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Best Open-Back Headphones

Have you ever felt like your headphones are cramping your musical style? Traditional closed-back designs can trap sound, creating a muddy listening experience that leaves you yearning for more. 

Open-back headphones, however, offer a breath of fresh air. Their innovative design prioritizes a wider, more natural soundscape –  almost like you’re at a live concert! But before you check out our top picks, remember these three things:

  • Sound Quality and Clarity: Open-back headphones are great for clear sound. They’re good for those who enjoy classical or acoustic music. However, if you like bass-heavy music or action movies, closed-back headphones might be a better choice.
  • Sound Leakage: Open-backs don’t isolate sound. Consider these only if you want to buy it for home jamming. They are not ideal for public spaces (think noisy commutes). 
  • Ear Cup Luxury: Look for models with large, plush ear cups and a well-padded headband for maximum comfort, especially if you plan on getting lost in your music for hours on end. 

We have carefully assessed various factors to create a curated selection of the top open-back headphones for 2024. Each headphone on our list combines performance, comfort, and durability to deliver outstanding audio quality. For more details, refer to our “Buying Guide.”

Best Open-Back Headphones – Comparison

ProductImpedance (Ohms)Frequency Range (hz)Cable LengthBuy Now
Beyerdynamic Open-Back Headphone2505 - 35,0003 metersCheck On Amazon
SENNHEISER Open-Back Headphone5014 - 26,0003 metersCheck On Amazon
PHILIPS Open-Back Headphone305 - 40,0003 metersCheck On Amazon
Samson Open-Back Headphone3210 - 30,0002.5 metersCheck On Amazon
HIFIMAN Open-Back Headphone2520 - 35,0001.5 metersCheck On Amazon
Drop Open-Back HeadPhones2810 - 300002.5Check On Amazon
GRADO Open-Back Headphone3220 - 20,0002 metersCheck On Amazon
Focal Open-Back Headphone555 - 28,0003 metersCheck On Amazon

Best Open Back Headphones Reviews

1. Beyerdynamic Open-Back Headphone

Beyerdynamic Open-Back Headphone

What we like: Its unmatched quality in sound reproduction, makes it an ideal choice for studio professionals and audiophiles alike.

The beyerdynamic DT 990 PRO headphones are made with great care in Germany. They’re perfect for professionals who need top-notch sound for tasks like studio monitoring, mixing, and mastering. With their open-back design, they give you a clear, roomy sound with excellent bass and treble. 

The comfy velour ear pads can be swapped out, so you can listen for hours without discomfort. And the strong steel headband keeps them securely in place. Whether you’re a music producer, or audio engineer, or just love gaming, the DT 990 PRO ensures reliable sound quality every time.

Best Features:

  • Transparent sound reproduction
  • Spacious soundstage
  • Comfortable velour ear pads
  • Robust German craftsmanship
  • One-sided cable for convenience

Pros:

  • Exceptional sound clarity
  • Comfortable for long-term wear
  • Durable construction
  • Precise frequency response

Cons:

  • Cable may be too long for some users
  • May lack noise isolation in noisy environments
  • Not foldable for portability
  • Higher impedance may require a powerful amplifier for optimal performance

Buy Now From Amazon

2. SENNHEISER Open-Back Headphone

SENNHEISER Open-Back Headphone

 

Why it made the cut: Premium design, audiophile sound quality, and exceptional comfort.

Experience the pinnacle of audio excellence with the Sennheiser HD 599 headphones. Engineered with Sennheiser’s proprietary transducer technology and ‘Ergonomic Acoustic Refinement’ (E.A.R) design, these HD 599 open-back headphones offer a natural tonal balance and outstanding spatial performance. 

The plush velour-covered ear pads and padded headband ensure luxurious comfort, even during extended listening sessions. With multiple connectivity options and premium design cues, the HD 599 is the epitome of sophistication and quality craftsmanship.

Best Features:

  • Audiophile sound quality
  • Open-back design for spatial performance
  • Luxurious velour ear pads
  • Premium design with timeless aesthetics
  • Versatile connectivity options

Pros:

  • Exceptional sound clarity and balance
  • Comfortable for long-term use
  • High-quality construction and materials
  • Detachable cables for convenience

Cons:

  • Open-back design may not isolate external noise
  • Bulky design may not be suitable for travel
  • Limited color options
  • Higher price point compared to similar models

Buy Now From Amazon

3. PHILIPS Open-Back Headphone

PHILIPS Open-Back Headphone

Why it made the cut: sets a new standard for high-resolution audio with its impeccable sound quality, luxurious comfort, and innovative design features.

