If you are someone who would consider themselves an audiophile, then you’ll no doubt be craving the very best in audio headphone equipment. Well, if you are one of these people, then we would suggest that you keep on reading, as we’ve compiled a list of some of the best open-backed headphones you can get on the market.
These headphones are the opposite of earbuds, coming completely over the head, they’ll completely seal off the surrounding noise and give you that complete immersive audio experience. This is great if you want to hear all the elements of the music, including the more subtle instrumentation and production effects.
These headphones are also used by record producers and DJs who want to make sure they are getting every detail in the change of their track or to hear every note they are playing. This is very important if you are wanting to get that pitch-perfect playing when you are on stage or in the studio.
So where can you find a great pair of open-back headphones? What are the best materials for a pair of these headphones to be made from? What design features should they have to give you the very best in sound output? How much will you have to pay for a pair of these headphones?
Well, if you are interested in owning a pair of these headphones yourself, then we would suggest that you keep reading. We have compiled a list of some of the best open back headphones that money can buy. These headphones are known for their superior audio quality, as well as having very comfortable and durable design features to keep them on your head.
List Of Best Open Back Headphones
These headphones have great passive sound, meaning that they’ll sound like they are coming from a pair of speakers rather than from inside a pair of headphones.
They have a very wide open and spacious sound, meaning that you’ll be able to distinguish between the different instruments in whatever track you are listening to – introducing the Sennheiser HD 820 Over-the-ear Audiophile Reference Headphones.
These headphones have a neutral sound profile, which means that you can listen to a diverse range of music, from reggae to dance to simple spoken word pieces. If you are listening to your own live playing, then these headphones are great for use in the studio, offering very clear and distinct vocals and guitar.
- These have a great open-back design, giving you that completely sealed quality that will reduce the amount of background noise pollution.
- These are very comfortable to wear on your head, which is very useful if you are wearing them for hours at a time, either as a producer or as a musician.
- This comes with a very neutral sound, meaning that it won’t be too bass or treble-heavy.
- These come with a wired design, meaning that you won’t have to rely on any wifi, which might cut out and cause you some audio latency issues.
- This lacks the dense bass sound that you have come to expect from other brands of headphones. If you like bassy music, then we would suggest you get another model.
- The HD 820 delivers an unparalleled, reference-grade audiophile listening experience in a closed headphone
- Innovative glass reflectors and frequency absorber systems replicate the wide open characteristics of audiophile speakers in a sealed earcup design
- 56mm Ring Radiator transducers and Glass Reflectors provide total immersion in your music with absolute detail and a breathtaking soundstage
- Made in Germany using the finest materials for sound integrity, build quality, and luxurious comfort
- Connectivity technology: Wired
Next up, we have a great pair of stereo imaging headphones, giving you that totally immersive surround sound experience that will have audiophiles foaming at the mouth. These headphones are great for listening to music, although they are designed for gaming.
If you want to feel completely immersed in your first-person shooter, we would recommend these headphones – introducing the Astro GAMING A40 TR Wired headset.
These are compatible with all sorts of gaming, you can quickly and easily plug them into your Xbox or your PC. You can adjust the volume and the mixing on the actual headset, meaning that you won’t have to leave the comfort of your gaming chair. You can even alter the EQ and engage the Dolby Surround Sound feature for when the action really heats up.
- This comes with an amazing treble response, giving you everything that you need for that harsher, slightly more dry sound.
- You can mix the volume and the sound levels on a dial that is built into the headphones themselves.
- This headphone set is very flexible, giving you everything that you need for a solid sound balance. This is a great set of headphones for gaming.
- These headphones are extremely comfortable, meaning that you can wear them for hours and not experience any discomfort or chafing.
- This might not give you that amazing audio separation when you are listening to music, however, if you want to alter the mix, you can easily do so through the headphones.
- Tuned with ASTRO Audio V2 - Tuned for Gaming, ASTRO Audio V2 delivers pro quality audio for gamers when they need it most, whether live streaming to competitive play in the pits of a pro tournament.
- Superior fit and finish - The A40 TR features lightweight yet rugged construction with premium materials for a pressure-free fit that won’t overheat your head. The ear cushions feature cloth for maximum comfort, backed with synthetic leather for the best acoustic performance.
- Swappable boom microphone - Highly sensitive uni-directional mic that focuses on your voice and minimizes background noise. It can be positioned on either side of the A40 TR headset.
- Customizable Speaker Tags - Our patented magnetic Speaker Tag system lets you personalize your headset - purchase special editions or design your own using our online Speaker Tag Customizer.
