Top 10 Best Open back Headphones in 2018
High quality open back headphones are not quite easy to find despite the fact that there’s a plethora of them in the market. Most audiophiles will agree that open back headphones are the ones with superior sound quality among all types of cans. This type is arguably the best ones when it comes to audio quality as its open design allows “breathing” which will allow a more natural and detailed production of sound. Less pressure on the ears can also be offered by this type of cans which contributes greatly to fatigue-free listening for hours on end. Open back headphones are usually the cans of choice for audio engineers and music producers for mixing and mastering while closed back headphones are preferred for recording.
While there are so many pairs of open back headphones that are super expensive, even pricier than overrated pairs from popular brands, most often than not these are worth every penny because of the amount of enjoyment and clarity you can from these cans. If you are one who is willing to invest on a pair of headphones for professional use, this is for you. For music enthusiasts who simply want cans that can give them awesome audio quality, open back headphones would also be great choices.
Though open back headphones can produce such a natural and superior sound due to its open design, most of them don’t do well in sound isolation. While there are still some models that manage to block out background noise quite impressively, the best open back headphones design can bring sound leakage. For that reason, open back headphones are not the best choice for those who are always in quiet environments such as frequent airplane travellers, those who work in libraries or in a closed office. However, if sound leakage doesn’t bother you or if you won’t put the volume up too high when you’re beside someone who you don’t want to disturb, then this shouldn’t be an issue.
Qualities and Characteristics of the Best Open Back Headphones
The advantages of owning open back headphones have already been discussed above and if you feel this is the pair that’s meant for you, it’s time to take a look at the characteristics you should be looking for when it comes to shopping for these cans.
- Sound Quality
While it is a given that sound quality should be topnotch in open back headphones, it is still essential for you to find one that boasts of superior audio. Impressive bass, treble, mids and highs matched with incredible clarity are simply what you should get from these cans. Manufacturers will most likely advertise a pair as one with best sound but in order for you to be sure, take a look at professional critic reviews as well as customer feedback.
- Minimal Sound Leakage and Acceptable Noise Isolation
Unless you are using these cans purely for studio purposes, then the noise isolation and sound leakage issues shouldn’t be an issue for you. However, if you want to get most out of your money and you want to use these headphones even outside of the studio, then you should at least look for one with acceptable noise cancellation features – not necessarily full cancellation but at least good enough to keep your focus when listening and minimal sound leakage so you won’t have to disturb those who sit beside you.
- Comfort and Durability
Especially if you work as a music professional, you know for a fact that you’ll be spending endless hours with your headphones above your head and over your ears. Comfort is essential to keep you convenient for all those working hours. Lightweight build, cushioned ear cups and adjustable headband are essential. Since you intend to use these for quite some time, durability should also be a must. The best open back headphones should have excellent quality construction and a sturdy build that wouldn’t require you to handle it like a baby all the time.
- Customer Feedback
When shopping for a product that you haven’t tried before, it is best to check on customer feedback and ratings. If reviews from professional audio critics are available, make sure to check them all out as well. If you have a friend or a colleague with the same pair of headphones, ask them about their experience or better yet, try the headphones on and see if it’s good enough for you.
Top 10 Best Open Back Headphones In 2018 – Chart
|1. Audio Technica AUD ATHAD500X Audiophile Open-Air Headphones||$$||4.7|
|2. AKG K 240 Semi-Open Studio Headphones||$$||4.5|
|3. Samson SR850 Professional Studio Reference Headphones||$$||4.5|
|4. Grado Prestige Series SR80e Headphones||$$$||4.5|
|5. Sennheiser HD 439 Headphones Black||$$||4.4|
|6. Audio Technica ATH-AD700X Audiophile Headphones||$$$||4.4|
|7. Beyerdynamic DT-990-Pro-250 Professional Acoustically Open Headphones for Monitoring and Studio Applications||$$$||4.4|
|8. Superlux HD668B Dynamic Semi-Open Headphones||$$||4.3|
|9. Sennheiser HD 600 Open Back Professional Headphone||$$$||4.3|
|10. Sennheiser HD 598 Over-Ear Headphones||$$$||4.3|
Now that the definition, qualities and characteristics of the best open back headphones have already been discussed, it is time to take a look at the top 10 best open back headphones that are highly recommended by audio experts and music enthusiasts. If you found yourself on a dead end and you can’t seem to make a decision on what pair to buy, this list will surely help narrowing down the choices for you.
