Top 15 Best Closed-back Headphones in 2018
There’s no feeling like losing yourself in the spirit of your favorite music. Closed-back headphones give you an opportunity to shut out the world and get some peace when you need it. These bring you a personal musical space where you can laugh, cry, sulk or celebrate with your favorite artists. Closed-back headphones are unfortunately dime a dozen. So it could be difficult to pick the good ones. Armed with our experience in wearing, testing and breaking enough headphones, we picked out the 15 best closed-back headphones for you. These are spread over a wide price range and sound signatures. So there’s something for everyone here.
Closed-back headphones vs. open-back headphones
Closed-back headphones can be identified from open-back headphones by looking at the back of the ear pieces. If there are no vents at the back, these are closed-back headphones. Open-back headphones usually have a grille or larger vents at the back. With the advent of many semi-open headphones it might be easy to overlook the vents and misidentify the type of headphones. So now we check the specs to ensure that the headphones are closed-back.
Advantages of Closed-back headphones
Isolation: This is the single most important parameter where the closed-back headphones beat the open-back headphones. The former trap the sound waves trying to push into the earcups and shield against ambient noise. This creates a quieter background for you to listen to and enjoy the music in. Having outside noises minimized also allows you to hear the minute sonic details on the tracks. These are better choices for everyday use during commutes or whenever you need peace and isolation and also do not want to disturb the people around you.
Open-back headphones are pretty transparent and let audio in and out without any restrictions. You need a quiet space to really enjoy these. But they are also quiet useful if you go jogging/running or at work. You need to be aware of your surroundings and these relay the sounds you need to hear. Do note that not all closed-back headphones have stellar noise-isolation or low leakage.
Less Leakage: Closed back headphones generally limit the amount of audio leaking out of the earcups too. This way your playlist remains private during the commute or in a public place. It also doesn’t cause a nuisance. Open-back headphones are much more leaky and they end up disturbing the people around you. In case you want to watch a movie at night with someone sleeping close by, closed-back headphones are the choice.
Bass response: The closed back of these headphones makes the sound waves reflect back into the closed space. In effect, these act like speaker cabinets. The lower frequencies bounce off the backplates and accumulate. This makes the bass sound more impactful and strong even in neutral headphones. Open-back headphones tend to have diffused bass because of the open movement of the sound waves. Not all open-back headphones sound lacking in bass, it depends on their audio signature too. But they do sound more lucid and straightforward.
Choice in Budget: Since closed-back headphones are more in demand and have a wider audience, you get more choices spread over a wider budget range than the open-back headphones. The latter look to cater to audiophiles and hence have to satisfy much more stringent standards. Closed-back headphones also offer a larger range of sound signatures compared to open-back cans.
All-rounder: Many closed-back headphones have been able to expand their soundstage to match that of the open-back cans. But this is still work in progress. But if this becomes a trend, the closed-back headphones could completely out-do the open-back ones.
Features: Most of the extra features like Bluetooth, ANC, Foldability, multiple cables etc. are found in closed-back headphones more often than open-back one.
Who are the closed-back headphones ideal for?
Closed-back headphones are ideal for everyday use in all common situations like the commute, at work, whenever you want to dial down or when you want to watch something without disturbing the others. You also have many studio-grade and audiophile closed-back headphones. They might not sound as expansive as the open-back headphones at the same price. But they satisfy the staunchest of critics.
The availability of closed-back headphones at different price points allows everyone to be able to afford them too, not just the music enthusiasts.
Key features of high quality closed-back headphones
We dug deep and compared audio feverishly to find the 15 best closed-back headphones based on:
Audio: We prioritized the audio of the best closed-back headphones. We selected different popular sound signatures, since tastes can differ. We gave more preference to balance audio since they are easier to equalize even from portable devices. We avoided headphones with obvious sonic pitfalls like boomy bass, harsh highs or muddy audio.
Comfort: Closed-back headphones tend to get hot on the ears. So we checked that these could settle on the ears for at least 2-3 hours without causing too much discomfort. We also checked the type of earpads, the amount of headband padding and the clamp pressure of the band.
Isolation and Leakage: Since this is the greatest advantage of closed-back headphones over open-back cans, we checked that they delivered on this promise. We also tested whether they leak audio at normal volume levels. The clarity and detailing of the audio shines better with noise isolation.
