Top 10 Open-Back Headphones of 2022

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Best Open-back Headphones Buyers Guide

 Top Pick

HIFIMAN-HE-400I-Full-size-MagneticOur top pick for the best open-back headphones is HIFIMAN’s HE-400I which are a high fidelity sound headphone. With a sound of 93 dB, you get the most well-balanced output where the soundstage is ample, to let you hear an array of different notes and textures in a song. It is a truly luxury headphone set that is usually only used by professionals and audiophiles who want the complete, rich and authentic audio experience. They produce this authentic sound through its planar or magnetic drivers.

Most high fidelity open-back headphones have magnetic drivers, as this technology produces consistent output with minimal distortion. This headphone set is also our top choice because it is simply unbeatable at reproducing live music.

Premium Quality

HiFiMan-HE1000-Open-Back-MagneticThe premium quality HE1000 headphones are from HIFIMAN, too. This pair of headphones utilize planar drivers for reproducing authentic sound and vocals. If you have no budget restraints, and you do not want any compromise on quality, this is the headphone set you may have been looking for. The best thing about such high fidelity audiophile headphones is that you don’t get any distortion – regardless of the style of music you are listening to.

Although they have an open back, the drivers are protected by what is called “window shade technology”. Besides the audio quality, the design is amazing on its own, too. They have used the highest quality of materials to construct this set of headphones, they really do have the ability to turn heads.

When you are spending so much on a headset, you might as well get a pair with serious style!

Great Value 

Philips-SHP9500-Precision-Over-earIf your goal is finding a set of headphones with the best value for money, the Philips SHP9500 HiFi Headphones have got you covered. First of all, they produce great frequency highs and lows with the 50 mm driver they have. Secondly, they are highly comfortable with supersoft ear pads, and a band that is double padded. If that wasn’t enough to convince you, it’s worth also adding that these headphones are a very reasonable price!

This is by far the best open-back headphone for people with limited budgets. Good quality headphones can set you back hundreds of dollars. However, this set from Philips does not even cost a hundred at the time of writing.

This set is a must-have for anyone who appreciates sound quality.

Since the cord is super long, you can use it in a studio or on stage. These headphones are pretty popular among music producers and audiophiles for they have many advantages, endless amounts it seems! There are plenty of brands producing this style of headphones, and the price range can be pretty wide too. Some headphones may be targeted solely for professional use, while others are for everyone. In order to get the greatest product for your music listening needs, you need to know which headphones are most suited to you, and what you should look for when selecting a pair. Here is our buying guide to help you do just that:

Open VS. Closed Back

Ever since they were created, headphones have seen some seriously drastic changes. As a result, we have multiple variations of headphones that are different, in an array of multiple dimensions and sizes. In over-ear headphones, there are two types of designs that are common: closed back and open-back. Let us discuss closed back first, as these are common for the majority of music listeners. Closed back headphones have sealed cups that pack in the drivers. This is because they do not want any frequencies to escape or other noises to meddle with the sound the listener hears.

Open-back, on the other hand, has no such seal and the driver is pretty much exposed. It is designed this way so that there is no frequency build-up within the headphones, and you do not get any resonating sound. The thing with closed back headphones is that, as they are sealed, some frequencies can get trapped and you get something called “resonance”.

This can be known to mess-up the actual sound, and you tend to lose the accuracy. Open back headphones do not do this and, therefore, reproduce sound signals as they are – in their truest form.

Those who work in studios and mix music need to hear the most accurate sound. As mentioned above, a closed back pair of headphones can alter the accuracy which can, in turn, alter the producers’ studio mixing. This is why most professionals use these open back headphones. That does not mean that the closed back variety is absent in studios. This type is, in fact, great for recording purposes because they provide great noise isolation.

Drivers

Girl wearing Open back HeadphonesDrivers are the main components that produce the sound signals within headphones. The driver has to be of great quality, and on most of these headphones – that is the case.

Since they are not sealed, the driver itself has to be durable and sturdy. Magnetic drivers are common for top fidelity sound.

If you are looking for authentic and accurate sound reproduction, go for a headphone set that has planar or magnetic drivers.

The driver size is important too because it determines how well some of the frequencies will be reproduced. For effective low frequencies i.e. the bass, a driver size of 40 mm or above is ideally required. Most of the headphones on our list have the standard 50 mm driver.

Size

These headphones are essentially over ear’s but even in these, the size differs between different pairs. While most are supra-aural (this means they cover the ears entirely), some can be qualified as circumaural (covers the ears partially). Size does not have much to do with the quality of the sound and vocals; however, it does affect the comfort and overall experience. The headphone should have appropriate padding on the ear cups and headband to provide the utmost comfort or longer recording sessions. Extra stuffed padding is not always a good thing because it can increase the weight.

Many users assume the heavier the headset is, the more durable it is. This is not true in all cases, especially now that the latest technology has improved the design and ergonomics of headphones entirely. You should go for the one that is comfortably soft and had minimal weight. There are some designs that have headbands consisting of only metal meshes, so those are even lighter. Comfort is a crucial choosing criterion because in studios; you could be wearing a headset for hours. If the headset is even slightly uncomfortable, you might not be able to concentrate on getting your job done effectively and to the best of your ability.

