12 Best Audiophile Headphones for Gaming in 2021 – Take Your Gaming Experience To The Next Level

Best Audiophile Headphones For Gaming

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Today, we’re going to take a closer look at the 12 best audiophile headphones for gaming available on the market in 2021.

Are you looking for excellent noise-canceling headphones so you can become fully immersed in your favorite games? Or are you looking for a pair of headphones with excellent sound imaging and surround sound that can help you easily detect your enemies in competitive FPS games?

If so, keep reading to find out which is best for you!


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Best Premium Audiophile Headphones For Gaming

These headphones are for those of you out there looking for the top of the line, and the price is of no concern. Headphones like these are the Crème de la Crème and the quality you’d expect from such legends of audio.

But the question you want the answer to is: Would they be good for gaming as well? Let’s dig deeper and find out if they indeed are the masters of all audio and find out which are the best for gamers like us.

The table below will give you a quick look at our selections for the best premium audiophile headphones for gaming currently available on the market. To read a full review, simply click on ‘review>>’ in respective row.

Product

Image

Rating

1. Sennheiser HD 800 S
''Best overall''

9.8

2. Beyerdynamic DT 1990 Pro
''Best value pick''

9.7

3. AKG K712 PRO
''Great pick for both FPS and cinematic games''

9.6

4. Sennheiser HD 660S
''Excellent for competitive FPS games''

9.5



1. Sennheiser HD 800 S

Frequency response: 9 – 41.500 Hz | Sound pressure level: 104 dB | Impedance: 150 Ohm | Connector: 6.3 mm / 4.4 mm Pentaconn | Cup Style: Dynamic, Open | Cable length: 3m | Weight: 260 g

Sennheiser HD 800SREASONS TO BUY

  • Sound quality is phenomenal
  • Very easy to drive
  • Soundstage and imaging are exceptional
  • Outstanding bass for open-back speakers
  • Light-weight
  • Two-year warranty

REASONS TO AVOID

  • Thinner earpads
  • No included 3.5mm stereo jack
  • Very expensive
  • No noise cancellation

Our Rating:   9.8/10

The Sennheiser HD 800S headphones were introduced in 2016 and are still one of the best audiophile headphones out on the market today. With the price you’ll pay for such a piece of cutting-edge audio technology, you would expect nothing less.

If you’re looking to flash your cash and buy a pair of headphones you’ll never forget, then the Sennheiser HD 800S may be just the thing you’ve been looking for.

Opening the box

you’re presented with the classic sleek-black clam-style case typical of Sennheiser. Included with the headphones are two fabric-sleeved cables; both are 9.8ft/3m. One is a 6.3mm jack plug, and the other is a balanced 4.4mm, and an optional balanced XLR 4 connector.

All terminate on the headphone side with dual-line proprietary connections, which can be very stiff and difficult to remove. Some people use adapters instead of swapping the actual cables because they are afraid to damage or even break the inputs on the headphones themselves.

Digging deeper into the packaging, you’ll find a microfiber cleaning cloth, the manual and warranty information, and a small USB flash drive with the Sennheiser HD 800S specifications and other info on it.

Quality & comfort

The Sennheiser HD 800S is utterly astonishing. Coated in a matte-black finish with steel highlights peeking out here and there, it’s easy to fall in love with the style of these beauties. The Sennheiser HD 800S are made primarily out of plastic, giving them a lightweight design.

The ear cups are large and can articulate slightly to form a tight seal. The earpads are handcrafted and covered in soft microfiber with a large ear well, but in my opinion, the pads themselves are too thin.

When wearing headphones for long gaming sessions, I want the maximum amount of comfort. For me, that means nice plush pads caressing the sides of my head. While that may not be so for everyone, you should keep that in mind while considering the Sennheiser HD 800S.

The sound is superb

They even sound great without an amplifier!

You could hook these bad boys up to an iPod mini if anyone else still owns one, that is, and it would still sound fantastic. But being a high-end product, the Sennheiser HD 800S can only reach its full potential using an amplifier. Even a small Shiit Magni 3+ would make all the difference, but don’t let that deter you.

If the Sennheiser HD 800S are your first premium headphones, you’ll still be blown away by the quality of sound these exude. The bass is excellent for an open-back style of headphones. The soundstage of the Sennheiser HD 800S is phenomenal. With the enormous bubble of sound it projects and the extraordinary level of accuracy of the sound imaging, you’ll feel as if you’re actually there. The Sennheiser HD 800S’ sound imaging is out of this world.

However, the speakers’ open back style allows for outside noise to seep in, possibly breaking your immersion while deep behind enemy lines or a critical plot twist in your favorite RPGs.

Most expensive on the list

With the price tag of an old used car, the Sennheiser HD 800S headphones are no joke. Sennheiser manufactured these headphones for the elites of the audiophile world. The design, quality, high fidelity sounds, and comfort of the Sennheiser HD 800S leaves you with little to be desired. But in my opinion, the price is too high for just a pair of headphones for gaming. But the Sennheiser HD 800S would serve that purpose flawlessly.

The Sennheiser HD 800S are extremely expensive but are, without a doubt, the best audiophile headphones for gaming in 2021. With their easy to drive power requirements and the vast scope of their sound capabilities, the Sennheiser HD 880S top our list.

In conclusion

In the end, we would recommend the Sennheiser HD 800S to any gamer who can afford them, audiophile or not. The crisp sounds and excellent bass of the Sennheiser HD 800S, paired with a massive soundstage and fantastic imaging, make them hands down the best headphones on our premium list for the gaming audiophile.

Not only do they sound impressive, but they are also beautifully made and of excellent quality. If you want the best for both gaming and music and have unlimited budget, the Sennheiser HD 800S won’t disappoint you.

