Looking for the best open back headphones for gaming in 2023? Check out our comprehensive guide and find the perfect pair for an immersive gaming experience.

9 Best Open Back Headphones for Gaming in 2024 – Top Reviews

9 Best Open Back Headphones for Gaming in 2024 – Top Reviews and Picks

Looking for the best open back headphones for gaming in 2023? Check out our comprehensive guide and find the perfect pair for an immersive gaming experience.
Looking for the best open back headphones for gaming in 2024? Check out our comprehensive guide and find the perfect pair for an immersive gaming experience.

Gaming headphones have long been a tool for gamers to immerse themselves in virtual worlds that speakers just cannot deliver on. However, we can go one step beyond gaming headphones and look into the world of open back headphones for gaming. These open back headphones not only have better sound quality, but they are better than your average gaming headphones in almost every way—comfort, build quality, features, you name it.

That is why in this article, I will be sharing with you the 9 Best Open Back Headphones for Gaming in 2024 that I have tried and tested, along with everything you need to know about their pros, cons, and price.

Why You Should Get Open Back Headphones For Gaming Instead Of Normal Gaming Headphones

It’s no secret that Open Back Headphones don’t get as much exposure and love compared to casual gaming headphones. They’re still relatively niche in the sense that not a lot of people, most likely including you, would know why they’re better than gaming headphones. With that being said, let me run you through several reasons as to why you should probably shop for a pair of Open Back Headphones instead of your run-of-the-mill gaming headphones.

1. Sound Quality

First and foremost is their sound quality. Due to their nature of being open back, this means that their ear cups are literally open which allows air to pass through the rear for better acoustics. In-game, this translates to better immersion, smooth stereo mixing, and superior sound imaging that overall delivers a clearer and more satisfying experience that takes your gaming sessions to another level. My testing phase of these open back headphones was almost my first time trying one, so it’s needless to say that I was shocked with how much better they sounded than my closed-back Logitech G733. While there’s nothing inherently wrong with my current closed-back gaming headphone, I just couldn’t help but notice how much more immersive these types of headphones can get thanks to their crisp audio quality and top-notch audio engineering.

2. Comfort

Another area where open back headphones uppercut gaming ones is comfort. Because of their build quality, they are often equipped with soft, high-grade materials that scream premium and comfort. During my 8-hour gaming session with one of these open back headphones, I did not feel a single bit of pain or tiredness around my head or ears which is a testament to how comfortable they really are. However, it cannot go without saying that this type of headphones is bulky and heavy. They are definitely not portable and not for minimalists as they do weigh some more than your average gaming headsets.

3. Build Quality

I could have mentioned this somewhere in the comfort section, but I decided to dedicate an entire space to discuss these open back headphones’ build quality for how sturdy and robust they are. In a glimpse, they’re built like an absolute tank which is why I also mentioned their bulkiness and weight, but it’s not all cons. With great build quality comes longevity and assurance that your open back headphones will still be as good as new in 2-3 years. During my long gaming sessions, I did not hear any creaking or flexing of the materials used with any of these headphones which is the complete opposite to some gaming headphones I used in the past.

4. Microphone Quality

Last but not least is their microphone quality which mostly consists of noise-canceling capabilities. Although they’re not revolutionary of any sort, they’re still miles ahead of the competition as these open back headphones have mics that can be compared to budget studio mics. While I was playing VALORANT, my friends immediately noticed how much better my mic got and how clear my voice was. Definitely a must-consider for streamers.

The main technical factors to consider when getting open back headphones

Of course, shopping for these headphones isn’t as clear-cut as you may think. As the value and main attraction of headphones are their sound quality, it’s not that easy to tell right away which ones to get and which ones to avoid. Nevertheless, here are the main technical factors to consider when getting open back headphones to help you find the perfect headset while gaming.

