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The 6 Best Headphones For Sim Racing

So you finally built the sim rig of your dreams and need some headphones to go along with it. Then this guide is for you. Here are some of the best headphones for sim racing, that are sure to elevate your sound experience.

Editor's PickHeadphonesScore
Top PickPhilips Fidelio X2HR91%
Runner UpAudio-Technica ATH-M50x89%
Budget PickPhilips SHP950086%
Luxury PickBeyerdynamic DT 1990 PRO97%
Best WirelessBose QuietComfort 35 II93%
Best for GamingCooler Master MH-75190%

Top Pick: Philips Fidelio X2HR

Philips Fidelio X2HR

These sturdy, sleek-looking headphones are one of the best pairs on the market for sim racing.

The open-back design of the Philips Fidelio X2HR ensures a great audio reproduction. They have a very wide soundstage as well as great accuracy and detail to help pinpoint car sounds, thus increasing your spatial awareness in-game.

Their overall build quality is very good. They are mostly made of sturdy plastic, with metal in the hinges and headband. The headband automatically adjusts to your head and the earpads are large, well-padded and soft, making them a very comfortable headphone to use for many hours. The clamping force is on the tight side, but it shouldn’t be a problem.

The sound signature of the Fidelio X2HR is very well balanced. They offer an ample amount of bass for an open back headphone and the bass is very clear and punchy. They also perform amazingly in the midrange and treble, which is the most important for sim racing. Overall, this is a great sounding and very accurate headphone that will satisfy even the most competitive sim racers out there.

Runner Up: Audio-Technica ATH-M50x

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Audio-Technica ATH-M50x

If you prefer a closed back set of headphones, then these reputable headphones are definitely worth considering. 

The Audio-Technica ATH-M50x are designed to be used as studio monitors, so they have good passive isolation. Their soundstage is also pretty good for a closed back headphone and the energetic, yet balanced sound signature make them one of the top choices for use in sim racing.

The M50x’s have a thick plastic construction with a dense metal frame in the headband for added durability. However, there’s a small weak point in the joints, which could lead to breaks if you are not careful or drop them frequently. They are very comfortable though, thanks to the thick padding of the headband and the large ear cups. The material of the pads can be a bit stiff at first, but it should break in with time.

The ATH M50x have an excellent low-end, with a great extension in the sub-bass and a lot of punch. It can be a little boomy in the high-bass though. The midrange has great representation, albeit a bit thinner on the lower mids. The treble has some small peaks and can be a bit piercing, but is overall quite balanced.

Budget Pick: Philips SHP9500

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Philips SHP9500

These lightweight headphones should satisfy all your sound needs, without breaking the bank.

Another entry by Philips, the SHP9500 is an affordable open back pair of headphones with a premium feel and fantastic sound quality for the price. They offer a very wide soundstage and very good detail to give you an edge over your opponents in sim racing games.

The SHP9500, while not sporting flashy looks, are very robust. Even though they are mostly made of plastic, they have a metal-reinforced headband that should withstand heavy use and abuse. One of the strongest points of the headphones is their comfort. Being very lightweight, with very large and supple earpads, and not much clamping force, you can use them for hours without fatigue.

The sound signature of the Philips SHP9500 is very well balanced for the price. While lacking a bit of sub bass, as with most open back headphones, they make up for it with a very natural sounding treble and midrange. Their precise audio reproduction, that allows you to distinguish between the unique sounds, is unmatched in this price range.

Luxury Pick: Beyerdynamic DT 1990 PRO

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Beyerdynamic DT 1990 PRO

If money is not an issue, then these premium headphones are a worthy investment.

The Beyerdynamic DT 1990 PRO is a premium offering from the very respectable brand Beyerdynamic. They feature openings in the backplate of the cups for a more open sound and better positional audio representation. 

The DT 1990, like most Beyerdynamic headphones, have an aesthetic design and superior build quality. They are made of high end materials with dense metal throughout. This does make them heavier, and they are a bit tight on the head, but thanks to their large microfiber earpads they are comfortable enough for long sessions.

The sound quality of the DT 1990 is balanced and open. They have a very good bass extension and the bass is overall tight and punchy. While the midrange is natural and accurate, their treble can be a little piercing in higher frequencies, but this should not come up often while sim racing. Overall, the Beyerdynamic DT 1990 PRO, while being on the expensive side, should serve you for many years.

Best Wireless: Bose QuietComfort 35 II

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Bose QuietComfort 35 II

This remarkable pair of headphones is ideal if you need a wireless pair for your rig.

The Bose QuietComfort 35 II (QC35) by Bose, are one of the most well-known wireless headphones on the market. They are a versatile set of headphones with an excellent sound reproduction and good soundstage for a closed back set. They also have good noise isolation and active noise cancelation (ANC) for extra immersion in your games.

The QC35 have a minimalistic design and are mainly plastic built. This might seem cheap considering their price, but the plastic used is durable and flexible, so it should be able to endure heavy use. There’s also a metal frame in the headband, making it overall sturdier.

The sound of the Bose QC35 is very well balanced. Bass is a bit more prominent, giving it a warmer sound and enhancing the sound of car engines. This does not affect the midrange and treble, as they sound accurate and clear giving you an overall pleasant experience.

Best for Gaming: Cooler Master MH-751

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Cooler Master MH-751

If you are after a gaming headset with a microphone then these headphones are one of the best in its price range.

The Cooler Master MH-751 are a rebranded version of the acclaimed Takstar Pro 82, which is good, because Takstar are known for their value for money products. This is a closed back set of headphones with a balanced sound signature, and a surprisingly good soundstage for a closed back set.

Their design is very sleek and robust, with hard plastic all around the headset and a metal frame in the headband for added durability. The light weight and low clamping force of the MH-751 makes them one of the most comfortable pairs of headphones for long gaming sessions.

The MH-751 have an emphasized low-end with very good sub bass extension. The mids are slightly recessed, but still sound clean. The treble is very smooth and detailed and sounds very natural. Overall the sound is warm and punchy, yet clear and natural. The detachable microphone performs very well and should satisfy most users.

What To Look For In Headphones

When shopping for a pair of headphones for your sim racing rig, you need to look for a few specific details

Open vs Closed Back 

Ideally you want to look for an open back pair of headphones for sim racing, as they provide a more spacious and detailed sound to help you immerse yourself in the game. The problem with open-back headphones is leakage and poor isolation. If your sim rig is built in a place where there are other people, consider a closed back set of headphones. While providing sub par soundstage, they offer superior isolation and don’t disturb other people.

Build Quality and Comfort

Comfort is one of the most important things when buying headphones for sim racing, since you can easily get immersed and spend many hours playing. Thus, you want comfortable headphones with big and soft earpads, so your ears don’t hurt after a while. Another important factor to consider is build quality. Presumably you want to hold on to your headphones for many years, so they should be well built and durable, with as much metal as possible.

Sound Quality

In general, sound quality is very important when purchasing any headphones. For sim racing, there are some specific details to look for. An energetic and tight bass can help accentuate engine rev-ups, while a detailed and bright treble will make high-pitched engine sounds more prominent and alive. The most important thing though, is a relatively balanced sound signature without huge peaks or dips. This ensures that you will get the full sound experience in your game.

Last Updated on July 11, 2021