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2. Beyerdynamic DT 1990 Pro

Frequency response: 5 – 40.000 Hz | Sound pressure level: 102 dB | Impedance: 250 Ohm | Connector: 3-pin XLR plug, 6.3 mm stereo jack plug | Cup Style: Open | Cable length: 3m straight or 5m coiled | Weight: 370 g

Beyerdynamic DT 1990 ProREASONS TO BUY

  • Outstanding sound quality
  • Clean and immersive audio for gaming
  • Made of metal
  • Replaceable parts
  • Two sets of ear pads
  • Amazing sound imaging
  • Two-year warranty

REASONS TO AVOID

  • No noise cancellation
  • Power-hungry
  • Narrow soundstage

Our Rating:   9.7/10

With a Manufacturer like Beyerdynamic, a company with almost a century’s worth of experience in the industry, you can expect the Beyerdynamic DT 1990 Pros to be flawless. And they almost are. It was hard to find anything negative to say about these particular headphones.

The design, in our opinion, trumps everything else in this category. They’re sleek. They’re comfortable, and they’re heavy-duty. With a sound quality so clean you can eat off of it.

Opening the box

With the Beyerdynamic DT 1990 Pro, you get two sets of velour earpads. One set of pads are for balanced listening and the other for analytical listening.

Additionally, you receive two cables. One of the cables is a 9.8tf/3m long with a 3.5mm stereo jack with a screw-on 6.3mm adapter. The other is a coiled cable with the same jack connections. Both terminate with a 3-pin mini XLR that attaches to the left speaker of the headphones themselves—all within a hard zip-up case.

Quality & comfort

Made mostly of metal, the Beyerdynamic DT 1990 Pros are heavy-duty and heavy weighted. These headphones definitely feel premium in your hand. The ear cups are encased in metal with milled slots exposing a tight mesh beneath, giving them a cool two-tone look from the side.

The headband is padded leather with a click-in-place design allowing you to adjust them for maximum comfort. The only problem is the headband tends to slide forward or backward after a few hours and needs adjusting, but nothing too horrible.

In this writer’s opinion, the biggest plus with the design is the ability to replace almost everything, allowing you to make repairs to the Beyerdynamic DT 1990 Pros if you ever need to.

The sound is beautiful

It’s warm and incredibly detailed. The bass is surprisingly rich for an open-back speaker. The highs and mids are clean, and the range is fantastic. Where the Beyerdynamic DT 1990 Pros fall short is with their soundstage. It’s not very wide but doesn’t give you claustrophobia either.

The sound imaging is excellent all the same. With an amplifier, you get that deep bass with well mixed and layered sounds you expect from top-shelf audiophile headphones. Everything that makes them great for listening also makes them great for gaming.

Even though the soundstage is smaller than some of the others, it does remarkably well for gaming. The sound imaging is just out of this world. No one’s safe from a player wearing gear like this. What is the old saying? “You can run, but you can’t hide”? Well, no one’s going to be able to sneak past you as long as you have the amp pumping juice to your new Beyerdynamic DT 1900 Pros.

That’s one big downfall. These headphones are a little power-hungry. You won’t be getting that phenomenal sound unless you have the hardware for it. But if you’re spending big on premium headphones, I’d hope you would know that already.

The price isn’t cheap

But, for the quality and robustness of these headphones, I’d say you’re getting your money’s worth. Everything about the Beyerdynamic DT 1990 Pros is just top-tier. When you hold these in your hand and feel their weight, you know you bought something hardy that will last you a long time.

In conclusion

The Beyerdynamic DT 1990 Pros are undoubtedly one of the best audiophile headphones for gaming out there. Their clear sounds, excellent bass, and sound imaging are otherworldly; the soundstage is where, we feel, they fall just short of the best on our list.

If it weren’t for the narrow soundstage, these would probably top our list. However, with that being said, the DT 1990 Pro is still an amazing pair of headphones that will take your gaming experience to another level.

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3. AKG K712 PRO

Frequency response: 10 – 39.800 Hz | Sound pressure level: 105 dB | Impedance: 62 Ohm | Connector: 3.5 mm with 6.3 mm screw-on adapter | Cup Style: Open | Cable length: 3m | Weight: 235 g

AKG K712 PROREASONS TO BUY

  • Extremely comfortable
  • Extra-wide soundstage
  • Great for any game genre
  • Lightweight
  • Powerful and clean sound
  • 1-year warranty

REASONS TO AVOID

  • Tend to slide down your head
  • No noise-cancellation
  • Thin plastic rails comprising most of its design
  • No swiveling of the ear cups

Our Rating:   9.6/10

The AKG K712 PRO are fabulous headphones with the quality you can expect from a company that has been making precision-audio equipment since the late 1940s.

According to the AKG Acoustics website, the AKG K712 PRO headphones are designed for “precision listening, mixing, and mastering while providing spacious and airy sound without any compromise.” With a line like that, you may wonder if these are right for your gaming needs.

Well, many players swear by the AKG K712 PRO as their go-to headphones, be it for RPG and cinematic games or their FPS titles. These headphones are fantastic with their wide soundstage and precision imaging.

You’ll be able to hear that enemy sneaking up on you from behind while wearing these puppies! Just keep in mind, as it is with most premium headphones, you’re going to need an amplifier to experience their full potential.

Opening the box

Inside are the AKG K712 PROs and two cables. One cable is a 9.8ft/3m 3.5mm stereo jack with a 6.3mm screw-on adapter, and the other is a coiled 3.5mm with a 6.3mm screw-on adapter. Both cables attach to the left speaker with a 3-pin mini XLR input.