Features: Some of these best closed-back headphones offer extra perks like Active Noise Cancelling, Bluetooth connectivity, touch controls, Foldability, removable cables etc.
Budget: We selected these headphones from over a large price range. They were compared based on their value for money.
TOP 15 BEST CLOSED-BACK HEADPHONES IN 2018 – CHART
The Bose QuietComfort 35 II are as stunning in their silence as in their music. They highlight and strengthen all the advantages of the closed-back headphones. With the best active noise-cancelling (ANC) in the world, these really do help carve out your personal space. The strong wireless connectivity and the ultra-comfortable fitment make a strong case for its top place in the best closed-back headphones list.
Design and Features
The Bose QC35 II closed-back headphones have a subtly elegant design. They may even seem a little basic in their black or grey hues. But the upside is that they look good on everyone for all purposes. The build is mostly plastic with metal backplates on ear pieces. Even with all the doodads, they are only 8.25 ounces. The earcups are racetrack oval and sit around large ears. The headband is padded at the arch. The earcups can fold flat and slide inwards for storage. In spite of the plastic build, we didn’t hear any ominous creaking or have them break on us. The clamp and fitment are ideal for hours of air travel. The light weight also helps their light grip.
These closed-back headphones succeed the version1 of the QC35. The major difference is the Google Assistant button on the right earcup. While this functionality could have been packed into the multi-functional button of the left earcup, this dedicated Google Assistant button does more. It tells you the time, reads your notifications and messages to you and you can dictate the reply. The volume/track navigation buttons and multi-functional button are on the left earcup. The QC35 II headphones connect wirelessly to the playback device. You can download the free app to control them from the phone. The Google Assistant button is re-programmable via this app. You can also change the level of ANC to low, full or off. This is a blessing for those who don’t like the pressure on ears from the ANC circuit. The battery lasts 20 hours on Bluetooth mode and 40 hours on wired mode. You can switch off the ANC and use these in the passive mode.
These are equipped with a very sensitive mic which filters out the surrounding noise.
The ANC is a major USP of the Bose QC35 II closed-back headphones. Bose has always designed freakishly quiet ANC headphones and with the QC35, its lights out after ANC is switched on. The lower frequencies of ambient noise are completely canceled. The edge of the higher frequencies are dulled. When no audio plays, you will be lulled into nothingness by the ANC. You can still hear high-pitched noises like sirens though.
There’s always some digital voodoo involved with ANC headphones which sculpts the audio bit in the ANC mode. This happens with QC35 II too. The audio sounds dynamic and alive with the ANC on. The sound signature is very forgiving, they sound good even with bad formats. The bass is punchy and has carries its weight. It doesn’t bleed into the mids through. The midrange is smooth and decently detailed. It’s not as open and transparent as Beyerdynamic 770 though. The treble is detailed but do not have any bite to them. The audio is relaxing and not as energetic as the Sennheiser Momentum 2.0. The upside is, it flatters all genres and source materials. But no other headphone offers the same combination of comfort, ANC and usability.
In the non-ANC mode, the audio sounds overall less lively though still remains as clear as in the ANC mode.
- Best ANC in the market
- Smooth, natural audio
- Google Assistant button
- Extremely comfortable
- Very easy to operate
- Less transparent than non-ANC headphones in this price range
Sony WH1000XM2 closed-back headphones are a powerhouse of technology. They pack so many features including adaptive ANC, touch controls, Apt-X HD support etc. that it upstages the Bose QC35 II. Except in terms of comfort, these almost beat them too. We are just psyched that our top two choices for the best closed-back headphones list are in such close competition.
Design and Features
The Sony WH1000MX2 closed-back headphones are modeled on the MDR1000X. The design looks slightly more professional and worth-the-price than Bose QC35II. The earcups are large racetrack oval design. The headband is optimally padded. The earpads are sheathed in leather. You have a choice of bluish-grey or silverish beige pieces. The earcups fold flat and fold inwards for storage. The right earcup has a touch-sensitive backplate. This has the volume/track navigation and play/pause controls. These feel comfy on the head with optimal clamp force.
