What in Tech is a user-supported site. When you purchase through our links, we may earn an affiliate commission at no additional cost to you. Learn more

The 9 Best Audiophile Headphones for Gaming in 2022

Gamer headsets are overrated.

Sure, they have their place if you really want built-in mics or enjoy the flashing logos that tend to accompany them.

But for most of us, the question is “what headphones give me the best audio quality for gaming?”. And the answer is a pair of “audiophile” headphones from reputable manufacturers combined with a great stand-alone microphone.

The focus for these companies is more on the production of the best sound quality (and comfort) money can buy instead of marketing and design that appeals to “hardcore gamers” (many, myself included, prefer the designs of the below anyway!).

There are of course some things you want to look out for in a pair of gaming headphones specifically. Namely sound staging, imaging, and open-back vs closed-back. If you want to know more about any of these terms, they’re broken down at the bottom of this article.

So with that said, we’ve put this list together to guide you through the best audiophile gaming headphones available on the market today.

 Table of Contents

Best Closed-Back Headphones for Gaming: Beyerdynamic DT 770 PRO

Oh boy, we love these.

For the mid-range price, the DT 770 PROs tick all the boxes and are easily the best closed-back headphones for gaming.

Let’s start with the sound. Boasting very impressive accuracy across the bass and mid-levels (accentuated by the closed-back design, allowing you to really “feel” the bass in isolation). While the trebles don’t reach the same peaks as the other 2 ranges, they’re still great and are going to be perfectly suitable for gamers.

The sound staging and imaging are fantastic (particularly the latter) and will offer you a sense of “wideness” during your gameplay with a high positional accuracy/quality of individual noises in isolation, making arguably some of the best headphones for FPS gaming.

Then there’s the ergonomics. The DT 770 PROs someone seems to manage to feel very comfortable, well fitted, and isolating to outside noise, while also not “suffocating” your ears or making them overheat (likely due to the great material used on the cups).

Not to mention the fantastic build quality, the DT 770 PRO’s are more than capable of handling some drops and the high-quality outer materials really add to the “premium” design feel).

We simply can’t recommend these Beyerdynamic phones enough, both the physical and audible quality will lend themselves greatly to gaming in pretty much any setting (and your music/movies will sound great too!).

2022 update: The DT 770 PROs remain our top open-back pick for 2 years running, no other phones have entered the market that manage to offer quite the fantastic balance between price, quality and longevity that Beyerdynamic have managed here.

Best Open-Back Headphones for Gaming: Sennheiser HD 599 SE

A fantastic option if you’re not a fan of closed-backs is the HD 599 SE.

The Sennheiser’s sound excels in a lot of areas, but especially treble. The accuracy of high sounds on these headphones is very impressive. It performs similarly to the 770 PROs for mid ranges, however, it doesn’t pack quite the same punch for bass (this is to be expected). That’s not to say the bass isn’t good, especially for a pair of open-backs.

The imaging and sound staging on these are both great; you’re going to achieve an excellent sense of space and quality/depth to your game audio, fully capable of creating a realistic soundscape out of the box.

As you might expect from Sennheiser, the headphones shine in design and comfort. It’s all personal taste but we think these are some of the best looking on the list, and the material will lend itself well to long playing sessions.

HD 599 vs DT 770 PRO

If we had to put our two top picks head-to-head, who wins?

Let me preface this by saying the “open vs closed back” debate is largely a personal choice and I have detailed the reasons at the bottom of the article.

That being said: we’ve got to pick the DT 770 PROs in this battle. The HD 599s are a tad superior in the treble. But aside from that, the 770s have a slight edge in most other categories a gamer is concerned in (from sound stage to comfort).

But if your heart is set on something less isolated/treble focussed or you simply like the style of the HD 599s better, don’t fret. We still rate these as one of the best audiophile gaming headsets and think you’ll love them.

Best Closed-Back Runner-Up: Audio-Technica ATH-M50x

While we certainly consider DT 770 PRO the definitive winner, the M50X’s are a great second place closed-back option.

With very comparable bass, mid and treble performance to our top pick; your sound quality is still going to be on-point across games and other media.

The imaging on the M50x’s is also very comparable to the DT 770 PROs and will be fully suitable for high-quality positional accuracy in genres that need it.

The reason this is a runner-up is the slightly lackluster sound staging in comparison to the Beyerdynamics. It’s certainly not bad, a lower sound stage will produce a “tighter” sense of spacial sound. But from a gaming perspective, you usually want the opposite.

Audio-Technica has a great history of producing high quality, comfortable builds, and the M50X’s are no exception. More than suitable for long gaming sessions, these headphones also don’t feel cheap in any sense of the word are very impressive in these respects for their price point.

While we would recommend the DT 770 PROs over these, if you have a particular allegiance to Audio Technica, the style, or prefer the idea of a tighter/narrower sound stage, definitely don’t discount the ATH-M50xs. They’re a fantastic option.

Best Open-Back Runner-Up: Audio-Technica ATH-AD700X

Perhaps the most popular pair of headphones on this list, the ATH-AD700Xs are a great option if the HD 599s don’t appeal to your open-back tastes.

With decent bass, mids and trebles, and a fantastic imaging performance; the AD700Xs going to give you a great performance across various types of games and media.

The slight disappointing factor for these is the sound staging. Which is somewhat narrower than our other top picks; if you like this in headphones then great. But for most gamers, this is a negative.

The build quality and comfort are good. Perhaps not quite as strong as the above picks with some complaints about longer sessions due to the intensity that the band “clamps” to the head, but not a problem for most.

A final feature about the build we really appreciate is the weight. Clocking in at 0.57 lbs, these are the lightest gaming headphones we’d recommend. With most options on this list falling between 0.6 – 0.85 lbs.

ATH-AD700X vs HD 599

How are these not the top open-back pick?” I hear you ask.

To be honest, while these are great headphones and worthy of a “second place”, we’re quite comfortable that the HD 599s are better gaming headphones.

With the AD700X’s performing lower (albeit still decent) across pretty much all the main categories, from mids to imaging to comfort/style; you’re not going to get the same level of quality and depth of sound as you will from our Sennheiser pick.

If you are reading this set on the AD700Xs and I have just ruined your day, don’t worry! They’re still going to be great headphones for gaming. Sure, we’d would recommend the HD 599s, but there’s a reason why the AD700X’s are so popular.

Best Gaming Headphones Under $100: Philips Audio Philips SHP9500

Let me preface this by advising that to get the best balance of sound and price, the “sweet spot” is in the mid-range headphones above.

But w