1. Audio Quality and Drivers

As we discussed earlier, Sound and Audio Quality is one of the reasons why you would want to check out open back headphones. The problem is that it’s not really easy to tell whether a headphone has the sound quality that you’re looking for just from watching reviews or relying on others’ comments. Thus, in this list, I will be heavily emphasizing this spec of a headphone and give you my raw thoughts on these headphones’ sound quality so that you would know from the get-go if they’re worth your money or not. For the most part, a good-sounding open back headphone should have top-notch audio drivers, good audio engineering, and an immersive stereo experience. You can often find out if a headphone has these features through their spec list or product page, with some examples like ‘Dolby Atmos’ being an indicator that your chosen headphone has excellent audio quality.

2. Comfort and Build Quality

Another department in which you should be careful is these headphones’ comfort and build quality. Fortunately for us, we have a better chance of seeing how comfortable a pair of headphones would be through photos and videos. Comfortable open back headphones should have soft and cushiony ear cups that won’t suffocate your head and ears as well as build quality that optimally shouldn’t be made of plastic. However, budget options will inevitably be made with plastic but this shouldn’t be a deal-breaker as what you’re looking for is a pair of headphones that won’t break within just weeks or months of use.

3. Compatibility

In regards to their compatibility, most of the headphones that I tested and have listed below are universally compatible, meaning they should be able to connect with any of your devices and consoles. But, it goes without saying that you should still make sure that the headphones you’re checking out supports the system or platform you’re gaming on as there are numerous open back headphones that are exclusive for PS4/PS5, Xbox, and more.

The Common Myths And Misconceptions Regarding Open Back Headphones

As open back headphones are still niche and more of an alternative for gaming, there are numerous misconceptions surrounding their presence. I’ll be clearing up some of them for you to help you even further with your shopping.

1. Open back headphones are not ideal for music listening

Of course, they are! To begin with, the inception of open back headphones stems from the problem that closed-back headphones distorted and changed the audio quality of music so much that something had to be done.

If you’re a gamer who’s looking for the complete package, then do not worry about Open Back headphones not being good for music. They totally are and you will be blown away by how crisp and clear the vocals and instrumentals are with these headphones.

2. Open back headphones have poor noise-canceling and isolation capabilities

Unfortunately, this is the main issue and drawback of open back headphones. As they are open back, this means that sound spillage can be very much a problem and even the slightest external noise can get to you and ruin your gaming immersion. However, this can easily be solved by closing your doors or gaming in a room where you are alone. If these are unachievable, then closed-back headphones with noise cancellation are probably best for you.

3. Because of their bulky build, open back headphones are not comfortable for long sessions.

Totally false. Although they may seem bulky and uncomfortable, most of these headphones will fit right into your head just fine without any issues. They will also provide your ears with soft cushions to sit on and in turn, give you a peaceful gaming experience without the hassle of reseating your headphones or getting aches every 30 minutes or so. During my personal experience with these headphones, I rarely felt any discomfort or pain and I was pleasantly surprised with how comfortable they are given their form factor and weight.


The 9 Best Open Back Headphones for Gaming in 2024

Now that I have filled you in with everything you need to know about open back headphones for gaming, let’s dive into the headphones I’ve used and discover which ones deserve your hard-earned cash.

1. The Best Bang for Your Buck: Audio-Technica ATH-AG1X

The Best Bang for Your Buck

Audio-Technica ATH-ADG1X

  • Large 53mm drivers that take your game’s audio to another level
  • Recommended for FPS and competitive gamers who want to hear every bit of sound in-game
  • Excellent ergonomics and build quality that sits comfortably on your head

We’ll start off this list with the ATH-ADG1X by Audio-Technica. First off, the ATH-ADG1X sports a fairly simple, straightforward design. When I initially tested the ATH-ADG1X, I was impressed with its build quality. Although it looks bulky, its build structure does not compromise comfort, as these headphones are ergonomic and sit comfortably on my head.

