Gaming systems are unique in the way that they require a lot of components and peripheries to perform to a gamer’s high standards.
One such peripheral is the headphones, necessary because of the excess sound that a gaming system or a laptop makes.
Best Open Back Headphones for Gaming 2021
There are several types of headphones in the market; the two most prominent designs are the open-back and closed-back headphones.
Here we will discuss the best open back headphones for gaming 2021 and how they enhance your gaming experience manifold.
EPOS I Sennheiser GAME ONE
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Massdrop X Sennheiser PC37X
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Astro Gaming A40 TR
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HiFiMAN HE 400i
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Beyerdynamic DT 990 Pro
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EPOS I Sennheiser GAME ONE - The Powerful All-Rounder
- An adjustable boom picks the best sound.
- An excellent microphone design reduces background noise.
- Volume control on the right for the quick toggle.
- Lightweight design makes long sessions possible.
- Versatile connectivity makes it compatible with consoles and PC.
Sennheiser is the leader of manufacturing excellent acoustic devices, and the Sennheiser Game ONE lives up to that reputation. The open-back design of the headphones demonstrates state-of-the-art engineering, providing the best sound quality possible.
Game One headphones offer premium sound at an affordable price. Sennheiser delivers clarity of sound thanks to its collaboration with EPOS. EPOS is a renowned audio solutions provider that aims to offer sound precision and realism.
The design of the Game One headphones will not leave you wanting for more. The headphones deliver a conventional black design that suits any surrounding, be it work or your gaming crib. The red accents around the ear cups provide elegant aesthetics.
The microphone is an interesting feature that is full of utility. It hosts an adjustable design that changes shape to accommodate the best audio reception. The boom when in a vertical position automatically mutes itself, thereby adding excellent utility in design.
The volume knob on the outside sets you free of any in-game hassles as you coolly toggle the volume knob while playing games. The headphones are compatible with multiple platforms such as PC, Xbox One, Mac, and Nintendo Switch.
The open-back design helps the headphones achieve maximum sound clarity as well as a breathable design. The audio quality lets you play your games in an immersive environment, thereby enjoying every waterfall and every jump you make during the gameplay.
The Sennheiser Game One headphones are classy gaming headphones based on proprietary technology to enhance your gaming experience. The only drawback with the headphones is the stiff design, which may hamper performance for users that require more width. The volume wheel can also pose an issue with the controls going only to 25% minimum volume instead of zero percent.
Overall, the Sennheiser Game One offers classic design, an intuitive sound quality that reeks of realism and packages into a stylish product. The headphones are a must-have for gaming geeks who love to feel the gameplay as it happens.
Audio-Technica ATH-ADG1X - Elegant Design & High-Fidelity Sound
- Accurate sounds with 53mm drivers.
- Excellent sound quality for first-person shooting games.
- In-game communication made more accessible through a quality microphone.
- Excellent clarity in sound and breathable properties.
- 3D wing support mechanism makes long hours of gaming possible.
Audio-Technica has captivated the gaming market with its unique designs, comfort, and, more importantly, excellent sound-producing headphones. The ATH-ADG1X follows the same trajectory, offering reliability, sound clarity, and high-quality sound for gamers.
The primary onus is on reproducing the sound with excellent attributes such as clarity and powerful bass. The realism of sound is also worth mentioning with the microphone acting as an enabler to shield outside noises and provide an impeccable first-person gaming experience.
The comfortable design of the headphones is due to the immaculate 3D wing support on the headphones. The pads are softer than previous iterations, and the wiry head-support adjusts intuitively to the user’s head.
The microphone is a premium component of this excellent headphone. Made of gooseneck, it provides a perfect response time due to the super-cardioid structure. It enables the microphone to reduce the outside noise and effectively cancel out noise immaculately.
Utility with these headphones is exceptional as it offers a 2-meter long cable that is convenient for gamers of all types. The volume controller is found on the wire itself, making it highly useful to operate during your gaming adventures.
Audio-Technica is a provider of some excellent acoustic experiences through its devices, and the ADG1X headphones provide a similar experience. However, they can be a bit expensive for the average gamer, and the mic cannot be detached.
Audio-Technica is a great manufacturer for professional acoustic peripherals, but these headphones are a serious gaming marvel. A simple yet elegant design that supports maximum comfort through its 3D wing support and cushion pads is indeed a perfect companion for gamers.
NUBWO U3 is one of the best open back headphones for gaming under $100 you can get with noise-canceling capabilities at a very affordable price. Although it is a budget device, it offers excellent sound thanks to its powerful 50mm drivers. The sound is crisp and clear with excellent bass, and even the mids are pronounced.
