11 Best Open Back Headphones
Open-back headphones allow air to move through their ear cups to the speaker component. There aren’t little echoes inside your headphones which additionally means that pressure can’t build up and have an effect on your sound.
Because it helps them sound more natural and clear, many expensive high-end headphones have open backs. They are great to have an amazing listening experiences, and excellent sound quality that many music producers will love.
Yet, that’s only the case when there’s no noise nearby. Open-back headphones can’t block noise that comes from outside that nicely, you’ll hear everything that is happening around you. On top of that, additionally, they leak sound out.
For example, if you work in an office, your coworkers will be able to hear what you’re listening to and probably will laugh at your taste for music. They may sound fantastic, but you’re going to want to leave these headphones at home.
Moreover, open-back headphones are usually a little more fragile than closed-back headphones. It is because there’s less to stand in the way of moisture getting into the sensitive electronics. These headphones have to be treated with care.
So, you probably ask yourself what are the best open-back headphones right now? Here is the list of the Top 11 open headphones that our team suggests.
We just want to let you know that we’ll list these top 11 open headphone reviews in no particular order. They’ll be randomized as we don’t wish to sort them from best to worst.
Listed below are our Top 11 Open Back Headphones for 2023:
1. HEDD HEDDphone
HEDD makes professional studio monitors and headphones since 2016. HEDD’s advantage is the in-house developed Air Motion Transformer driver.” The concept of the AMT, which contains a folded elastic diaphragm, was initially conceived in the early 1960s by German-American physicist Oskar Heil. HEDD featured this design as tweeters of their speaker line-up for years before adapting it for headphones.
Every little thing concerning the HEDDphone is huge. And this super-sized experience begins with the box. Really, how can a box impress? Merely make it huge (290mm x 365mm x 155mm). Eradicating the outer black paper slip-off sleeve reveals a cardboard box with a fold-up top and magnetic closure.
What sets the HEDD HEDDphone other from each different headphone is its proprietary full-range dynamic driver design. Oskar Heil initially proposed the concept of the Air Motion Transformer in the 1960s.
Reasonably than conventional piston-like diaphragms that transfer air in an equal ratio to the diaphragm movement (that’s, the air velocity matches the diaphragm velocity), the AMT design accelerates the air 4 occasions quicker than the diaphragm.
The Heinz Electrodynamic Designs HEDDphone is a difficult load with a 42 Ohm impedance and 87 dB SPL @ 1 mW sensitivity rate. In our personal experience, when we tried them out at a local showcase event, we were blown away by the quality and certainly they take the top of the list of quality and size. Compared to the other models, you feel like you have two studio monitors hanging on the sides of your head.
Even though we really like how they look, feel, and sound – we can say only one thing about them: great headphones come at a great price. That being said, audiophiles that love big sounds should definitely look into them. But many who are looking for something on a smaller budget should look for something else.
The notorious HiFiMan HE6 is usually touted because the least environment-friendly headphones are rated at 83.5 dB. The HEDDphone isn’t fairly right down to that degree, however, they’re getting fairly close.
- Power: 87 dB / 1mW
- Impedance: 42 Ohm
- Frequency range: 10 – 40,000 Hz
- Weight: 718 g
- Amazing Sound
- Large Frequency Range
- Great Design
- Not a budget item
2. Sennheiser HD 800 S
The second item on the list is reserved for Sennheiser HD 800 S, German engineering at its finest. There is no wonder they hold first place on our list of top 10 open-back headphones. They are true audiophile headphones that many will swear on them.
As a smaller brother of now-iconic high-end Sennheiser HD800 headphones, Sennheiser HD800S is the updated and improved version. They also have a computer-optimized magnet system that improves the durability and quality of the sound.
They are modern, and classic, and deliver a sound that is true in every detail and sound as natural as possible. Enhancing still further the sound reproduction in the open, circumaural HD 800 S was not easy because improving on a seemingly perfect formula is not a task undertaken lightly, but Sennheiser’s engineers have succeeded.
Form and function combine seamlessly with this striking industrial design, the layered metal, and plastic headband development attenuating vibrations to the earcups whereas the handmade microfiber earpads offer exceptional comfort for even long periods of listening enjoyment.
Made only from the finest materials, and components and crafted for perfection, the HD 800 and the HD 800 S are precision-built in Germany. Compared to the other items on the list, these fall in the higher budget units, like the HEDDs and for a good reason. The sound quality is amazing and transparent and these headphones are a true mixing companion for every engineer.
The transducer is encased in stainless steel, while the headband and headphone mounting utilizes the most advanced materials. Those materials are developed in the aerospace industry for high strength with minimal weight.
