Table Of Contents:
- What is open back headphones
- What has closed back headphones
- What are the differences between the open back and closed headphones?
- Best open back headphones: overview and comparison table
- 5 Best open back headphones
- Best closed-back headphones: overview and comparison chart
- 5 Best closed back headphones
Our Pick For Top 5 Best Open Back Headphones
#1: Sennheiser HD 800 S Reference Headphones
#2: Focal Clear Over-Ear High-Resolution Audiophile Headphones
#3: ASTRO Gaming A40 TR Wired Headset
#4: Beyerdynamic DT 990 PRO Over-Ear Studio Headphones
#5: Philips SHP9500S HiFi Precision Stereo Over-Ear Headphones
Our Pick For Top 5 Best Closed Back Headphones
#1: Sony MDR7506 Professional Large Diaphragm Headphone
#2: Beyerdynamic DT 770 PRO 250 Ohm Over-Ear Studio Headphones
#3: Sennheiser HD 598 Cs Closed Back Headphone
#4: Focal Spirit Professional Over-Ear Circum-Aural Studio Headphones
#5: Shure SRH1540 Premium Closed-Back Headphones
For music lovers, sound engineers, DJs, and studio managers, getting the best headphone can be very stressful and time-consuming. What is life without music? Sometimes you can only rely on the beats from a quality headphone to make your heartbeat stable.
Often, you will be drawn between going for open-back headphone and close-back headphone; they are better suited for different purposes
Are you looking for open vs closed headphones gaming? Open vs closed headphones mixing, or you just need a good headphone to enjoy some cool music? Dive in to check our reviews.
What is open back headphones?
If you are new to headphones, you might not have an in-depth knowledge of what an open back headphone means. Open back headphones are the types that lack a solid construction for the ear cups. They have distinct cut-outs for ventilation and have the flexibility to expand the soundstage.
In open headphones, the sound will leak through, which makes it not ideal for an environment that requires some level of ambiance. Talk about hospitals, libraries, administration office and other private rooms. Open headphones will not filter out ambiance noise, and leakages cannot be prevented.
Open back headphones sound clearer, airier and more expansive compared to the closed counterpart. The only drawbacks are that it doesn’t allow you to keep the music to yourself alone without disturbing the serenity of the other people around you.
If you need to be conscious of your environment, whether while you are walking on a public road with vehicles passing by, unsafe environment or places where total silence is not a priority, I bet open back headphones might be the best for you.
What has closed back headphones?
Sometimes you just want to be all by yourself; you want to escape the pressure of the world and isolate yourself with the tunes blasting out of your headphone. In a situation like this, no other headphone fits in like closed back headphone.
Closed back headphones come with a cushion that creates a complete fitting to the earplug and keeps the airflow away. A closed back headphone will accord you a maximum amount of isolation as much as possible, which makes it ideal for people that fancy a quiet listening environment.
In closed headphones, the quality and density of cup and ear cushion materials will determine the amount of exterior noise that will be kept away. Most of the exterior noise will be muffled or dampened, which allows you to pick up the smallest of the sonic details within the music track. For users that want a pleasant environment, closed back headphone might be the choicest option for you.
You can consider it closed back headphone as your partner during a moment of solitude, that is, while on a long flight, traveling on a bus, on a train station. It is also the best for sound engineers, DJs, and other professionals that want to catch every detail in a song. To get the best experience, it is best to keep your music track at the lowest volume.
What are the differences between the open back and closed headphones?
There are quite a lot of differences between an open back and closed back headphones. Basically, a closed back headphone venting driver is separated from the closed-off ear cup. In contrast, an open back headphone has grills or vents that allow the ear to circulate freely within the diver. The driver can either be planar, dynamic or electrostatic.
Here, we have listed the benefits and demerits of both headphone types. Check them out below:
Benefits of Open Back Headphones
These are what we like about open back headphones
- Natural, airier and more open soundstage
- Better sound clarity
- Improved consciousness of the environment
- Air penetrates the earplug, and thus your ears won’t get sweaty.
- Similar performance to stereo speaker since music envelops the ear
- Other people can enjoy your music playlist if you turn it a little loud
- No confinement to the space used to channel the sound wave from the driver
Drawbacks of Open Back Headphones
Here are what we don’t like about the open back headphones
- The leaking music can distract the others that struggle to cope with music interference while working.
