Audiophile headphones are the best things you could have for gaming-in-general, PC gaming especially. As far as sound quality goes, for well under $200 you can get a mid-level pair of audiophile headphones like the Takstar Pro 80s blow most high-end gaming headsets out of the water – Except the HyperX Cloud II.
What’s the difference between a gaming headset, and audiophile headphones? Simple, a gaming headset will always have an attached / built-in mic, will usually have some sort of flashy lights, and will more than likely claim “7.1 surround sound”.
On the other hand, A good pair of audiophile headphones won’t have an attached mic, probably won’t have any unnecessary LEDs, and will most likely have amazing sound quality, especially when compared to a “high-quality gaming headset”.
Not all gaming headsets are *bad* though, not if you get the right ones. A pair like the HyperX Cloud IIs are actually just re-purposed Takstar Pro80s, but you’re usually paying less for the Cloud IIs than if you were to buy a mic + Takstar Pro80 combo. The Cloud IIs detachable mic is actually about the same quality as the Antlion Mod Mic 4.0.
If you’ve got the money to spend, then audiophile headphones and a dedicated microphone are almost always the way to go. You’re able to get the best of both worlds this way, and you don’t have to sacrifice an ounce of quality anywhere. It might seem like a useless waste of money, but trust me when I say that it’s really not.
That thing I just mentioned, the Mod Mic 4.0, is a great dedicated mic that can attach to basically any headset, any on this list for sure. It’s a good choice if you’re looking to turn your audiophile headphones into a high-quality gaming headset.
Let’s stop procrastinating and take a look at the top 5 best headphones for gaming while taking into account things like overall sound quality(ranges, sensitivity etc), comfort, design, and durability.
Takstar Pro 80
The Takstar Pro 80s are the same headphones which are used in the production of the HyperX Cloud II gaming headset. They are closed-back headphones which deliver solid sound quality, comfort and durability for under $100.
The build quality is really what you would expect out of a $80 pair of headphones, and you’re ultimately getting a good mid-level product.
The materials used are noticeably high-quality, and the sound quality is balanced with a wide sound-stage, and it sounds like a significantly more expensive product. With that said, you definitely won’t need any more than basic integrated audio to push these headphones.
The case that the Takstar Pro 80 comes in is also worth mentioning, it’s a really interesting aluminium case that looks like it should be carrying something just a little more expensive, maybe closer to $250.
Compared to some of the other options on this list, the Pro 80s aren’t all that comfortable, but they’re not uncomfortable either. For an $80 pair of headphones, they’re great, and if you want to make them even better, I would suggest grabbing some Brainwavz Replacement Memory Foam Earpads.
At the end of the day, these are a solid option for people who are on a budget of under $100 but still want a nice set of HiFi headphones. If you’re looking for the exact same with, but with an open back, the Takstar hi2050‘s are a great alternative for less than $50.
- Under $100
- Decent Sound Stage
- Clean, Balanced Sound
- High-Quality 3.5mm + 6.3mm Gold-Plated Plugs
- Awesome Case
- Somewhat Uncomfortable
- Non-Removable Cable
- Closed Back
- 53mm Drivers
- 60Ω Impedance
- 101±3dB Sensitivity
- 15Hz-25kHz Frequency Response
- 7.2ft Straight Cable
- 12 ounces
- 3.5mm + 6.3mm gold-plated plugs
The Sennheiser HD 598s are incredible open backed headphones with an extremely wide sound stage, allowing you to pinpoint gunshots and footsteps with ease.
With any open-back headphones, if you’re in a noisy setting they might not be great, and you might be better off with closed back headphones. Not only for you but those around you.
The sound is very neutral, but they have a slight boost to treble, which makes vocals and talking sound a lot more “alive”. The treble isn’t too boosted, though, and it really adds to the overall sound quality.
With an impedance of only 50 ohms, you definitely won’t need the best DAC or amp to drive these headphones, and you’re going to get phenomenal sound.
The build quality is great, although they’re built entirely from plastic they still feel very durable while being super light at only 8 ounces.
All-in-all, the HD 598s have a very bright and alive sound with a super wide stage.
- Balanced, Clean and “Alive” Sounding
- Extremely Comfortable
- Velour Ear Cups
- Removable Cable
- Not much bass
- Open Back
- 53mm Speaker Drivers
- 50 Ω Impedance
- 12Hz – 38.5kHz Frequency Response
- 9.6 ounces
- 3.5mm + 6.3mm plugs
Audio-Technica ATH M50x
The AudioTechnica ATH M50x are an extremely popular set of closed back headphones which put out an extremely crisp, bass heavy sound. But nothing bad like Beats.