You also receive a hand cloth carrying bag. The AKG K712 PRO themselves are made almost entirely of plastic and very lightweight. The headband is genuine leather that’s rigid enough to feel sturdy and soft enough to be comfortable. The headband attaches to the frame via suspension cables that could, in all honesty, use a little tightening.

Quality & comfort

The AKG K712 PRO has extra-large ear cups with soft memory foam cushions enveloped by velvety velour. These ear cups are huge, almost comically so, but would sit over any glasses or big ears comfortably.

The genuine soft leather headband conforms nicely to your head and sits comfortably. However, the headphones tend to slide down your head a little and can be annoying if you’re having to readjust every few minutes or just become used to the new position. Either way, you could see how that could be an issue while gaming.

The sound is wonderful

With a surprisingly good bass, exceptional mids and highs, and such a wide soundstage, these headphones would be ideal for FPS and cinematic games alike. With the level of image precision the AKG K712 PROs have, you will be able to hear the game like never before.

Now, the speakers are open back so don’t expect these to be noise-canceling because you’ll be sorely disappointed. Spending a pretty penny on a premium pair of headphones only to find out they’re not what you wanted would be aggravating, so remember: open back allows the sound to travel both ways. So if you want a pair of headphones that are noise-canceling or plan to play quietly while your significant other is sleeping, these would be a bad choice.

Are they worth the money?

Well, it depends. As a gamer, you want a pair of comfortable headphones with clarity, excellent sound imaging, and powerful sound you can feel. The AKG K712 PRO delivers all that. But with the thin plastic rails as the main supporting structure, I would be afraid of breaking them.

These headphones would serve you well as your everyday gaming headphones, as long as you have an amp or willing to buy one. The AKG K712 PROs are a great piece to add to your audiophile tech collection with a slightly lower price than the HD 660 S, such a wide soundstage, and range of sound capability.

In conclusion

All-in-all, I’d say the AKG K712 PRO headphones would be a pretty good choice for the audiophile gamer. Their lightweight design and robust speakers make it a top contender on this list. The soft velour ear cups with their extra-wide design will fit most people very well, even if you wear glasses or have trouble finding headphones that fit your ears.

I can confidently say that the AKG K712 PROs are among the best on the market for audiophiles and especially for gamers. Unfortunately, due to the railings, no articulation of the speakers, and the tendency to slide, the AKG K712 Pros finish third on our list.

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4. Sennheiser HD 660S

Frequency response: 9 – 41.500 Hz | Sound pressure level: 104 dB | Impedance: 150 Ohm | Connector: 6.3 mm / 4.4 mm Pentaconn | Cup Style: Open | Cable length: 3m | Weight: 260g

Sennheiser HD 660SREASONS TO BUY

  • Sturdy and well made
  • Ideal for competitive FPS games
  • Great soundstage and dynamic range
  • Decent sound imaging
  • Crisp mids and highs
  • two-year warranty
  • Easy to take apart for cleaning and maintenance

REASONS TO AVOID

  • Open back style breaks immersion if you are in a less than quiet environment
  • Can become uncomfortable after long use
  • Uncomfortable to wear with glasses
  • Almost entirely plastic

Our Rating:   9.5/10

Who doesn’t love the Sennheiser brand? They’ve been in the Hi-Fidelity electronic business for more than half of a century. So you can be assured these headphones aren’t from some off-brand company dreaming big. While the Sennheiser HD 660S headphones ranked last on our list, they are still something special.

Opening the box

Inside, you’ll find a sleek glossy-black clam-shell style box with the Sennheiser HD 660S headphones presented ever so sexily in their foam enclosure.

Included in the package just below the headphones themselves are two 9.8ft/3m cables. One with a 6.3mm stereo connector. Which, as you might already know, is the audiophile-standard for connecting to headphone-amplifiers, A/V receivers, and computer-based workstations. A 4.4mm connector for the newer generation of output devices.

Also included within the box is a flexible 6.3mm to 3.5mm adapter, so you could even plug The Sennheiser HD 660S into your mobile-device if you really wanted to.

Quality & comfort

The craftsmanship of the Sennheiser HD 660S is nothing to gawk at, and coming from Sennheiser, you would expect nothing less.

The Sennheiser HD 660S is mostly made of black plastic and is a breeze to take apart because there are no tools required. The microfiber ear cushions are soft, comfortable, and breathable and have a nice feel.

The speakers themselves are open backed with a black see-through metal grill exposing the headphones’ drivers and architecture, making them very easy on the eyes, but horrible at noise cancellation. If you’re looking for a pair of headphones within which you can leave your world behind and become fully immersed in your game, these are not them.

Furthermore, the oval shape of the speakers may prove troublesome for those of us who wear glasses. The oval sits too close to the back of the ear and doesn’t lie comfortably on the glasses’ arms. So if you’re burdened as I am with glasses, the Sennheiser HD 660S may not be the best choice either.

The sound is impressive

When they say Hi-res, they mean it. The sounds are crisp, the mids and highs are fantastic, the soundstage and imaging are incredible. But the bass is just okay. The Sennheiser HD 660S are definitely not the most powerful when it comes to bass.

That would make them more ideal for competitive FPS games. You’ll still be able to hear distant gunfire or the footsteps of nearby players easier without the rumble of battle muffling the finer details. The Sennheiser HD 660S would improve your situational awareness quite a bit.

Now let’s talk about the price

The Sennheiser HD 660S are moderately priced for premium headphones but require extra hardware to reach their full potential like others in this category. In my opinion, these headphones are not targeted at everyday gamers but rather the average high-end audiophile. With that being said, these are not the worst option out there price-wise.

In conclusion

Even though the Sennheiser HD 660S headphones are sturdily built despite being made almost entirely out of plastic and have excellent sound quality, I can’t recommend them for all gamers.