The sound quality of the headphones makes it a surprise for users as they taste premium quality sound at such a low price. However, the price differential is evident in the make and design that features a simple plastic finish.
The overall build quality is sturdy enough, yet it lacks the authentic feel of premium headphones. The plastic finish offers enough rigidity, but you experience some flex as well. The ear cups are moderately padded, and you may wish for better comfort, but at a price, they’re still quality.
Noise-canceling is a bit disappointing due to the earpads which aren’t that thickly padded. Moreover, the mic boom is also rigid and doesn’t have the versatility of other gaming headphones. There may be some encounters with echo, but gamers can still enjoy decent gameplay.
The bass quality on the headphones is also quite a catch as you can enjoy your games with a decent punch. If you do not experience this catchy bass out of the boss, check the equalizer settings and tweak them a bit for an excellent bass.
The NUBWO U3 is an excellent affordable option for gamers on a budget, but they do have some flaws. The build quality as expected is not premium, but it will give you excellent performance nonetheless. Another thing not expected at this price point is functional noise-canceling abilities, which the headphones lack.
Overall if you’re low on budget and are looking for decent gaming headphones to make your gameplay worthwhile, the NUBWO U3 is an excellent choice. The sound quality and bass reproduction are excellent, and the in-game sound quality will not keep you wanting for more.
AudioTechnica ATH-AD700X - Best quality for gamers
- The excellent directional sound makes gaming fun.
- 53mm drivers produce outstanding treble and mids.
- 3D wing support with raised ear pads provides comfort.
- TPE elastic sheath prevents tangles.
- Open-air design with honeycomb exterior makes it lightweight.
Audio-Technica have continued with their tradition of providing excellent devices for audiophiles. The AD700X is a smart and breathable headphone that has a tremendous soundstage that will make the gamer’s life much more comfortable.
With an excellent directional input, the headphones offer a clear sense of direction from the sound coming. It leads to games such as CSGO, Half-Life, and all other first-person shooter games that require a certain depth in sound to pick up things, a more enjoyable experience.
The bass on the AD700X may not be the best and is certainly not the one you would want to enjoy your music with, but the trebles and mids are outstanding. The 53mm drivers on the headphones help them achieve this feat.
Comfort is ensured through a 3D wing support system with adjustable headband and inner cushions that perfectly fit your head. This fitting introduces an excellent listening experience to the user and maximum breathability due to the open-air honeycomb mesh design that reduces pressure buildup.
The headphones also feature a TPE sheath, which is elastic in nature and makes the headphone wiring less prone to entanglements. This feature is a great utility as you don’t want to deal with a wire mesh during your gaming adventures.
The AD700X is an excellent companion for gamers; however, they may not produce the best bass; hence music hearing can be a bit dull. The cable is non-detachable, and you have to invest in a separate mic to use along with the headphones.
Overall, the 53mm driver produces excellent treble reproduction, and the comfortable headset and pads help you wear them for long hours. Directional sound is perfect hence making these headphones an excellent choice for gamers.
Massdrop X Sennheiser PC37X - Noise-canceling headphones with premium sound
- Simple, elegant design for minimalist aesthetics.
- Curved drivers provide better sound quality.
- A robust mic that auto-mutes if pulled up.
- Detachable cable can be replaced if faulty.
- Noise-canceling is decent with a long enough cable.
Sennheiser is a champion of producing headphones for audiophiles. The Massdrop X Sennheiser PC37X is an example of this quality-driven manufacturing as it emulates Sennheiser’s more audiophile-centric headphones such as the HD598 and HD600.
The AC37X headphones are designed for premium sound and superior aesthetics. The headphones promise this quality and sound clarity on the back of curved audio drivers that are a hallmark of premium headphones.
The robust and sturdy mic on the AC37X is also a welcome addition and an excellent utility for gamers. It provides noise-canceling prowess for excellent in-game communication, but it can also mute itself as you pull it vertically, and there’s a nice clicky sound.
The headphones also host a detachable cable, which can be a utility or a hassle depending on which way you look at it. In case of damage, it is easily replaceable, but at the same time, it may sometimes pose the hazard of being detached while you’re using the headphones. However, the cable is long enough to let you connect with the backside of a tower PC.
The thing that makes these headphones a preferred combo for gamers is the locational accuracy of sounds. It is a primary weapon in the quest to beat your enemies during games, and coupled with the open back design; it helps produce an excellent and natural sound reproduction.