- It requires a high volume to keep out surrounding noise which can lead to turning the volume to an unsafe level
- The side talks from your environment may disturb you as well
- Not suitable for certain public places including hospital, public libraries and corporate offices
Benefits of Closed-Back Headphones
Closed back comes with several benefits which we have highlighted some below.
- Music can be enjoyed at a lower level ensuring the safety of the ear
- It picks virtually all the details of the music and instrumentals which makes it ideal for
- Ideal for environments requiring a high level of quietness.
- Closed back headphones may be the best for mixing and gaming
- No disturbance to the other nearby
- It makes it easy to enhance lower-level frequencies
Drawbacks of Closed-Back Headphones
Despite numerous benefits of closed back headphones, it has some cons that don’t make it perfect for all occasions. They include the following:
- The less open and airy sound stage
- Ears get sweaty over time
- Diminished sound clarity or accuracy.
Best Open Back Headphones: Overview and Comparison Table
This table shows 5 top open back headphones and compares their features, including connectivity, impendence, frequency and sensitivity.
5 Best Open Back Headphones
1. Sennheiser HD 800 S Reference
Overall best open back headphone
Image Credit: Amazon
- Double connecting cables
- 300 ohms’ impedance
- 56mm Ring radiator
- Unique ear cup designs
- Crisp, clear and authentic sound
You must have heard several times that money is not the best indication of value. However, with Sennheiser HD 800 S Reference, you are in for a great deal! This headphone is the perfect definition of beauty and the beast. With its exclusive design that gives it a superior aesthetics, this product beauty will captivate your mind even before you get to test its performance.
- Beyond what the eyes can see!
When it comes to the quality sound that keeps your day bright, this device never disappoints!
You can count on this beast for spacious, crisp and clear sounds that make it ideal for classical music as well as jazz.
Sennheiser HD 800 S References sturdily built guaranteeing durability and the best value for money. Despite its impressive feature, it doesn’t sacrifice quality build for comfort.
It comes with a well-padded earplug designed in multiple layers of polymers. This implies that you can use this headphone for long hours without feeling any forms of pains on your earbuds.
- Unbeatable driver for quality natural sound
Do you know what makes Sennheiser HD 800 S Reference genuinely exceptional? The fantastic 56mm long driver that you won’t find in even its closest rivals. This brand is a product of innovative technologies that give it an edge over the others. If money is not a significant concern for you, then this might be the best open-back headphone you will find in the market today! The sound production is authentic with district vocal isolation in music.
- Quality build for durability
- Suitable for both private and studio use
- Perfect for a wide range of use including mixing and playback
- Zero distortion
- Quite expensive; it will set you back in over a thousand buck
As our top pick for the best open back headphone, there’s no question as to whether to go for this killer headphone or not. It’s a YES in capital from us. This headphone leaves nothing else to deliver; from quality build to superior design and outstanding performance, only money can make you think twice!
2. Focal clear Over-ear High-resolution Audiophile
Best performance open back headphone
Image Credit: Amazon
- Circum-aural open-back headphones
- 1.2m unbalanced cable
- Stereo jack adapter
- Hard shell carrying case
Identified as a new evolution of the open back headphones, Focus Clear headphone is a true definition of perfection with its circum-aural in M-shape aluminum/magnesium dome.
It is powered with a new generation copper voice coils that make it an ideal open back full-range speaker headphone family.
- When comfort is a top priority
How does it feel when you can plug in your headphone for long hours without experiencing any discomfort? That’s precisely what Focal Clear offers! It is built with high-quality perforated microfiber cushion for lightweight and unmatched comfort to its users.
If you are looking for a perfect open back headphone for mixing, you might have just discovered one in Focal clear. The audio spectrum bass is remarkable and easily controlled even at a high volume.
- Precise and Crystal Clear Music
For a unique experience when listening to music, this exclusively designed headphone has everything to offer. It delivers you musical purity and completely isolates the voice and instrument for clarity. The only drawback for this headphone is the price. It will set buyers back in a couple of hard-earned dollars, but it is well worth the investment owing to its top-rated performance.
- Clear, detailed and dynamic sound with intimate soundstage
- Outstanding build quality
- Sleek design and lightweight
- Solid construction and top-notch execution
- There could be an improvement with the cable
- Expensive and may be unaffordable to the low-income earners
When the price is not a concern, nothing else can prevent you from purchasing this quality high-end open back headphone. From performance to quality, build and appearance, Focal Clear is a pure pleasure to use. It has our nod!
