Headsets designed solely for gaming are fantastic, but they lack the versatility that other users find when shopping for headphones. They are often bulky, flashy, hefty, and overly bass-heavy to enhance the gunfire and explosions of the most popular first-person shooters and battle royale games of today. However, not all video game genres are suitable for this type of sound signature.
|LyxPro OEH-10||388 g||No|
|Sennheiser Game One||300 g||Yes|
|Audio-Technica ATH-AD700X||265 g||No|
|Philips SHP9500||320 g||No|
|Samson SR850||276 g||No|
|Grado Prestige Series SR80E||235 g||No|
|AKG Pro Audio K612 PRO||238 g||No|
|Sennheiser GSP 500||358 g||Yes|
|AKG Pro Audio K240 STUDIO||240 g||No|
In more subdued games, you want your headphones to pick up the slightest of audio details so you can get immersed in its storytelling and overall ambiance. If you’re longing for this kind of gaming experience, you’ve come to the right place.
In this guide, we’ve compiled some of the best open-back headphones for gaming to help you find one that suits your needs and preferences. These headphones have a much more extensive frequency range than average gaming headsets, letting you experience audiophile gaming. Moreover, their balanced soundstage is suitable for listening to music and watching movies, making them some of the most versatile options on the market.
Beyerdynamic DT 990 Pro Open-Back Studio Headphones
Best Open-Back Headphones for Gaming
|Driver Size||45 mm|
|Speaker Frequency Response||5 Hz to 35 kHz|
|Sensitivity||96 dB SPL|
|Impedance||80 Ω or 250 Ω|
The Beyerdynamic DT 990 Pro might not look like your typical pair of gaming headphones, but it delivers an exceptional audio performance and incredible comfort. It features replaceable memory foam padding wrapped in plush velour that will make hours of gaming feel like a spa day.
While the DT 990 Pro is undeniably one of the most breathable headphones on the market, it isn’t made of the most durable materials. Its plastic chassis feels like it could take some damage, but you shouldn’t rely on it to survive harsh accidental falls. The padded headband doesn’t feel too resilient either, so you must be careful not to flex it the wrong way.
Another thing to consider about the construction of this headset is its audio cable. Although it feels sturdy and durable, it isn’t detachable and must be handled with care. This headset doesn’t come with a built-in microphone either, so you might want to look elsewhere if you play competitive online games.
Nevertheless, the DT 990 Pro’s lackluster design and build quality are reasonable compromises for its superior comfort and outstanding audio quality. This headset isn’t one of the most popular open-back headphones for gaming and professional mixing for no reason.
For a headset that isn’t designed to isolate noise, the DT 990 Pro has a spectacular distortion-free bass response that doesn’t overlap with other sound frequencies. Its rich and well-balanced audio profile is ideal for virtually any game genre, making it a remarkably adaptable gaming headset.
The DT 990 Pro’s versatility isn’t limited to gaming either since it’s also great for listening to music, watching movies, or mastering songs in the studio.
The DT 990 Pro comes in two versions with varying impedance: 80 Ω and 250 Ω. Generally, the 80 Ω version is the go-to option in terms of gaming since it has better device compatibility. The 250 Ω might offer a more balanced sound signature, but it requires additional equipment and is usually reserved for home studios.
LyxPro OEH-10 Open-Back Headphones
Best Budget Open-Back Headphones for Gaming
|Driver Size||42 mm|
|Speaker Frequency Response||15 Hz to 30 kHz|
|Sensitivity||95 dB SPL|
The LyxPro OEH-10 might be one of the most affordable open-back headphones on the market, but that doesn’t necessarily mean its performance reflects its price point. This budget-oriented headset can deliver a clean and consistent sound signature that can elevate the audio of virtually any game genre.
The OEH-10 features a conventional headphone design with customizable elements. While the included padding on the ear cups is comfortable enough to wear for long durations, you can swap them out for cushioning material of your choice.
The OEH-10’s ear cups also have a highly ergonomic design, allowing you to rotate them at a convenient angle when you rest the headset on your chest. Moreover, its steel-reinforced flexible headband can be easily adjusted to accommodate your head’s shape and size.
If you want a pair of open-back headphones for gaming that you can take anywhere you go, the OEH-10 ships with a carrying pouch to meet your demands. However, it might not be the most suitable headset for outdoor use since it is prone to sound leakage. Moreover, its cable runs down from both ear cups, limiting its portability.
