Open-Back vs Closed-Back Headphones For Gaming 2022

So are you the one looking for a new pair of gaming headphones and are confused about whether to choose open or closed-back over-ear headphones? In the article, we are having a review on Open-Back vs Closed-back Headphones for Gaming.

From every corner of the world, you will find gamers. And for them, image and audio quality is essential to the gaming industry. The days when gamers used to plug speakers and dacs for having a fine and clear audio quality have long passed.

Open-Back vs Closed-Back Headphones For Gaming

Now the time has changed and it’s all about headphones. As it’s the essential tool for the one who does gaming streams and game chat and is passionate about playing games for long sessions. Of course, he would need a comfortable and perfect gaming headphone that satisfies all his needs.

Today, we are going to discuss the topic of open-back vs closed-back headphones for gaming. Since audio is such an important element and there is so much variety in how that audio gets processed via headphones and then eventually into our ears.

Differences Betweeen Open-Back vs Closed-Back Headphones For Gaming

Open-Back Headphones:

An open-back headphone allows sound to pass through the back of ear cups. And the speakers inside are not sealed.

A transparent back prevents sound pressure from building by allowing sound to escape through its ear cups. The result of this is an enhanced natural and acoustic sound with improved clarity.

A quality open-back headphones design should provide you with an organic listening experience that feels like there’s space to breathe. Further, open-back headphones won’t work like a pair of studio monitors because they can’t produce acoustic crosstalk.

Besides, You don’t need to take open-back headphones out in public because they leak a huge amount of sound. So the person sitting next to you will be able to hear everything you are listening to with an annoying level of detail.

Additionally, you will be able to hear everything around you which will be problematic if you are trying to produce music. Something more to consider is that open-back headphones are very exposed to the elements. Light rain can seep into the ear cups and potentially it can cause damage.

Besides, open-back headphones in public spaces don’t play nicely together. Hang on to them solely for high fidelity studio use, such as mixing and mastering your music at home.

Now there are several huge advantages of open back namely, the greater soundstage. So for instance, the drum track will actually sound like you are standing in front of drums and guitars.

So basically the sound seems wider and much bigger than in comparison to closed-back headphones.

Closed-Back Headphones:

So in the closed-back headphones, the pair of ear cups are sealed and audio can not escape through the back of your ear cups. Moreover, closed-back headphones trap sound inside the ear cups but also keep out external noise.

The type of headphones that recording artists use while in the studio are closed-back headphones. They prevent sound from bleeding into microphones and ruining recordings. 

One of the smaller cons of using closed-back headphones is that they can make your ears really sweaty since they don’t breathe as easily as open-back headphones. However, these headphones are best for travel being on the bus, plane or when you are around people who won’t be able to hear what you are listening to.

A closed-back design will make the sound generally more bass responsive and bass accentuated in some headphones. Also, it will get kind of boxy in comparison to an open-back design. And this can be a positive or negative point depending on your listening environment.

However, depending on what you plan to use your headphones for, one type of headphone may be more suited to your needs than the other.

As we have come to know the basic differences and pros and cons of both headphones, now let’s come to the debate of gaming on these open back vs closed-back headphones. And let’s find out which one of these types is the best headphone for gaming.

Are open-back headphones good for gaming?

Comfort:

The first thing to have a look at is the comfort of the open-back

headphones. So you can use these headphones for more than 12 hours a day without any discomfort or any heat accumulation because of their open-back design and the velour ear pads that also breathe. Of course, this is a massive benefit while gaming.

Awareness of the surroundings:

And the second reason why open-back headphones have been widespread is because of their full ambient awareness. That is being present in your music or gaming so that you can be aware of your surroundings. Means physical surroundings.

You can hear your phone call, doorbell or if someone is calling you at your house. Most importantly you can also hear yourself when you tend to talk out loud while you type something or have a game chat.

So for suppose you are playing CS Go, and it would literally freak you out if you could not listen to your voice while speaking to someone in-game chat. So having the ability to hear yourself and also hearing the game clearly is highly beneficial.

Sound isolation:

On the flip side, the main disadvantage of these headphones is there is no sound isolation. And that’s just not the nature of the open speakers. So for that, you can not listen to these headphones in public because it leaks the sound. Probably, that can be annoying for the public who doesn’t want to hear your audio.

Or, if you are in a loud environment you can not do any critical thing for audio unless you are in a quiet environment.

