The Best Closed Backed Headphones under 200
As you gradually progress on to better headphone audio, you start scaling the price range too. To a true music-lover or audiophile, there’s a perceptible difference between the audio of the best headphones under $100 and the best headphones under $200. The amount of details and clarity improves as the price range extends. More often, a budget of $200 allows the manufacturer to create a mature sound signature, one that is balanced and enjoyable rather than being just bass-heavy and crass. So in this list of top 10 closed-back headphones under $200, we have focused on quality fare that can be used anywhere irrespective of the noise level. And they use the extended budget to create better tonal balance and a zealous audio response.
Closed-back headphones – Features & Advantages
Closed-back headphones are those in which the back of the earcup is completely covered and driver remains shrouded from outside elements. Their characteristics:
- Full-sized closed-back headphones provide better noise isolation than the open-back ones. The closed outer side prevents any ambient noise from getting to the user. Although not all closed-back headphones provide great noise isolation, they all do much better than open-back ones which cannot be worn in public. This limits the scope of use of open-back headphones.
- The best closed-back headphones also prevent audio leakage. So, if you are listening to Bieber on a loop, the person next to you will not get to know. But open-back headphones are like sieve for audio. All your guilty pleasures will be revealed to anyone sitting close to you.
- Closed-back headphones often have a limited soundstage. They sound good but the sound mostly remains inside the head rather than panning outside the head.
Are expensive headphones better?
Not necessarily. But based on our extensive headphone review database, we think, on an average, the headphone performance keeps improving till $300. Beyond that, the subtle changes in audio quality may not be noticeable to casual listeners. Audiophiles with their fancy audio gear and frequency graphs will be looking for improvements and they will find them.
Within the $200 budget, headphones have scope to be clean without sounding surgically clean. The latter kind of audio response sounds dull and drab. You need to equalize it to spice it up. Only purists use it for critical listening or to create their personal equalization profile.
Most of the headphones in $200 range offer a transition between the bass-focused audio of cheaper headphones and the too-flat signature of high-end purist headphones. They have a neutral but natural-sounding audio signature with well-defined bass. Cheaper headphones boost bass frequencies that aren’t there. The $200 headphones try to capture both bass and sub-bass frequencies. The bass-heavy ones only pump the available bass frequencies so they still sound clearer and better resolved.
Which are the features of high quality closed-back headphones under 200?
Since we have already covered the best headphones under $100, we have tried to cover headphones mostly in the $90-200 range. They were selected based on:
- Audio: Audio is the reason why we are looking at a better price range. We selected the best closed-back headphones under $200 such that they show considerable improvement over sub-$100 headphones. These have better detail resolution, better balance and better sound dynamics. And they also have better soundstage which compensates for their closed backs.
- Comfort: One thing that inexpensive headphones always sacrifice for audio is comfort. The higher price coordinate is a chance for the manufacturer to balance excellent audio with a comfortable design. Since these are closed-back we selected those which cover your ears in more breathable material and encourage air circulation. These headphones also look their price.
- Noise isolation: We checked that the best closed-back headphones under $200 provide average or better noise isolation than their open-back pals.
- Features: Small convenience features are expected when you go one rung up on the price ladder. Some of these headphones have detachable cables, extra cable, active noise-cancelling capability, replaceable earpads and other such features which earn them brownie points.
- Value on money: 0-$200 is a wide price range to cover in case of headphones. So while comparing the closed-back headphones in this range we rated them on the basis of value for money. Whether your budget is high or low, we want you to get the best value on your money.