- Mod Kit Ready - Features synthetic leather noise-cancelling ear cushions, voice-isolating mic, padded headband and closed-back Speaker Tags. (Sold Separately)
These headphones are amazingly sleek and well designed, with a natural soundstage that you can be sure will allow you to take note of all the different instruments. This also comes with a detachable cable, so you can either run it with a wire for extra reliability or have it detached for freedom of movement – introducing the Philips Audio Fidelio X2HR.
These headphones have a very broad sound palette, giving you everything that you need to hear your music, gaming or audiobook with exceedingly good quality. This has a decent treble delivery, giving you a subtle bass boom that is not available with a lot of headphones of the open-back variety.
- This comes with plenty of versatility in the design and the audio settings. You can have this as a wireless or a wired model, one will give you reliable audio output, the other will give you the ability to move around, perfect for gaming.
- This comes with well-padded ear cups, which means that you can wear your headphones for hours at a time.
- This is a great set of headphones for longer listening sessions, making it perfect for a producer who wants to get the mixing of their track just right.
- The price – these headphones are very reasonably priced, giving you more than just the basics. This is perfect for anyone wanting to save a few dollars from their wallet.
- These headphones do not have any noise-canceling features, meaning that you might have trouble listening to your audio output when you are in a crowded, busy place.
- Hi-res Audio Certified with extended response frequencies
- Engineered double layered ear-shells with pre-tilted speaker plates
- 50 mm high definition neodymium drivers with LMC diaphragm
- Acoustic open-back architecture
- Replaceable deluxe memory foam ear-pads with breathable velour finishing
This next set of headphones have amazing build quality, coming with a very sturdy headband that will help you keep the headphones tight to your head. This is very important if you are going to be using your headphones for live playing. This comes with a soft pouch that will protect the headphones from dust damage – introducing the Beyerdynamic DT 900 Pro X.
This set of headphones really prioritizes build quality over the sound design, having a more bass-heavy output than some of the more neutral profiles that we have on this list. The sound that you’ll get from these headphones is very broad, giving you everything that you need for a decent neutral sound.
- These headphones are probably the most durable on this list. They come with a thick plastic and cotton construction, which is great for anyone who is looking for a pair of headphones that will last them a few years.
- This comes with a sturdy metal headband that you can be sure will be able to withstand even the hardest of tugs.
- This comes with a V-shaped profile that gives all your sound that extra kick, with a little bass-end that rounds off the overall neutral sound.
- This will make sure that any vocals and more trebly instruments will have that very bright and clean sound, allowing the bass to wander around the lower end of the frequency register.
- This pair of headphones does not have a great deal of padding, which might result in some chafing if you are wearing them for hours at a time.
- Superb wearing comfort
- Wide range of applications on all devices thanks to STELLAR.45 driver with an impedance of 48 ohms
- Hard-wearing, durable and robust workmanship
- Sustainable headphones – made in Germany
Our final pair of headphones are amongst some of the best passive soundstage headphones that we have on this list. They are very comfortable and can be worn on the ears for long periods of time. They are also very lightweight, so they will not cause you any headaches or neck pain when you are recording – introducing the Philips Audio SHP9500.
When it comes to the low bass sounds, this set of headphones will struggle in the same manner as a lot of open-back headphones. However, they do have a little bump in the back that will help you to achieve that high-bass sound. These are also a very effective budget unit, giving you everything that you need for decent sound output.
- The price – you can get this one for half the price of some of the more expensive open-back headphones, although they do still have a lot of the other features of the pricier models.
- This does have a little bass kick that a lot of the other open-back headphones seem to lack.
- This set of headphones are incredibly durable, with a metal rod running through the headband, strengthening an area that will often suffer from excessive stress.
- This set of headphones is very comfortable, allowing you to wear them for hours at a time without experiencing any chafing or rubbing around the ears.
- These headphones do suffer from structural weaknesses, especially in the ears. You might find yourself having to tape these headphones to keep them together if you wear them often.
- 50mm neodymium drivers deliver full spectrum of sound
- 1.5m cable gives you freedom of movement for indoor use
- Comfortable double layered headband cushion, breathable ear cushion for longer wearing comfort
- Finishing of connector: gold-plated, acoustic system: open, Magnet type: neodymium
Our final set of headphones are a set for the bass-lovers, able to provide you with more of a low-end bass sound than some of the other models we have listed above. This has a very wide and natural-sounding stage, enabling you to hear all the subtle elements of your music or gaming mix – introducing the Hifiman Arya Magnetic Headphone.
