Open-back headphones are a type of headphones designed to allow air to flow through the ear cups. This design creates an open soundstage, meaning sound is not confined to the listener’s ears. Instead, it can be heard by others in the surrounding area. Gamers, Audiophiles, and professionals often use open back headphones for gaming or in the music industry for accurate and natural sound reproduction.
What are open back headphones?
Open back headphones are a type of headphones that have ear cups with perforations or vents that allow sound to pass through and escape. Unlike closed-back headphones, which isolate the listener from external noise by sealing the ear cups, open-back headphones enable ambient sounds to enter the ear cups and mix with the audio output.
Because of this design, open-back headphones typically provide a more natural and spacious sound, with a broader soundstage and more accurate representation of the stereo image. However, they also tend to leak sound more than closed-back headphones, which may be a concern in noisy environments or when listening to music at high volumes in public places.
Open back headphones are preferred by gamers, audiophiles, and musicians for critical listening and mixing, as well as by gamers who want a more immersive and realistic sound experience. However, they may not be the best choice for everyone, and personal preferences and the intended use of the headphones should be considered when choosing between open-back and closed-back models.
Advantages of open back headphones for gaming:
- Sound Quality: Open-back headphones are known for their superior sound quality, making them an excellent gaming choice. They offer a more natural and accurate sound reproduction, providing an immersive gaming experience.
- Comfort: Open-back headphones are generally more comfortable for extended periods than closed-back headphones. The open design allows for better airflow, reducing heat and pressure on the ears.
- Soundstage: The open design of the ear cups creates a wider soundstage, making it easier to pinpoint sounds in the game; This can be especially beneficial for games where positional audio is essential, such as first-person shooters.
Disadvantages of open back headphones for gaming:
- Noise Leakage: The open design of the ear cups means that sound leaks out of the headphones, making them less suitable for use in noisy environments or with others in the same room.
- Lack of Isolation: Open-back headphones do not provide as much isolation as closed-back headphones, meaning that outside noise can interfere with the gaming experience.
- Bass Response: Some open-back headphones may lack bass response compared to closed-back headphones, which can impact the overall sound quality of certain games.
Factors to consider when choosing open back headphones
When selecting open-back headphones for gaming, you must consider the important factors. Below are the key factors to keep in mind when making your choice:
Sound quality and accuracy:
Sound quality and accuracy are essential when selecting any pair of headphones, but they are significant for gaming. Look for headphones with a balanced sound signature, clear highs, detailed mids, and powerful bass; This will allow you to hear every detail of the game’s audio, from dialogue to sound effects.
Comfort and fit:
Comfort and fit are crucial for long gaming sessions. Look for headphones with ample padding on the ear cups and headbands. Adjustable headbands can ensure a snug and comfortable fit. It’s also essential to consider the weight of the headphones, as heavier headphones can cause discomfort over time.
Build quality and durability:
The build quality and durability of the headphones are essential to ensure they last for many years. Look for headphones made with high-quality materials, such as metal and premium plastics. Additionally, consider headphones with a detachable cable, as this can increase their longevity and make them easier to repair.
Cable length and connectivity options:
The length of the headphone cable is an essential consideration for gamers. Look for headphones with a cable that is long enough to reach your computer or console without being too long to get in the way. Additionally, consider connectivity options, such as whether the headphones require an amplifier to achieve optimal performance or if they have a built-in microphone for in-game communication.
Considering these factors will help you make an informed decision when selecting open-back headphones for gaming. In the next section, we will discuss our top picks for the best open-back headphones for gaming based on these factors.
Best open back headphones for gaming
The Sennheiser HD 660 S is a flagship-level open-back headphone that delivers outstanding sound quality with excellent accuracy and detail. The headphones are designed with a lightweight and ergonomic construction, making them comfortable for extended use. The HD 660 S features Sennheiser’s proprietary transducer technology, ensuring exceptional sound reproduction across a wide frequency range.
The ear cups are built with breathable and soft material, providing a comfortable fit and reducing heat buildup during long gaming sessions. The headband is adjustable, ensuring a secure fit for any head size. The HD 660 S also has a detachable cable for easy replacement and added durability.