The Audio Technica AUD ATHAD500X Audiophile Open-Air Headphones easily get the top spot on this list for several reasons that will be discussed below. First and foremost, it is just right to mention that this pair is much appreciated not only by music professionals but enthusiasts and even gamers as well. It is super comfortable with its lightweight honeycomb aluminum casing that will make you forget you’re wearing it after a while – truly essential for those who intend to use this for hours on end. Furthermore, the cushioned ear pads made with flexible raised-fabric adds to its comfort and the self-adjusting 3D Wing Support Housing gives the perfect fit for most head sizes without having to adjust the actual headband manually. This self-adjusting feature plus the excellent construction with high quality materials make this pair a sturdy one.
Aside from the fact that the Audio Technica AUD ATHAD500X Audiophile Open-Air Headphones are natural beauties with the much needed comfort and durability, it is excellent when it comes to sound quality too. In fact, its CCAW voice coils and 53 mm drivers allow production of remarkable natural sound that goes deep on the bass and impressive on the vocals. Since it is classified as open-air or open back headphones, you don’t get all that sound pressure on your ears and would allow a more natural result.
It isn’t even a wonder that this pair has received hundreds of exceptional reviews by music professionals. Professionals have reviewed this product as well and made a conclusion that it is quite a good pair that one should not make a pass on. Especially when you’re on a tight budget, you will get a good deal with the Audio Technica AUD ATHAD500X Audiophile Open-Air Headphones, as it certainly offers value for money given its industry leading quality.
If you’re someone who wants a pair of open back headphones for the sound quality it offers yet you require at least a decent noise isolation feature, you can get the best of both worlds with the AKG K 240 Semi-Open Studio Headphones. Since it’s classified as semi-open, it can give you that same sound quality that a pair of the best open back headphones can produce but its circumaural design still allows the necessary noise isolation that you would expect from a pair of closed back headphones.
Priced at under 100 dollars, you can’t go wrong with the AKG K 240 Semi-Open Studio Headphones and the amazing feedback from thousands of customers, audio professionals included, all these years make this pair seem like the ideal choice. It’s been in the market for over a decade but it is still highly supported as the manufacturers continue to improve this model through time. AKG has patented its Varimotion diaphragm that comes with the new XXL transducers which are essentially the reasons why this pair does quite a good job when it comes to sound quality. You can get an accurate response no matter the volume levels and the technology brings a more powerful bass and clear sound that are so natural, you’ll forget you’re listening from headphones. With the sound quality it offers, it easily puts other more expensive cans to shame.
As mentioned, AKG K 240 Semi-Open Studio Headphones are in the market for over a decade now and one of the most important reasons customers continue to support this product is because of the comfort and durability it can offer. The self-adjusting headband allows easy fit for most head sizes and the flexible steel structure allows bending if you wish to listen on just one ear – this makes it durable enough too to withstand occasional abuse. The ear cups are cushioned and made especially for professionals who plan to use this for many hours and will ensure fatigue-free listening and utmost comfort.
You don’t have to be a serious audiophile to realize that you’re getting a great deal out of the Samson SR850 Professional Studio Reference Headphones. This pair of professional studio reference heapdhones features an open-ear design that is ideal for mixing and mastering tracks in the studio. That design does well with reduction of ear fatigue too since you are expected to be working with these cans for hours on end. Furthermore, comfort plays its game well with these headphones through the self-adjusting headband that doesn’t only feel comfy but it feels secure on the head as well – no matter what size. Despite being a pair of open back headphones, the Samson SR850 Professional Studio Reference Headphones is pretty good with noise isolation though some customers who tried it out mentioned a bit of sound leakage; though this shouldn’t be an issue at all if you don’t listen to music in full volume.