Pricing

Like most other headphones, these products vary in terms of pricing. The wide range of prices means that you have a wide range of quality as well. Luckily enough, you should be able to find a quality open-back headphone set for under $100. On the other end of the spectrum, those designed for audiophiles can cost several hundred or even thousands of dollars. These are truly luxury products best for professional studio mixing, and for those with a bigger budget who want to listen to accurate music in peace and quiet.

Pricing also somewhat depends on the brand you choose. However, there are several well-known brands with rather affordable headphones that produce brilliant sound. These will not set you back more than $100.

Cords and Adapters

You should also pay attention to other parts of the headphones like the cable and connectors/adapters. Some headphones come with different types of connectors and adapters that allow them to be connected to different audio sources. The common types of adapters are the quarter inch and 1/8 inch. The cords are longer on some headphones because these are designed for studios where you may need to spread it over a long distance. A length of 3 feet should be good enough for most settings.

Comfort – Comfort is key when it comes to picking out a great pair of headphones, especially if you plan on wearing your set for hours on end. Look for headphones that have enough padding to reduce ear fatigue while still maintaining breathability. Another great option is headphones that have replaceable ear cups.

Kate Brunotts

Kate Brunotts FOR MUSIC CRITIC

FAQs

What are open-back headphones?

Basically, headphones are of two types, open-back and closed backed headphones. Both somehow share equal features but the design factor puts them into different lanes.

As suggested by the title, the closed back headphone has a closed outer-cup design which means that there would be no sound leakage. On the other hand, the open back headphones have an open outer-cup design which allows the user to stay connected with the surroundings. Thanks to the design, they reduce the distortion effect and produce a wider sound stage.

What are open back headphonesSo why should I choose these open back headphones over the closed back headphones? The open ear design lets air pass through which results in a more natural yet accurate sound than you would get on closed backs. Similarly, the “bouncing around” effect created in the closed back headphone is eliminated by the extra airflow in open-back headphones.

So would you choose a headphone with the likes of sound isolation only, or would you prefer a complete package?

On the whole, these products are equipped with an open ear cup design that promises natural, open, accurate, and wide sound.

How do you choose the most suitable open-back headphones?

The term “suitable” means that anything, which is right or appropriate for a particular person. There are many of these headphones available in the market but choosing the right one for your needs could be a little difficult.

Every person has different preferences over a particular choice so below we’ll highlight three main things to focus on while buying pair according to your personal needs and preferences.

Budget

Before deciding on your next set, you need to know your current constraints. These headphones are available in every price group but before checking the specifications, you first need to analyze your spending limit.

Our advice would favor an average budget as going too cheap could cause you trouble in the near future, and picking a premium headphone could affect your balance.

Brand Name

Many people argue that popular brands fail to deliver users within a medium price range, but the reality is that there are plenty of mid-range options.

Iconic brands are living up to the hype for a reason, no one can be amongst the good books of users without delivering to the crowd. The well-known brands might charge you a bit more, but they promise consistency and quality on the same nodes.

Don’t get carried away by “Brand praise” as rising music companies can most definitely provide you with a whole new listening experience if you give them a chance.

Just remember one thing while considering an open-back headphone, no matter what you do – a cheap product can’t promise you with amazing-quality drivers.

Customer Reviews

Open back headphone customer reviewsCustomer reviews can really help you to make the right decision.

A buyer that invests his/her money on a specific product never gives fake feedback.

We recommend you take some time to check out genuine reviews from customers on sites like Amazon, eBay, etc.

It is important to point out that not every review is accurate, but you should be able to separate the genuine reviews of a product from a fake review.

Product reviews are essential to ease potential buyers before they make the final purchase. They give you a clear idea of what you are going to experience with a specific product. Reading more and more reviews will give you a good idea of what you are about to purchase.

We do advise you to read product reviews (at least one review) before adding specific open-back headphones to your cart, as it’s never too late to change your mind.

Above we presented you with specific things to note before buying a pair of open-back headphones. Are you ready for our top choice that has excelled in all fields?

Sennheiser is mastering the audio game since its start. HD 600’s by Sennheiser are designed by special engineers to provide you with cleaner and crisper stereo sound.

Thanks to the advanced diaphragm design, you experience a clean and pure sound without any disturbances. Similarly, the outer ear cup is built with awesome-quality open metal mesh grills that promise to deliver you with extremely transparent sound. A wide range of dynamic responses and optimum sensitivity is backed up by neodymium ferrous magnets.

The harmonic and intermodulation distortion gets eliminated by the computer optimized magnet system so that you hear what matters the most. What’s more, is that the extremely lightweight aluminum voice coils help to ensure the best transient response.

Apart from the awesome tech used inside these headphones, they sport a super premium look as well. The black and gray finish puts the HD 600’ on a perfectly professional level. In the box, you get the headphones themselves, with a detachable Kevlar-reinforced oxygen-free copper cable that ensures low handling noise.

