SKIP INTRO? JUMP TO OUR TOP 10 OPEN-BACK HEADPHONES LIST
Finding the best open back headphones is not an easy task. Many audiophiles believe that back headphones are the most superior quality among other brands of headphones. Arguably, back headphones are the best when it comes to audio quality due to the fact that its open design allows breathing which enhances a more natural and holistic production of sound. With less pressure in the ears, users of these type of headphones will experience fatigue-free hours of listening to music. While closed back headphones are preferred by engineers and music producers for recording, open back headphones are the top choice when it comes to mixing and mastering.
There are many expensive pairs of open back headphones. Even, some of these pairs are costlier than other common brands. Often, these expensive brands are not worth the price due to the lesser quality of enjoyment and clarity you get from these pairs. If you are looking for the best open back headphones for a professional use, then this article is for you. Open back headphones are highly recommended for music enthusiasts who just want pairs that can produce quality audio quality.
Although open back headphones produce sounds that are natural and superior because of its open design, the majority of them work best in sound isolation. Although there are models that can prevent background noise as much as possible, open back headphones generally are prone to sound leakage. Nevertheless, this should not bother you if you intend to use the headphone for indoor purposes or do not mind sound leakage.
Consequent upon this, open back headphones are not recommended for those in private and quiet places such as airplane travelers. Also, people who work in libraries, hospitals, or any other closed offices may not find this headphone advantageous.
Qualities and Characteristics of the Best Open Back Headphones
We have already highlighted the advantages of an open back headphone. However, if you think this pair is what suits your purpose, let us consider the major characteristics you should watch out for when it comes to purchasing this pair.
Despite the fact that the quality of sound from open back headphones are superb, you still need to find the one that has a superior audio output. You should watch out for quality treble, bass, mids, and highs, coupled with incredible sound clarity. Definitely, producers and manufacturers will surely market their products as the best open back headphones. But for you to be sure of your choice, try to consider their reviews, customer feedback, and professional critic available.
Minimal Sound Leakage and Acceptable Noise Isolation
The noise isolation and sound leakage should not be a problem for you especially when you are using them strictly for studio purposes. However, if you want to get most out of your money, you may want to consider using it outside the studio. Hence, you will need to consider the ones with an acceptable noise cancellation feature. It is not necessary to get a full cancellation feature. Even with the acceptable noise cancellation feature, there would be a reduced sound leakage and you will stay focused when listening while others near to you will not feel bothered.
Comfort and Durability
A lot of people need the headphone for their day-to-day activities. Some professionals, such as those working in a studio, need to have their headphone over their ears for a longer period of time. For these set of people, comfort and convenience is highly essential. Also, since you need to use these pairs for a longer period of time, durability must also be considered. Generally, the best open back headphones should have an outstanding construction designs and a sturdy build up that would last you for a lifelong.
When you are buying a product you have never used before or new to the market, it is essential to check the customer feedback and reviews. In the event that professional audio critics are available, do ensure that you check them as well. In case you have friends with that same brand of headphone, do not hesitate to ask them about their experience with the brand. Better still, use the headphone to evaluate its features yourself.
OUR TOP 10 OPEN-BACK HEADPHONES LIST
After considering the definition, features, and qualities of the best open back headphones, let us take a look at the top 10 best open back headphones in the market. These headphones have been assessed and recommended by audio experts and music enthusiast. In case you found yourself in a midst of uncertainty and needs to make a decision on what pair to buy, the list below will definitely help you narrow down the options available for you.
1/ Sennheiser HD 600 Open Back Professional Headphone
This is the second Sennheiser product on our list. This is to show how competitive Sennheiser headphones are. This HD 600 Open Back Pro Headphone offers and incredible value which worth more than what one can expect from an open back pair of headphone. Nevertheless, this brand of Sennheiser headphone is not cheap at all. You may need to budget as high as $300 for this pair. Nevertheless, as reported by many audio experts, every dollar is definitely worth it. With lots of positive reviews and feedbacks, from professionals and music enthusiasts, this HD 600 brand ultimately deserves a spot on our list. If you want the best value for your cash, this pair is a must-try for you.
The quality is as well top notch. Keeping comfort and durability in mind, the Sennheiser HD 600 Pro Headphone is sold with a 2-years international warranty. It is designed with a well-cushioned and adjustable headband and ear cups. This would allow you to use it for hours without having any issue.
