The Best Audiophile Headphones for Gaming: The Ultimate Guide to Gaming Headphones
Let’s set the record straight: gaming headphones are cool. They got RGB, they sound bassy, and their prices have quickly become accessible. For some gamers though, their sound quality just doesn’t cut it. Enter audiophile gaming headphones—the ultimate gaming headphones for gamers who want the absolute best sound quality for their games without any cut corners.
If you’re one of these sound-meticulous gamers, then you’re in for a ride as I will be guiding you through the best audiophile headphones for gaming that I have tried and tested.
All of these headphones will feature bleeding-edge sound architecture that your game’s audio will seem like it’s coming out of real life. On top of that, the build quality of these audiophile headphones often surpasses your run-of-the-mill gaming headsets by a long shot. Whether you’re shooting heads off or strategizing in a MOBA, audiophile headphones will give you the edge you need to topple over your foes.
Before I jump into the specifics, let’s know some audiophile headphones 101 first so that you’d also know what to look out for when shopping for audiophile gaming headphones.
What are the pros and benefits of audiophile headphones for gaming?
There are pros to audiophile headphones for gaming that set them apart from basic headphones to even luxury gaming headsets. Some of these may be obvious, but some will definitely surprise you.
1. Superior sound quality
Of course, the most important (and possibly the main) reason why you’re getting audiophile gaming headphones is because of their superior sound quality. Audiophile headphones deliver state-of-the-art sound architecture and design that keep you focused on your games rather than the elements outside of them.
Their drivers are often huge and fine-tuned by audio experts to deliver gamers like you the best, the crispiest, and the cleanest audio around. As they have excellent sound quality, they’re not only great for gaming but also for general use as well – like listening to music, watching movies, and the whole lot.
2. Better build quality and finish
The superior quality isn’t only evident with the audio you’re getting, but also with the fit and finish that the headphones come in. Usually, gaming headphones are made with flimsy, plastic parts that break within a few months of usage. Audiophile headphones on the other hand have durability and quality in mind thanks to their material like leather, rubber, etc.
What are the main technical factors to consider when buying audiophile headphones for gaming?
Besides the benefits, there are also important factors to look out for when shopping for an audiophile gaming headset. Note that these factors are the metrics I used during the testing phase of every audiophile headphones I will feature in the list.
1. Sound Quality
Sound quality is the most important factor to consider when shopping for an audiophile headphone since you would want a headset that will deliver you a breathtaking gaming experience. Of course, measuring or gauging sound quality isn’t as easy as comparing apples to oranges. It’s always advisable to wear the headphones in person to really get a feel for their sound and comfort as well.
If that isn’t possible, then scouring the internet for reviews (just like this one!) is the second-best thing you can do to get other people’s genuine thoughts on a headphones’ sound quality. Remember to not fall for brands’ vague marketing terms like “3D stereo surround sound” or “HiFi audio” as these are often half-baked features to reel you into their subpar audiophile headphones.
2. The Comfort and Feel
Next to sound quality is the headphone’s comfort and feel on your head. Having great sound quality is one thing, but if you can’t bear to wear them for an hour or so of gaming, then it still fails as a “good” audiophile headphone.
Again, comfort is hard to gauge or to get a feel of just from your screen, so I advise that you go out to your nearest electronics store and feel the headphones for yourself to see if it fits your head and ear comfortably.
If that isn’t possible, then looking at the headphones’ material and build quality is another way of telling if it’ll be comfy around your head and ears. Typically, you would want headphones with soft cushions as ear cups and adjustable height.
3. Microphone Capabilities
After comfort and feel, you would also want your audiophile headphones’ microphone to be good or at least decent. As you’ll be using your headphones to game, you’ll be using your mic a lot to communicate with your friends and playmates.
Luckily for you, gaming and audiophile headsets’ mic’s over the years have improved a lot, but they’re still nowhere near the clarity of standalone microphones.
With that being said, audiophile headphones’ microphones are slightly better than your typical gaming headsets as they have also been fine-tuned by audio engineers and experts. Some audiophile headphone brands with outstanding mics are Bose, Shure, and Sennheiser, who are all pioneers of sound and audio.
Do mind that not all audiophile headphones will come with a mic and some headphones that I will feature on this list may not have one.
4. Size Matters
Lastly, you’ll also want to mind your audiophile headphones’ size. Yes, you read that right. As audiophile headphones skip practicality and aesthetics, they can get so big and chunky that portability is virtually nonexistent.
