Closed Back Headphone Buyers’ Guide
When it comes to headphones, over ear is a great choice. We’ve listed our top 10 nominees for the best closed back headphones currently available. From the affordable, all the way up to the ultra deluxe options, every headphone set we’ve featured has earned its place on our list.
The market is populated with many closed-back headphones, but before whipping out your credit card, let’s first talk about the essentials.
What’s the main purpose of a closed-back headphone? Simply, they’re responsible for cutting off unwanted sound from the environment and preventing sound leakage, unlike open back headphones. The best closed-back headphones have a closed outer earcup design that blocks out surrounding noise while you’re listening to music or mixing your album. The over the ear pad model stops audio from leaking out of the headphones.
Noise can be stopped by two methods: passive noise isolation or active noise cancellation. Passive noise isolation depends on the body of the headphone. It relies on the ear and closed outer cup design for blocking out the sound. As well as closed-back headphones options, the in-ear canal headphones also provide excellent passive isolation.
On the flip side, open back headphones only provide some passive isolation as the outer ear cups are opened. A typical closed-back headphone blocks 8 to 12 dB, while in-ear blocks 10 to 15 dB. Some of the best closed-back headphones are specially designed to reduce noise by around 25 dB, so that you can concentrate when it matters most. You won’t get this with open back headphones.
Closed-back headphones or even a pair of open back headphones equipped with active noise cancellation use a microphone, amplifier, and a speaker to pick up, amplify, and play ambient noise in a reversed pattern. This means the noise gets canceled out without affecting the sound source. This feature requires a battery to drive out their circuit. Active sound cancellation can cut off around 20 dB sound, but note that it mostly applies to constant and low-frequency sounds.
You can get a wired pair of closed-back headphones or even wireless headphones. Wireless headphones are great when you don’t want to be restrained by the wires. A wired headphone can sometimes be restricting, but it all depends on what you need them for. If you’re sat down when you’re working, then you won’t need to get wireless headphones. You won’t need wireless headphones as much as you would when moving around.
Now we’ve covered the basics of the best closed-back headphones. You can easily choose from the selection of the closed-back headphones available based on your needs. Want great value with a great price? Premium choice? Our hands-down top-pick? Stay tuned, here are our three best closed-back headphones.
Music Critic’s Top Pick
Our top pick product ensures that you get the best closed-back headphones without breaking the bank. The K92 headphones by AKG Pro Audio has fulfilled every requirement, winning the top pick on the list. This company is easily one of the best in the music industry.
AKG gear is known for perfection, and the same standards are set for the K92 headphones. From monitoring to casual listening, these headphones have you covered. The professional 40mm drivers give a detailed yet balanced high-frequency response. The drivers are packed with a wide range of frequency responses and high sensitivity, so you experience a powerful output.
The closed-back design of this headphone promises an exceptional level of sound isolation, thanks to the new acoustic chamber, which sits between the ear cup and the hinge.
A self-adjusting headband and breathable, lightweight earpads on each headphone mean optimal comfort. Golden accents and a matte black finish make the K92 is stylish as well as high-quality. Gold plated connections, and 80,000 cable bend cycles ensure that the cable won’t underperform or break.
With 40mm drivers, a wide frequency range and many other features, who says that you can’t have it all?
Many headphones out there carry a high price tag but not all of them are worth the money you spend. Then there’s Ultrasone. When it comes to a premium pair of headphones, they’re at the top of the game. Edition 5 by Ultrasone is the answer to music developers’ prayers all over the world. This pair of headphones is one of a kind in design. Get yourself a pair if you want something unique!
On the outside, the ear cups are coated with the precious metal ruthenium. Quality and durability are second to none with this pair of headphones, thanks to the opulent ruthenium coating. The earpads and headband pad are made from Ethiopian long-haired sheep leather so that optimum comfort is achieved over long sessions.
S-Logic EX feature in this headphone allows a greater distance between the driver and the ear, which enables a spatial localization effect. You get three detachable cables, a 3.5mm Neutrik jack and cable (1.5m long), 6.3mm Neutrik jack (4m long) and a 3.5mm (1.2m long). With ULE technology, S-Logic EX technology, and 40mm drivers, this is one of the best quality pair of headphones you could hope to invest in, whether you’re commuting, at home, or in the studio.
Our Great for Value category is all about finding the best for less. Finding decent yet affordable headphones may seem difficult, but guess what? We’ve done the legwork for you!
