Open Back vs Closed Back Headphones For Gaming

Open back vs closed back headphones has become a heated debate. When gaming, there are many factors that will make an impact on how you can perform. One of the most important factors in gaming is maintaining a truly immersive sound experience. In fact, using the right headphones for gaming can be the difference between winning or losing.

Everything from performance components like your processor and graphics card to aesthetic and ergonomic components like the monitor and input devices lead to subtle shifts in the quality of your gameplay. As you would expect, sound is no different. Having accurate, high quality, immersive sound is crucial for a immersive, distraction-free gaming experience.

In fact, the type of gaming headset you use has a huge impact on the quality of your gaming session. There are all kinds of headphones on the market, but they all filter down into one of two groups: Open back and closed back. So, you may be wondering how open back headphones compare to closed back headphones in gaming.

When it comes to open-back vs closed-back headphones for gaming, open-back headphones generally provide a more accurate sound quality, but this comes at the expense of noise isolation. Closed back headphones, on the other hand, provide a little less sound quality, but you can turn them up loader without disturbing others and closed-back headphones better isolate you from your environment, reducing distraction. 

What Do You Need In A Gaming Headset?

Before diving into what separates closed-back from open-back headphones, it’s worth thinking about what matters in a gaming headset generally. There are a few factors you’ll want to consider before purchasing any gaming headset.

First, you need excellent directional sound quality. This is what will allow you to hear where your opponents are in relation to you. The faster you can hear where someone is, the faster you will be able to deal with the threat they pose to your character.

Second, you want to make sure that you have a high-quality mic built into your headphones. Communication is super important in multiplayer games. The last thing you want is for your mic to go down in the heat of battle.

Other factors that you’ll want to consider include:

  • The material that the headphones are made from
  • Whether you prefer a wireless or wired model
  • Whether the headphones offer surround sound or not
  • Which platform you play games on

What Are Closed Back Headphones?

If you’re not sure what closed-back headphones are, don’t worry. The concept is pretty straightforward. Closed-back headphones are basically any pair of headphones that are completely sealed around the back. They only let sound out where it can reach your years. For more information on the pros and cons of closed-back headphones, keep reading.

What Are The Benefits Of Closed-Back Headphones?

There are several reasons why you might wish to purchase a pair of closed-back headphones. Most importantly, they offer full sonic isolation. This means that they can block out a lot of the outside noise that may be going on around you.

This can be super beneficial to gamers because it helps to block out the outside world. If the only sounds that you hear are coming from your game, it’ll be easier to focus on it.

What Are The Cons Of Closed-back Headphones?

Actually, the main reason why you might not want closed-back headphones is the same reason you might want them. The full sonic isolation that these headsets provide isn’t the best fit for everyone.

For example, if you like to listen to music, it won’t sound as natural on closed-back headphones. Other sounds can be impacted by this sonic isolation as well. So if you plan on using your headphones for things besides gaming, another type may be a better option.

What Are Open-back Headphones?

Open-back headphones are pretty easy to understand as well. They leave the ear cup exposed or open to the outside world. The inside of this part of the headphones is not sealed. This enables air to pass through the ear cups to the speaker element.

What Are The Benefits Of Open-back Headphones?

Open-back headphones offer wearers a different type of sound than closed-back headphones do. This sound is often described as being more natural and clear. 

That’s because there won’t be any echoes inside of your headphones. These headphones let the sound wash over your ear the same way it would if you weren’t wearing any headphones.

What Are The Cons Of Open-back Headphones?

Once again, the main benefit of open-back headphones can also be a drawback for some people. These headsets don’t offer any sonic isolation. While wearing them, you might still hear a lot of noises from the outside world.

This can be bad for gamers who play in busy environments. But if your room is quiet anyway, then open-back headphones can still be a viable option for you. That’s because you don’t need to filter out noise from the external world anyway.

Do Open-back Headphones Sound Better?

Yes, open-back headphones do generally sound better than closed-back ones. That’s because they offer a closer simulation of what sound sounds like naturally. But this may or may not be the most important factor to you as you shop for a pair of headphones.

For example, a gamer might not care about how good the sounds in their games sound. They might care more about whether they can hear where their enemies are coming from.

Keep in mind, open-back headphones don’t provide noise isolation. So you need to consider whether the improved sound quality they offer is worth this trade-off.

Another factor that you need to keep in mind is that open-back headphones sound louder to others. So anybody who is around you might be able to hear what you’re listening to while you wear these. That could be a dealbreaker for some individuals.

Do You Need Headphones For Gaming?

You don’t absolutely have to have headphones to play games. But having one is generally much better than using speakers. That’s true for a few key reasons. First, gaming headsets often block out external noise. That means wearing a pair could make it easier for you to respond to what’s happening in your game.

Additionally, headphones make it easier for you to limit disturbances while playing games. For example, maybe you have a child who’s sleeping while you want to game. With headphones, you would be able to play as loudly as you want without waking them up.

Headphones also generally provide superior sound quality to speakers. They could make it easier for you to differentiate between two sounds that are pretty similar to one another.

Team communication is another big factor to consider. If you want to speak with your teammates, you need a mic to do it. Gaming headsets include mics. If you’re using speakers, you would need to use an external mic to talk to your teammates.

Finally, gaming headsets are much cheaper than a good pair of speakers. You can find solid headsets for as little as $20 – $30. Comparable speakers will cost you much more than that.

Are Gaming Headsets Bad For Your Ears?

No, gaming headsets are perfectly fine for your ears as long as you use them correctly. You don’t want to use them for too many hours in a row. And you don’t want to turn the volume up too high while wearing them. As long as you take those precautions, gaming headsets are perfectly fine for you.

It’s worth mentioning that these are actually better for you than earphones. Earbuds put the source of sound directly into your ear canal. This can increase the impact of the sound’s volume by 6 to 9 decibels. That amount of increase is enough to cause serious damage to your ears.

So, in short, gaming headsets are usually better for you than earbuds and are perfectly safe to use. Just make sure that you’re giving your ears a break and not increasing the volume too much and you’ll be fine.

How Many Hours A Day Should You Wear Headphones?

The answer to this question depends a bit on how you use your headphones. For example, some doctors say that you should only use earbuds for up to 60 minutes a day. And even that is only if you use the earbuds at 60% volume.

If you’re using earbuds at maximum volume, you shouldn’t do so for more than five minutes. Most doctors would say to wear your headphones for about the same amount of time each day to be safe.

However, you can reset the timer by taking a break from your headphones. For example, if you use them for an hour, take them off for 5-10 minutes. That way you give your ears a break.

Related Questions

Are Gaming Headsets Worth It In 2021?

Yes, gaming headsets are absolutely worth buying in 2021. They’ve actually never been cheaper so it’s really easy to get a quality product now. Additionally, gaming headsets offer superior sound quality and have built-in mics so you don’t need to buy an external one.

Are Wired Headphones Better For Gaming?

Yes, wired headphones generally offer better audio quality than their wireless counterparts. That’s because wired headsets receive audio directly through a cable. This makes the sound that comes out of the headphones much clearer than what wireless headphones offer.


The type of gaming headset you use can make a massive impact on how well you perform in games. So, its only nature to wonder how open back headphones compare to closed back headphones.

In the case of open-back vs closed-back headphones for gaming, an open-back set provides a more accurate sound quality, while closed back headphones provide a better isolation from your environment which reduces distraction.

We hope this article helped you pick out the perfect pair of headphones. Thank you for reading!