If your house can be noisy and you want something to block it out to become one with your online persona, you may want to look elsewhere.

But, if you have a quiet place and the peripherals required for the Sennheiser HD 660S to truly shine, then you will absolutely love these headphones. Your immersion in your favorite RPG or accuracy in the fields of battle will truly prove you own one of the best.

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Best Mid-tier Audiophile Headphones For Gaming (Under $200)

Next on our list are the headphones for those that don’t want to break the bank but still crave professional-grade audio. The mid-range category is just the place for the casual listener and gamer alike.

You’re not going to get the best of the best here, but you’re still getting quality headphones. Like in the last category, we’re going to go from best to worst and inform you why we think these are the best choice in the sub $200 category.

The table below will give you a quick look at our selections for the best mid-tier audiophile headphones for gaming under $200 currently available on the market. To read a full review, simply click on ‘review>>’ in respective row.

Product

Image

Rating

1. Beyerdynamic DT 770 Pro
''Best overall mid-range pick''

9.8

2. Sennheiser HD 599
''Best sound imaging in its class''

9.7

3. Philips Audio Fidelio X2HR
''Extreme comfort and clear audio''

9.6

4. Audio-Technica ATH-AD700X
''Great for competitive FPS games''

9.5



1. Beyerdynamic DT 770 Pro

Frequency response: 5 – 35.000 Hz | Sound pressure level: 96 dB | Impedance: 80 Ohm | Connector: 3.5mm jack plug, 6.3mm adapter | Cup Style: Closed-back | Cable length: 3m | Weight: 270 g

Beyerdynamic DT 770 ProREASONS TO BUY

  • Excellent bass
  • Perfect for competitive gaming
  • Balanced highs
  • Exceptional imaging
  • Noise-cancelling
  • Very robust
  • Two-year warranty

REASONS TO AVOID

  • Limited soundstage
  • Attached cable

Our Rating:   9.8/10

These headphones have been around for decades in one form or another. They have been the base design of many different headphones throughout the years, and you can see why. These headphones rightfully deserve to be number one. With their silky-smooth bass and crystal-clear highs, which have been boosted to match the bass, it’s easy to fall in love with the way they sound.

The Beyerdynamic DT 770 Pros are the first closed-back on our list and come in multiple impedance levels, but for this review, we’ll be focusing on the 80ohm version. While it doesn’t need an amplifier, using one will only make them better.

Opening the box

There isn’t much to the packaging, and the Beyerdynamic DT 770 Pro’s are just inside the box draped over a cardboard insert. The cable is permanently attached and is 9.8ft/3m long, ending in a 3.5mm jack with a 6.3mm screw-on adapter. Also included are a handy carrying bag and warranty information.

Quality & comfort

The Beyerdynamic DT 770 Pros are incredibly sturdy and can survive being sat on without even blinking. The headband is metal and wrapped in replaceable fake leather, and has just the right amount of padding. The earcups are made out of strong plastic with tapered memory foam padding covered in velour.

The speaker wires protrude out some before following the headband around, but they do a good job staying out of the way. The clamping force is gentle yet snug and you will be able wear them for hours and hours without much discomfort.

The sound is outstanding

The Beyerdynamic DT 770 Pros have sub-bass capabilities making them fantastic at representing the low rumbles of distant explosions or thunder adding to your immersion. The closed-back style offers noise-cancellation but diminishes the soundstage a bit.

The distinctive bass is complemented by refined highs, which have been boosted slightly to make them distinguishable. Meaning while playing competitive FPS games, you will be able to hear players footsteps even if the thunder is rumbling and there’s gunfire next door; this brings me to the sound imaging. The Beyerdynamic DT 770 Pro possesses unmatched pinpoint accuracy.

You can’t beat the price

For way below the $200 mark, it feels like you are getting a premium pair of headphones. The Beyerdynamic DT 770 Pro’s are a steal for their quality and performance and are by far the best bang for your buck in the mid-range category.

In conclusion

Overall, the Beyerdynamic DT 770 Pro are arguably the best pair of audiophile headphones perfect for gaming under $200. If you’re searching for a new pair of audiophile headphones, you will be very happy with the Beyerdynamic DT 770 Pros, and even happier when you look at the price tag.

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2. Sennheiser HD 599

Frequency response: 12 – 38.500 Hz | Sound pressure level: 106 dB | Impedance: 50 Ohm | Connector: 3.5mm jack plug, 6.3mm adapter | Cup Style: Open-back | Cable length: 3m, 1.2m travel cable | Weight: 250 g

Sennheiser HD 599REASONS TO BUY

  • Light-weight
  • Well built
  • Amazing sound imaging
  • Easy to drive
  • Comfortable
  • Two-year warranty

REASONS TO AVOID

  • Soundstage isn’t as wide as other open-backs
  • Only comes in Ivory (the special edition version is black)
  • Almost all plastic

Our Rating:   9.7/10

The Sennheiser HD 599s are open-back headphones and one of the best introductory audiophile headphones to date. They’re lightweight, well-built, and have an outstanding sound. They are easy to drive and don’t even require an amp to sound fantastic.

The Sennheiser HD 599s really stand out with the accuracy of their sound imaging with a precision unexpected from mid-range headphones, making them excellent for competitive FPS games, but lack the soundstage we’re used to from an open-back headphone.

Opening the box

After you open the box, you are presented with the Sennheiser HD 599’s in a foam enclosure with the detachable cables in plastic bags. You get two twist-lock cables; one is a 9.8ft/3m 6.3mm terminating in a 3.5mm that plugs into the headphones left speaker. The other is a 3.5mm 4ft/1.2m travel cable that also ends in a 3.5mm. Also included in the box is a 6.3mm to 3.5mm adapter.

