Best Open Back Headphones for Gaming

Best Open Back Headphones for Gaming

Open-back headphones aren’t that commonly thought of by most gamers, but that’s a pity. There are a lot of reasons why you might want to track down some open-back headphones you can use while gaming. If you want to get lost in the sound design of your favorite games (and let’s be honest – sound design sometimes doesn’t get the love it deserves in many gaming spaces), then open back is the way to go.

You probably have a number of questions, and we have you covered. We’ll start by running you through a top 10 list of the best open-back headphones for gaming. While they’re roughly ordered in terms of our favorites, keep in mind that different headphones are going to be better fitted for different consumers.

The 10 BEST Open Back Headphones for Gaming

AwardDesignAudioRetailer
Great in the Studio or on the Battlefield
beyerdynamic DT 990 Pro 250 ohm Headphones
Check Price
Luxury in Every Shape
 Shure SRH1840 Professional Open Back Headphones
Check Price
Audiophile Sound/Gaming Performance
 Sennheiser GAME ONE Gaming Headset<br>
Check Price
Perfectly Neutral Sound
 Philips Audio SHP9500 HiFi Precision Over-Ear Headphones
Check Price
A Deeply Satisfying Bass Sound
AKG Pro Audio K702 Open-Back Studio Headphones
Check Price
ASTRO Gaming A40 TR X-Edition Headset
Check Price
Audio-Technica ATH-AD700X Audiophile Open-Air Headphones
Check Price
 HIFIMAN HE-400I Over Ear Open-Back Design Headphones
Check Price
 GRADO SR60e Open-Back Stereo Headphones
Check Price
LyxPro OEH-10 Hi Fi Audiophile Open Back Headphones
Check Price

beyerdynamic DT 990 Pro 250 ohm Headphones

Great in the Studio or on the Battlefield

The thing that makes the Beyerdynamic DT 990 PRO such well-regarded monitoring headphones is the same thing that makes them great for gaming: consistency. They sport a pleasantly neutral sound that offers balance across any gaming genre with the best clarity surfacing in the mids and the highs.

These headphones are both comfortable and durable, too. The band and the cups may not be made of the sturdiest material we’ve encountered, but they feel incredibly plush and soft against your ears. The depth of the sound stage on the Beyerdynamic DT 990 Pro is particularly worthy of your attention, as it’s one of the biggest advantages that open-back headphones can offer

Frequency Range5 – 35,000 Hz
Drivers45 mm neodymium
Sensitivity96 dB
Cable3 m
Weight1.3 lbs

Pros

  • Incredibly comfortable velour cups
  • Good performance in upper register
  • Very neutral sound balance
  • Above-average sound stage

Cons

  • Bass sound is a little thin

 Shure SRH1840 Professional Open Back Headphones

Luxury in Every Shape

The Shure SRH1840 is built with serious professionals in mind, and that shows both in the performance and the design. Unfortunately, it’s also reflected in the price. But if you want the best of the best, there’s a great argument to be made for these open-back headphones.

The sound quality is maybe the best for under a grand – providing a level of richness and clarity that’s built with the needs of audiophiles in mind but is also a great choice for gamers. And while they may not look all that different from other open-back headphones for gaming, they’re sturdily and comfortably built.

Frequency Range10 – 30,000 Hz
Drivers40 mm neodymium
Sensitivity96 dB
Cable2.4 m
Weight2.1 lbs

Pros

  • Truly class-leading sound quality
  • Ergonomic and lightweight band
  • Sound gives off a natural warmth
  • 40 mm drivers are individually matche

Cons

  • Relatively high asking price

 Sennheiser GAME ONE Gaming Headset

Audiophile Sound/Gaming Performance

Making a list of the best open-backed headphones for gaming often means finding audiophile headphones that will also be suitable for gaming. Fortunately, Sennheiser offers one of the rare few pairs of open-back headphones built explicitly with gaming in mind.

While that means that the music quality isn’t too great, these headphones do a phenomenal job of reproducing in-game sound effects and voices. And then there’s the mic, which offers incredibly clear voice transfer when trying to communicate with your teammates. No matter what platform you prefer to play on, the AUX input can suit your needs.

Frequency Range15 – 28,000 Hz
Drivers40 mm
Sensitivity116 dB
Cable3 m
Weight1.38 lbs

Pros

  • Cables are fully exchangeable
  • Above-average game audio
  • Exceptional noise isolating mic
  • Available in black and white

Cons

  • Not the most comfortable headphones

 Philips Audio SHP9500 HiFi Precision Over-Ear Headphones

Perfectly Neutral Sound

Like a lot of open-back headphones, the Philips SHP9500 are built with critical listening in mind. But what sets them apart from most of the competition is that they’re also very affordable. They retail for well under a hundred dollars but deliver some sound performance that can compete with much more expensive headphones.