The AC37X headphones may be an excellent choice for gamers but sometimes lack the pure bass that will make them great for audiophiles. Apart from this, the detachable cable poses a risk of detaching during gameplay.
Overall with the help of optimum curved drivers and a classic black design, the AC37X seamlessly integrates into any gaming setup. In-game communications, thanks to noise-canceling, are excellent, and accurate directional sound helps navigate game maps with ease. These features make the AC37X, the best Sennheiser open-back headphones for gaming.
Razer Kraken Tournament Edition - 7.1 surround sound on a budget
- 7.1 surround sound immersion lets you enjoy games to the fullest.
- Custom-tuned drivers for the best possible sound quality and clarity.
- Cardioid mic for exceptional sound reception without background noise.
- Digital to audio convertor that improves connectivity through USB.
- Ear cups contain cooling gels to minimize overheating during use.
Razer is a household name when it comes to manufacturing gaming products. The Razer Kraken headphones provide stellar build quality and utmost performance for gaming nerds. The 7.1 surround sound makes possible a brilliantly immersive gaming experience.
The drivers on the headphones are custom-tuned for the maximum range of sound. A loud, clear, and crisp sound experience is obtained through the powerful 50mm drivers. The sound quality lets you hear the faintest trickles and the most deafening bangs with utmost clarity.
The cardioid mic on the Razer Kraken headphones provides sound clarity when picking up sounds from the user. Moreover, bendable and retractable design makes for comfortable user experience. It also features decent noise rejection.
A THX-certified digital to audio converter comes with the headphones to masterfully provide the fine mapping of the environment. It not only delivers an accurate representation of the environment through the THX Spatial audio toggle but an easy way to toggle other controls such as a mute option.
Comfort comes with the ear pads that contain cooling gel to keep you well within optimum temperatures. The pressure on the ears is optimum thanks to a well fitted headband, which provides enough padding and a perforated design to allow breathability.
The Razer Kraken offers great features at a cutback price. The headphone’s THX surround feature is only limited to PCs, though. Moreover, the headphones are not noise-canceling; hence you’ll hear some ambient noise during use.
Overall, the Razer Kraken headphones offer excellent coverage on the audio quality front with clarity and crisp sound reproduction. The THX surround sound is another exciting feature for immersive gameplay.
Philips is another brand that excels in manufacturing quality electronic gadgets. It doesn’t have a particular niche, but it produces quality in whatever they provide. The headphones are no different, delivering a top-quality sound experience that gamers and audiophiles alike will simply love.
The Philips headphones sport a sturdy build quality that is dominated by plastic construction yet resists any flexing. The headband is made from steel as it represents the most vulnerable component in terms of breaking. Apart from that, the plastic build holds its own and offers a premium all-round experience.
The SHP9500 are amongst the high-end headphones available in the market that won’t break your bank. The impressive overall experience comes thanks to the 50mm neodymium drivers that offer outstanding high frequencies and truly remarkable Mids.
The angled drivers will make sure they are connected with your ears to provide the best possible sounds. At the same time, the open-ended design avoids any pressure buildup for excellent stereo sound.
The most reassuring thing about the headphones is the comfort they accord with the help of a dual headband setup with enough padding for long hauls of gaming or music listening. The metal headband provides durability, whereas the breathable ear pads provide comfort to ears and less warming up of the ears.
The Philips SHP9500 provides a solid foundation for all your acoustic needs and is well built; however, they lack replaceable ear pads, which may be a factor. You also get to experience some sound leakage while using, which makes using them in a small room, a bit awkward.
Made of sturdy plastic, and providing enough cushion to give you maximum comfort, the SHP9500 is a complete package for audiophiles. The sound is crisp and well-balanced and even offers an excellent soundstage for the gamer in you.
Astro Gaming A40 TR - The king of customizations
- Finely tuned for the gaming nerds with pro-gamers’ input.
- The versatility afforded by customizable kits to make it open back or closed-back.
- The microphone can be fitted on any side.
- Swappable Cable system.
- High build quality with excellent comfort.
The Astro Gaming A40 TR lives up to its tag of gaming headphones with a splendid design and features that will make the gaming world yours. The headphones live up to this tag due to constant input from pro-gamers and professionals of the gaming industry.
Thanks to industry veterans’ feedback, the headphones offer excellent audio quality, which transcends to every frequency range. The build quality is outstanding and on par with other headphones in this range. The contemporary design with minimum flashiness is enough to let these out in any surroundings, work, or home.
The Astro A40 TR is made for gaming, and they deliver when you need them the most. In crunch tournament matches or at home playing with your best buddies, the headphones provide you the competitive edge you’ve been waiting to get. Excellent 3D directional sound picks up game sounds in a tremendous manner, making you well aware of the game surroundings.
