lower than normal
Open Back Headphones For Gaming Worth Mentioning
The Beyerdynamic DT 990 PRO is an incredibly adaptable, highly versatile, and comfortable open-back headset that delivers exceptional audio quality. It produces high-resolution and realistic sound, with a surprising amount of bass.
But what makes it a real winner among serious gamers is its 3D sound reproduction. This unique feature delivers a truly immersive 3D listening experience.
The DT 990 PRO doesn’t fall flat in terms of comfort. The headband and earcups are padded with extremely soft memory foam that avoids pressure and tension on your ears and head. Providing maximum comfort and wearability for extended periods of gaming.
Gamers and professional musicians can benefit from the DT 990 PRO’s unrivaled tonal depth and perfectly balanced sound profile. Users can quickly discern and pick out even the most minute sounds. Perfect for fans of FPS games and MMORPGs.
The Sennheiser HD 800 S are wired open-back headphones that create a passive soundstage that’s large, spacious, and natural. They’re well-built, with a durable and comfortable design that could last you for hours and hours of fatigue- and distraction-free gaming.
These headphones are perfectly suited for various genres with their neutral sound profile. Be it open-world atmospheric games or the more sound-dependent tactical and competitive shooters.
The mid response is accurate, with clear and well-defined vocals and instruments. But like most open-back headphones, the HD 800 S lacks that punch and thump in the bass range.
Fans of bass-heavy genres may be disappointed, adding that these headphones don’t come with any sound customization features.
That said, if you’re looking for decently priced open-back headphones, you won’t be disappointed with the versatile and immersive soundstage only enjoyed with the Sennheiser HD 800 S.
Coming to its sound quality, the Fidelio X2HR has a well-balanced and neutral audio profile that reproduces sound output clearly and accurately.
Again, they struggle with low-bass frequency like most open-back headphones, but the touch of extra warmth and boom to its mids and highs helps balance the sound.
The Fidelio X2HR is a well-built headset with sturdy construction and a detachable 3.5mm audio cable that you can easily replace should it get damaged.
That said, it’s a bit on the bulky side that’s not very portable. But if you’re looking for a good pair of audiophile headphones that won’t have you breaking the bank, then you can’t go wrong with this one.
How To Pick The Best Open Back Headphones For Gaming
Comfort can’t be stressed enough when it comes to headphones for gaming. With a well-padded, easily adjustable pair, you can enjoy prolonged gaming sessions without worrying about fatigue and tension headaches.
Ideally, the headband should be padded. The materials used for the padding may differ, which will also offer a different comfort level. It’s all a matter of preference, of course. Still, if the headband isn’t padded, it should at least be adjustable to accommodate different head sizes.
The earcups should be padded with something light and spongy for open-back headphones, like memory foam or gel-filled cushion.
Size should also be a factor to consider. If they’re too small, you’ll end up feeling like a tight band is wrapped around your head, which could cause ear soreness and tension headaches.
Of course, sound performance will significantly impact your gaming experience. Although open-back headphones tend to reproduce a more natural sound than their closed-back counterparts, the difference will depend entirely on the model you choose.
The materials used for the construction are also something to look into. With open-back headphones, the use of high-quality materials, especially on the earcups, will offer better, clearer, and more organic sound. Other factors like audio drivers and the earcup size will also impact the over sound quality.
The most common range a human being could hear would be somewhere between 20 Hz and 2 kHz for frequencies. A more extensive frequency response range ensures that you’ll be able to hear even the most subtle of sounds when using headphones.
A good pair of open-back headphones should have at least 12 kHz to allow you to hear bass sounds clearly.
The rule of thumb here is to get a headset with multi-platform compatibility. Meaning it should be easy to set up and connect to different devices and platforms like smartphones, Macs and PCs, and gaming consoles (PlayStation, Xbox, Nintendo).
With a universally compatible headset, you don’t have to purchase separate headphones for each device.
To choose the best connectivity, ask yourself what your preferences are. Typically, wired headsets can connect via analog audio jack or USB.
Meanwhile, the digital connection has a new standard with USB 3.0. Which can deliver high-speed data transfer and is more power-efficient, thus reducing the heat generated by the headphones’ chipsets. Resulting in a more stable audio signal.
Wireless headphones typically come with a USB dongle and can even connect with Bluetooth-enabled devices.
Serious gamers will need a quality mic to go with their headphones. Clear team communication is essential during gameplay, and a mic with decent noise cancellation capabilities could be a welcome addition.
Even better is a mic with a flip-to-mute function. This way, you won’t have to fumble your way to put the mic on mute when you want to close the line.