3. ASTRO Gaming A40 TR Wired Headset
Best Gaming Open Back Headphone
Image Credit: Amazon
- USB sound card functionality
- ASTRO MixAmp Pro TR for serious live streamers
- Dolby Audio for a cinematic gaming experience
- Superior fit and finish
- Outstanding detachable boom mic
If you are in search of the best open back headphone for gaming, without a doubt, Astro Gaming has no match! This device has been specially designed to give gamers a unique experience when it comes to pro quality audio, live streaming and competitive play.
With its Astro Command Center Software, this headphone is revolutionary for gaming purposes with its enhanced over-the-voice communication and audio setting.
- Premium design for gamers
Despite having a lightweight, ASTRO A40 is sturdily built with premium materials that give no room for overheating during use.
Boasting superior ear cushions built with perforated material for maximum comfort, this headphone delivers high-quality acoustic performance with minimum interference.
It also has USB sound card functionality for voice balancing and streaming for game addicts. There is more to this headphone than what the eyes can meet; you only need to try it out yourself to get the full experience of what we have been trying to describe.
- It comes with wired designs for a stable and robust connection
- Comfortable for long use
- Large soundstage with game-centric output
- Substantial, clear and natural sound performance
- The high-profile design makes it bulky at times
- Sometimes there is radio interference during use
- Requires knowledge of EQ mixing to get the best treble range
No doubt, ASTRO A40 beats all the headphones in our list hands down when it comes to gaming. It’s exclusively designed for gamers. If your priority for buying an open back headphone is not for the game, you might need to steer clear of this headphone.
4. Beyerdynamic DT 990 PRO Over-Ear Studio
Best intuitive open back headphone
Image Credit: Amazon
- Coiled Stereo Cable of 3m long
- Beyerdynamic Drawstring Bag
- Headphone Extension Cable of 6ft
- Headphone Splitter
- Stereo Jack Plug 6.35mm (1/4")
Thinking of having an excellent and decent-looking headphone with high-quality sound? The Beyerdynamic DT 990 suits your imagination. With Beyerdynamic this classic open back headphone, the world of quality headphone within your reach.
It’s a typical decent-looking reference headphone with a practical design and relative compactness. It has a little more advantage over its competitors as a result of materials used in its build, which gives it a high-end appeal and a slight flare.
It also comes with a metallic handbag that has a stylish and detachable paddling cover.
Talking about the performance, this music device produces a well-balanced sound with an outstanding, neutral mid-range that identifies absolute instruments and vocals. It possesses an edge above other open-back headphones as a result of the best pack of a bit more bass embedded for mixing.
- Exceptional quality at a reasonable price
Do not look elsewhere when it comes to the quality sound that blows your mind and brightens your day. Beyerdynamic DT 990 is what you could rely on as it never disappoints.
- Natural sound production
What brings about quality exceptionalism in Beyerdynamic DT 990?
This headphone has a wide range of qualities highlighted for professional monitoring and recording.
- Frequency response of 5 - 35.000 Hz
- 96 dB nominal sound pressure level
- Perfect for studio applications
- Durable and robust artistry with Hard-wearing
- No detachable cable like the more premium Beyerdynamic DT 1990
Going for this product would be a smart choice because of the of its excellent price-to-performance ratio. This made them recommendable as one of our top picks among the best open back headphones.
5. Philips SHP9500S HiFi Precision Stereo Over-Ear
Best budgeted open back headphone
Image Credit: Amazon
- 50mm Neodymium Drivers
- 1.5m cable
- Comfortable double layered headband cushion
- Gold-plated, Acoustic System
- 32-ohm Impedance
- 50mm Speaker diameter
Philips SHP9500 might be your best option if you need a quality and durable headphone and you, but you don’t want to spend a fortune. It’s built with a comfortable design, thanks to its extensive;y padded earplug for cushioning.
The headband also redistributes weight across the top of the head very well, making these headphones great for long listening sessions. Getting your hands on this product does not only expose you to one of the best affordable products but also gives you excellent access to quality sound.
- Want access to the decent soundstage and quality sound on par?
You can’t take anything away from the sound of this device; it’s crisp and well-balanced!
It allows you to reproduce vocals and lead instruments clearly and accurately.
The headband also redistributes weight across the top of the head very well, making these headphones great for long listening sessions.
- Quality sound built on the perfect driver!