But the main complaint when it comes to gaming in open style design is sound leaking from the headphone and the microphone being able to pick that sound up.

So that’s usually annoying and unpleasant for the other side who is listening to all your background noises. And this could generally be the issue only if your microphone is too sensitive and if you are in a very loud noisy environment.

Soundstage:

But I think the sound advantage is nicer which leaves all the negative points backward; those are not the nature of the open-back headphones.

Because of the open nature of the ear cup, you perceive your audio environment to be larger, airier, freer and it feels like the audio coming from the speakers is not coming from your ears but like your room is sending the audio.

Thus creating a nice wide soundstage. This means you can sense the audio environment to be quite large and not being concentrated right around your ears. For the open-world games, this is actually incredible.

It’s kind of like having natural surround sound coming from your headphones instead of being stimulated through your software.

Open-back headphones are preferred by games mostly due to the bigger soundstage. The soundstage is an imaginary 3 dimensions field created due to the sound.

A big and open soundstage is good for gaming because it is good for reference and natural sound is more pressured by gamers. Because it helps to locate where the sound is coming from.

Deep bass response:

Also, you will get the different acoustic flavors from the open-back style headphones some with a deeper bass response like HD-58c jubilee or the sharper sound and nice smooth treble on the HD-6xx, or more airy presentation with incredible high mid-range with HE-4xx.

These are usually the best open-back gaming headphones recommended by most gamers. So you can say the open-back gaming headsets are limited but they have a lot of acoustic varieties that you can choose from and enjoy playing with them with a wider soundstage.

Hence, open-back headphones are often the daily drivers for most gamers. So if you have not yet tried the open back design, I’ve recommended some of the above do check them out. They are affordable options as well.

Are closed-back headphones good for gaming?

Noise cancelling:

Now what about the closed-back headphones and headsets, the main advantage is sound isolation and noise-canceling for the people who don’t need a distraction from anywhere.

Sound isolation:

Some gaming headsets like JSP300 have insane sound isolation with 70% volume; you can not hear anything that’s happening in your physical environment. It’s just your game, your audio and you.

And, that’s obviously a massive advantage when sound determines your alertness in the game because you can train your aim all you want but the player who is prepared and is aware of the environment based on sound is always trouble. 

Sound is not leaked:

Of course, these headphones are great for private listening without compromising on volume and reducing audio leaks to the outside world.

Bass response:

These headphones have leather-like padding that normally enhances the bass frequency for a more powerful low end. But many gaming headsets also have velour pads that open up the headset a little bit so that audio can escape through padding. Thus, make it feel less closed headset and more open.

Comfortability:

However, closed-back headphones are often less breathable and have more heat accumulation inside the ear cups. Though, that might not be an issue with velour ear cups as they keep them breathable. You can wear them for long sessions as well without having any fatigue or heat accumulation whatsoever. Which is awesome.

Soundstage:

With the closed nature of headphones, you will have a more intimate experience of how the audio is being delivered to the ear. So there is normally a smaller soundstage and less element separation.

For example, if you are playing a horror game with open-back headphones, it will be more terrifying than the sound coming from your room. Whereas, the ambient effect is slightly lost with the closed-back gaming headphones.

But the closed pair of headphones can also have widely different deliveries in terms of how open they sound and how large the soundstage is. For instance, the Massdrop TR-x00 has an insanely large soundstage for being closed. And it gives a bit more detailed separation when a lot of things are happening inside the game.

All in all, closed-back headphones are great if you need that isolation but if you want a true gaming experience, with a free airy open sound open-back headphones are the way to go.

But make sure you are in a quiet and big gaming room where you will enjoy playing without any restriction.

Here we will highlight 5 important tips and suggestions to look for when choosing a great gaming headphone.

Comfort:

The very first thing is comfort. If you can’t wear something for a long time, it’s probably not good for gaming, and no one wants to play with an uncomfortable pair of headphones.

Comfort really does vary a lot from person to person but some of the things that make a big difference are the size of the pads, the clamping force of the headphone and how light it is.

And top of that some headphones won’t offer suspension straps and some will. All these things are really going to add up to a headphones’ overall comfort. Generally, most of the time the ear cups of the open-back headphones are large and breathable you can easily use them for several hours. So it’s the plus point for gaming.

Imaging:

The second thing which is most important in gaming is imaging. Imaging is the ability to hear where a sound is coming from. if it’s right in front of you, behind you or if it’s off to this side or that side and if there are any dead zones in between.