- Type: Wired
- Open/Closed: Open
- Frequency Response: 4Hz-51kHz (-10 dB)
- Impedance: 300 ohms
- Amazing Transparent Sound
- Huge Frequency Response
- Great Design
- Need to power with amp
- Not a budget item
3. Audio-Technica ATH-R70 X
These are easy-sounding headphones throughout the entire range: no humps or bumps, no hyping, no harshness, simply clarity, and element.
At this value and above we have used models with extra apparent ‘air’, however, we do not take into account this deficiency, and it means there is no settling for an uninteresting mix.
Down the opposite end, the response is not any much less smooth with all of the extensions you want without the slightest trace of boom or false fatness. When we tested them out, we really liked how they sounded so that is the reason they are on this list.
Moving up, the low mids proceed unwrinkled, free from low-cost scooping back (a voicing usually employed to masks uneven response) so you’ll be able to actually hear what is going on, for better or for worse.
Like Sennheiser’s HD 600 and 650, the Audio-Technica R70x has a thin steel mesh on the surface of every ear cup, a luxurious pad on the inside, and a stripped-down, industrial-looking development. Additionally, they have a self-adjusting wing system that fits any wearer!
We’ve always discovered the performance-to-size ratio of Sennheiser’s 600 sequences spectacular, however, Audio-Technica takes it up a notch with even smaller, even lighter headphones that sound great.
Weighing 210 grams (7.4oz) without the cable hooked up, the R70x are among the lightest over-ear headphones you can buy, whether or not for critical or casual listening. One other nice trait of the Sennheisers that Audio-Technica has recreated with the R70x is how discreet the headphones look when worn.
- Frequency range: 5 – 40000 Hz
- Max. Input power: 1000 mW at 1 kHz
- Impedance: 470 ohms
- Sound pressure: 98 dB
- Amazing Design and Sound
- High Impedance
- Affordable for such cans
- Need amp for full quality
4. Roland RH-A30
Introducing the RH-A30, a brand new open-air-type headphone for musicians who don’t desire whole isolation from surrounding sounds.
The RH-A30s are notably well suited to musicians who require high-quality headphone monitoring while retaining the flexibility to listen to different instruments and monitors onstage throughout a live performance.
The RH-A30 headphones from Roland provide terrific sound quality in a cushy design. The open-air design of the headphones offers a correct, real-looking sound that is excellent to be used in studio monitoring purposes. The swiveling earcup design permits single-sided monitoring, and the cushioned earpads and adjustable headband present nice consolation.
For optimum comfort throughout prolonged periods, the RH-A30’s ear pads have been newly designed. Optimized headphones with flat, accurate sound quality able to handle the most recent digital music instruments. Compared to the cans above, these have lower impedance and can be powered with your audio interface.
Accommodates a newly developed 45mm driver with a neodymium magnet for a full dynamic range and steady output, even on giant input surges. In a position to reproduce quick attack transients. Stylish look with aluminum housing plate; tender ear pads present comfort for extended intervals.
The development of the RH-A30 headphones feels very strong. The open-back design of the RH-A30 makes them perfect for mixing. Sound is ready to escape from the ear cups, leading to an extra open and pure sound. It is not common to see headphones from Roland, but we assure you, these are amazing and ready to deliver. We used them for a while and we can confirm that.
- Sound pressure level: 95 dB
- Impedance: 40 ohms
- Transmission range: 10 – 25,000 Hz
- Stereo mini jack with 6.3 mm adapter
- Very Sturdy Design
- Optimal Price
- Low Impedance
- Not at this time
5. Beyerdynamic DT 990 Pro
Not only popular amongst professionals, but Beyerdynamic DT 990 Pro is also the true studio classic. For many years now, users all around the globe have placed their trust in this classic range: DT 770/880/990 PRO.
These benchmark-setting studio headphones are available in three different models. They boast extremely detailed resolution and very clear sound which adds them to the second place on our top 5 open-back headphones list.
The DT 990 PRO headphones open-back model is offering impressive spaciousness. You can use them on mobile devices because of their low ohmage. They are not best for noise canceling, but are a very dependable pair of headphones that give quality sound.
For any sound enthusiast, these open-back studio headphones are a very reliable tool. Like a loyal companion for producers Beyerdynamic DT 990 Pro headphones offer wide stereo images and three-dimensional sound reproduction.
Even small changes in the positioning of the acoustic source can be perceived while mixing, because of the outstanding tonal depth these headphones ensure which is no surprise for Beyerdynamic DT 990 Pro.
The circumaural headphones provide exceptional spaciousness and detailed tonal depth because of their open-back design. Treble boost and mild bass ensure a pleasant sound. The treble boost is powerfully present without sounding sharp and the bass is not overstated but rather precise.
