Are you tired of browsing through the stores and still being unable to find a pair of good open-back headphones (let alone the best)? Well, don’t worry, we see the problem here. Currently, most of the popular variants of open-back headphones hardly perform the way an actual open-back headphone should.
For the show, the open-back design might be incorporated, but only a few truly allow the air to flow through. Consequently, the majority of open-back headphones in the market are unable to provide an immersive listening experience. They fail to provide the open sound that an audiophile would usually expect.
To address this very issue, we evaluated several pairs of open-back headphones. From under 100 to over and above 1000, we tested them all. And we ended up with only a handful of genuine open-back headphones. These come compiled before you in this guide of the top 10 best open-back headphones.
No matter, you’re a professional musician or an aspiring one, a gamer or a singer, the list below will most likely land you your next best open-back headphones. Note that we have included the top picks for every price range. So, surf through, regardless of budget worries!
- Top 10 Open Back Headphones
- 1. Beyerdynamic 459038 DT 990 PRO open Studio Headphone – Top Rated
- 2. Sennheiser HD 800 S – Premium Pick
- 3. Philips SHP9500 HiFi Precision Stereo Over-Ear Headphones – Budget Buy
- 4. Audio-Technica ATH-AD700X Audiophile Open-Air Headphones
- 5. GRADO SR325e Stereo Headphones
- 6. AKG K 240 MK II Stereo Studio Headphones
- 7. AKG K 701 Ultra Reference Class Stereo Headphone Level 1
- 8. Shure SRH1840 Professional Open Back Headphones
- 9. Koss 155524 UR40 Collapsible Over-Ear Headphones
- 10. Riwbox WB5 Bluetooth 5.0 Wireless Foldable Headphones
- How to Choose the Best Open Back Headphones?
- Things to Consider
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Final Words
Top 10 Open Back Headphones
1. Beyerdynamic 459038 DT 990 PRO open Studio Headphone – Top Rated
As a professional musician or audiophile, finding the idealistic open ear headphones can be a daunting task. There are numerous variants present in the market. But, there is hardly any headphone with the right balance between accurate sounds, comfortable design, and durability.
If you’ve been hunting for the best open headphones, then we are glad to announce the perfect solution that is the Beyer dynamic 459037 DT 990 Pro. These magnificent headphones are all you need to level up your game!
Manufactured in Germany, the Beyerdynamic DT 990 Pro consists of high-grade materials, especially steel. Its sturdy build makes it resistant to damage. Hence, it will be a long-term investment for you!
Apart from exceptional durability, these are the most comfortable open-back headphones you can ever find. Its robust spring headband easily adjusts around your head, offering a secure fit. Plus, the soft ear cups make it possible to listen to the audio for hours.
It also has a one-sided cable that allows easy usage. You can remove or wear the headphones without getting the cable tangled. However, this cable connects directly to the headphones. So, in case the cable gets damaged, you cannot replace it.
As for its performance, the open back headphones provide a highly detailed resolution and immense transparency. Its three-dimensional audio reproduction makes the Beyerdynamic Dt 990 Pro the ideal option for music producers and composers.
Using these headphones, you can identify the slightest of acoustic changes. Moreover, the bass provided by these circumaural headphones is precise and not overdone. The treble offered is also powerful and not sharp. Concisely, the Beyerdynamic open-back headphones provide the perfect audio!
2. Sennheiser HD 800 S – Premium Pick
In case you’re looking for the best of the best, Sennheiser HD 800 S is the right pick for you. Although a bit expensive, this beauty promises the richest sound of all.
From highs to the lows, from mids to bass frequencies, there’s not a beat that this masterpiece will let you miss. With an ultrawide frequency range of about 4 Hz – 51000 Hz, it covers every single note. This impressive range, coupled with its super spacious soundstage, will provide an exotically immersive listening experience. We bet you’ll feel the drums playing right in front of the violins rising to their pitch at your sides. But, of course, in an invisible manner.
Along with providing rich and thrilling music, Sennheiser HD 800 S also promises ultimate comfort. Its over-ear ear cups come lined with a suede-like material, which feels soft when worn. It will not become damp with sweat even if you wear it for several hours, thanks to the breathable material of the earcups. Consequently, it also prevents pressure from building.
