Best Open Back Headphones for Gaming – Studio-Grade Sound

Author: Ross McLeod | Updated: | This post may contain affiliate links.

The best open-back headphones for gaming must boast several qualities. They need to be comfortable to wear over long periods, have custom engineered acoustics for an immersive gaming experience, and offer high-quality bass, mids, and treble.

Headphone production has drastically increased in recent years. Therefore, it can be difficult to identify the ideal pair for you. In this definitive guide, I’ll point you in the direction of some of the finest open-back headphones for your gaming needs.

11 Best Open Back Gaming Headphones

The Game One open-back headphones are the brainchild of two highly respected audio manufacturers. Designed specifically to enhance your gaming experience, they deliver immersive, clear audio and comfort.

EPOS and Sennheiser are both renowned for their unique and innovative creations. When designing the Game One headphones, their main goal was to promote natural and accurate listening experience.

The proprietary speaker system ensures that the low-end frequency extension is balanced with the mid and high frequencies. This results in a neutral overall tone with no harshness or muddiness at either end of the spectrum.

With a classic, open acoustic design, the Game One headset highlights the sonic details of your chosen game’s audio. The noise-canceling microphone that is attached by a flexible boom arm makes communication crisp and effective.

Another standout quality of these open-back headphones is ultra-fast volume adjustments. Using the integrated level control that is mounted on the right ear cup of the Game One headset, you can tweak the volume in real-time.

For the situations when you settle into a gaming marathon, you need headphones that are so comfortable, you hardly notice that you’re wearing them. With their lightweight design and velour-cushioned earpads, the Game One headphones tick this box.

Regarding connectivity, these EPOS and Sennheiser headphones are highly versatile. The cables are exchangeable so that you can use them for PC, Mac, Playstation, Xbox, smartphones, or tablets.

PROS

  • Sophisticated proprietary speaker technology for natural sound
  • Comfortable, cushioned earpads
  • Versatile connectivity
  • Onboard volume control

CONS

  • None

The ATH-PDG1 headphones are designed for serious gamers who want the most natural sound possible. They deliver detailed, powerful audio that captures all of the frequencies of a game’s sonic accompaniment.

At the heart of the headphones’ stellar performance are the large, 40mm drivers. Fitted with CCAW voice coils, they are purposefully tuned to create an immersive, fluid listening experience.

Lightweight and comfortable, the Audio-Technical ATH-PDG1 headphones are cased in honeycomb aluminum. This material is robust enough to protect the inner components, but not so bulky that it causes fatigue when worn for long periods.

Offering a natural spacious soundstage, these headphones also keep your ears cool while gaming. This is due to the extra soft leather ear pads and headband, which allow your skin to breathe through the material.

Indeed, any good set of gaming headphones must also be paired with a capable microphone. The flexible, 6-inch boom mic that is included by Audio-Technica is a high-performance device.

With a 1.2-meter cable and onboard mute and volume controls, the detachable headset is reliable and effective. You can also use it with other devices, such as smartphones or tablets, simply by replacing the cable with a suitable one for that connection.

Additionally, Audio-Technica has also included a 2-meter extension cable which terminates in a pair of 3.5 mm plugs to provide increased flexibility when gaming. Overall, the ATH-PDG1s is a highly recommendable option.

PROS

  • Large 40 mm drivers with CCAW voice coils
  • Specially tuned to promote clear and immersive listening
  • Flexible 6-inch boom microphone
  • Extendable cable length up to 2.0 meters

CONS

  • Bass response is slightly underwhelming compared to mid and treble

The GSP 500 open-back headphones are assembled from high-quality components, that combine to create an enjoyable gaming audio experience. They are a result of a collaboration by European audio heavyweights Sennheiser and EPOS.

Transducers are amongst the most vital components of any high-quality open-back headphones. The ones installed in the GSP 500s deliver brilliant audio clarity, dynamics, and particularly crisp bass response.

Featuring an ergonomic design, these open-back headphones ensure comfort, even when you wear them for long gaming marathon sessions. The adjustable contact pressure of the headband allows you to adjust them to fit your head shape and size.

