PS5 Audio, When to pick Open-Back or Closed-Back Headsets

1 : Anonymous2021/03/08 03:49 ID: m072vb

Deciding to do a relative PSA into headsets as I’m seeing a lot of people asking about what to get for their PS5s. I will also make note if said headsets are wireless or wired. This is not a be all end all, and I don’t expect this to be all right, but from my experience in audio I think I can help a few people out in deciding. Tempest 3D Audio is compatible with all of these headsets. I have used every single one here, since I can freely swap these out due to where I work.

Open Back Headphones:

As the name suggests, their open back design lets air and the sound freely go out of the ear cups, resulting in a more open sound stage, and clearer image in an environment. These style of headphones are perfect for competitive shooters that require more of a stage to hear footsteps, gunfire and directional audio. These leak sound however, so if you are in a family environment or in a very close setting with a significant other, this might not bode well as they can hear whatever you are hearing. Your ears will also thank you as you don't need to vent them out as much due to heat as you do with closed backs.

Some but not limited to these ones, which I have throughly tested:

PC38X from Sennheiser, (Wired, $$$)

Great sound and actually good bass for an open back headphone design Attached mic is fantastic and beats out almost all other mics in terms of rejection of external sounds, and picks up natural sounds and range of your voice. Very light, can be worn all day without discomfort Comes with extra set of Velour ear pads to swap out Expensive since this is a new headset, shipping fees outside US skyrocket the price up

SHP9500 from Philips + VMODA BoomPro Mic Attachment, (Wired, $)

Incredible value for open back headphones, the cheapest path to an open back gaming headset Immense soundstage, great for footsteps in games like Warzone, Apex and PUBG Comfortable and one of the lightest headsets you can buy VMODA Mic attachment is lauded as one of the clearest mics Earcups are a bit shallow, design is not something to gawk over

A40 Headset + Mixamp from ASTRO (Wired, $$$)

Very good build quality Mixamp makes it easy to adjust sound settings on the fly Not really for a TV Set environment due to all the wires Needs Adapter for PS5 that is hard to come by and is limited to HDMI 2.0 passthrough (cannot play in 4K 120Hz)

Game Ones from Sennheiser, (Wired, $$)

Last year's flagship for Sennheiser, less punch than PC38X Cheaper and more readily available than PC37x and PC38x Velour Ear pads are extremely comfortable

Closed Back Headphones:

These naturally have the opposite mechanism in place, where the ear cups are closed off, this isolates the sound and provides a more denser and packed soundstage. This style is perfect for bass driven sounds, it packs a punch and has good dynamic range. If you want isolation, loud and rich sounds and no distractions with your own environment, these are the ones for you. Over time you will have a tendency to vent your ears out since it traps all the heat. Some choices below:

Arctis 7P from SteelSeries, (Hybrid, $$)

In-line design of PS5 Clear mic quality 20+HR battery life Very comfortable headband and earcups

Cloud II from HyperX, (Wired, $)

Mic Quality is one of the best on the market Cheaper than most competition Nice padded earcups for comfort

Blackshark V2 from Razer, (Wired, $)

Affordable Headband adjustment is incredibly easy to adjust Good build quality Focus on Bass, loud and choherent

Arctis 3 from SteelSeries, (Wired, $)

Cheaper than Arctis 7P, but with similar sound quality and mic

In relation to pricing, I cannot recommend Sony's Pulse Headset vs. any of these, you get more clarity, mic quality, comfort and versatility with any of the headsets above. The only thing the Pulse has going for it is the seamlessness with the PS5's UI when paired and it is the cheapest wireless headset, but there's a reason it's the cheapest. IF you really want wireless, SteelSeries is your best bet and best bang for your buck. The Audeze Penrose is also an option and have only heard good things about it, but at a steep price shy of $300+ it is not really something I can recommend to the masses.

