Open Back Vs Closed Back Headphones For Gaming | Headset Reviews

When you are out to buy headphones you would see the market is brimming with all kinds of headphones and the choices are overwhelming. Wired or wireless, headset or headphones, active noise canceling or passive, over the ears or on the ears, in the ear or ear buds? With all the choices available it gets tough to decide which one to pick. 

The choice of headphones also depends upon what you are planning to use the headphones for. If you are working in an office, you will want to have different headphones set versus someone gaming in the bedroom. Listening to music in your living room would require a different pair of headphones versus someone who is exercising wearing headphones.

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If you are familiar with various categories of headphones, a question might pop up in your mind about whether to choose open or closed headphones for gaming. 

Open back vs closed back headphones for gaming… what is the difference between the two?

A few years ago the question would have not been raised because the open back headphones are a recent entry into the market. Open back headphones do not have a variety to compete with closed back headphones yet they are making their presence felt in the market. 

So, what should you opt for? Let’s have a closer look at open back vs closed back headphones for gaming and find out how the two kinds are different from one another.

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Open Back Headphones


Open back headphones comes with a similar construction design to closed back headphones with only one distinction. The ear cup or the housing has built-in gaps on the outer side that lets the air and sound pass freely through the ear cups. The perforation in housing design eliminates pressure and offers a natural sound that is more suitable for critical listening. Also, they are lightweight and comfortable to wear for extended hours.


Open back headphones offer improved sound reproduction. They do not block out any sounds which mean anybody nearby will know what you are listening to. However, the headphones offer a listening experience of their own class. It gives you a feel as if you are at the concert enjoying the music in its raw and natural tone. Open backs are suitable for critical listening, mixing, and everyday use at home.

Noise Isolation

Noise isolation means cutting and blocking any noises that can interrupt your listening experience. There are two types of noise isolation, i.e. Active noise cancellation and passive noise isolation. Active noise cancellation needs a certain kind of circuitry to filter out ambient noises, while passive noise isolation works based on the constructional design of the headphones. The open back design has a zero noise isolation mechanism. When the ear cups are open and perforated, it’s impossible to isolate noise for a better listening experience. 

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You wouldn’t want to use an open back headphone set in a noisy location. On the other hand in a competitive environment, everyone else would know what’s going on in your game.  But, if you want your open back headphones to be able to filter out noises and disrupting sounds, they are available with active noise cancellation but that would cost you some extra bucks.


Open back headphones are comfortable when compared to closed back. The open back design lets the airflow in and out of the cups. If you are gaming in long sessions, your ears will not feel any fatigue. The added soft padding on the ear cups and headband will only add to the comfort and make sure you do not feel any discomfort while you game.

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The ease to carry headphones is another important factor people consider while buying a gaming headphone. Most open back headphones fall in over the ear variety so they come with large ear cups which make it less portable. It’s hard to find open back headphones with small ear cups that you can fold and throw into your backpack without the fear of them snapping. 


Generally, open back headphones boast a relaxed and somber design. If you are a person of aesthetics, beauty and versatility you will find much in open back headphones.

Key Features of Open Back Headphones

  • Impressive sound quality
  • Comfortable
  • Not very portable
  • Not budget friendly
  • Not so great at isolation noise


When it comes to the price, open back headphones fall in the mid to high price range. You are going to find fewer and fewer budget options in open back headphones.

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Closed Back Headphones


The housing of the closed back headphones as the name suggests is sealed to block and isolate any sound from escaping outside and vice versa. The outer sounds and noises will not disrupt at all and you will have an incredible gaming experience. You’ll notice that the headphones feel more considerate and offer a great sound experience.


Closed back headphones, enjoy more popularity and acceptance because they block out the world and let you enjoy music like never before. You will feel the increased bass response and passive isolation. Closed back headphones make you feel as if you are on stage with your favorite singer. These headphones are the first choice for studio use too.  

Noise Isolation

The design and size of ear cups drive how much noise gets blocked. Since the passive noise isolation might not be perfect, so closed back headphones come with an active noise cancellation feature to keep ambient noise out.

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Nobody likes uncomfortable headphones, especially the one which make the ears ache and overheat. Closed back headphones do not allow air to get in or out so they heat up your ear faster than open back headphones. If you sweat a lot, opt for a set that has some sort of sweat proof cover or padding on the ear cups.


Closed back headphones are available in more variety hence it will be super easy for you to find portable, foldable, over the ear or on the ear closed back headphones for gaming. Closed back headphones models are winners hands down when it comes to ease of portability.  


The majority of us tend to go after headphones that boast an elegant design and look great on the head. When it is about style and designs, closed back headphones offer more choices to pick from.

Key Features of Closed Back Headphones

  • Amazing noise cancellation feature
  • Improved bass response
  • Heat up the ears
  • Portable
  • Available in a variety of style
  • Budget friendly 


Price is a factor one can not ignore. But if you are going to buy closed back headphones you can get one for less than 50$. If you can spend a little more, there are high end closed back headphones that offer wireless technology, better drivers, great design, impressive built quality, and stellar sound quality.

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Open Back Or Closed Back?

Knowing how the construction of the headphones impacts sound quality is a very basic thing but when it’s about open back vs closed back headphones for gaming, let’s discuss the real life situations where you might be using your headphones.

At Home

When you are at home, you got the freedom to choose whatever you like. If you are with someone who does not mind a little faint music sound coming out of your headphones, go for open back headphones. On the other hand, if you have a noisy neighbor and you want some peace we’d suggest you opt for a closed back headphone set.

For Public place

When you are out in a public space it’s not appropriate to disturb others with your music. Your music taste might be great but it does not necessarily mean the person sitting next to you in a tram is going to love it either. We suggest using closed back headphones where playing music on your speaker is not appropriate.

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For Office

If you have a noisy office and you are struggling to concentrate, a closed back headphone set will be the optimal choice. In case you work in a cabin with the door, you may opt for an open back headphone set.

For Streaming

Whether you stream while playing games, music, or cooking, you’ll need headphones that are comfortable to use for a long time. In such a scenario choosing the open back vs closed back headphones is entirely up to you. If you are streaming with noisy mates, you should go for closed back headphones. On the contrary, if you wish to hear what is going on in your surroundings, you can use an open back headphone set.

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In the end, it all comes down to a person’s personal preferences. One person may like to use closed back headphones no matter what he is doing while another may prefer to use open back. As we said, it’s all about your personal preferences. However, the environment and the purpose have a lot to do with your preferences as well. If you live in loud surroundings we recommend closed back headphones for an excellent gaming experience. On the other hand, if you like to keep track of what is going on around you while listening to music or playing games, an open back would be a perfect choice.

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Usman Mani
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Usman Mani

Md. Usman is a tech enthusiast with an experience of over 10 years in the field of affiliated marketing. He used both of his passions to come up with engaging content that's authentic, compelling and helps users buy the best products online.

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