There is nothing quite like feeling the vibration of an explosion, while hearing your commander yell orders at you. Even though you are sitting on your couch or in your gaming chair, you need these sound and you need them loud. They are a part of the immersion after all.
Unfortunately, you can’t always have giant speakers blaring while you play your favorite game, there are others in the house, and you have neighbors.
That is why you should invest in a pair of high quality headphones. And the best headphones are studio headphones.
Here are six of the best studio headphones for the ultimate gaming experience.
Best Studio Headphones for Gaming (Open & Closed Back)
Table of Contents
- Best Studio Headphones for Gaming (Open & Closed Back)
- Are Studio Headphones Good for Gaming?
- What to Look for in Headphones
- Open Back vs Closed Back
- Just Use USB Mics
1. Audio-Technica ATH-M50xBT2
Audio-Technica is a very well-known brand in the audio space. They make great microphones as well as excellent headphones.
Their ATH-M50xBT2 is one of their best, it is certainly one of my favorites of theirs. It is quite affordable while still having superb sound quality.
The headphones sit pretty comfortably, at least over my ears. The leather padding does get quite hot and sweaty after a while, but that is an issue with all leather padded headphones.
The sound is fantastic, though. The M50x has a very natural sound, with the bass being boosted just a bit.
This is a great set of headphones for gaming. They really immerse you with the sound. Every sound in game was clearly audible. I also didn’t notice any latency issues, either in game or while watching videos.
There is also a wired version with detachable cables, which I really like. No more wrapping the cable around the headphones which often leads to damage at the connection point.
The ATH-M50x also comes with two cables, a 9.8 foot coiled and a 3.9 foot straight. There is also a wireless option if you want to go completely cable free.
The wireless version also comes with a dual mic array, one mic on each earphone. The mics are discrete with fairly clear audio. I did notice a touch of audio bleed from the headphones however, but nothing too bad.
The headphones also come in a few different colors. This allows you to match the headphones up with the rest of your setup if you want.
2. AKG K612 Pro
The AKG K712 Pro is one of their most popular headphones, but is also almost $200. The K612 Pro is a more affordable version that doesn’t sacrifice much in terms of quality.
These are some great sounding headphones, which isn’t too surprising for AKG. They have a very neutral sound, with little coloring in the mids and no boosting of the highs or lows.
This means that games sound crystal clear and every detail is clearly audible. The reduced bass, however, does mean that they aren’t quite as immersive.
They also seem to be a little weaker to me than other similar headphones. I had to turn the volume up a bit to get them to an equal level. While the work perfectly plugged straight into an audio output, I do think they will benefit from an audio interface.
On the comfort side, again, they are great. The ear cups are nice and big, with soft padding that doesn’t get too warm. The headband also adjusts automatically. You just put the headphones on without having to adjust the headband first.
The plastic headband rails are a bit disappointing. Yes, the make the headphones nice and light, but they look and feel very flimsy. I would probably avoid putting these headphones in a backpack if they aren’t also in a protective case.
The cable is also a bit thin and non-detachable. I would also roll up the cable carefully when not using the headphones.
But other than these small issues, I really enjoyed my time with the K612 Pro.
3. Beyerdynamic DT 990 PRO
Beyerdynamic’s DT PRO range of headphones has been around for nearly four decades now. They are highly regarded for their excellent build quality and incredible sound. The DT 990 PRO is one of the latest and greatest offerings in this long lived series.
The DT 990s are very well-balanced, with a clear and crisp sound quality. These headphones also sound very spacious, giving you a very immersive gaming experience.
I did notice a bit more emphasis on the high end. On very high volumes, this did cause a bit of harshness, but nothing too bad to ruin the experience.
There is quite a lot of noise leak, both coming from the headphones as well as outside noise still being audible. This is all by design for a more natural sound, but can be an issue if you want noise isolation while gaming.
These headphones don’t really block out any outside noise. I could even faintly hear the hum of my AC during quieter moments. And if you have a mic placed too close to the headphones, they are going to be picked up by the mic.
The ear cups sit quite comfortably and the velour padding is soft. I had no issue using the headphones for hours on end.
I did find the headband to be a bit tight. I don’t have a particularly large head, so it wasn’t too much of an issue. But I can definitely see those that do not having a very comfortable experience.
The DT 990s are on the more expensive side, but I think the price is justified here. The overall experience is just fantastic.
4. Sennheiser HD 599 SE
Sennheiser is well known for making headphones that are great for both professionals and more casual consumers. Their HD 599 SE headphones are an excellent example of great consumer headphones.
The sound quality of these headphones is incredible. The sound is very wide and open, while being crisp and clear.
Games sound very clear and detailed, allowing you to hear even the slightest sound. I felt fully immersed while wearing these headphones.
The bass is lacking just a little bit. It is still great, but I did notice that certain sounds don’t have quite the same punch.
These are open back headphones. They are going to have a bit of noise bleed, and are going to let sound in.
They don’t seem to be as bad as other open back headphones. I didn’t notice quite as much sound being picked up with my mic, and outside noise was a bit less of an issue.
