Open Back vs. Closed Back Headphones For Gaming – What is recommended?


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Headphones are especially important to have maximum fun while gaming. Headphones allow you to immerse yourself in the acoustic atmosphere of your favorite games. Headphones are also the cornerstone of communication in team-based online games.

Also, read about the history of headphones

However, many gamers do not know which type of gaming earphones design is the most suitable. This article is an answer to the question of whether an open back headphone is more suitable or a closed-back headphone is more suitable for gaming.

Open-back headphones versus closed-back headphones

Some headphones are used over the ear, and those that are much smaller and are inserted into the ear. However, both variants can either be open back or closed back type.

These designs differ in one very simple matter: Closed-back headphones isolate the Users’ ears completely. No outside air can get into the users’ ears. On the other hand, Open headsets are much more permeable to all external influences. Let’s go further in understanding the two designs:

Open-back headphones

This kind of headphones is such that are designed in order not to acoustically isolate the user from hearing the sound in the environment. Open-back headphones are admittedly the most “natural” listening experience, as they allow the sound from your game to blend slightly with the sound of your surroundings.

Additionally, these kinds of headphones are usually much lighter and more comfortable than Closed-back headphones since the pressure exerted on the users’ ears or head does not have to be excessively high (it does not have to isolate as much as a closed type).

Asides from gaming, they are undoubtedly the right option if you want to listen to music while you go down the street since they will provide you comfort and security against any unforeseen exterior. It is also usually the best option for users who want to listen to quality music in everyday life or long listening sessions (whether professional or not).

In production, they are especially recommended when mixing and mastering. In those cases in which you want to achieve good audio quality in everyday or natural environments (that is, emulating the real conditions in which the audio will be heard).

Its drawbacks are usually, on the one hand, the relative lack of bass when listening (compared to closed headphones of similar range). Another downside of this kind of headphones is that the lack of acoustic insulation is bidirectional, which implies that your game’s sound will be heard from the outside.

This fact can be inconvenient if you want to play games in a quiet public environment, such as your workplace or even in the library.

Closed headphones

This kind of headphones, on the other hand, is specifically designed to isolate the user as much as possible from the surrounding. They achieve this through the use of materials and elements that prevent sound waves from dissipating in a direction other than that of the ear itself.

They have more robust or dense plastics, specifically designed pads, greater pressure or sealing firmness between the pad and the users’ ears.

Being conceived for this purpose, they manage to emit the audio sound with total precision, preventing any outside agent from interfering with your listening. They give an exceptional response in low frequencies and generally allow the user to perceive with much more precision the sonic nuances of the audio sound.

The disadvantage of this kind of headphones is the lack of user comfort due to greater weight and greater pressure in the sealing area. This discomfort is felt more if they are used for long periods. Also due to limited ventilation, heat and humidity can be a problem.

These types of headphones are an indispensable piece in any recording and production studio that wants to analyze recorded tracks in detail (especially in the recording stage, before mixing and mastering).

You can read about Monitor Headphones

Also, in a recording studio, a musician often records while listening to other tracks through monitor headphones. In this case, it is crucial to avoid any filtered sound being picked up by the microphone that is picking up the track. Therefore, closed-back headphones are more suitable.

They are also frequently used by live sound technicians, as they must be able to accurately identify any nuance or unevenness while in a noisy environment. They allow lovers of music to enjoy all the nuances of music.

However, they are not recommended at all for use outdoor, or even in some cases indoor – if you have to be aware of your surrounding. Outdoor usage can cause an accident due to their effective acoustic insulation.

Being a gamer, you may want to fully immerse yourself in your favorite video game to have maximum fun. In this case, the best option is closed-back headphones since you will most likely be indoors while playing your favorite game.

How To Identify Them

The most common type of headphone design in online or retail stores is closed-back headphones. Although open-back headphones are becoming more and more common too. However, there are currently not so many models of open-back headphones available when compared to closed-back headphones.

Usually, you can physically identify closed rear headphones by the way the earmuffs are designed. The earmuffs, most times, do not have vents/perforations or see-through grids. However, since this is not always the case, the best way (besides checking the specifications and features of the headphone) is to put on the headphones and use them.

Which is Recommended?

Based on the consideration of the features of both the open-back headphones and the closed-back headphones, we will recommend closed-back headphones for gaming.

While playing games, Closed-back headphones would provide you with personal privacy because no one will know will hear the sound of your game, even if they are sitting close to you. Also, you would be able to concentrate on your favorite game without being disturbed. However, long hours of usage may make your ears hot/sweaty.


In both variants, you should not abuse the headphones for long periods of usage. Also, In any case, you must abide by the instructions provided by the manufacturers. The instructions are for Users’ safety.

You can also read about Noise Cancelling and Noise Isolation headphones