Best Open Back Headphones for Gaming in 2021
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Having exceptional audio while gaming is a necessity with any modern title not only for improving immersion in single player games, but also when dropping into multiplayer modes, hearing those all-important footsteps of your enemies. Open back headphones are a solid choice when trying to pick a headphone type for gaming as they not only provide comfort but great audio quality too.
Now, not every pair of open back headphones are up to the challenge for this purpose and therefore, we’ve carefully constructed a list of the best open back headphones for gaming so that you have a consolidated list to choose from.
How We Choose
In whittling down the variety of open back headphones to select the best options for gaming, we took a look at the whole market and selected them on some criteria that allow them to excel in this area. Some of these included audio configuration, comfort, and gaming-specific features so that you can secure the top experience.
Enough talking about how we chose them, here are the best open back headphones for gaming.
Best Open Back Headphones for Gaming
Best Open Back Headphones for Gaming
Astro Gaming A40 TR + MixAmp Pro TR
Astro is a massive player in the gaming market, creating probably some of the best peripherals around. Therefore, this means that it’s not a shock that one of their headsets makes the list of best open back headphones for gaming.
The model that we think is the pick of the bunch is the A40 TR which also comes bundled with the MixAmp Pro TR.
First off, let’s get the MixAmp out the way. Something that you don’t see too often when looking for open back headphones is the inclusion of one of these but it only amplifies your gaming experience. You can control your audio better and fine tune it to your liking. So, with it being thrown in with the A40s can only be a plus.
Now, back to the headphones themselves. The A40s feature Astro’s V2 audio in which delivers pro quality audio for gamers when they need it most, whether that’s in the most intense situations or kicking back in your Minecraft world. This V2 audio is backed up by Dolby Audio Drivers which as we all know, is a name that we can trust.
For those wanting to get talking to your squad, there’s an attached high-quality microphone that can be lifted up or down. If you want to remove it and just use the headphones portion of the Astros you can too, handy for those that either don’t need a microphone or would prefer not to have it inserted when mobile gaming for example.
Looking at the design, it’s extremely slick with carbon fiber looking plates on the outside of the ear cups and a sleek black and aluminum finish. The headband is well cushioned also allowing for top tier comfort. Additionally, the ear cups are made from synthetic leather which feels great and only improves audio quality.
Best Value Open Back Headphones for Gaming
Sennheiser GAME ONE
Sennheiser is the one brand that always gets featured on these types of roundups simply because they create the creme de la creme of audio equipment. While traditionally you might expect to see their headphones for either more casual or professional use, they also produce some gaming options that we think you’ll enjoy.
Our pick from their lineup of products for open back headphones for gaming is the GAME ONE Gaming Headset as we think that it has that Sennheiser premium sound that you’d expect to see in professional-grade devices but also with added features that can be utilized by you gamers out there.
Looking initially at sound quality, you get the usual premium sound dynamics, engineered for incredibly natural and accurate, high fidelity sound. Moreover, with Sennheiser’s proprietary speaker system, you’re delivered bass extension balanced with the other frequencies to deliver extreme acoustic clarity. These aspects are ideal for those who want to be immersed in your favorite single player games or need to hear the footsteps of an incoming enemy.
You do receive an attached microphone with the GAME ONE Gaming Headset which is brilliant news for those wanting to play online and communicate with your team and something that other brands fail to include on their open back headphones.
The design of the Sennheisers isn’t particularly impressive for you gamers with the traditional black aesthetic. But, it does come with red accents which are pleasing on the eye and add a little flair. As always though, Sennheiser has put a huge amount of effort into the comfortability including a padded headband and luxurious earcups that allow you to game for hours on end and not really feel fatigue. This is a huge plus and in our eyes, comfortability trumps looks any day.
In terms of compatibility, you’re looking at pretty much all gaming devices on the market covering PC, Xbox, PlayStation, and even the Nintendo Switch making it extremely versatile for whenever you need it.
Best Professional Open Back Headphones for Gaming
The Audio-Technica ATH-R70x brings professionalism to open back headphones for gaming with the Audio-Technica and their premium build and sound quality.