There’s a nice sense of neutrality to the frequency coverage – a choice that ensures these headphones will work solidly no matter what gaming genres you prefer. And while you shouldn’t be wearing these headphones (or any open-back headphones) outdoors, they’re rather durable headphones.

Frequency Range12 – 35,000 Hz
Drivers50 mm neodymium
Sensitivity101 dB
Cable1.5 m
Weight0.66 lbs

Pros

  • Ear cups covered in breathable mesh
  • Expansive frequency response range
  • Crisp, high power 50 mm drivers
  • Cable is easy to remove

Cons

  • Larger and bulkier form factor

AKG Pro Audio K702 Open-Back Studio Headphones

A Deeply Satisfying Bass Sound

Designed as they are with a neutral frequency response range and a breathable form factor, studio reference headphones aren’t a regular point of conversation among competitive gamers, but the K702 will make some gaming enthusiasts rethink their biases.

And the sense of neutrality at work here means that you can get natural sound performance and better directional audio in everything from sports games to shooters to roleplaying games. Dialogue in particular comes across great, and the lack of over-emphasis in the mid-range ensures that the bass also offers some of the best sound quality you’ll find anywhere.

Frequency Range10 – 39,800 Hz
DriversNot disclosed
Sensitivity105 dB
Cable3 m
Weight1.80 lbs

Pros

  • Comfortable 3D foam ear pads
  • Natural and neutral sound performance
  • Voice coil for crisp and clear dialogue
  • Very expansive frequency coverage

Cons

  • Slightly cheap plastic build quality

ASTRO Gaming A40 TR X-Edition Headset

The A40 by Astro has an advantage that many of the best open-back headphones don’t: the fact that it’s built exclusively with the demands of gaming in mind. With this headset, gamers will get a lightweight and comfortable fit along with sound performance that’s optimized for the sort of music and sound effects most prominent in modern games.

The boom mic here is also fully detachable so it can stay out of the way when you want to dive headfirst into your favorite single-player gaming worlds. And in addition to working with PC and Mac, these gaming headphones are also compatible with Xbox One and Xbox Series X/S

Frequency Range20 – 20,000 Hz
Drivers40 mm
Sensitivity104 dB
Cable2 m
Weight12.8 lbs

Pros

  • Specially tuned for gaming experiences
  • Compatible with mod kits
  • Compatible with Microsoft consoles
  • Speaker tags are fully customizable

Cons

  • Aesthetics will be a bit garish for some

Audio-Technica ATH-AD700X Audiophile Open-Air Headphones

The Audio-Technica ATH-AD700X aren’t the best performing headphones for gaming on our list, but they may very well be the best deal. That’s because they offer the quality audio performance that Audio-Technica is known for with a price tag that hovers right around a hundred bucks. These headphones make use of powerful drivers that extend beyond the traditional 40- or 50-millimeter size for clarity even at higher volumes, and the honeycomb casing expands the spaciousness of the acoustics even more.

And even better, these are comfortable headphones. The larger size of the ear cups means that your ears will be comfortably ensconced while still providing you with plenty of room to breathe. And further expanding on how comfortable these headphones are for gaming is the fact that it makes use of fully 3D wing support that can adjust on the fly to match your listening experience.

Frequency Range5 – 30,000 Hz
Drivers52 mm
Sensitivity100 dB
Cable3 m
Weight1.25 lbs

Pros

  • Tremendous value for the price
  • Ear cups are very comfortable
  • Cord design that reduces tangles
  • Supports 3.5 and 6.5 mm adapters

Cons

  • One of the bigger and bulkier models

 HIFIMAN HE-400I Over Ear Open-Back Design Headphones

The HiFiMan HE-400i does something really interesting with their driver design. They ditch the traditional cone-shaped drivers for incredibly thin planar magnetic drivers. The result is some of the best sound performance we’ve ever seen, and these headphones especially sing on the lower bass frequencies.

And despite being a fairly large pair of headphones, the design here is very lightweight. HiFiMan boasts that their headphones weigh as much as 30% less than comparable headphones, but they also sport a comfortable and high-quality build. The highlight here is the FocusPad – a design that employs a beveled shape constructed from a pleather/velour hybrid.

Frequency Range20 – 35,000 Hz
DriversPlanar magnet
Sensitivity93 dB
Cable1.5 m
Weight0.82 lbs

Pros

  • Truly innovative driver design
  • Ear cups made of pleather and velour
  • Very cool aesthetic design
  • High-performance gold connectors

Cons

  • Cord is very short

 GRADO SR60e Open-Back Stereo Headphones

Grado is a manufacturer that fulfills a pretty unique niche in the open-back headphones market. The unique and meticulously crafted design of their headphones is legendary, but it sometimes leads to the mistaken assumption that all of their headphones come with luxury prices. Their entry-level model, the Grado sr60e Prestige, maintains the quality that Grado is known for along with a uniquely nostalgic design, and it sounds as good as it looks. The bass is consistent without being amplified, the mids crisp and dimensionally rich, and the highs maintaining a great crispness. In terms of almost every quality, there isn’t a better pair of open-back headphones at this price.