Pros

  • Large 53mm drivers that take your game’s audio to another level
  • Recommended for FPS and competitive gamers who want to hear every bit of sound in-game
  • Excellent ergonomics and build quality that sits comfortably on your head
  • Microphone has noise cancellation that is crystal clear

Cons

  • Weighty and a bit on the “robust” side rather than minimalist

With regards to its sound quality, the ATH-ADG1X does not disappoint. Its 53mm drivers provide a different experience in your gameplays. When I played Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War, I felt immersed in every mission as I was able to hear every sound during my gameplay. This factor is especially important in competitive gaming because hearing every bit of sound in your games allows you to sense where your opponents are, where the projectiles are coming from, as well as footsteps.

It is also worth noting that the ATH-ADG1X also comes with a microphone with noise cancellation. Having this feature is great especially if you’re into streaming, as noise cancellation provides a crystal clear voice output which allows the user to communicate much more effectively.

All in all, the ATH-ADG1X is definitely worth picking up, especially as a first open-back pair of headphones. Amazing sound quality, amazing build quality, and a microphone with noise cancellation. Taking these factors into play, the ATH-ADG1X is definitely worth considering for a new pair of gaming headphones.

Get your Audio-Technica ATH-ADG1X here!


2. The Best for Console Gamers: ASTRO Gaming A40 TR

The Best Headphones for Console Gamers

ASTRO Gaming A40 TR

  • Impressive stereo imaging performance that makes you feel like you’re inside the game
  • Well built and aesthetically pleasing
  • Comes with an amplifier that allows further optimization of audio levels as well as microphone volume output

Up next on this list is the ASTRO Gaming A40 TR. The A40 TR currently comes with three options: PC, PS4/PS5, and the Xbox series. However, the console options for the A40 TR have another feature that the PC option doesn’t have – MixAmp. With this, I chose the MixAmp Pro TR option and tested it on my PS4 Pro.

Pros

  • Impressive stereo imaging performance that makes you feel like you’re inside the game
  • Well built and aesthetically pleasing
  • Comes with an amplifier that allows further optimization of audio levels as well as microphone volume output
  • Equipped with Dolby Surround Sound for theatre-like audio experience
  • Amp also has EQ presets for various configurations and scenarios like gaming and watching movies

Cons

  • Quite expensive
  • Very bulky design
  • Not every gamer may be familiar with the mechanics of an amplifier

The MixAmp also comes with EQ presets for specific scenarios like gaming and watching videos. Eventually, I was able to test the A40 TR during a game. For this test, I played GTA Online. One thing that certainly impressed me is its stereo imaging performance.

While I was using the A40 TR, it really felt like I was inside the game. I was also complimented by another player during a GTA Online session, saying that my mic is very nice. I don’t disagree with him, as I’ve heard my own voice during the duration of the test and I can say that the microphone quality is crystal clear.

The A40 TR with MixAmp is perfect for streaming. This is especially true because the amplifier allows the user to perfectly balance the game audio and the microphone volume output.

Using the amplifier may be confusing especially to those that are not familiar with amplifiers in general, and with the MixAmp feature, the A40 TR may be pricey, but having MixAmp may also serve as a huge advantage to those looking to improve the audio quality of their streams.

Get your ASTRO Gaming A40 TR here!


3. The Best Budget for Gaming: Samson Technologies SR950

The Best Budget for Gaming

Samson Technologies SR950

  • Very affordable option
  • Large 50mm drivers that enhances your gaming experience
  • Spacious soundstage and clarity

Entering this list is the SR950 by Samson Technologies. The SR950 is marketed as ‘semi-open-back’ headphones, which offers a spacious soundstage adopted from an open-back design and clarity adopted from a closed-back design.

With these unique traits placed into one pair of headphones, how does the SR950 perform in terms of gaming experience? For this test, I decided to plug the SR950 into my PC and play CS:GO.

Pros

  • Very affordable option
  • Large 50mm drivers that enhances your gaming experience
  • Spacious soundstage and clarity combined which is great for competitive FPS titles

Cons

  • Mediocre build quality
  • No microphone included
  • Generally uncomfortable
  • Cable cannot be detached from the headphones

With regards to its gaming experience, the SR950 is fairly decent. Because it offers a wide soundstage and a good sense of depth, this allows positional sound which is very beneficial for FPS games like VALORANT, CS:GO, or Call of Duty titles.