Top 10 Best Closed Backed Headphones under 200
|1. Audio-Technica ATH-M50x Professional Studio Monitor Headphones||Proprietary 45 mm large-aperture drivers||$$$||4.7|
|2. Sennheiser HD 380 PRO Headphones||Closed, circumaural design for excellent passive attenuation of ambient noise (up to 32 dB)||$$$||4.4|
|3. Beyerdynamic DT 770 Pro 80 ohm Studio Headphones||Closed, diffuse-field studio headphone, Bass reflex technology for improved bass response||$$$||4.4|
|4. V-MODA Crossfade M-100 Over-Ear Noise-Isolating Metal Headphone Matte Black Metal||Patented 50mm Dual Diaphragm Drivers to separate bass from mids and highs||$$$||4.4|
|5. BÖHM B76 Wireless Bluetooth Over Ear Cushioned Headphones with Active Noise Cancelling||Cushioned Foam Ear Pads Cup Entire Ear for Up to 16 Hours of Comfortable||$$$||4.1|
|6. Shure SRH440 Professional Studio Headphones||Optimized for home and studio recording||$$$||4.1|
|7. AKG K550 Closed-Back Reference Class Headphones||50mm driver size for high output and detailed low frequencies||$$$||4.1|
|8. V-MODA Crossfade LP2 Vocal Limited Edition Over-Ear Noise-Isolating Metal Headphone||Two 50 mm dual-diaphragm drivers for extended supernatural sound||$$$||4.1|
|9. Sony MDR1R Premium Over-the-Head Style Headphones||40mm Liquid Crystal polymer film diaphragms (5-24Hz)||$$$||4.1|
|10. Bose SoundTrue around-ear headphones II||Fold-flat ear cups and a matching carrying case makes them easy to take anywhere||$$$||3.9|
Audio Technica ATH-M50x best closed-back headphones have been reviewed online ad nauseam. But other headphones have had a hard time beating this glorious sound machine in its price range. The uber-comfortable build, the open sound in spite of a closed-back design and the deliciously warm sound signature make it worth every penny of its price and more. The detachable cable makes it perfect for everything from home studio use to daily commute. A prized set like this owns its place in the best closed-back headphones under $200 list.
Design and Features
The Audio-Technica M50x closed-back headphones are one of those deceptively large-looking headphones. They are actually quite compact but do not confirm to the sleekness standards set by young brands like Beats. In short, they are the Beyonce of audio. They are largely made of plastic to curb weight but they are reinforced strategically at the headband and the earcups with metal. The earpads are racetrack oval and sit comfortably around the ears. The optimal padding easily offsets the moderate clamp from the somewhat thick headband. Although they look huge, the headphones sit compact on the head. They don’t stick out.
These closed-back headphones have three detachable cables: a 1.2m long one for everyday use, a 3m straight and a 3m coiled one for studio use. While we prefer M40x over M50x for monitoring, the long cables can be useful for connecting to TV or amps. The port on the headphones for cable is 2.5mm and hence cables are harder to replace. The jack on the headphone is a twist-and-lock system. It keeps the cable from yanking off. The arms of M50x fold to reduce its footprint by half. It’s easier to pack in its cloth bag this way. The earcups rotate 90° flat and 180° for single-sided monitoring. A screw-on 6.3mm studio adapter is shipped with the pack.
Audio-Technica M50x is renowned for its audio. It frees and tames the bass at the same time. You get that weighty bass with surging power but it’s tightly reined and well-defined. Most headphones can kick up the bass but they cannot have the control M50x has. The soundstage is much wider than that expected of closed-back headphones. This adds more character to the bass. The M50x has deeper and more defined bass than the M50. But the M50 sounds more laidback. As casual listeners and as audiophiles we preferred M50x over M50.
Although warm, the tonal balance is not skewed towards bass. The mids get plenty of attention. The vocals sound clear and are prominently perched upon the solid bass. They stand together not in spite of each other. The treble is also detailed to match the low frequencies. It is smooth and has only enough bite to sound exciting. The noise-isolation is good but not above average.
The audio response of the M50x closed-back headphones is balanced without being dull. It’s the fun and exciting sound that attracts casual listeners and audiophiles, bar purists. If any headphone can convince you to shell out more than 100 bucks, it’s this.
- Deep, defined bass
- Warm , decadent sound
- 3 detachable cables
- Folds flat and for single-sided listening
- None of the cables have inline mic
Sennheiser HD 380 Pro closed-back headphones have seen many successors but they remain one of the best headphones in their price range. These are true studio reference headphones with a neutral but exciting sound signature. Anybody strapping on the audiophile training boots should take HD 380 Pro into consideration. Lightweight, compact and highly portable, these headphones do not need any more reasons to be on the best closed-back headphones under $200 list.
Design and Features
The Sennheiser HD 380 Pro headphones evoke nostalgia for those old-fashioned studio headphones. They have large oval earcups that completely engulf even large ears. They sit outside the rim of the ears so there are no pressure points. The headband has extensive padding along the cranial arch which covers even large heads. The key strain areas are enforced with metal which provides additional durability. Weighing only 7.7 ounces, these headphones are easy on head. They have moderately high clamping pressure which can be released by wearing them continuously or stretching them out over a pillow. The earcups swivel inwards to adapt to your head shape.
