Gaming headsets come in various ways, but some unconventional headphones like audiophile headphones gain popularity among gamers. Audiophile headphones, despite their name, are not exclusive to audiophiles. These headphones are focused on creating a detailed sound experience with a good soundstage and clear audio cues that benefits gamers. With all their apparent positive aspects, can audiophile headphones be used for gaming?
This article explores the possibility of playing games with audiophile headphones, whether audiophile headphones are good for gaming and breaking down the benefits of gaming with audiophile headphones, as well as providing you three excellent audiophile gaming headphones.
- What Are Audiophile Headphones?
- Can I play games with audiophile headphones?
- Best audiophile headphones for gaming
- FAQ about headphones and gaming
What Are Audiophile Headphones?
Audiophile headphones are headphones that focus on the audio fidelity of sound. These headphones are designed to reproduce music and audio with an utmost fidelity for music, movies, and gaming. Audiophile headphones feature a more colorful frequency response than studio headphones, but less V-shaped or warm than regular gaming headsets. They’re not affected by the kinds of distortion found in cheaper headphones and make for fantastic gaming headphones.
Audiophile headphones are typically used by audiophiles and music and film enthusiasts, but they’re not exclusive to those groups. Audiophile headphones can be considered the premium version of consumer headphones and their qualities can be enjoyed by gamers as well, with exceptional audio reproduction and sharp and clear details. They also feature an ample soundstage with distinct audio cues to allow the listener to pinpoint the source of sounds in the gaming environment.
Can I play games with audiophile headphones?
Music enjoyment is not the only benefit of audiophile headphones. Audiophile headphones are also good for gaming, as they provide gaming-oriented audio qualities that enhance atmospheric games and FPS games. You can play games with any headphone, including audiophile headphones, as long as your devices meet some requirements:
- Your gaming console or gaming controller has an audio output that matches the headphones’ jack (usually 3.5 mm).
- You don’t need a microphone, which audiophile headphones typically lack.
- Mobile devices such as phones, tablets, and gaming consoles of all varieties are compatible with your headphones and can provide enough power.
Playing with audiophile headphones depends on gaming console
For PC gamers, playing games with audiophile headphones is a much better experience than using the built-in speakers, but this is not true for mobile or console gamers. Some audiophile headphones like Audeze LCD-X has a single ended 1/4″ plug, which means you can’t connect them to your console or your mobile phone without an adapter. Additionally, mobile gamers cannot enjoy the full potential of these headphones, and it’s incredibly inconvenient to carry around a separate portable headphone DAC and amplifier.
Playing games with non-gaming audiophile headphones
Non-gaming audiophile headphones are audiophile headphones that are not designed for gaming and therefore do not have a microphone or any other features similar to ordinary gaming headsets. However, even if audiophile headphones aren’t designed for gaming, it doesn’t mean that they can’t be used for this purpose.
The clearer, richer and more detailed audio benefit of audiophile headphones helps gamers hear details in their environment, making the gaming experience more dynamic and easier to spot enemies or find your way in a complex gaming environment. On top of that, you can buy anytime a dedicated USB gaming microphone, so in the end you can have headphone and microphone.
Allowing gamers to pinpoint the source of sounds in the game environment and to elevate the tension or excitement in a game is not as easily achievable with cheap gaming headsets. And if you rely on the built-in microphone, you must buy a gaming headset with good microphone. LINK HERE
Situations when audiophile headphones aren’t viable for gaming
- Mobile gaming or on-the-road gaming is best enjoyed with smaller and lighter headphones, as you’re more likely to carry them around in your bag than audiophile headphones like Audeze LCD-GX headphones. You need a headphone that’s portable, comfortable, that is not hard to power, and yet still functions for gaming.
- Not having a headphone DAC/Amp means that you will not enjoy as much audio fidelity and clarity as you could and take full advantage of audiophile headphones’ qualities.
- When you live in a noisy house and your only reliable/convenient audiophile headphones are open-back. Most audiophile headphones have an open design, which means that they leak sound and let’s sound in. This is a major issue when you’re playing games in a noisy environment that can distract you from hearing your opponent’s footsteps.
- When you want a compact gaming headset with microphone, audiophile headphones may not be the best solution. There are some high-end audiophile headsets with good microphones, but the options are limited.
Best audiophile headphones for gaming
Now that you know you can use audiophile headphones for gaming and got an idea of how impressive they are for gaming, here are the top-rated gaming audiophile headphones: Sennheiser HD 800 S, AKG K712 Pro and Audeze Penrose for those who want a wireless audiophile gaming headset.
Sennheiser HD 800 S
The Sennheiser HD 800 S is the preferred choice for gaming audiophiles. It is natural and balanced, which is very important for immersion. This is the “S” version of the HD 800 with a slightly accentuated bass line, but it offers the same controlled and ultra-detailed sound reproduction as the original version. One of the best audiophile headphones for gaming available.
This headphone features huge 56 mm dynamic drivers that have a slight internal angle and offer a plethora of detail to hear the most subtle sounds with clarity, while maintaining musicality and intelligibility. The sound from these open-back audiophile headphones is clear and precise, with excellent dynamics. To immerse you in the virtual world, the HD 800 S offers exceptional sound immersion, reproduced on all fronts.
In the end, the 800 S are legendary open-back audiophile headphones. They’re high-priced and don’t have the most solid construction, but if wearing your headphones for hours on end without being disturbed is a must, you can’t go wrong with the Sennheiser HD 800 S. At 330 grams, it’s practically weightless, and if you’re used to two-dimensional sounding headphones, the spatial reproduction of the soundstage is mesmerizing.