However, I have also noticed that my ears started to feel uncomfortable after 2 hours of playing time. For reference, I have a relatively big head, and wearing the SR950 feels very tight. In addition to the uncomfortable feel of the SR950, the ear cups are relatively small as well.

I also have to mention that the overall build quality feels cheap, and its cable cannot be detached, which feels easy to break. It is also worth noting that the SR950 does not come with a microphone, so you’ll have to get a separate microphone if you want to communicate with your friends on Discord.

The cheap build quality and uncomfortable feel are to be expected from a pair of headphones that starts at $42. Regardless, this is still a solid buy especially for playing competitive FPS titles.

Get your Samson Technologies SR950 here!


4. The Best Midrange Option: Philips Audio Fidelio X2HR

The Best Midrange Option

Philips Audio Fidelio X2HR

  • Large 50mm drivers that deliver an overall balanced audio output
  • Very good passive soundstage performance
  • Aesthetically pleasing

Coming up next is an entry by Philips – the Fidelio X2HR. It’s a pair of open-back headphones sporting a classic design and is built with quality materials, with leather wrapped around the headband, replaceable memory foam ear-pads with a velour finish, and its cable is detachable for reliability purposes.

Pros

  • Large 50mm drivers that deliver an overall balanced audio output
  • Very good passive soundstage performance
  • Aesthetically pleasing
  • Great build quality
  • Comfortable to wear with breathable velour, automatically-adjusting headband, and memory foam ear-pads which is great for putting in extra hours of gaming

Cons

  • Does not come with a microphone
  • Bulky design
  • No noise isolation at all
  • Struggles with low-bass output

For this test, I decided to play F1 2021 on my PC. The large 50mm drivers that come with the Fidelio X2HR provide a great neutral sound, which sounds really natural to the ears.

However, the Fidelio X2HR is lacking in providing a low-bass output, but the Fidelio X2HR is comfortable in producing mid to high-bass output as well as being able to deliver great passive soundstage performance which adds to the immersive experience in gaming and is excellent for genres like racing simulators and first-person shooters.

The Fidelio X2HR does not come with a microphone. I do wish that Philips would add one to this model, and at the same time, it is understandable because gaming is not the primary use of the Fidelio X2HR, and is overall a great choice for long listening sessions.

This also applies to the gaming experience because its overall design is very comfortable to use, and its natural sound output along with the soft memory foam ear-pads make it a great choice for long gaming sessions as well.

Get your Philips Audio Fidelio X2HR here!


5. The Best High-end Option for Gaming: HIFIMAN HE-400I

The Best High-End Option for Gaming

HIFIMAN HE-400I

  • Ergonomic and comfortable to don
  • Lightweight
  • Great build quality, with braided cables

Up next is the HIFIMAN HE-400I. This pair sports high-quality materials, with leather wrapped around the headband, metal supporting the overall structure of the headphones, and a hybrid of velour and leatherette to wrap around the earcups. The design of the HE-400I feels very premium, so how does that translate to the gaming experience?

Pros

  • Ergonomic & comfortable
  • Lightweight
  • Great build quality (with braided cables)
  • Planar Magnetic Headphone technology outputs a great neutral sound that feels natural, smooth, and engaging

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Does not come with a microphone, especially considering its price point
  • Bass output can be lacking

I tested the HIFIMAN HE-400I on the PC and played VALORANT. First impressions – the Planar Magnetic Headphone technology is a revolutionary feature that allows a more natural feel to the sound output, but bass feel can be lacking.

Despite this, the sound details are very sharp which also heightens one’s sense of depth, which is useful in FPS games especially for tracking footsteps.