These closed-back headphones have adaptive ANC. It automatically alters the level of ANC based on your movement and environment. This reduces the pressure of ANC on the ears when not required. You can activate a Quick Attention Mode by cupping the right earcup. This lowers the audio volume and the ANC so that you can hear outside audio or talk to someone. It also features a noise-cancelling optimizer which measures the barometric pressure in your surroundings and scans the ears to check how good the seal is. Sony understands these are important factors affecting ANC. So, the optimizer changes the audio accordingly. There’s a smartphone app which provides additional features like Surround Sound modes, scaling up compressed audio etc..
The WH1000MX2 closed-back headphones last 30 hours on a single full charge and up to 40 hours over a wired connection. They also offer quick-charge option with 70 mins run time on 10 mins charge. They can connect wirelessly through either Bluetooth or NFC, which is faster. They also support Apt-X HD unlike QC35 II which do not support Apt-X at all.
The Sony WH1000MX2 closed-back headphones almost match up with QC35 II in terms of the ANC capability. This is a feat in itself, since Bose has been undefeated champion of ANC for decades. The adaptive nature of ANC makes the operation literally hands-free. So if the built-in accelerometer figures out that you are in commute, it will turn to Transport Mode with full ANC. If you are walking, it will dial it down to keep you aware of the surroundings.
These closed-back headphones are quite balanced and relaxing to listen to. They are detailed and brimming with energy so all genres sound entertaining on them. The warm midrange is pleasantly transparent and slightly more intricate than the Bose QC35 II. The punchy bass adds to the body of the mix. But this isn’t flat, bleeding bass. It’s more agile and tight. The treble is crispy and clean. It makes for a non-fatiguing listen. The Apt-X HD support with compatible device will bring little more detailing and openness to the audio. WH1000MX2 sounds similar in wired mode. QC35 II has a better mic though.
- Adaptive ANC
- Bluetooth and NFC-enabled
- Natural, relaxed, detailed audio
- Quick attention Mode
- Apt-X HD
- Mic could be better
The Beyerdynamic DT770 Pro Studio headphones are professional monitors through and through. These ultra- comfortable headphones can replace the stalwarts like Sony MDR 7506 with their clean and neural audio and long-term comfort. The DT770 Pro is optimized for use in the studio although it looks as stylish as a casual headphone. All these factors combine to land it in the best closed-back headphones list.
Design and Features
The Beyerdynamic DT770 Pro Studio headphones balance durability and weight very well. They have metal in the headband extension area and the forks holding the ear pieces. The rest is high-quality plastic. These cans can take some serious abuse without breaking down. The earcups are large and round. They are mounted with velour pads. These allow better air ventilation and feel like suede on ears. The earcups can swivel a bit and adapt to the shape of your head. The headband is broad and padded too.
These closed-back headphones are available in 32 Ohm, 80 Ohm and 250 Ohm versions. The 32 Ohm version has pleather earpads. As impedance increases, we get a little better detailing and clarity but the headphones get harder to drive. We found the 80 Ohm version to be perfect balance between audio and ability to be driven. We can run them off portable sources like smartphones but the volume range is limited. We recommend using a headphone amp with these.
The cable is permanently attached to the left earcup. We do wish this were detachable but the 10-foot cord looks sturdy. This long cord is the reason you can’t take these out in public although they have the looks and audio for it. Being permanently connected, you can’t replace it either. It terminates in a 3.5mm jack and a 6.3mm adapter is included. A sturdy case is also part of the package.
The Beyerdynamic DT770 Pro Studio closed-back headphones come closest to Audio-Technica M50 in their sound signature, except these are clearer. With an appropriate amp, these really shine. The bass reflects in the cup adding punch to the lower end. The 80 Ohm version has meatier bass than the 32 Ohm ones because the former is well extended into the lower frequencies. The bass makes recording fun.
The midrange of these closed-back headphones is detailed and dynamic. It beats the M50 in terms of uniformly smooth response. The treble spike is a bit of a trick with Beyerdynamic. But it isn’t overdone. The slight spike gives the audio a hint of sparkle and clarity. These headphones will command your attention with their energetic delivery. But they are also non-fatiguing, both physically and sonically, for longs hours of music mixing.
- Ultra comfortable
- Balanced, energetic audio
- Strong bass performance
- Velour earpads
- 10-foot cable
- Cable is permanently attached
V-Moda always offers challenging headphones that cause shock and awe simultaneously. The Crossfade 2 wireless closed-back headphones are no different yet the best of the lot. Build like a tank, comfort and great bass dictate the profile of these cans. The Rose Gold version also supports AptX for better audio reception over Bluetooth. At the reduced price, they are ripe to be on the best closed-back headphones list.
