Suppose you’re looking for a great pair of headphones for your gaming sessions, and you’re considering an open-back set instead of the regular closed-back headphones everybody uses (check our open-back vs. closed-back comparison). In that case, you’re in the right place.
Benefits of using Open-back headphones for gaming
Open-back headphones for gaming emphasize sound quality while allowing you to hear your surroundings plus, you get fresh air in your ears, and they can be lighter than regular headphones. If you’re serious about gaming, you’ll enjoy the experience you get from an open-back headset, as every sound feels more natural within your surroundings.
Additionally, you will hear yourself better when chatting as if you were in a normal conversation, helping you modulate your voice volume without screaming, as it happens with closed-back headphones.
Let’s check out our top 7 options for gamers based on quality, design, and features. There are some great brands and models to choose from, although not as many as you can find with closed-back headphones. If possible, a good pair of headphones for gamers should also include a microphone.
Top 7 Best open-back headphones for gaming
1. Sennheiser GAME ONE
Sennheiser is one of our favorite headset brands, and they’ve created one of the best gaming headphones with an open-back design.
With a comfortable, plushy band over your head and soft earpads around your ears, you’ll enjoy hours of gaming comfortably. The GAME ONE is a headset focused on gamers, as seen by its design and color scheme.
The sound quality is fantastic as they’re paired with a 50 ohms impedance, and its noise-canceling microphone will keep your voice loud and clear during intense battles. The audio frequency range goes from 15,000 to 28,000 hertz (not that we can hear such high-frequency sounds, though), and it comes with volume control in the cable for easy access.
The noise-canceling in terms of sound won’t be as impressive as you’ve heard with some of the best headphones with a closed-back design, but it does the job, and the microphone quality is excellent for an open-back headset.
2. Audio-Tehnica ATH-ADG1X
Another of our favorite headphone brands, Audio-Technica, is well known for its high-quality audio, although not everybody is a fan of their designs.
Audio-Technica is well known for its monitor headphones, but in this case, the ATH-ADG1X is aimed at gamers looking for a tremendous open-back solution. The price is a bit of a step for many, which is mainly why we’re putting them in second place, but if you have the money, you won’t regret it.
With powerful 53mm drivers, tuned for FPS gaming, and great sound for any other genre, the Audio Technica headphones will be super comfortable for intense hours of online gaming. Frequency response goes from 5 to 35,000 Hz, and with a 48 ohms impedance, you’ll get enough power for a unique audio experience.
Similar to the Sennheiser GAME ONE, the microphone features noise-canceling for great chatting sessions, and it comes with simple volume control and soft earpads for maximum comfort.
3. Sennheiser HD 599 SE
A new model from Sennheiser with excellent audio quality and a mid-range price. The Sennheiser HD 599 SE is a well-balanced headset available in the market with comfortable padding and a simple yet efficient design.
It’s got a 50-ohm impedance which makes it great for audiophiles and gamers looking for clarity but where it shines is in its mid-range sounds. The bass isn’t as impressive as you’d expect from closed-back headphones, but that’s expected.
We put this model in 3rd place because it’s not entirely aimed at gamers, and because of that, it doesn’t have a microphone or any of the noise-canceling features for mic other headphones include in this list.
4. Audio Technica ATH AD700X
Similar to the Sennheiser HD599 SE, these pair of headphones are an excellent option for open-back lovers, with great comfort and coupled with 53mm drivers and a lightweight design.
Frequency ranges go from 5 Hz to 30,000 Hz, and you can wear them for long gaming sessions without feeling pressure or sweating your ears (same as with all listed models). The ATX AD700X has a 38-ohm impedance with excellent power, and they have nailed directional audio, so you can feel where your enemies are coming from.
This is a high-quality audio headset, but again, it’s not aimed at gamers, which means there are no microphone or noise-canceling features, and the design might look simple for some.
One good thing about them is the price, which puts them in a very competitive position against other open-back gaming headphones on this list.
5. Beyerdinamic DT 990 PRO
This brand might not be as well-known as the other two, but there are different variations available with 3 levels of impedance. The 250-ohm version is well-balanced, should you choose to go with them.
These open-back headphones for gamers are an excellent option for tight-budget buyers. The sound quality will be outstanding for gaming nights, with solid bass and a very comfortable design.
As happened with the last 3 models, these headphones have excellent quality. Still, they’re not aimed at gamers, so they don’t include microphones or noise-canceling features, but the price is reasonable and competitive with the Sennheiser HD 599, and you won’t regret getting them.
6. Massdrop x Sennheiser PC37X Gaming headset
Another great option from Sennheiser, this time at a great value and aimed at gamers. These pair of headphones offer premium audio quality for those long gaming nights.
The drivers included in this headset are the same as you can find in the Sennheiser HD600 and HD598 series, which are known to offer excellent quality and realistic audio. With angled drivers and an open-back design, the PC37X offers awareness and comfort while playing any game.
As you’d expect from a gaming headset, the Massdrop x includes a microphone with noise cancelation, a very convenient mute mic switch, and a cable volume switch.
You can’t go wrong with Sennheiser overall, and the price is well worth it. With a lightweight design, a frequency response from 15 Hz to 28,000 Hz, and a 50-ohm impedance, you’ve got enough power to enjoy your games for hours.
7. Audio Technica ATH PDG1 Gaming headset
Finally, another model from Audio Technica is aimed at gamers. This is the model you want if you’re on a budget but still want to enjoy a superb audio experience while gaming.
The PDG1 Gaming headset has a large pair of ear cups with comfy pads for long gaming sessions and raw, crisp audio.
These headphones are as lightweight as most open-back headsets, delivered with comfort in mind. With a frequency response from 20 Hz to 20,000 Hz, this headset sounds the most limited from this list, but fear not, the range is significant enough for the human ear (read how an equalizer works based on frequencies).
The cable has convenient volume control and an integrated microphone, although it lacks noise canceling as expected for its price.
It also rocks potent 40mm drivers and a honeycomb aluminum casing for hours and hours of gaming sessions. You won’t regret getting the PDG1 from Audio Technica if this is your first time buying an open-back headset.
There it is—our list of the 7 best open-back gaming headphones and their main features. As you can see, the list is wildly dominated by Audio Technica and Sennheiser, but it’s for a good reason.
Open-back headphones for gamers are increasing as they provide comfort, ambiance awareness, and, generally, better sound quality with crisp details while keeping your ears fresh instead of sweaty.
You can’t go wrong with any of those brands, and the fact they already have so many open-back headphones available for gamers or non-gamers is an excellent sign that this industry is still growing and giving.
Have you tested a different pair of headphones we should recommend? Let us know in the comments!