Frequency Range20 – 20,000 Hz
DriversNot disclosed
Sensitivity99.8 dB
Cable2 m
Weight7.76 lbs

Pros

  • Backed by a one year warranty
  • Comes with 1/4 inch adapter
  • Relatively tough build quality
  • Exceptional frequency coverage

Cons

  • Cable can’t be removed

LyxPro OEH-10 Hi Fi Audiophile Open Back Headphones

If you’re seeking out some open-back headphones for a gamer on a budget, the unassuming LyxPro OEH-10 is a promising choice. It may be lightweight in terms of pricing and name recognition, but it’s got plenty going on underneath the hood. The design here is pretty slick, too. The grille and overall profile resemble the sort of headphones Grado makes while retaining a more traditional sense of identity.

That’s because these are decent-sounding open-back headphones despite retailing for under a hundred dollars. LyxPro makes use of solid components throughout – including gold-plated connectors to reduce the risk of rust or corrosion. And for those who prefer more serious studio open-back headphones for their gaming, the fact that the ear cups can swivel at 90 degrees will be a welcome inclusion. While the cable itself can’t be detached, it does come with an adapter for traditional stereo output.

Frequency Range15 – 30,000 Hz
Drivers42 mm
Sensitivity95 dB
Cable2.5 m
Weight13.7 lbs

Pros

  • Entry-level asking price
  • Great materials throughout
  • Cool and comfortable design
  • Cups rotate at 90 degrees

Cons

  • Ear pads are difficult to change

Open-Back Gaming Headphones Buyer’s Guide

Not all of the headphones on our list are created with gaming in mind, but you can count on all of them to offer the best open-back design features and sound quality that rank them the best among gaming headphones. But even the best open-back headphones have unique qualities that distinguish them from one another. We’ll break down those core specs and features of open-back headphones for gaming so you can better understand which model is best for you.

Open-back headphones aren’t the most obvious choice for gaming. And if you’re looking for something more traditional, you can always pick out your best gaming headset using our guide to the best gaming headsets. But in some scenarios, the best open-back headphones can really add some new dimensions to your gaming experience. We’ll talk about that below along with some general analysis of the more important specs.

Frequency Range

Frequency response is the most accurate measurement we have for sound quality, but it’s far from a perfect metric. The range of audible human hearing extends from 20 Hz (the deepest bass) to 20,000 Hz (the highest treble). But since different manufacturers use different standards to measure their frequency range, a simple range of numbers won’t always tell you the whole story. Some manufacturers further elaborate on the sort of variance that arises at higher or lower frequency responses.

For the average gamer, this sort of variance isn’t going to be that big of a deal, but the breadth of the response range can have an impact. Frequencies outside the normal human hearing range may be discernible or felt as a tactile rather than auditory response, but frequency range can lead to a more crystalline sound quality and better imaging and soundstage quality.

Drivers

Driver is just a fancy word for the speakers that sit within the headphones and direct music or other sounds into your ears. In most instances, the maxim of ‘bigger is better’ holds true for drivers. Larger drivers have more range to properly project the frequencies at the edge of human hearing, and they can create a greater sense of space (an asset that open-back headphones already have a head start on over closed-back headphones).

But that’s not always the case. While larger drivers are generally a sign of higher quality, they don’t have to be. Smaller drivers can sometimes outperform depending on the materials used or the shape of their construction. Most notable for this are planar magnet drivers. They’re much smaller than the size of more traditional drivers, but they also offer some of the best sound quality around.

Sensitivity

The shortest and sweetest definition of sensitivity is maximum volume, but it’s a little more complicated than that. That’s because when a speaker reaches a certain decibel level, they begin to show distortions and feedback. Most manufacturers will list a sensitivity level that goes as far as the headphones reasonably can before experiencing recognizable distortion.

But this is also a case where there are no universal standards for how sensitivity is measured. Fortunately, there are some manufacturers – as well as some enterprising audiophiles with the right equipment – who provide more precise measurements for sensitivity. They’ll tell you what sort of distortion you can expect at higher decibel levels and also provide a more accurate understanding of open-back headphones’ sound quality at higher volumes.

For most gamers, sensitivity won’t be that big of a deal. The variance between different sensitivities in the best and worst open-back headphones isn’t going to be all that different, and they’re all comfortably within the realm of normal human hearing. If you really want to hear the blast of gunfire and explosions, you may want to pay more attention to sensitivity, but it won’t be a big deal for most gaming experiences.