Quality & comfort

The Sennheiser HD 599s are made mostly of an ivory colored plastic with some metal sprinkled in here and there. Even though they’re made out of plastic, the Sennheiser HD 599s are very flexible and sturdy. Just try not to sit on them.

The Earpads are spacious memory foam pads with a velour cover that sits around your ears comfortably. The headband is a click sliding style with a padded fake leather interior with really nice stitching. Wearing the Sennheiser HD 599s for prolonged gaming sessions will not be an issue because it’s easy to forget you’re even wearing them.

The clamping pressure is just enough to do the job, and that’s brand new out of the box. No break-in period is required.

The sound is excellent

Where these headphones really shine are in their sound imaging. It’s just brilliant. The layering of sounds and the amount of detail is very impressive. The Sennheiser HD 599’s would do well in any game of any genre.

The soundstage does feel smaller than what you would expect but remains spacious. They have a warm bass, but the mids are a little aggressive. The subtle boosts here and there, the amount of detail, and proper leveling add up to a pair of beautiful sounding headphones.

If you’re using an amplifier, just make sure it’s a lower impedance model because higher ones will cause the bass to bloom and distort the sound.

The most expensive on the list

While you’re not breaking the bank with a pair of Sennheiser HD 599’s, you will still feel the jab at your wallet. Now, it’s still less than $200 but not by much. These headphones are a great option but make sure they’re what you’re looking for.

In Conclusion

The Sennheiser HD 599’s are indeed a worthy contender for the first place spot in the mid-range category.

As you can see, we had trouble finding anything negative to say about the Sennheiser HD 599’s as they are a fantastic piece of equipment. They’re light, sound great, and image well. These headphones are practically tied with first place, but we had to rank them second because their soundstage is less than expected from an open-back headphones.

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3. Philips Audio Fidelio X2HR

Frequency response: 5 – 40.000 Hz | Sound pressure level: 100 dB | Impedance: 30 Ohm | Connector: 3.5mm jack plug, 6.3mm adapter | Cup Style: Open-back | Cable length: 3m (detachable) | Weight: 435 g

Philips Audio Fidelio X2HRREASONS TO BUY

  • Very sturdy
  • Perfect for cinematic games/immersion
  • Clear and realistic audio in games
  • Enormous soundstage
  • Extremely comfortable
  • One-year warranty

REASONS TO AVOID

  • Imaging is lackluster for FPS competitive games
  • Really heavy

Our Rating:   9.6/10

The Philips Audio Fidelio X2HRs are open-back headphones and a beast pair of headphones. Their entire design is comprised mostly of metal, and you really have to look for any plastic. There has to be some in there somewhere, right?

These overbuilt tanks are on the heavy side but are well balanced and comfortable to wear. The Philips Audio Fidelio X2HRs are a very logical choice for anyone looking to save a buck and still get a great set of audiophile headphones for gaming or anything else just shy of mastering.

Opening the box

Included with the Philips Audio Fidelio X2HR is a detachable oxygen-free 9.8ft/3m long thick cable with a braided fabric sleeve. The cable terminates at both ends with a 3.5mm stereo jack allowing the use of aftermarket in-line microphones.

Additionally, it comes with a 6.3mm snap-on adapter for an amplifier, but you could run these with a ps4 controller if you wanted. They also included a cable management clip to help keep your space organized, how thoughtful.

Quality & comfort

The Philips Audio Fidelio X2HR is built like a brick house. While there is some plastic here and there, it’s almost all metal. The steel tubes feel tough yet flexible and covered in fake padded leather for extra stability.

The suspended foam pad is soft and very breathable and has the right amount of tension to keep the headphones in place for hours with little discomfort.

Besides that, the clamping force is enough to hold on without squeezing your head like a grape, even for those of us with big heads, adding that additional level of comfort many headphones lack. The replaceable ear pads are thick memory foam covered in velour and feel amazing.

The sound is remarkable

The Philips Audio Fidelio X2HRs deliver a soft and buttery warmth uncommon outside of premium headphones. Not only do they have good bass for an open-back, but the highs are also exceptionally well done. Personally, I’m sensitive to highs being well, too high, and I feel the Philips Audio Fidelio X2HRs represent them very nicely.

The mids are a little recessed, making them less crisp in all aspects. The soundstage is vast with decent enough imaging, but not perfect. These headphones struggle a little when layering higher-end sounds, so trying to locate many different enemies may prove a hassle.

The Philips Audio Fidelio X2HRs would do best in single-player games where you’re more concentrated on the story than vanquishing your foes. Any game with a deep bass soundtrack or immersive ambiance would sound amazing. But being open-backed headphones, these are not noise-canceling and will leak sound into the room you’re in.

Your music or game might be picked up by your microphone, which could be irritating for teammates or other people in your household. As well as leaking out, sounds will leak in and possibly disrupt your gameplay.

The price is very reasonable

With everything the Philips Audio Fidelio X2HRs deliver, they’re stunning headphones at an affordable price. The build quality of these headphones outmatch many others in their price range, and the sound quality is something to behold. These are absolutely worth the money. The Philips Audio Fidelio X2HRs will be a significant upgrade if you’re looking to get away from basic gaming headsets.

In conclusion

The Philips Audio Fidelio X2HRs are many audiophiles go-to for comfort and performance when not doing studio work. Gaming, on the other hand, is subjective.

Yes, it has a huge soundstage, but it doesn’t have the precision required for competitive gaming, which is why it ended up in third place. The Philips Audio Fidelio X2HRs come in close behind the Sennheiser HD 599s by just a hair. It was a hard choice between the two.