If you have any questions please let me know. I have tested other headsets like Logitechs Pro series as well as Corsair's line as well and I'm happy to tell you why I didn't recommend a certain headsets you don't see on this list that you're either curious about or actually have yourself. Again this is just my personal opinion, so please take this as more of a suggestion 🙂

2 : Anonymous2021/03/08 04:54 ID: gq6he9a

Just want to add that open back headphones also fatigue your hearing less over long periods of time. Still more tiring on your ear that speakers, but a happier medium in that department.

3 : Anonymous2021/03/08 08:57 ID: gq6yjhm

For actual sound quality nothing can beat an open back headphone. Philips SHP 9500 is awesome quality for its price - around 70 USD. If you want even cheaper you cannot go wrong with Superlux HD 681 - around 30 USD - and the sound quality is at par with the Philips one.

ID: gq75w10

Superlux HD 681 is insane value, but I'd still pick SHP9500, if only because of the removable cable and better comfort.

4 : Anonymous2021/03/08 06:10 ID: gq6njtd

I have the SHP9500, aftermarket brainwavz ear pads really helped with the shallow ear cups.

5 : Anonymous2021/03/08 04:50 ID: gq6h1d8

I personally love my Audeze Penrose. The sound quality is the best I've heard on a headset, especially a wireless pair. They are a bit tricky to recommend though, as many users have had a lot of issues with wireless range/connectivity. Audeze has already updated them once to fix some minor issues, and are working on another update coming out soon, so they're definitely something to keep an eye on if you're looking to spend more for a higher quality sound.

This is good thread to keep an eye on for the Penrose:

ID: gq6xya6

Quick question on the Audeze, is there an option on the headset to control the game and chat volume separately?

I currently own an old Turtle Beach headset, it's very uncomfortable and fragile but the only reason I'm sticking with it is the ability to independently manage the game and chat audio mix

6 : Anonymous2021/03/08 05:05 ID: gq6id7d

Sony MDR-XB41EX + MixAmp Pro TR = Greatness.

7 : Anonymous2021/03/08 06:21 ID: gq6od1k

I've been looking for a replacement for my current headset (Hyper X Cloud 2), and my search has led me to Beyerdynamic DT770 pro 80 ohm. Has anyone here used these with it connected to the Dualsense? I'm thinking of buying a DAC to drive these down the line, so I wondering if the Dualsense was enough to power the DT770 pro in the meantime.

ID: gq6tqlh

I don't have them, but I have headphones that require substantially more power and the DualSense can drive those. I don't get the full experience, but it does a good job.

ID: gq764po

I have the DT 770 250 ohm and the Dualsense can power them but you need to crank the volume up, which probably reduces battery life a bit. I think you'd be fine with the 80 ohm version. An external amplifier will help down the line but it's not 100% necessary.

8 : Anonymous2021/03/08 06:47 ID: gq6q5o3

I'm running Sennheiser 58x Jubilees with vmoda mic and a Schiit stack (Fulla & Magni)

Pushes the headphones with ease and can get insanely loud but still crisp.

ID: gq6sn4a

Can the dualsense run the hd58x on its own (no amp) and get good volume?

9 : Anonymous2021/03/08 08:09 ID: gq6vl88

I use AKG K702s open backs and they are great.

This guy has been doing in depth testing on headphones for gaming for years and recommends them for different situations and ranks them, hes done 100s of them and is the definitive guide.

10 : Anonymous2021/03/08 04:41 ID: gq6g2u3

You can't say open backs are better for hearing stuff in an FPS when they also leak sound in, and this can interfere with what you're hearing.

I've the old Platinum headset (which is closed back) and I much prefer it for playing online shooters over my (old but good) Sennheiser HD 558s (open backed) through a good amp.

The Sennheisers sound better, but the Platinums provide much better isolation, so I'm only hearing the game audio.

11 : Anonymous2021/03/08 05:17 ID: gq6jbmc

Try testing the 7p in a shooter with higher volume, I read about complaints that explosions get noticeable distortion.

ID: gq6jxll

I actually had this issue but I ended up turning down the volume of Warzone down and it helped a lot. I can still hear footsteps without my ears bleeding due to the explosion noises

12 : Anonymous2021/03/08 09:53 ID: gq71ukr

Thanks for this guide!

