10 Headsets That Are Great For Gaming - Without The 'Gaming' Aesthetic

Don't expect a lot of them to have microphones, though - these are for single-player experiences.
If you're trying to get exceptional sound quality in your games without all that jazz from 'gamer-centric' headsets, then this selection might be for you.
If you're trying to get exceptional sound quality in your games without all that jazz from 'gamer-centric' headsets, then this selection might be for you. beyerdynamic

Whether you’re aware of it or not, and whether you actually like it or not, video games have changed the way various peripherals are designed. I still remember a time when a CPU tower was just this white case, and people tended to look at it at something to do business with. Nowadays, you’d be hard-pressed to find a gaming PC that doesn’t show off those pretty insides, with all the RGB you can muster in every single component.

As amusing as it is sometimes to look at all those lights that you can customize in a myriad of ways, it is admittedly not for everyone. What’s worse is that this trend does not only pertain to the lights and flashes, but also to that design aesthetic that says it’s for ‘gamers.’ Believe it or not, there are a number of people out there who like to play games, but in a discrete way that’s more akin to just playing instead of showing.

This goes doubly for headsets, which can be quite the investment. If you don’t care as much for the whole gaming aesthetic, and would rather have something that offers a deeper audiophile-level experience in single-player titles, then know that this next selection is made just for you. What’s more, you don’t have to spend over a hundred and fifty bucks for all of them – save for the last one – which makes these headsets nice entry-level options for those looking to abandon the ‘gamer’ aesthetic. It could also be a gateway to your Twitch streaming career, if you’re already in the market for a nice microphone.

Without further ado, here are some of the best headsets you can opt into for single-player gaming – without all the unnecessary fluff from ‘gaming’ aesthetics.

NOTE: If you buy something through this post, Player.One may get a share of the sale.

Audio-Technica ATH-SR6BTBK Bluetooth Wireless Headphones

It’s not an audiophile gaming list without Audio-Technica, a manufacturer that holds its own pretty well in the audio space. For just under the hundred and fifty dollar price point, you can get into some pretty lush and bold sounds with the ATH-SR6BTBK. The headset is not only muted in its overall design, but is incredibly functional as well. It’s powered by Bluetooth, which is fully compatible with Qualcomm aptX, AAC and SBC codecs. The headset also boasts powerful 45mm drivers capable of reproducing Hi-Res Audio, should you opt into using it with the included cable.

It’s also quite innovative in its functionality, as you get a mic and volume rocker built into the left ear cup for ease of control. The internal battery packs quite the punch, as you can get 30 hours of continuous use on a single charge, which is more than any other high-end gaming headset can offer. The soft, memory foam earpads and easily adjustable headband slider also provide a comfortable fit with excellent sound isolation, so you can easily lose yourself in some amazing titles with great sound design.

Play it with: Dead Space – The ATH-SR6BTBK is a perfect pairing for any horror title, in particular Dead Space, which to this day still has some of the best sound design ever featured in a video game. The lack of wires makes it easier to jump away in fright each time there’s a horrific Necromorph appearing, and trust me – there’s plenty in the game that will raise your butt off the seat.

Philips SHP9500 HiFi Precision Stereo Headphones

When it comes to quality and longevity in a more affordable package, I always look to Philips. A pair of headphones from the company has never, ever disappointed me, even with those cheap-o five-bucks-apiece earphones, one of which I still own and use to this day. Climb up higher in price and you’ll find yourself pleasantly surprised. The SHP9500 stereo headphones offer large 50mm, neodymium drivers that deliver quite the aural experiencing, washing you over with a full spectrum of sound. It’s also a great choice if you prefer wired over wireless, as the headphones come with a 1.5m cable that allows for freedom of movement no matter which title you’re playing.

Compared to the other heavy hitters on this list, the SHP9500 is relatively cheaper, too, which could work if you’re on a shoestring budget and aren’t exactly looking to play multiplayer titles (lack of microphone). You can, however, expect some premium quality for what you’re paying. The comfortable, double-layered headband cushion is completely breathable and will easily allow you to game for longer periods of time without any discomfort.

Play it with: The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim – The SHP9500 is perfect for a sweeping vocal-based soundtrack that makes you feel the grand, epic scale of your journey. In this lifetime, no game soundtrack comes close to Skyrim, which is just the bar for making you feel like the most awesome hero in all of Tamriel. Also, spam ‘Fus-ro-dah’ for great effect.

beyerdynamic DT 240 PRO Monitor Headphones

It’s hard to believe that you can get a premium beyerdynamic experience for under eighty bucks, and yet here we are with the DT 240 PRO, one of their cheapest offerings on this list. It may be cheaper than the rest, but that does not mean it’s something to avoid – after all, what’s not to love when you have actual professional-level studio headphones at this price range? The DT 240 is also built-in with very powerful transducers, which makes it suitable for a wider range of applications outside of gaming – be it mobile or studio.

