Open-back vs Closed-back headphones for gaming

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#1 Edited by GamingPotato400 (3 posts) -

I am in desperate need of a new gaming headset, and I came across two well-regarded headsets. On one hand, I found a pair of Sennheiser gsp 300's at a local store for $80 and on the other hand I found a pair of Sennheiser hd 558's at an online retailer for $85 (including shipping). My priorities are comfort (I don't want a headset that clamps too hard, for I wear glasses) and being able to provide an immersive gaming experience that I can easily get sucked into and forget the outside world. I would like to know which of these headsets (each with a totally different design, the first one being closed-back and the later being open-back) can provide this experience more properly (BTW while having good music quality would be a plus its definitely not in my list of priorities). Any advice is appreciated!

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#2 Edited by BassMan (9290 posts) -

@gamingpotato400: Open is generally better than closed as it provides a more open sound stage. However, it leaks the sound into the room and may disturb others around you. Closed can generate bass easier, but that should not be a concern for gaming. I don't know much about each model you mentioned, but I definitely prefer open. Also, make sure you are able to drive the headphones properly. If they are high impedance, you will need an amp built into your sound card or a separate headphone amp.

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#3 Edited by mrbojangles25 (42097 posts) -

@BassMan said:

@gamingpotato400: Open is generally better than closed as it provides a more open sound stage. However, it leaks the sound into the room and may disturb others around you. Closed can generate bass easier, but that should not be a concern for gaming. I don't know much about each model you mentioned, but I definitely prefer open. Also, make sure you are able to drive the headphones properly. If they are high impedance, you will need an amp built into your sound card or a separate headphone amp.

On the subject of amps:

I recently upgraded my system, my first experience with this stuff actually, and got some Schitt Audio equipment to drive my headphones and it is incredible the difference it makes, and not that big of a price jump given the quality. I was looking to take it to the next level, as it were.

Bought the "Schitt Stack", the Schitt Magni 2 amp and the Schitt Modi 2 DAC. Seemed like a good entry option.

I've got them driving some Fostex T50RP headphones that have nice sound, but I take issue with their build quality.

Concerning impedence, I can't remember what the parameter was, but I think anything over a certain "ohm rating" will need a driver. It might have been 35 ohms or something?

As for open- vs closed-back headphones @gamingpotato400, will this be in your room by yourself or in public and/or around other people? That will truly determine what you should buy. If the former, buy the open; if the latter, buy the closed.

You can also look up some YouTube videos of open-back headphones to get an idea of just how loud they are, they're really not that bad.

*Didn't see the part about "forgetting about the outside world". Again, not a lot of experience with open-back headphones, but they are exactly what they say: open. Your ears are more or less exposed to the environment, so you will feel exposed and not isolated. If you want to shut off the outside world and feel isolated, you might want to go with a set of closed-back headphones, as they seal your ears up and shut out outside noises.

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#4 Edited by KHAndAnime (17565 posts) -

Open is always better unless you have to limit the volume coming from outside of the headphones or limit volume leaking out of the headphones.

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#5 Edited by GamingPotato400 (3 posts) -

How much sound do they leak in? I stay in a room alone but my home is usually quite noisy and I'm worried that that might reduce the chances of me getting immersed into games. Btw the open-back ones will need a separate amp to drive them and I found a decent one (up to 600 ohms) for $30 online. I might get it

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#6 Posted by ShepardCommandr (4939 posts) -

i can't stand closed but at the same time i love their deep base and their isolation

My ears/head sweats too much,especially during the summer so i usually take them of after an hour or so.

Open headphones leak far too much sound for my tastes and their base is shite.

right now i have a few pairs lying around AKG k240(open) akg 612 pro(open),dt 990 pro 80ohm(open),dt 770 pro 80ohm(closed) and i am always using the 770s for gaming and movies,nothing beats their base.

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#7 Posted by SaintSatan (1967 posts) -

Open is far farrrrr better than closed if you want the best sound quality. You'll get a much bigger sound-stage for gaming and more realistic sounds. They also tend to be more comfortable because they can breathe.

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#8 Posted by SaintSatan (1967 posts) -

@gamingpotato400 said:

How much sound do they leak in? I stay in a room alone but my home is usually quite noisy and I'm worried that that might reduce the chances of me getting immersed into games. Btw the open-back ones will need a separate amp to drive them and I found a decent one (up to 600 ohms) for $30 online. I might get it

You can turn the volume louder on open headphones because the soundwaves are not bouncing around in your ears like they are with closed. You shouldn't hear any outside noise, especially with an amp.

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#9 Posted by _SKatEDiRt_ (3117 posts) -

I too want open back headphones but am scared about background noise. I do not know anyone that owns some and there is no place nearby that has them on display

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#10 Edited by SaintSatan (1967 posts) -

@_SKatEDiRt_ said:

I too want open back headphones but am scared about background noise. I do not know anyone that owns some and there is no place nearby that has them on display

See above. Unless there's someone with a jackhammer right next to you you're not gonna hear any background noise whatsoever. On the other hand people nearby will hear your headphones if they're turned up high.

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#11 Posted by Grey_Eyed_Elf (5954 posts) -

Open headphones tend to sound better BUT... If you have a family like me they are not the greatest of choice.

I have the following headphones:

  • Grado SR80i - I use these to listen to rock and blues music
  • AKG K701 - I use these to gaming during the day
  • Audio-Technica M20X - I use these for gaming at night and I have replaced the ear pads with red leather memory foam

I would HIGHLY recommend the K701 for gaming.

Open headphones are not a problem to other people unless they sit next to you or its night and they are trying to sleep... Small issues but since I game at night often I cannot use them so I got the best sub $50 headphones you can get the M20X.

Also Grado heaphones for rock music... Heaven!

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#13 Posted by MonsieurX (38254 posts) -

Necro'd spam comment

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#14 Posted by RoleplayGaming (49 posts) -

I'm not an audiophile per say but I personally prefer closed Headphones specifically because of the noise cancellation (You can't hear any outside noise) and the awesome bass they produce. Some don't like it but for me having explosions and gunfire rumble in your ears is amazing.

I have a razer kraken chroma headset, which most of these guys would say is subpar, but setting the equalizer to the perfect settings make it one of the best sounding headsets I've owned.

Only con is definitely the heat. After prolong use you're going to need to take a break and let your ears breathe.

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#15 Posted by PredatorRules (12254 posts) -

locked.