This product is exceptionally perfect for professional use. Many thanks to its sophisticated diaphragm design, artifacts, and standing waves. Plus, all forms of disturbances are eliminated in order to provide a clean and clear sound. With an impressive and rich bass, treble, mids, and highs, you cannot be wrong with this pair. It has an excellent transient response that is built and developed for hi-resolution recordings. They are also made with neodymium ferrous magnets and a very light-weighted aluminum voice coils. Many studio professionals and audio experts consider this pair as a very reliable headphone. This is because it gives an outstanding sound quality and available at a very decent price considering the features and qualities embedded. It can be used in different environments, such as the home, studio, outdoor, on a travel, office, and just everywhere. You can be sure an amazing result in any area you found yourself. It has 300 Ohms impedance and a frequency response of 12-39,000 Hz. Its SPL is pegged at 97 in a pair of headphone with a weight of around 1 pound. Summarily, there is nothing else one can desire that is outside this pair.
2/ Sennheiser HD 598 Over-Ear Headphones
The last spot on our long list of the top 10 best open back headphones is another Sennheiser product. This Sennheiser HD 598 headphone does not only look amazing but also have an exceptional sound as well. It is available in ivory which has a classic brown or brown accent. These furnishes make it look like an expensive pair, whereas, you can get it for as low as $200 and below. Sennheiser is characterized by a line of HD headphones. It is a very popular headphone model possibly because of its luxurious look or because of the legendary name it carries. With this product, you are certain to get more than what you ideally paid for. They are premium headphones designed basically for professionals, audiophiles, and all categories music lovers.
This brand of Sennheiser headphone is very comfortable. They are thoroughly padded and their velour ear pads are cushioned for proper comfort. Even with a large ear/head, this brand is adjustable and can fit all head/ear sizes. It is light-weighted, weighing as low as 0.6 pounds. This makes it lighter than the HD 558 and HD 22 II which are the other competitive and popular Sennheiser brands. Due to its light weight, it is ideal and can be used for the day-long activities. Its compatibility is also impressive. It has a 3.5mm adapter plug that can easily be connected to any audio source. It is also packed with a 3m long detachable cable for easy mobility when using this pair.
Another amazing feature of this HD 598 Sennheiser headphone is its exceptional clarity. With an open back design, you can be sure of a natural and balanced sound that is produced from it. This is even one of the reasons why this headphone has become a top choice for many professionals. If you intend to commit a tangible buck into headphones with an assurance of excellence, this Sennheiser HD598 is a great option.
3/ Samson SR850 Professional Studio Reference Headphones
Needless to say, you don’t need to be a serious audiophile to discover that this Samson SR850 headphone really worth it. It has an open–ear feature which makes it ideal for mastering and mixing of tracks in the studio. This feature also helps to reduce the possibilities of ear fatigue, especially for music professionals who are expected to wear this for a day long. More so, comfort and convenience are much enhanced with this headphone with some of its features. It has a self-adjusting headband that makes it feel not only comfortable but also secured on the head regardless of the size. Even with its open back feature, the Samson Studio Reference Headphone is well optimized for noise isolation. Although some customers who used it complained of sound leakage, there shouldn’t be any issue if you don’t listen to music at full volume.
The Samson SR850 Headphone is not found wanting when it comes to sound quality. It has 50mm drivers which provide for an excellent reproduction and extended dynamic range. It has a frequency response of 10Hz to 30 kHz and a 32 Ohms Impedance. It has a remarkably balanced sound and you can be sure of a decent bass, good treble and high, and a feel of a natural audio stream. This is essential when creating music. This pair is not only tested and used by music professionals but also music enthusiasts and gamers. This pair can be used for hours continuously without any problem, be it sound quality or comfort.
With only a few dollars, you can buy and enjoy this impressive pair of headphone. In fact, it easily matches the qualities of many expensive headphones. If you plan to get the best open back headphones even with a low budget, the Samson Studio Reference Headphones are what you should consider.
4/ Audio-Technica AUD ATHAD500X Audiophile
This AudioTechnica AUD ATHAD500X is an open-air headphone is the first on our list due to some reasons that will be discussed below. First, it is noteworthy to state that this particular headphone is appreciated not only by music professionals and music enthusiasts but also gamers and regular music listeners. It is light-weighted with a honeycomb aluminum casing which could make you forget you are wearing a headphone over a period of time. This makes it highly beneficial to those who intend to use it for hours. Additionally, the cushioned ear pads are made with flexible raised-fabric which contributes to its comfort. It also has a self-adjusting 3D Wing Support Housing which makes it perfect for all head sizes without having to manually adjust the headband. This presence of a self-adjusting feature as well as an excellent design makes it a sturdy one.
Apart from the natural beauty, durability, and comfort of this Open-Air headphone, it also has a quality sound. In fact, it has CCAW voice coils and 53mm drivers which enhance the production of notable natural sound with excellent bass and impressive vocals. In open-air or open back headphones, you do not get all the sound effects on your ears. This ensures that you feel a more natural result.
It is not surprising that this AudioTechnica AUD has received hundreds of positive reviews and feedbacks from music professionals. They have reviewed this headphone and concluded that it is generally a good pair that one should not miss. In the event that you are on a very tight budget, you should be confident of getting a good deal with this AUD ATHAD500X audiophile. This is because it offers value for the money with its exceptional qualities.
