8 Best Open Back Headphones for Gaming

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The Best Open Back Headphones for Gaming

 

A less common but equally, if not more powerful alternative to closed back gaming headphones is that of open back headphones. These provide more spacious and open sound that you simply will not experience with other alternatives. If you do not know which open back headphones to get, check out our favorites below and find the one that suits your needs the best.

 

Product Comfort Sound Microphone Price Overall
Sennheiser GSP 500 8/10 9/10 7/10 8/10
Philips SHP9500 8/10 7/10 9/10 8/10
Sennheiser GAME ONE 9/10 8/10 8/10 8.5/10
ASTRO Gaming A40 TR 10/10 8/10 8/10 8.5/10
Beyerdynamic DT 990 Pro 9/10 10/10 9/10 9/10
Audio Technica ATH-AD700X 9/10 8/10 10/10 9/10
Phillips Audio Fidelio X2HR 8/10 8/10 7/10 8/10
Sennheiser HD 599 8/10 8/10   7/10 7/10

 

1. Sennheiser GSP 500

Sennheiser is well known as being a manufacturer of high-quality headphones. The GSP 500 is a shining testament to its manufacturer’s reputation. Compared to its closed back sibling, the GSP 600, these headphones offer higher quality natural and spatial sound.

These differences allow you to become immersed in the environments of expansive and detailed games. Playing The Witcher 3 or Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey results in perceiving every environmental sound, missing none of the detail and variety of their open worlds.

Nonetheless, the GSP 500 are just as essential for your multiplayer and competitive gaming needs. Now you can tell exactly where the enemy team is coming from, being able to hear the direction and distance of an enemy player with amazing accuracy.

The GSP 500 features particularly excellent bass, so much so that I have had difficulty finding another pair of headphones that truly compares. This means that the GSP 500 excels at capturing all frequencies with a level of detail that is rare to find, making returning to a different pair of headphones a much more difficult ordeal.

Featuring a noise-cancelling microphone that guarantees perfect communication for all your multiplayer and co-op needs, your teammates will be hearing your voice crystal clear. This eliminates the need for an external line-in mic which other headphones may require, and which are often lower quality than the one built into the GSP 500.

You will be getting the best of both worlds with the open back letting you listen to events such as your phone ringing or someone calling you, all while guaranteeing that whoever you’re talking to is not receiving the same. The microphone also automatically mutes when put in the upright position, and there is also a volume wheel on the other ear, which shows how Sennheiser likes to make their headphones as practical as possible.

The clamping force is also quite light, especially when compared to other Sennheiser headphones, making this a better fit for those sensitive to it. The design is also incredibly ergonomic and comfortable, with remarkably soft fabric along your ears that is also removable if you would like to swap it for your favorite material. This is paired, however, with a large and oddly wide design, with a lot of wasted space over the headband, which can make it impractical to carry in a backpack or to store in a drawer.

Of course, in order to get such high quality features the price of the GSP 500 is often higher than that of its competitors and could get even higher if you wish to add on anything such as an adapter or a headphone case. This may result in the GSP 500 proving too expensive for those with a tight budget, even when factoring in additional purchases such as an external line-in microphone for a cheaper pair of headphones.

Pros

Pros
  • Fantastic sound quality
  • Incredible bass
  • High quality noise-cancelling mic
  • Durable

Cons

Cons
  • Steep price point
  • Large and bulky

 

You can find them here:

https://amzn.to/3fPJoq6

 

2. Philips SHP9500

Coming in as one of Amazon’s recommended open back headphones, the Philips SHP9500 are a perfect balance between price point and sound quality. For the low price of around $80 US dollars you are getting solid sound quality coupled with a fantastic design and build.

This pair of 32-ohm headphones is remarkably light, coming in at about 290 grams, having highly ergonomic design and taking up little space in storage or transport. The trade-off to note is that due to the smaller design it ends up feeling far more fragile than other larger pairs of headphones, so it would be wise to not treat your SHP9500s roughly or to use a case on them if transporting them in a backpack.