Did you test all of the wired headphones directly connected to the DualSense‘s audio jack?

13 : Anonymous2021/03/08 10:42 ID: gq74ree

does anyone here use an amp and dac? If so, how is it going for them so far?

14 : Anonymous2021/03/08 10:45 ID: gq74wii

Imo the V-Moda Mic is unusable trash without a decent USB soundcard. I've got one myself that I wanted to use, but it really doesn't sound good at all. My friend bought the same, and the same goes for his.

A $15 USB soundcard supposedly makes a HUGE difference for this particular mic, though. With that said, I haven't tried plugging it directly into DualSense. Maybe it works fine? I'll give it a try and report back.

edit: I just gave it a try, with the V-Moda BoomPro plugged directly into the DualSense (and into my computer through USB), it's actually great with +7 db gain through Windows audio settings. I have no idea how it'll sound wirelessly on the PS5.

With that said, the built-in mic is also VERY competent, and I'd consider it better than the vast majority of mics on gaming headsets. I honestly see no reason to buy a seperate mic, if it's just for PS5 usage.

15 : Anonymous2021/03/08 11:12 ID: gq76k18

Open back is fine if you're in a quiet environment. I have HD 598s and they have a warm, neutral sound. Not a lot of bass but good soundstage and easy to listen to. Plus they're comfortable and light, and don't make your ears hot or sweaty. Are driven just fine by the Dualsense. The PC38x is very similar, but with a good mic attached too.

For closed back, I have GSP 300s which sound great and fit well, but the headband is a little strange and it's a bit of a bulky design. Also very easy to drive, and mic sounds good. Soundstage is ok. Very nice budget headset.

I've heard great things about the Cooler Master MH 751 but I haven't personally tried them.

I also have DT 770 Pro 250 ohm with an SMSL SD 783 II but I'll need a new amp soon as the headphone jack is starting to output sound only out of one ear. I've had them for like 5 years so it's time to change them. Getting new Brainwavz perforated leather ear pads tomorrow too.

16 : Anonymous2021/03/08 12:09 ID: gq7ahl8

Actually i would still probably go with anything you have wired combined with the dualsense mic. Surprisingly the DS mic is quite good and almost anything wired would sound better then the Pulse.

17 : Anonymous2021/03/08 12:14 ID: gq7ate9

Great post. Just did the whole research few weeks back and ordered the pc38x. Can’t wait till they arrive. Ordered from EU and shipping was just like 3$. Might need to pay customs though.

18 : Anonymous2021/03/08 12:33 ID: gq7ccui

I use AKG K702 openbacks and a sound blaster G3 amp. Way better than the Sony wireless headset and any headset I've used yet. I doubt I'll go back to closed back any time soon.

19 : Anonymous2021/03/08 04:12 ID: gq6deu9

Open back headsets. Talking with opens are infinitely better. But, being honest, I reccoment getting basic open back headphones without mics, and use the controllers mic. If they aren't cheaper then don't, cuz then that would be stupid

ID: gq6ml0q

i tested my microphone while live streaming, and tbh the microphone is perfectly fine. Much better than i expected

20 : Anonymous2021/03/08 05:37 ID: gq6l1hd

But IF you want a cheap wireless set for the occasional party chat, the Pulse really is fine for the job.

I got it cause it is the cheapest decent wireless headset I could find. My good headphones are all wired and mic-less.

21 : Anonymous2021/03/08 14:09 ID: gq7lvmp


22 : Anonymous2021/03/08 14:23 ID: gq7nq79

I recommend the hyperx alpha over the cloud II

23 : Anonymous2021/03/08 15:28 ID: gq7vtun

I have an old pair of ATH m50x's that I've been using + the controller mic. Are those headphones still considered quality?

I've been a little unimpressed with them relative to my speakers. They sound a bit tinny to me and I'm not sure if it's the headphones or something I should play around with settings to fix

24 : Anonymous2021/03/08 16:43 ID: gq86cgw

I have shp9500s and I have another pair new in the box because they are incredible. I just wanted to add that with open jack headphones leaking a lot of game noise, a sensitive mic like the v moda boom pro will pick up said game noise and annoy teammates. It's what I've been dealing with since I got them. Wish I had a less sensitive mic.

