Having the perfect set-up is key for gamers who want to make sure they’re optimizing their space and equipment to get the most out of their gaming experience. You want to make sure that your keyboard is responsive and your monitors clear so that you can feel fully immersed, whether you’re a solo player or part of a team. A critical item of your set-up should also include a good pair of open-back headphones. Open-back headphones are designed so that air can pass through the ear cups to the speaker element. This is helpful when you don’t want pressure to build up or echoes to be present within your headphones. On the other hand, closed-back headphones are completely sealed around the back so that it isolates sound right around your ear.
For gaming, we recommend open-back headphones because the audio will be more clear and natural overall, you’ll be able to better pinpoint where sounds are coming from within your game, and you also won’t get the kind of pressure that you tend to get when you wear headphones for too long. They’re a great upgrade from your standard earbuds and will make a huge difference in your gaming experience and really help you improve your ability to be more responsive and agile in the moment. This is a highly saturated market, however, and it can be daunting to think about where to begin if you’re searching for your first pair or an upgrade for what you have already. Here, we’ve put together our 2020 picks that will help you choose the best open back headphones for all your gaming needs.
The Top Open Back Headphones For Gaming In 2020
Grado is typically known for its high-quality headphones at the higher end of the price spectrum, but the SR80e is a great budget option that still provides you with all the benefits of having something manufactured by Grado. The SR60e delivers warm tones, excellent dynamics, and rich, full-bodied vocals, along with a great kick-drum. It is designed with new polymer materials to better damp any sort of resonant distortion in the plastic housing to give you an honest response to all your gaming audio needs. The ear pads are fairly standard and the pleather headband is adjustable so that you can ensure a great fit for those marathon gaming sessions without getting hot spots around your ears or other pressure points on your head. The design of the headphones are fairly plain, but the fullness of the sound makes up for any aesthetic features that you otherwise would want. One reviewer noted that they “would go as far to say they are the best headphones I have ever heard. Brilliant sound stage, just enough bass to not be overwhelming, and in games… felt like you were near cheating on how well you could hear things.”
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The DT990 Pro headphones are the perfect combination of next-level comfort and solid audio quality. It has extremely soft circumaural ear cups and has a leather headband, which fits much more comfortably on your head than some of the other synthetic ones on the market. The connecting coiled cable creates a nominal sound pressure level of 96dB and it has a frequency response of 5-35,000Hz. As a result, you get clear and transparent treble sounds with spacious mids and a strong bass. You also get outstanding tonal depth and will be able to discern even the smallest of changes within your environment, perfect for identifying enemies or other unknown dangers in your game. As a testament to its comfort for those marathon gaming sessions, one reviewer noted that “given the light-weight form factor and velour pads, I found the DT 990 pros to be cloud-like even after hours of usage.”
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Also clocking in under $100, the ATH-AD700X are another great pair of budget open-back headphones with excellent audio quality for all your gaming needs. These have good build, with a total ear-fit design, padded headband, and self-adjusting 3D wing support to ensure that it sits on your head comfortably for long hours at a time. As Audio-Technica is also known for its sound quality, you can be sure that the newly designed 53mm drivers and frequency range of 20-20,000Hz will deliver clear midranges and trebles. The impedance is at 38ohms and the CCAW voice coils are bobbin-wound for excellent power handling. These are also lightweight and easy to bring around due to its aluminum honeycomb casing, but it is still sturdy enough so that you don’t have to worry about being too delicate with handling it. One reviewer raved that “I don’t know how these Audio Technica ATH-AD700X have done it, but they nailed the directional audio. I can feel when someone is in front of me to the right… or behind me to the left. The way the noise hits in the headphones is amazing! It’s greatly improved my game since now instead of hearing footsteps and trying to guess where it’s coming from I can actually know with 100% assurance that they’re to the right and in front of me or whatever the case may be.”
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- Sennheiser GAME ONE Gaming Headset, Open Acoustic, Noise-canceling mic, Flip-to-Mute, XXL plush velvet ear pads, PC, Mac, Xbox One, PS4, Nintendo Switch, and Smartphones – Black
The Sennheiser GAME ONE is designed specifically for, you guessed it, gaming and it lives up to the hype. It comes with exchangeable cables that allow for interoperability with multiple gaming consoles and platforms so that you can use one pair for all your gaming needs. You’ll get a frequency response range of 15-28,000Hz and it has original transducer technology to deliver extreme sound clarity and accuracy, while the noise cancelling mic ensures that you can have crystal clear conversations without any background noise getting in the way. It also has a convenient flip-to-mute feature so that you can easily mute yourself by lifting the boom while still staying in the game. One gamer commented that “The sound detail from these are crisp and clear. Exactly what I would expect from Sennheiser! The velvet ear covers are very comfortable and the headset itself is very light. This will be nice for long hours of game play.”
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