These headphones are magnetic, giving you everything that you need for a full-bodied sound. This high level of technology will be very important if you want your music to cut through the surrounding background noise. This is a great bonus feature if you are wanting a pair of headphones that can cut out all the noise from your commute.
- This has the most bass that you can expect from a set of open-back headphones. They have everything that you need to replicate that low-bass frequency.
- This pair of headphones is very solid and durable, allowing you to move around, which makes them great if you are going to be using them for gaming.
- This pair of headphones are wireless, allowing you to move around with complete freedom, again, another amazing feature if you are an animated gamer.
- This set of headphones comes with a carry case that you can use to keep them safe from the elements, another boon if you are planning on taking them across vast distances.
- These headphones are not noise-canceling, so you might find it tricky to really pick up some of the finer points of your music if you are using these on your commute.
- Acoustically Invisible Stealth Magnet: Unlike the sound waves created by a conventional magnet, the special shape of Stealth Magnets enables the waves to pass through the magnets without generating interference. HIFIMAN’s advanced magnet design is acoustically transparent, dramatically reducing wave diffraction turbulence that degrades the integrity of the sound waves. The reduced distortion yields pure sonic output that is accurate and full-range.
- Nanometer Thickness Diaphragm A breakthrough core technology developed by HIFIMAN and first of its kind in headphone application. Working with this advanced material is extremely challenging yet the successful incorporation of this film as the Arya’s planar driver is the cornerstone of its remarkable sound.
- Metal and High-Grade Plastic Construction: HIFIMAN designed the Arya's high-quality metal headband with extra strength and a special high-grade plastic for lightweight comfort and rugged durability. Sturdy 3.5mm User-replaceable Connector Design allows easy cable swapping, giving both maximum durability and enhanced customizability.
- Patented “Window Shade” System: Created to meet the need for driver protection and an optimized open-back design. Asymmetrical Ear Cups: Follows the natural shape of the human ear. Cable: The Arya keeps things simple with a single Crystalline Copper cable. Featuring a 6.35mm plug and a jet black woven exterior finish it’s the perfect complement to the sound and sight of the Arya.
- Bold Black Aesthetic: With its classic HE1000-style shape combined and striking good looks of its all-black exterior, glossy black headband, and eye-catching matte-black cups and grill, the Arya is a statement of both aesthetic and sonic excellence.
When you are shopping for a pair of these open-backed headphones, then you can be sure that there will be a few features that you’ll need. You’ll want to be sure that they cancel out all the noise from the surrounding environment, as well as being able to withstand the repeated pulling and yanking of being taken on and off.
Here are some of the features that you’ll be looking for in your next pair of headphones:
Do They Cancel Out Background Noise?
Some of these headphones, although they are closed cups, do not necessarily have noise-canceling capabilities. However, if you do not want to spend the money on a pair of headphones that do cancel out noise – these are very expensive – then these headphones are an effective substitute.
How Durable Are They?
The thing that not a lot of manufacturers might tell you about open-back headphones is that some of them have certain design flaws. One of the main ones being where the headband of the headphones themselves connect to the earpieces. These pieces tend to become detached and while they might not affect the functionality of the headphones, they might have to be taped.
Wired Or Wireless?
Having a wired pair of headphones will give you a much more reliable connection, although it might result in tangling, especially if you are using them in the studio. However, with a wireless set of headphones, you might have opposite issues – that you won’t have any wires to trip over or get tangled, but the connection might not be that reliable.
How Neutral Is The Sound?
You might have heard the phrase ‘neutral sound’, well, this is simply the dynamics of the sounds that you’ll hear through your headphones. Put simply, a neutral soundstage will mean that no one frequency is more dominant than another. So you won’t have too much bass or too much treble or mids.
This might be appealing to the average listener, however, if you are a record producer or a musician, then you might want your music to be very bass-heavy. If you do want these elements, then you should have a set of headphones that will allow you to accentuate these various frequencies.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why Are Open-Back Headphones Better Than Earpods?
Ear pods tend not to cancel out background sounds, whereas the open-back headphones, due to their enclosed design, will completely envelop the whole of the ear. This will mean that all the background environmental sounds will be slightly muted.
Ear pods can also get lost and are easily more broken, owing to their small size. We all know the annoyance of having earbuds that get lost down the side of the sofa. This will definitely not be the case with the larger open-back headphones, as they are much larger and easier to spot.
However, open-back headphones can be broken in other ways. They can have structural weaknesses built into them, such as the headband, which can break when put on other repeated stress.
Our Final Say
We hope that our list of some of the best open-back headphones has helped you to decide whether or not they are the most suitable for your needs. You must be sure that they are made from durable materials and have a great sound profile.