Audio-Technica have long been a name to look for when shopping for headphones or microphones, and their two latest release gaming headsets should have gamers giving them serious consideration, too.

Why are we combining two headsets into one round-up? Well, the ATH-GL3 and ATH-GDL3, each available in black or white, share many similarities both functionally and visually, but offer up one crucial difference – the former comes in a closed back configuration, while the later is open backed. If you’re not familiar with these terminologies, closed back are more your classic type of headset where the earcups completely wrap around your ears, doing a fine job of blocking out most of the world and really immersing you in what you’re listening to. Meanwhile, open back lets a little bit of the sound of the world in (and what you’re listening to out – so, not necessarily good if you’re playing next to somebody who’s concentrating on something else), resulting in a broader, airier sound that many find far superior. This is also very handy for those who wish to keep an ear out for the doorbell, the phone, or even the kids doing anything from demanding to be fed to falling out of trees.

“The design of each of the two headsets is subtle, but striking…”

The design of each of the two headsets is subtle, but striking, with blue highlights in cabling and within the earcups on the black model, black highlights on the white one – if you’re after RGB lighting and aggressive lines then you’ll need to look elsewhere. There’s no reason why something functional shouldn’t look good while it’s at it, and both of these units nail it admirably. The biggest visual difference between the two is in keeping with the differences between open and closed as spoken about above – the Audio-Technica ATH-GDL3 Open Back High Fidelity Gaming Headset has a cool, see-through mesh look on the earcups, allowing you to see what’s going on inside, while the ATH-GL3 features solid covers.

Audio Technica ATH-GDL3 Open Back High Fidelity Gaming Headset

Audio Technica ATH-GDL3 Open Back High Fidelity Gaming Headset

Both headsets feature decently sized 45mm drivers, big enough to deliver satisfying sound, without either unit swallowing your head – or weighing it down. The open back design comes in at just under 220 grams, while the closed back variant only adds an extra 10 grams. Weight matters in headsets, especially when you’re in for an extended gaming session, and both of these new Audio-Technica models strike a pleasing balance between lightness of weight and durability. There’s also a good extent of adjustability to the headband, which can happily accommodate even larger bonces comfortably, while the material inside the earcups is gentle on the ears. Both the headband and earcup pads are detachable too, so if they get a bit manky over time you can make them just like new again. Sweet!

“Both of these units can really dish out the sound.”

Some open back headsets can be found wanting in the bass department, however the ATH-GDL3 surprised us with how beefily it delivered the aural oomph. Shooter fans rejoice! Its closed back sibling is certainly no slouch bass-wise either, and even when cranked beyond the point to which the volume probably should have been cranked – disclaimer: please dont try this at home, we did it for the sake of testing, honestly officer – we were surprised at the distortion-free clarity that just kept on coming. Both of these units can really dish out the sound.

Of course as they’re gaming headsets, there’s another aural component in the mix – the microphone. Audio-Technica’s expertise in this field shines through, with both units featuring flexible boom mics with a highly directional pickup (and a handy little removable pop sock, too). As well as providing top notch in-game voice communication, these have one of our favourite features in a boom – they can be removed when not in use. Testing out both on willing opponents, we received reports back of loud and clear voice and, pleasingly in the case of the ATH-GDL3, without any of the sound leakage that can sometimes occur with open back designs.

Audio Technica ATH-GL3 Closed Back High Fidelity Gaming Headset

Audio Technica ATH-GL3 Closed Back High Fidelity Gaming Headset

Some headsets have so many controls that you can feel you need to take a course in order to know how to operate them, let alone to find them in the heat of battle, or as you’re thundering down Conrod Straight at eye-curling speed. Audio-Technica’s skill comes into play once again here, with them keeping it to the basic functionalities that a headset truly requires – there’s a volume wheel on the left earcup, and a mic mute slider switch right next to that. In play, both are easily accessible without having to give much in the way of thought to it, which is exactly how it should be.

When it comes to connectivity, both units feature detachable wires, with a standard 3.5mm connector at the end of a three-metre long cable. There’s also a 1.2 metre single-to-double cable for when required, meaning you could throw either headset at pretty much anything from a PC to a phone to a console and have the right connection at hand.

Whether you opt for closed back or open, Audio-Technica’s latest foray into the world of gaming headsets is an impressive one, and they’re more affordable than you’d likely expect for such well-specced – and superb sounding – gaming gear.

Both the Audio Technica ATH-GDL3 Open Back and Audio Technica ATH-GL3 Closed Back High Fidelity Gaming Headsets are available now, in black or white.

Buy now at JB Hi-Fi