Outside of its audio performance, it also feels very comfortable to wear around your head as it feels lightweight, with HIFIMAN advertising the HE-400I as 30% lighter than its other competitors. The HE-400I also does not feel very bulky in terms of portability and usage, which is ergonomic as well.

On the other hand, I do wish that this pair would come with a microphone, especially given its high price point.

Overall, the HIFIMAN HE-400I is a pair of open-back headphones that brings a premium feel to a gamer. That premium feel also comes with an expensive starting price of $310, and for that price point, you’re getting comfort and quality audio output, although there are still aspects of audio that could be improved.

Get your HIFIMAN HE-400I

6. The Best Choice for Competitive Gaming: AKG Pro Audio K702

The Best Choice for Competitive Gaming

AKG Pro Audio K702

  • Comfortable to use especially for long gaming sessions
  • Good sound output
  • Bass is good enough for gaming purposes

Adding up to this list is the AKG Pro Audio K702. Initially, I thought that the K702 would seem disappointing mainly because of its build quality, as it is centered around plastic materials, with a few hints of leather, particularly on the headband, and of course, we get foam materials for the ear pads. Although the K702 is mainly built with plastic materials, it does not feel cheap at the slightest bit as it feels durable enough to not break.

Pros

  • Comfortable to use especially for long gaming sessions
  • Good sound output
  • Treble levels provide great audio clarity
  • Bass is good enough for gaming purposes

Cons

  • Bulky feel
  • Build quality is decent at best, abundance of plastic materials including earcups
  • Does not come with a microphone

In fact, the K702 is actually a competitive entry in this list. Despite the build quality, it feels very comfortable to use especially if you’re playing for hours.

When I tested the K702, I was grinding ranked for 5 hours in League of Legends and I did not feel any pain whatsoever during the duration of my grind.

In addition to this, the sound quality is satisfying to the ears as it outputs great treble levels with enough bass to output an overall clear, immersive neutral sound output.

Similar to some other headphones mentioned in this list, the K702 has a bulky feel to it which is not the best for portability.

Additionally, despite having a very clear audio output, these headphones do not come with a microphone so you’ll have to plug in a standalone microphone if you want to conveniently communicate with your teammates.

However, if you’re more of a solo player, the price tag is a great deal for the level of comfort and the audio quality you’re getting.

Get your AKG Pro Audio K702 here!


7. The Best for Bassheads: EPOS I SENNHEISER GSP 500

The Best for Bassheads

EPOS I SENNHEISER GSP 500

  • High bass levels
  • Good sound quality
  • Design is appealing to gamers

Up next we have the EPOS I SENNHEISER GSP 500. It’s also one of my personal favorites on this list. The build quality is great, very comfortable to use, sports an appealing design to gamers, and has great sound quality as expected from a Sennheiser.

Pros

  • High bass levels
  • Good sound quality
  • Design is appealing to gamers
  • Good plastic build providing a rugged feel
  • Comfortable to use

Cons

  • Bulky feel

I tested the GSP 500 on my PS5 and played The Last of Us 2. First of all, the audio output not only provides a theatre-like feel during my gameplay, but also has great bass levels that are enough to balance with its treble levels that sound satisfying to my ears.

I was also able to appreciate my game even more as elements like rain and wind feel natural and immersive.

The GSP 500 is also comfortable enough to use for gaming as the suede-like earpads feel very soft and do not feel very sticky after hours of usage, compared to any other typical pair of headphones.

As for the microphone, it has noise-canceling which makes this a great option for streaming as well.

Like other headphones mentioned in this that have a bulky feel, the GSP 500 is no exception. The headband and the microphone are built with a thick plastic that further adds to its mass, but in most cases, this shouldn’t be an issue if you don’t intend to use the GSP 500 during a bus ride.

The GSP 500 currently starts at $95 on Amazon and it’s a great deal, especially for a Sennheiser product.

Get your EPOS I SENNHEISER GSP 500 here!


