Best Audiophile Headphones for Gaming in 2021

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The best audiophile headphone for gaming is a thought that comes to the mind of someone who values quality sounds (high fidelity) over everything else in a headphone. Games have various sounds, be it a third-person/first-person shooter game or an action-adventure game there are always sounds, discussions and various sound effects embedded. An audiophile is so enthusiastic about the recorded sound and quality of audio in anything that they get the best equipment/gadget that can deliver it.

What is the best audiophile headphone for gaming? The best audiophile headphone for gaming is the Beyerdynamic MMX 300 because it is a lightweight, noise-canceling headphone that reproduces sounds in an amazing quality providing an amazing gaming experience. 

This headphone was designed not to neglect the needs of a gamer that wants a wired headset. The audiophile gaming headsets are an upgrade to regular gaming headphones. Regular gaming headphones were not bad, they just did not prioritize audio quality and this made gaming less fun, less realistic and less immersive.

High resolution and high-quality transmission headphones make directional sound accurate, delivers audio the way the game creators intended i.e., it does not amplify sounds that are not meant to be amplified and vice versa. Other sounds like spatial audio are reproduced as intended.

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Premium Pick

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Quality doesn’t always translate to the most expensive but an audiophile places audio quality as top priority so if having a crystal-clear experience will cost a little or a lot more, they really don’t mind. Audiophile headphones deliver audio with high quality materials with little or no dilution from its origin.

Regardless of how complex a sound is, these headphones deliver these sounds in a crisp, clear way eliminating distortion and coloration. A high-fidelity enthusiast consciously craves high quality sounds at different audio formats, not necessary the music/audio content just the quality, looking out for audio with lossless compression. For an audiophile, it is absolutely quality over lifestyle so even if the headphone isn’t light or aesthetically pleasing, they go for it.

These high-fidelity headphones are tailored from the highest quality components. The target market for these headphones are consumers who are never willing to trade-off quality sound for price (i.e., quality over price), they just cannot do it because they need headphones that accurately reproduce sounds at the highest quality.

An audiophile is not satisfied with having just one headphone, they believe that different headphones have something to offer especially different frequencies as one headset cannot reproduce all frequencies (dark and light) accurately.

Does this mean that regular headphones should be abandoned? Yes, a thousand times yes. If you are an audiophile, you really won’t be able to use regular headphones because you will always be aware that your audio experience is mediocre.

If you have to ask “why should I get an audiophile headphone for gaming when my regular headphones work well?” then you are not an audiophile but stick around maybe at the end of this review you will see why you should become one. We have complied a list of audiophile headphones for gamers, coincidently these headphones are light making them more suitable to use for long hours.

An audiophile headphone delivers instrument clarity i.e., instrument separation, a clear distinction of one instrument from another. Some are designed to enjoy specific genres while others are designed for all genres and sounds.

Designing audiophile headphones for gamers is a way to create a better experience by making it as realistic as possible. Our top 5 audiophile headphones for gaming are:

1. Beyerdynamic MMX 300 (2nd Generation)

The Beyerdynamic is a 0.3kg closed back dynamic gaming headset. Its premium design distinguishes it from a regular gaming headphone and it is lightweight coupled with its large earpads making it comfortable to wear for long hours. It is wired and it comes with 2 cables (one for PC, the other for consoles) and a transport case.

The Beyerdynamic company produces a range of headphones for audiophiles, the MMX 300 which is an improvement on the 1st generation model for gaming offers an impressive sound with features to give audiophiles who are dedicated gamers an amazing experience.

Its frequency response range is 5Hz – 35kHz, it has a sound pressure level of 96dB making it possible to enjoy audio at high levels. It doesn’t just reproduce amazing sounds; it blocks out unwanted sound with its noise cancelling feature. Originally designed for the private aviation industry, this noise cancelling feature with closed back feature offers an immersive experience while gaming.

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Beyerdynamic MMX 300 (2nd Generation)

The boom microphone is a cardioid design which makes it easy to capture just your voice while gaming (a feature that online gamers will appreciate) while ignoring every sound behind you. To properly maximise the comfort and noise cancellation feature, the headband is adjustable for the best fit. The earpads are made of microfibre and it has a circumaural design.

It has a nominal impedance of 32ohms, a total harmonic distortion of <0.2% making its noise cancellation feature very solid, it has a power handling capacity of 100MV. An ambient noise attenuation of 18 dBA and a headband pressure of 3.5N.

The cables are to be connected under the left ear cup and to ensure the microphone works, you have to push the cable till they are tightly/firmly fit. Both cables have their inline remote and everything on the headphone is replaceable but this does not mean the parts are weak or not durable as the headphone is durable. This 2nd generation unlike its predecessor can be used for both consoles and PCs.