AKG K712 Pro
For more modest gamers who don’t have more than $500 to spend on audiophile headphones, the K712 Pro is your next best choice. The AKG K712 Pro is a fantastic audiophile headphone for professional gamers and studio engineers that I frequently recommend. It’s incredibly comfortable with velvet earpads, and offers fantastic sound reproduction, and excellent detail.
The AKG K712 Pro can be used for hours on end to play games. It’s one of the most comfortable open-air audiophile headphones you can buy, and it offers an incredible three-dimensional soundstage. The K712 Pro is also one of the few high-end open-back headphones that is reasonably priced and lightweight. In addition, it is extremely versatile as it can be used by audio engineers for mixing, tracking and recording vocals or for podcasting, home recording and streaming.
The AKG K712 Pro has fantastic spatial properties with an extremely coherent sound and excellent control of instruments. The headphones have deep, balanced bass, tight mids and are a bit on the bright side, but that’s to be expected from any high-end open-back headphones. It’s a bit cold in the upper mids and highs, but if you use it for gaming with a quality audio setup like the Topping D10 and JDS Labs Atom or Schiit Magni Heresy, it offers a stellar positional audio.
Audeze Penrose and Penrose X (for Xbox consoles)
Audeze Penrose is the best versatile wireless audiophile gaming headset with a wired connection and two wireless connection methods for PC, PlayStation, Xbox, and everything else. Options for a pair of reliable, high-quality wireless audiophile headsets are few and far between, and Audeze Penrose is one of the best options on the market.
The Audeze Penrose is extremely comfortable, lightweight, and offers excellent sound reproduction thanks to its 100 mm planar drivers. It also comes with Audeze HQ software that allows you to set ten frequency bands for sound and several presets for different games and volume balance between chat and game. The flexible boom microphone is detachable and offers good recording quality for streaming or chatting.
Audeze Penrose creates an immersive gaming experience with accurate audio cues and an open soundstage with well-controlled bass and clarity. Its signature is balanced with a slight bass emphasis, but it’s still really pleasing to the ear and is a great choice for gaming on laptop, mobile, or Xbox and PS consoles. On top of that, it has more clarity, detail, and fidelity than the popular Arctis Pro Wireless, and is one of the best sounding wireless headset for gaming.
The headset isn’t spectacularly well-made as it’s mostly constructed of plastic, but it can be used with any gaming console without latency issues or complaints about sound quality. It is by far the most reliable wireless gaming headset for laptops that doesn’t sound like garbage in wireless mode. It’s a reliable, simple, plug-and-play audiophile wireless gaming headset that works with any device and offers great audio fidelity.
FAQ about headphones and gaming
Should you play games with audiophile headphones?
For gaming enthusiasts and audiophiles alike, the idea of playing games with audiophile headphones is a little difficult to fathom. Do they have a microphone? Shouldn’t headphones designed for gaming be more comfortable and offer better sound?
While there are a ton of questions that arise, the answer is simple. It is possible to play games with audiophile headsets because they offer the fantastic sound quality that gamers need. As such, you should be able to play games with audiophile headphones provided you play on PC and have a proper audio setup to connect them.
If you have a high-quality headphone Digital-to-Analog converter and amplifier or a dedicated sound card, most audiophile headphones will do wonders.
Why are audiophile headphones good for gaming?
Audiophile headphones are nothing like the ordinary headphones we are used to. Audiophile headphones are high-end audio equipment designed for the intensive listening of music and sound.
Audiophile headphones work well as gaming headphones because many of the unique aspects of high-fidelity headphones are well suited to gaming. A spacious soundstage, good positional accuracy, sound separation, accurate and detailed sound reproduction and little or no sound distortion are all essential aspects of good gaming headphones.
Almost all audiophile headsets are more than capable of providing superior sound quality in games compared to ordinary gaming headsets that offer surround sound and extra gimmicks. That’s why audiophile gaming headphones are so good for gaming.
Can I play PS4 or Xbox One with audiophile headphones?
The audio output ports on some gaming consoles are 3.5 mm jacks used by regular gaming headsets. If your audiophile headphones have the same headphone jack or a 1/4″ to 1/8″ adapter, you can use them on your console. The Xbox One controller and Nintendo Switch have a similar 3.5 mm headphone jack and can connect to these audiophile headsets.
Some wireless audiophile headphones, such as the HiFiMAN Deva or Focal Listen Wireless, are actually Bluetooth headphones that won’t work with these consoles because PlayStation and Xbox use proprietary Bluetooth technology. Fortunately, there are still some Bluetooth audiophile headphones that work with these consoles, such as the Audeze Mobius and Audeze Penrose.
In the end, it’s safe to say that gaming with audiophile headphones can be a more immersive, high-fidelity experience and that’s all that matters when you’re playing games. By investing in a versatile pair of audiophile headphones and an audio setup (if you need the extra boost in sound quality), you can discover audio nirvana and the joy of gaming.
For those who want to try out audiophile headphones for gaming but are hesitant due to its high price tag, I recommend the Phillips SHP9500 headphones as they’re high-quality, oriented for budget users and built with a similar level of quality as the other two audiophile headphones you can use for gaming: AKG K712 Pro and Audeze Penrose.
Moreover, don’t forget to check out this article on the best gaming audio setups to find out more about setting up your gaming experience right. For more gaming headset recommendations, check out my top-rated gaming headsets.