Some gamers may not care as much about portability, but if you’re a laptop gamer who’s always out and about, then you might want to look for an audiophile headphone that is relatively small and portable.
Common misconceptions about audiophile headphones for gaming
1. Audiophile headphones are a necessity for all gamers.
No, you do not need audiophile headphones to enjoy your games. But they do add a layer of epicness and clarity that you just can’t achieve with speakers or your ordinary gaming headsets thanks to their state-of-the-art audio drivers.
2. I can use my non-gaming audiophile headphones for gaming.
Yes, you can use your non-gaming audiophile headphones for gaming as long as they have a 3.5mm headphone jack and are compatible with your device.
The problem is that most audiophile headphones that aren’t made for gaming only support Bluetooth devices or smartphones which can make it hard to connect your headphone to, let’s say a PC or laptop.
Another reason you may not want to use your non-gaming audiophile headphones for gaming is that they’re optimized for other purposes like music and films, but not gaming—hence why they’re labeled as “non-gaming”.
3. There is no difference between an expensive gaming headset and an audiophile gaming headphone.
No, even the most expensive gaming headset can fall short in terms of sound quality compared to a mid range audiophile gaming headphone. This is because of the difference in their audio drivers and brand.
While the likes of Razer and Logitech have great gaming headsets with wireless capabilities, decent sound quality, and RGB, brands like Bose and Shure are masters in audio engineering and sound quality.
The Best Audiophile Headphones for Gaming in 2023
With the run down of audiophile headphones 101 complete, let’s now go over to what I think are the best audiophile headphones for gaming, ranked according to the technical factors discussed earlier. These options are currently the best choices in the market, and they are all available for purchase.
1. The Price to Performance Audiophile Headphones Champ: Audio-Technica ATH-ADG1X
When it comes to getting every penny worth, nothing beats the Audio-Technica ATH-ADG1X. I’ve had the pleasure to try these audiophile headphones out for 2 weeks and I must say that they sound absolutely incredible. On top of that, they fit perfectly on my head and don’t give me any pain even in prolonged gaming sessions.
- Wallet-friendly option
- High-fidelity sound
- Perfect for FPS and eSports titles
- Lightweight & Durable
- Compatible with most consoles and devices
- Crystal clear microphone
- Easily adjustable to your comfort fit
- Comes with extension cable
- Open design causes sound leakage
- Boring and plain design
- Fewer features compared to competitors gaming headphones
This headset’s immersive sound quality is thanks to its 53 mm drivers that gave me crisp and beautiful audio throughout my games. I was especially stunned when I played FPS games that took advantage of high-fidelity sounds like Rainbow Six Siege and CS:GO.
Durable metal honeycomb housings support these features while keeping the headphones light. The headset comes with an extension wire for increased mobility and a volume/mute button on the 1.2 m cable which lets me use it whenever and wherever I want. The headphones can also be used with the Playstation 5, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, Xbox One, and Xbox 360.
How can I forget its handy 2.0 mm extension cord for even more mobility, as well as a microphone with clear voice quality that has gotten me compliments throughout voice comms. My only gripe with these headphones is that its design and aesthetics look bland and boring, but they were easy to look past much thanks to its crystal clear audio.
All in all, the Audio-Technica ATH-ADG1X is a great option if you want something that’s both functional and portable, with excellent sound quality and mic capabilities for a price that is reasonable and competitive.
Get your Audio-Technica ATH-ADG1X gaming headphones today, and level up your gaming experience.
2. The Best Audiophile Headphones for Competitive Games: Sennheiser HD 660S
If you’re a competitive player who’s looking to get every edge they can, then the Sennheiser HD 660S is the perfect companion to bring along your ranked games. My time with the Sennheiser HD 660s was nothing short of amazing thanks to its insane sound range and healthy mids and highs that deliver an immersive gaming experience. The Sennheiser HD 660s‘ sound engineering is especially evident when playing competitive games as even distant footsteps can be heard clearly.
- Hi-res audio for immersive gaming
- 2-year warranty
- Great mids and highs
- Easy to disassemble
- Best suited for eSports games
- Stealth design
- Can get uncomfortable after hours of use
- No microphone
- Open design gives it poor noise cancellation
- Almost made of entirely plastic
On top of that, the Sennheiser HD 660s’ build is decent as it is mostly comprised of black plastic and is simple to disassemble. The microfiber ear cushions also provide a pleasant feel that is soft, comfy, and breathable, although I did feel some discomfort after prolonged gaming sessions.
