The 10 Best Studio Headphones for Gaming in 2022

I don’t know at which point gamers started pursuing the best studio headphones for gaming. I don’t even know at which point audio equipment became vital.

Back in my day, you needed a decent graphic card and some RAM, and you could play almost anything. Now you need the operating power of a space agency to run a single game (I see you, CyberPunk 2077!).

Though I complain, I’m also delighted with how far the gaming industry has progressed. I’m old enough to have played one of those 2D Super Mario games, and now I get to see characters on the screen that barely differ from people in real life.

We also went from repetitive MIDI music to elaborate and colorful soundscapes. I have to admit, it’s a shame to lose out on all that just because you didn’t get a decent pair of headphones?

But, do you have to go as far as looking for the best studio headphones for gaming? Regular gaming headphones should give you a perfect audio experience. If they don’t work, there are also soundstage earphones.

Today, we’ll talk about that. I’ll explain a few advantages of studio headphones, show you how to buy a perfect pair, and even see if you need to invest in a pair at all. For now, let’s start with my picks for the best studio headphones.

Photo
Best Overall
Audio-Technica ATH-M50X Professional Studio Monitor Headphones, Black, Professional Grade, Critically Acclaimed, with Detachable Cable
Premium Pick
Sennheiser HD 800 S Over-the-Ear Audiophile Reference Headphones - Ring Radiator Drivers With Open-Back Earcups, Includes Balanced Cable, 2-Year Warranty (Black)
Budget Buy
Philips Audio Philips SHP9500 HiFi Precision Stereo Over-Ear Headphones (Black)
Best Sound Quality
Philips Audio Fidelio X2HR Over-Ear Open-Air Headphone 50mm Drivers- Black
Best Design
SENNHEISER HD 599 Open Back Headphone, Ivory
Product
Audio-Technica ATH-M50X
Sennheiser HD 800 S
Philips Audio SHP9500
Philips Audio Fidelio X2HR
Sennheiser HD 599
Pros

Multiple variations for different needs

Clear sound and excellent details

90 degree swiveling and folding ear cups

Maximum bang for your buck

Open-back wide soundstage

Excellent built quality

Incredible detail and sound quality

Comfortable to wear year round

Open-back wide soundscape

Breathable and comfortable ear cushions

Excellent sound quality

Durable construction

Outstanding sound and details

Extremely comfy even for long sessions

Acoustic open-back wide soundscape

Great value

Premium design, materials, and craftsmanship

Detachable cables with 3.5mm and 6.3mm jacks

Padded headband and velour ear pads

Simply stunning

Rating
Prime Status
Best Overall
Photo
Audio-Technica ATH-M50X Professional Studio Monitor Headphones, Black, Professional Grade, Critically Acclaimed, with Detachable Cable
Product
Audio-Technica ATH-M50X
Pros

Multiple variations for different needs

Clear sound and excellent details

90 degree swiveling and folding ear cups

Maximum bang for your buck

Rating
Prime Status
Premium Pick
Photo
Sennheiser HD 800 S Over-the-Ear Audiophile Reference Headphones - Ring Radiator Drivers With Open-Back Earcups, Includes Balanced Cable, 2-Year Warranty (Black)
Product
Sennheiser HD 800 S
Pros

Open-back wide soundstage

Excellent built quality

Incredible detail and sound quality

Comfortable to wear year round

Rating
Prime Status
Budget Buy
Photo
Philips Audio Philips SHP9500 HiFi Precision Stereo Over-Ear Headphones (Black)
Product
Philips Audio SHP9500
Pros

Open-back wide soundscape

Breathable and comfortable ear cushions

Excellent sound quality

Durable construction

Rating
Prime Status
Best Sound Quality
Photo
Philips Audio Fidelio X2HR Over-Ear Open-Air Headphone 50mm Drivers- Black
Product
Philips Audio Fidelio X2HR
Pros

Outstanding sound and details

Extremely comfy even for long sessions

Acoustic open-back wide soundscape

Great value

Rating
Prime Status
Best Design
Photo
SENNHEISER HD 599 Open Back Headphone, Ivory
Product
Sennheiser HD 599
Pros

Premium design, materials, and craftsmanship

Detachable cables with 3.5mm and 6.3mm jacks

Padded headband and velour ear pads

Simply stunning

Rating
Prime Status

 

10 Best Studio Headphones for Gaming

 

Best Overall – Audio-Technica ATH-M50X

Best Overall - Audio-Technica ATH-M50X

My rating: 4.9 stars.