The dynamics of game audio varies, so keeping the volume consistent is vital for protecting your hearing. With an intuitive integrated level control wheel on the earcup, you can tweak the volume quickly and efficiently.

EPOS and Sennheiser have designed the GSP 500 headset to be compatible with all of the popular gaming platforms. Whether you use a PC, Mac, Playstation, or Xbox, these headphones will work just fine.

Another noteworthy characteristic of these open-back headphones is their ability to keep your head and ears cool while gaming. With suede-style earpad material, they allow air to pass through and prevent overheating.

PROS

  • Collaboration between two audio experts
  • Ergonomic, comfortable design
  • Onboard volume control
  • Compatible with all popular gaming platforms

CONS

  • None

The ATH-AD700X headphones have a striking design and equally impressive sonic capabilities. Their ability to produce balanced audio across various frequency ranges makes them a reliable choice for gamers and music lovers.

Particularly clear in the midrange and treble frequencies, these Audio-Technica headphones benefit from 53mm drivers. The result is crisp and clear audio reproduction of game audio.

Most of the frequencies in the average human voice are located in the mid and treble range, so this increased focus in these areas is ideal if you like to game with other people.

The ATH-AD700Xs include bobbin-wound CCAW voice coils. These devices facilitate superior power handling. They also have an impedance of 38 ohms, and a sensitivity rating of 100db/mW.

Their full open-air design minimizes the pressure on your ears so effectively that it’s easy to forget you’re wearing them! This is also largely due to the lightweight aluminum construction.

The frequency response of these Audio-Technica gaming headphones covers 20 Hz – 20 kHz. This means no sounds from your favorite games will be diminished, from the low-end bass to the sparkling treble.

PROS

  • Clear midrange and treble
  • Superior power handling thanks to CCAW voice coils
  • Frequency response 20 Hz – 20 kHz
  • Made from lightweight aluminum

CONS

  • No wireless connectivity

The HD 599 headphones by Sennheiser combine impeccable sound quality with great comfort. They are compatible with virtually all audio devices, including game consoles, PC, Mac, phones, and tablets.

These premium-quality, open-back headphones are ideal for gamers seeking the ultimate listening experience. Built with the legendary Sennheiser durability, they won’t buckle under the pressure of constant usage. 

The HD 599 headphones are powered by Sennheiser’s proprietary transducer technology. They also feature the innovative Ergonomic Acoustic Refinement (E.A.R) design which further improves their clarity.

One of the most common issues faced by gamers when searching for suitable headphones is that many of the sub-par devices color the tone of the audio. The HD 599s simply enhance the natural sounds produced by the source.

They’re also exceptionally comfortable. With extra-large ear cups fitted with soft cushions and a padded headband, these open-back headphones reduce fatigue and minimize pressure on your ears and head.

PROS

  • Versatile connection options
  • Cushioned earpads for added comfort
  • Specially engineered transducers for excellent dynamics

CONS

  • None

The Pro Audio K612 open-back headphones can reproduce gaming sounds with pinpoint precision. Originally designed for mixing and mastering audio, they are exceptionally accurate across the frequency range.

With a comfortable, cushioned earcup design, the headphones hug your ears without friction or unnecessary pressure. This allows you to wear them for extended periods without them becoming uncomfortable.

An interesting feature used by AKG when designing these headphones is the patented Varimoitopn diaphragm. These components enable you to hear the audio from games with natural sonic imaging and excellent clarity.

To further promote comfort, the headphones are fitted with a genuine-leather headband that is capable of self-adjustment. This makes it easy to find the perfect settings for your head dimensions.

Other high-quality components employed by AKG are the large, computer-optimized neodymium magnets. These contribute greatly to their exceptional audio fidelity, keeping distortion to a minimum. 

AKG has been producing professional-grade headphones for over 65 years, and in the process, they have revolutionized the methods and techniques in this field.

The Pro Audio K612 headphones are a fine example of their expertise.

PROS

  • Patented Varimotion Diaphragm technology
  • Pristine sound quality and stereo imaging
  • Self-adjusting headband
  • High SPL handling

CONS

  • None

As one of the most prolific producers of headphones, Philips boasts a vast range of devices suitable for all audio purposes. The SHP9600 open-back headphones are perfect for gamers.