Design and Features
The V-Moda Crossfade 2 closed-back headphones are built like all their other cans, with hexagonal earcups. They learned from version 1 and increased the size of earpads. While they are still not the XL V-Moda pads that everyone loves, these L-sized cushions increased comfort substantially. All padding is sheathed in vegan leather. The SteelFlex band can be twisted every which way without damaging them. The clamp is just enough, the weight is almost 11 ounces. The fork holding the earcups are made of metal. The lightweight metal hinges fold the earcups inwards for compact storage.
These closed-back headphones use Bluetooth to connect wirelessly within 30 feet from the source. The costlier Rose Gold model offers Qualcomm AptX which promises CD-like lossless audio quality. These can also operate in wired mode via the accompanying cable with inline mic. A studio adapter is also included. Other accessories include a smallish exoskeleton case which packs them in a very small space. This has vents to air out the headphones. The Crossfade 2 can be personalized by custom engraved shield kits which can be bought separately. These shields go at the back of the earcups.
The cable and the headphones are tested against strain at to very high standards, so you can get durability guaranteed here. These are also designed to stay staunch in the face of heat, cold, humidity and salt spray. The battery lasts through 14 hours per charge.
The V-Moda Crossfade 2 closed-back headphones follow the company trend of keeping things fun and energetic. Part of their charm is the slightly boosted bass which kicks up the fun a notch. The mid-bass has a calculated bump. This, along with the extended frequency response in Crossfade 2, lend both meatiness and agility to bass. V-Moda handles this bass bump in a graceful manner too, it doesn’t sacrifice the mids much. This is an audio response that both audiophiles and bassheads can love.
The midrange benefit from the surprisingly open soundstage of these closed-back headphones. They sound fun and full because of the bass. The neutral headphones like QC35 are only a little bit more natural-sounding. The extended treble sounds good and not forward like the bass. The large earpads provide a decent bit of noise isolation too.
- Exceptional durability
- Qualcomm AptX support
- Strong and energetic bass for bassheads
- Open soundstage
- Customizable shields
The Sennheiser PXC550 closed-back headphones bring their years of audio experience to compete with the ANC of Bose headphones. While they aren’t as eerily quiet as the Bose cans, they upstage them in terms of audio response. As always Sennheiser goes for slightly warm and hugely fun audio. The comfort and mic also give the QC35s a run for their money. These are another top choice for our best closed-back headphones list.
Design and Features
The Sennheiser PXC550 closed-back headphones are a tad more stylish compared to the Bose QC35s. The all-black design is very shapely all around and has some metallic highlights. They are just as low-profile as the QC35 and suit all situations of public wearing. They also weigh almost the same at 8 ounces. The earcups are racetrack oval and padded opulently. The pads are slightly shallower than the QC35 so those end up being marginally more comfortable. The headband is padded well too. The earcups can fold flat and hinge inwards for compact storage.
These closed-back headphones have a very important feature that QC35 misses. They start playing automatically when you put them on and pause when folded flat. The right earcup has touch controls for volume control and call/music control. There’s a button on the earcup to cycle through some EQ presets like club, movie etc.. You can control the headphones via the CapTune companion app. This is capable of setting and remembering the EQ options but it doesn’t support music played through Spotify.
The ANC is adaptive and adjusts the level according to the ambient noise in your surroundings. The battery lasts through 30 hours per charge. It takes 3 hours to fully charge them. When the juice runs out, you can use these in the wired mode. It connects via either Bluetooth or NFC. These come with a flat case, a cable with single button and mic, a studio adapter and an airline adapter.
The Sennheiser PXC550 headphone successfully filter out the lower frequencies without causing any perceptible ANC hiss. Audio-wise, they edge out the QC35s though. Sennheiser has taken a leaf out of the playbook of Sennheiser Momentum 2. The PXC550 play with the kind of rhythmic precision that isn’t consistent in the QC35. The bass is energetic and punchy. It gets a small but very calculated boost that brings a wondrous energy to the entire audio. These are pretty open-sounding cans, so this does not bleed into the mids.
The thick mix of instruments in midrange are delivered effortlessly and with details. The Momentum has lightly more energy and deeper soundstage. The mids have a fair bit of musicality and none of the DSP hiss gets in its way. We tried all genres with them and they played all of them equally well.