I rarely find a product I can recommend even before someone finishes the sentence unless they have a big head and ears.

Straight up, there are better options if you are putting up a professional recording studio. But as a regular Joe Schmoe that just wants a great gaming experience? Fat chance you’ll do better than these.

That goes double if you want to use the same headphones to listen to music and watch movies. The sound quality is amazing. Bass needs a bit of fiddling about, but I find this to be the case with most of the headphones in this price range. It’s nothing that can’t be addressed in the EQ, so I care little about it.

As for gaming, I love all genres. Shooters, horrors, sims, even otome (don’t judge). I didn’t find that I had to make too many adjustments in the game settings to get the best experience possible. All settings I fiddled with were only because of personal preferences.

Now, something that I wasn’t too keen on at first: these headphones are foldable. In my experience, this suggests that their lifespan is cut in half from the second they are out of the box. Especially if you plan on taking them when you’re out and about.

Just look at that joint. This is how you should do it if you want to make this style of headphones.

Unless you want them to break in a couple of months and force the customer to buy a new pair. Which they probably won’t do, but oh well.

In short, if you want to invest in one pair of studio headphones that you can use to play any game that comes to mind, plus use them to listen to stuff when you’re on the go, these are my top pick.

Pros
  • Multiple variations for different needs.
  • Clear sound and excellent details.
  • 90 degree swiveling and folding ear cups.
  • Maximum bang for your buck.
Cons
  • Tight fit.
  • Not suitable for big ears.

 


 

Premium Pick – Sennheiser HD 800 S

Premium Pick - Sennheiser HD 800 S

My rating: 4.8 stars.

Sennheiser is a brand with a big reputation. And that big reputation comes with a big price tag.

However, it’s worth it. If you have that kind of money, or if you’re willing to invest so much into a set of headphones, Sennheiser is always a good choice.

It’s the best way to describe these as Bugatti Veyron of headphones. The design is incredible, the craftsmanship is impeccable, and the performance is top-notch.

These headphones are not only excellent for gaming but a must-try for any audiophile out there. Especially if that audiophile likes some smooth jazz or intricate orchestra music.

Since they are open-back, they are not the most suitable for carrying around. However, I wouldn’t run my errands with 1k+ worth of premium audio tech chilling on my head. So, that’s not a big problem for me.

What is a bit problematic is the cable quality. At this price point, it has to be a lot better. Let’s just say, if I’m paying $1500 for headphones, they can’t have the same cable as a $150 pair.

If you have the money, I would still recommend them. Even though you would have to buy those annoying cable protectors.

Pros
  • Open-back wide soundstage.
  • Excellent built quality.
  • Incredible detail and sound quality.
  • Comfortable to wear year round.
Cons
  • The price tag.
  • Cable quality is dissapointing.

 


 

Budget Buy – Philips Audio SHP9500

Budget Buy - Philips Audio SHP9500

My rating: 4.8 stars.

Think of this as a budget version of the previous entry. You’re getting similar promises, only at a price that won’t turn your hair gray overnight.

On their own, without comparing them to any other headphones, the SHP9500 are amazing. If we were to compare them to competition in a similar price range, they are amazing. If I were to compare them to some pricey models out there? Amazing.

The biggest issue they have is all the sound bleed. It’s expected to have some with open-back headphones, but these produce more than usual. Again, not an issue if you are planning to use these solely for gaming but a problem if you’re sitting next to someone on the subway. A problem for them.

The head clamp is also loose, so another reason they are not suitable for the outdoor shenanigans. Though, this thing I find to be a con could be a pro for everyone who struggles to find headphones that don’t squeeze their head too hard.

Recommended: 10 Best Home Studio Headphones.

That being said, they are still a great buy. Suitable for multiple genres and don’t require a lot of setups for you to get a great sound payoff. If you’re the kind that plays Counter-Strike for hours on end, these may be a perfect fit for you.

Pros
  • Open-back wide soundscape.
  • Breathable and comfortable ear cushions.
  • Excellent sound quality.
  • Durable construction.
Cons
  • A lot of sound bleed.
  • Loose head clamp.

 


 

Best Sound Quality – Philips Audio Fidelio X2HR

Best Sound Quality - Philips Audio Fidelio X2HR

My rating: 4.8 stars.

The only reason the X2HR is not the top pick is they are not as versatile as the Audio-Technica model. The open-back translates to sound bleed, which in turn screams anti-social behavior in public.