Some headphones will image a lot better than others and there is a big difference between imaging and the overall soundstage.

A good example of a gaming headphone with great imaging is the DT 880. It may not have a suspension strap, but it has big soft pads and is very lightweight. Thus a very few headphones image as well as it does.

Soundstage:

Now the soundstage I mentioned above is the size of the sound. The space you are being put into in this auditory field. If a soundstage is extremely narrow, it’s not going to be nearly as immersive in many cases. But at the same time, a less immersive soundstage may be less distracting and it comes down to preference.

Some people may prefer imaging accuracy over anything and some people may prefer more immersion. An example of headphones with an insane soundstage is the HD 700. Also, a much cheaper headphone with a great soundstage is the mod house argon.

However,  it is actually a closed-back headphone, not an open back. And, it provides a super immersive and deep soundstage. Not quite as good imaging as the DT 880, but it is still an excellent experience for gaming.

Power:

Now speaking about both the above headphones, my next tip is power. Both these headphones are really hard to power. You must have a nice amp to drive them. They make an easier-to-power version of the  DT 880 but generally tell you it is good to have an amp no matter what.

Environment:

Now last but not least, it’s the listening environment that needs to be considered. Where are you going to be gaming is it a big noisy building or it is a quiet bedroom, or you don’t want to disturb your roommates or if you are at your home in your happy place.

It is almost always better to use open-back headphones.

But if you are somewhere where you either don’t want to disturb others or you need some sound isolation, you must look for a closed-back headset. Most closed-back headphones with the exception of argon aren’t going to have quite as good a soundstage and are usually going to way a little bit more.

Now I hope these tips and advice will be helpful for you. Between those five things, you should be able to pick out a pretty great gaming headphone for yourself.


FAQ’S:

Q) Are open-back or closed-back headphones better for gaming?

Open-back headphones are commonly known as the best gaming headphones. Because of how open and wide they sound. With open-back headphones, you will get the clarity and original experience of gaming as it provides a free, and airy sound.

Moreover, you can actually hear every sound wherever it comes from, which is very beneficial in gaming. But open-back headphones are good if you are in a quiet environment free from all sorts of noises.

While closed-back headphones have nice isolation. Its ear cups remove the outer world sound and the headphones have no sound leaking. So even if you are in a noisy environment, you won’t be able to hear anything. Which is also good for gaming.

Q) Is soundstage important for gaming?

What is actually meant by soundstage is the size of the sound. Which is very essential in gaming. If the headphones you buy have a nice soundstage, they will locate each and every sound that where it is coming from.

Which, in other words, is known as imaging. And I think it’s the most natural experience for gamers. Therefore, closed-back headphones are famous for the wide and nice soundstage.

Q) How are open-back headphones good for a gamer?

The reason why open-back headphones have been widespread is because of their full ambient awareness. That is being present in your music or gaming so that you can be aware of your surroundings. Means physical surroundings. Further, open-back headphones create a nice wide soundstage.

This means you can sense the audio environment to be quite large and not being concentrated right around your ears. For the open-world games, this is actually incredible. It’s kind of having natural surround sound coming from your headphones instead of being stimulated through your software.

Also, you will get the different acoustic flavors from the open-back style headphones some with a deeper bass response like HD-58c jubilee or the sharper sound and nice smooth treble on the HD-6xxr.

Q) Do closed-back headphones have a good bass response?

Yes. Closed-back headphones are popular among gamers and listeners because of their deep and nice bass response. These headphones have leather-like padding that normally enhances the bass frequency for a more powerful low end.

Besides, many gaming headsets also have velour pads that open up the headset a little bit. So, audio can escape through padding. Thus, make it feel less closed headset and more open.

Q) What is the first thing a person should see while buying a pair of gaming headphones?

The very first and important thing is comfort. If you can’t bear wearing something for a long period of time, it’s probably not good for gaming. no one wants to play with an uncomfortable pair of headphones.

Several factors really affect comfort, including, size of the earpads, clamping force and how light the headphones are.


Conclusion:

Both are good types of headphones. Which type of headphones is better for you depends upon what you want to use them for. If you want to use something in a public place and don’t want to listen to your surroundings, close back is better.

If you prefer listening to the outside noise and gaming with a more natural experience, then you are better off with open-back headphones.

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