The cable of these closed-back headphones is detachable. It connects at a 2.5mm port on the headphones and ends in a 3.5mm plug. The cord is coiled and seems heavy relative to the headphones. Luckily it can be easily replaced for a straight cable. The earcups fold flat and inwards to fit easily into a flat, semi-hard zippered case. Once packed up, the 380 Pro are very convenient to carry. A screw-on 6.3mm adapter is shipped with the pack. Although the 380 Pro is not great-looking in pictures, it looks handsome when worn.
The HD 380 Pro closed-back headphones by Sennheiser pride themselves in their balanced and natural audio response. Many of the sub-$100 headphones are either bass-centric or mid-centric. That is, they never get the amount of bass exactly right. But the 380 Pro hits the nail on the head. The bass extends deep into the sub-bass realm without any distortion. It is not the sloppy bass with a mid-bass bump. Rather it’s the poised bass with controlled energy that remains tightly within its boundary. As a result, the midrange is delightfully clean and detailed. It brings out the details that are usually obscured at the bass-mids crossover. The bass is a tad tighter than that of DT 770.
The treble is highly detailed. It doesn’t have the same bite as bright headphones. We prefer this intricate smooth bass to the jarring highs of bright cans. Both the treble and bass are well-extended beyond human hearing range. The soundstage and imaging deserve special mention for these closed-back headphones. They beat Beyerdynamic DT 770 in this regard. In fact, they come close to the open-back HD 600 with respect to the airiness of sound and the size of soundstage. The instrument imaging is wonderful on the massive soundstage. The instrument separation adds layers to the details of the audio.
- Well-extended, detailed and neutral sound
- Massive soundstage with accurate instrument placement
- Light and comfortable
- Detachable coiled cable
- Folds flat into a compact flat case
- Coiled cable feels heavy
The Beyerdynamic DT 770 Pro closed-back headphones have caused some confusion with various versions with different Ohm ratings. The 80Ohm headphones have the right tech specs and the right price. These headphones are tastefully elegant without looking professionally drab. You can completely experiment your mixing skills and amplifier using these headphones. Poised with specs that are good for both casual listeners and professionals, the Pro 80 Ohm is no doubt, one of the best closed-back headphones under $200.
Design and Features
The Beyerdynamic DT 770 Pro 80 Ohm closed-back headphones are built for comfort if not portability. The earcups are round and sit on the edges of large ears. But this is not an issue because of the velour earpads. This is a soft breezy material that is breathable and light on the ears. Velour pads are only available with the 80 Ohm and 250 Ohm versions. The body of the headphones is done in matte black. The headband is moderately thick and padded for comfortable contact with the head. The padding can be snapped on after extending the headband size. They are durable as there’s a sturdy feel to them. They don’t stick out from the head in spite of their engulfing size.
The cable of these closed-back headphones is connected permanently to one earcup. We are grateful for the single-sided cable at least because this allows free head movement. The cable has no inline mic. DT 770 is focused on music rather than call-making use. The cord ends in a 3.5mm plug. They are shipped with a ridiculous excuse for a headphone bag. This is also available as bundle pack with amplifier. These headphones are very responsive to equalizing and amplifier use. If you are planning to go full audiophile, this bundle can be your starter kit.
The Beyerdynamic DT 770 Pro 80 Ohm closed-back headphones strike the right balance amongst the various Ohm-ratings. The 80 Ohm is high enough to avoid noise interference in its wave. But it’s not so high that you absolutely require an amplifier. Still a small FiiO amp can perk up the audio of DT 770 Pro quite a bit. We would also allow them to burn in for a few hours. That is, we would play varied music on them for 40-50 hours continuously to ‘loosen up’ the drivers. Some people are anti-burn in but it costs you nothing. So why not try it anyway.
These closed-back headphones deal out a balanced audio response. The rich dynamic audio finds its bass after the burn-in. Do note that professionals will like the bass for all genres. Some casual listeners might want a little more bass power like the M50x. The treble is furtive and keeps up with the fast music. DT 770 does exceptionally well with complicated music for the price. It can respond fast to the thick mix of instruments without faltering. Its neutral signature is useful for critical listening and mixing.
