The 5 Best Open Back Headphones for Gaming 2021

Our Top 5 Picks (Comparison Table)

pros
Cons
Spec
#1 Best Choice
The 5 Best Open Back Headphones for Gaming 2021
EPOS I Sennheiser GAME ONE
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pros
+ Superior audio fidelity
+ Noise-canceling microphone
Cons
– Non-detachable cable
– The microphone picks up ambient noise
Spec
Microphone:
Yes

Connectivity:
3.5 mm

Controls:
Yes
#2 Best Budget
The 5 Best Open Back Headphones for Gaming 2021
Audio-Technica ATH-AD700X
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pros
+ 53 mm drivers
+ Metal chassis
Cons
– Subpar cable quality
– No microphone
Spec
Microphone:
No

Connectivity:
3.5 mm

Controls:
No
#3 Best Price
The 5 Best Open Back Headphones for Gaming 2021
Audio Technica ATH-PDG1
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pros
+ Metallic design
+ 40 mm drivers
Cons
– No 1/4 connectivity option
– Average noise cancellation
Spec
Microphone:
Yes

Connectivity:
3.5 mm

Controls:
Yes
#4 Best Design
The 5 Best Open Back Headphones for Gaming 2021
Philips Audio Fidelio X2HR
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pros
+ Enticing design
+ Hi-Res audio support
Cons
– High clamping force
– Non-swiveling ear cups
Spec
Microphone:
No

Connectivity:
3.5 mm

Controls:
Yes
#5 Best Value
The 5 Best Open Back Headphones for Gaming 2021
ASTRO Gaming A40 TR X-Edition
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pros
+ Extensive modularity
+ Ultra comfort and adjustment
Cons
– No dedicated software
– No RGB lighting
Spec
Microphone:
Yes

Connectivity:
3.5 mm

Controls:
Yes

Most of us love the ear clamping, sound dampening closed-back headphones that don’t allow even the slightest ambient noise to seep inside. On any good day, even I would prefer a pair of good noise-canceling headphones than anything else, but the present open back headphones are equally enticing as well. There has been quite an improvement in the best open back headphones for the gaming genre and now you have all sorts of budget options and ludicrously priced ones as well.

This post will elaborate on the best open back headphones for gaming that are the latest and greatest, come with a natural sound stage, and do not boil your ear cups in the process. I have subdivided the post into the following subtopics to help you select the best option yourself.

  1. Which are the best open back headphones for gaming?
  2. Detailed Comparison and Review of best open back headphones for gaming.
  3. What are their pros & cons?
  4. Which are the best open back headphones for gaming that you should buy?

Excited? So Let’s Get Started.


What are open back headphones?

There are only two kinds of headphones, open back and closed back headphones. Open back headphones do not form a tight seal around your ear and allow the outside noise to pass through the headphone drivers. They are easy to spot out as their drivers aren’t hidden behind a layer of plastic and metal like you see in closed back or noise canceling headphones. If you spot a flashlight on the exposed end of a closed back headphone, you can see the intricate driver mechanism and housing. They are great for enclosed space usage that translates to a lot of scenarios, including gaming.


Advantages of Open Back Headphones

Breathing Room: I’m sure you have experienced the sweat trickling down the ears after using a closed pair of cans for a long time. That’s not the case with closed back headphones as they allow passage of air thereby minimizing the sweat dripping.

Wider Soundstage: Open back headphones have a wider soundstage. It is a sophisticated way of saying that they supply richer sound in comparison to closed back headphones. The sound appears to be coming in from all directions rather than just left and right.

Lightweight: Open back headphones are lightweight because they shed the external casing and thick earmuffs that are used in noise canceling headphones. It makes them fairly lightweight and wearable for long hours.

Less Heat: Prolonged usage of closed back headphones induces a lot of heat to the ears. It is amplified even further if it is a noise-canceling headphone running on maximum power. Open back headphones allow the air to pass through them this dissipating a lot of heat.


Disadvantages of Open Back Headphones

No noise cancellation: Open back headphones lack any kind of noise cancellation and are fit for use indoors in a noise-controlled environment. You cannot use them to commute or in a room full of people as they will allow ambient noise to seep into the ears.

Delicate: Open back headphones as the name implies have an exposed driver design. They need to be kept free of dust and dirt along with the furthest distance from moisture. Any kind of interaction with these elements can render them useless.

Sound Leak: Listening to anything on open back headphones is audible to the person sitting next to you. They can clearly listen to whatever content you are playing on your device.


Best Open Back Headphones for Gaming


EPOS I Sennheiser GAME ONE – Best Open Back Headphones for Gaming

EPOS I Sennheiser GAME ONE ranks high on our list of the best open back headphones due to their well-rounded feature set and a simple sober design.

Related: Best Condenser Microphone For Voice Recording

Specifications:

ConnectivityWired
Headphone DesignOver the ear
ControlsEarcup Controls
MicrophoneYes
Inline RemoteNo

Build and Design:

EPOS I Sennheiser GAME ONE is a plastic affair that has adequate padding in all the right places. It uses velvet ear pads that amplify the comfort and enable the user to wear them for a long time. It does include a microphone that the Audio Technica open back headphones fail to include.