The rest of the frame of this headphone features sturdy metal and top-notch quality plastic. Its relatively flexible shape will fit comfortably around your head, and the headband padding will keep the headphones from causing headaches or neck pain.
But being built with premium materials, these headphones weigh substantially. They’re not too heavy to trouble listening sessions but not too lightweight to forget that you have them on. It’s a mid-way thing, which is doable for most professionals since the slight weight keeps the work-feeling alive.
What’s more, it comes with a sturdy and good-looking storage box. So, even when kept in your studio, it would fall in harmony with the beauty of all other instruments and audio equipment. (P.S. It’s what you need to impress your crew! Trust us on this: it’s an absolute pro in maintaining that classy vibe you want to give off!)
On the downside, the wired structure limits the portability of these headphones. You can only vibe with it in your studio. But if you can handle wires when traveling around or jogging, then carrying it around shouldn’t be an issue. It comes with a super-convenient storage box after all!
3. Philips SHP9500 HiFi Precision Stereo Over-Ear Headphones – Budget Buy
Are you hunting for the best budget open-back headphones? It’s a headphone that has the perfect blend of comfort, durability, and exceptional performance. If so, then these stunning Philips SHP9500 HiFi precision headphones are the idealistic option.
The frame of the Philips Stereo Over-Ear Headphones comprises high-grade steel, which offers immense durability. Although these are budget headphones, you can rest assured that these won’t shatter at the steepest of falls.
Plus, the adjustable headband fits around the head securely. The heavy padding underneath the headband adds comfort to the wearing experience as well. And, the breathable, cushion-like ear pads make listening to audio for hours possible.
However, the ear pads are irreplaceable. So, you cannot change them in case of any damage. The mere solution is to purchase a new set of headphones, though it has not happened to anyone yet.
When it comes to performance, the Philips SHP9500 is a blast! It delivers a crisp and deep bass. The high and lows notes have amazing precision.
Moreover, the gold-plated and detachable connectors allow you to extend your connectivity. You can use these headphones with any gadget or device.
It might sound unbelievable, but these over-ear open-back headphones offer premium construction, outstanding sounds, and gold-plated cable connections. And, you get all this under 200-dollars!
Coming from Audio Technica, AD700x is surely one of the most reliable headphones in terms of strength. So, if you seek something within your budget, perhaps under 500 or even under 200, that lasts long and also serves your fairly professional audio needs, this is it. And we would recommend this to you, especially if you’re a gamer.
That’s because it’s both robust and efficient at its functions. So, even as you get caught up in the game and get a little rough with handling, these will easily bear with you. That, too, without any compromises on the sound quality.
Operating on a top-notch quality 53mm dynamic drivers, AD 700x promises a super immersive soundstage and unrivaled clarity. You will hear every instrument distinctly and with a 3D effect. Plus, it does not distort sound at both high and low volumes. Instead, it brings forth the silky smooth nature of neutral sound. Thus, making the sounds pleasing and engaging.
Moreover, the earpads of its over-ear earcups come lined with a flexible and thick layer of fabric that feels soft and cozy. Plus, the double-coated wire makes maintenance easier as it does not tangle or develop fractures easily.
However, you may have to compromise a bit on looks. The Audio Technica AD 700x features an upper metal headband with a 3D wing support.
Fundamentally, wing support refers to two flaps emerging from the ear cups. You can adjust them according to your head size to make the headphones comfortable for yourself. It also minimizes the pressure.
Perhaps, Audio Technica intended to offer the benefits and feel of wireless open-back headphones with the removal of headband padding and lightweight construction. And without a doubt, it executed the intent successfully. However, it also simultaneously meant cheaper plastic and uncommon design, which compromised on looks.
But given the price, it works fine. If you’re okay with carrying unique-looking stuff that may get you some extra attention and tend to prioritize comfort and performance, then the average looks may not be a big problem.
When browsing for the open-back headphones, you’re likely to find the name of GRADO SR325e listed amongst the top open-back headphones. It may not be the best, though it offers competitive sound quality and builds at its price. Allow us to explain!
At a glance, the GRADO SR325e Stereo Headphones look like its predecessors. It has a robust steel frame and a sleek genuine leather headband. Instead of the regular bulky structure, these headphones offer modish and minimalistic accents.