8. The Most Comfortable Headphone: SENNHEISER HD 599

The Most Comfortable Headphone

SENNHEISER HD 599

  • Amazing build quality
  • Timeless design
  • Very comfortable to use

Another entry by Sennheiser makes it into this list. I really like how it looks, mainly because its design is timeless, which is also expected from a well-renowned brand like Sennheiser. The Sennheiser HD 599 comprises mainly leather materials, which gives it a premium feel to it.

Pros

  • Amazing build quality
  • Timeless design
  • Very comfortable to use
  • Audio output is less fatiguing

Cons

  • Does not come with a microphone

With regards to its performance in gaming, it’s what you would expect from a Sennheiser. The audio output is very clear, with a great balance between treble and bass levels.

It’s a great option for gamers that play competitive titles like Dota 2, VALORANT, and CS:GO because if you are on the grind for ranked games, the HD 599 is a good choice for this kind of situation as the headband is built with a soft cushioned leather and the earpads wrapped with premium velour that promotes comfortability.

Personally, I’ve played numerous ranked games on League of Legends with the Sennheiser HD 599 and it certainly made me feel like a king due to its comfort and premium build that allowed me to play more and more games for LP.

The Sennheiser HD 599 does not come with a microphone. Although you cannot rely on these headphones for voice communication, that is not the main focus of the HD 599.

With these headphones, you’re expected to get the utmost comfort, especially during prolonged gaming hours as well as having a refined audio output, making it a good choice that you can get at a low cost.

Get your SENNHEISER HD 599 here!


9. The Best Build Quality: Beyerdynamic DT 990 Pro

The Best Build Quality

Beyerdynamic DT 990 Pro

  • Robust build quality
  • Comfortable to wear regardless of head size
  • Crisp and clear audio output

Last but not least is the Beyerdynamic DT 990 Pro. When I went out to test these headphones, I was amazed by its build quality as there are hints of leather wrapped around the headband, and also includes plastic materials.

Yes, the headphones with the best build quality have plastic materials. However, the plastic is a high-quality polymer plastic that makes a solid foundation for the overall build.

Pros

  • Robust build quality
  • Comfortable to wear regardless of head size
  • Very clear audio output that is great for FPS titles

Cons

  • Cable cannot be detached from the headphones
  • Audio can be fatiguing
  • Does not come with a microphone

Performance wise, the Beyerdynamic DT 990 Pro is on a different level. The audio is exceptionally clear, with a very high treble level that enhances audio accuracy and is beneficial for playing competitive FPS titles.

For instance, when I played VALORANT with the DT 990 Pro, I was amazed at how it is able to deliver in gaming. I had a heightened sense of where my opponents were by being able to hear their footsteps and projectiles.

In terms of wearing it, it is comfortable as the ear pads are thick and my ears fit perfectly inside them.

On its overall feel and usage, it can be uncomfortable because as I have mentioned above, the DT 990 Pro has a very high treble level, which feels like the audio is piercing right through your ears.

Additionally, you cannot detach the cable from the headphones, so replacing it would be a challenge in the event that it snaps. Regardless, having a robust build quality and a very defined audio quality is a good option that sits a reasonable price point.

Get your Beyerdynamic DT 990 Pro here!


Conclusion

That ends my 9 Best Open Back Headphones for Gaming in 2024 list! Every headphone in this list is what I think is the absolute best pickups you can go for right now for gaming with open back headphones as they all provide superb sound quality, comfort, and robust features that further immerse you in your games.

The price to performance beast of this list is the Audio-Technica ATH-ADG1X thanks to its large and immersive sound drivers that take you to other worlds effortlessly. It’s also an excellent headphone for FPS games as it enhances the sound of footsteps and gunshots that is vital for winning and gathering information for your team.

If you’re on a budget but would still like a formidable open back gaming headphone, then the Samson Technologies SR950 is a solid pick. With a soundstage and clarity that is comparable to the high-end and midrange offerings in this list, it’s undoubtedly a pair that shouldn’t go ignored by gamers.

Which open back headphone are you going to pick up from this list? Don’t forget to share with us below!

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