The overall sound is rich and vivid, which makes the M50x ideal for gaming. Even though they’re closed back, you still get to experience a very wide sound stage which allows you to pinpoint footsteps and gunfire.
The cable is detachable, and they come with your pick of 3 cables in the box, 1 that is 3m long and straight, a coiled 3m cable, and finally a shorter 2m cable which is straight.
They’re a very comfortable, very lightweight set of headphones which are easy to wear for extended periods of time, and won’t wear out your ears. As an added bonus, they also come in your choice of 4 color schemes, black, white, blue, and dark green.
When compared to the aforementioned Sennheiser HD 598, the only major differences are that one is open back, the other is closed back, one has slightly boosted treble, the other has slightly boosted bass. Take your pick!
- Super Popular
- Balanced Sound Quality
- Good Sound Stage
- Solid Bass
- Removeable Cable
- Folds Away Nicely
- Closed Back
- 45mm Speaker Drivers
- 38 Ω Impedance
- 15Hz – 28kHz Freqeuncy Response
- 10 ounces
- 3.5 + 6.3mm plugs
Beyerdynamic Custom One Pro
The Beyerdynamic Custom One Pro headphones are absolutely amazing. Not just because they pump out some of the cleanest and nicest sound for under $200, but they’re almost 100% customizable.
Not just that, but they also feature bass ports on the bottom of both ear cups which you can toggle to make them either open, semi-open, or closed back headphones. This is an awesome feature if you go from noisy to quiet environments often. This simple feature also puts the Custom One Pros ahead of the M50x.
The build quality is extremely durable, and almost every element about the headset can be customized, from the headband to the side inserts, and even an in-line mic. Check out the options here.
An impedance of only 16 ohms means that your integrated sound card isn’t going to have a lot of troubles driving these cans, and you shouldn’t need an auxiliary DAC of any kind.
After everything is said and done, the Beyerdynamic Custom One Pro headphones are an extremely versatile set which is never going to let you down. But, it definitely can’t beat our number 1 pick for price vs performance.
- Bass Port Allows for fine-tuning
- Great Unamplified Sound Quality
- Super Customizable
- Low Impedance
- Wide Range
- Good Sound Stage
- 50mm Speaker Drivers
- 16 Ω Impedance
- 5 Hz – 35kHz Frequency Response
- 10.2 ounces
Our number one spot goes to the AudioTechnica AD700x because it boasts the best price vs performance and they look and feel great to wear.
The mids come out absolutely perfectly, which is what you need for a high-quality experience when you’re gaming. Having boosted bass or treble can be good, but at the end of the day, you want strong mids for gaming.
The AD in AD700x stands for “Aerodynamic” and they dubbed them this due to the really interesting headband system. It doesn’t span across your head like normal headphones, but instead has 2 “pads” that rest on your head. It is a pretty comfortable system but doesn’t feel the most secure.
Just look around anywhere, and you will see that AD700x headphones are among the best for gaming, and easily the best for under $200.
- Great Sound Quality
- Massive Sound Stage
- Super Comfortable
- Open-Air Design
- Best Price vs Performance
- Not Very “Secure” Feeling
- Open Back
- 53mm Speaker Drivers
- 38 Ω Impedance
- 5Hz – 30kHz Frequency Response
- 9.3 ounces
- 3.5mm gold-plated plug
When it comes to gaming, experiencing the audio is almost as important as the visuals, so it makes sense to want a high-quality pair of headphones to make your experience that much better.
This list covered the 5 best audiophile headphones for under $200, it’s just a matter of picking the ones that are right for you.
- Audio-Technica ATH AD500x – $89.99
- Sennheiser HD558 – $99.99
- AKG Q-701 – $199.99
- Beyerdynamic DT Series – $199+
Before actually buying a pair of headphones, really consider what kind of headphones you need before you buy, though, do you need open back, or closed back?
Open back headphones are going to give you a significantly wider sound stage, but there’s going to be some sound leak. These are good for solo gaming sessions in quieter areas, and for those times when you need to hear everything going on around you.
Closed back headphones are going to produce a lot more bass, will sometimes deliver a decent sound stage, and should keep the vast majority of sound from leaking, as well as keep you from hearing things going on around you. These are what you want for LAN parties, and generally noise-polluted areas.
Don’t forget that if you need a mic, take a look at the Antlion Mod Mic 4.0!
So, which ones do you need? I bet you’ve already decided, and now it’s time to pull the trigger. You won’t regret it when you’re able to hear enemies before they’ve even considered you might be there.
Which headphones do you think are the best under $200? Let us know in the comment section below!