Well, the exterior of these headphones is cool but so is its interior. The presence of integrated components delivers exciting, powerful sounds. It offers a rich and fuller tonal balance. The details are also precise and crystal-clear. However, the bass is not very deep.
As for its comfort level, these headphones come with plushy, soft ear cups. You can endure hours and hours of audio with ease. Perhaps, the mere drawback is its not so portable structure. The heavy cord and absence of a carrying case make taking the headphones to places a challenge. But, it won’t be a concern if you require these headphones for only studio or home purposes.
AKG K 240 MK II is a perfect professional pick for young explorers. It costs under 100, lasts reasonably, and promises professional-grade sound but for listening purposes only. Hence, we recommend this model to aspiring audiophiles, singers, musicians, and other relevant individuals who haven’t yet taken their first proper into the world of audio. Or it’s even recommendable for professional gamers.
To begin with, let’s consider its exterior. On the outside, you will observe bulks of padding on its over-ear ear cups and a thick headband situated below the metallic frame, detached from it. The black colors and the gloss of its premium-quality plushy material gives this headset a classy look.
The earpads are soft, comfortable, and keep the pressure from building. However, intensive usage reveals that they may develop cracks in a matter of weeks. Hence, you will feel the need to replace it in a month or two. But that wouldn’t be an issue since they are easily replaceable.
In terms of sound, these will not suffice to the needs of a performing musician, but they can cater phenomenally to one who’s learning the basics in the studio. It does so with its 30 mm drivers that promise immense clarity and a frequency range of 15 – 25000 Hz. Consequently, the soundstage is immersive enough to direct the sounds of instruments from certain distances and angles in a room. However, it’s not immersive enough to completely engulf you in the listening experience.
With the open-back design, the sound will leak, and in combination with the attribute mentioned earlier, these help learners stay in their settings and learn to their best. The bass, however, is super impressive.
Moreover, it’s extra-long detachable cable will allow you to move around the studio as per your will. You need not stay restricted and limited to your position only because you’re using wired open-back headphones!
Visually, you’ll get astounded by AKG K 701 Ultra Reference Class Stereo’s looks. It has a peculiar design with enormous ear cups, a metallic frame, and a genuine leather headband. Hence, giving off retro and vintage aesthetics.
Well, stay prepared to get amazed too. It is because although the structure appears metallic, it comprises plastic. Sounds deceiving? This particular high-grade plastic used in the headphones is quite powerful. It competes with metal in terms of damage resistance and durability!
Plus, heavier and metallic does not always translate into high-quality. At times, the metal structure simply rusts or changes color over time. So, trust us when we say, you’ll regret it if you drop these based on poor durability.
As for comfort, the AKG K 701 headphones feature a self-adjusting headband that offers a snug fit. Plus, the 3D foam padded ear cups, wrapped in fine velour, contribute to comfort. These remain soft on ears while preventing them from falling.
Perhaps, the possibility of spending hours wearing headphones without sweating might sound tempting to not only audiophiles but everyone.
The wired design and open-back structure make these inappropriate for outdoor usage. You can use it for gaming, audio composition, and almost any task situated indoors. However, using it on the go isn’t a possibility.
When it comes to performance, the AKG K 701 headphones are without a doubt hi-fi. These headphones deliver exceptional bass and treble. Plus, the high and low notes are crystal clear. You can detect the slightest of change or mistake in the audio using these headphones.
In a nutshell, these AKG K 701 headphones are the best open-back headphones for gaming, music production, monitoring, and whatnot. Undeniably, these are perfect!
For those who find themselves studying and adjusting sounds, Shure SRH1840 is the perfect pick! Its luxurious design, ultimate comfort, sound clarity, accuracy, and strength will cut down your workload to half. The music will unfold itself before you almost effortlessly.
Operating on 40 mm neodymium drivers, these headphones reproduce a smooth spectrum of sound with well-defined highs, lows, and mids. However, the bass is more prominent. The natural sound reproduced by Shure SRH1840 also creates a depth of field, such that you will feel the sounds around you, creating the atmosphere of a room housing relevant instruments.