In bringing you superior audio, the ATH-R70x uses high-efficiency magnets and pure alloy magnetic circuit design to reduce distortion and ensure accurate and extended high-frequency response. Moreover, due to their aluminum honeycomb-mesh housing, it provides a natural and spacious open-back sound which is nice for gaming. The L/R signal is actually independent meaning you can slot in the cable into one or both of the cups allowing you to hear sound in one or both as you please.
We’ve mentioned the premium build quality but let’s delve into that a bit more. The materials used are obviously of high quality and are extremely durable even when dropped. Additionally, you get a unique looking headband that not only supports well but is well cushioned. The headphones themselves are incredibly light too which is always nice and will reduce fatigue when wearing.
Best Open Back Headphones for Gaming under $100
A lesser known brand in the audio space but certainly not lackluster in its approach to the industry is Grado who produces some particularly high quality devices for your ears to enjoy. The SR80e model is one that offers up that open back nature as well as fantastic audio quality for you to take advantage of while gaming.
Looking at that audio quality, the Grado SR80e utilizes improved bass resonance and carefully constructed metal cased drivers to provide crystal clear sound that is also very detailed at the same time. This is ideal when gaming and will provide you a more cinematic experience when in open world titles.
From the product image we’ve included above, you can see that the SR80e offers a more stripped back look which is an aesthetic that a lot of people opt for this day in age. The build quality is also stellar meaning it won’t be failing on your any time soon.
Where it does fall down though unfortunately is the headband. While it’s made from high quality materials, there is no cushioning and therefore, you may experience fatigue when on those longer gaming sessions. This could be a deal breaker for you but don’t forget they do offer top tier sound quality and are nice looking too.
Best Audiophile Open Back Headphones for Gaming
The second entry from Audio-Technica in this list of best open back headphones for gaming is the ATH-AD500X. While again, it’s not the most attractive model name, they still offer up some solid overall specs.
The sound that you’ll be receiving from the ATH-AD500X is expertly tuned and of extreme clarity. The newly designed 53 mm drivers with CCAW voice coils reproduce remarkably natural sound, with deep, impactful bass and outstanding vocal projection which is useful when gaming to hear in-game characters and ambient noise.
Again, similar to our other Audio-Technica pick, the build quality is fantastic and is very durable. There’s a similar headband too which means you’re getting top tier comfortability and different head size options to make it the perfect fit.
Unlike the ATH-R70x we detailed earlier, there’s no individual L/R cables which means you’ll be listening in both ears no matter what. Not really a downside but if you’re wanting this functionality, maybe the first option might be more attractive for you.
Things To Consider
Wired vs Wireless
One thing that always needs to be considered when purchasing any audio equipment is wired or wireless. This is especially true when purchasing open back headphones for gaming because when you throw gaming into the mix, you might have a different opinion than usual.
Wired headphones in general are useful as they don’t need to be charged and therefore, you won’t encounter any awkward situations where you lose audio mid-game. However, you do have those wires getting in the way so keep that in mind. Obviously, wireless options do not, which is a massive upside, and with the technology of today, audio quality is really on par with wired variants.
It’s completely down to your preference and budget!
In the better open back headphones for gaming, you may see the inclusion of a MixAmp. If you’re not sure what a MixAmp is, what it enables you to do is control a variety of audio options that ultimately determine what sounds you hear. A MixAmp is extremely useful for when gaming as you can enable and disable voice chat, increase or decrease the chat and in-game sound, as well as a number of other options.
When weighing up open back headphones options, a bundled MixAmp is always going to be a plus but if you’re not an audiophile and don’t mind the standard mix that comes out of your device, maybe it’s not worth the extra cost.
Astro Gaming A40 TR + MixAmp Pro TR
So, which set of headphones deserves the crown as the best open back headphones for gaming? We think that without a doubt it’s the Astro Gaming A40 TR Wired Headset + MixAmp Pro TR. This is because they detail the top specs overall both in terms of sound quality and additional features. It also has that MixAmp which 99% of other open back headphones don’t offer and really allows you to fine tune your audio which is almost a necessity when in 1v1 PVP situations. Moreover, you get a microphone built-in too which is certainly needed when trying to communicate with your team and if you don’t have a separate microphone set up.