6 Best Open-Back Headphones for Gaming in 2023

While most gamers still opt for closed-back gaming headphones, a lot of users nowadays are making the switch to open-back headphones for gaming. The same can be attributed to their wider soundstage, which keeps players in tune with the direction of the sound better. Moreover, open-back headphones are more breathable too, which comes in handy during extended gaming sessions.

Best Open Back Headphones for Gaming in 2023

However, open-back headphones are more commonly used for mixing and studio purposes. As such, there aren’t a lot of options for gamers.

Thankfully, we’ve done the research and have curated a list of the best open-back headphones for gaming that you can use to improve your gaming experience. But first, you might want to check out the following:

1. Samson SR850

  • Driver Size: 50mm | Impedance: 32 ohms
  • Microphone: No | Semi or Full: Semi-open-back
If you’re looking for a budget open-back headset for gaming, the Samson SR850 is easily the best option. Thanks to its semi-open-back design, the headphones offer a wide soundstage. At the same time, the unit doesn’t cost an arm and a leg either.

The over-ear design offers a snug fit that should envelop your ears nicely. You also get some passive noise cancellation on account of the unit’s semi-open-back design. The good part is that you also benefit from a wide soundstage, which is furthered by the unit’s 50mm drivers.

The drivers are tuned to reciprocate deep bass and clear highs. So be it enemy footsteps or voice comms, everything will be audible perfectly. Rest assured, the only bank you’ll be breaking in with this would be the one in your game.

2. Philips Audio Fidelio L2

  • Driver Size: 40mm or 50mm | Impedance: 16 ohms
  • Microphone: No | Semi or Full: Semi-open-back
While it’s quite old, the Philips Audio Fidelio L2 still remains one of the best open-back headphones that money can buy. The headset comes with a removable cable and an additional cable with an in-line mic. However, for gaming, we recommend getting a boom mic attachment for better communication.

Available with either 40mm or 50mm drivers, these open-back headphones offer high-resolution audio coupled with a wide soundstage. And, similar to the Samson SR850, these also come in a semi-open-back design that paves the way for passive noise cancellation. Again, you will notice some sound seep in, but the unit strikes the perfect balance between a closed-back and an open-back headphone.

Suffice it to say, the Fidelio L2 is an easy recommendation for anyone looking to get an open-back headphone. Audio output aside, the level of modularity makes them a great buy.

3. EPOS I Sennheiser GSP 500

  • Driver Size: 40mm | Impedance: 28ohms
  • Microphone: Yes | Semi or Full: Open-back
Sennheiser has made huge strides in the gaming biz with its EPOS lineup of open-back headphones. And, the GSP 500 is revered as one of the best offerings for gamers. The design isn’t the most comfortable, but the audio quality more than makes up for it.

The EPOS I Sennheiser GSP 500 comes in a black hue. The unit’s chassis is complemented with red accents which will immediately appeal to the gamer in you. The body is made primarily of plastic but is still quite heavy at 358g. Also, compared to the GAME ONE, the GSP 500 is easily driveable thanks to its lower impedance.

You get a volume control on the side, coupled with a dedicated microphone as well. Speaking of which, the microphone is excellent at noise cancellation, and also comes with a flip-to-mute feature too.

The headset is a bit rigid, and the fit isn’t the best for extended gaming sessions. So if you have a large head, it’s best to look elsewhere.

4. Audio-Technica ATH-GDL3BK

  • Driver Size: 45mm | Impedance: 45 ohms
  • Microphone: Yes | Semi or Full: Open-back
Despite featuring large 45mm drivers coupled with a boom microphone, the Audio-Technica ATH-GDL3BK weigh less than 220 grams, making them one of the most comfortable open-back headphones for gaming. Moreover, the drivers have been tuned well and relay detailed audio with superb clarity too.

Audio-Technica hopes to provide an excellent audio experience that is replete with detail. Further, the company aims to deliver utmost comfort when listening to music or playing games with the ATH-GDL3BK too. And, the brand has seemingly delivered on both fronts, with consumers claiming these to be the most comfortable open-back headphones they’ve used.

The headphone features easy-to-access volume and microphone controls. Speaking of which, the boom mic is flexible and detachable as well. Additionally, you can replace the head pad and the comfy earpads, should they wear off over time.

5. Astro A40 TR

  • Driver Size: 40mm | Impedance: 48 ohms
  • Microphone: Yes | Semi or Full: Open-back
Another cool open-back headphone for gaming is the Astro A40 TR. This one is targeted towards serious gamers, the Astro A40 TR open-back headphone is a premium gaming headset. The main highlight of these headphones is the proprietary mix amp, which you do have to buy separately, and is platform specific.

The said mix amp offers advanced audio customization options, which allows users to tweak the audio settings to their personal preferences. As for gaming needs, you do get a detachable, flexible microphone that provides a clear voice transmission for in-game communication.

The A40 TR is superbly comfy and therefore, great for extended gaming sessions too. The only downside here is the price, which is definitely on the higher end, especially when compared to most closed-back gaming headphones.

6. Beyerdynamic DT 990 Pro

  • Driver Size: 45mm | Impedance: 80 ohms or 250 ohms
  • Microphone: No | Semi or Full: Open-back
If you don’t care about added frills and are foraying into the world of open-back headphones purely for the audio experience, the Beyerdynamic DT 990 Pro is easily one of the best-sounding headsets money can buy. And, with almost 17,000 reviews and a 4.7-star rating, the customers seemingly rave about the DT 990 Pro too.

Available in two impedance options of 80 ohms or a whopping 250 ohms, the Beyerdynamic DT 990 Pro allows you to hear every detail with crystal-clear accuracy. The extra clarity combined with a wider soundstage comes in clutch for gaming, especially in competitive FPS environments.

Take the professional’s word for it – the Beyerdynamic DT 990 Pro has been Ninja’s preferred pair of cans for the longest time. Do note that you will have to purchase a mic separately. And, you should know that the cable is not replaceable, so you will have to purchase an entirely new unit on the off chance it snaps.

FAQs About Open-Back Headphones for Gaming

1. What’s the difference between closed-back and open-back headphones?

The difference lies in the name itself. Closed-back headsets have no airflow at the back of the earcup. On the other hand, open-back headphones have a perforated outer shell on the ear cups that allows air to pass through.

2. Are Open-Back Headphones Good for Gaming?

Due to their design, open-back headphones allow for easy airflow, resulting in a fuller sound. This, coupled with a wider soundstage can help with positional audio, making it easier to locate sounds and determine the direction of incoming sounds.

3. Why are most gaming headsets closed-back?

Compared to open-back headphones, closed-back gaming headsets can be used in noisy environments with ease thanks to their design. Additionally, they also have a better bass response which enhances the in-game sound effects like gunshots and explosions. What’s more is that open-back headphones are also far more portable, which makes them easier to travel with.

4. Do Open-Back Headphones for Gaming Sound Better?

Technically, open-back headphones can provide a more natural and immersive audio experience for gaming. However, whether they sound better than closed-back headphones or not is subjective and depends on the user’s preference.

Hear Your Enemies Better with These Open-Back Headphones for Gaming

When it comes to gaming, getting the right audio can make a huge difference in your overall experience. As long as you are gaming in a silent environment, you can hugely benefit from using open-back headphones for gaming.

For novice or casual gamers, the Samson SR850 remains the go-to option. However, gamers who routinely play competitive eSports titles will find the Astro A40 TR and the Beyerdynamic DT 990 Pro best suited to their playstyle.

Last updated on 23 February, 2023

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