Plus, it comes with plenty of accessories! You’ll receive a storage box, a pair of replaceable velour earpads, a threaded adaptor, and a replaceable cable. The complete kit doesn’t only make using it fun but also super convenient. Replacement earpads and cable ensure longevity and bring a sense of peace, as you need not worry about alternatives should there be an emergency.
Note that, although it comes with a storage case, it’s not very portable. Shure SRH1840’s portability issues happen to be concerned with its compatibility and not its wires or built. This professional-grade pair of headphones does not reproduce the weak sounds generated from your mobile device, especially a mid-range one. To listen to the best of its sounds, you need to connect it with heavier audio equipment, or more accurately, a playback device.
Cheap and Good Performance, the Koss UR40 Collapsible Over-Ear Headphones are ideal for those seeking these two qualities only. Perhaps, these are the cheapest headphones you can find in the market that offer good quality. But there’s more too!
At a glance, the Koss Headphones have an intricate design. There are two hinges on the headband for the collapsible feature. While this might look slightly strange, the headphone fits round the head smartly.
The enormous black-colored ear cups of these headphones engulf your ears. Despite being bulky, the ear cups are quite soft and cushion-like. They are quite comfortable to wear on long audio-listening sessions.
However, the ear cups have crinkled vinyl covering that imitates leather. Visually, it looks cool, but it can become sweaty too. So, you will have to wipe the surface at intervals.
As for the performance, the Koss UR40 headphones deliver a warm and balanced bass. Plus, the highs, mids, and lows get produced accurately. You can listen to each acoustic note with immense detail and clarity.
Perhaps, the mere drawback of these headphones is its construction. The usage of plastic in the build has made the frame weaker and susceptible to damage. Moreover, while the hinges offer ease, they also reduce the longevity of the headphones. Hence, you’ll have to use these headphones with vigilance.
By now, you know all the very best open-back headphones to buy. But if you can’t decide if it’s the open-back headphones that you truly need, then go with this one.
At less than $30, Riwbox WB5 will demonstrate fairly good performance. The innovative open-back design of its housing allows ample airflow and reproduces airy and pure sound. For such low-budget headphones, the clarity and accuracy that they provide are truly surprising. You can easily distinguish between the high frequencies, low frequencies, and even the mids.
Even so, we will not recommend it for professional use because despite providing rich sound, it does not compare to the performance of those mentioned above. It may not equip you enough to analyze or mix sound.
In terms of looks, they have a modish appearance. You can choose from two enthralling colors and also store these conveniently, thanks to their foldable and portable design. Since these are wireless, you can carry them around conveniently. You will only need to charge it fully before leaving your home. However, we do not recommend it for use during travel. The open-back design will cause the sound to leak and disturb others.
How to Choose the Best Open Back Headphones?
We promised to bring you the top 10 best open-back headphones, and so we did. But how exactly did we categorize the above-listed as the best ones? How can you evaluate a pair of open-back headphones independently and individually?
Well, to answer that, here’s a comprehensive buying guide for you. It includes the aspects upon which we assessed the capability of each pair. These also happen to be the prime factors that you must consider when buying open-back headphones.
Things to Consider
Since you are currently searching for open-back headphones, you need to pay special attention to the impedance, drivers, and other such sound-specific specifications while selecting your headset. These values will help you get to the pair which fulfills your needs accurately. Below, we have discussed in detail what exactly you should seek.
Other than that, you ought to look for general headphone specs like built and durability. Below, you will read about what classifies as the best and what classifies as average.
Technically, impedance refers to the ohms-value. It is the resistance that your headphone circuit will provide to the flow of electric current.
Well, the surprising fact here is that the greater the resistance provided to the current flow, the better the sound will be. Or in simpler terms, the higher the impedance, the better the sound. With higher figures, you will hear crisp and immersive sound with clearer and stronger bass.
For that very reason, our recommended value of impedance for open-back headphones happens to be 70 ohms or above. However, high impedance models may consume a lot of power. So, you can also opt for headphones offering 25 ohms – 70 ohms of impedance.
Ideally, you must look for a pair of headphones that offer magnetic drivers. These drivers deliver a consistent and pure sound. The clarity and accuracy promised by this technology are incomparable. Plus, they do so without causing any distortion.