The other great thing about the headphones is the diverse range of customizations you can accomplish. The speaker tags on the outside let you change the headphones from open back to closed-back setup that supports noise isolation and noise cancellation. Moreover, these speaker tags are an ingenious way of showing your character as you can play with colors or different styles.
Another piece of custom modification is the mic. It is omnidirectional and can be attached to either side of the headsets as per your requirement. Moreover, the cable system is also swappable and connects with your headphones directly. It offers plenty of features, including the mute button, volume controls, and call answering functionality.
The Astro A40 TR may be the best when it comes to gaming needs, but they lack the overall performance to make them your go-to choice for everything related to acoustics. Another thing you must note is that you have to purchase modifications and MixAmp separately.
Overall, the Astro A40 TR is what they were made for, excellent gaming headphones. Made from premium materials, the headsets offer outstanding in-game sounds and let you have a competitive edge over other gamers.
HiFiMAN HE 400i - The budget Planar-magnetic headphones
- A planar-magnetic setup provides the best quality of sound.
- Large sloping ear cups increase comfort.
- Dual headband design effectively manages clamp pressure on the head.
- The contemporary open-back design provides the best sound immersion.
- Lightweight in comparison to previous models.
The HiFiMan HE 400i is one of the best headphones for gaming in the market. It is due to the bold contemporary design along with the planar-magnetic technology that the headphones use. This technology offers the best of both worlds; the dynamic drivers and the electrostatic ones.
In layman’s terms, the headphones offer the best qualities from two different technologies and provide a unique combination. The result is an affordable device that would have been impossible otherwise. The headphones boast this technology as it helps them achieve high-fidelity sound reproduction.
Besides the impressive tech inside, the headphones come with features that make them endearing to comfort lovers. The dual clamp headband design means the uninspiring metal band provides durability while the inner leather band dilutes the pressure on the head due to its width.
The HiFiMan HE 400i sports a contemporary look as they look to attract the gamers. The charcoal finish looks elegant and will definitely amp up any gamer’s crib. The clean design has minimalistic touch as it sheds weight on its predecessors and is a very lightweight peripheral capable of being worn for long hours.
The HiFiMan HE 400i is an excellent gaming peripheral as they provide in-depth sound coverage; however, they may lack the bass punch that audiophiles want.
It is also an excellent addition in the planar-magnetic line of headphones as they provide this technology at a very affordable price. The comfort is unmatched due to the large sloping earpads and the comfortable dual-headband. The headphones are definitely one of the best open back headphones for gamers with a brilliant sound quality and excellent soundstage.
Beyerdynamic, a German company that has long produced marvels of acoustic performance. The headphones DT 990 Pro are a reminder for us of this tradition of great audiophile devices. The Beyerdynamic DT 990 Pro is a headphone that is the perfect candidate to be used in music production studios as well as for gamers.
The DT 990 Pro is a headphone that offers a versatile range with a pronounced bass profile, a feat that open-back headphones hardly achieve. It makes them a good choice for people looking for an all-round experience as they watch movies and play games. The mids may see some compromises, but the highs can be quite powerful, sometimes even too much for the ears.
The professional sound of the DT 990 Pro is a quality that is found in many studio headphones, but the ease with which they accomplish is unfound. The build quality assures users a long life with an all-plastic design. The plastic construction may put off users, but it looks and acts every bit premium.
On the gaming front, the studio-level sound is matched by the wide soundstage, making directional sound reception entirely accurate. Moreover, the headband is made of plastic leather to offer plenty of cushions, even on wider heads. The clamps may hold tight at first, but they loosen up on subsequent usage.
The Beyerdynamic DT Pro 990 may sport a professional sound, but they do have some niggles. One of them being the coiled 3m cable that cannot be replaced and is attached permanently.
Overall, the Beyerdynamic DT Pro 990 Pro are the best open back headphones for gaming under $200 without a shadow of a doubt. The headphones provide a high-fidelity sound and the utmost comfort for gaming users.
Best Open Back Headphones for Gaming
Now that we have enlisted the best open-back headphones for gamers, it is time to get familiar with what makes open-back headphones such a good option.
Open-back headphones are among the types of headphones available in the market with closed-back headphones, a common sight.
Open-back headphones allow air to pass through them and avoid any pressure buildups. Meanwhile, the closed-back headphones are isolated from the outside due to no perforations or air channels. It means that these headphones are capable of better noise isolation and hence noise-canceling.
