Open acoustic vs closed acoustic headphones: What's the difference, and which should you buy?

If you're on the market for a new pair of headphones, all the terms, specs, and marketing buzzwords can get pretty overwhelming. Just what is deep bass?

One of the decisions you need to make when buying headphones is whether to invest in a pair of open or closed acoustic headphones.

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What's the difference? Read on to find everything you need to know, as well as our recommendations.

What's the difference between open acoustic and closed acoustic?

The main difference between the two comes down to external noise.

Open acoustic headphones will not block out external ambient noise, while closed acoustic headphones, known also as noise cancelling, will isolate this noise.

Open acoustic headphones will also leak out more sound than their closed acoustic counterparts.

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Which is better for gaming?

While open acoustic users may boast about their natural, clear audio that these types of headphones deliver, there's no doubt that noise cancelling, closed acoustic headsets are essential for gaming.

When playing any game that relies on audio as part of the gameplay experience, whether to build tension in The Last of Us Part IIor to locate footsteps in Call of Duty: Warzone, being able to hear sounds from your environment will only ruin the immersion and hinder you.

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If you play games or listen to music in busy environments, such as on public transport or in an office, open acoustic headphones can also be seen as quite antisocial.

While you might be taking a break playing a match of Warzone, your office may not take kindly to hearing every single sniper shot you take sat atop a roof in Downtown.

The only downside to closed acoustic headphones is that after an extended period of gaming, your ears may get quite uncomfortable from being so closed off.

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