Streaming may be an easy hobby to get into, but standing out from the crowd demands more than just a winning personality. Having the right hardware plays a big role in ensuring a high-quality stream, and that’s why you may want to consider buying one of the best headphones for streaming.
Yes, you can stream with any headphones. But the best streaming headphones combine great sound, excellent comfort, and closed-back designs to avoid any sound leaking into your mic. Whether you like the freedom of wireless or want the better value of a wired connection, this list should have you covered. Let’s get started.
- Best Closed-Back Wired Headphones for Streaming: Beyerdynamic DT 770 Pro 80 Ohms are classic closed-back headphones with great comfort and balanced sound.
- Best Value Closed-Back Wired Headphones for Streaming: HyperX Cloud Alphas are a great-value pair, offering neutral sound and great comfort for well under $100.
- Best Open-Back Headphones for Streaming: Philips SHP9500s will leak sound but offer great neutral sound and amazing value.
- Best Wireless Closed-Back Headphones for Streaming: Logitech G Pro X 2 Lightspeeds are a great all-rounder pair of wireless headphones with great audio and excellent comfort.
- Best Value Wireless Closed-Back Headphones for Streaming: Logitech G535s are a bit bass-light but are great value, with their solid sound and good comfort.
- Best Premium Wireless Closed-Back Headphones for Streaming: SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro Wireless are a full-featured pair with a wireless base station for hands-on adjustments.
Our Favorite Headphones for Streaming
If you already have a great standalone microphone, you won’t need the boom mics that come standard with many gaming headsets. This can bring you better sound quality and comfort than most gaming products, often at a lower price. The Beyerdynamic DT 770 Pro 80 Ohms are a great example.
The DT 770 Pros have an almost ruler-flat sound, with precise mids that translate everything that goes in in-game perfectly. Every sound cue should come through clearly, whether it’s an explosion, a footstep, or a reload sound. The bass response is great too, with a slight boost that gives sounds a bit of extra heft. These have excellent audio quality and will sound great whether you’re gaming or listening to music.
The Beyerdynamic headphones come with plush velour earpads, which are quite a bit more comfortable than the ones you usually get on gaming headphones. They also don’t retain heat as much as the usual faux-leather pads on many gaming headphones, so your ears won’t feel as sweaty. The earpads are also replaceable, so you won’t need to worry about wear and tear as much.
However, some users may find the DT 770s clamp on a bit tighter than other headphones. While we don’t think the increased clamping force is significant enough to be a deal-breaker, we recommend trying them out first, just in case.
Some users may also find the DT 770s a bit bulky. They’re certainly not headphones you want to wear if you’re out and about or need to be active. But since you’ll likely be streaming while stationary, this shouldn’t be an issue.
Overall, the Beyerdynamic DT 770 Pro 80 Ohm headphones are a great pair of closed-back headphones for streamers with a dedicated mic. Their mostly-neutral sound, high-quality earpads, and general versatility make these the headphones to go for if the gaming-focused headsets aren’t quite doing it for you.
HyperX’s Cloud Alpha headphones have great sound and above-average comfort, offering everything a streamer needs for their headphones without breaking the bank. If you just want a no-frills pair that’ll work out of the box, check these out.
The Cloud Alpha has a surprisingly neutral sound profile for a gaming-focused headset, with mostly flat lows and mids that recreate sound quite faithfully. A slight hump in the high bass helps add some body to sounds and music, but it’s not overbearing and won’t drown out other sounds.
There is a noticeable dip in the treble response, which makes listening to music on these less enjoyable than they would otherwise. However, it’s not a huge issue and these still have amazing sound quality considering their price.
Unlike some affordable headphones, the HyperX Cloud Alpha comes with a detachable cable. Not only does it make the headphones more portable, but it also means that you can replace the cable easily if anything goes wrong. The attached boom mic is also detachable, so you won’t have to deal with having a mic in your face if you have a dedicated streaming mic.
Since the Cloud Alpha connects via standard analog audio cables, don’t expect fancy software or AI adjustments to the microphone. So while it’s a good-sounding mic with reasonably full-sounding audio, you won’t have any way to adjust the sound or apply a noise reduction filter.
The HyperX Cloud Alpha headphones have large, reasonably plush ear pads that are quite comfortable. They also fit loosely on the head and don’t clamp down too hard, so they’ll be great for streamers wearing these for long periods. As long as you’re not streaming while moving or jumping around, the slightly looser fit should be fine.
HyperX’s Cloud Alpha headphones are a fixture of many “best of” headphone lists, and it’s not hard to see why. They have great neutral sound, cost well below $100, and will fit comfortably on even large heads.
Open-back headphones aren’t ideal for streaming, but if you want to try a pair to see if they work out, the Phillips SHP9500 headphones are an excellent choice. These have extremely balanced sound, good comfort, and an affordable sub-$80 price.
The SHP9500s are well known for their high-quality audio, which is neutral with a clear midrange and treble. If you play first-person shooters, the SHP9500s will allow you to hear every detail and sound cue without masking it under boomy bass or overpowering treble. You lose out on the head-rattling sub-bass, but that’s not a huge issue for a gaming headset.