Cable

How long is the cable of the open-back headphones you’re looking at? Are they designed to be sturdy and built to prevent tangles? What are they constructed from? Do they use gold-plated connectors to prevent the risk of corrosion? These should all be questions you ask yourself when you’re trying to separate the best open-back headphones from those that are simply run of the mill.

In terms of connections, there aren’t a whole lot of standards to worry about now. Most headphones are going to come with a 3.5 mm connection. That should give you compatibility with practically any gaming console on the market. You can also connect to practically any device that can broadcast sound. That said, sound performance on more traditional audio components is also often better. If you want to be able to hook your headphones up to more heavy-duty stereo systems, you may want to look for one that also comes with a quarter-inch adapter.

Weight

Finding a pair of comfortable headphones is important, but the only measurable spec for build quality is weight. Lower weight headphones are going to generally feel better during longer play sessions, but that’s also just one factor to consider when looking at your potential comfort. Also, keep in mind that weight will be less important. Closed-back headphones can really weigh down on you and cause your ears to overheat, but the more expansive sound that open-backed models offer also creates a more comfortable general experience.

That said, you should still look at what materials different headphones are made out of and what reviewers and other customers are saying about them. Form factor, construction, and a thousand other factors can also determine whether or not headphones will be the right fit for you in terms of comfort.

Wrapping Up

If you want the best sound performance in gaming, open-back headphones are a great, if unconventional, option. If you need to dig a little deeper, you’ll find plenty of articles about gaming gear and accessories, and we can even help you perfect your photographic skills or build a killer gaming rig. And we always keep our review guides updated, so feel free to check back later or leave your opinion if you’ve tried any of these products.

If you liked our article on open back headphones for gaming, please share and comment below what your favorite product is.


Share post on
Team @ ISITRATED.com
By Team @ ISITRATED.com

The team @ ISITRATED.com is made up of experts and tech enthusiasts. All here to provide you with unbiased product reviews and informative buyers guides. Meet the team on our about us page.



isitrated.com is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Best Noise Cancelling Headphones in 2022 Audio

Best Noise Cancelling Headphones in 2022

There are several reasons why you might want a set of headphones that can...

By Team @ ISITRATED.com
Best Bluetooth Receivers in 2022 Audio

Best Bluetooth Receivers in 2022

Bluetooth is one of the most popular standards for people looking to connect their...

By Team @ ISITRATED.com
Best Wireless Earbuds in 2022 Audio

Best Wireless Earbuds in 2022

Wireless earbuds have become very popular in recent times. There are now many different...

By Team @ ISITRATED.com
10 Best Headphones Under $100 Audio

10 Best Headphones Under $100

You don’t have to pay a fortune for a good pair of headphones. While...

By Team @ ISITRATED.com
10 Best Studio Headphones for Creativity Audio

10 Best Studio Headphones for Creativity

Studio headphones serve a unique niche in the headphone ecosystem. While they get their...

By Team @ ISITRATED.com
12 Best Workout Headphones Audio

12 Best Workout Headphones

A good pair of headphones can mean all the difference in the world when...

By Team @ ISITRATED.com
12 Best Bluetooth Speakers for 2022 Audio

12 Best Bluetooth Speakers for 2022

You can forget about the tangled nest of wires around your stereo system. There...

By Team @ ISITRATED.com
10 Best Bass Headphones for 2022 Audio

10 Best Bass Headphones for 2022

Bass headphones are a necessary part of any audiophile’s collection. They provide dynamic lows,...

By Team @ ISITRATED.com

Latest Posts

The Best eGPU for 2022 Graphic Cards

The Best eGPU for 2022

The graphics card on a computer was once seen as largely immutable. Along with...

By Team @ ISITRATED.com
Best Ergonomic Keyboard for 2022 Keyboards

Best Ergonomic Keyboard for 2022

Ergonomic is a word that’s thrown around a lot in the world of keyboard...

By Team @ ISITRATED.com
MVMT Watches for Women in 2022 Watches

MVMT Watches for Women in 2022

The Watch.  In today’s world, the watch is often considered an old school method...

By Team @ ISITRATED.com
Gaming Headset with Best Mic Gaming

Gaming Headset with Best Mic

Looking for a gaming headset with the best microphone is no easy task. We know that...

By Team @ ISITRATED.com
Best Capture Card in 2022 Gaming

Best Capture Card in 2022

Have you ever wanted to be able to make recordings of what’s happening on...

By Team @ ISITRATED.com
How to use a DSLR Camera: A Beginners Guide Knowledge Base

How to use a DSLR Camera: A Beginners Guide

With the advent of relatively advanced cameras in our phones, practically everyone has now...

By Team @ ISITRATED.com
Best Budget Gaming Laptop in 2022 Gaming

Best Budget Gaming Laptop in 2022

It wasn’t that long ago that the idea of gaming on a laptop seemed...

By Team @ ISITRATED.com