Unsurprisingly, the OEH-10 doesn’t come with a built-in microphone. If you’re looking for a headset that you can use to play online multiplayer games with your friends, you might want to check out a couple of other options on this list.
All in all, the OEH-10 provides remarkable value for its price if you can look past its insignificant drawbacks. It is ideal for gamers on a budget who want to experience the transparent and enhanced audio experience that open-back headphones have to offer.
Sennheiser Game One Open Acoustic Gaming Headset
Best Open-Back Headphones for Gaming with Microphone
|Driver Size||40 mm|
|Speaker Frequency Response||15 Hz to 28 kHz|
|Microphone Frequency Response||50 Hz to 16 kHz|
|Sensitivity||116 dB SPL|
Unlike most of the headphones on this list, the Sennheiser Game One is actually designed for gaming. It has a dedicated boom microphone that allows you to communicate with your online teammates so you can participate in every bit of action. However, its design also makes one of the least versatile headsets among its contemporaries because of the bulky structure that makes it less than ideal for outdoor and casual use.
In keeping up with the appearance of most popular gaming headsets on the market, the Game One has large ear cups to match its open-back design. While the size of the cans may be unnecessary, considering that it holds 40 mm drivers, there isn’t much to complain about this headset in terms of aesthetics.
The Game One’s microphone is undoubtedly one of its standout features, capable of transmitting your voice loudly and clearly. It also gives a tactile feedback when you tilt it upwards, letting you know that you’ve enabled its auto mute functionality.
Unfortunately, the Game One doesn’t have a proprietary software that you can use to tweak its sound signature or create sound profiles. Nevertheless, the lack of audio customizability doesn’t stop this headset from excelling in the sound quality department, particularly for gaming. It produces accurate mid to high-frequency sounds without overpowering the bass. Its sound signature is remarkably clear and consistent, especially when you consider its open-air design.
On the other hand, the Game One performs rather disappointingly for music and other media use as its lack of bass and poor noise isolation becomes more apparent. It can certainly pass as a daily driver for most people, but if you’re a hardcore audiophile, you wouldn’t want it as your go-to pair of headphones for listening to your favorite tunes.
Audio-Technica ATH-AD700X Open-Air Headphones
Most Versatile Open-Back Headphones for Gaming
|Driver Size||53 mm|
|Speaker Frequency Response||5 Hz to 30 kHz|
|Sensitivity||100 dB SPL|
The Audio-Technica ATH-AD700X may not be the most well-constructed pair of headphones on the market, but it is certainly one of the most well-rounded in terms of sound quality. Boasting a comprehensive frequency range of 5 Hz to 30 kHz, this headset doesn’t need a durable frame to show off its unlimited potential. Moreover, its low impedance of 38 Ω means you can use it on a wide variety of devices without compromising quality or volume.
The ATH-AD700X produces a detailed low-end sound that is punchy and free of distortion. The bass doesn’t overpower the highs at all, but the soundstage might seem to skim a little on mid-frequency sounds. Overall, it delivers a balanced sound that is fitting for any game genre.
Since the ATH-AD700X has a hard plastic chassis, it is a remarkably lightweight pair of headphones. It also features Audio-Technica’s self-adjusting 3D Wing Support technology, so you don’t have to bother with headband notches to get a comfortable fit. Its ear cups are also padded with flexible raised-fabric velvet material so you can have hours-long gaming marathons and not feel any strain around your head and ears afterward.
The ATH-AD700X may not be your best option if you play online multiplayer games since it doesn’t come with a built-in microphone. Unless you have a dedicated desktop microphone that you use for streaming and gaming, you might want to look at other alternatives.
Philips SHP9500 HiFi Stereo Headphones
Best Open-Back Headphones for Gaming with Dynamic Drivers
|Driver Size||50 mm|
|Speaker Frequency Response||12 Hz to 35 kHz|
|Sensitivity||101 dB SPL|
The Philips SHP9500 is an open-back headset packed with large neodymium drivers designed to deliver a full spectrum of sound. It has a bright sound signature that is complemented by the breathable ear cups to produce a formidable bass response without being exhausting for your ears.
Aside from the admirable performance in low-frequency sounds, the SHP9500 has a bright and forward treble along with a decent mid-range. Vocals and in-game dialogue have a slightly withdrawn character, but they don’t seem hollow or ingenuine.
What sets the SHP9500 apart from conventional gaming headsets is its incredible comfort. It has adequate and plush padding on both the headband and ear cups to ensure you don’t experience fatigue when gaming for extended periods. The adjustable headband has an excellent suspension design that accommodates the contours of your head exceptionally well.