Nope… That’s not even the end. With the Sennheiser HD 600’s, you get a 2-year international warranty – so no matter where you live; you are covered by the elite grade technicians.

Sennheiser HD 600’s are not marked among cheap options. With neodymium ferrous magnets, comfortable ear cups, and lightweight aluminum voice coils, you are just in the right position to experience something out of this world.

We’ve tried to give you the best advice, with specific points to note before buying your first set of open back headphones and presenting you with an ideal contender. We hope to make your decision more beneficial to you.

What are the advantages of open-back headphones?

Open-back headphones are engineered with an open ear-cup design so that the flow of air is regulated in the cups. There are many advantages of having an open-back headphone over a closed back headphone set.

Responsive to environment

None of us do monitoring and editing in every hour of our lives. We listen to music, watch movies and do so much more with headphones. An open-back headphone set keeps you connected with the world and what’s going on. With an unlocked outer cup design, you are bound to face some noises from your surroundings.

The connectivity between you and your surroundings is important, as you may need to know what’s going around – such as road traffic, or other dangers.

Comfort Level

Unlike closed back headphones, these headphones are open from the outside which means that your ears are not overloaded. Air flow helps your ears to relax and keep intact with the normal conditions, as complete isolation can result in fatigue and discomfort.

As the outer ear cup is open, we can conclude that less material is used which means it favors the overall weight. Lightweight designs allow users to continue the joy of listening and working for longer periods.

Better transient Response

What on earth is a transient response? Basically, the transient response is the quick reaction of the driver towards the changes in the source material. In closed-back headphones, drivers respond slowly to the changes as the air pressure is greater. On the flip side, open-back headphones react quickly to the source material changes as the air pressure is very low due to the open outer cup design.

So do headphones get a greater volume with a better transient response? No… But you experience the most accurate, finest, low-level sounds with the slightest of details.

Natural Sound

These types of products allow the sound to pass through the back of the earpiece which creates an opening resulting in a natural yet accurate sound. Unlike closed back headphones they don’t create a mock listening experience as the sound bounces around in closed back headphones.

For an acoustic sound experience, they ensure that you don’t get disappointed.

There are a lot of advantages but if you are looking for a headphone that isolates sound and prevents sound leakage, then considering these headphones may not be your best option.

Can others hear open-back headphones?

Can people hear open back headphonesThe word open-back suggests that the outer ear cup of the headphone is open which means that the sound will leak, and air will be able to flow in/out. This means that others will be able to hear what you are listening to.

The interference of background noises can be frustrating, but it keeps you alarmed all the time.

Isolation cuts you off from the surroundings increasing the chances of danger. So the sound leakage of these headphones can be considered an advantage, and a disadvantage.

So why do people buy these sound leaking headphones? As they regulate the flow of air, it means that sound will leak but don’t get misguided, as the air will allow you to experience a natural, yet wider, soundstage.

Why do some people choose closed back headphones over open-back headphones? In recording sessions, most of the musicians prefer closed back headphones as any sound leakage will interfere with the microphone. So that’s why some people tend to choose these types of headphones listed.

The ambition of the Sennheiser family is to refine the experience of listening to audio over and over again. For 70 years every member strived to work toward one goal, to give users an experience they won’t forget in a hurry.

Meet the new talk of the town; the RS 120 by Sennheiser is not just another wireless open-back headphone… They output a clear yet detailed bass response. Similarly, you experience good clarity with a classic sound of Sennheiser’s, which is one of its own. Comfort measures are backed up by a lightweight design and padded headband so you can enjoy those long listening hours.

You get up to 300 feet of wireless freedom through walls, ceilings, and even outdoors. Similarly, you get an easy to use recharging system. For charging your headphones, simply place them on the transmitter base – and there you go!

The open-Air design delivers a warm sound, deep bass, and detailed signals so you can experience true audio. With an easy to set up function, the transmitter is easily connected to any device that is equipped with an analog audio output. To eliminate the distortion factor, this headphone is equipped with three RF channels so that you can choose among the options for a non-interference channel.

The headphone is equipped with volume, on/off and tuning controls so you can control everything on the go.

With a wireless range of 300 feet and a deep sound and impedance of -24 ohm; this headphone is breaking all the records.

Eugen Beyer started to make cinema speakers in 1924 and now Beyerdynamic is not only known for manufacturing but creating a soulful audio experience.

The DT 990 by Beyerdynamic is a professional acoustic open-back headphone for studio monitoring, gaming, and much more.

Open diffuse field design allows sound to escape and make room to get in which results in a great audio experience allowing sound to interact with the environment. Similarly, it’s equipped with a single-sided coiled cable and 250-ohm drivers for excellent sound reproduction. Thanks to the extremely lightweight diaphragm, you can expect to experience superb impulse performance.

Soft velour earpads and a padded headband promise comfort, even in long listening hours. With these headphones, you get 2 years of manufacturer warranty.

With the 250 ohm drivers, comfortable earpads/headband and lightweight diaphragm, the DT 990’s by Beyerdynamic is a game changer.

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