5/ AKG K 240 Semi-Open Studio Headphones
The noise isolation feature of this pair made it a top competitor in the market. If you are a type that loves the sound quality of open back headphones but want less outside effect, the AKG K240 is what you need. It is a semi-open headphone and offers decent noise isolation feature. As a semi-open headphone, it offers you the same sound quality an open back headphone will provide. Additionally, its circumaural design still allows the sound isolation that you would get from a closed back headphone.
This semi-open headphone is priced under $100 and you can’t go wrong with it. It has an amazing feedback from numerous customers and music professionals. It has been in existence for some years back and still highly valued as the manufacturers have continued to improve this model. All these features make the AKD K 240 an ideal choice. Ever since the Varimotion diaphragm has been patented, the new XXL transducers have been very good when it comes to sound quality. You can always be sure of an accurate result regardless of the volume level. Also, this technology brings a stronger bass and clearer natural sound. In fact, you will forget you are listening to music via headphones. This pair of headphone almost put other expensive brands to shame with the sound quality it offers.
Without unnecessary repetition, the AKG Semi-Open Headphones have been on the market for over a decade. One of the various reasons customers have continued to show support and confidence in this product is because of its durability and comfort. It has a self-adjusting headband that provides for an easy fit for most head sizes. It also has a flexible steel structure that enhances bending in case you want to listen with only one ear. This feature essentially made it durable to withstand some harsh conditions. It has cushioned ear cups which are specially made for professionals who intend to use it for hours. This will ensure a continuous usage without causing fatigue or pain.
6/ Grado Prestige Series SR80e Headphones
Although these Grado Headphones cannot be gotten at a cheap price as those above, it s still an option to consider. This Series SR80e headphone is a modification and upgrade of the earlier model from the same brand. Grado seems to pay utmost attention to customer reviews and feedbacks by providing a modification to their earlier brand. This new brand seems to attend to all customers request and demands. It is hand-made in Brooklyn, New York. Although this C series is not one of the cheapest in the market but those who try this wouldn’t want to try any other pair of headphone.
This Grado pair of headphone also follows the open-air principle. It provides for a continuous usage without fatigue or pains to the ears. It also has cushioned ear cups that enhance comfort when listening to music, gaming or working on your favorite music. It has an impressive frequency response of 20-20,000 Hz and an impedance of 32 Ohms. It provides everything one can expect from a good pair of open back headphone. To facilitate its compatibility with the majority of audio sources gadgets, it is packed with a golden adapter.
It is designed with sturdy plastic casing and a new driver polymer design. This reduces or even eliminates distortion. Grado Prestige headphone gives a distinctly clear and balanced sound that is pleasing and refreshing. Although it is not the best when it comes to bass, it still has enough to show for it. It tends to be the best when it comes to vocals as it delivers every note so natural. With this, you will feel the true image of the music you are listening to. In fact, some critics claimed that this pair should be rated top of the headphones in the world due to its excellent sound quality.
When it comes to durability, this pair is excellent. Since they are hand-made, all the little aspects of this pair are properly attended to and you can be sure of an excellent design and production.
7/ Beyerdynamic DT-990-Pro-250 Professional Acoustically
For clarity sake, the DT-990 is available in three different versions which are 32 Ohms, 25 Ohms, and 250 Ohms (pro). However, in the course of this review, we will focus more on the DT-990-pro. It is a headphone used for monitoring and studio applications. In fact, this is one of the best open back headphones among the rank and files of music lovers. It is also available in two brands based on its package. Some are packed with converters while some are packed with amplifiers. The availability of different options makes the Beyerdynamic headphone a competitive brand. The sound quality is really amazing that existing customers’ vouched for it. With hundreds of customers’ review and feedbacks, a lot of customers are impressed by its sound quality and performance alike. Furthermore, when you are going for a headphone, especially a costly one, you have to be sure of the quality you are paying for. However, the best way to uncover this is by going through the customer reviews as well as feedbacks. Yet, in regards of DT-990, the customer reviews are not lacking.
Another exciting feature about these headphones is that they are super durable and its parts can be replaced. This is a very good and interesting feature especially if you intend to use them for a day long. Using a headphone for hours daily can result in wear and tear. Hence, you may want to repair them as soon as they get affected. However, for casual users, you wouldn’t need an extra care because the durability of this can is already enhanced. Needless to say, it is made of quality materials with superior construction processes. These quality designs add to its durability and comfort. Additionally, the presence of an adjustable and padded headband, coupled with soft velour earpads makes the Beyerdynamic headphone enjoyable for various audio activities.
This headphone is specially made for studio use. However, its balance and clear sound makes it attracted and loved by music enthusiasts. This open, diffuse-field headphone is packed with 250 Ohm drivers and a single-sided coiled cable which facilitates easy listening.