When it comes to sound quality, the Samson SR850 Professional Studio Reference Headphones doesn’t fall short. Impressive reproduction and extended dynamic range are possible through its 50mm drivers. Frequency response is at 10Hz to 30Khz and impedance at 32 Ohm. Sound is remarkably balanced and you can get decent bass, good trebles and highs and definitely more natural audio which is essential when creating music. Now this pair isn’t just for the studio professional as many customers who tried this are simple music enthusiasts and even gamers. They can use this pair for hours on end without any issues when it comes to sound quality and comfort.
For just under dollars, you can already enjoy an impressive pair of headphones that can easily match much expensive cans. If you want a good pair without spending a lot of money, theSamson SR850 Professional Studio Reference Headphones should be your number 1 option.
You don’t exactly get it cheap price-wise as compared to the headphones already covered above but for around 200 bucks, you get every penny’s worth with the Grado Prestige Series SR80e Headphones. These headphones are actually an upgrade from an earlier model from the same brand and Grado seemed to listen well to their customers as all the improvements in this pair just seems to hit every request and demand perfectly. Hand-made in Brooklyn, New York, these “E” series headphones might not be the cheapest pair in the market but it does have its perks and those who tried it out wouldn’t go for any other pair of cans.
The Grado Prestige Series SR80e Headphones is a dynamic pair of cans that goes by the open air principle. It assures fatigue-free listening for hours and its cushioned earcups will keep you comfortable while working, gaming or listening to your favorite tunes. With an impressive 20-20,000 Hz frequency response and normal impedance of 32 Ohms, it does pretty much what one can expect from a good pair of open back headphones. For added compatibility to most audio sources and equipment, a 6.5mm golden adapter is included in the package.
Because it is made with sturdy plastic housing and a new driver design and polymer, distortion is reduced or even eliminated. You can get super clear and balanced sound that is just pure and refreshing. Though it isn’t the best when it comes to bass but has enough punch into it, the Grado Prestige Series SR80e Headphones proves to be a special pair as it delivers vocals and every note so naturally, you will truly feel the music you’re listening to. Even critics agree that this pair goes up on the list of top headphones in the world because of its excellent sound quality.
Durability is without a question a great feature of these cans too. Since these are handmade, you can be assured that the manufacturers paid attention to every little detail to ensure construction quality is topnotch.
A list such as this wouldn’t go on without a Sennheiser. When Sennheiser says it’s “HD”, it is as high definition as it gets. You can’t go wrong with the Sennheiser HD 439 Headphones. It is great for music enthusiasts and even gamers but it’s awesome as well for professionals. Even when on the budget, audio quality and listening experience shouldn’t be sacrificed and many thanks to Sennheiser for keeping great music within reach for the general population.
The Sennheiser HD 439 Headphones boasts of powerful neodymium magnets built-in into these cans so rich bass is truly impressive. You can feel the beat of the drums and every instrument playing on your ears which is perfect not only for the regular listener but the producer as well. The sounds are just so balanced and clear that you’d never want another pair after you try this on. Practicality-wise, you are getting a bargain out of these headphones because why would you pay more when you can have pretty much the same for less? It is the cheapest among the Sennheiser HD cans covered on this list. And yes, it can be comparable to hundred-dollar headphones and customers who tried this definitely agree.
Its design does pretty well in noise isolation considering it’s an open back pair of headphones. What’s even better about the Sennheiser HD 439 Headphones is that it is ergonomically designed for utmost comfort for all head and ear sizes. You can also switch from the two-single sided cables that come in 1.4 meters and 3 meters for added convenience and flexibility. It is compatible with most audio sources through its 3.5mm gold straight plug and an additional 6.3mm adapter plug.
Ultimately, this pair is a great choice because it meets all the criteria expected from open back headphones. In addition, it feels sturdy and is actually durable based on the comments of customers who already own one so you are definitely getting beyond the value of your money.