25 : Anonymous2021/03/08 23:27 ID: gq9p6xz

No. That’s absolutely NOT true. I have this exact setup and even though I have the tendency to listen to the game sound at a really high volume, the sound NEVER leaks into the v-moda microphone. Perhaps you didn’t set the software microphone input level properly or something like that. I literally had zero issues even in the loudest of scenes...

What kind of DAC/amp are you using?

26 : Anonymous2021/03/09 23:25 ID: gqdy2wu

Thanks for the round up. I’ve had the 7Ps and they were too tight for me. Good sound and comfort up top though.

Currently using the A50s and have comfort issues up top lol. Also will want HDMI 2.1 support soon.

I’ve got my eye on the PC38X but have a couple concerns.

How bad of sound leakage are we talking here? Obviously It varies by volume and your setup but I’m in the dining room about 10 feet from the living room. I’m wondering if it will be annoying to my family in there or not. That’s seems excessive. Maybe I’m over estimating how loud it will be.

Also I’m worried about sound bleed into the mic.

Any thoughts on these? I’ve also tried wired so many times and always come back to wireless. Hmm.

Also I’m considering the black shark V2 pro as well. But there is no way to save the eq for PS5 or adjust the mic so that worries me a little compared to the 7p and A50.

Edit: I really value being able to hear myself and my surroundings. Need to hear the kids/wife and I hate that under water feeling of really noise isolating sets.

Last edit I promise: The reviews say the dual sense should have no problem powering the 38X. No separate amp required. True?

27 : Anonymous2021/03/10 00:53 ID: gqe883s

I have the Sennheiser Game One's myself. This is my 6th year using them almost daily. Fantastic headset and well worth the money.

28 : Anonymous2021/03/08 16:14 ID: gq8286l

In relation to pricing, I cannot recommend Sony's Pulse Headset vs. any of these, you get more clarity, mic quality, comfort and versatility with any of the headsets above.

For $99 its absolutely fine within its price bracket and sound quality. Its wireless RF capabilities is great and has some of the best wireless audio in its price bracket. On the topic of versatility, Pulse has good built in controls for audio mixing game/chat on the fly(for the PS5). Almost ALL the headsets that are comparable to the pulse are anywhere from 50% to SIGNIFICANTLY higher. The main cons being lackluster for music listening and microphone quality being nothing to do ride home about. Ive enjoyed mine and they sound great over RF and over my DAC.

Its unfortunate with these because everyone almost universally pops into these threads and harps on the Arctis 7P or another headset thats a higher price bracket and just saying "Pulse 3d sucks" or if anyone gives an honest review, they are paid shills.

/comments/jjyau6/pulse_3d_headphones_review_from_a_7_year_long/" class="reddit-press-link" target="_blank" rel="noopener">

So if you have disposable income, absolutely go for the Penrose/702s/Beyers/HDXXX series, if youre looking for a cheap $100 pair of cans that compliments the PS5 with built in channel mixing and can be used both wireless and wired and with a DAC, then try them out, return them if they aren't your forte. These headsets, ALL of them talked about in this thread sound different to each of us.

29 : Anonymous2021/03/08 19:39 ID: gq8va8k

My issue with the sony gaming headsets is they have atrocious build quality. Nothing if mine ever breaks, I baby my stuff. I and several friends all had multiple gold or platinum headsets and they all had the same point if failure and it always happened between the 1-2 year mark. I won't buy another until they fix the headband cracking.

30 : Anonymous2021/03/08 20:12 ID: gq8zuqc

Just going to throw Philips Fidelio 2xhr into the mix. They are a bit more expensive than that price bracket but what you get for the money is insane.