8/ Superlux HD668B Dynamic Semi-Open Headphones
The superlux Dynamic headphone is a semi-open pair that has made it to this list simply because it deserves to be there. It is capable of producing a natural, spatial, and accurate sound which makes it a top choice for many music lovers. Regardless of your category, be it a typical audiophile, studio professional or just a leisure listener, you will definitely find this can impressing and interesting. This can produce clear cymbals, rich bass, impressive trebles, and awesome vocals which make it outstanding. With less than $50, you can bargain out and purchase the Superlux HD668B pair of headphone.
Nevertheless, this pair has a little level of difference when compared to other open or closed-back headphones. It is typically a semi-open headphone. It has two small pads or cushion that is placed at the center of the headband for the sake of comfort. These and other components make this can specially light-weighted and easy on the head when worn for a long time. It does not easily get warm and less likely to cause fatigue when used for a longer period of time of using this can. It has an adjustable headband which fits most head sizes and the ear cups are thoroughly cushioned to add an additional level of comfort.
From the feedbacks given by those who used it, sound isolation is enhanced in this pair. As a semi-open headphone, sound leakage is not excessive but rather depends on the level of the sound volume. It is compatible with the major sound sources such as computers, laptops, MPs, and iPods. Also, it has an impressive frequency response of 10-30,000 Hz.
Regardless of your budget, the Super HD668B Semi-Open Headphones is what you should consider. Its no-frills design makes the headphone a top choice for a lot of music lovers.
9/ Audio Technica ATH-AD700X Audiophile Headphones
If you are ready to spend a few hundreds of dollars on a pair of open back headphone, it is better to spend it on a brand that worth it. Such brand must be guaranteed to impress and give you an optimum sound quality, comfort, and durability that you need. Consequently, this Audio Technica ATH-AD700X is made for Audiophiles. Indeed, it is made for individuals who are extremely determined for a great audio quality. Hence, you can always expect great features from this pair. This headphone is a product all music enthusiasts, audiophiles, and professionals will appreciate. This is due to the exciting features embedded in it. Despite the fairly low price, Audio Technical did not cut along the edges to match the price. Definitely, it is packed with all the features you need from a reliable headphone pair.
Furthermore, the ATH-AD700X headphone comes with the new 53mm drivers that were newly designed for this model. It facilitates excellent treble and midrange clarity. The power is effectively handled via the bobbin-wound CCAW voice coils. It has a frequency response of 5 – 30,000 Hz. Generally, this brand is highly recommended for all set of music lovers.
Audio Technica is also excellent when it comes to comfort and durability. As an open back headphone, you do not only get a good and quality sound but also comfortable on the ear. It adds no pressure on the ear or head. This is because the basing is made of lightweight aluminum honeycomb material which makes it easy to wear for a day long. Also, this great feature also adds significantly to the acoustics. It has a flexible cushioned ear cups and a self-adjusting headband which contributes to its comfort and you will surely appreciate.
It comes with tangle-resistant cables that are elastic in nature. They are made of TPE sheath which provides for their elasticity. Plus, they are packed with a 3.5 mm connector plated in gold and a 6.3mm adapter with the package.
10/ Sennheiser HD 439 Headphones Black
Definitely, a list like this would not proceed without the Sennheiser. All Sennheiser’s “HD” products are always of “high definition”. Sennheiser HD headphone is indeed topnotch. It is available for professionals, music enthusiasts, gamers, and casual users. Even when you are on a strict budget, the listening experience and audio quality of Sennheiser headphone should not be sacrificed.
The powerful neodymium magnets that are installed into this cans is something to boast of. This makes Sennheiser HD 439 an impressive source of a rich bass sound. You will feel the beat of the drums and other musical instruments playing in your ear. This is beneficial not only to the listener but the producer as well. The sound produced is just so clear and balanced that you’d never want to try another pair. With this pair, you will be pricing out other brands of the same qualities. Perhaps, why would you pay more when you can have something of same quality for a lesser price? This is the cheapest of all the Sennheiser headphones featured on this list. Yet, it can compete with other several hundred dollars headphones. A lot of customers tried this pair testified to this.
Although it is an open air pair of headphone, it is well designed to enhance noise isolation. Another special characteristic of the Sennheiser headphone is that it is ergonomically designed and fit for all head and ear sizes. You can also navigate between the 2 single-sided cables with a length of 1.4 and 3 meters respectively. This offers an additional flexibility and convenience. It comes with 3.5mm gold straight plug and an extra 6.3 mm adapter plug which enhances its compatibility.
Beyond doubt, this pair is a perfect choice as it satisfies all the features expected of an open back headphone. Additionally, it is sturdy and durable, based on the customer reviews and feedbacks. Hence, you are definitely getting a product beyond the value of the money you are paying for it.