If you’re willing to invest a little over a hundred dollars for a pair of open back headphones, better spend your money on one that’s guaranteed to impress and give you the sound quality, durability and comfort that you need. This one’s made for audiophiles – the ones who are seriously critical about great audio quality so you can only expect greatness out of this pair. The Audio Technica ATH-AD700X Audiophile Headphones is the pair of headphones that would be appreciated by music enthusiasts, audiophiles and professionals alike as it is packed with features that one will absolutely love about a pair of cans. Despite its fairly low price, you know that Audio Technica didn’t cut along the edges to make this available with its price tag. It is definitely one that’s packed with all the power you need from a reliable pair of headphones.
The excellent sound quality of the Audio Technica ATH-AD700X Audiophile Headphones comes from the 53 mm drivers that were newly designed for this model. This allows impressive clarity of treble and midrange. Power is also remarkably handled through the bobbin-wound CCAW voice coils. With its frequency response of 5 to 30,000 Hz, this pair is highly recommended for any type of music lover.
When it comes to comfort and durability, the Audio Technica ATH-AD700X Audiophile Headphones is also very impressive. Since these are open back headphones, not only will you get super natural sound when listening, there’s also no pressure on the ears. Its casing is made of lightweight aluminum honeycomb material that makes it easy to wear for hours on end and this feature also contributes greatly on acoustics. The flexible cushioned ear cups and the self-adjusting headband adds to utmost comfort that you will surely appreciate.
The cables are tangle-resistant as these are made of elastic TPE sheath. Built with a gold-plated 3.5mm connector, you also get a 6.3 mm adapter with the package.
To be clear on this review, the DT-990 is available in 32 OHM, 250 OHM and 250 OHM Pro. For this post, we are focusing on the Beyerdynamic DT-990-Pro-250 Professional Acoustically Open Headphones for Monitoring and Studio Applications (250 OHM Pro) which is one of the best open back headphones among different kinds of music lovers. You can purchase just the headphones or one that comes with an amplifier or a converter. Having enough options on the DT-990 alone already makes it a competitive pair of cans. What makes it even better though is its sound quality that customers who already own this vouch for. It has already received hundreds of outstanding customer reviews – who have been impressed by its sound performance and comfort alike. Now, when you’re shopping for a pair, especially if you’re paying quite a good amount of money, you have to be sure that you’re getting what you pay for and the best way to find out is through customer feedback. The DT-990 Pro doesn’t lack great feedback at all.
Another great thing about these cans is that it is super durable and its parts are easily replaceable. This is essential especially if you intend to use this for long hours, hence the cans are prone to more wear and tear; and you don’t want to be replacing the entire pair of headphones if a part gets broken. If you handle this with care though and you don’t constantly abuse it, you will have no problem with durability as these cans are built with high quality materials and superior construction. Its rugged design adds to that durability and comfort too. Adjustable and padded headband and soft velour ear pads will make you enjoy hours of listening on the daily.
These open, diffuse-field headphones that are made especially for the studio is also loved by music enthusiasts because the sound is just so balanced and clear. It has 250 ohm drivers and a single-sided coiled cable for easy listening.
Latest Customer Reviews and Prices of Beyerdynamic DT-990-Pro-250 Professional Acoustically Open Headphones
Another pair of semi-open budget headphones makes it to this list and it sure does deserve this space because it hits just about everything one should look for right on the spot. The Superlux HD668B Dynamic Semi-Open Headphones is able to produce such a natural, accurate and spatial sound which makes it the pair of choice for many music lovers. You can be a professional in the studio, a serious audiophile or simply a leisure listener, and you will surely be impressed with these cans. The clear cymbals, impressive trebles, rich bass and beautiful vocals that this pair of headphones can produce are simply what make it a standout. At under 50 dollars, you are definitely getting a bargain out of the Superlux HD668B Dynamic Semi-Open Headphones.