While using the PHILIPS Fidelio X2HR headphones, you can enjoy top-notch sound. These headphones are crafted with over 50 years of audio expertise, promising accurate sound reproduction across all frequencies. The open-back design, along with 50mm high-definition neodymium drivers and layered motion control tech, ensures a natural sound. 

Comfort is prioritized with replaceable memory foam ear pads and a lightweight self-adjustable hammock. Made with premium materials and precise craftsmanship, the Fidelio X2HR showcases PHILIPS’ dedication to superior audio quality.

Best Features:

  • High-resolution audio certification
  • Open-back acoustic architecture
  • 50mm high-definition neodymium drivers
  • Deluxe memory foam ear pads
  • Lightweight self-adjustable hammock

Pros:

  • Exceptional sound clarity and detail retrieval
  • Luxurious comfort for extended listening sessions
  • Premium build quality and materials
  • Detachable cable with included adapter for versatile connectivity

Cons:

  • Open-back design may not provide sound isolation
  • Larger ear cups may not be suitable for smaller heads
  • Limited color options
  • Higher price point compared to some competitors

Buy Now From Amazon

4. Samson Open-Back Headphone

Samson Open-Back Headphone

Why it made the cut: Affordable yet professional-grade option for studio monitoring, mixing, and playback, offering exceptional sound quality and comfort.

The Samson SR850 Semi-Open-Back headphones are made for professionals who need top-notch performance in tasks like tracking, mixing, mastering, and playback. These headphones come equipped with special 50mm drivers and rare earth magnets that deliver clear sound across a wide range of frequencies. 

Their over-ear design with velour cushioning makes them comfortable for extended use, even during long listening sessions. Plus, they have a self-adjusting headband to ensure they fit just right. Included with the headphones is a 1/4″ stereo adapter, adding to their convenience and value. Overall, the SR850 headphones offer both comfort and high performance at a great price point.

Best Features:

  • Professional studio reference sound quality
  • Large 50mm drivers with rare earth magnets
  • Comfortable circumaural, over-ear design
  • Self-adjusting headband for optimal fit
  • Affordable price point for professional-grade performance

Pros:

  • Clear and accurate sound reproduction
  • Comfortable for extended use
  • Durable construction
  • Great value for the price

Cons:

  • Ear cushions may compress over time
  • Limited color options
  • Cable may be prone to tangling

Buy Now From Amazon

5. HIFIMAN Open-Back Headphone

HIFIMAN Open-Back Headphone

Why it made the cut: Innovative planar magnetic design and acoustically invisible Stealth Magnets, delivering unparalleled sound quality for audiophiles and studio professionals.

Let’s move on to the next product on our list: the HIFIMAN HE400SE Open-Back Headphones. These headphones offer a glimpse into the future of audio technology. Equipped with advanced planar magnetic technology, they feature conductive layers that cover nearly the entire diaphragm. This design minimizes distortion and ensures precise sound reproduction. 

The Stealth Magnets, which are acoustically invisible, effectively eliminate interference, resulting in pure sonic output with exceptional accuracy and full-range fidelity. The HE400SE headphones are built to last, with durable connections, high sensitivity, and maximum comfort. They provide an immersive listening experience tailored for both audiophiles and studio enthusiasts.

Best Features:

  • Planar magnetic design for low distortion
  • Acoustically invisible Stealth Magnets
  • High sensitivity for low-voltage sources
  • Maximum comfort for extended listening sessions
  • Durable connections for enhanced reliability

Pros:

  • Exceptional sound clarity and accuracy
  • Innovative Stealth Magnets technology
  • Lightweight and comfortable design
  • Compatible with a wide range of audio devices

Cons:

  • Open-back design may not provide sound isolation
  • Limited color options are available
  • Higher price point compared to some competitors
  • Requires an audio source with adequate power for optimal performance

Buy Now From Amazon

6. Drop Open-Back HeadPhones

Drop Open-Back HeadPhonesWhy it made the cut: The Drop + EPOS PC38X gaming headset offers a superior gaming experience with its exceptional sound quality, precise locational accuracy, and comfortable design, making it a top choice for gamers seeking a competitive edge.