The overall build quality of the headphones is great. I do feel that the plastic makes it feel a bit cheap though. At least the plastic doesn’t feel flimsy, but does feel quite solid. I would be fairly confident carrying it around in a backpack without any extra protection.
This is a very comfortable pair of headphones, however. The headband adjusts easily, and the pads are soft and breathable. The fit is also not too tight.
The HD 599 SEs also use a detachable cable to prevent damage and make storage a bit easier.
5. Philips Audio SHP9500
Studio headphones can be a bit of an issue when going below the $100 mark. They tend to be fairly cheap and lack the sound quality necessary to make them worth while. The Philips Audio SHP9500, however, is a true stand out in the budget market.
For starters, these headphones don’t feel cheap. The construction is super sturdy, and the materials used feel quality.
They sit quite comfortably, but I would have preferred a slightly tighter fit. The padding around the ears are also great, but I did notice some slight itching after wearing them for a while. The headphones did stay fairly cool, and at least I was sweating like with leather padding.
The sound quality is a bit more reflective of the price. These are certainly not the best sounding headphones, but they are definitely better than other similarly priced headphones.
Overall sound quality is great. The frequencies are well balanced, and the sound is quite natural and spacious.
I do feel like I was missing out on smaller details. But I wouldn’t say I was being pulled out of the immersion. Those details that are missing are also not enough to distract you during intense gaming sessions, or put you at a disadvantage during competitive games.
The best experience is also had at higher volumes. Since these are open back headphones, that does mean that anyone around you will be able to hear almost everything you do. The headphones will also easily be picked up through a mic.
6. Beyerdynamic DT 770 Pro
The second Beyerdynamic headphones on this list. The DT 770 Pro can almost be considered the DT 990 Pro’s younger brother.
The two headphones are actually quite similar. They look almost identical and provide very similar audio experiences. In terms of build quality, I would actually say that the 770 and 990 are pretty much the same. The 770 feels just as well made and sturdy as the 990.
They also sit just as comfortably on your head. The velour padding around the ears is also present around the hears for a soft fit. The sound is also very close. The 770 has that same great midrange, while remaining fairly neutral across the frequency spectrum.
There are two differences that I did notice, however. First, the 770 doesn’t have quite as wide and spacious a sound. It is a bit tighter and more controlled. Second, the bass is a bit fuller than the 990’s. This is of course due to the fact that the 770 is a closed back headphone, so less noise is bleeding out into the world.
This makes games sound a bit more impactful, especially during scenes with a lot of action. The tighter sound also makes sounds like footsteps a bit clearer.
Since this is a closed back headphone, noise isolation is much better than with the DT 990. If you want headphones that won’t be picked up on a mic and won’t let in much outside noise, I would go with the 770 over the 990.
Are Studio Headphones Good for Gaming?
While studio headphones are typically meant for studio work (recording, mixing, mastering), that doesn’t mean they can only be used for that. Plenty of people buy studio headphones because of the higher audio quality and more accurate sound.
For gamers, studio headphones can give just as good, if not a better, an experience than gaming headphones. They can even improve your gaming.
Because they are designed to recreate sound more accurately, as well as be more detailed, they can give you an advantage. Studio headphones allow you to hear finer details like distant footsteps or gun shots.
Since they are also stereo, sound is more directional. This allows you to hear sounds better and pinpoint the direction they are coming from.
What to Look for in Headphones
Of course, sound quality is probably going to be your top priority. You want headphones that sound great while also recreating sound accurately.
Durability will probably be next. You are likely going to be taking your headphones around with you while you travel. Headphones should be durable enough that you can throw them in a backpack without them breaking.
Speaking of breaking, we all get gamer rage from time to time. A good set of headphones should be able to handle a rage quit without breaking in two.
Lastly, I would say comfort should also be a top priority. Since you are likely going to be wearing your headphones for hours at a time, they should be comfortable.
I try to avoid headphones with leather padding. These can get quite hot and sweaty around the ears. Material like cloth or velour is recommended.
The headphones should also fit snuggly on your head. They shouldn’t be too loose, causing them to slip, but also not so tight that they press against your head.
Open Back vs Closed Back
I mentioned this in the product reviews, but you should keep in mind whether the headphones are closed or open back.
Open back headphones are going to bleed a lot of sound and also let in a lot of sound. The advantage is that they sound a bit more natural and open.
Closed back headphones are better at blocking out ambient noise, and don’t bleed as much. Their advantage is that they have better bass for a boomier sound.
Just Use USB Mics
You might have noticed that these headphones don’t usually have mics attached, except for the ATH-M50xBT2. Most of us are usually talking with friends over Discord while we are gaming, and this requires a mic.
Even if your headphones have a mic, they usually aren’t very good. They are often noisy, and being so close to the headphones can cause them to pick up sound, creating an echo.
Luckily, USB mics are fairly cheap these days and have pretty good audio quality.
There are a ton of USB mics available for under $100, but a few I would recommend are:
These are all good sounding USB powered mics. They can also easily be attached to a desk boom stand to reduce noise and easily move them around.
If you are looking for a set of headphones to take your gaming sessions to the next level, look no further than studio headphones. These professional grade headphones aren’t just reserved for musicians and music producers. They are a great addition to any battle station.