Unless you are looking for a pair of headphones, you can use outside as well, this is probably the best option on this list. The sound is better than what I would expect from models a lot more expensive than this one.

When gaming, they produce a realistic atmosphere and amazing details. And that’s straight out of the box and no additional tinkering with the in-game settings and EQ.

There’s a bit of an issue with bass. It is over-promised, but it’s not like I would have expected that much bass from open-back headphones.

Another issue you need to be aware of is they are not suitable for big heads. They clamp on tight and if your head is even slightly bigger than the manufacturer expected, there will be pain.

Now, pay attention. These headphones come in both 40mm and 50mm. I am talking about the 50 mm ones. The 40mm are okay, but barely half as good as the 50mm.

Yes, that was the reference to the price, so if you’re ready to make that purchase, don’t jump ahead thinking you’re getting an amazing deal by picking those instead.

I know it may sound stupid having to point that out, but I read a lot of reviews prepping this piece, and it would surprise you how many times people made that mistake.

Pros
  • Outstanding sound and details.
  • Extremely comfy even for long sessions.
  • Acoustic open-back wide soundscape.
  • Great value.
Cons
  • Over-promised bass.
  • One size doesn’t fit all.

 


 

AKG Pro Audio K702

AKG Pro Audio K702

My rating: 4.7 stars.

I will not lie, I picked these guys up because they look good. I’m a sucker for anything that even remotely hints to cyberpunk, so here we are.

I’ve included another AKG mode in another list, and that time around I also got into them for their looks but stuck around for everything else.

There’s basically every single piece of tech combined here that gives out amazing sound. They are pretty much plug-and-play. You get amazing results straight out of the box and don’t have to play with the settings.

They may look clunky, but they are very light. You could wear them the whole day while working or studying, then keep them on for a long gaming session after.

Ideal as gaming headphones, but not as good for everything else. They will, of course, work great for watching movies and listening to audio books and podcasts, but they are not that great for music. Unless the music is jazz or classical, that is. You really need an extremely magnificent source material or you’re getting nothing special.

Obviously, best for domestic use. And definitely not suitable for competitions in public arenas. The soundstage is too wide for anything bigger than your room.

Pros
  • Spacious and airy but detailed sound.
  • Amazing frequency range.
  • Light and comfy.
  • Absolutely gorgeous.
Cons
  • Soundstage too wide for competitions.
  • Unitaskers.

 


 

Best Design – Sennheiser HD 599

Best Design - Sennheiser HD 599

My rating: 4.9 stars.

To make it clear, I’m talking about the ivory version, not the black one. The black is nice, but the beauty of the design really stands out with ivory.

However, that pretty face should have more to show for. Luckily, Sennheiser delivers again. The brand is well known for their high-fidelity audio equipment, and the HD599 doesn’t fall short in any way.

When gaming, they give off a very realistic sound quality with a lot of detail. They are also great for listening to music, with a lot more bass than some headphones on this list. But bass precision is not the best. It’s not something you will notice listening to hip hop, but it will come up in jazz and experimental music.

Since the sound isolation could be better, I wouldn’t recommend these headphones for competitions. They will look nice, but they will do it while allowing all the noise to bleed in. Bet they would look awesome while streaming, though.

Before I move on, a word of warning. If you pick these, take good care of the ear pads. If they get damaged, all those good things I’ve said about sound quality go out of the window. You can’t buy replacements, and you can’t get the replacements from the manufacturer once the 2-year warranty expires.

Pros
  • Premium design, materials, and craftsmanship.
  • Detachable cables with 3.5mm and 6.3mm jacks.
  • Padded headband and velour ear pads.
  • Simply stunning.
Cons
  • Not best sound isolation.
  • Bass precision is underwhelming.

 


 

Samson Technologies SR850

Samson Technologies SR850

My rating: 4.8 stars.

I’ll address the cord issue straight away. Since it’s not detachable, they should have made it thicker and of better quality. If you choose to go with the Samson, you also need to pick up a couple of cable protectors.

That being said, the SR850 packs a lot more punch than a $50 pair of headphones should be allowed to. Already, they make for an impressive pair of headphones. They designed them for professional use and it shows.

The sound clarity is on point. The treble is high, but it’s not something that would impact most gaming experiences or that can’t be fixed in the EQ. The bass is also very good, with decent precision.

The self-adjusting band works even for large heads, and the headphones don’t pinch or squeeze. The ear cups are padded with velour, so they feel very soft against the ears.