It can be used for music but it might not accurately capture some things like an accurate bass reproduction but it is really good overall. For movies, it is perfect especially for action movies as it captures every sound and delivers stereo separation. The microphone frequency range is 30Hz -18kHz.

The driver diameter of 50mm with a neodymium magnet makes it have a premium sound quality and makes it lighter respectively. The cable is tangle free and it has no IP rating so you want to be really careful with it.

Purchasing this headphone means you are looking for a high-fidelity headphone that is lightweight, wired, compatible with all platforms, performs well and is comfortable for gaming.

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2. SteelSeries Arctis Pro Game DAC

The SteelSeries Arctis Pro is a 0.5kg closed back over the ear gaming headset. Its flexible frame makes it harder to break although it does not really fit well on heads that are a bit bigger. 

It is pretty light and its airweave ear cups design allows air pass through so they don’t get too hot during use, this makes them comfortable to wear for long hours. It is wired, it comes with a cable and it works on both PCs and consoles. It has no transport case.

It comes with a game DAC (digital-to-analogue converter) to amplify and reproduce high resolution audio. This extra gadget also removes pressure from your system or console as it takes on the sole purpose of making the audio the best quality possible.

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SteelSeries Arctis Pro Game DACw

Its frequency response is 10Hz – 40kHz, you can enjoy audio at high levels with its sound pressure level of 102dB. It has a noise cancelling feature making you enjoy its high-resolution sound reproduction.

The The omnidirectional style boom microphone captures sound from both sides of the headphones, this is not as good as the cardioid microphone, this does not erode its surround sound that creates a 3D sound for an immersive game play. The microphone sensitivity is -38 dBV/Pa and has a noise cancellation feature. 

It is a bit more aesthetically pleasing than others on this list as the headphone has rings that emit LED lights when you turn it on.
The total harmonic distribution is 1.0% making its noise cancellation feature average, accurate reproduction of sound is not perfect as some sounds are left out but it is good overall. The impedance is 32ohms and it has a 40mm driver diameter with a neodymium magnet. 

They don’t really work well with eye glasses, this might be the effect of using an airweave material for the ear cups.
Buy this headset if; your head size will fit, if you like a DAC, if you are not too particular about total harmonic distribution feature.

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3. Audio-Technica ATH-G1

Audio-technica brand is known for creating products tailored for audiophiles. There are quite a number of headsets that can be used for gaming but our pick is the ATH-G1. This is the wired version as there is a wireless one.

With a very simple design, this headphone weighs 0.2kg and its earcup design allow air to get through to reduce heat production while in use. Its design also makes it very comfortable with eye glasses. It does not come with a transport case.

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Audio-Technica ATH-G1

With a frequency response of 5Hz – 40kHz, its sound pressure level is 101dB accommodates high volume audio. The detachable microphone feature makes it easy to use as a regular headphone for music.

The driver diameter is 45mm and it is compatible with all PCs and consoles. Ear cups and headband are replaceable and it has an inline control panel. This detachable feature makes it the most durable on the list as you can easily replace the parts instead of buying a new headphone which is the more expensive option. Its impedance is 45ohms and its boom microphone is a hyper cardioid design with a frequency of 30Hz – 20kHz.

Purchasing this headset is getting a headset that works on all platforms with an overall good performance. You will engage in a lot of online gaming as the microphone is suitable for this. It also means you are not really into so much bass and you are okay with a non-detachable cable.

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4. Sennheiser GSP 370

A stereo speaker wireless headset in an over the ear form with a detachable cable that is 1.5m in length. The GSP 370 has a frequency of 20Hz – 20kHz, its sound pressure level is 117dB and its impedance is 28ohms making bass more enjoyable.

The 0.6kg headphone has a closed back dynamic with a design that makes it flexible and easy to twist. It uses a noise cancelling microphone with a frequency range of 100Hz – 6,300Hz. It has the longest battery life on this list as it can last for 100 hours and it has a battery level indicator. This battery life should make it heavier; it even looks heavier but it is pretty comfortable on the head.

Budget Pick

Sennheiser GSP 370

It is compatible with all PCs and consoles except Xbox and the control panel is on the headphone (not inline like the previous ones). The boom microphone is unidirectional and has a mute function (done by flipping the mic). It cannot be used on a phone as its connection is restricted to the use of a USB dongle.

The unidirectional microphone design is not as good as the cardioid and this is evident in the sound of the microphone.

