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If you're serious about gaming, you know that having the right gear is essential for an optimal gaming experience - especially the right headphones.
With a great pair of open-back headphones, the sound of your games feels more natural within the space around you, and less like you're in your head. If this sounds like what you're looking for, check out this list of the best open-back headphones.
According to our tests, the best open-back gaming headphones are the Sennheiser Game One headphones. They aren't the cheapest, but they are super lightweight, comfortable and deliver incredible sound quality and microphone audio.
Our Picks For Open-Back Gaming Headphones
Sennheiser Game ONE
These lightweight, open-back headphones are comfortable and intuitive. They offer excellent sound quality and a noise-cancelling microphone.
Audio Technica ATHPDG1
These headphones are designed for pro-level gamers who value natural, detailed audio and long-lasting comfort.
There were made for ultimate comfort. Super soft earpad material, lightweight design, and self-adjusting wings provide a perfect fit for hours of comfort.
Sennheiser HD 599
These super comfortable headphones provide you with an immersive and realistic sound experience. If you're looking for the best headphones for sound quality, these are for you.
These mid-priced headphones are an absolute STEAL. They offer great sound quality, with comfort features like gel-cooled ear cups.
Astro Gaming A40 TR X-Edition
These headphones are great for modders. They arrive as open back headphones, but can be changed to noise isolating closed back headphones as well.
Excellent sound quality and a comfortable, supportive fit. These headphones are very lightweight and have a self-adjusting fit.
Beyerdynamic DT 990 Pro
These open over-ear headphones are great for gaming, professional mixing, mastering and editing. The earcups are extremely soft and great to wear for long periods of time.
50mm drivers deliver an unmatched spectrum of sound in their price range. The double layer headband makes them comfortable to wear for extended periods.
These open-back headphones use the power of 50-ohm transducer technology for the best clarity. Whether you play on a console, Mac or PC, tablet or phone, exchangeable cables allow these headphones to be compatible with anything. The XXL ear pads are extremely comfortable and breathable, thanks to the soft velvet cover and lightweight design.
They feature a high-quality, noise-cancelling microphone for clear and accurate conversations. Also, the microphone has a convenient automatic mute feature when the boom is lifted. If you’re looking for gaming headphones that give you next level performance, this is it.
You may also be interested in our full list of the best gaming headphones.
This Audio Technica headset not only offers the highest resolution sound capabilities, but they're also designed with comfort in mind.
The extra large ear cups are great if you play long sessions, and don't want your ears being pressed down like other smaller headphones might. Audio Technica is a brand that's synonymous with quality, and these headphones live up to the hype. They are a natural sounding, open back design that still delivers crisp, accurate audio.
while it would be great if these were wireless, what you sacrifice in convenience, you get back in audio quality. Lightweight and comfortable, they don’t cause headaches and are perfect for long mixing sessions. Thick padded ear cups and a silky smooth velvet material make the headset even more luxurious.
The Audio-Technica ATHAD700X is a great option if you're looking for great comfort coupled with an airy and open sound. It’s known for having clear midrange and treble with 53 mm drivers, as well as incredibly comfortable ear pads. You'll be able to wear them for hours without discomfort thanks to their lightweight design and the raised fabric on the ear pads.
The outside covers are fully open-air to prevent pressure and create natural-sounding audio, with a frequency range of 5 to 30,000 Hz. You can wear them for long sessions without feeling painful pressure on your head and ears. Versatile and well suited for other purposes such as home listening, this set of open back headphones will serve you well in the long run.
Sennheiser provides some of the highest-quality transducers which allow for very low levels of distortion and a great range of dynamics. The acoustic open-back design provides you with a very spatial sound for ultimate realistic gaming sound. You’ll love how classic the ivory color looks and how you can easily replace the ear pads
Along with the premium sound, these headphones are also very comfortable. They have velour cushions around the ears and a padded headband, making them perfect for long gaming sessions. All in all, the HD 599 serves up an excellent mix of classic style, impressive wearing comfort and rich, accurate sound performance.
When it comes to value, the Razer Kraken mercury edition takes the cake. These reasonably low-cost gaming headphones offer a ton of great features for their price point.
Some of the features that caught our eye include a retractable boom mic with a cardioid pickup pattern to help block out background noise, gel-infused ear pads to keep you cool, and custom tuned 50mm drivers for top-notch sound.