Due to its open-back structure, the Sennheiser HD 660s is bad at suppressing noise. Although I have mentioned that its sound quality is spectacular and easy to get immersed in, the Sennheiser HD 660S’ poor noise cancellation can take away the fun from the experience as moderately loud noise can easily creep in during gaming. It’s also important to note that these headphones do not come with a mic, which may be a huge letdown for some.
Despite the fact that the Sennheiser HD 660S headphones are sturdily built and have good sound quality despite being almost entirely made of plastic, it’s hard to recommend them to all gamers. You might want to seek elsewhere if your house is noisy and you want something to block it out so you can be at peace while shooting heads off.
However, if you have a peaceful environment and the necessary peripherals, you will fall in love with the Sennheiser HD 660S headphones.
Get your Sennheiser HD 660S today and unlock a truly immersive gameplay experience.
3. The Best Budget Audiophile Gaming Headphones: HyperX Cloud II
For gamers who are looking for a more wallet-friendly option but still a solid audiophile headphone, then the HyperX Cloud II is your best bet. For under $100, you’re getting a surround sound gaming headset with a detachable high-quality microphone all embodied in an aluminium frame.
- Cheap Gaming Headphone
- Detachable mic
- Hi-Fi 7.1 surround sound system
- Compatible with most devices
- Excellent mic quality
- Aluminium frame
- Comfortable to wear
- No noise-cancelation
- Mids and bass can be improved
- Gamer design might be too much for minimalists
As one of HyperX best-sellers, I already knew that the HyperX Cloud II was an excellent choice of headphones due to its long history of top-notch audio and excellent mics. Along with those features are a freshly designed USB A port and two speakers for a sound card that improves audio and voice for an unmatched Hi-Fi gaming experience. With it, you’ll be able to hear what you’ve been missing.
The wider frequency range lets in all the nuances that other players would miss–the rustle of a camper’s boot in Call of Duty or the scuttle in a faraway vent in a Souls game–things that other gamers would miss without headphones of this caliber.
Besides gaming, the HyperX Cloud II is also ideal for watching movies and listening to music because it features virtual 7.1 surround sound with distance and depth. Its comfort is also another thing to note as the soft leather material perfectly snugs right into my head. I didn’t feel any sort of discomfort or pain during my gaming sessions, so I am happy to report that the HyperX Cloud II is a comfy headphone to game on.
Where it falls short compared to other audiophile headphones is its noise-canceling features or should I say lack thereof. It’s really a bummer to see no implementation of noise-canceling with these headphones as even the slightest noise can creep in during gaming, which can ruin an otherwise immersive experience with the HyperX Cloud II. Nevertheless, it’s still one of the best budget options out there for gamers who are looking for a Hi-Fi 7.1 surround sound headphones without breaking the bank.
Get your HyperX Cloud II today and game like a true gamer without leaving a hole in your wallet.
4. The Best Mid-Range Audiophile Gaming Headphones: Beyerdynamic DT 770 Pro
At under $200, no headphones come closer to the DT 770 Pro by Beyerdynamic. It’s simple to fall in love with the way they sound thanks to its silky-smooth bass and crystal-clear highs that have been increased to match the bass.
- Great audio quality
- Immersive noise-canceling capabilities
- Cushiony and comfy even in prolonged sessions
- Durable build
- Simple and understated design
- Can be used for studio recording as well
- No microphone
- Wire feels flimsy and cheap
The sub-bass capabilities of the Beyerdynamic DT 770 Pro make it ideal for simulating the low rumbles of distant explosions or droplets of rain, adding on to the immersive gaming experience.
Thanks to its closed-back form, noise cancellation is excellent as any external noise is completely shut off which can help with focus in-game. Circling back to its sound, the prominent bass of the Beyerdynamic DT 770 Pro is balanced with polished highs that have been gently enhanced to make them stand out. That means that you will be able to hear salient details such as players’ footsteps even if a thunder is raging or if there’s gunfire and explosion next door while playing competitive FPS games.
