Best Open Back Gaming Headsets

Best Open Back Gaming Headsets – Any of the above may be the best open back pair for your gaming needs, depending on your unique requirements. Each pair has above average sound clarity but some more so than the others, and that’s also the case with the comfort.

It comes down to a matter of personal preference. The pesky budget may also affect the decision. But I’m confident that you’ll be able to put any of the previously discussed open back headphones to good use.


So many sound effects are coming at you at different frequencies and from all directions at the same time. Therefore, favoring the low end over everything else won’t do justice to the in-game sound.

1.Audio Technica

Pros & Cons


Pros & Cons


Pros & Cons


Pros & Cons


Pros & Cons

6.Audeze EL-8

Pros & Cons

7.Philips Audio

Pros & Cons

8.AKG Pro

Pros & Cons

9.Monolith M1060

Pros & Cons


Pros & Cons

Best Open Back Gaming Headsets – BUYER’S GUIDE


The soundstage is, in my opinion, the most important factor in a pair of gaming headphones.

A soundstage is an imaginary three-dimensional space created by the high-fidelity reproduction of sound. A wide and open soundstage means you can feel that different sounds are coming from different locations. This could be to your sides, above and below and close or far away.

For obvious reasons, having this notion of locality is important in gaming. In competitive FPS, it can even have some advantages, like being able to determine where the footsteps are coming from.

Open-back headphones are naturally better at creating bigger soundstages than closed-back headphones. So by picking open-back ones, you’re already off to a good start.

Sound Profile

Sound profile is an important factor in choosing your headphones. It describes how the headphones emphasize certain frequency ranges.

There are various types of sound profile:

  • Flat: This is the most neutral sound profile. Treble, Mids and Bass are true to source.
  • Balanced: The treble, mid and bass and slightly tweaked in a balanced manner to make the audio more pleasurable to listen to.
  • Bright: The treble and mids are boosted for a ‘brighter’ sound.
  • Bassy: The bass is cranked up for a more noticeable low end.
  • V-shaped: The treble and bass are artificially increased so everything sounds more exciting.

In gaming you’ll typically want to stick with balanced or bright headphones. Bright headphones are great for cinematic and gaming audio, where dialogue and crashing sounds are common.


Gamers generally don’t game for short amounts of time. In my experience, gamers will often not leave their chair for hours at a time. This means they need headphones that are comfortable for extended periods.

Generally, the best way to determine headphone comfort is to look at the features of the headphones.

Comfortable headphones are highly adjustable, are lightweight, and have lots of padding on the earcups and headband. Most of them should have plenty of room for your ears, too. But you will have to check out the reviews to determine that. Keep in mind that comfort is subjective. If you have bigger ears or a big head, you will have a harder time finding comfortable headphones.

Open-back vs Closed-back

From a gamer’s perspective, are open-back headphones the way to go?

The answer to that is quite subjective, but many believe they are.

Since you’re gaming at home, it’s unlikely you need to worry about sound leaking and disturbing others. You also don’t need to isolate yourself from outside noise, provided that your room is a quiet place.

Given that open-back headphones have a more natural soundstage and generally sound better, it just makes a lot more sense to go with them.

Learn more about the differences between open-back and closed-back headphones.

Frequently Asked Questions

Will sound leak out or into open back headphones?

Yes. Sound will leak out of these headphones. In my experience, you can use open back headphones at 50% volume without an offensive amount of sound leaking out.

You will also have to deal with background noise leaking in, because their open nature lacks noise isolation.

For those reasons, I only recommend open back gaming headphones if you have a quiet place to game.

Do I need an amp for these gaming headphones?

If the impedance (measured in ohms) of the headphones is above 32 ohms, then you will begin to benefit from an amp.

An amp isn’t strictly necessary in most cases. However, hard-to-drive headphones will benefit immensely from having a headphone amp.

Go ahead and check out my headphone amp buying guide if you want to learn more about them.

Are audiophile gaming headphones worth it?

In my opinion, yes. You will literally hear sounds that you didn’t hear with lower quality headphones. And the sounds you did hear will sound so much better with higher quality headphones. Plus, they will be much more comfortable to wear.

What makes open back headphones so special?

Open back headphones don’t have a plastic exterior on the earcup, so sound does not reverberate in them.

As for comfort, they are breathable, which means things won’t feel clammy. The only real downside is that sound leaks in and sounds leaks out.

What about Surround Sound?

You don’t really find open-backs with true surround sound, which would require several discrete speakers within each ear cup. That’s because these type of headphone are traditionally aimed towards listening to music.

Even most gaming headsets only give you virtual surround sound, with some exceptions like the Asus Strix 7.1 gaming headset which has 10 discrete neodymium-magnet drivers.

Do I need to upgrade my audio card?

If you buy budget headphones, then you shouldn’t need to update your audio card. Integrated sound cards have come a long way from where they were just 10 years ago.

However, if you purchase high fidelity headphones, then you will really want to consider investing in a better internal sound card.

The other option is to run everything through an external USB DAC and headphone amp. This is the more popular way of doing things these days.

Are there any wireless options?

You won’t really find any wireless open headphones (Wifi or Bluetooth), because wireless signals generally suffer from a loss in audio quality. However, you can pick up a wireless headset, like the HyperX Cloud II Wireless or Steelseries Arctis 9X, if you really need it.

Will better headphones make me more competitive?


Improved imaging can potentially mean you can better locate those approaching footsteps or make out otherwise unheard audio cues.

A lot of this depends on a game’s sound design. Games with excellent sound design (such as Rainbow Six: Siege) make it possible to infer more information via sound.

Of course, the sound does not play a critical role in a lot of competitive genres. MOBAs and fighting games are obvious examples. But it’s still nice when everything sounds better!


It’s impossible not to be blown away by how far PC and video games have come over the last few decades. But it’s not just the graphics. The improvements to audio are just as important when it comes to creating the most immersive experience possible.