- Bluetooth and NFC
- Automatic power on-off
- Touch controls
- Lightweight and comfy
- Momentum 2 sound slightly better
The LyxPro HAS10 closed-back headphones are unbelievable high value for money. These match up to audiophile headphones thrice their price in both audio and build quality. The audio is mature and beautifully balanced, a quality unheard of at this price. They don’t skimp on comfort either. These are a definite win for the best closed-back headphones list.
Design and Features
The LyxPro HAS10 closed-back headphones look pretty simple and basic. They invest more in their build and audio than looks. The backplate of the earcups and the headband are made of lightweight aluminum. The headband and the racetrack oval earcups are opulently padded and finished in leather. The earcups swivel 180° which helps with single-sided monitoring. They also lean forward to adapt to the shape of your head. These are quite comfortable with optimal clamp. These are exceptionally well-made for their small price tag. They essentially match up with A-T M50 in the build quality.
These closed-back headphones have the cable permanently attached to the left earcup. The 3m cord is long enough to reach audiophile gear. A screw-on 6.3mm studio adapter is provided with the pack. The design is optimum for DJs who want to wear these long-term. The swivel earcups also make their lives easier.
The LyxPro HAS10 closed-back headphones need their burn-in time to come out with their real audio. They are worth the wait. The audio is pleasantly balanced unlike the bass-boosted headphones in their price range. The bass is tight and punchy. But it never steps out of the limit. The midrange is clean and decently detailed. The highs have a nice bite to them that make the headphones sound clearer. If you have a taste for neutral audio, these do not require much EQ. Their audio is neutral without being too dry or less dynamic, that’s why they are perfect for DJs.
The in-built phone EQ on smartphones makes it plenty easy to tune the audio any which way. Neutral signature is easier to alter than already sculpted audio. Being closed-back headphones, these soundstage is intimate. Still it’s not so cramped that the instrument would get lost in the fray. We wouldn’t call them high-end in their audio but they compete with the headphones thrice their price.
- Highly affordable
- Neutral natural audio
- Metal build Leather earcups
- Low noise leakage
- Single-side monitoring
- Needs at least 50 hours of burn-in
The Ultrasone Edition 5 closed-back headphones are end-of-the-road cans. They are ridiculously pricey but extremely worth it. Their USP is that they upstage open-back headphones at their price-tag. This is rare in high-end range. These are built with select material for both durability and light weight. These are unbeatable for these to be on the best closed-back headphones.
Design and Features
The Ultrasone Edition 5 closed-back headphones are simply gorgeous. Broadly, they have racetrack oval earcups and somewhat broad headband. They are pretty compact for an audiophile can. Now, on to the details. The earcups are coated in ruthenium, precious metal. The metal has an elegant and understated brilliance. It also lends durability to them and we don’t think they’ll get dinged up that easily. The headband has a metal skeleton and the forks that hold the earpieces are made of metal too.
These closed-back headphones are padded with squishy cushions and sheathed in Ethiopian sheep leather with hand stitching. As with all Ultrasone headphones, these have MU metal-shielding to protect your ears against the radiation from internal circuit. They come with 3 detachable cables: 4m cable with 6.3mm jack, 1.5m cable with 3.5mm jack and a 1.2m cable with mic and remote for mobile use. Looks like they thought of everything. Usually high-end headphones are geared only for home or studio use.
The closed back of the ear plates brings you more noise isolation than the open-backed headphones like Sennheiser HD800 headphones can provide. Tough being this expensive, we don’t know if you would want to wear them out and about.
If you have ever heard a high-end headphone like The HD800 or Stax Electrostatic cans, you would know how neutral and analytical they sound. Even with the out-of-this-world separation, unparalleled soundstage and unmistakable, the Ultrasone Edition 5 sound unbelievably musical. They have all the otherworldly characteristics of a headphones this price, without the dry and cold quality of it.
These have that ethereal touch that makes the audio sounds so transparent and energetic. The audio so coherent and the details are amazing. They can completely transform your audio experience. For a closed-back headphones, they have a huge soundstage. They can compete with HD800 easily in the depth and width of the audio. These need at least 500 hours of burn-in to settle down at their basic audio which is pretty similar to what you get in the first 30 hours of use.