One potential downside of the Sennheiser HD 660 S is its relatively high price point compared to other open-back headphones on the market. However, the exceptional sound and durable build quality make it a worthwhile investment for serious gamers and audiophiles.
The Beyerdynamic DT 990 Pro is a renowned open-back headphone, particularly popular among gamers for its exceptional sound quality and wide soundstage. The headphones are equipped with a 45mm dynamic driver that provides excellent detail and accuracy across the frequency spectrum. The sound signature of the DT 990 Pro is known to be bright and analytical, making it a perfect choice for competitive gaming.
The comfort level of the DT 990 Pro is another significant advantage. The velour ear pads are soft and breathable, preventing heat buildup and allowing for extended gaming sessions without discomfort. The headphones also have a padded headband that evenly distributes the weight of the headphones, reducing pressure points on the head.
The build quality of the DT 990 Pro is excellent, with sturdy construction that can withstand regular use without showing signs of wear and tear. The headphones feature a metal frame and a thick plastic shell that feels durable and sturdy. Additionally, the DT 990 Pro comes with a detachable cable, allowing for easy replacement if needed.
One potential drawback of the DT 990 Pro is its sound signature, which can be too bright or analytical for some listeners who prefer a warmer or more natural sound. Additionally, the open-back design of the headphones can lead to sound leakage, making them unsuitable for use in noisy environments or around other people.
Philips Fidelio X2HR:
The Philips Fidelio X2HR is a popular mid-range open-back headphone that delivers a natural and accurate sound signature with a comprehensive frequency response. The headphones feature large, breathable ear pads and an adjustable headband, which ensures a comfortable fit for extended gaming sessions. The X2HR also boasts high-quality build materials, including metal and leather, giving the headphones a premium feel.
Additionally, the headphone cable is detachable, which adds to its overall durability and convenience. Overall, the Philips Fidelio X2HR is an excellent choice for gamers looking for comfortable, well-built headphones with a natural sound signature.
The Audio-Technica ATH-AD700X is a great open-back headphone that offers an impressive soundstage and accurate sound reproduction, which is especially impressive for its budget-friendly price point. The headphones are lightweight and comfortable, featuring a 3D wing support system that conforms to the shape of the user’s head for a personalized fit.
The ATH-AD700X also has a detachable cable, making it easier to replace or upgrade. The build quality is durable enough to withstand daily use during extended gaming sessions. However, you should note that the bass response may not be as powerful as some other headphones, which may be a drawback for gamers who prefer a more bass-heavy sound.
The Audeze LCD-2 is an open-back headphone that delivers a warm, detailed sound signature with exceptional bass response. It is an excellent choice for gamers who want to immerse themselves in the game entirely. The headphones feature a comfortable fit and a sturdy build quality, ensuring they can withstand prolonged use during extended gaming sessions.
One potential drawback of the LCD-2 is its weight, which some users may find uncomfortable over extended periods. Additionally, while the cable is detachable, it may need to be longer at just 2.5 meters for some users. However, the 6.35mm connector offers various connectivity options, making it easy to use with multiple devices. Overall, the Audeze LCD-2 is a solid choice for gamers who prioritize sound quality and bass response.
The AKG K712 is a premium open-back headphone with exceptional sound quality, comprehensive frequency response, and detailed audio performance. Its open-back design provides a natural and spacious soundstage that can enhance the gaming experience. The K712 Pro also features a comfortable and secure fit thanks to its self-adjusting leather headband and soft earpads.
Its durable construction and replaceable parts ensure it can withstand long hours of use. The K712 Pro also includes a convenient detachable cable, allowing easy replacement or customization. However, its high impedance may require a separate headphone amplifier for optimal performance. Its premium price may only be suitable for some budgets.
The Philips headphones are popular open-back headphones among gamers due to their impressive sound quality and comfortable design. With its spacious and detailed sound signature, the SHP9500 offers an immersive gaming experience, allowing gamers to hear in-game sounds and footsteps accurately. The open-back design contributes to a broader soundstage, creating a more natural and realistic listening experience.
One of the standout features of the SHP9500 is its comfortable fit. The headphone is lightweight, and the ear cups are large and well-padded, providing a comfortable and secure fit for extended gaming sessions; This makes it an excellent option for gamers who need comfortable headphones that won’t cause ear fatigue or discomfort.