The SHP9500 is also a very robust pair of headphones, with a metal-reinforced headband and a very durable chassis. It is one of the very few headphones on this list that manages to strike a balance between build quality and breathability. However, you might want to look elsewhere if you play online games with your friends since it doesn’t have a microphone. Moreover, you might not want to be seen sporting this headset outdoors as it is rather bulky and has poor noise isolation. You wouldn’t want your fellow commuters eavesdropping on what you’re listening to, would you?
Samson SR850 Open-Back Studio Headphones
Best Open-Back Headphones for Comfortable Gaming
|Driver Size||50 mm|
|Speaker Frequency Response||10 Hz to 30 kHz|
|Sensitivity||98 dB SPL|
The Samson SR850 might be a budget-oriented pair of open-back headphones, but it is more than capable of delivering high-quality sound for gaming. It features large drivers that offer excellent dynamic range and a low impedance of 32 Ω to make it fully compatible with even your smartphone. Additionally, it comes with an interchangeably audio connector, allowing you to use this versatile headset on multiple platforms.
In terms of build quality, the SR850 is constrained to lightweight materials like plastic to accommodate its budget target market. Nevertheless, it comes with adequate velour cushioning to help your ears and head remain cool and comfortable when you’re on a gaming or music marathon. The self-adjusting mechanism of the headband doesn’t apply excessive clamping force either as it just lets the headset sit comfortably on your ears.
Unlike most of the other alternatives on this list, the SR850 doesn’t have a full open-back design. Instead, it has a semi-open enclosure that does a better job of preventing sound leakage while still delivering in-game immersion. If you live in a busy and crowded area but want the signature gaming soundstage provided by open-back headsets, the SR850 is a good compromise.
Unfortunately, like most of the options on this list, the SR850 doesn’t have a built-in microphone. This issue shouldn’t be a downside if you play only single player or campaign games, but it’s still worth mentioning.
Overall, the SR850 is one of the most budget-friendly open-back headphones for gaming, and it is an excellent choice if you’re in the middle of putting together a gaming setup from scratch.
Grado Prestige Series SR80E Open-Back Stereo Headphones
Best Open-Back Headphones for Audiophile Gaming
|Driver Size||40 mm|
|Speaker Frequency Response||20 Hz to 20 kHz|
|Sensitivity||100 dB SPL|
The Grado Prestige Series SR80E is a pair of open-back headphones manufactured by one of the most respected brands in the audiophile community. As such, you can expect nothing short of brilliance in the sound quality of this headset.
The Prestige Series SR80E has a vented diaphragm design that helps eliminate distortion and improve bass resonance. It produces a balanced and airy sound profile throughout the entire frequency range to deliver an engaging and immersive gaming experience.
Aside from gaming, the Prestige Series SR80E does just as good for listening to music or watching movies. Its open-back enclosure, along with its vented diaphragm, contributes to the production of fast and nimble sound. This headset’s dynamics, detail, and clarity are unlike any other at its price range.
On the downside, sound leakage is a persistent problem with the Prestige Series SR80E as it comes with no noise-isolating capabilities. Build quality is also one of its most significant flaws, as it is mostly made of plastic. Nevertheless, they feel sturdy enough to not break easily after a couple of accidental falls. Its ear cups have slabs of foam that aren’t as soft as some of the materials used in other open-back headphones but should feel much better once you get used to them over time. Like faux leather, they do make your ears get hot after extended use, but they are replaceable.
The Prestige Series SR80E has metal grilles inlaid on the ear cups that contribute to the device’s breathability. The quality of its audio cable isn’t anything to write about, but it splits and goes directly into both ear cups, a common design element for audiophile headphones.
AKG Pro Audio K612 PRO Open-Back Studio Headphones
Best Lightweight Open-Back Headphones for Gaming
|Speaker Frequency Response||12 Hz to 39.5 kHz|
|Sensitivity||101 dB SPL|
The AKG Pro Audio K612 PRO is one of the lightest open-back headphones on the market. Despite its meager weight, this headset houses powerful drivers capable of producing accurate sound reproduction across the full spectrum, ensuring a very natural and captivating gaming experience.
In terms of design and build quality, the Pro Audio K612 PRO has nothing to be scoffed at as it is made of durable materials that reflects its hefty price tag. This headset has an elegant leather headband that is crafted with quality stitching and engraving. Although its ear cups are made of plastic, they are remarkably constructed and feel extremely robust. Moreover, they have silver and black metal grills at the back that allow for optimal airflow to ensure comfort.