The back on the SHP9500 is even more open than that of other open back headphones at a similar price point. This means that the sound provided by these headphones will also feel much more open than that of other similar alternatives. There is a lot of personality to the sound of the SHP9500, despite lacking the full range of bass capabilities that a different pair would. You can expect some great imaging at the cost of some inconsistency when it comes to both very high and very low-pitched tones, a reasonable trade off to make at this low price point.

The highly open back coupled with comfortable ear cushions leads to a wonderful sense of comfort, as you will be able to game for many hours in a row without your ears feeling warm or tired. They also barely clamp on to your head, making the SHP9500 ideal for those who are sensitive to pressure on their ears.

Pros

Pros
  • Relatively affordable price
  • Wonderful comfort factor
  • Small and lightweight
  • Unique sound

Cons

Cons
  • Not as high sound quality as competitors
  • Could break if treated roughly

 

You can find them here:

https://amzn.to/2B063kT

 

3. Sennheiser GAME ONE

This pair of 50-ohm headphones is designed with gamers in mind to be used across any platform that features a 3.5-millimeter jack input. The GAME ONE plugs directly into an Xbox One or PS4 controller with no issues at all, making this one of the top options for console and PC gamers alike.

In typical Sennheiser fashion, the sound quality is quite great and detailed when you need it to be. To be even more amazed we recommend turning down the game volume and turning up the sound effect volume so you can experience all the variety that comes from a game’s sound effects with little interruptions. The one department where the GAME ONE lacks is capturing bass properly, to the point where it can feel underwhelming, especially when compared to the sheer quality of the GSP 500’s bass.

The microphone gives off solid voice quality with fantastic noise cancelling capabilities, assuring that you can be heard clearly. Just like the GSP 500, the microphone also automatically mutes when you lift it to the upright position. On the other ear you have a volume wheel integrated with the headphone, making for an incredibly intuitive design that ends up being highly practical and ergonomic. It is important to note that the volume wheel only goes down to 25%, so the lack of an option to mute directly from the wheel can be annoying. The audio and mic jack are also separated, which can create an extra headache for those who need to buy a converter for it.

The ear cushions are exceptionally comfortable; however, the material feels rather cheap, like it could split or break at any point. The GAME ONE also happens to let in a lot more outside noise compared to other open back headphones, which could prove distracting when trying to focus on gaming.

Pros

Pros
  • Fantastic sound quality
  • Ideal for console gamers
  • Noise cancelling microphone
  • Wonderful breathability and comfort

Cons

Cons
  • Fabric on the ear cushions feels cheap
  • Lacking bass quality
  • Lets more noise in than its alternatives

 

You can find them here:

https://amzn.to/2BFXpaU

 

4. ASTRO Gaming A40 TR

A tested veteran in the open back gaming headphones space, the A40 TR by ASTRO Gaming is made for any and all gamers. Both console and PC gamers will be able to utilize the A40 TR to fulfill their gaming needs like only a few other headphones can.

The A40 TR plugs in wonderfully into a PS4 controller. With a little bit of tweaking, and pairing it with the MixAmp Pro TR, a highly recommended addition, they can work just as well on an Xbox One controller, something that is notably tricky to get working on certain headphones.

ASTRO Gaming also sells a mod kit for many of its headphones which you can utilize to turn them into closed back whenever you require sound isolation capabilities. These additions give you full control over the experience you can get out of your headphones, something that is hard to find among other alternatives.

The built-in microphone is of excellent quality, muting ambient noises nicely and thus making sure your friends or teammates can hear you with no static or interruptions. Additionally, the mic is detachable and omnidirectional, so you can attach it to whatever side of the headphone you prefer or simply use them without the microphone. This makes the A40 TR unrivaled when it comes to customization and addons for those who are willing to spend a little more in order to get the most out of their gaming headphones.