- Wide open soundstage
- Highly musical and detailed
- Neutral and airy
- Premium Metal build
- 3 detachable cables
- Crazy expensive
The Status Audio CB1 closed-back headphones are affordable pair giving the studio headphones a run for their money. These are highly comfortable and beautifully balanced. They pack excellent noise isolation and low noise leakage. They are absolute gems as studio cans but they also double as street headphones. Their exceptional value for money bring them a place in the best closed-back headphones list.
Design and Features
The Status Audio CB1 closed-back headphones are much like the Audio-Technica M50x in their form factor. But they are much swankier with the M50x. The black body has rose gold highlights on the earpieces. The ear pieces are round and opulently padded. These are deep and very plush cushions with some kind of resin sheath. The headband is broad and padded too. The earcups fold flat for storage or when you need to hang them around the neck. The arms of the headband fold for compact storage.
These closed-back headphones have two detachable cables. One is coiled and one is straight and they both end in 3.5mm jacks. They twist and lock into the earcup. They comes with a 6.3mm jack.
The Status Audio cb1 closed-back headphones have such a mature take on the audio response. They are very neutral sounding headphones in the age of bass-boosted cans in this price range. The audio is airy and detailed for the price. The bass plays with decided punch. The midrange is smooth and musical. The highs have the bite to match but they aren’t revealing of the flaws.
In spite of their balanced and detailed nature, these headphones go easy on the flaws in the audio. At their price, they exceed all expectations.
- Balanced, detailed audio
- Highly affordable
- Very comfortable and durable
- 2 Detachable cables
Bowers & Wilkins celebrated their anniversary with the P9 signature closed-back headphones. And so did we. These are pricey yet, extremely worth it. These look premium and are designed to be durable. B&W have retained the features that worked in third earlier versions. These are top contenders for the best closed-back headphones list.
Design and Features
The B&W P9 closed-back headphones look beautifully premium in their brown and metallic design. The frame is aluminum. The earcups are large and rectangular, the trademark design of P-series. These are padded with deep and plush pads that can sit around even large ears. The noise isolation is excellent as a result. They are draped in luxurious Italian Saffiano leather. The headband is slim and padded well. The arms fold to reduce them to almost have their footprint.
These closed-back headphones have detachable ear pads. The cable plugs to a port under the left earpad. This ensures that these don’t come off with a mighty tug. The P9 come with their detachable cables. These have 2.5mm jack on the headphone end and 3.5mm jack at the player end. But the 2.5mm end has a proprietary shape so you have to buy from B&W. These come with 1.2m and 5m plain cable and another 1.2m cable with inline controls and remote. These come with a sophisticated Alacantra case.
The B&W P9 closed-back headphones are ridiculously open sounding cans. They carry the intricate detailing across the board. The angled drivers create the sonic illusion of a speaker playing the music. The tight bass plays with a lot of oomph and details. It is well defined and extended well into the lower frequencies.
The midrange sounds full and rich with the backing of the bass. These are transparent and pleasantly revealing, so you will want to revisit the old favorites. The spot-on treble throws light on the brilliant instrument separation.
Open and speaker-like audio
- Brilliant instrument separation
- Premium build
- 3 Detachable cables
The judgment against bassheads if so rampant that audiophile brands wouldn’t touch variable bass with a 10-foot pole, when it comes to their headphones. But Sennheiser is having none of that. Their HD630VB closed-back headphones are premium street cans with variable bass. They have invested equally in the design and aesthetics and there’s plenty of bass range for the enthusiast, hence their place in the best closed-back headphones list.
Design and Features
The Sennheiser HD630VB closed-back headphones are made unabashedly huge and stylish. You might look a little dorky because of the size of these things but people will be immediately attracted to the metallic design. The headband extension, yoke and the back of the earcups are made of brushed aluminum. The earpieces are large and round and they are padded plushly. The earpads and headband cushions are sheathed in leather. These cans weigh a mighty 14 ounces but the weight is offset by the cushy pads. Still they aren’t as comfy as the Bose QC35 II for long hours of use.
Part of the high weight is invested in the variable bass control. This is operated by the rotary dial on the left earcup. It has 7 settings to cycle through. At the core of this knob are on-board music controls, a detour from having them inline on the cord. These include volume navigation and a multifunctional button. You can toggle between whether they function with Apple devices or Android devices using a toggle switch near the rim of the earcup. They have pulled off something really complicated here. The headband arms are articulating and fold for storage.