The padding on the Pro Audio K612 PRO is replaceable, so you can easily swap them out if you want something that suits your preferences. On the other hand, the audio cable isn’t detachable, but it is of reasonable thickness and can survive for a long while.
The Pro Audio K612 PRO has a self-adjusting mechanism that allows the headband to flex and slide up and down quietly to help you find the perfect fit effortlessly. It doesn’t apply too much clamping force either, so you don’t have to worry about ear fatigue or headaches after prolonged use.
While the Pro Audio K612 PRO is an excellent gaming headset, it doesn’t come with a built-in microphone. That means it is more suited to gamers who don’t play online multiplayer games or don’t need a microphone to communicate with their teammates.
Sennheiser GSP 500 Open Acoustic Gaming Headset
Best Open-Back Headphones for Console Gaming
|Speaker Frequency Response||10 Hz to 30 HHz|
|Microphone Frequency Response||10 Hz to 18 kHz|
|Sensitivity||107 dB SPL|
The Sennheiser GSP 500 is the spiritual successor to one of our earlier picks, the Sennheiser Game One. They are both open-ear headphones designed for gaming and share very similar characteristics.
The GSP 500 achieves a natural and airy sound signature with a considerable bass response owing to its semi-open enclosure. It is one of the bulkiest headsets on the market, making it unsuited for outdoor and casual use.
Despite its outlandish aesthetics, the GSP 500 is remarkably comfortable and ergonomic. It features four separate adjustable sliders, two of which allow for right and left headband adjustments, while the other two cater to vertical adjustments. The headband is wrapped in a soft fabric to prevent discomfort when you’re engaging in intense and hours-long gaming.
One of the most notable features of the GSP 500 that sets it apart from many of the other alternatives on this list is its built-in microphone attached to the left ear cup. Like the headset itself, the microphone is also highly ergonomic, enabling users to swivel up to mute and flex for some maneuverability. It even has noise-canceling capabilities to enhance your speech when you give out commands to your online teammates.
On the right ear cup, the GSP 500 houses the volume wheel that lets you easily adjust volume levels while you’re playing.
Gaming performance is another strong suit for the GSP 500 as it delivers crisp and detailed high-frequency sounds, which is uncharacteristic of traditional closed-back gaming headsets. Moreover, its bass response is far less imposing than other headphones, allowing for a well-balanced, realistic, and immersive gaming experience.
AKG Pro Audio K240 STUDIO Semi-Open Studio Headphones
Best Studio Open-Back Headphones for Gaming
|Driver Size||30 mm|
|Speaker Frequency Response||15 Hz to 25 kHz|
|Sensitivity||104 dB SPL|
The AKG Pro Audio K240 STUDIO is a pair of budget semi-open headphones that are primarily designed for studio use. However, its accurate sound reproduction and balanced signature make it a fitting headset for gaming.
The Pro Audio K240 STUDIO sports a durable all-plastic that effectively decreases the cost of production while increasing user comfort. The entire chassis, from the self-adjusting suspension mechanism to the ear cup exteriors, is made of plastic, making this headset one of the most lightweight alternatives on this list.
The Pro Audio K240 STUDIO is based on a headphone design that was first introduced in 1975. With most of its elements still being integrated to this day, there is no doubt that this no-nonsense style has satisfied countless audiophiles over the years.
Surprisingly, the Pro Audio K240 STUDIO features a detachable input cable. This design element significantly improves the headset’s longevity as it allows you to replace the cable if it gets damaged. On the downside, it doesn’t come with a built-in microphone, so you can’t use it to communicate with your friends and teammates in online multiplayer games.
The Pro Audio K240 STUDIO comes with AKG’s proprietary Varimotion diaphragm to ensure consistent response at different listening levels. It also features innovative XXL transducers that give this headset the ability to produce realistic three-dimensional audio.
If you’re looking to get a versatile pair of open-back headphones that you can use outdoors, the Pro Audio K240 STUDIO may not be the best option. This headset has minimal noise-isolating capabilities, making it unsuitable for loud and crowded environments.
How to Choose the Best Open-Back Headphones for Gaming
Open-back headphones are steadily gaining popularity among gamers because of their unique audio profile that differs significantly from traditional gaming headsets. With open-back headphones, you get to experience in-game audio in a more balanced and comprehensive manner, giving you a wide soundstage for more immersive gaming. Moreover, they are usually much more versatile than gaming headsets as they perform much better when used for listening to music or watching movies.