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4. Audio-Technica ATH-AD700X

Frequency response: 5 – 30.000 Hz | Sound pressure level: 100 dB | Impedance: 38 Ohm | Connector: 3.5mm jack plug, 6.3mm adapter | Cup Style: Open-back | Cable length: 3m | Weight: 265 g

Audio-Technica ATH-AD700XREASONS TO BUY

  • Lightweight
  • Interesting design
  • Great surround sound for competitive gaming
  • Wide soundstage
  • Accurate imaging
  • Two-year warranty

REASONS TO AVOID

  • Minimal bass
  • Don’t stay in place
  • Attached cable

Our Rating:   9.5/10

The Audio-Technica ATH-AD700X headphones are open-back and somewhat unique in their design and come with such a low power requirement, meaning you could drive them with anything. However, they will sound more pronounced with an amplifier. The sound is decent enough without one, though.

The innovative design of the Audio-Technica ATH-AD700X makes them very lightweight and intriguing to look at. But looks aren’t everything. Let’s take a look as to why these made it to number four on our list.

Opening the box

The first thing you’ll notice is there isn’t much to the packaging. Plain white box with a see-through plastic panel showing the otherwise unprotected headphones. Typical of most Walmart items in the electronics department. Nothing fancy here, folks.

No extra cables have been included because this one’s permanently attached. The cable terminates in a 3.5mm stereo-jack that has a 6.3mm snap-on adapter. The ear cups are large with thick, soft pads that envelop your ears. On the back, they have an aluminum honeycombed grill exposing the speakers’ innards and just look really cool.

Quality & comfort

Overall, the Audio-Technica ATH-AD700Xs are pretty good quality despite being made mostly of flexible metal tubes and two pads holding speakers to your head. The earpads are large and covered with a soft raised-fabric that feels nice on the skin.

The spring-loaded headrests aren’t very robust, though, giving them a tendency to slide down until the earpads are resting on your ears. This can disrupt your immersion or even begin to hurt your ears if you don’t take the time to readjust them.

On the bright side, the Audio-Technica ATH-AD700Xs are super light, and with their comfortable earpads, these could be worn for hours without any problems. If only they would stay in place.

The sound is just okay

First of all, there is practically no bass response. However, with the mids and highs being so well balanced with what bass there is, they’re not bad. The Audio-Technica ATH-AD700X would be better suited for competitive FPS games over cinematic due to the wide soundstage and their high-quality imaging.

Furthermore, the bass doesn’t drown out the sound of footsteps or the direction of enemy fire; this allows you to pinpoint the enemy’s position with more accuracy, but this also means the sounds of gunshots and other deep rumbling sounds seem flat.

This aspect is most noticeable in cinematic games, where the ambiance and soundtrack are loud and distinct. The Audio-Technica ATH-AD700Xs are also colder sounding than other headphones. So, if you enjoy nice warm vocals and smooth bass, you won’t find them here.

Least expensive on this list

The Audio-Technica ATH-AD700X are not the most sturdy headphones and have an underwhelming sound, but they would still be a good option for anyone who wants an upgrade from their Gamestop headsets to a set of intro hi-fidelity headphones.

Are the Audio-Technica ATH-AD700Xs worth the money? Sure, if you have a head that would allow these headphones to stay in place and don’t mind the lack of bass.

In conclusion

The Audio-Technica ATH-AD700Xs are a pretty good set of headphones but have a few key problems placing them last on this list.

Although the Audio-Technica ATH-AD700X landed last, they may still be right for you. That is why they’re on this list, after all. If you would like to have a great looking pair of headphones to show your friends and family and don’t mind a colder sound from the speakers, then these might do the job.

But due to their tendency to slide and their lackluster bass making them less than optimal for cinematic games, they’re not for everyone. With that being said, if you’re looking for cheaper option with great surround sound for competitve multiplayer games, this might be a good fit for you.

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Best Budget Audiophile Headphones For Gaming (Under $100)

Up last on our list are the best budget audiophile headphones for gaming. These headphones go for $100 or less. But does cheap always mean poorly made and inferior sound quality? Not exactly, sometimes cheap is good.

Who doesn’t enjoy saving a few dollars and getting a good deal? I know I do. The following headphones aren’t up to par with the others in this top 12, but they are noteworthy none-the-less.

The table below will give you a quick look at our selections for the best budget audiophile headphones for gaming currently available on the market. To read a full review, simply click on ‘review>>’ in respective row.

Product

Image

Rating

1. Philips Audio SHP9500
''Best budget pick''

9.5

2. Superlux HD 668B
''Best budget pick runner-up''

9.3

3. Audio-Technica ATH-AD500X
''Best-sounding''

9.1

4. Audio-Technica ATH-M30X
''honorable mention''

8.1



1. Philips Audio SHP9500

Frequency response: 12 – 35.000 Hz | Sound pressure level: 101 dB | Impedance: 32 Ohm | Connector: 3.5mm jack plug, 6.3mm adapter | Cup Style: Open-back | Cable length: 3m (detachable) | Weight: 320 g

Philips Audio SHP9500REASONS TO BUY

  • Comfortable
  • Sounds amazing
  • Detachable cable with in-line mic capabilities
  • Budget friendly
  • One-year warranty

REASONS TO AVOID

  • A little bass-heavy (oddly enough)
  • Swivel joints seem low quality
  • Not the widest of soundstages

Our Rating:   9.5/10

The Philips Audio SHP9500s are the best bang for your buck when it comes to budget audiophile headphones for gaming. The sound is clear, the bass is surprising for an open-back, the design is comfortable, and their imaging is rather impressive.

The low impedance level of the Philips Audio SHP9500s makes it extremely easy to drive, so no amplifier is required.