- Neutral but dynamic and rich
- Comfortable with velour earpads
- Snap-on headband padding
- Elegant looks
- Cable is not detachable
- Headphone cover could have been better
V-Moda Crossfade M100 closed-back headphones sit on the edge of the $200 budget limit. But these are phenomenal headphones for the bassheads so we covered the matte black metal model which costs sub-$200. As usual, these things are built like a tank and their grunge design channels their tough spirit. The sound signature is lively and vigorous to match. All those who despise the plain neutral sound will find their bassy calling here. These are next big thing on the best closed-back headphones under $200 list.
Design and Features
Val Kolton’s vision of wrapping fashion and guts of iron in a single package is demonstrated in the M100. V-Moda’s most famous closed-back headphones, the M-100 have the familiar hexagonal earcups. These usually fit small to normal-sized ears well. The headband is cushioned and covered in vegan leather. The build is all metal but the weight is restrained to 9.9 ounces. The earcups can swivel forward and adapt to your head shape. Earpads carry memory foam which makes them comfy after the first use. You get optional custom shield kits on which you can laser engrave your logo. These will fit on the back of the earcups. It costs extra bucks, but we liked the touch.
The Kevlar-reinforced braided cables of these closed-back headphones are detachable. You get a single-button cable and a SharePlay audio cable with them. The latter can be used to daisy chain M100 with other headphones and share music. Both earcups have a 3.5mm port to connect cables. A cork is supplied to protect the unused port. The arms of the headphones articulate and fold into a compact package. It can be transported in the accompanying exoskeleton case which consumes as less space as possible. A 6.3mm studio adapter is supplied for DJ-ing and studio use.
V-Moda M100 headphones have been tested by military standards of strength. They are shock-, sweat- and bend-proof.
Clean, unabashed bass has always been V-Moda’s forte. And you see its emergence in M100 closed-back headphones too. The warm bass teeters at the edge of bass power that’s enough for bassheads but not too much for the audiophiles. The deep, impactful low frequencies are clean of any distortion and convey details hitherto unheard on cheaper headphones. It even surpasses the costlier Sennheiser Momentum 2.0 in terms of the richness of bass. The midrange is clear and well-resolved in M100. It may not have the startling clarity of Momentum’s mids but it beats competition in its own price range.
The treble is geared to match the bass without being sibilant. The soundstage is good for a closed-back headphone. Instruments get their space to lay down. The dynamic sound can respond to the rhythm changes of fast-paced or complicated tracks. Audiophiles may find the detail and soundstage of Momentum 2.0 better but that also costs a little extra. Only Audio-Technica M50x competes with M100 in terms of warm sound with strong bass.
- Military grade metal construction
- Clean bass-focused audio with good detailing
- Detachable cables
- Big stash of useful accessories
BÖHM B76 wireless closed-back headphones are a diamond in the rough. This brand has steadily found followers because of the B66 and B76 headphones. Wireless connectivity, active noise-cancellation, kickass design, B76 have a lot going on. And they have executed them well under a reasonable budget. These are not the best noise-cancelling headphones but they are a great alternative to the expensive Bose cans. Wild horses could not have kept them out of the best closed-back headphones under $200 list.
Design and Features
The BÖHM B76 closed-back headphones carry the same elegant grace that B66 do. Only B66 is a tad more fancy-looking. The body of B76 is all pleather and brushed metal. The earpads are humongously large and almost rectangular. They are bound to fit all ear sizes well. The foam on the earpads may be a little firm but they tone down with use. The headband has less padding in the interest of keeping the weight down. But this might not be comfy enough for large heads. These cans are available in black or tan colors.
These closed-back headphones connect wirelessly via Bluetooth v4.0 within a 33 feet range. The buttons are large and built to tactile advantage. The right earcup has the volume/track navigation button. They flank the multifunctional button in the middle. This controls Play/Pause and call answer/reject. The lower edge of the earcup has the Bluetooth indicator and a 3.5mm port. The latter allows you connect the B76 headphones in wired mode. Right earcup has a button to power on/off ANC functionality. The micro-USB charging port and ANC indicator are also on this side.
The BÖHM B76 closed-back headphones have a non-replaceable battery. It holds charge through 16 hours of music playback. They are foldable and fit snugly into the accompanying hard case.