Philips SHP9500 is one of the best pair of open back headphones with a friendly budget. From the 50 mm neodymium drivers to its gold plated connectors, what more can you ask for?
With its low impedance and high sensitivity, the SHP9500 promises and delivers crisp highs and deep lows sound, ensuring there’s something for everyone!
- Affordable and reliable
- Budget-friendly at just $104.65
- Well-balanced sound quality
- The fabric coating feels slightly rough to touch over time
There is no need to contemplate whether to go for this headphone as one of our top pick for the best open back headphone as long as quality sound and high performance are involved!
Best Closed-Back Headphones: Overview and Comparison Chart
5 Best Closed-Back Headphones: Features and Reviews
1. Sony MDR7506
Best budgeted closed back headphone
Image Credit: Amazon
- 9.8 feet coiled cable
- 40 mm Neodymium drivers
- Oxygen-free Copper cable
- Soft storage bag or carriage
- Do you care for high sound quality with no noise disturbance?
This headphone is great for personal use and your career related to recording sounds. It comes with a terrific design, features, and functions at an affordable price. It is a compact product. The style, the cushioning at the headband and earpads all contribute to the comfort it provides. The plugs and Oxygen-free Copper cords are employed into maintaining a good connection (or signal). It is effective with both low and high frequencies. The materials used in manufacturing this great piece are of high-grade. This product is durable. It has a gold plug.
- More than its price!
The extra unmatched plug included in this package allows the headphone to work with two different types of stereo applications. The coiled cable can extend to a greater length without disconnecting from the source. It can easily be packed with no worry of breakage or weight or space accommodation. The headband is graciously padded for a high level of comfort.
The presence of the neodymium drivers brings about good sound.
The ear pads are much fitted on your ears that they might even act as earmuffs (especially during the winter). This fit adds to its effectiveness in isolating noise. This headphone is not only great for listening, but also excels at recording and monitoring sound(s).
- It is affordable
- Inclusion of user manual and instructional book
- It is lightweight
- It has excellent noise isolation
- It can easily be folded
- The cable cannot be detached
Are you career-driven? Are you an audiophile? Whether you have chosen a career in art, social science, science or even agriculture, you might need a bit (or more) entertainment. This product promises to bring out the real sounds from your list.
2. Beyerdynamic DT 770 Pro 250 Ohms
Best closed back professional headphone for mixing
Image Credit: Amazon
- 3-meter coiled cable
- Drawstring bag
- Available in up to 250Ω
- Two in one function: Personal and Studio
An ideal headphone for an audio professional! It has spectacular features that might make it a good pick by an audiophile. The product is durable. It produces a great sound both at low and high frequencies. The headband has a great cushion for great comfortability. These ear pads are made to fit perfectly on your ears and make them comfortable while using. You can wear bags for the ear pads to suit your taste. The design is modern and can maintain its linearity.
- There is more!
The cable that drives the 250 Ohms is coiled and 3 meters in length. This is efficient in mixing of sound in the studio. The cable can be used for connecting to your phones, laptops, and desktops. You can listen to quality sound wherever you are with this cable connected to your mobiles. DT 770 PRO 250 Ohms has numerous functions. It can be connected to your musical instruments, microphone, sound mixers, and etcetera. This particular headphone is the perfect fit for general studio purposes. Don’t forget we still have to talk about its effectiveness in isolating noise. The headband is comfortable yet fit and prevents easy fall.
This is an ergonomic headphone in its totality. The cable connection is at one side, thus, preventing cables from forming knots.
For all possible reasons, the ear pads are replaceable.
- Great for mixing in the studio
- It is comfortable for use
- It is light in weight
- Contains user manual
- The bass extension is pretty low
This would be an excellent pick for professionals (in sound) or lovers of it. Also, if you are into recording, mixing and monitoring of sound. Although the bass extension is not that great, for its quality and low price, this will be your go-to mixing closed back headphone.
3. Sennheiser HD 598 Cs
Best compatible closed back headphone
Image Credit: Amazon
- 3-meter cable with 6.3-meter plug (detachable)
- 1.2 meter with 3.5-meter plug (detachable)
- Microphone and control 23Ω impedance
- Do you need quality with comfort?
This piece is definitely a beauty with brain. It has a luxurious look. With its build and look, it promises and delivers comfort. There are two distinct cables included; the longer one is for connection to your home audio system while the shorter one is for connection to your phone or any other mobile gadget(s). The materials used in manufacturing this closed-back headphone are of good but not to great quality. Different parts of the product have been put together to deliver top quality sound.