31 : Anonymous2021/03/09 04:35 ID: gqamfkc

100%. I appreciate the candid and through response. If there was no limit on price my recommendations would be WAY different, and as I said the Penrose has gotten a lot of accolades on pretty substantial websites. I just can't recommend them for the general audience since:

I actually haven't tried them I don't have someone that has them to test

I was debating putting the HD series on here but I decided not too with the SHP instead. At least at the right time you have a similar soundstage for a steal of a price compared to what you can get with the HDXXX series and a ModMic. Here in Canada at least I haven't seen a sale on and HD series headset at all, the opposite for the SHP.

32 : Anonymous2021/03/08 17:26 ID: gq8ci0g

Tempest 3D Audio is compatible with all of these headsets

Tempest 3D audio is compatible with pretty much all wired headphones via the 3.5mm jack on the DualSense controller. With the exception of the Philips SHP9500, all of your recommendations are gaming branded headphones which typically offer worse price/performance to regular headphones. For not much more money than the SHP9500 you could get the Philips Fidelio X2HR which is a big upgrade in sound quality and comfort.

33 : Anonymous2021/03/09 08:20 ID: gqb3e6v

For not much more money than the SHP9500 you could get the Philips Fidelio X2HR

The Fidelio is $100 more expensive than SHP9500 lmao

34 : Anonymous2021/03/09 04:52 ID: gqao2yy

Sony's stupid decision to only include compatibility with class UAC1 is one of, if not the most glaring issue with their product line. It essentially deletes 90% of the market with anyone with a PlayStation.

I have been using a JDS Atom (I downgraded the firmware to support UAC1) and it works fine. Makes all of these headsets a bit louder but the Dualsense's onboard DAC is definitely a lot better than the DS4, so I'd say at least for any of these absent the A40, you don't really need it.

35 : Anonymous2021/03/08 23:15 ID: gq9ns5h

I use the Soundblasterx G6 with the pc38x and it's pretty great. I know the headset doesn't technically need it, but being able to set the sound profile myself is amazing. I added just a twinge of bass with the surround sound, and I think it sounds so dang good.

36 : Anonymous2021/03/08 23:33 ID: gq9pte5

I have sound blaster G3. Sound is ok but the mic quality is really bad and it can’t drive power-demanding headphones.

I also own a sound blaster G6 and i can say that it’s a really solid dac with the capability to drive most headphones out there. That’s the one I currently use and I definitely recommend it.

37 : Anonymous2021/03/09 04:30 ID: gqalzzq

When I still used this setup I had to resort to buying a boom filter for the VMODA. It made the noise isolation that was picked up from the mic pretty much negligible.

I played WZ with the SHP9500s and VMODA pair since the start of that BR in March up until about June and none of my teammates complained about leaking audio due to the open earcups..but that could be just my situation.

38 : Anonymous2021/03/08 23:23 ID: gq9op4u

Controller mic is horrible. I highly recommend the v-moda boom pro attachable mic. It is phenomenal.

39 : Anonymous2021/03/08 05:57 ID: gq6ml0q

i tested my microphone while live streaming, and tbh the microphone is perfectly fine. Much better than i expected

40 : Anonymous2021/03/08 05:24 ID: gq6jxll

I actually had this issue but I ended up turning down the volume of Warzone down and it helped a lot. I can still hear footsteps without my ears bleeding due to the explosion noises

41 : Anonymous2021/03/08 17:01 ID: gq88upj

The PC38x is significantly better than the HD598 in my opinion. I have both and a/b tested them extensively.

42 : Anonymous2021/03/09 04:48 ID: gqanp01

I spent 20 minutes debating on this very thing. The thing with the Alpha is they are not really readily available where I am and I can't personally speak for any other place. IF you get aftermarket pads, the Alpha wins but for the ones that come with both headsets, I think the Cloud IIs are just a bit more comfortable.

43 : Anonymous2021/03/09 04:43 ID: gqan6t3

I have tried those exact ones and most of the time I definitely endorse Audio Technica. They have good reference sound but I do agree they have some volume issues with controllers (at least in my testing)

The DualSense's DAC actually has a pretty high throughput on volume so it is the headphones. If you pair it with a DAC it would breath new life into it, which I did. but the setting required for it (its more wires) is not very pleasing to the eye unless you play in a table setting.


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