Besides, the lack of sub-bass is common to open-back headphones and the price you’ll have to pay for the better soundstage and imaging of open-back designs. These sound much more “3D” and natural than your usual closed-back headphones, essential for competitive shooters.
Unfortunately, the open-back design leaks out sound, especially if you listen at high volumes. A condenser microphone may even pick up the sound leaking out of the SHP9500s, resulting in messy audio on-stream. If you have to stream with open-back headphones, we recommend using a dynamic microphone like the Shure SM48 instead.
On the plus side, the open-back design mostly eliminates sweaty ears. Since the ear cups are open, your ears and skin can breathe, which reduces sweat buildup and discomfort. The SHP9500 ear cups are also large and should sit comfortably over most ears, further improving comfort.
If you’re sure open-back headphones will work for your streaming setup, then the Phillips SHP9500s are the ones to go for. Yes, you can get better-sounding headphones, but few combine comfort, sound quality, and value like these classics.
Logitech has finally updated its classic G Pro X headphones, and, overall, the upgrade was worth the wait. The G Pro X 2 Lightspeed headphones pack new graphene drivers, a more comfortable design, and great battery life to create an excellent high-end pair of wireless headphones.
To be clear, the graphene drivers don’t provide a revolutionary upgrade in sound quality. The new G Pro X 2 does sound different, but it’s more of a re-tuned sound signature than a definite, objective upgrade. They’re broadly neutral but with a noticeable mid-bass boost that adds some boom and thump and makes these sound a bit more “mainstream.”
Logitech continues to stick to a minimal but effective software suite with the G Pro X 2 Lightspeed. You can access DTS Headphone: X 2.0 virtual surround sound, Blue Vo!ce microphone processing, and a five-band equalizer to tweak the headset’s sound. You also have a fun sampler feature that lets you trigger sounds at the press of a button.
We appreciate that Logitech has retained the optional velour ear pads that used to come with the previous models. These are much better for streaming, as they don’t retain heat and should be more comfortable over long sessions. The velour is also better for glasses-wearers, so swap those in if you wear glasses.
Logitech has added a new hinge above the earcups, which lets you rotate each earcup to suit your head better. This may seem minor, but it’s indispensable for long-term comfort, as the headphones now better adapt to your head shape.
The included microphone is a minor downgrade from the old version, but it’s still a decent unit capable of providing clear, detailed audio. Combine that with Blue Vo!ce features such as the equalizer, compressor, and de-esser, and you have the makings of a solid microphone.
If you’re serious about streaming, you’ll still want to detach the microphone and use a standalone mic for optimal audio quality. But the included mic will do in a pinch or if you’re just starting out.
Logitech’s G Pro X 2 Lightspeed is a worthy successor to two of the most popular gaming headsets ever. It sounds good, has improved ergonomics, and retains the solid software package Logitech is known for.
Logitech’s G535 is a solid pair of wireless gaming headphones available for around $100. You lose out on a fully detachable or retractable mic here, but you get good comfort and solid sound in exchange, making these an excellent value pair for budding streamers.
The Logitech G535s have reasonably balanced sound despite the wallet-friendly price. They have a consistent sound overall, with only the extreme low end missing from the presentation. So these aren’t for those who want head-shaking bass, but you probably don’t want that if you’re streaming anyway.
As with most USB-connected wireless headsets, you can use Logitech’s G Hub software to tweak the EQ to your taste. You can also enable DTS Headphone:X 2.0, which is nice to see at this price point. It’s not the most outstanding surround sound implementation you’ll hear, but it does a good job and will help add spatial cues to games that support it.
The G535’s microphone isn’t one of Logitech’s best; it’s serviceable and will do a decent job, but the audio will be slightly thin compared to pricier headphones. They’ll be fine for gaming or Discord, but you should get a separate, standalone microphone for streaming. The mic doesn’t detach, but you can flip it up to mute it and get it out of your way.
One area where the Logitech G535 excels is the comfort and experience of wearing it. The G535s are exceedingly lightweight headphones, coming in at around 0.5 pounds. They also don’t clamp on your head too hard, making them great for long streaming sessions. The extra-large ear cups may be an issue for those with small heads, but we think most of you should be fine.
Logitech’s G535 is an excellent pair of budget-friendly wireless headphones. They have reasonable sound quality, are comfortable to wear, and offer excellent value at their usual sub-$100 price. We would’ve loved to see a detachable mic, but the flip-up design works well and helps keep the price down.
The SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro Wireless headset doesn’t come cheap, but they pack a lot of tech that more than justifies the price. If you want a versatile, full-featured, good-sounding set of cans for your stream, these are worth a look.
The Arctis Nova Pro Wireless headphones have it all, or close to it. You get active noise cancellation, a dedicated “base station” for hands-on control, hot-swappable batteries, 360-degree spatial audio, and an excellent mic. They’re also quite comfortable, with plush faux-leather earpads and a lower clamping force that means they rest on your head quite lightly.