The audio quality is excellent for gaming, you can get a lot out of the open back sound during competitive gaming and genuinely feel a lot more confident spotting those little details through sound you could have otherwise missed.

They are not the most competitive headphones when it comes to other uses, so for those looking for headphones with the absolute best sound quality, the A40 TR may not be the headphones for them. Nevertheless, the A40 TRs were built focusing on providing an excellent experience for gamers and it sets out to do exactly that.

They are also incredibly comfortable and make longer gaming sessions much easier on your ears. The slightly lower audio quality ends up helping to not fatigue your ears if they are particularly sensitive to certain pitches or noises. They are quite lightweight and do not present a tight clamping force, however they do have some plastic parts on the headband touching the top of your head, which some people may find uncomfortable, especially those with bigger heads.

The volume bar is also awfully close to the headphones, which may result in unintentionally changing the volume. The mute button is also fairly inconsistent, if you want to fully mute you will need to hold it down for a few seconds rather than just tapping it, and older models of the A40 TR don’t actually fully mute but rather greatly decrease the sound. This will often result in some well warranted annoyance when you’re in a situation that requires muting quickly.

Pros

Pros
  • Great for console gamers
  • Solid swappable built-in microphone
  • Incredible customization and add-ons

Cons

Cons
  • Audio quality is not top of the line
  • Volume bar and muting is inconsistent
  • Very expensive for those who want customization

 

You can find them here:

 

https://amzn.to/2VjcMx8

 

5. Beyerdynamic DT 990 Pro

Available in 80 and 250-ohm options, the Beyerdynamic DT 990 Pro fills a space that other open back headphones lack. It features sound capabilities that catch the low and high-pitched tones with much more accuracy than the competition. It holds its own very nicely when it comes to bass, giving other headphones such as the GSP 500 a run for their money. This makes the DT 990 a fantastic pair of headphones to double up for both gaming and music or mixing.

You will be getting one of the more complete audio experiences with the DT 990 Pro, as well as customization options in both color and ohms. Through these options the DT 990 Pro really gives more control over purchasing the product that best suits your gaming needs.

The ear cushions are quite comfortable, and despite the heavier weight compared to most similar headphones, the DT 990 Pro remains lightweight, and can be worn for hours keeping your ears comfortable and cool.

Problems can arise for those who are sensitive to clamping force, as they grip much harder than similar headphones. Likewise, the 250-ohm version can cause ear fatigue for those with more sensitive hearing due to the power of the treble, forcing certain users to use an external amplifier or tune down certain settings.

The 3.0-meter-long 3.5 mm cable is also built into the headphones. This can be an issue for those who prefer shorter cables and can be a huge headache to fix (if at all fixable) when they break or come with any defects.

The build quality of the actual headphones is fantastic, however, as is common from German manufacturers. The polymer plastic used throughout most of the build is of incredible quality despite what pictures may show. Coupled with the larger design, the DT 990 pro can handle being tossed around or being stored much better than other similar headphones, making them a great fit for those who enjoy durability.

Pros

Pros
  • Amazing and unique sound quality
  • Competitive price/quality ratio
  • Comfortable
  • High quality build

Cons

Cons
  • Can cause ear fatigue for certain people
  • Clamp is quite tight
  • Larger and heavier than other alternatives
  • Built in 3.5 mm cable can lead to future headaches

 

You can find them here:

 

https://amzn.to/2Z6LECt

 

6. Audio Technica ATH-AD700X

Audio Technica is one brand that can consistently provide high sound quality in any of their headphones and that likes to keep their designs simple. For those looking for more options that are great on a budget, the Audio Technica ATH-AD700X provide exactly that.