Experience gaming like never before with the Drop + EPOS PC38X Gaming Headset. An upgraded version of the popular PC37X, this headset delivers unparalleled comfort, build quality and sonic performance. Designed for gamers, the PC38X enhances locational accuracy with angled drivers and an open-back design, providing better stereo imaging and precise sound positioning. 

With drivers derived from EPOS’ high-quality gaming headsets, the PC38X offers lifelike audio reproduction with improved low-end extension for immersive gaming sessions. Plus, the noise-canceling microphone ensures clear communication without ambient distractions, making it perfect for gaming, Skype calls, and video chatting.

Best Features:

  • Angled drivers for precise locational accuracy
  • Open-back design for better stereo imaging
  • High-quality drivers for lifelike audio reproduction
  • Noise-cancelling microphone for clear communication
  • Updated design for increased comfort during long gaming sessions

Pros:

  • Exceptional sound quality for gaming and multimedia
  • Comfortable design suitable for extended wear
  • Clear and noise-free microphone for communication
  • Compatible with a wide range of gaming platforms and devices

Cons:

  • Limited color options are available
  • The microphone may pick up background noise in noisy environments
  • Higher price point compared to some gaming headsets

Buy Now From Amazon

7. GRADO Open-Back Headphone

GRADO Open-Back Headphone

Why it made the cut: Offers exceptional sound quality and value, making it an ideal entry-level choice for audiophiles seeking the renowned Grado sound signature without breaking the bank.

As the entry-level headphones in the prestigious Brooklyn lineup, the SR60x provides an impressive soundstage and clarity, delivering the signature Grado sound at an affordable price point. With its X Series drivers, the SR60x produces rich harmonic colors, full-bodied vocals, and a renowned mid-range, revealing new details in your favorite music. Hand-built in Brooklyn, each SR60x undergoes meticulous craftsmanship to ensure exceptional quality and performance, making it a standout choice for discerning audiophiles.

Best Features:

  • X Series drivers for renowned Grado sound
  • Hand-built in Brooklyn for exceptional quality
  • Impressive soundstage and clarity

Pros:

  • Exceptional sound quality for the price
  • Lightweight and comfortable design
  • Handcrafted construction ensures durability
  • Provides a true representation of the Grado sound signature

Cons:

  • Less bass emphasis compared to some closed-back headphones
  • Cable may be prone to tangling

Buy Now From Amazon

7. Focal Open-Back Headphone

Focal Open-Back Headphone

Why it made the cut: The Focal Clear Mg Open-Back High-End Headphones redefine the listening experience with their innovative Magnesium dome speaker drivers, offering unparalleled sound quality, comfort, and design for audiophiles seeking the ultimate in high-fidelity audio.

These premium headphones by Focal incorporate cutting-edge technology, featuring speaker drivers with an ‘M’-shaped Magnesium dome for exceptional lightness, rigidity, and damping. The result is perfect dynamics, detail, and balance across the entire sound spectrum, delivering an immersive audio experience like never before. 

Crafted with premium materials such as solid aluminum, genuine leather, and microfiber, the Clear Mg headphones exude elegance and sophistication. With a low impedance of 55 Ohms, they can achieve outstanding performance with portable players, making them ideal for home and on-the-go listening.

Best Features:

  • Magnesium dome speaker drivers for unparalleled sound quality
  • Premium materials for durability and comfort
  • Low impedance for versatile listening options
  • Elegant design with timeless aesthetics

Pros:

  • Exceptional clarity, detail, and balance in sound reproduction
  • Comfortable fit for extended listening sessions
  • Premium build quality and materials for durability
  • Versatile compatibility with portable and home audio devices

Cons:

  • Higher price point compared to some competitors
  • Requires high-quality source equipment to fully appreciate sound quality

Buy Now From Amazon

How to Choose the Best Open-Back Headphones?

When it comes to selecting the best open-back headphones, several factors come into play to ensure you make the right choice for your audio needs. Here’s a comprehensive guide on how to choose the best open-back headphones:

1. Consider Sound Quality

Pay close attention to sound quality, as it is the most crucial aspect of any headphone. Open-back headphones are known for their spacious soundstage and natural audio reproduction. Look for headphones with a wide frequency response range, balanced sound signature, and clear instrument separation for an immersive listening experience.