The driver diameter is 50mm with a neodymium magnet and a total harmonic distortion of 1.0%. It has a software to balance sounds to suit your audio needs and this software runs only on windows 10. It reproduces sounds distinctly with amazing detail.

This is an overall decent purchase. If you are looking to use it with an Xbox, you will need to purchase an extra adapter. If you want to game for long hours and you don’t mind the Xbox exclusion or the fact that it is wireless, this device has 100 hours battery life so it will serve that purpose.

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5. Razer Blackshark V2 Pro

Razer Blackshark V2 Pro has stereo speakers and it is an over the ear headphone. The L shaped cable makes it easier to fit into places without breaking. Its sound frequency range is 12Hz – 28000Hz, it has passive noise reduction and a 32ohms impedance. The sound pressure level is 100dB and it is a noise cancelling headphone.

The V2 pro is an upgrade of the V2, the major upgrade being the wireless feature. With a removable microphone that has a frequency range of 100Hz -10000 Hz, it has a rechargeable battery and its detachable microphone makes it easier to use like a regular headset. It also has a mute function and the control panel is on the ear cup.

The THX 7.1 surround sound gives it more immersive experience. It uses a Bluetooth 2.4GHz connection and it has a great directional sound. The 50mm driver diameter reproduces sounds at premium quality and its cooling gel infused oval shaped ear cups makes it more enjoyable to play for long hours.

Affordable

Razer Blackshark V2 Pro

Its detachable boom microphone has a cardioid design, it has a battery life indicator and a 24-hour battery life. It weighs 0.7kg and its wireless feature eliminates the interruption of the cord while gaming. It is made with plastic and the headband is well cushioned providing more comfort.

The headband is easily adjustable with a large range of motion making it suitable for all head sizes. It is not really aesthetically pleasing as it has a dark theme with no led lights but it gets the job done.

Microphone is cardioid with a pretty accurate directional sound, it has a software you can use to tweak the sound to your taste. It is regarded as one of the best wireless headphones on the market and it doubles as a wired headphone because when the battery is out of juice, you can connect a cable and use it. Bear in mind that this eliminates the 7.1 surround sound.

It has no IP rating so it is not waterproof or anything proof really so it is advisable to be careful with it. It is also not perfectly lossless. Are you looking for a wireless headset that has a 7.1 surround sound that can double as a wired headset (without the surround sound)? Are you looking for a headset with a detachable mic? Are you okay with a headphone that is not perfectly lossless? Then this is for you.

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If you are a part time gamer i.e., you have an office work or work remotely, all these headphones can serve as great gadgets for video calls especially the ones with clear microphones.

How to Choose the Right Audiophile Headphones for Gaming

Choosing the right audiophile headphone for gaming is based on your needs, needs here refers to functionality and not aesthetics. Aesthetics is not a bad need but that is not a priority for an audiophile.

From the previous paragraphs, we have established the major goal of an audiophile, listed our top picks for gamers and now we will discuss key features to look out for before making a purchase.

Audio quality is top priority but it should never be sacrificed for comfort. For instance, the SteelSeries on this list is a good gadget but does not fit heads that are large. There are other features that ensure comfort and you should look out for them when making a purchase.

When you are set to purchase an audiophile headphone for gaming, do you want one with an opened back or closed back dynamic? Do you want to use a wireless or wired one? Is bass or treble the priority? Do want to use your headphone for other purposes? These questions will be answered below. 

There is a plethora of gaming headphones in the market, the audiophile headphone market is not as large but picking the right one can be a chore when you really don’t know what to look out for.

Gamers that are dedicated to their craft, are always looking for ways to improve their gaming experience, either with gadgets or ergonomically designed furniture. Headphones are one of those important gadgets as they provide an immersive experience when the right one is chosen.

The list above represents our top picks from what is available in the market right now, if you want to buy one maybe two or for some reason, you want to pick others that are not on the list, there are a few features you should look out for.

These features have been put in just three sub headings; design/style, sound quality and compatibility & durability. The next few paragraphs will give a detailed explanation of these features.

Design/Style

A boom microphone is preferrable for gamers as it gives a crystal-clear delivery for in game chats. The option of wired or wireless is your choice really, audiophiles prefer wired because they believe it has better quality as Bluetooth sacrifices audio quality while transmitting a signal, then there are people who want to game without any cable interruption.

If you are keen on aesthetics, you will need to spend extra to enjoy this design. There is a difference between playing a game and being a gamer. A gamer spends long hours and because these headphones will be worn for long hours, getting one with comfortable earcup and a comfortable headband is so important.