Let us get you up to speed with the fundamental differences between the two popular types of headphones in the open back and closed-back design. Furthermore, we shall look at some terminologies that you need to get hold of before you buy one of the open-air headphones.
Open Back versus Closed-Back
Let us begin our guide with the differences between the two types of headphones. The fundamental difference physically is the passage of air that the open-air headphones provide while the closed-back is completely shut. These headphones completely isolate you from your surroundings.
Both these systems and structures have their pros and cons, especially when it comes to gaming. Thanks to the open design, the open-air headphones boast a better sound quality. It provides more crisp and real audio with an impressive soundstage that is crucial for gamers.
Moreover, open-ended headphones are way more comfortable than closed-back ones. It is due to the constant air that circulates through to your ears and avoids continuous sweating. This flow of air causes cooling, and hence wearing these headphones for long gaming sessions is comfortable.
The open-back headphones come with their flaws, noticeably, the bass reproduction. The bass reproduction is not much of a problem for gamers, so that they will be fine without extensive bass. However, noisy environments, such as cafes or schools, can get loud.
It will eventually lead to more noise during your gaming sessions. Since the open-air headphones cannot filter out excess noise, it may pose a problem for your gaming adventures. The closed-back headphones are better at noise-cancellation than their open back counterparts.
The sound quality of the closed-back system emphasizes the bass reproduction; hence you may miss out on some finer details during the gameplay. Also, these headphones can get quite warm to wear over extended periods, making them less suitable for gaming overall.
Headphones or the Headset
As you may have noticed during our selections, some headphones do not come with a mic. It is because some of these peripherals weren’t designed to serve the interest of gamers only. With this in mind, these headphones probably focused on the sound part more than the in-game communication.
A gamer will face this dilemma where he has to decide between buying separate headphones and a mic or a single gaming headset. Sure, the gaming headset will solve his hassle, but the headphones available on offer come from the best brands in the market.
It makes the decision somewhat a problem; in the end, what matters is your convenience and whether you can make the extra effort to pair excellent headphones with a compatible one. Or you can just end up buying a decent gaming headset with an in-built mic that does the trick.
Should you buy the ModMic
An extension of the above query; whether you should buy a ModMic or not? Well, if you already have headphones that do not have a mic, you’re left with no choice but to purchase the mic separately. Enter ModMic, which saves the day and provides an excellent utility when you’re not gaming.
ModMics are extremely helpful in making your gaming adventures separate from other uses such as streaming Netflix or listening to your favorite songs. Whatever the case, it is useful to have this excellent utility as it will make your gaming and other activities hassle-free.
During our reviews for the open-back headphones, you may have come across this term, which means the imaginary 3D image of the sound reproduced by the speaker or audio system. You can envision this is a sphere around you representing sound waves, and sound can come from any direction.
Usually, closed-back headphones only provide limited directional capabilities. They don’t allow air from outside, thus creating a pressure bubble and low stereo performance and more bass-centric sound.
The sound distribution of the open-back headphones is such that you’ll feel different planes of sound. If the noise is above you, let’s say in a game, it will feel like coming from above. An enemy to your right will stimulate your right side, thus making you well aware of your surroundings.
Frequently Asked Questions
This term relates to the fact that your headphones may come with a spec sheet containing objective numbers. Still, the personal preferences of a user also determine a headphone’s audio quality. For example, you may see figures for impedance, frequency range, and SNR, which may indicate the quality. Still, the feel of two equipment with the same parameters can be different.
Impedance relates to the resistance experienced by the audio signal that passes the headphones. The rating can be high or low depending on the headphones where low impedance can be catered to by using in-built amplifiers. However, higher rating devices need specialized amps to sound good. For example, a high impedance headphone won’t sound good on a smartphone as it doesn’t have an amplifier.
Wired headphones generally perform better and are less pricey than their wireless counterparts. The problems of lag and longevity have been resolved somewhat, but thigh-quality wireless headphones will definitely cost more.
There is no all-rounder when it comes to open-back headphones, or shall we say the way we listen to music doesn’t make the open-back headphones, a fan favorite. It is due to less bass, which most users find attractive on headphones, especially when listening to music. Thus, open-back headphones are not used for everyday tasks; however, Beyerdynamic headphones come close.
The open-back headphones are more comfortable and have better soundstage. It means they allow gamers to be aware of their surroundings making these headphone types the most suitable option.
Open-back headphones provide comfort and good soundstage, making them the top choice for gamers.
We have discussed the ten best open-back headphones for gaming and how they will help enhance your gameplay.
Feel free to drop your best open back headphones for gaming 2021, in the comment section below.