You’ll also notice that unlike the other entries on this list, the DT 240 sports quite the lightweight design. This makes it all the more attractive if you value your comfort above all else, and nothing is comfier than not feeling the weight of your headset wrap around your head for hours at a time. What’s more, you still get the true professional sound tuning and superior background noise isolation made possible by beyerdynamic, albeit in a cheaper and smaller headset.

Play it with: Beat Saber – The DT 240’s smaller scale makes it a perfect fit for a VR title, especially one with as much movement involved as Beat Saber. Beat Saber makes you move, sure, but with the DT 240 you won’t have to worry any more, which should let you enjoy the title’s plethora of content available. Who knows, you might also end up giving yourself the urge to dance along as well.

AKG K 240 MK II Stereo Studio Headphones

This next headset comes from the AKG lineup at Harman, and is unsurprisingly one of the pricier options on this list as well. It does come with specific advantages though, as the K 240 Mk II is easily one of the best studio headphones at this price point. The semi-open technology is implemented tightly here, making for solid bass and airy highs that’s sure to put some bite into that narrative-driven game. You also get AKG’s patented Varimotion 30mm XXL transducers, which offer accurate signal transfers and great dynamic range.

The K 240 Mk II is also built for comfort in mind, as you also get an over-ear design that’s made to wrap around your ear snugly for longer gaming sessions. Couple that with the self-adjusting headband and you’ve got yourself one of the best deals in this list, bar none – although don’t be surprised if by the end of it all you just end up listening to your favorite tracks instead of using it for gaming. It’s that good.

Play it with: No Man’s Sky – As much as I rag on this game for essentially exposing hype culture in video games, its music as composed and performed by 65daysofstatic is still quite the highlight. What’s more, if some of the game’s fans are to be believed, No Man’s Sky is actually pretty good now – which means that you can also get to enjoy its melodic and amazingly breathtaking soundtrack armed with the K 240 Mk II, which should give it the justice it’s due.

Sennheiser HD280PRO Headphone

If you’ve got the cash for it, might as well get a Sennheiser – it’s one of the most premium brands out there, and should translate well into someone who takes their sound design in games very seriously. For under a hundred bucks, you can opt into the HD280PRO, which boasts an extended frequency response and a very warm and natural sound reproduction. The ear couplings are also designed for exceptional listening, a circum-aural design built into quite the ergonomic package.

The HD280PRO also boasts premium comfort, with the closed-ear padding cradling your ears quite snugly for peak usability. Surprisingly, you also get a set of cushions at the top so you can get quite the comfort for your head area. The HD280PRO is also modular in its design, allowing you to easily replace the ear pads, headband padding and audio cord to lengthen its overall shelf life.

Play it with: The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild – Warm sound reproduction in headsets have a place in gaming, which applies very well to a title like Breath of the Wild. With the HD280PRO, you can enjoy the soothing sound of nature all around Link, while still providing you with that punch when you find yourself surrounded by a gang of Bobokins. Of course, who can forget that sweeping orchestral music at the game’s key points, the entirety of which you’ll enjoy the best with the premium only the likes of Sennheiser can offer.

Sennheiser RS 175 RF Wireless Headphone System

This next one from Sennheiser is pretty serious, as it comes with not only the most cool-looking muted pair of headphones, but also this neat charging base to tag along with it. It’s also quite amazing to find it at this price point, as the RS 175 RF could easily pass for more than three hundred bucks easily. It boasts two listening modes: a bass boost, which could be the bomb in rhythm titles, and surround sound, which is an amazing boon for cinematic narrative-driven experiences.

The RS 175 RF also boasts an ergonomic design, and intuitive button controls found on the cups will help you navigate its ins and outs with ease. Despite its appearance, it’s very easy to set up, coming in with quite the extensive manual to help you with any query you may have. The wireless connectivity is all that’s needed to sell it to serious VR enthusiasts, as it can offer quite the degree of freedom – pair it with an Oculus Quest for an amazing, wireless virtual reality experience.

Play it with: any Halo title – With its relative ease of pairing ensure for across all devices, the RS 175 RF can make quite the difference in the world when playing Halo, especially for its single-player campaign. Expect to be blown away once that music kicks in, an amazing experience that still holds up quite well to this day.

Sennheiser HD 4.50 SE Wireless Noise Cancelling Headphones

This is the third Sennheiser for this list, and for good reason – their brand is one of the best when it comes to overall applications, even more so for gaming. The HD 4.50 SE is another standout piece, and this is one to get if you’re really looking to get serious with sound quality. The Bluetooth 4.0 and aptX technologies deliver exceptional sounds to behold for wireless technology, coupled with a worry-free battery life of about 19 hours. Of course, it also comes with a connecting cable should you choose to opt into a wired experience – intuitively, this mode also comes battery-free.