Now the fun bit. The cups are semi-open. What this means is that you get the middle ground of having a wide soundscape and decent noise cancellation. This makes them great for taking to tournaments and competitions. Especially because they are not as painful to replace.

Honestly, this pair of headphones is only a decent cord away from being a serious contender for a top pick runner up.

Pros
  • Semi-open cup.
  • Designed for full time studio use.
  • Self-adjusting headband.
  • Great value.
Cons
  • Bad cord quality.
  • Treble’s a bit high.

 


 

Best Seller – Beyerdynamic DT 770 PRO 250

Best Seller - Beyerdynamic DT 770 PRO 250

My rating: 4.8 stars.

This is that pair of headphones your favorite streamer is wearing. Unless they’ve scored themselves a very sweet sponsorship, they are wearing them because they are some of the most comfortable and best studio headphones for gaming.

They have tens of thousands of 5-star reviews and are the best sellers on several platforms. So, why are they not my top-pick? It’s the noise cancellation.

The DT770 Pro is supposed to have amazing noise-canceling technology, but I think it’s just meh. Will it shut out your fighting siblings or whatever your partner is watching on TV? Probably. Will it help you tune out the entire crowd during a competition? No way.

I’m personally not too happy with the fact that the cord is not detachable, especially at this price point. And especially because I’m testing out a pair of $20 headphones as I’m writing this, and they came with a detachable cord. So take that for what it is.

As for the sound, it’s amazing. I think treble is a point too high for music, but everything is just perfect for gaming. Amazing sound quality and clarity.

Plus, they are awesome for gaming marathons. They are fairly light, don’t pinch (unless you have a large head), and feel you have two fluffy sheep strapped to your head.

Pros
  • Pure and high-res sound.
  • Soft ad replaceable velour pads.
  • Premium materials and craftsmanship.
  • Outsanding sound quality and clarity.
Cons
  • Doesn’t fit large heads.
  • Didn’t deliver on noise cancellation.

 


 

OneOdio Wired Over-Ear Headphones

OneOdio Wired Over-Ear Headphones

My rating: 4.7 stars.

Are you suffering from a severe case of sticker shock by now? Okay, let’s try something for when you’re not ready to invest a lot.

The OneOdio headphones are super affordable yet give great audio experience. They definitively outperform many other models from the same price range. The bass is better than what you could find in most models that are two or three times as expensive.

They also feature some smart design options like the swivel ear cups for easy monitoring and storage, or coiled cord that will not tangle everywhere.

So, how come are they so cheap? Well, they are made from cheap plastic. You know the kind. The stuff that you see and know that you should plan on replacing the item soon.

Recommended: 7 Best Gaming Headphones Without Mic.

They are put well together and at least don’t feel like they will fall apart because of regular use. But they will scratch and that silver thing will wear off.

Well, at least they come in pink.

Pros
  • Swiveling and comfy ear cups.
  • Good bass.
  • Coiled cord.
  • Crisp sound and clear details.
Cons
  • Awkward fit.
  • Low quality plastic.

 


 

Neewer NW-3000 Closed Studio Headphones

Neewer NW-3000 Closed Studio Headphones

My rating: 4.7 stars.

Studio or not, these Neewer headphones are one of the best on the market, at least in this price range. They are great as your first upgrade, especially if you’ve been using only buds before.

And since you get both the 3.5mm and a 6.3mm jack, that means that you can use them with any device, as well as instruments, mixers, etc.

A gamer will appreciate the memory foam ear cups. I can’t believe something this comfy is so rare in headphones, not to mention that I rarely find them on models that cost more.

Plus, the sound is crisp and clear, with a lot of detail. I think they would be perfect for almost any game genre. I said almost.

They have poor imaging. If you’re a newbie, that’s when you’re supposed to tell where the sounds are coming from. If you’re playing Counter Strike, you will hear footsteps coming from the left, but you can’t say if it’s 7 or 8 o’clock.

Also, even though these headphones give good bass, it comes with low precision. Not a problem when listening to rap and hip-hop, but it will become a problem if you’re listening to experimental jazz.

Pros
  • Clear and detailed audio.
  • Lots of bass.
  • 3.5mm and 6.3mm jacks included.
  • Ear cups with memory foam cushions.
Cons
  • Bad imaging.
  • Poor bass precision.