The Active Noise-Cancelling functionality is executed well by BÖHM in the B76 closed-back headphones. It drowns 75% of the low-frequency noise. So the engine hum and AC noises are successfully shunned. But the ANC circuit generates some noise which is noticeable below 10% of the total volume. You can also hear this hiss in the silence between the songs. Since we never go down to that volume, we found B76’s noise-cancelling abilities sufficient. It cannot beat Bose headphones at such a stingy budget.
The audio quality is good for a casual listener. There’s plenty of bass which adds flavor to the sound. It’s natural for ANC headphones to boost the bass to sound clearer over low-frequency noise. So there’s a mid-bass bump. But the bump does not obscure the midrange. The vocals and guitar get their stage in rock and jazz genres. The popular music today sounds thrilling on these closed-back headphones. The audio experience is helped by the fact that the Bluetooth connection stays steady. You get solid transmission anywhere within the 33 feet range as long as there are no walls in between.
- Strong Bluetooth v4.1 connection
- Active noise cancellation
- 16 hour battery life
- Elegant and comfortable design
- Large tactile buttons
- Light hiss from ANC noticeable as very low volume
Since studio headphones often focus on the audio, they rely on throwback memories to make their design attractive. Sitting bam in the middle of our 0-$200 price range, the Shure SRH440 closed-back headphones look dated but sound every bit exhilarating as the music today. The audio sounds natural and loses none of its charm to neutrality. Detachable cable and foldability add to the reasons why the SRH440 deserves a place in the best closed-back headphones under $200 list.
Design and Features
Shure SRH440 closed-back headphones go for low-key jet-black architecture. The earcups are oval and sheathed in vinyl. The headband is similarly cushioned and draped in vinyl. The headband feels a little firm on the underside so we suggest taking off the headphones every two hours. The earpads are removable so you can switch to velour pads for more comfort and breathability over the ears. The arms of the headphone fold, packing it into a portable structure. The earcups rotate for single-sided listening. The build is all plastic. Although it looks hefty, it weighs only 9.5 ounces. The earcups are marked with company logo and the arms are marked ‘Left’ and ‘Right’.
The cable of these closed-back headphones is detachable. Owing to their intended use in the studio, a 10-foot coiled cable is provided. The coils are loose and readily stretch as you move away. But we would have preferred a straight cable for everyday use. Also, like Sennheiser HD 380 Pro, the coiled cable weighs down the headphones. Luckily a replacement cable can be easily found. A 6.3mm studio adapter and a vinyl bag are supplied with the SRH440.
The Shure SRH440 closed-back headphones are just as neutral as M50x. That is to say, they aren’t completely neutral. They sound more natural with powerful bass. The impedance is rated at 44 ohms which prevents noise but can be easily driven from the mobile playback devices. We put them through the burn-in process for the sound to open up. The bass is rich and deep. It extends well into the sub-bass region. It’s not boosted as such, but it’s definitely not as neutral as the surgically clean headphones. Would-be audiophiles can live with the bass of SRH440. Also DJs and musicians working on EDM, Techno, Rap etc. will appreciate the plumpness of lower frequencies. They sound good without EQ. But they are highly amicable to equalizing as well.
The detail and clarity remain consistent through the frequency spectrum. Shure brings its legacy of excellent audio capability down to a reasonable price. So it still beats its less-experienced peers by a mile. The soundstage is typical of closed-back headphones but it comes in handy in the studio while mixing. The instruments sound closed compared to the expensive headphones. The noise isolation is agreeable but audio will leak out at high volumes.
- Gutsy bass with natural audio
- Detachable cable
- Comfortable for 1-2 hours continuous use
- Long heavy cable
- Gets uncomfortable after 2 hours continuous use
AKG brand is well-known in the audiophile circles, but they rarely catch the eyes of casual listeners. So here are AKG K550 closed-back headphones that should be taken notice of. These are spunky headphones, a cross between retro and modern. The sound is set in a huge stage just like open-back cans. They are comfortably large and yet not dorky looking. With so much going for them, it would be a shame if they aren’t on the best closed-back headphones under $200 list.
Design and Features
The AKG K550 closed-back headphones have some of the biggest earcups we have ever seen. These giant round structures comfortably house ears of any size. They shoulder the entire responsibility of offsetting the headphones weight. The headband is wide but sparsely padded. The earcups, on the other hand, are mounted with puffy padding sheathed in leather. The whole structure is created in a way that it will sit flat on the head. The K550 does not stick out dorkily from your skull. The arms of the headphones rotate so that they can fold flat. Unfortunately, there’s no carry pouch shipped with them. But the flat structure makes it easy to find one for them.