Additionally, the SHP9500 comes with a detachable cable, which allows for easy replacement and customization. The cable is also braided and durable, ensuring longevity and reliability. The headphone’s build quality is solid and durable, ensuring it can withstand the wear and tear of regular use.
While the SHP9500 has many advantages, there may be better options for those who prefer a more bass-heavy sound signature. The open-back design of the headphone can also lead to sound leakage, which may be a concern for those who prefer more privacy or who play in shared living spaces.
Sennheiser open back headphones
The Sennheiser HD 700 is an open-back headphone with exceptional sound quality and detail. Its open-back design allows for a wide soundstage and natural sound reproduction, making it an excellent choice for gaming. The frequency response range is from 8Hz to 44kHz, which is more comprehensive than most headphones on the market, ensuring every detail is captured.
One of the main advantages of the HD 700 is its comfortable fit. The ear cups are large and well-padded, and the adjustable headband allows you to achieve the perfect fit; This makes it comfortable to wear for extended gaming sessions without any discomfort or fatigue.
The HD 700 also features lightweight and durable construction. The ear cups are made of high-quality materials. The headband is reinforced with metal, ensuring the headphones can withstand regular use. The detachable cable adds to the durability factor, as you can replace it.
The HD 700 delivers an immersive audio experience in terms of sound quality. The sound is clear and detailed across the entire frequency range, allowing you to hear every detail of the in-game audio. The bass is punchy and tight, while the mids and highs are well-defined and accurate. The broad soundstage also helps to create a more immersive gaming experience.
One potential downside of the HD 700 is that it requires a powerful amplifier to get the most out of it. While you can use it with a regular headphone jack, you may only achieve the full sound quality with an amplifier.
The Focal clear headphones are widely regarded as high-end open-back headphones with exceptional sound quality and a wide soundstage for an immersive gaming experience. One of the key advantages of the Focal Clear is its excellent sound quality, characterized by its detailed and accurate sound signature. This feature makes it ideal for gamers who prioritize sound accuracy and precision.
Another advantage of the Focal Clear is its comfortable fit and lightweight construction. This headphone is designed with a padded headband and ear cups, which provide a comfortable and secure fit even during long gaming sessions. Its lightweight design also ensures that users can wear it for extended periods without experiencing any discomfort.
The Focal Clear also boasts a detachable cable, which enhances its usability and versatility. This feature allows gamers to customize the cable length or replace it with another cable. The detachable cable also makes it easy to store the headphone without worrying about tangling the cable.
In terms of build quality, the Focal Clear is a durable headphone that is built to last. It is constructed with high-quality materials that ensure longevity and withstand daily wear and tear. This durability makes it a reliable and long-lasting investment for gamers looking for high-quality headphones.
Despite its many advantages, the Focal Clear has a few downsides. One of its most notable drawbacks is its high price tag, making it an expensive option for gamers on a budget. Additionally, as an open-back headphone, it does not provide the best noise isolation, which can be a concern for gamers who prefer a quieter gaming environment.
Overall, these nine open-back headphones provide excellent sound quality, comfort, and durability for gamers. Consider your budget and specific needs to determine which headphone is best for you.
Comparison of the Top open back Headphones for Gaming
Sound quality and accuracy comparison:
- The Focal Clear headphones offer a neutral sound signature with excellent clarity, detail, and imaging. They produce a wide soundstage that enhances the gaming experience by making it feel more immersive.
- The Sennheiser HD 700 headphones also offer a neutral sound signature with excellent detail and imaging. They produce a wide soundstage that helps to enhance the gaming experience.
- The Beyerdynamic DT 990 Pro headphones have a bright sound signature with emphasized highs and lows. While this can be great for some music genres, it might not be ideal for gaming, where a neutral sound signature is preferred.
- The Philips SHP9500 headphones have a balanced sound signature with clarity and detail. They produce a decent soundstage that helps to enhance the gaming experience.
- The AKG K712 Pro headphones offer a neutral sound signature with excellent detail and imaging. They produce a wide soundstage that makes the gaming experience more immersive.