- All-around quality
It has a microphone which will enable you to record your voice or make a call.
The in-line control that is included in the cables is a great feature. You need no disturbance whatsoever. You can easily control your music or sound, receive a call, and increase the volume, etcetera. Aluminum is used in the build of this headphone, which is effective in delivering an excellent sound to you. The circum-aural shape of the ear pads helps greatly in noise isolation. This ultimately gives you a fantastic sound experience. With the inclusion of cables for your home studio and mobile devices, this product gives you a range of possible entertainment.
The leather at the headband and the ear pads are of lightweight. This is likely to make you super comfy even for a long hour use.
- It is affordable
- It is of low maintenance
- Great in isolating noise
- Light weighted
- Good bass response
- It is comfortable
- Great for use while commuting
- Made from rather cheap plastic material
- They body peels over time leaving black dust on users’ hair and face
Are you a lover of anything sound and you need a minimized disturbance or no disruption at all? You should give this a try!
4. Focal Spirit Professional
Best multipurpose closed back headphones
Image Credit: Amazon
- An attached coiled cable
- Inclusion of essential accessories
- Looking for a pick?
This headphone has a classy design with a sturdy look. The earpads have a shape that makes them comfortable to place on the ears. It has a coiled cable (that is not detachable) which connects to the sound’s source. The headband looks cosy with its leather-built ear pads. The coiled cable can be extended to a greater length. Its plug is made of gold.
This product has been manufactured, putting almost all factors into consideration just for you.
- Is there anything else? Definitely!
Its mode of connection is through a wired cable. There are both the acoustic and isolation coupling; the presence of these help in producing a brilliant sound. This headphone might be good for mixing and mastering of sound.
The earpads have been built in such a way to prevent any form of sound to distort your listening. There is a generous cushioning at the ear pads which provides comfortability for long hours of use.
There is great flexibility at the hinges connecting the headband and earpads, which might affect the integrity of the joint. Great care might be needed in the handling of this piece. Given this, it might be good at using it indoors, which will involve less or no packing.
- It is easy to use
- It has a lightweight
- Great in noise isolation
- It is not safe for packing
- Might come off at lightest use
You might likely enjoy this if you need headphone majorly for the indoor purpose(s). This is because it needs extra care in handling. Nevertheless, it reproduces a remarkable sound even while listening in a loud environment.
5. Shure SRH1540
Overall best high-performance closed back headphone
Image Credit: Amazon
- A dual-framed headband
- Storage or carrier bag with zipping
- Standard with necessary accessories
- 40 mm neodymium drivers
- Copper cable (which is Oxygen free)
- Carbon fiber inlay
- Do you have specifics?
The complete design of this great piece gives it a comfortable look. The design is that of a double frame at the headband with the ear pads (with attached leather).
The inclusion of carbon fiber adds to the durability of this closed back headphone. The double cushions at the headband promise to give you more comfort for as long as you want. It is manufactured using aluminum and alloy, ultimately making this product a great one.
- What a total package!
This closed back headphone makes use of neodymium of 40 mm in diameter. This driver creates a great soundstage. These neodymium drivers also help in delivering an impeccable sound to your ears. The Copper cable (which is free of Oxygen) contributes to its performance and durability. The headband can be adjusted to a higher degree. The ear pads are built with leather which cushions your ears and might reduce or eliminate pains. The cables can be easily detached when not in use, and it has a reasonable length.
It comes with many and necessary accessories. The design of the ear pads makes the sound delivered to the ear a great one. It also prevents sound disruption by external noise.
Apart from included accessories and user manual, the inclusion of replacements (of some parts) reduces its maintenance cost.
- Easy to commute
- Low maintenance
- It is safe to carry about (with the inclusion of storage bag with zipping)
- Contains user manual
- High-end product
- The ear cups have limited adjustment
Need to stay connected to music and sound while in your office, commuting, exercising, etc.? Then, this might be an excellent choice for you.
As you have read in our review, you must have been able to understand the difference between an open back headphone and a closed back headphone by now. We know that it can be challenging to choose a headphone with the flurry of options available in the market.
However, your pick will be dependent on several factors that we have highlighted above. Thus, if you are looking for the best closed back headphone whether for studio work, sound product, DJ, mixing or gaming, there’ something in here for you! Each brand has its unique features and benefits that make it ideal for the intended purposes.