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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 audio quality and microphone audio.
A Quick Look: Open Back Gaming Headphones
These lightweight, open-back headphones are comfortable and intuitive. They offer excellent sound quality and a noise-cancelling microphone.
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.
These super comfortable headphones for gaming provide you with an immersive and realistic sound experience. If you're looking for the best headphones for sound quality, these are for you.
Then open back noise cancelling headphones from Sennheiser are great for ambience free communication, with excellent audio quality.
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.
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.
9 Best Open Back Headphones For Gaming We Recommend
If you're looking for the best headphones for gaming with excellent sound quality, the Sennheiser Game One gaming headsets have all you need. These open-back headphones use the power of 50-ohm transducer technology for the best clarity. They feature microfiber padding on the ear cup and the headband that gives them a more high-end appeal.
The Sennheiser Game One comes with a basic and easy-to-use control scheme. Their mute switch and volume dial are embedded in the microphone swiveling mechanism. Unluckily, the volume dial lacks distinct notches to help you set your preferred sound level.
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, lightweight design. They won't be a solid choice for sports and will make you feel uncomfortable during intense exercises as they're not made for that use case. However, for casual listening and gaming, they're more breathable and ideal for long listening sessions than most gaming headsets.
As one of the best open-back gaming headphones in the market, the Sennheiser Game One headsets naturally sound great. You're sure to receive the natural sound that each game intends thanks to the neutral frequency response. 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 well-designed, keeping in mind gamers who want natural sound along with long-lasting comfort. Although most of its parts are made of plastic, the visibility of metal screws and mountings is a clue to the sturdy build quality within. Audio Technica ATHPDG1 headphones feature adjustable sliders on the side making them suitable for a variety of head sizes.
Like most gaming headphones on the market, these headphones aim to deliver cross-platform capabilities, with PC, mobile, and PS4 support. You get a 1.2m mobile cable, which comes with a mic and in-line sound controls, a 2m split-audio PC cable, and a 1.2m cable that has a flexible boom microphone for gaming sessions. This can connect to your PS4 controller and even the headphone jack on your laptop.
The extra-large ear cups and the lightweight, honeycomb aluminum casing offer a natural, spacious sound while keeping your ears cool even during the most intense gaming sessions. This makes them great if you play for long sessions, and don't want your ears being pressed down like other smaller headphones might. The padded headband also provides comfort by evenly distributing the pressure of the headphones around your head.
Audio Technica is a brand that's synonymous with quality, and these headphones for gaming live up to the hype. They are a natural sounding, open back design that still delivers crisp, accurate audio. And, their in-built boom microphone delivers well-pitched in-game voice communication. However, you may experience slight sound leakage due to the open-back design.
It's worth noting that the ATH-PDG1 has no sound insulation. Background noises from the wind rustling outside and mechanical keyboard sounds will be perfectly audible. So, this Audio Technica model will only work best in a calm home environment.
While it would be great if these were wireless gaming headphones, what you sacrifice in convenience, you get back in sound 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 Audio Technica even more luxurious and a decent gaming headset.
The Audio-Technica ATHAD700X are budget-friendly open-back gaming headphones that offer an above-average sound quality for critical listening. They're 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. This makes the Audio Technica ATHAD700X a solid choice for gamers who spend plenty of time on their gaming setup.
These gaming headphones are designed to offer a comfortable listening experience. Although they're not as well-balanced as most of the higher-end open-back gaming headsets and they slightly overemphasize the mids, they create an ideal soundstage for neutral listening. They also reproduce tracks with above-average fidelity.
When it comes to style, the Audio Technica ATHAD700X are average looking over-ear headsets with a unique headband mechanism. Their large circular ear cups are padded with a soft cushion for ultimate comfort. The headband has self-adjusting paddles, meaning they can easily fit in different head sizes.
These headphones are moderately well-built, though come with a lot of moving parts. 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.
However, they're not perfect for use outside quiet spaces since they leak a lot of audio and don't isolate users from ambient noise.
Sennheiser provides some of the highest-quality transducers which allow for very low levels of distortion and a great range of dynamics. The Sennheiser HD 599 is an over-ear headphone specially made for audiophiles. It comes with a similar design to its predecessor, the Sennheiser HD 598, but with better padding and a premium look. Their ear cups are also slightly different, with plastic grilles and more metal around the cups. Its acoustic open-back design provides you with a very spatial sound for ultimate realistic gaming sound.
Plus, it has a slightly warm and smooth sound profile with lead instruments and vocals that sound present and clear. You're guaranteed an open, spacious-seeming soundstage, thanks to its open-back design. They also come with an excellent frequency response consistency. Their treble and bass delivery is more consistent and doesn't vary too much based on your headset's fit, seal, and positioning. Unfortunately, the Sennheiser HD 599 lacks a companion app with presets or an EQ, so you can't customize your 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 open-back headphones for gaming are also very comfortable. They have velour cushions around the ears and a padded headband, making them perfect for longer gaming sessions. They're also decently breathable headphones. Unlike most closed back headphones, they won't trap heat against your ears. However, you may sweat more if you use them for training sessions as they're not intended for sports use.