These closed back headphones have a permanently attached cable. At this price, we really hoped they had gone for a detachable cable. Now, if the cable goes haywire, so do the headphones. Thankfully, the cable is single-sided so it gives you more freedom of movement. The 10-foot cable is rubber-coated and shielded against abuse. But then again the length hinders portability. And in this case the cable cannot be swapped for a shorter one. So the K550 is best for at-home and studio use. The cord ends in a 3.5mm plug. A threaded 6.3m adapter is supplied with the package.
One thing you notice immediately about the AKG K550 closed-back headphones is their massive soundstage. This stage is spacious beyond the expectation from its price and a closed-back headphone. The expansive dimensions easily station the numerous instruments in any complicate mix especially like orchestra or classical music. K550 sounds laidback with its warm tones. Bass is kicked up a notch for the delightful listening experience at home. It’s still natural, it doesn’t sound sculpted. They are not as clean-sounding as AKG’s more expensive reference headphones. But they aren’t so muddied that they cannot be used in the studio. The bass is just enough to satisfy both the audiophiles and the casual listeners.
The midrange has more substance than clinically neutral headphones. The thick vocals and guitar make the sound that much more enjoyable. The treble extends far higher than our listening range and remains detailed throughout. What it has in clarity, it lacks in bite. But we like the leisurely sound compared to the bright audio that tires out the ears. K550 closed-back headphones do not fatigue the ears sonically.
- Warm, natural sound
- Laidback, enjoyable sound
- Large earcups are comfortable
- 10-foot long cable
- 10-foot long cable is non-detachable
If M100’s bass seems tame to you, the V-Moda LP2 closed-back headphones are sure to satisfy all your bass-heavy desires. Many audiophiles and purists will find the LP2’s bass to be just over the limit they like. But we have to take the hardcore EDM fans into account. And dance music simply rocks on the LP2. The headphones have V-Moda’s typical design and military-grade durability. Its bassy tones bring variety to the best closed-back headphones under $200 list.
Design and Features
The V-Moda Crossfade LP2 closed-back headphones look almost every bit like the M100. But the comfort level may seem different to people. The earcups are hexagonal. They are plushly padded and sheathed in leather. Two ear pieces hang freely off of a broad but amply padded headband. The underside of the headband is covered in mesh which allows better breathability to the top of your head. Earpads are filled with memory foam and are replaceable. XL-sized memory foam earpads are available for purchase online. They are much more comfortable for normal and large ears. The construction is all lightweight metal. A gunmetal shield kit is supplied with the headphones. This allows you to change the backplates of the earcups with the screws and the driver provided.
The cables of these closed-back headphones iare detachable. You can connect either of the two cables provided. One is a SpeakEasy cable with inline mic and remote control. This allows you to take calls on LP2. The other is an extended universal cable ending in 3.5mm jack. Both the cables are Kevlar-reinforced. The jacks are bent 45° to reap the benefits of both straight plugs and L-shaped plugs. These headphones are tested against physical shock, repetitive bending and environmental elements. A compact exoskeleton case which tightly shrouds the LP2 is shipped with the package. A carabiner and a 6.3mm adapter are also included. No headphone has as vast an arsenal of accessories as LP2 does at this price.
Bass is LP2 closed-back headphones’ highlight. Bass pumps the songs with some ferocity. Dubstep, EDM, Techno etc. all get that dark undercurrent of rumbling bass. The intense bass of LP2 is much more forceful and powerful than the M100 which already toed the line of audiophile’s bass limit. Their bass quality is much better than the wildly boosted cheaper headphones. The bass here is well-defined and extends deep into sub-bass. So whatever you hear is not just artificially boosted bass. Instead these are true low-end frequencies made meatier.
The trade-off for such vigorous bass is the clarity of mids. The midrange is present but it does get bullied by the bass. That’s not to say that the mids and highs are crass. They are clear but they just don’t get the attention that bass gets. The soundstage is what you would expect from closed-back headphones.