As you may have noticed, none of the headphones considered above are from popular gaming peripheral manufacturers like MSI, Razer, HyperX. That’s because most of their headsets feature closed-back enclosures designed for better noise isolation and bass response.
In contrast, the brands you see above are highly regarded in the audiophile community. The consumers of these headphones expect nothing short of brilliant audio quality, which is why they are also excellent for gaming. These headphones produce a rich sound palette without constricting air from getting into their ear cups. That means you can still get in touch with your environment without sacrificing audio immersion.
Because of their design qualities, open-back headphones sound less distorted than closed-back headsets to deliver more authentic and realistic sound. They also offer a broader and deeper soundstage owing to their open and airy ear cup structure. On the downside, this design is notorious for poor noise isolation and audio leakage, but this issue shouldn’t be a cause for concern if you play video games in a quiet room.
Another advantage of choosing open-back headphones over gaming headsets is preset equalization. It doesn’t require you to customize audio presets to get the best possible output as they are already optimized out of the box.
If you’re an avid fan of online multiplayer games that require you to communicate with your teammates through voice chat, you must get a headset with a decent microphone. However, open-back headphones rarely have this feature since they are tailor-made for a market that doesn’t need microphones.
Nevertheless, there are a couple of headsets on this list that have built-in microphones to let you get going with your friends in competitive online matches without having to purchase a dedicated condenser microphone.
If comfort is one of your most important criteria when choosing an audio solution for gaming, open-back headphones are undoubtedly better than closed-back headsets. They are much more breathable to prevent your ear fatigue and unnecessary sweating. The grills on the back of their ear cups allow air to pass through, making them less straining on your ears to wear for long durations.
The quality of the padding on the ear cups and the headband also deserve consideration. Make sure your choice of open-back headphones have plush materials as padding for the ear cups since they have a significant impact on how the headset will feel on your skin. The padding also helps to offset the clamping force applied by the headband, making sure you won’t get headaches during gaming marathons.
Weight is another component that contributes to the comfort of your desired headphones. Wearing a hefty and bulky headset can be straining on your head, so make sure you pick a breathable and lightweight pair.
In crafting this guide, we kept tabs on each open-back headset’s weight to help shape your decision. None of the headphones considered above weigh over 400 grams, making them suitable for long hours of gaming.
One of the most neglected elements of a headset is its build quality. Consumers tend to realize the importance of durability only when their headphones get damaged within a few weeks after purchasing the device. To make sure you don’t end up on the same fate, look at what materials were used to construct the chassis and other parts of a headset. If it is made of robust materials like aluminum and stainless steel, bet your bottom dollar that it’s going to last much longer than, say, headphones constructed entirely out of cheap plastic.
Quick Recap – Top 10 Open-Back Headphones for Gaming
- Beyerdynamic DT 990 Pro Open-Back Studio Headphones – Best Open-Back Headphones for Gaming
- LyxPro OEH-10 Open-Back Headphones – Best Budget Open-Back Headphones for Gaming
- Sennheiser Game One Open Acoustic Gaming Headset – Best Open-Back Headphones for Gaming with Microphone
- Audio-Technica ATH-AD700X Open-Air Headphones – Most Versatile Open-Back Headphones for Gaming
- Philips SHP9500 HiFi Stereo Headphones – Best Open-Back Headphones for Gaming with Dynamic Drivers
- Samson SR850 Open-Back Studio Headphones – Best Open-Back Headphones for Comfortable Gaming
- Grado Prestige Series SR80E Open-Back Stereo Headphones – Best Open-Back Headphones for Audiophile Gaming
- AKG Pro Audio K612 PRO Open-Back Studio Headphones – Best Lightweight Open-Back Headphones for Gaming
- Sennheiser GSP 500 Open Acoustic Gaming Headset – Best Open-Back Headphones for Console Gaming
- AKG Pro Audio K240 STUDIO Semi-Open Studio Headphones – Best Studio Open-Back Headphones for Gaming
Undoubtedly, open-back headsets are exceptionally versatile and comfortable audio solutions for gaming, but they’re not suited for everyone. If you prefer a bass-heavy sound signature and flashy lighting effects, you may want to look elsewhere. It ultimately boils down to what you think will enhance your gaming experience the most.
We hope this guide has taught you everything you need to know when finding the best open back headphones for gaming. Which set of headphones do you think will best suit your genre of games? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!