With this much tech, you’d be forgiven for assuming that sound quality took a backseat during SteelSeries’ design process. But thankfully, that’s not the case. While they won’t necessarily compete with ultra-high-end audiophile headphones, the Arctis Nova Pro Wireless have an above-average sound profile that’ll work for all content.
It’s a roughly neutral sound signature, albeit with slightly boosted bass and a dip in the low treble. Fortunately, neither is too overbearing, not drastically altering the sound signature. It’s not a headphone for critical music listening, but it’s more than good enough in-game and when streaming.
Of course, you get a 10-band EQ if you want to tweak the sound. You can access the EQ through SteelSeries’ software or via the wireless base station, which is a nice touch. The base station also lets you adjust the Transparency Mode for the ANC and access a Chat Mix slider for balancing between game audio and Discord.
The base station has a battery charging slot, which lets you keep a second battery charging while you game. This enables you to swap batteries as you go, ensuring constant uptime. The wireless base station also has two USB ports, letting you connect two systems and switch between them, handy if you stream on multiple platforms.
Microphone quality is great, too. It’s not very bassy, but the upper-midrange-focused sound captures voices well and ensures you’re always legible when streaming or chatting in-game. You even get AI-assisted noise canceling to help reduce background noise. The microphone retracts into the left earcup, so you can stow it if you want to go with an external microphone.
Overall, SteelSeries’ Arctis Nova Pro Wireless is a do-it-all, no-expenses-spared set of closed-back gaming headphones. Hands-on control, good sound, and functionally unlimited uptime make it a pair well worth checking out if you have the cash.
Before You Buy
Buying headphones for streaming isn’t quite the same as buying a set for daily use. For one, you’ll want to think about long-term comfort a bit more, especially if you’re trying to make it as a professional streamer. There’s also the issue of open vs. closed-back headphones and the potential problems with sound leakage. So let’s cover both.
Open-Back vs. Closed-Back Headphones
Full-sized headphones come in open-back and closed-back varieties. Open-back headphones have open ear cups which let sound pass through. This helps them sound more natural and lifelike but comes at the cost of letting external noise in and, more crucially, leaking sound out. This isn’t a huge issue for gaming or listening to music, but it is a problem if you’re streaming.
Sensitive condenser microphones can potentially pick up the sound leaking from your headphones, especially if you’re listening at a high volume. This won’t sound great and can even result in some audio feedback issues. So while open-back headphones sound better and are generally more comfortable, we think they’re unsuitable for most streamers.
In contrast, closed-back headphones have fully closed-off earcups. So audio doesn’t get in or out, mostly eliminating the issue of your mic picking up sound from your headphones. Closed-back headphones generally don’t sound as good as open-back equivalents, but they may be more suitable for streaming.
We recommend sticking with closed-back headphones when streaming to eliminate any potential issues with game audio leaking back into your microphone. But if you’re not streaming with a mic, then feel free to try a pair of open-back headphones out.
Headphone comfort is a hugely subjective topic. A pair that works for one person may be torturous for another, so we can’t lay down any objective rules or guidelines here. Instead, try to purchase headphones from retailers with a good return policy, so you can send them back if they don’t work for you.
That said, there is one feature you should look out for: velour ear pads. Most users find velour ear pads more comfortable than fabric or faux leather, as they’re softer and don’t trap heat quite as much. Your ears can get surprisingly sweaty when wearing headphones, so anything that helps with that is a big plus in our book.
If the headphones you like don’t come with velour pads by default, see if any aftermarket options are available from online retailers.
Frequency Response Graphs
Frequency response graphs are the squiggly lines that visually represent how the headphones sound. They can’t replace trying them out yourself, but they’re a good way to see if the pair you’re interested in suits your preferences.
Frequency response graphs have two axes: horizontal and vertical. The horizontal axis covers the audio spectrum: bass to the left, mid-range in the middle, and high frequencies to the right. The vertical axis indicates the volume of each frequency in dB, which the squiggly line tracks.
The higher the line, the louder the frequency, and vice versa. For example, let’s look at the frequency response graph for the Beyerdynamic DT 770 Pro 80 Ohm. The line shows a mostly flat response from the bass up to the treble, only subtly deviating from the dotted line in the middle. The treble is a bit more spiky and uneven, but not overly so.
Ideally, you should compare graphs from the same reviewers, as the results can differ between reviewers due to different target curves and measurement hardware.
The best way to use frequency response graphs is to look up a pair of headphones or in-ears you own or like. Understand the graph and how it relates to what you’re hearing, and then look for headphones that have similar results to your reference pair. This won’t guarantee success, but it’ll tilt the odds in your favor.
Choosing the best headphones for streaming isn’t too different from buying headphones for general-purpose gaming or music listening. However, you’ll want to be much more conscious of long-term comfort and any issues with sound leaking from your headphones.
To that end, we think closed-back headphones such as the Beyerdynamic DT 770 Pro 80 Ohm and Logitech G Pro X 2 Lightspeed are your best options: they sound great, are incredibly comfortable, and won’t leak any sound.
In the market for more streaming hardware? Check out our list of the best streaming lights for great ways to light up your webcam feed.