The one weakness of the premium HD630VB headphones is their permanently attached cable. Although it’s fixed to a single side, the price demands it be detachable. Since if the cable fails, the headphones will be useless. This is a sturdy 1.2m cable though. Within an inline mic and a 3.5mm jack.
The Sennheiser HD630VB closed-back headphones are very open and detailed cans. They might even beat the Sennheiser Momentum 2.0 in terms of their clarity and detailing. But it all depends on their bass setting on the Variable Bass knob. Up to at least 75% of the bass settings, the lower-end boost doesn’t bleed significantly into the mids. Above that the audio moves more into basshead territory and away from audiophile territory.
At 50% bass volume, these closed-back headphones have a neutral signature with a punchy bass line. At this point, the midrange sound musical and delicate. The soundstage is pretty wide for a closed back. The bass is detailed and agile at this point but starts tending towards flabby over it. But bassheads will still find these much more resolved and well-defined than the cheaper extra bass headphones.
- Variable bass
- Metal build
- On-board controls
- Android and Apple-friendly
- Wide open soundstage
- Fixed cable
The Sennheiser HD4.40 closed-back headphones are one moderately priced pair of wireless cans. These are large comfy cans with stellar sound. These hold a Bluetooth connection with an empathetic audio that can do justice to any genre. These get a straight run into the best closed-back headphones list.
Design and Features
The Sennheiser HD4.40 closed-back headphones are plastic to the core but they are sturdy. They are a glossy black without being a fingerprint magnet. The earcups are large and racetrack oval. They are loaded with plush leatherette pads. The stitches on these are stiff and these might rub against the ears unless adjusted properly. Earcups swivel forward a bit to adapt to your head. Although compact, they aren’t as low profile as we expected, probably because of the semi-circular headband. These headphones can connect via Bluetooth or NFC. The NFC zone is on the left earcup and connects these to compatible devices with a single tap.
These closed-back headphones have separate volume and track navigation buttons. A multifunctional button response to a tap but it can be slid back and forth for track navigation. These come with a cable to be used in the wired mode. The battery lasts 25 hours per charge. The CapTune smartphone app provides some EQ modes and some small customization.
The Sennheiser HD4.40 closed-back headphones are made for the casual music lovers whose tastes are tempered by slightly forward bass. These are balances cans but they have just hint of enthusiasm in the bass which makes them not-so-neutral. That being said, the bass is detailed and extends well into the sub bass. The lower mids are backed by the thick bass. But that doesn’t hamper the details and clarity of the vocals and strings. The treble is crisp and defined.
These offer Apt-X support with compatible devices which improves the wireless audio quality.
- Bluetooth and NFC
- Balanced audio
- Strong bass
- Durable build
- Pressure point at the stitching of earpads
The Denon flagship AHD7200 closed-back headphones are top-end headphones which shows in their exclusive build and audio quality. These are meant for audiophiles with a keen ear for details and transparency. These go straight into the best closed-back headphones list.
Design and Features
The Denon AHD7200 closed-back headphones are beautiful in their form factor. The perfectly round earcups have walnut wood housings. They are mounted with memory foam cushions that align to your ear shape. These are draped in soft artificial leather developed especially for these. The headband is study and applies only enough clamp to keep them on the head. It is finished in sheepskin leather. The earcups hang off of aluminum die-cast forks. These cans are very comfortable to wear in the long term.
These closed-back headphones have a detachable cable. This is a fabric braided cord that connects to both sides. It ends in a 6.3mm jack and doesn’t pack any 3.5mm adapter. So we get the hint, these are at-home audiophile headphones meant to be connected to audio gear.
The Denon AHD7200 closed-back headphones are modeled on the speakers and they deliver. The audio is detailed and open almost like it’s a speaker incarnate. The placement of instruments in the roomy soundstage is only paralleled by other headphones in this price range. The bass is plenty punchy with the ability to infuse energy into every genre.
The midrange sounds intricately carve and airy. But there’s a sense of analytical coldness to it. This makes them sound less musical than say Beyerdynamic T1.2. The audio of 7200s is smooth and non-fatiguing in spite of its revealing nature. They aren’t quick on the attack as the B&W P9s which make them sound more relaxing.