EPOS I Sennheiser GAME ONE comes with an audio adjustment dial on the other ear cup that can be used to increase or decrease the volume. Unlike the Audio Technica headphones, these ones are slightly concealed. It uses a 3.5 mm connectivity cable with support for microphone calls.

Sound Quality:

EPOS I Sennheiser GAME ONE produces a natural sound that is unaltered by the drivers. The best game that highlights the audio prowess is Last of Us 2, where you can clearly distinguish the rustling of leaves, the jittering sound of zombies, and so forth.

EPOS I Sennheiser GAME ONE also features a noise-canceling microphone that can be used for multiplayer games as well. It can be easily muted by flipping it to ninety degrees.

Verdict:

EPOS I Sennheiser GAME ONE is a stellar choice for the best open back headphones for gaming. It packs a superior audio quality paired with an equally competent microphone. The paint point of these open back headphones remains the non-detachable microphone and the plastic body.

“EPOS I Sennheiser GAME ONE is a stellar choice for gaming.”

9.3Expert Score
Best Overall
Build and Design
9
Sound Quality
9.5
Pros
  • Superior audio fidelity
  • Noise-canceling microphone
Cons
  • Non-detachable cable
  • The microphone picks up ambient noise

Audio-Technica ATH-AD700X – Best Open Back Headphones

Audio-Technica makes one of the best open back headphones for gaming and the Audio-Technica ATH-AD700X is a prime example that bears a large driver size with a quirky design.

Related: Best Lavalier Microphones

Specifications:

ConnectivityWired
Headphone DesignOver the ear
ControlsYes
MicrophoneNo
Inline RemoteNo

Build and Design:

Audio-Technica ATH-AD700X has a rather quirky design that includes a thin metal band connected to the ear cups. The ear cups can swivel but not fold inwards. The brand has come up with a unique 3D wing design that adjusts the headphones according to your head shape.

Audio-Technica ATH-AD700X has a metallic exterior housing with minimum use of plastic over the body. It comes with medium-sized ear cushions and a fairly long 3.5mm connection cable that includes a 1/4 inch adaptor as well.

Sound Quality:

Audio-Technica ATH-AD700X uses 53 mm drivers that try to produce clear treble and mid-range audio. The bass isn’t too heavy on these but isn’t lackluster either.

Audio-Technica ATH-AD700X manages to relieve air pressure quite a bit due to the perforated, honeycomb exterior driver cover. It will liven up the audio quality of whatever games you play with it. Sadly, there’s no RGB lighting to indicate that it is a gaming headphone.

Verdict:

Audio-Technica ATH-AD700X is a decent option for the best open back headphones for gaming that brings a reinforced ear cup design and a lightweight body. The only problem with these open back headphones is the lack of RGB lighting and the subpar cable quality. Also, why did they exclude the microphone is a mystery for another post.

“Audio-Technica ATH-AD700X is a robust open back headphone for gaming.”

9Expert Score
Best Alternative
Build and Design
9
Sound Quality
9
Pros
  • 53 mm drivers
  • Metal chassis
Cons
  • Subpar cable quality
  • No microphone

Audio Technica ATH-PDG1 – Best Open Back Headphones for Gaming

Audio Technica ATH-PDG1 is one of the moderately priced best open back headphones for gaming that comes with two connecting cables for military usage.

Related: Best Monitors for Photo Editing

Specifications:

ConnectivityWired
Headphone DesignOver the ear
ControlsYes
MicrophoneYes
Inline RemoteYes

Build and Design:

Audio Technica ATH-PDG1 is built to last and packs a metallic frame with superior padding. You won’t get premium leather at this price and have to make do with the velcro faux leather on the earmuffs and the headband.

The Audio Technica ATH-PDG1 comes with 2 connectivity cables, which can be swapped, and also features a dual connectivity audio cable for older gaming laptops and computers. Both the connection cables have inline controls and come with a microphone.

Sound Quality:

Audio Technica ATH-PDG1 uses 40 mm drivers that sound good but lack bass. It is a common sight with most gaming headphones and this one is no exception either. Nevertheless, the low-frequencies are easily distinguishable.

Audio Technica ATH-PDG1 uses a boom mic that has inline controls for muting and disconnecting calls. The noise cancellation is average as it picks a lot of noise from the headphones.

Verdict:

Audio Technica ATH-PDG1 is a moderately priced open back headphone that manages to hit most bases when it comes to gaming. It is a great option for the best open back headphones for gaming that provides maximum modularity and numerous connectivity options.

“Audio Technica ATH-PDG1 are a great pair of  open back headphones with two cable options.”

8.8Expert Score
Best Connectivity
Build and Design
8.5
Sound Quality
9
Pros
  • Metallic design
  • 40 mm drivers
Cons
  • No 1/4 connectivity option
  • Average noise cancellation

Philips Audio Fidelio X2HR – Best Open Back Headphones

Philips Audio Fidelio X2HR bears a sturdy design with zero tacky components due to which it appears on our list of the best open back headphones for gaming.