Tuning and control is another feature to consider. Some headphones have their controls on one ear cup while others have them on the cable (inline remote). There is also the infinity wheel style for volume control, look out for these and pick the style that suits you best.

These headphones are designed strictly for gaming. Yes, alternative uses are advertised like some can be used for phones but these has to be done with caution. For instance, if the headphone has a low IP rating; you can’t use it for heavy gym activities and just because it is waterproof does not mean it is suitable for immersion. For headphones with no IP rating should be used mainly in and around your designed gaming area.

Cables are important as they transmit sounds so you want a tangle free cable that is durable. Cables made with Kevlar fabric or braided cloth are durable and last longer. There are two headphone dynamic; open back and closed back.

The closed back seals the sound (isolates sound) so that no one around can hear anything from your headphones while the open back shares your audio with others around you. Every gamer has a preference and purchases the style that suits their needs.

Sound Quality

Frequency reproduction range is important, a minimum of 20Hz is recommended. If you want a stronger bass you will have to go for a lower frequency. To enjoy the treble feature, the minimum should be 20kHz and the higher the better.

The volume of a headphone is determined by the sound pressure level using decibel (dB) as the measuring unit. 96dB – 121dB should is a safe range, you really don’t want to go below 96dB, you can go above 121dB but be sure your ears can handle it.

Destructive interference is another term for unwanted noise, you don’t want to be playing a game and all of a sudden, the blender or any machine starts and it interrupts your gameplay. Noise cancellation is important but not in all situations as there are times you want to be aware of your environment.

Impedance is the resistance of the driver to electric current which means that a lower impedance does not require so much power to get to a high volume. Causal listeners are okay with the range 15ohms to 32 ohms but audiophiles go for higher.

In gaming, a safe range is 28ohms – 50ohms to get the best quality. Most high-quality headphones have an average of 32ohms but remember you are the one making the purchase so go for whatever is safe for your eardrums as long as it is not below 28ohms.

The directional sound should be as accurate as possible and sounds should be distinct. While playing a first-person shooter game maybe Call of Duty, you don’t want to hear a bomb sound from the right when it is actually on the left, you what to be able to differentiate between a pistol and an automatic rifle.

There is also spatial audio, in a forest you should hear birds chirping and other animals roaming. A high-quality headphone will deliver these features and more with no problem, it sound be so good that if the audio embedded in a game is low quality, it will expose it. Some headphones offer a surround sound for a more immersive experience. Although, some gamers see these surround sound feature as unnecessary.

The driver diameter should be a minimum of 40mm and the bigger the diameter, the better the sound. The total harmonic distortion of any high-end headphone should be 1% and the lesser the stronger the noise cancellation feature. The difference between noise isolation and noise cancellation is that the former blocks external sounds as it covers the ear canal while the latter traps sound, creates an immersive experience and its effectiveness varies.

Compatibility and Durability

The headphones listed are for gaming but if you want to use them for a phone or even the gym maybe swimming, there is no judgement from us there are just a few things you need to keep in mind.

You didn’t purchase a headphone to have your ears ache so comfort is really important, we have listed out vital things in the design/style sub heading to look out for. In this section we just want to highlight a few features that indicate compatibility/durability.

If you want to use your gaming headset as a gym headset you really don’t want it to be wired, you also have to also look out for the IP (ingress protection) rating the higher the rating the better. For instance; IPX1 – IPX3 has a light protection, IPX7 – IPX8 are more durable and can be immersed in water.

Remember, to properly read the specifications on the box before you purchase, use these guidelines we have given to piece together the features that suit your needs then make the purchase or purchases like a true audiophile.

Best Audiophile Headphones for Gaming FAQs

The next few sub headings will be questions regarding the best audiophile headphones for gaming and answers will be provided.

What is the Overall Best Audiophile Headphone for Gaming?

The best audiophile headphone for gaming is the Beyerdynamic MMX 300 (2nd generation). It is portable with a crystal-clear microphone and an amazing quality sound reproduction.

How Much Do You Need to Buy the Best Audiophile Headphone for Gaming?

The Beyerdynamic MMX 300 costs $279 (excluding shipping).

What is the Cheapest Audiophile Headphone for Gaming?

The cheapest audiophile headphone for gaming of this list is the Sennheiser GSP 370. It costs $162.99 (excluding shipping).

In Conclusion

An audiophile places sound above all else, being an audiophile gamer just means you are very particular about different sounds in a game; directional sound, spatial sound, soundtrack and so on.

Spending a little more than the average on a gaming headset is worth it as long as you know all the features that are compatible with your lifestyle.

We have given you our list, we hope it helps you get an audiophile headphone that makes you a happy gamer.

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