- Wide open and detailed
- Strong bass
- Premium build
- Detachable cable
- Mids are clinically clean
Bower & Wilkins PX closed-back headphones join the Sony WH1000XM2 and Bose QC35 II in the wireless ANC headphones category. These are designed with the typical B&W finesse and offer solid sound features. They make a great addition to the best closed-back headphones list.
Design and Features
The B&W PX closed-back headphones reflect a similar design as their other P-series offerings. There are generous helpings of metal in the premium design. The earcups are rectangular as always and the forks curve gracefully to attach to them. The backplate and the fork are highlighted in rose gold or silver based on the model you pick. The memory foam ear pads are plush and deep. The earcups and headband are finished in ballistic nylon.
These Bluetooth headphones feature Active Noise cancellation. There are three modes of ANC: Office, flight and city. The lacks of too many choices actually makes it easier to set. There’s an app to handle the settings and you can even adjust the ambient noise so that you can stay aware of the surroundings. The built-in controls are tactile. They last through 22 hours per battery charge. To save power, they automatically pause when you take them off your head.
The audio of the B&W closed-back headphones is modeled much on the P5 and P7. They actually copy the famous transducer positioning of the premium P9s. As a result, the audio sounds much more open that you would expect of a closed-back headphone. The audio signature is warm and neutral. The bass is full and punchy. The mids are detailed though don’t sound as alive as the WH1000XM2. The treble is smooth but detailed. The darker signature of the P-series dominates here.
- Bluetooth and ANC
- Excellent build
- Wide open audio
- Automatic pause
The Sennheiser HD8 DJ headphones are what DJs are choosing to get down to business with. These are their nest DJ headphones and they bring superb bass in both quantity and quality. These take a well-deserved place on the best closed-back headphones list.
Design and Features
The Sennheiser HD8 closed-back headphones look cool and understated with their black body and blue highlights. These have large earcups that fit snugly over the ears. The racetrack oval earpads are plush and very deep so you entire ear can sit inside without any pressure point. They ship with two replacement earpads too. The headband is a little tight but the clamp loosens over time. The arms of the headband can rotate for single-sided monitoring. They have detent positions which lock them into the resting position during the rotation. They also rotate to fold up into a very compact and portable package.
These headphone provide decent noise isolation with their ear pieces. They have two detachable cables: a 1.2m straight one and 3m coiled on. Since these are both for DJ use, neither of them have inline controls or mic. The cord can connect on either one of the earcups. A 6.3mm adapter and a large case are also included.
The Sennheiser HD8 closed-back headphones walk a tight balance. On the one hand, they have impressive bass response, on the other the overall balance of the audio is not disturbed. The bass extends deep into the sub bass region and draws palpable power into the mix. The treble matches up with the energy of bass to deliver a sparkling performance. These are very lively-sounding cans. Even with the bass and treble competing in their performance, the midrange gets its own spotlight. It is detailed and smooth and lend great musicality to the vocals and guitars.
- Energetic detailed audio
- Excellent bass
- Single-sided monitoring
- Replacement earpads
- Detachable cables
- Headband needs to break in
Sennheiser HD569 closed-back headphones offer similar value as the HD598s but with a closed backplate. These display the Sennheiser’s audio voodoo that earn them loyal audiophile fans. These make the perfect encore to the best closed-back headphones list.
Design and Features
The Sennheiser HD569 closed-back headphones look a lot like the HD598 except for their all-black design. We like the bold yet elegant curves. The earcups are racetrack oval and plushly padded. They are sheathed in velour for long-term comfort and breathability. The headband arch is also padded and finished in velour. The clamp is very light but these remain stable on the ears. They get full marks for comfort.
These headphones come with two detachable cables. One is a 10-foot audio-only cable ending in a 6.3mm jack. The other is a 4-foot cable with inline controls and terminating in 3.5mm jack. The cords lock into the headphone with a secure 2.5mm jack.
In many ways, the HD569 closed-back headphones are reminiscent of the rich warm audio of the HD598. These have a rich texture that evokes excitement and punch in every genre. The liquid smooth mids flow assertively with classical and orchestral music. They are very revealing in their intimate presentation and feel up close and personal. The treble has brilliant sparkle which lends its brightness to the whole audio. The midrange gets more attention than bass here though so real basshead may want to look somewhere else.
- Clear and warm audio
- Detachable cable
- Velour earpads
- Affordable audiophile audio
- Mid-bass needs more punch