Best Open Back Headphones for Gaming

When it comes to gaming, a quality pair of headphones can make a huge impact on the whole experience, increasing your immersion, improving sound quality and even helping you improve your individual performance!

Sound design is one of the most integral and innovative aspects of game design. And whether it’s a competitive advantage you seek, or a deeper, higher quality experience, a quality pair of gaming headphones will be able to deliver this experience, and there are other benefits too.

Using headphones instead of speakers can help reduce noise for your roommates or the people you live with, and can prevent distractions from taking you out of your experience.

They can also provide a very high quality of sound, making them a very popular choice among gamers.

However, it can be hard to find a quality pair of open backed headphones. Because the market is very competitive and full of competing brands, as well as a plethora of designs, this can make choosing a particular product very difficult.

In order to ensure you make the right choice, we’ve compiled a list of some of the best open backed headphones for gaming available. We’ve looked into models from some of the best brands, featuring some of the best performance, to enable you to find the perfect set of headphones without needing to take time out from gaming to research them.

We’ve also added a small buyers guide to highlight key features to look out for in quality gaming headphones, to ensure that you can find a quality product that meets all your needs and provides you with an amazing experience, as well as to answer any questions you may have.

Let’s take a look at the headphones themselves and what they have to offer.

Best Open Back Headphones for Gaming

Philips Audio SHP9500

Phillips are one of the biggest brands in the audio industry, and have a legacy of excellent speakers and headphones – which means their gaming headsets benefit from years of research and refinement, helping them to provide a superior product at a great and competitive price.

The SHP9500 may not have the catchiest name, but they have it where it counts, with excellent 50mm neodymium drivers which provide a rich and high quality sound, as well as low impedance. They also boast a wide frequency range, which will be more than suitable for handling the broad and dynamic range of sounds that video games make use of, from faint footsteps to huge explosions and gunfire.

These headphones use an acoustic, open backed design, which allows for very nice audio quality – which doesn’t feel too impactful or restrained. There are other excellent features, such as a long cable for easy use in rooms of varying sizes, comfortable ear cups, a secure and well cushioned headband, and the option to install a 3.5mm jack microphone if you want to use one.

Overall, this is a very competitive pair of headphones with an understated aesthetic, excellent sound quality and features, which can be used on the commute or for gaming – making it an excellent all round choice to start us off.

Pros

  • 50mm Neodymium Drivers
  • Long cable
  • Comfortable
  • 12-35000Hz frequency response
  • Light
  • Versatile

Cons

  • Not super portable

Audio-Technica ATH-AD700X

Audio-Technica are another powerhouse in the audio industry, making some of the best equipment and headphones available.

The immediately apparent benefit of these headphones is that they are incredibly comfortable, and work well for very long gaming sessions where you totally lose track of time and are absorbed into another world.

The headband is very comfortable and the earcups are well padded. However, the open back design reduces the pressure on your ears and creates a very open and comfortable environment that doesn’t restrain the sound the headphones deliver. This helps in making the mid and high frequencies especially polished and enjoyable.


The 53mm drivers are powerful and handle sound reliably, but it’s a shame that they don’t appear to be neodymium magnets.

The frequency range is quite wide, from 20 to 20000 Hz, which is ample for most all games and experiences.

Overall this is another superb open backed headphone that has a focus on comfort and delivers everything you could want or need for gaming.

Pros

  • 53mm Drivers
  • Open backed design
  • Very Comfortable
  • 20-20000Hz Frequency range
  • Bobbin-wound voice coils for excellent high/mids

Cons

  • Not very portable

Sennheiser PC38X Gaming Headset

Sennheiser is a name and brand that commands respect in the audio world, and almost every audiophile will claim Sennheiser as one of their most highly regarded brands, due to a legacy of incredibly high quality audio. Their reliability and innovation makes them one of the longest standing and most well loved brands in the world.

The PC38X is an interesting product as it attempts to marry Sennheisers legacy and experience in audio with the rise of the gaming world. The result, as you can imagine, is an excellent pair of headphones that works astonishingly well for gaming.

 The aesthetic design is excellent and sleek, but the performance is also superb thanks to a very wide frequency range, driven by new and redesigned neodymium drivers. These drivers are the same ones found on Sennheisers GSP 500 and 600 range headphones.

This delivers excellent audio quality through lows, mids and highs and the open backed design facilitates a more natural and overwhelming experience that really suits video games, particularly musical and tense moments in game.

They are very comfortable too, thanks to ample padding on the headband and ear cups. The package includes various accessories including additional ear cups and an integrated boom microphone, which allows for clear and high quality communication during the most hectic gaming moments.

These are a superb pair of headphones and the only real drawback is that they are slightly more expensive. However, this is to be expected given their superior design and performance as well as quality.

Pros

  • Sleek aesthetic
  • Included microphone
  • Widely compatible
  • Redesigned Neodymium Drivers
  • 10-30000Hz Frequency Response
  • Excellent comfort
  • Various accessories

Cons

  • Slightly more expensive

Buyer’s Guide

In gaming, there are many things to look for and consider to ensure you’re getting the best performance and experience.

A good monitor, a good console or PC as well as peripherals and internet access mean there are many things to keep track of and also many things to forget when it comes to finding the best performance possible.

Headphones are something which are continually developing and as such, it can be daunting to find a quality pair of cans, especially as the language surrounding headphones is often confusing and puts many people off delving into their performance and features.

In this buyers guide, we aim to highlight key features to consider when looking for new headphones, to help you find the right product for you and ensure you’re getting the best performance possible.

Design

This governs everything. From open backed, to close backed, to wired or wireless, the differences are sometimes less obvious than they seem.

For example, open backed headphones are less likely to cancel outside noise, but offer an often superior audio experience due to the more natural environment in which the sound reverberates. Closed back headphones offer more sound isolation, but often a lower quality of sound.

Knowing what you need is key to finding the right pair of headphones, and this is particularly important when choosing a particular design.

Sound Quality

Arguably the most important aspect of headphone design, sound quality is governed by the frequency range of the headphones, as well as their impedance and the quality of the drivers.

Most headphones today have a very wide range and will deliver excellent quality, however some are better than others, and the wider the range, the higher quality the sound will be in general. Especially if the impedance is lower and the drivers are made of neodymium and are suitably robust.

Connectivity

Connectivity is important as it governs how practical headphones are to you. Are you fine with plugging them in and dealing with cables? Or would you prefer to go wireless?

Do you have multiple devices you want to be able to connect to or just a single PC or console you want to game on? Consider all these factors to ensure you get the best out of your headphones.

Comfort

Comfort is also very important for headphones, as they are often worn for extended periods of time. Discomfort can ruin a perfectly good experience, no matter how good the sound quality is.

Avoiding this distraction is critical, so look for good headband support and padding around the earcups, as well as quality, long lasting materials to ensure reliability and longevity in your purchase.