Looking to hear your opponent’s footsteps while playing an FPS? Want to get immersed in the most action-packed moments? Or just need to be completely blown away by the sound effects of your new adventure game?
Either way, you’ll want peripherals that make it all possible. That’s why you will have to pick between open back vs closed-back headphones for gaming.
Both types of headsets are excellent in their own way. But you will get a different experience from each.
If you’re looking to get the most out of your gaming experience, then you’ll want to pick the right one. Otherwise, you may end up disappointed and regretting your purchase.
- 1 What to Pick Between Open Back vs Closed Back Headphones for Gaming?
- 2 What is an Open Back Headphone?
- 3 Best Open Back Headphones Reviews
- 4 What is a Closed-Back Headphone?
- 5 Best Closed-Back Headphone Reviews
- 6 Open Back vs Closed-Back Headphones: Things to Consider
- 7 Verdict: Which Headphones to Choose?
What to Pick Between Open Back vs Closed Back Headphones for Gaming?
So, want to learn how to pick the ideal one depending on your needs and demands? Then keep reading!
What is an Open Back Headphone?
So, still don’t know what open back headphones are? We’ll give you a brief explanation: this term refers to any headset that doesn’t block the rear part of the headphones. This allows air and sound to go through, which gives a more natural feeling while ensuring tons of clarity.
There’s a slight problem, though. Open-back headphones are susceptible to exterior sounds. That means you can listen to whatever is happening outside, which can affect your experience. And because they’re open, they may also let the sound go out, so other people may hear what you’re hearing.
On top of that, open-back headphones tend to be smaller and slightly more fragile. This happens because the materials are chosen to provide quality sound instead of size. Even then, they are decently comfortable and come in all quality ranges and sizes.
Here’s a video explanation of open-back headphones:
Advantages of Open Back Headphones
- Provide high-quality audio
- Increase sound clarity & detail
- Decently portable & comfortable
- Offer Ideal ventilation
Disadvantages of Open Back Headphones
- Let sound filter which can be annoying
- Don’t block exterior noises
Best Open Back Headphones Reviews
Want the best examples of open-back headphones? Here are two models to consider:
Top 3 Features:
- 20 to 20,000Hz frequency range
- Up to 111dB of sensitivity
- 50mm drivers
The first one on our list comes from Corsair. This is a high-quality brand that makes sure your audio products are nothing less than exceptional.
That’s why the HS60 headphones are so fantastic. They deliver every single feature you need on a gaming product, going from the comfort with their small and super-comfy design boasting thick-cushioned ear cups.
Then you get top-notch audio quality with 111dB of sensitivity and 20-to-20K frequency range. Even the highest-quality audio files will sound fantastic on this system and loud enough so you can enjoy them to the max. Add with the 50mm driver for even better sound, preventing noise or drawbacks.
And don’t forget you also get a quality construction in a small package, plus a detachable microphone. This headset will become a go-to choice for anyone in search of portability.
- Amazingly loud with tons of sensitivity
- Offer clear highs and decent bass
- The noise-canceling mic sounds clear
- Pretty small and portable
- Leak a lot of sound out
Top 3 Features:
- 15 to 30K frequency range
- 107dB of sensitivity
- Flip-to-mute microphone
If you want a high-end set of open-back headphones, then nothing will match your demands like the GSP 500 from Sennheiser.
These headphones offer an exceptional sound delivery with a frequency range of 15 to 30,000Hz. That’s deep enough to make your head tremble with every hit of the bass while increasing the quality of the vocals exponentially.
Sure enough, you also get excellent volume capacity with the 107dB of sensitivity. Paired up with the super-comfy extra-large design with ergonomic ear cups, they become a pleasure to use.
Don’t forget they offer a light plastic build, optimized magnets for maximum distortion resistance, and a metal hinge that prevents any breakage.
Despite the large size and open-back design, these headphones are amazingly portable. Along with the multi-platform cable, you can use them almost anywhere and enjoy the exceptional sound.
Last but not least, they wrap around your ear and feel extra-soft to the touch. The noise-canceling microphone is a huge plus.
- Deliver outstanding sound quality
- Prevent distortion & noise
- Large but light construction
- Feel ultra-comfortable on ears
- Don’t provide much sound isolation
What is a Closed-Back Headphone?
Any headset that blocks the rear part of the cup is a closed-back headphone. That means no air or sound can go in, delivering the perfect isolation so you can enjoy your games without exterior noises. At the same time, they don’t let any audio go out, which can help you disconnect from the outside world.
You can be on a subway, plane, or car, and you will probably not hear any outside noise. And if you decide to play some action-packed games, you’ll love the quality of the sound – especially the bass.
But closed-back models have several disadvantages. These include less clarity as sound will be confined to the drive and your ear, which can cause vibrations. Similarly, they offer a less natural sound. And because they’re closed, they may feel less comfortable and hot over time.
Advantages of Closed Back Headphones
- Ensure total immersion when playing
- Work well in noisy places
- Increase bass quality & delivery
- Block sound from going in or out
Disadvantages of Closed Back Headphones
- Can feel uncomfortable & hot
- May produce less clarity and more noise
Best Closed-Back Headphone Reviews
Still, confused about what to pick between open back vs closed back headphones for gaming? Then we’ll help you out with some closed-back headphone reviews:
Top 3 Features:
- 20 to 20K frequency range
- Only 245g of weight
- Large 44mm drivers
If you want the best quality for the price, then nothing will make your gaming experience better than the ATH-PG1 from Audio-Technica.
They deliver one of the best sound qualities in the market, starting with the frequency response of 20 to 20,000Hz. That’s perfect to handle the deepest of bass but also the loudest of highs.