2. Evaluate Comfort and Fit

Comfort is paramount, especially if you plan on using the headphones for extended periods. Look for headphones with plush ear cushions, adjustable headbands, and lightweight designs to ensure a comfortable fit. Additionally, consider factors such as earcup size and shape to find a pair of headphones that conforms well to your ears.

3. Assess Build Quality and Durability

Invest in headphones that are built to last. Look for durable materials such as metal or high-quality plastics, reinforced cables, and sturdy hinges. A well-built pair of headphones not only ensures longevity but also contributes to better overall performance and reliability.

4. Check Connectivity Options

Consider your usage scenarios and check the connectivity options offered by the headphones. Whether you need wired or wireless connectivity, ensure that the headphones are compatible with your devices and offer reliable connectivity for seamless audio playback.

5. Read Reviews and User Feedback

Before making a purchase, take the time to read reviews and user feedback on different open-back headphones. Pay attention to both positive and negative reviews to get a comprehensive understanding of the headphones’ performance, comfort, and durability.

6. Set a Budget

Determine your budget before beginning your search for open-back headphones. While high-end models may offer advanced features and superior sound quality, there are also plenty of budget-friendly options available that provide excellent performance without breaking the bank.

7. Consider Brand Reputation and Warranty

Lastly, consider the reputation of the headphone manufacturer and the warranty offered with the product. Opting for a reputable brand ensures quality and reliability, while a solid warranty provides peace of mind in case of any issues or defects.

Open Back Headphones – FAQ

1. What are open-back headphones, and how do they differ from closed-back headphones?

Ans: Open-back headphones feature ear cups with perforated backs, allowing air and sound to pass through. This design creates a more natural and spacious soundstage compared to closed-back headphones, which isolate sound and offer more pronounced bass.

2. Are open-back headphones suitable for use in noisy environments?

Ans: No, open-back headphones are not ideal for use in noisy environments as they do not provide sound isolation. They are best suited for quiet listening environments such as home studios or offices.

3. Do open-back headphones leak sound?

Ans: Yes, open-back headphones do leak sound due to their design. Since the back of the ear cups is open, sound can escape, making them unsuitable for use in quiet environments where sound leakage may be disruptive.

4. Are open-back headphones comfortable to wear for extended periods?

Ans: Yes, open-back headphones can be comfortable to wear for extended periods, especially if they feature plush ear cushions and adjustable headbands. However, comfort may vary depending on individual preferences and head/ear sizes.

5. Do open-back headphones offer better sound quality than closed-back headphones?

Ans: Open-back headphones are known for their spacious soundstage and natural audio reproduction, which some users prefer over the more confined sound of closed-back headphones. However, sound quality is subjective and may vary depending on the specific model and personal preferences.

6. Can I use open-back headphones for gaming?

Ans: Yes, open-back headphones can be used for gaming, but they may not provide the immersive sound experience that closed-back headphones offer. Gamers who prioritize spatial awareness and natural sound reproduction may prefer open-back headphones for certain gaming genres.

7. Do open-back headphones require an amplifier?

Ans: While some open-back headphones may benefit from amplification to reach their full potential, many models are designed to be driven by standard headphone outputs found on audio devices such as smartphones, tablets, and computers.

8. Can I use open-back headphones for outdoor activities?

Ans: Open-back headphones are not recommended for outdoor activities as they do not provide sound isolation and may be affected by ambient noise. They are best suited for quiet indoor environments.

9. Are open-back headphones suitable for mixing and mastering audio?

Ans: Yes, open-back headphones are often preferred by audio professionals for mixing and mastering tasks due to their accurate sound reproduction and spacious soundstage. However, it’s essential to use high-quality headphones and reference monitors in conjunction for accurate audio production.

10. Do open-back headphones come with detachable cables?

Ans: Many open-back headphones come with detachable cables, allowing for easy replacement and customization. Detachable cables offer added convenience and flexibility, especially for users who prefer different cable lengths or connectors.

Conclusion

When it comes to choosing the best open-back headphones, it’s essential to consider factors such as sound quality, comfort, and durability. After careful review and analysis, two top picks stand out: the Sennheiser Consumer Audio HD and the Beyerdynamic DT 990 PRO

These models excel in providing exceptional sound reproduction, comfort for extended listening sessions, and premium build quality. Whether you’re an audiophile, gamer, or audio professional, investing in quality open-back headphones can elevate your listening experience to new heights. 

Choose wisely, and immerse yourself in the world of pristine audio with these top-rated models.

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