For its build quality, the Beyerdynamic DT 770 Pro is extremely durable and can even survive being sat on (yes, I did sit on them by accident). Its headband is made of metal and covered with removable imitation leather, with just enough cushioning, while its ear cups are composed of durable plastic with velour-covered tapered memory foam padding. So what’s it like to use? It feels very cushiony and comfy!
Although I didn’t get to play with these for as long as I would like, spending 3 hours of non-stop slaying in Valorant didn’t give me any discomfort or pain around my head and ears.
Unfortunately, the Beyerdynamic DT 770 Pro does not come with any sort of microphone which is really my only gripe with these otherwise excellent pair of headphones. For the midrange enthusiast, nothing beats the Beyerdynamic DT 770 Pro.
Get your Beyerdynamic DT 770 Pro gaming headphones today and amaze your team with your newly found FPS gaming skills.
5. The Best Wireless Audiophile Gaming Headphones: Nuraphone
The Best Wireless Audiophile Headphones
- Wireless Gaming Headphones
- Zero-latency and delays
- Beautiful design and aesthetic
- Long-lasting build
Not everyone is a fan of wires and cables. Frankly, I’m not one of them either. I often look at a wireless option even if it costs more just to save myself from the hassle of cable management. The same applies to gaming headphones and audiophile headphones. As someone who gets up from their PC and PS5 a lot while gaming, wireless headphones like the Nuraphone are a saving grace.
- Wireless Gaming Headphones
- Zero-latency and delays
- Beautiful design and aesthetic
- Long-lasting build
- Touch controls
- Active noise cancellation
- Comes with replacement earbuds
- Lacks extra features
- Average battery life
- Compatibility can be choosy
The Nuraphone is a one-of-a-kind headphone with parallel drivers in each ear. The upper-frequency is handled by the in-ear drivers, while the low-tones and bass are handled by the over-ear drivers. In essence, it’s as if each ear had its own set of speakers which totally blew my mind the first time I plugged them in and took them for a spin.
Mids and highs are excellent as well as the bass that took me by surprise as the Nuraphone is wireless. Some gamers may be concerned with latency or delays because of having no wires, but I am happy to report that the Nuraphones do not have any latency or delay issues. It’s as if I was using wired headphones, which is a total relief as I wouldn’t want to be playing Call of Duty with any audio delay.
It’s worth noting that the Nuraphone is a Kickstarter-backed product, but looking back at its track record and history, they’re pretty reputable and successful that Nura, the company behind the Nuraphone, has been able to update their headphones with new features every year.
Most recently and notably is the addition of active noise cancellation (ANC) and a gaming microphone adapter that were added in an attempt to compete with even the most expensive gaming and audiophile headsets. Speaking of ANC, it’s definitely one of the best in its class that even a vacuum cleaner couldn’t pierce through its amazing noise-canceling capabilities.
Its battery life is passable – there’s nothing to rave about, but it’s good enough such that you won’t need to charge it daily. During my time of use, I was able to game with it straight for 3 days before needing to juice it up again via its fast-charging USB-C port.
In a nutshell, the Nuraphone is an amazing wireless option for audio heads. It’s one of the best-looking headphones on the market right now, and unique sound profiles provide a rich and detailed soundscape unlike anything else. The Nuraphones aren’t the headset for you if you’re only seeking gaming features like a standalone software to configure EQ and more, but it’s the best headset out there if you’re looking for wireless headphones with excellent audio quality and zero latency.
Get your Nuraphone today and indulge in a wireless gaming experience that is both comfortable and immersive.
My Top Audiophile Gaming Headphones Picks for Gamers
And that wraps up my list of the best audiophile headphones for gaming! Let’s run it back and take a look at my top choices as well as what I would recommend to you if you’re looking for something reasonably priced with excellent audio and mic.
For my top pick, it would be the Audio-Technica ATH-ADG1X thanks to its exceptional price-to-performance ratio as well as featured-pack offerings like Hi-Fi audio, crystal clear mics, and lightweight form factor.
For those who want the best of the best, then the Sennheiser HD 660S is a great choice due to its unmatched audio quality and build quality. With these headphones, you’ll be able to hear things you were missing out on with basic headphones or speakers.
And for budget gamers, the HyperX Cloud II is an excellent choice for its very friendly price tag and great sound quality. It doesn’t have the audio engineering and optimization of the other headphones on this list, but for the price, you can’t go wrong with the Cloud II. Hi-Fi 7.1 Surround Sound with a detachable microphone that’s also exceptional for voice chat? Count me in!