The SHP2600/27 headphones by Philips may look humble, but don’t judge these headphones by their cover. They’re equipped with 32mm neodymium drivers, which deliver an incredibly authentic yet deep sound. The fully adjustable headband means anyone can use these comfy yet powerful headphones. A 1.8m cable allows you to be mobile (within reason!). With 32mm drivers, adjustable headband, and more, the SHP2600/27 rises to the top of the great values list without question. These headphones are so much more than a low price tag.
What are Closed Back Headphones?
- Basically, there are two types of headphones: closed back and open back. You can easily identify closed back headphones by looking at the ear cups. If ear cups are closed from the outer side, it means you’ve hit the jackpot. Closed back headphones are made to maximize the amount of total sound isolation possible. This is done by a closed outer ear cup design and over the ear cushion of the headphones. Similarly, the closed outer earcup design also prevents the music from leaking out in the surroundings. Although open back headphones have become trendy, closed back headphones are still the favorites time after time, especially for musicians who want that studio quality noise isolation.
What’s the Difference Between Closed Back and Open Back Headphones?
Closed back headphones have over the ear cushions and closed outer ear cups so that no sound leaks out from or come into your ears. This type of headphone is known for isolating sound. The physical design of the headphones eliminates the interference factor so that the user can hear even the slightest details. In some high-end closed back headphones, isolation is carried out via active noise cancellation. This is an integrated circuit that is built into the ear cups, which cuts off a great amount of the noise. They’re great for working in a studio.
Open back headphones have on-ear cushions and opened outer ear cups so the listener can stay connected to what’s going around him while listening to his favorite album. This type of headphone is geared towards giving the user a good listening experience while staying conscious of his environment. Also, the open ear cup design lets air in and out so that the user stays aware of his surroundings while enjoying his music. This type of headphone is less useful if you’re hitting the studio, but is still apt if you want great listening quality.
Either can be wired or wireless headphones. Wireless headphones may be better for a commute, whereas you may want a wired option for studio sessions.
How do I Choose the Best Closed Back Headphones?
So many people want to know the answer to this question. We all have different needs for our headphones. Some people are into mixing and editing, while others want to use their headphones for casually listening to music. Pick a closed back headphone according to what you want, and keep in mind a realistic price you can afford.
The CB-1 by Status Audio headphones are perfect for our dedicated casual users. Whether you’re monitoring, or doing some casual, or even hard listening, these headphones have your back. From high-end specs to portability, this bad boy has it all. Powerful 50mm drivers tend to deliver neutral yet deep sound. Also, ergonomic earpads mean ultimate comfort. These headphones can be folded up, so you don’t have to make extra space while carrying them around, making them great if you need to commute—a real winner.
The ATH-ANC7B by Audio Technica is made for all you folks who want an extra push towards the noise cancelling element. These headphones include the QuietPoint Active Noise Cancellation feature, reducing environmental noise up to 90 percent. They’re also equipped with 40mm drivers, along with a neodymium magnet system, and a high 109dB sensitivity for major sound. Over the ear cushion padding and ear cups feel great and promise to enhance comfort. With battery-powered active noise cancelling and a neodymium magnet system, these headphones are a must-have for professionals.
What are the Benefits of Closed Back Headphones?
Closed back headphones provide noise cancellation from the surroundings and prevent sound leaks. Compared to open back headphones, or even counting standalone advantages of closed back headphones, we have a lot to cover.
First, these headphones are best for the situations when you’re carefully monitoring or doing detailed editing. They’re also perfect if you want to enjoy that bass without disturbing the stranger beside you on the bus. One of the benefits of closed back headphones is the noise cancelling ability, which has many practical applications.
What are the Best Closed Back Headphones on a Budget?
HAS-30 by LyxPro was crafted keeping in mind affordability, reliability, and comfort. HAS-30 is perfect for recording and mixing as well as for listening to everyday music. It’s jam-packed with features. The headphones’ drivers provide clean and honest audio impressions, and the noise cancelling ability is excellent.
The magnet system in the headphones takes care of instant dynamic response for crisp sounding vocals. It has a leather headband and ear pads for total comfort so you can peace out and enjoy your tunes. On the monitoring side, the HAS-30 provides 180 degrees rotatable ear cups so that the professionals can also experience single-ear headphone listening in the studio.
Also, with a wide range of frequency (15Hz – 26kHz), 50mm drivers, and just 10.5 ounces of total weight, these headphones are perfect for people who are on a tight budget but want a professional experience. These are a great quality pair of headphones.
With a wide range of frequency (15Hz – 26kHz), 50mm neodymium magnet drivers and just 10.5 ounces of total weight, the HAS-10 is perfect for anyone on a tight budget – click to view our guide on cheaper earbuds. For more reviews on headphones, check out our guides here.