Related: Best Bluetooth Speakers Under 2000

Specifications:

ConnectivityWired
Headphone DesignOver the ear
ControlsYes
MicrophoneYes
Inline RemoteYes

Build and Design:

Philips Audio Fidelio X2HR is premium all around. It comes with a genuine leather headband that shrouds two independent metal tunings connecting the ear cups. The headphones feature a rubber clasp that adjusts to your head shape.

Philips Audio Fidelio X2HR does not fold or swivel and that makes them slightly uneasy to wear. It does come with plush leather cushions that are like clouds to your ears. The headset features a detachable cable that comes with a boom mic and inline controls.

Sound Quality:

Philips Audio Fidelio X2HR packs 50 mm neodymium drivers that brings a wide soundstage. Even tiny sounds have a separate identity when you hear them. It also supports Hi-Res audio, so you can listen to a few music tracks when you aren’t gaming.

The Philips Audio Fidelio X2HR comes with a boom mic that is embedded into the connection wire. It is average at noise cancellation but transfers clear audio while calling or voice chats in-game.

Verdict:

Philips Audio Fidelio X2HR is competitively priced almost the same as the audio Technica headphones mentioned above. They sound good, look equally good, and feature premium components. However, the quality of the microphone makes it rank slightly low in our list of the best open back headphones for gaming.

“Philips Audio Fidelio X2HR has great audio output with Hi-Res audio support.”

8.5Expert Score
Best Aesthetics
Build and Design
8.5
Sound Quality
8.5
Pros
  • Enticing design
  • Hi-Res audio support
Cons
  • High clamping force
  • Non-swiveling ear cups

ASTRO Gaming A40 TR X-Edition – Open Back Gaming Headset

ASTRO Gaming A40 TR X-Edition is the most gamery looking headset that boasts ultimate comfort with a customizable chassis. It is one of the outstanding choices for the best open back gaming headphones.

Related: Best Trimmer Under 1500

Specifications:

ConnectivityWired
Headphone DesignOver the ear
ControlsYes
MicrophoneYes
Inline RemoteYes

Build and Design:

ASTRO Gaming A40 TR X-Edition features a hinge design that is unique to Astro. The headband has a lot of moving components and the earcups can turn 90 degrees and adjust according to the shape of the head. The side plates are swappable and can be removed to turn them into open back headphones.

ASTRO Gaming A40 TR X-Edition comes with a single cable that has inline controls. The microphone is detachable and can be installed on either side as per your preference. The passing used in these open back headphones is synthetic leather that tries to resolve the sweat problem.

Sound Quality:

ASTRO Gaming A40 TR X-Edition is a special edition open back gaming headphone that comes with 40 mm sound drives designed for gaming. They are great at identifying low and mid frequencies which makes them the best for your late-night CS GO sessions.

The microphone of the ASTRO Gaming A40 TR X-Edition deserves a special mention. It cuts back on ambient noise and transfers clean audio to your teammates while being capable of rotating 360 degrees.

Verdict:

ASTRO Gaming A40 TR X-Edition will amplify your collaborative gaming experience and do not sound inferior in comparison to any headphones. They are an ultimate choice for the best open back headphones for gaming with extensive modularity.

“ASTRO Gaming A40 TR X-Edition is a no-brainer choice for gamers.”

9Expert Score
Best Modularity
Build and Design
9.5
Sound Quality
8.5
Pros
  • Extensive modularity
  • Ultra-comfort and adjustment
Cons
  • No dedicated software
  • No RGB lighting

Final Words

EPOS I Sennheiser GAME ONE and Audio-Technica ATH-AD700X are my two best choices for the best open back headphones for gaming. If you want a minimalistic design then the Philips Audio Fidelio X2HR will fit your needs for the best open back headphones for gaming. Lastly, for users that love their headphones to look captivating and sleek, the ASTRO Gaming A40 TR X-Edition is just the right selection for you.

Thank you for reading! Try these out too:

General FAQ

Are open back headphones better for gaming?

Yes. They provide a comfortable design along with a wide soundstage that helps you get absorbed in whatever game you are playing. Plus they induce very little sweating and heat buildup.

What are the best open back headphones?

EPOS I Sennheiser GAME ONE is the best open back headphones for gaming.

Can you hear open back headphones in the mic?

The best open back headphones for gaming suffer from a sound leaks that can easily be picked up by the microphone and if it’s a non-noise canceling one, your online gaming experience will be ruined.

How do I know if my open back headphones are too loud?

A simple peak volume test can determine if your best open back headphones for gaming suffer from the sound leaks. You can also ask a friend to sit beside you while you cycle via various audio levels to check the level at which noise leak is more.

Can you damage headphones by playing them too loud?

Yes. There have been instances of best open back headphones for gaming getting damaged if you continuously use them at peak volume for a longer duration.

Are open backs worth it?

Yes. The best open back headphones for gaming are worth every penny provided you have an isolated room to use them. They don’t fare well in noisy environments.

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The 5 Best Open Back Headphones for Gaming 2021
Abhishek Mishra
I love exploring technology and devote my time to curating detailed reviews and supplying credible information to inquisitive users. I wish I had some spare time to play a few RPGs or clean my desk.

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