A little bit of difference when it comes to style as compared to other closed or open-back headphones, the Superlux HD668B Dynamic Semi-Open Headphones’ headband is also “semi-open”. There are just two small pads or cushions placed in the middle part of the headband for comfort purposes. This design makes these cans extra lightweight and easy on the head when worn for long periods of time. It doesn’t get warm easily and it is less likely to feel fatigue even after hours of working or listening with this pair. The headband is adjustable too to fit most head sizes and the ear cups are generously cushioned for added comfort.
Sound isolation is quite decent with this pair and according to those who already own the Superlux HD668B Dynamic Semi-Open Headphones, sound leakage isn’t too bad either but still depending on how loud the volume level is. It is compatible with most audio sources including your laptop, computer and music players and frequency response is impressive at 10-30,000Hz.
The no-frills design of the Superlux HD668B Dynamic Semi-Open Headphones makes it the headphone of choice for many and these cans sure didn’t disappoint. Whether or not you’re on a tight budget, you should try these headphones out.
The second Sennheiser on this list boasts of incredible value and offers so much more than what one can expect from an open back pair of cans. The Sennheiser HD 600 Open Back Professional Headphone isn’t a cheap pair at all. You usually get it for over 300 dollars, but accordinly to many audio experts every dollar is worth it. With hundreds of positive reviews from audiophiles and sound professionals, the Sennheiser HD 600 certainly deserves a place in our top 10 list. If you want to be satisfied with your purchase too, this pair should be a must-try for you.
The Sennheiser HD 600 Open Back Professional Headphone is a pair of audiophile headphones that are perfect for professional use. Thanks to its advanced diaphragm design, standing waves, artifacts and all disturbances are eliminated for a super clear and clean sound. Impressive bass, trebles, mids and highs, it truly is a pleasure listening with these cans. It has exceptional transient response and is built for hi-resolution recordings, these headphones are made with ultra-lightweight aluminum voice coils and neodymium ferrous magnets. For many audio engineers and music professionals, this is the most dependable pair of headphones as it can give you that outstanding sound quality at quite a decent price considering its features. Use it in different environments – the studio, your home, outdoors, on the plane and just about everywhere – you still get the same amazing results that will surely impress. 300 ohms impedance, 12-39,000 Hz frequency response, SPL at 97 in a pair of headphones that weighs half a pound, there’s nothing more one can ask for from these cans.
Build quality is topnotch too. With durability and comfort kept in mind, the Sennheiser HD 600 Open Back Professional Headphones come with a 2-year international warranty. Ergonomically designed with generously cushioned adjustable headband and ear cups, you can use these headphones for hours on end without any problem at all.
The final spot on this list goes to another much deserving Sennheiser which doesn’t only look amazing but sounds exceptional as well. Available in ivory which has a brown accent or classic black, these beauties surely look like an expensive pair — considering you can easily cop these below 200 dollars. Sennheiser has a line of HD headphones and this is one of the more popular models probably because of its luxurious looks but most likely because of that legendary Sennheiser sound that’s consistent among all their headphones. The Sennheiser HD 598 Over-Ear Headphones is quite a bargain if you think about it because you get a lot more than what you can expect for its price. These are premium headphones that are made for audiophiles, professionals and all types of music lovers.
These over-ear open back headphones are super comfortable. The Sennheiser HD 598 Over-Ear Headphones’ headband is generously padded and the velour ear pads are cushioned as well for utmost comfort. Since it is adjustable, it fits most head sizes and even if you have large ears, that shouldn’t be an issue as well. It is very lightweight too at 0.6 pounds – lighter than the HD 202 II and the HD 558 which are the other popular HD models of Sennheiser– which makes it ideal for long hours of use. Compatibility is quite impressive too as the 3.5mm adapter plug can easily be connected to just about any audio device. It has a detachable cable which is 3 meters long for easy mobility while you’re using this pair.
Exceptional clarity is what the Sennheiser HD 598 Over-Ear Headphones can offer. Its open back design contributes greatly to the more natural and balanced sound it can produce which is why it has become the headphone of choice for many professionals. If you are willing to spend a bit on headphones and you want a guarantee of excellence, these cans would be a great choice.