Don’t overlook the 99dB of sensitivity, ideal for getting extra-loud in every game you play. And with the 44mm drivers, you won’t have any problem with noise, vibrations, or distortion.
Although they’re fantastic when it comes to sound quality, they boast a 245 grams aircraft-grade aluminum build. So they’re also super-light, portable, and durable.
And last but not least, you can enjoy an extremely comfortable design with a padded headband, ergonomic earpads, and a 4-feet cable at 3.5mm. This cable can be replaced by a 2.5mm cord if needed, so you can game on your phone as well.
Whether you’re looking for sound quality or convenience, these headphones won’t disappoint you.
- Excellent sound quality for the size
- Produce little to no distortion
- Reasonably comfortable for long periods
- Superb compatibility & portability
- The cord is pretty short
Top 3 Features:
- 10 to 30K frequency range
- 112dB of sensitivity
- 8-feet cord
If you want an expensive alternative to closed-back headphones that sound perfectly, then the GSP 600 from Sennheiser & EPOS won’t let you down.
It offers everything you could expect a high-end set to offer without the cost. It all starts with a frequency response taking the sound from the lows of 10Hz to the highs of 30,000Hz. That’s enough to make vocals and instruments super clear and tidy, and the bass amazingly vibrant.
Sure enough, these headphones are exceptionally comfortable with soft ear pads on both sides. They will make any gamer enjoy every single second while playing. But they’re also loud, the 112dB of sensitivity will add up extra potency to deliver the loudest sounds, so you’re always awake.
Despite their quality construction, these headphones still offer 395 grams of weight for portability. And with the 8 feet of cord length, they become extra convenient for most users.
They’re also durable, provide excellent microphone quality, and work well with any console or computer. The GSP 600 from Epos, in combination with Sennheiser, is easily the best closed-back gaming headset you can get.
- Amazingly comfortable & soft pads
- Incredible detail and clarity of sound
- Excellent isolation reduces distortion or noise
- Can be extremely loud
- May feel heavy to use
Open Back vs Closed-Back Headphones: Things to Consider
Now that you’ve gone over their definitions, it is time to learn about the actual difference between open back and closed back headphones. Below, you’ll find the many factors you can use to tell them apart:
This video may also help you out:
If you take a good look into both types of headphones, you’ll realize, almost right away, how different they are.
Closed-back headphones, as the name says, have a plastic or metallic cover on the ear cup. This isolates the sound and makes them a bit bulky-looking.
In contrast, open-back models come with grills or vents on the back of the ear cups. This gives a fresher and compact appearance.
Some people prefer the more private look of a closed-back headset while others love the rugged look that grills and vents give. So this is mostly about preference.
When comparing open vs closed back headphones for gaming, you’ll find that the sound quality matters a lot.
Open-back headsets, for example, tend to deliver excellent sound quality. They focus on the most natural and precise sound delivery, so they’re usually way more detailed overall. If you care about audio precision, then you’ll love open-back models.
A set of closed-back headphones won’t stay too far behind. They offer an exceptional sound that feels clear and detailed as well. However, the precision tends to alter a little because the sound can travel freely due to the closed design.
The difference, however, is most noticeable in affordable models. Flagship closed and open back headphones will offer pretty similar results.
Along with the quality of sound, you want a headphone that gets rid of any exterior noise and distortion. Here, you will find that closed-back models get the trophy.
This happens because closed-back headsets isolate the user entirely from exterior noises. At the same time, they provide the perfect design for any sound to stay within the ear cup and the users’ ears. So almost no sound escapes or goes in.
High-end open-back models may offer decent isolation in a quiet place. However, in noisy environments, an open-back headset won’t isolate that much. Low-cost models provide little to no isolation.
Even though gaming is all about clarity and precision of sound, you may still want a vibrant and deep bass. This can add up extra excitement to the game and make it way more entertaining.
Between open back and close back headphones, the bass is usually better in close models. This happens thanks to the ability to produce more vibrations in the confined area of the cups, causing the headphone to reach ultra-low notes for a higher-impact bass.
Open-back headphones don’t stay too far behind. But the pumping of the sound won’t be nearly as close as that of a closed-back headset.
Portability & Weight
Another factor to consider when comparing closed vs open back headphones for gaming is how portable they are.
Here, you will find that they’re not that different. Closed-back models come in typically small designs, but because they have sound-dampening pads on the back, they can be cumbersome.
Open-back headsets can be pretty large, yet they tend to be a lot lighter because they use fewer materials in the construction.
So the portability depends more on the maker and model you pick than on the design. Yet, you’re likely to find open-back models to be a bit more portable and light.
Comfort & Ventilation
The last factor you’ll want to consider is the overall coziness and breathability the headphones offer.
Open-back headphones, for example, tend to be a lot more breathable and don’t accumulate much heat. This adds up to their comfort level. At the same time, these headsets don’t produce much pressure towards your head, so you may be able to use them for several hours without problems.
Closed-back headsets, in contrast, are less ventilated, a bit stiffer, and tend to produce slight pressure. The sole purpose is to prevent sound from going in or out. But in the process, this makes them less comfy. You’ll have to take them off sooner or later to breathe and release tension.
So sure enough, open-back headphones are the most comfortable, in most cases.
Verdict: Which Headphones to Choose?
So, what are you getting between the open back vs closed back headphones for gaming? For us, it’s all about preference.
If you rather play with little to no exterior noise and with maximum loudness without sharing what you’re listening to – then you’ll want to go for a closed-back model.
But if you prefer precision and clarity, comfort and freshness, then you won’t hesitate and pick an open-back model.
Whatever you pick, be sure it is a quality set of headphones that doesn’t let you down. The models we reviewed in this article are perfect for that.