With a spacious sound, these headphones avoid overly coloring the tone of a game’s audio. They can accurately reproduce the bass, mids, and highs to create a highly enjoyable listening experience.

The drivers installed within these headphones are engineered to fit your ear’s natural shape which makes them comfortable to wear and also improves sound isolation.

The headband is reinforced with high-strength steel, which provides optimal tension for a secure, comfortable fit. The headband is double-layered with a cushion, and the ear-cups are made from breathable material.

With a frequency response ranging from 12Hz – 35 kHz, it’s safe to say that no tones will be lost when using the SHP9600 headphones. The output is balanced and consistent.

There are several connectivity options facilitated by these Philips headphones. You can use the included 3.5mm gold plated jack cable to hook the headphones up to a range of audio sources or game consoles.

If you’d prefer more flexibility when gaming, you can use the inbuilt Bluetooth connectivity.

PROS

  • Spacious open-back design
  • Tuned 50mm drivers for crisp bass, balanced mids, and clear highs
  • Wireless Bluetooth connection or 3.5mm wired connection
  • Double-layered cushioned headband

CONS

  • Slightly overcompressed tone

Designed for professional-level mixing, mastering, editing, and listening, the DT 990 open-back headphones by Beyerdynamic are a great addition to your gaming setup.

A part of the classic range that has a popular choice for audiophiles for decades, these headphones boast incredibly detailed resolution, ample spaciousness, and an overall transparent sound.

The advantage of choosing open-back studio headphones is that they have a very wide stereo image. This allows you to enjoy the full range of audio, thus bringing your gaming experience to life.

Made in Germany, the DT 990 headphones are handcrafted using only the finest materials and components. This also means that they are easy to replace if a certain part becomes faulty, which is highly unlikely anyway!

With a nominal sound pressure level of 96 dB and a frequency response of 5 Hz – 25 kHz, these headphones reproduce the entire range of a game’s audio. They also allow you to effectively hear and communicate with your friends while you play.

The low-frequencies are precise, powerful, and clear. The mids and highs don’t distort at high volumes, and the overall balance is very impressive.

This is enhanced by the circumaural sound coupling which sits gently around your ears and focuses the sound.

PROS

  • Extensive frequency response
  • High SPL handling
  • Handmade with real quality
  • Balanced tonality

CONS

  • No microphone included

Grado’s award-winning SR80e headphones boast an extensive frequency range and impeccable attention to detail. With their simplistic, vintage aesthetics and comfortable design, they are ideal for gaming.

Utilizing a four-conductor connecting cable, these headphones provide a focused bass response without compromising on mid-range clarity. They also reproduce the treble frequencies very capably.

The earpads are padded with a cushioned layer, which is very forgiving and comfortable when worn. This reduces the tension on your head and ears, allowing you to game for longer without any discomfort.

For open-back headphones, the SR80e by Grado is surprisingly good at containing the sound. Indeed, there’s bound to be some inevitable leakage, but in general, they do a decent job of isolating gaming audio.

The headphones also come with a standard copper voice coil wire, a connecting cord, and a mini plug with a ¼ inch adaptor so that you can hook them up to your preferred gaming device and enjoy crisp audio right away.

PROS

  • Vintage design
  • Accurate sound reproduction
  • Crisp bass-response
  • Decent sound isolation

CONS

  • None

From microphones to headphones, Samson is a reliable manufacturer who always provides great value for money. Their SR850 headphones prove that you don’t need to break the bank to enjoy excellent audio quality.

These professional studio reference headphones were originally designed for mixing and mastering audio, but they have amassed a loyal user-base in the gaming community.

Featuring several comfort-enhancing features such as a self-adjusting headband, softly cushioned earpads, and a circumaural over-ear design, these Samson headphones can be worn for long gaming sessions.

Powering the audio of the SR850s are large 50mm proprietary drivers with inbuilt rare earth magnets. This combination of components results in extended frequency response and a vast dynamic range.