- Deep, powerful bass
- Replaceable earpads
- Detachable cable
- Customizable gunmetal shield kit
- Military-grade metal construction
- Original earpads may get uncomfortable after 2 hours of continuous use
Sony MDR1R closed-back headphones sit on the high end of the 0-$200 price range. With deals available online, these are headphones worth looking at. These laidback headphones are perfect for the casual listeners and the audiophiles. There’s some serious bass along with high-resolution mids and highs. They also happen to be one of the most comfortable headphones in the market. Since Sony has got the two most important aspects right, we raced these straight to the best closed-back headphones under $200 list.
Design and Features
Sony MDR1R closed-back headphones are part of Sony’s modernized arsenal. Although chunky they have sense of muted elegance that speaks for their premium status. The earcups are racetrack oval and mounted with soft, springy cushions. It likes your ears have found their favorite blankey. The earpads are replaceable too so you can swap them for velour. We never felt the need to make a change. The earcups and headband join with brushed metal. The headband is broad and optimally padded. Earcups can swivel forward towards your ears to conform to your head shape. At 8.45 ounces, they don’t weight your head down. They don’t stick out of your head either. The earcups provide good noise isolation against commuter noise. Both the black/red and brown/silver versions are stylish for public wearing.
These closed-back headphones have detachable cables. Being 3.5mm male-male cables they are easily replaceable. The second OEM cable has a 3-button inline remote. The Multifunctional buttons works with all phones while the volume buttons works with Apple devices. The cord is a thick, plastic-coated, tangle-free affair and terminates in a hardy L-shaped plug. The headphones fold flat but the arms are not articulating. A drawstring pouch and 6.3mm adapter are part of the package.
The Sony MDR1R closed-back headphones are well-extended with a focus on bass. The bass here is meaty, warm, and highly resolved. It’s rare to get such quantity and quality. Bass is punchy and the sub-bass forms an energetic undercurrent that’s conspicuously separated from bass. The bass gnaws off the edges of harsh recordings and smoothens down their grating details. This might hinder critical listening. But casual listeners who mostly play MP3s will love MDR1R’s take on low-quality recordings.
The midrange is also warm and wrapped in a good amount of details. The vocals and guitars sit clearly on the bass. The treble has been ironed out. It is still detailed but it’s not the sparkling treble. While this decreases listening fatigue, some listeners may want more treble. These closed-back headphones performed well in all the genres we tested from EDM to classical.
- Extremely comfortable padding
- Powerful, extended and defined bass
- Warm audio
- 2 detachable cables, one with remote
Bose does have headphones without Active Noise-Cancelling functionality. SoundTrue Around-ear II closed-back headphones are one such specimen. Revamped into a sleeker, more comfortable design, these lightweight beauties carry Bose’s soothing sound signature which suits all genres. The durability has Bose’s stamp of approval. That’s more than we can ask out of the best closed-back headphones under $200.
Design and Features
Bose SoundTrue Around-Ear II( AE II) closed-back headphones are evolving to look more like their QuietComfort line. And why shouldn’t they? This design has proven to be ultra-comfortable. At 6.4 ounces, the AE II are already quite easy on head. They have a wide headband. The earcups are oval and lavishly padded. The earpads are pliant and rest gently around the ears. The headband pressure and cushioning are minimal. The earcups fold flat for easy storage. In this configuration they fit into the flat zippered case provided with the headphones.
These closed-back headphones have a detachable single-sided cable. You can choose between the Android-compatible or Apple-compatible models while buying. The mic and multifunctional buttons work with all kinds of devices in both. But the volume buttons only work with the model chosen. They are available in charcoal black and zany blue colors. Although these are quiet lightweight, they feel durable and substantial just like their wireless cousins.
Bose headphones are known to have an all-appeasing audio signature. The Around-Ear II( AE II) closed-back headphones have a natural audio response. The bass is plentiful. It’s enough to enjoy the music and operates with good control so as not to spill into the mids. The treble is sculpted to match the power of bass. It has that sparkle and a bit of bite some people crave for. But they don’t sound overtly bright. They are sonically and physically non-fatiguing.
The midrange of these closed-back headphones is peppered with details. But the overall sound signature is kept smooth so that it works with all kinds of genres. It also responds well to both low and high quality music input. So if your playlist has all MP3 songs, AE II will not rub the lack of quality in your face.
- Smooth, natural audio
- Lightweight and ultra-comfortable
- Detachable cable
- Very useful flat zippered case
- Arms do not fold