Opening the box

Along with the Philips Audio SHP9500s, you receive a 3.5mm to 3.5mm detachable cable with a length of 9.8ft/3m, a 6.3mm adapter, and a handy carrying bag. With a straight 3.5mm cable, it makes it easy to attach an aftermarket in-line microphone for communicating with team members. These cables are easily replaceable if you need to.

You’ll notice right away that the steel headband is numbered, and the black plastic top coating has a viewport to quickly adjust your headphones exactly where you want them.

Quality & comfort

The Philips Audio SHP9500s are pretty well built but have a few issues. The headband is steel, while the rest is mainly plastic. The inside of the headband is a densely-padded mesh liner that looks a little cheap but is comfortable. The plastic on the earcups feels thin and brittle. The earcups articulate, but the swivel joint feels weak and like it might break easily.

Wearing the Philips Audio SHP9500s for prolonged gaming sessions isn’t an issue. The headphones sit nicely on your head without a problem, and the pads breathe well, so you’ll be less sweaty. If you take care of these headphones, they’ll make sure you continue to appreciate the edge they give you in-game.

The sound is unreal (for the money)

The Philips Audio SHP9500s have an impressive range of sound capabilities. The bass is nice and warm, the highs are a little recessed, and the mids feel close to the ear without being overbearing.

The sound stage isn’t the best, but it’s not the worst either. The Philips Audio SHP9500s are still open and spacious and make up for the slight narrowness with excellent sound imaging. You won’t have any issue pinpointing sounds while wearing these.

While these are open-back headphones, they may not be the best for actual competitive gaming due to the surprising bass response. But, playing your favorite FPS with these will still be an enjoyable experience.

Very reasonable price

While these aren’t the least expensive, the sound quality and comfort they provide are the real winners here. The Philips Audio SHP9500s are definitely worth their price. You will be glad you made this purchase.

In conclusion

The Philips Audio SHP9500s are the best of the best when it comes to audiophile headphones for gamers on a budget.

With their attractive design, sound capabilities, and low price, you have to treat yourself to a deal. The Philips Audio SHP9500 headphones are so well-loved by the audiophile community that they were completely sold out for a time, pushing them up over $200 in some online auctions. So get yours quick before history repeats itself.

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2. Superlux HD 668B

Frequency response: 10 – 30.000 Hz | Sound pressure level: 98 dB | Impedance: 56 Ohm | Connector: 3.5mm jack plug, 6.3mm adapter | Cup Style: Semi-open | Cable length: 3m, 1m | Weight: 230 g

Superlux HD 668BREASONS TO BUY

  • Amazing sound
  • Lightweight
  • Innovative input
  • Extremely affordable
  • Two-year warranty

REASONS TO AVOID

  • Earpads are horrible
  • Cables are of low quality but easily replaceable

Our Rating:   9.3/10

The Superlux HD 668Bs are what they call ”semi-open” backed headphones. Surprisingly, they are excellent budget-friendly audiophile headphones and do really well in both competitive and cinematic games but lack some comfort. Don’t worry, though. There’s a way to fix that.

Opening the box

The Superlux HD 668B is tightly crammed into a cardboard cut-out, which wrinkles the fake leather earpads, and takes a long time to straighten out. The back of the earcups is what makes them semi-open. Covering the driver is a plastic disk with dime-size holes exposing a black mesh screen.

Wrapped around the cardboard insert are two cables. One is a 3ft/1m cable, and the other is 9.8ft/3m in length; both are extension cables and easy to replace. Also included is a 6.3mm adapter for any external gear you might have.

The Superlux HD 668Bs’ input is a strange male 3.55mm and sticks out about 2in/5cm. This design is intended to combat the infamous problem of inputs becoming loose and having to jiggle them to get a connection.

Quality & comfort

For being so wallet-friendly, the Superlux HD 668Bs are lightweight and very well made. The headband is made with metal tubes with a winged support system that’s generously padded. What’s not padded so generously are the earpads. These things are garbage and are the reason you won’t like these out of the box.

Fortunately, they are a common size, and we recommend buying a set of velour earpads if you order these. You’re still going to pay less than any other headphones on this list and double your experience. A simple Google or YouTube search will show you how to swap them out.

The sound is awesome

You know that feeling when you hear something for the first time, and it gives you chills? That’s the feeling you might get when you first listen to the Superlux HD 668Bs. They’re just warm enough without it feeling unnatural. The highs aren’t overbearing, and the bass is subtle but not overly so.

The soundstage is terrific, with imaging to match. These headphones would be better for competitive gaming but will deliver excellent sound quality to any of your favorite RPGs, especially ones with a rich soundtrack.

Least expensive in the budget-friendly category

For a price tag less than $50, you can’t go wrong here. But do yourself a favor and get you some better earpads. You’ll be glad you did. Even with a new pair of earpads, you’ll still be able to buy lunch with the money you’d save compared to any other headphones on our list.

In conclusion

The Superlux HD 668Bs are an impressive pair of headphones. If it weren’t for the crappy earpads that the Superlux HD 668Bs come with, they would be our first place winner.

If you’ve been looking to buy the Superlux HD 668Bs but haven’t pulled the trigger yet, I would say go for it. You’re going to get a great sounding pair of headphones for a bargain. Just please, do yourself a favor and buy some decent quality earpads while you’re at it. After that slight modification, these headphones are on par with headphones in the $150 range.