 


 

What to Consider When Buying Studio Headphones for Gaming

Here are a couple of things to keep in mind when shopping for studio headphones for gaming. I’ve addressed what I like about my picks, but pay attention to these things to make sure you like them as well.

 

Comfort and fit

How long is your shortest gaming session? It’s not under an hour, right?

Even if you don’t plan on doing regular strenuous marathons and are only in fast runs, you still need to think of comfort.

I’ve listed above some headphones that are not suitable for big ears and/or heads. If you have one of those, I’m afraid that you won’t have too many options.

Unfortunately, this is not something that you can figure out without taking the headphones for a test drive. I recommend testing this out with cheaper headphones, so when it’s time to spend some cash on studio models, you already clearly know what you should look for.

 

Budget

The best studio headphones for gaming will cost money. You don’t always have to spend four figures, but it’s not like you’re going to pick up a pair for $20.

As you can see from my top pick and other entries, you can still stay within a reasonable budget and get awesome quality.

However, you get what you pay for. When you want the premium, it will come with a premium price tag. Then again, sometimes you think you need premium when good is good enough.

 

Purpose

Different games come with different gear requirements.

Okay, you can play most games with no fancy add-ons. So when you spring out for them, there should be a good reason to do so.

The games I like to play need decent audio equipment only to amplify the atmosphere. With others, you may gain an edge by hearing details other players don’t.

There’s also the run-of-the-mill geekery and wanting to experience your favorite IPs to their full. Or any other way that studio headphones can enhance your gaming experience.

 

Versatility

Will these headphones be solely for gaming, or are you going to use them for other things as well?

If the headphones are only for gaming, you don’t have to worry if they are wireless, are they waterproof, or how long the battery can hold. The second you wish to use those headphones for your daily commute or take them to the gym, these aspects suddenly matter.

A lot of studio headphones are not meant for outdoor use. The clue is kind of in the name. Don’t assume that they will be suitable for outdoor use and check the specs before buying.

 

Usability

I think all the headphones on the list are the bee’s knees, but how will they work out for you?

Is the cable long enough to reach your setup? Or is it too long and tangles into your chair? Can you put on and take off the headphones without pulling at your piercings? Are they easy to store when not in use?

So many questions that only you can answer.

 

 

FAQs About Studio Headphones for Gaming

 

Are studio headphones good for gaming?

They are good because they offer better surround sound and details. How much better, depends on the game itself.

Studio headphones will give you an edge in any multiplayer setting, especially the ones where you have to hear your enemy approaching and getting ready to attack. They can also enhance the experience during an immersive sim.

But what if you’re playing Mortal Kombat or GTA? Nice to have, but not vital.

 

What is the difference between studio and gaming headphones?

Studio headphones offer better sound quality, while gaming headphones come with more features.

A pair of gaming headphones will also be more versatile. For example, you can use them for online meetings and classes. If the person on the other end doesn’t have the best recording setup possible, it will not be as distracting as with studio headphones.

That being said, you may need to do some extra legwork using gaming headphones. Each game will have a different setting preference, while in most cases you can plug the studio headphones in and be on your merry way.

 

Are studio headphones good for listening to music?

Yes, most of the time. Even a cheap pair of studio headphones allow you to experience more of your music compared to any other type of headphones.

This goes for almost any genre, from acoustic to electronic music. You’ll get to hear some details that you will lose with all other types of speakers and headphones.

The only time they will not be a good choice is when listening to some indie self-published artist. Add some mainstream oldies that didn’t get a digital remastering. In both cases, the flaws will have a negative impact on your listening experience.

 

What are studio headphones used for?

The primary purpose of studio headphones is to show flaws in the audio so the engineer can make necessary adjustments.

As the name suggests, they are mostly used in a recording studio, but some engineers will take them out for live gigs.

Some years ago, they became popular amongst regular audiophiles, followed by home theater owners who fell out of love with their surround systems. Now, the gamers are picking them up to gain an edge.

 

 

Conclusion

Not all games need expensive headphones. Not all gamers have to go bankrupt to get the best setup possible.

Even as a fan of horror games, I will say you don’t have to spend hundreds of dollars on the best studio headphones for gaming. Sure, some titles will benefit from it, but it’s not vital.

However, there are also times when you should get the best you can afford. If you’re playing Warzone or Dead By Daylight, good headphones will give you an edge. If you’re competing, this investment can make or break your chances of winning.

And if you’re looking for the best, studio headphones will do the trick.

 

The 10 Best Studio Headphones for Gaming Pin

 

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