However, headphones with magnetic drivers may cost a lot. So, if you don’t have a big budget, you can go with the ones that offer dynamic drivers. The latter does not consume much power to reproduce sound. The sound quality is also natural, and as the name says, dynamic. Note that dynamic drivers may distort the sound just a little at very high volumes. So, that’s perhaps their only downside as compared to magnetic drivers.
About the size, we recommend 40mm drivers as these will best deliver sounds of all frequency ranges. Additionally, 40 mm drivers promise powerful and accurate bass.
The ideal frequency range of an open-back headphone should be 10 Hz – 40kHz. Although this range of audio frequency extends the average hearing frequency range, which is 20 Hz to 20kHz, it depicts the capability of headphones to pick sounds that are not audible to the human ear.
Upon hearing this, many people question: what’s the point of such an extended frequency range when you can’t hear it?
Well, to figure this, consider the nature of sound. It comprises vibrations which you cannot only listen to but also feel. Hence, the vibrations of these extended frequencies contribute to the impacts of sounds that you feel. It brings about the immersive sound experience that you crave. Thus, you ought to look for a wider frequency range.
Frame Material & Structure
As mentioned earlier, open-back headphones usually come into a professional’s use. Hence, companies focus on satisfying the professional needs and seem to use premium materials only.
In most high-end and mid-range open-back headphones, you will find the use of metal and top-notch quality plastic. In low-end headphones, you will see cheap plastic material that wouldn’t last long. Hence, only opt for metal and top-notch plastic headphones. Virtually, you can assess it by reading reviews like those above and analyzing the weight value. Those that weigh too low may not be featuring high-grade plastic.
In terms of structure, you will have to choose from wired headphones and wireless ones. The wired ones promise better sound, but the wireless ones promise greater portability. The sound quality of the latter will be average.
Another aspect to consider in terms of structure includes over-ear and on-ear design. The over-ear engulfs your ear while the on-ear will settle exactly over your ear. Both offer different levels of comfort.
Another aspect to look into is what comes with the headset. Some companies provide extra cables, cords, and comprehensive user-manual to their customers. By doing so, they intend to make the use of their product convenient and fun.
Along the same lines, some companies provide warranties to boost their clientele’s confidence in their product. Meanwhile, some come with replaceable and customizable designs.
All of these accessories and features aim to add to your convenience. So, you can look for headphones that match your needs, along with guaranteeing some extra perks. Hence, helping you make the best of your money!
Brand & Price
As the choice of professionals, open-back headphones usually have elevated price tags. However, for your ease, we have listed reliable models for all price ranges.
Given that, you can rest assured that even if you pick the $30 model from this list, it will last for a long time and perform great. However, by the general rule of thumb, the higher the price, the better the quality will be. With greater price tags, you receive assurance of longevity and dependable quality.
Note that the rule mentioned above only applies to trustworthy and reputable brands. These include Audio Technica, Shure, Sennheiser, etc. Hence, the brand name matters a lot too.
Newer brands may demand hefty amounts making sparkling promises. But you never know if they will deliver a product worthy of your hard-earned money or not. Therefore, it’s best not to risk your money and buy from a renowned and trusted brand.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Do you need an Amp to run Open-back Headphones?
The answer to this depends on the open-back headphone’s capabilities. Typically, open-back headphones have an integrated design. So, they can function efficiently on all devices without needing an amplifier. You may require an amp if your headphones fail to operate with mobile phones, tablets, or iPads.
2. What are semi-open headphones?
Up till now, you must’ve heard about two headphone variants. These include simple ones and open back wireless headphones. However, did you know that semi-open headphones also exist?
The Semi-open headphones refer to the mix between the closed-back and open-back headphones. These block some of the audio while letting some of it escape.
Well, now that you know how to choose the best open-back headphones and also have the list of top 10 best open-back headphones, we hope you finally get yourself the perfect pair! But if confusion and doubt still surround you, we suggest you go with our top-rated pick.
Being reasonably priced and trusted by many, Beyerdynamic DT 990 Pro will surely satisfy your taste if it does not meet your needs accurately. Its enjoyable hands-on experience will further help you figure your needs and likes. Thus, upgrading your knowledge, bringing a better experience, and promising great shopping decisions. Happy buying!
Last Updated on January 28, 2021