Coming at around $90 US dollars the AD700X gives you solid sound quality at a very reasonable price and provides amazing directional audio. You will be able to tell exactly where enemies and attacks are coming from, giving you more time to react and prepare. Bass is lacking, however, so you will not feel that punchy sensation that you would feel with a more expensive pair of headphones. If you want a similar option on a tighter budget you can also downgrade slightly to the AD500X, which you can pick up for $10 to $20 dollars less.

The AD700X is on the lightest part of the spectrum, weighing slightly more than 260 grams despite not being the smallest pair of headphones. They feature a much more open headband, which lets your head breathe more along with your ears. However, this may result in a high amount of discomfort for those with larger heads as the head wings on either side could end up barely supporting the headphones on your head, putting further weight on your ears. This is a shame as the ear cushions are nicely and naturally angled for maximum comfort. The clamp is also barely noticeable which does negate some of this discomfort.

At such a low price you will be making some sacrifices in bass and build quality, however it is hard to find headphones cheaper than the AD700X and 500X

Pros

Pros
  • Great price
  • As light as it can get

Cons

Cons
  • Lacking some audio detail
  • Open head band can lead to comfort issues

 

You can find them here:

 

https://amzn.to/2A1WpgU

 

7. Phillips Audio Fidelio X2HR

The Philips Audio Fidelio X2HR stands marketed as a more expensive and higher quality version of the previously mentioned SHP9500, and for the most part that is exactly what they are. You will be experiencing much clearer and wider sound with very high-quality bass, removing the necessity for an amplifier for most users. It connects nicely to PS4 and Xbox One controllers without issues and without any sacrifices in sound quality. It also comes with a sturdy plastic pin in order to manage or shorten your cables.

The X2HR weighs more than the lightest pairs of headphones, coming in at about 400 grams. At its weight it remains much lighter than most headphones at its price point. The build quality is also fantastic, with a sturdy and quality feel to them and a wonderfully comfortable headband that helps distribute their weight all throughout, maximizing comfort.

The clamping force is more than that of the SHP9500 but should not be overwhelming to all but the most sensitive to clamp. The treble, however, can be loud and harsh which can overwhelm many users, thus making the X2HR hard to recommend for those who are sensitive to high frequencies.

Pros

Pros
  • Fantastic bass
  • Lightweight
  • Solid design and durability

Cons

Cons
  • Relatively expensive
  • Overwhelming for sensitive ears

 

You can find them here:

 

https://amzn.to/380ifxN

 

8. Sennheiser HD 599

To round off this list, another pair of Sennheiser headphones, the HD 599, provide awesome sound quality at a reasonable price. Featuring wonderful high and low frequency quality, and great capability in capturing bass appropriately even while not being the best in the market, the HD 599 are a wonderful alternative for those who do not require a microphone and want a premium set of headphones at a lower price point.

You can find the HD 599 priced at under $100 when on sale, which makes them some of the lower priced premium headphones on the market. Outside of a sale, however, they become a lot harder to recommend when compared to similarly priced alternatives. They lack a built-in microphone, and gamers who require a solid noise cancelling microphone may do a lot better paying slightly more to upgrade to other Sennheiser alternatives such as the GSP 500 or the GAME ONE to further their gaming needs.

The design is fantastic as it is quite simple, yet elegant and non-intrusive. The ear cups and the clamping force feel just right, and your ears will stay nice and cool throughout your gaming sessions without an issue.

Additionally, they come at an exceptionally low weight, weighing around 250 grams. The plastic build can feel kind of cheap, however, and coupled with the very light weight it is highly recommended to buy a case or to not be rough on your gear, since dropping or throwing these can lead to some unwanted surprises.

Pros

Pros
  • Elegant design
  • Noticeably light weight
  • Awesome sound quality

Cons

Cons
  • Not as competitive at its price point
  • Does not include a microphone
  • Cheap feeling plastic build

 

You can find them here:

 

https://amzn.to/3dxfipU

 

For more great reviews and product insights, make sure you visit us at Red Diamond Audio or connect with us on social media!

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