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RELATED: Best gaming headsets for FPS

3. Audio-Technica ATH-AD500X

Frequency response: 5 – 25.000 Hz | Sound pressure level: 100 dB | Impedance: 48 Ohm | Connector: 3.5mm jack plug, 6.3mm adapter | Cup Style: Open-back | Cable length: 3m, 1m | Weight: 235 g

Audio-Technica ATH-AD500XREASONS TO BUY

  • Affordable
  • Very well made
  • Super lightweight
  • Incredible sound
  • Surprisingly comfortable
  • One-year warranty

REASONS TO AVOID

  • Tendency to slide
  • Attached cable
  • Annoying anti-tangle cord

Our Rating:   9.1/10

The Audio-Technica ATH-AD500Xs are fantastic open-back headphones and sound great for the price. They’re easy to drive and will sound impressive on any device. Their lightweight construction makes them feel cheap, but that’s where they deceive you. The Audio-Technica ATH-AD500Xs sound quality is exceptional right out of the package.

Opening the box

The Audio-Technica ATH-AD500Xs come with an attached 9.8ft/3m anti-tangle rubber coated cable ending in a 3.5mm jack. The cable itself is extremely annoying. You can’t get it straight; no matter what you do, it always returns to the factory style coil. Now that may be ok for some, but it bothers me. Included in the box is a 6.3mm adapter should you want to use an amplifier.

Quality & comfort

The overall design looks rather flimsy but is actually pretty robust. The overarching tubes are metal, covered in some kind of rubber coating, and are pretty tough. The wing supports are a little flimsy with thin padding but not uncomfortable. Although, they tend to slide down your head if you move around too much.

The earpads are plush, soft, and similar to memory foam. If you like to change your earpads around, you might consider leaving these alone.

The sound is unexpected

While browsing the budget categories, you don’t usually expect to find something of high quality. Well, the Audio-Technica ATH-AD500X’s audio is astonishing. If you’ve never considered a pair of audiophile headphones before and put these on, you’d be blown away.

The soundstage is wide, and the imaging is good, making it the first true contender on the budget list. The bass is surprisingly decent for a pair of cheap open backs. The Mids and highs are very neutral, giving the Audio-Technica ATH-AD500Xs a smooth warm sound you just wouldn’t expect from a budget pair of headphones.

Although bass typically drowns out the finer details in many headphones, the Audio-Technica ATH-AD500X is so open and airy they balance out nicely.

The most expensive on the list

These headphones are just skating by under the scale. But, for what you get, they’re still a pretty good deal. There can be some improvements, but that’s with everything. You have to take the good with the bad, and there’s more good than bad with the Audio-Technica ATH-AD500Xs.

In conclusion

The mixture of a very affordable price and outstanding sound quality make the Audio-Technica ATH-AD500Xs a good choice for gaming in 2021.

The Audio-Technica ATH-AD500X is a solid choice for the budget-minded gamer. These headphones are amazing open-backs for the price, even without any modifications. Their mixture of bass and highs allow for a wide range of game types, making them suitable for any genre.

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4. Audio-Technica ATH-M30X

Frequency response: 15 – 22.000 Hz | Sound pressure level: 96 dB | Impedance: 47 Ohm | Connector: 3.5mm jack plug, 6.3mm adapter | Cup Style: Closed-back | Cable length: 3m | Weight: 220 g

Audio-Technica ATH-M30XREASONS TO BUY

  • Lightweight
  • Portable
  • Okay bass
  • One-year warranty

REASONS TO AVOID

  • Breaks easily
  • Poor sound
  • Cheaply constructed
  • High clamping force
  • Inferior materials

Our Rating:   8.1/10

In this case, cheap isn’t good, and it’s not even the most affordable on this list! The Audio-Technica ATH-M30X is a closed-back plastic blast from the past. It looks clunky, and the sound isn’t as “Professional” as they claim on the box. While they’re not horrible sounding, they’re definitely the worst on the entire list.

Opening the box

The Audio-Technica ATH-M30Xs are inside a plain cardboard retainer with no additional protection. The permanently attached cable is 9.8ft/3m and ends in a 3.5mm jack. A screw-on 6.3mm adapter, product paperwork, and warranty information are also included. There is also a fake leather carrying pouch if you want to take them out in public for some reason.

Quality & comfort

The Audio-Technica ATH-M30X headphones are cheaply constructed. They’re made entirely of plastic. The headband and earcups are a dense foam with a fake leather exterior that feels very underwhelming.

Besides that, they can fold at the forks, and this seems like a weak point. If they’re going to break, this is where it’ll likely happen. Furthermore, there are wires protruding at the hinges, and some users have reported the wires becoming pinched, ruining the headphones.

On the bright side, the ATH-M30Xs aren’t the most uncomfortable. They can be worn for a few hours with much of an issue; however, the clamping force is too much and can become painful.

The sound is not impressive

The Audio-Technica ATH-M30Xs sound quality is not the worst, but it’s not exactly good either. The bass is okay but lacking punch, and the mids are too emphasized, causing things like bushes rustling in-game to distort other aspects of the audio.

Everything seems very flat and plain, like there’s a soul in there somewhere trying to get out but never does.

The price is not right

For the price the Audio-Technica ATH-M30Xs go for, you’d expect them to be decent headphones. But I wouldn’t recommend these headphones to a gamer or an audiophile. Audio-Technica should just buy these back and admit they were wrong.

In conclusion

Audio-Technica ATH-M30X should have never made a little brother to the M50x. If you’re a die-hard fan of Audio-Technica, then I guess you could justify the purchase, but for the most part, you will be better off with other offerings on this list – both performance and money-wise.

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Well, there you have it—the top 12 audiophile headphones for gaming in 2021. I hope you found this article helpful and were able to decide which headphones suited your needs. These are just a small glimpse of the vast collection out there, but we felt these were the best in their categories and presented them to you. Happy gaming!

About Richard Gamin 127 Articles
My name's Richard and over the years, I have personally built many PCs for myself and my friends. I love gaming, programming, graphics designing and basically anything that has to do with computers and technology. If you ever need a hand with anything, feel free to contact me and I will be more than happy to help you out.

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