All in all, the HD 599 gaming headset serves up an excellent mix of classic style, impressive wearing comfort and rich, accurate sound performance.
Sennheiser has a bunch of gaming headsets on this list, and for good reason. Sennheiser is a great brand in audio technology. It's well-known for manufacturing premium studio headphones with well-balanced sound. Like other top-tier Sennheiser gaming headphones, the Massdrop X headphones feature an exceptional microphone and audio quality, with some tweaks to make it even better. They're their premium audio quality gaming headphones.
Aesthetically, the Massdrop X headphones are handsome and understated. Although it doesn't come with highlights, gaudy angular designs, and colored LEDs of most gadgets in the market, it's undeniably a headset for gamers.
Each of its components is matte black, meaning it will seamlessly complement your battle station and even office setup. They feature an adjustable headband, which is comfy and secure, irrespective of the size of your head. Plus, their extra-large, smooth velvet ear pads provide a spacious fit. On the right ear cup, you'll find a volume adjustment wheel for fast tweaks during the heat of battle.
The headsets are wide, with large velour earpads. Their plastic band has a thick velour cushion. Since the Massdrop X headphone is lightweight and features an open back, heat buildup won't be an issue. If you're a console gamer, you can use your headphones at the sticks, thanks to the PCV 05 headset adapter. By converting your headphone's two terminations into a single jack, it enhances compatibility with the Nintendo Switch, PS4, PCs, and Macs. If you wish to connect your Massdrop X headphones to an Xbox One, you'll need to use an Xbox Stereo Headset Adapter.
The drivers in these headphones are the same that are in the HD600 and HD598 headphones, which are known to please even the pickiest of audiophiles. They're positioned at an angle to help maximize natural sound reproduction. This gives you more clarity in your tunes and games.
The angled drivers and open back design means these headphones offer an excellent level of situational awareness while you're playing. Not to mention, you'll have a better stereo locational and imaging accuracy that gives you a competitive edge. Plus, this pair features a boom noise-canceling microphone that minimizes background noise and makes your voice sound clear and full-bodied for crystal-clear communication.
If you don't mind a pair of corded headphones, this gaming headset is a great choice if you prioritize sound quality above all else.
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. You get a sturdy plastic chassis with adjustable headbands and clear notches to help you create the perfect fit. You won't have to worry about it losing its position due to a normal shoulder-tilt or head-scratch. However, what stands out, even more, is a large number of removable and swappable parts.
Most of its parts, including the boom mic, the speaker tags on the ear cups, and even the earcups themselves are removable. These parts are simply held together with magnets or jacks and you can swap them to your heart's content.
The headphones also feature a 3.5mm long audio cable and a 3.5mm long splitter for PCs with separate audio or microphone ports. Perhaps the most striking thing about these gaming headsets is that they were created and designed in conjunction with game developers and professional gamers. After all, 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. When it comes to gaming performance, the Astro Gaming A40 TR X-Edition provides detailed, balanced, and nuanced sound for various gaming genres. You can comfortably use it with Real-time Strategy (RTS), First-person Shooter (FPS) and adventure games across your PC, PS4 and Switch.
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 feeling sound 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.
If you're searching for open-back gaming headsets with a premium build, check out the Beyerdynamic DT990 Pro headphones. They're great for audiophiles that want a solid pair of headphones for gaming, listening to music and audio editing.
The super-soft and well-padded earcups give next-level comfort and helps reduce heat. However, the headband is a bit too rigid, thus making the headsets tight enough to become uncomfortable when using them for long gaming sessions. These wired headphones come with an incredible passive sound stage that's large, natural and spacious.
The Beyerdynamic DT 990 Pro headphones are made of high quality materials (which justifies the higher price tag). The frame is completely designed with metal and has a detachable padding cover. While they are corded, the connecting cable is coiled which helps create a nominal sound pressure level of 96 dB.
Although the Beyerdynamic DT 990 Pro headphones deliver an excellent sound reproduction, their open back design isn't perfect for everyday casual use. They don't block any ambient noise and they leak a lot, even when using them at low volumes.
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 detachable 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 cups around your ears 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 long gaming session with less pain and discomfort.
One of the biggest advantages of using open-back headphones is the audio 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, range of frequency, 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. However, some open-back headphones have an inferior background noise cancellation feature, so you'll quickly hear outside sounds.
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.
3 thoughts on “Best Open-Back Headphones for Gaming (With Budget-Friendly Options)”
Um please absolutely correct me if I am wrong but a lot of these are not open-back?? Starting with the SteelSeries Arctis Pro Gaming Headset and Corsair Void Pro. They clearly don’t look to be open-back and on there websites they do not state they are open-back either. Am I missing something?
John you’re right! We had edits pending in draft that never got posted that fixed that exact issue. The post used to be more broad. Thanks for pointing that out.
Thanks for the review, but it’s strange to include “Not wireless” and “Corded” as a minus for headphones when all of them are actually corded and not wireless. The fact that you can detach the wire from some models don’t make them wireless because they do not work without a cord. Correct me if I’m wrong and if there are any true wireless open-back headphones in this review. If not then you cannot use “Not wireless” as a negative for any of them, or else you have to use it as a negative for all of them, to be fair.