With all this being said, the main build of the headphones is plastic, with an aluminum frame. This makes them lightweight, but also not the most durable. They are a great headset for the price though.
These Astro Gaming headphones feature a tough and rugged design that is skillfully combined with premium comfort. The ear cushions are covered with a soft fabric and they're snug without uncomfortable pressure. Perhaps the most striking thing about these headphones is that they were created and designed in conjunction with game developers and professional gamers. Afterall, who would understand your needs as a gamer any more than the very people who create the games? If you’re involved in competitive gaming, you’d want the advantage of these headphones on your side.
The built-in microphone is unidirectional and highly sensitive for optimal voice pickup and clear chat audio from your end. Easily remove the microphone when you don’t need it.
Designed with versatility in mind, you can modify them into either an open or closed-back headphones. This is a great option if you participate in any tournaments.
The AD500X open-back headphones prevent pressure and provide you with exceptional natural sound quality with 52 mm drivers. They're lightweight and feature flexible, fabric-covered ear pads that will give you hours of comfort while gaming. You can expect accurate, natural sound with a rich bass that will help bring your game to life.
The single-sided cable is made of oxygen-free copper and has an elastic sheath to help prevent tangling. These also include a gold-plated 3.5 mm connector and a 6.3 mm adapter. One of its main highlights is the impressive directional audio which many gamers have credited for improving their game.
The Beyerdynamic DT990 Pro headphones are great for audiophiles that want a solid pair of headphones for gaming, listening to music and audio editing. The super-soft earcups give next-level comfort and helps reduce heat.
These headphones are made of high quality materials (which justifies the higher price tag). While they are corded, the connecting cable is coiled which helps create a nominal sound pressure level of 96 dB.
The Phillips SHP9500 headphones are for the audiophile on a budget. Depending on where you buy them, they can almost always be had for under $100. With that being said, they have 50mm neodymium drivers which helps them deliver full spectrum sound.
While they aren't wireless, these headphones do have a lengthy 1.5m long cable which is great for most applications. The breathable headband also makes them great for wearing for a long gaming sessions.
These headphones have a frequency response of 12-35,000hz, which is impressive for their price point. If you're on a budget, but wants high-quality sound, these headphones should be on your radar.
Advantages of Open Back Headphones for Gaming
Less Ear Heat
Gaming headphones that trap sound usually use materials such as fake leather. Fake leather creates a seal around the ear to keep sound contained within the headphones. While this is okay for short-term use, fake leather can get uncomfortable and hot on your ears after a while. This makes it less ideal for the gamer who spends hours playing.
Because open-back headphones let sound escape, they don't need to seal tightly around your ears to keep the sound in. This means that the ear cups have lighter, cooler materials that are going to be much more comfortable during long-term use. Open-back headphones will allow you to play for a longer time with less pain and discomfort.
One of the biggest advantages of using open-back headphones is the sound quality they provide. Where closed-back headphones and noise-cancelling headphones tend to keep sound locked in close to the ear, open-back headphones create a much more expansive distribution of sound.
This means that the sounds and music in the game you are playing will sound like they're coming from all directions; that plane flying above you will sound like it's soaring above your head.
While there are gamers who prefer a more closed-in listening experience, many gamers love the expansive soundstage that open-back headphones provide. Many gamers also believe that open-back headphones distort sound less than closed-back headphones ones do. This means more authentic, the realistic sound coming from your headphones.
Understanding Sound Quality
Sound quality is determined by a variety of tools that measure factors such as SNR, frequency range, SFDR, and kilobits per second. For example, when measuring based on kilobits per second, the higher the kbps, the higher the sound quality.
Measurements such as these are objective measurements, but it's important to remember that sound quality is also pretty subjective. Every gamer is going to have his or her own opinion about what sounds good and what sound signatures are best.
For the most part, a neutral sound frequency is preferred for gaming. A neutral sound frequency will deliver every element of the audio as naturally and authentically as possible without enhancing any particular frequency.
When choosing gaming headphones, it does depend on the gamer's individual preference. Open-back headphones are great for the gamer who wants comfort, coolness, and a natural environmental sound.
Which open-back headphones you choose depends on what is important to you. You may find that you want to spend a lot of money on a high-quality pair of headphones. Or, you may decide that quality isn't as important as cost. Ultimately, your choice of headphones should come down to what helps you enjoy your gaming experience the most.