A mic’s quality depends on its frequency response, determining how well it delivers the voice. Ideally, frequency response should have a smooth, flat curve without spikes or dips in the lows, mids, and highs.
Wired or Wireless
The choice between wired or wireless depends on several different factors.
Wired headphones don’t require a battery, so you don’t have to worry about it running out of juice. You can use the headphones however long you want.
This can be an issue with wireless headphones since you have to take a break from time to time to plug them into power when the battery dies. What’s more, the battery degrades over time and may cause the headphones to die early.
Of course, wireless headphones come with their advantages, one of which is freedom of movement. You don’t have to worry about cords getting tangled or the limited range of motion. Wireless headphones are a good choice if you need to move around a lot.
Sound quality may also differ. Generally, wired headphones sound relatively better, but with the leaps made in technology, the sound quality in wireless headphones is getting better with time.
Depending on the brand, a pair of wireless headphones can even sound better than a wired one, although you might have to spend more.
Given the nature of their design, users will not get much noise isolation with an open-back headset. They’re simply not built that way. What’s more, if you’re concerned about other people hearing what’s going on in your game, you might want to pass up on an open-back style.
If you want a distraction-free gaming experience and want to shut the world out completely, an open-back headset may not be for you.
But here’s the trade-off. With the lack of noise cancellation, you’ll get a better and wider soundstage, plus extra comfort and wearability.
Open Back Headphones For Gaming Frequently Asked Questions
What Are Open Back Headphones?
Open-back headphones provide an immersive sound experience through their unique design. By allowing air to pass through the earcups from the rear speaker drivers, you won’t have to worry about resonances and low-frequency buildup (which is usually caused by the rear enclosure).
While it lowers noise isolation between you and your surroundings, it produces a spacious soundstage that can feel like you’re listening to speakers instead of something in your ears. A lot of high-end open-backs allow sound to be more natural and realistic.
Unfortunately, open-back headphones leak a lot of sounds and struggle to filter out ambient noise. It can also distract people around you.
Are Open Back Headphones Better Than Closed Back Headphones?
Both have their own sets of advantages and disadvantages. Closed-back headphones offer isolated sound and fare well in a quiet listening environment. In contrast, open-back headphones don’t confine sound but deliver more realistic audio output.
Ultimately, the difference lies in the sound quality. Open-backs lack the plastic seal on the back of the earcups that allow more airflow. This changes the way games, voice chat, and music sound. The sound is trapped and directed towards the user’s ears with closed-backs.
Again, the major downside to open-backs is the sound leakage. While closed-backs keep the sound limited to the user, open-backs tend to broadcast sound and voice chat to the entire room. This may not be an issue if you live alone, but this can be an issue if you’re with other people.
Are Open Back Headphones Better For Gaming?
It may be subjective, but most gamers believe that open-back headsets are better for gaming. However, this entirely depends on your needs and preferences.
If you have your own space, it’s unlikely you’ll worry about sound leaking and distracting others. And if you’re room’s quiet, you don’t have to isolate yourself from external noise.
Given that open-back gaming headsets produce more realistic sound and have a wider soundstage, it makes a lot of sense for gamers to go with them.
Do Open Back Headphones Sound Better?
Open-back designs allow some of the sound to escape to recreate a sense of realism. The earcups are designed to be a bit loose around the ears. They are made with comfortable materials to allow users to play for long hours of fatigue-free gaming sessions.
Another massive advantage to open-back headphones is that they don’t distort frequencies when they overlap in most games. And as far as microphones are concerned, most gaming headsets are built with noise-canceling mics.
Generally, open-back headphones have better sound distribution than their closed-back counterparts. The sound they reproduce spans your ears’ diameter with its wide soundstage. Authentic sound delivery is where open-back headphones genuinely shine.
Will Open Back Headphones Pick Up My Mic?
Depending on the mic’s position, the volume setting, and how much of the sound bleed from the headphones. Audio feedback from mics is always possible in open-back headphones, but this depends on the mic’s sensitivity and pickup pattern.
A few experimentations and adjustments to the mic volume and audio settings will help you solve this problem, or you can opt to change the mic for one that’s less sensitive. Better yet, choose a gaming headset with a noise-canceling mic.
It can be tricky to find the best open-back headphones. Still, when you factor in value for money, comfort, and sound quality, the Audio-Technica ATH-AD700X emerges as the most outstanding in delivering an immersive gaming experience.
Our recommendations above are currently the most sought-after open-back headphones in the gaming community. Of course, it will all depend on your taste and budget, so once you figure out your priorities, the search for the perfect gaming headset will be much easier.