The frequency response spans from 10Hz – 30kHz, which covers the whole spectrum of sound that is audible to the human ear. This helps you to hear your co-gamers at a party and the detailed sound effects from the game.

Technically semi-open headphones, the SR850s are a perfect blend of comfort and sonic authenticity. The tight bass response is complemented by extended highs, resulting in a dynamic listening experience.

PROS

  • High-quality drivers and rare earth magnets
  • Flat, wide frequency response
  • Semi-open back design
  • Auto-adjusting headband

CONS

  • Sound slightly distorted at high volumes

The GMR-545 wired headphones are designed to create an expansive gaming environment. They feature custom-engineered acoustics, which delivers an immersive gaming sound.

Lightweight and solidly built, these Koss headphones are ideal for keen gamers who are likely to spend long periods listening to audio. They have a self-adjusting headband that molds to the size of your head.

Another convenient aspect of the Koss GMR-545 open-back headphones is the detachable cord design. The headphones come with a pair of cords and a pair of microphones.

The two mics consist of a boom-microphone and a headphone cord with an inline microphone and remote. This allows you to choose whether you require the extra sound focus that a boom mic provides.

PROS

  • Innovative design
  • Includes two microphones
  • 8ft audio cable
  • Wide, flat frequency response with clear bass

CONS

  • No wireless connectivity

Essential Qualities of Gaming Headphones

There are several key differences between the required qualities of a set of a headphone that is intended to be used for listening to music and those that are for gaming purposes.

In the remainder of this guide, I’ll highlight some of the key aspects and qualities that you should look out for to ensure that the headphones you choose are suitable for gaming.

Comfort

Comfort is arguably just as important as audio quality when it comes to open-back gaming headphones. This is especially true if you are an avid gamer who spends long periods playing on your console or computer.

The first thing to look out for when trying to determine whether a set of headphones are comfortable enough is padded ear cups. Ideally, there should be a soft layer of cushioning material that surrounds the ear.

If the material used for the earcups is too rigid, this will lead to friction and pressure building over time. The best gaming headphones are so comfortable that you hardly notice you’re wearing them!

Another comfort-enhancing feature that some open-back headphones have is an adjustable headband. In some cases, the headband automatically adjusts to the optimal level of tension for your specific head size.

Audio Quality

The days of polyphonic, computerized gaming soundtracks are long behind us. Modern games are accompanied by stunning sound effects that rival film scores in terms of quality and variety.

Therefore, gaming headphones must have a flat, wide frequency response. 20Hz – 30kHz is ideal, as this includes all of the sound frequencies that the human ear is capable of hearing.

The SPL (Sound Pressure Level) handling capabilities of the headphones are also important. This measures the maximum decibels that they can produce without the quality being diminished.

Another aspect that affects sound quality, is the natural tone of the headphones. Some are more bass-heavy, which is great for gaming but perhaps not so great for communicating with your friends through a headset mic.

Connectivity

The next thing you need to ensure is that the open-back gaming headphones facilitate the correct connection methods for your setup. Most headphones are versatile in this respect, with 3.5mm cables and other alternatives commonly included.

If you are likely to also use the headphones for other purposes, like listening to music or enjoying film audio, you might want to choose a pair that has wireless connectivity capabilities.

Microphones

Some headphones come with preinstalled microphones that are specifically designed for gamers. These are most commonly of the boom-mic variety, which is where the microphone capsule is suspended on a rod-like mechanism.

It’s also possible to find headphones that have microphones built into the cables, rather than as an external device. This is arguably more convenient, but it does also compromise the sound quality compared to a boom mic.

Final Words

With so many great headphones on the market, choosing the perfect set for your gaming requirements can be a frustrating process. Hopefully, this guide has been helpful and presented you with some well-suited options.

Comfort, audio quality, and connectivity are the three main qualities to look out for. Then you can enjoy the various improvements that a good quality set of headphones makes to your gaming experience!

About Ross McLeod

Ross is a music producer, multi-instrumentalist and songwriter. He is the frontman of The Blue Dawns, where he handles vocal and bass duties. He has extensive experience with bass, drums and guitar. His most recent project is named Gold Jacket.

Leave a Comment