The HD 4.50 SE also features topnotch noise cancelling technology as well, with Sennheiser’s Noise Gard there to significantly reduce ambient noise levels and improve the listening experience. You also get the standard level of premium comfort as with most Sennheiser headphones at this price range, with the ear cups providing exceptional snugness to your ears.

Play it with: A Plague Tale: InnocenceOf all the games released this year, none have been able to stand up against A Plague Tale: Innocence when it comes to proper sound design and that emotional, heartrending soundtrack by Oliver Deriviere. That level of quality is best paired with a Sennheiser, as you get the full brunt of the aural experience as it washes over you in the game’s various levels. I’m sure the rats’ drowning squeaks will be quite the sounds to hear as well.

Audio-Technica ATH-M50x Professional Studio Monitor Headphones

Here we have an Audio-Technica at a higher price point, which makes it one of the best-equipped as well. The ATH-M50x is a bit pricier than the first entry, but with that additional cost you get quite the headset suited for gaming as well. The ATH-M50x is one of the most revered headsets in its price range, and for good reason – the unit boasts proprietary 45mm large-aperture drivers with rare earth magnets and copper-clad aluminum wire voice coils that significantly enhance your overall listening experience.

Throughout its extended frequency range, the ATH-M50x gives off a deep, particularly responsive, and accurate bass response that’s sure to bring that oomph next time you pull the virtual trigger on your enemies. Couple that with the circum-aural design that contours around your ears and the professional-grade earpad and headband material used for the whole piece, and you’ve got yourself a pair of headphones made specifically to get you lost in whatever game you’re playing.

Play it with: Doom – I won’t be able to forgive myself if not a single one of these recommendations here comes with an advert for you to play Doom, so here it is. In general, you can play it with any standard headset and you’ll still end up hearing your blood pumping in your veins, but if you truly want something that’s out of this world and will more than likely make you grow chest hair due to how gnarly it is (results may vary), then hunt down those demons with the ATH-M50x as Mick Gordon’s soundtrack blasts in your ears. No need to turn it down where you’re going, anyway.

Razer Adaro DJ Analog Headphones

This pair will always hold a very special place in my heart, despite its many flaws compared to the offerings of today. The muted look of the Adaro DJ by Razer is something I think gaming headsets should aspire to now, instead of going with more edges and those ridiculous designs, but I digress. Feature-wise, it’s still quite the banger despite its age, with its sonically balanced drivers delivering rich, natural sounding acoustics and hard-hitting bass at every turn.

What I love most about the Adaro DJ, however, is it’s very simple, yet elegant design that’s made for both comfort and portability. You can turn the cups every which way and fold them up to bring with you anywhere you go, while still providing excellent comfort through those just-right-sized ear cups. You can easily swap out the cables, with a lock system also in place in order to secure it from any sudden movements.

Play it with: Hotline Miami – Synth-heavy tracks with that iconic 80s feel is where you’ll see the Adaro DJ shine, and I still remember that very first time I used mine with Hotline Miami. If video game magic even exists, that was one of those moments – while any synth-heavy title will do, Hotline Miami still boasts one of the most amazing track lists involving the sound, which’ll blast you to your very core as you rock the Adaro DJ.

beyerdynamic DT 770 PRO Studio Headphones

For thirty bucks above our price range, you can opt into what I consider to be one of the best non-gaming headsets that’s amazing for gaming. For over a month now, I’ve been enjoying the pleasure of listening with beyerdynamic’s very popular DT 770 PRO, courtesy of a generous friend who lent them to me while he’s away. The hype surrounding it is very much earned, as it boasts quite the sound quality powered by pure, high-resolution audio and that highly innovative bass reflex system.

The DT 770 PRO also carries a seal of excellence, courtesy of robust workmanship expected from a product made in Germany. The earpads are, for lack of a better term, heaven on your ears – lined with velour for maximum comfort and encircled around this design that’s certain to please every kind of ear there is. If you’ve got the cash to spare, this is the one I’d truly recommend, as it’s just at the right price point.

Play it with: Dark Souls III – When you think about how you can make Souls more epic, the correct answer is to immerse yourself even further in the very underrated soundtrack. There’s nothing quite like beating the Abyss Watchers while their theme is blasting from the DT 770 PRO, all enhanced by beyerdynamic’s superior understanding of what makes sound amazing.

So, what do you think? Which of these finely-crafted non-gamer aesthetic headphones will you be picking up? Let us know and stay tuned for more recommendations from us on the best deals on peripherals, accessories and other hardware.

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