- The Audeze LCD-2 headphones offer a warm sound signature with good detail and imaging. While this sound signature can be great for music, it might not be ideal for gaming, where a neutral sound signature is preferred.
- The Audio-Technica ATH-AD700X headphones offer a balanced sound signature with good detail and imaging. They produce a wide soundstage that enhances the gaming experience.
- The Philips Fidelio X2HR headphones have a warm sound signature with good detail and imaging. While this can be great for music, it might not be ideal for gaming, where a neutral sound signature is preferred.
- The Sennheiser HD 660 S headphones offer a balanced sound signature with excellent detail and imaging. They produce a wide soundstage that enhances the gaming experience.
Comfort and fit comparison:
- The Focal Clear headphones have a comfortable fit with plush earpads and a lightweight design.
- The Sennheiser HD 700 headphones also have a comfortable fit with plush earpads and a lightweight design.
- The Beyerdynamic DT 990 Pro headphones have a comfortable fit with velour earpads and an adjustable headband.
- The Philips SHP9500 headphones have a comfortable fit with breathable earpads and a lightweight design.
- The AKG K712 Pro headphones have a comfortable fit with soft earpads and an adjustable headband.
- The Audeze LCD-2 headphones have a comfortable fit with leather earpads and a sturdy frame.
- The Audio-Technica ATH-AD700X headphones have a comfortable fit with soft earpads and a lightweight design.
- The Philips Fidelio X2HR headphones have a comfortable fit with memory foam earpads and a lightweight design.
- The Sennheiser HD 660 S headphones have a comfortable fit with plush earpads and an adjustable headband.
Build quality and durability comparison:
Beyerdynamic DT 990 Pro: The DT 990 Pro is sturdy with a metal headband and ear cups. It also comes with a coiled cable that can withstand wear and tear.
Sennheiser HD 660 S: The HD 660 S is built with high-quality materials and feels durable. It features detachable cables for easy replacement and maintenance.
Audio–Technica ATH–AD700X: The ATH-AD700X has a lightweight design that feels slightly fragile, but the build quality is still decent. The headband and ear cups are plastic but still durable enough to withstand daily use.
Philips Fidelio X2HR: The Fidelio X2HR has a solid build with a metal frame and high-quality materials. The ear cups are made of breathable fabric and feel comfortable and durable.
Audeze LCD–2: The LCD-2 is built with premium materials and feels extremely durable. It features a sturdy metal frame and leather ear pads, providing excellent comfort and durability.
AKG K712 Pro: The K712 Pro has a robust build with a metal headband and plastic ear cups. It comes with two detachable cables for added durability and flexibility.
Philips SHP9500: The SHP9500 is lightweight with a plastic headband and ear cups. It feels slightly fragile but is still durable enough for daily use.
Beyerdynamic DT 880 Pro: The DT 880 Pro has a solid build with a metal headband and ear cups. It also features a detachable cable for easy replacement and maintenance.
Sennheiser HD 700: The HD 700 is built with high-quality materials and feels sturdy. It features a metal headband, ear cups, and a detachable cable for added durability.
In conclusion, open-back headphones offer gamers a more natural and immersive sound experience than closed-back headphones. They also allow for better airflow, making them more comfortable to wear for extended periods.
After comparing and analyzing the top 9 open-back headphones for gaming, we have come up with the following summary of the top 5:
Focal Clear – Excellent sound quality, comfortable fit, and premium build quality, but expensive.
Sennheiser HD 700 – Excellent sound quality and comfortable fit, but bulky and may require an amp to reach its full potential.
Audeze LCD–2 – Superb sound quality but heavy and may require an amp to reach its full potential.
Philips Fidelio X2HR – Good sound quality and comfortable fit, but bass-heavy and may not be suitable for all music genres.
AKG K712 Pro – Balanced sound quality and comfortable fit, but it may need to be tighter for some users.
Based on our analysis and comparison, we highly recommend the Focal Clear as the best open-back headphones for gaming due to its exceptional sound quality, comfortable fit, and premium build quality. However, other suitable options may exist for those on a tight budget.
When selecting open-back headphones for gaming, it’s essential to consider factors such as sound quality and accuracy, comfort and fit, build quality and durability, and cable length and connectivity options. Doing so lets you make an informed decision that best suits your needs and preferences.
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