Beyerdynamic DT 990 Pro headphones can be put on and taken off frequently without cables getting tangled since single-sided cable allows that. I personally used these for a while and they live up to their fame. So if you consider them, I guarantee that they will meet your requirements.
These headphones provide additional comfort because of their ear cups which are soft and adjustable. On the other side, a strong spring steel headband design ensures that the over-ear headphones also offer a secure fit.
The DT 990 PRO headphones are handcrafted in Germany like all other Beyerdynamic professional studio headphones. The materials and component parts used can be replaced if necessary since they are all made by hand.
- Impedance: 250 Ohm
- Sensitivity: 96 dB/mW
- Frequency response: 5 Hz – 35 kHz
- Weight with cable: 364 g
- Trusted Developer
- Nice and Open Sound
- Not going to break your bank
- Might have a tad extra treble
6. Audeze LCD-2 Classic Open System
Listening to the bass on a pair of AUDEZE for the first time is an eye-opening moment. It’s not simply that it sounds highly effective – it’s that it appears to come from all over the place like you are in a booming thundercloud.
It has a richness and heat that we discover addictive, and though you may argue that the AUDEZE LCD2C headphones are maybe only a tiny bit much less defined on the low end than the original, it’s the type of factor you would need to argue very long and really hard to prove.
After all, the concept behind the LCD2C was to create a headphone like the LCD2 that got here before it, however in a way more reasonably priced package deal. As such, compromises needed to be made with respect to the build materials. However, we believe Audeze did an ideal job right here because the LDCD2C doesn’t really feel low-cost by any means.
What we discovered fairly fascinating is that, though Audeze used both steel and plastic, by giving each material an identical color and finish you possibly can’t actually tell which components are plastic. And because of this, the headphones nonetheless really feel well-made and premium regardless of not being an all-metal design.
The detachable cable is kind of nice and feels reasonably premium. It’s not super supple, however, we wouldn’t say it is annoyingly stiff either. We’ve seen quite a few different reviews say that the cable is braided, nevertheless, it’s truly a pair of twisted cables that can be twisted together once more, fairly than an actual braid.
- Neodymium Magnets (N50)
- Impedance: 70 Ohm
- Transmission range: 10 – 50,000 Hz
- Sensitivity: 101 dB / 1 mw
- Great Planar Magnetic Drivers
- Great Built Quality
- Detachable Cable
- Big and Heavy
7. Avantone Pro Planar Headphones
To shortly sum up my impression of the Avantone Planar headphones – they sound wonderful. Till this pair, we couldn’t discover an actually high-quality planar headphone for underneath $1000. The Avantones retail for $399, together with a removable cable and carrying pouch.
The Planar’s retro styling will probably be the very first thing you’ll notice, and it’s accessible in black or red. The earcups are rectangular packing containers with perforated metallic backs.
A skinny metal body hovers above its comfy vinyl-covered headband. The replaceable wire connects to both earcups through 3.5 mm plugs and comes with a 3.5 mm to 1/4-inch adapter for the amp side.
Weighing in at about one pound (0.5 kilos), these headphones are comparatively heavy, which places them at virtually twice the load of many studio headphones. The square earcups are cloth-covered and sit snugly and comfortably over the ears, even while carrying eyeglasses.
The clarity of those cans is excellent. We can clearly distinguish totally different results in a pop mix – like which reverb is on the piano versus the guitar. Every instrument’s tonalities are effectively outlined, and any distortion, tick, or pop will probably be easily heard.
Well-recorded classical music sounds great on these headphones, and we discovered that listening to classical violin concertos and jazz collections with fresh ears again is a new experience. These headphones are not hyped. They’re both accurate and fun to listen to – a distinctive combination for studio headphones.
- Size of the drivers: 70 x 95 mm
- Frequency response: 30 – 30,000 Hz
- Impedance: 32 Ohm
- Max. power handling: 5W RMS
- HQ Planar Magnet Drivers
- Balanced Sound
- Amazing Design
- Limited Availability
- Might need amp
8. AKG K702 Reference Studio Headphones
Fully neutral open-back reference headphones designed for professional mixing and mastering, the AKG K702 Austrian pride. They do not emphasize anything. Everything is precisely as it is on your recording, AKG K702 is a tool for creating real music. AKG has been a recording-studio standard for microphones and headphones for many years!
“What you hear is what you’ve got” is the motto of the AKG K702. That is why they are so good for mixing and mastering. Once you get your music to sound great in the K702, it’s going to sound great everywhere.
They aren’t necessarily the most effective for enjoying music. The K702 does not increase the bass as do many headphones. That definitely makes the music more pleasant — but additionally means that the music you create with the K702 will not be weak in the bass.
The downside for the K702, they are not that great for monitoring since they are not sealed, and they do not emphasize the midrange so you’re less likely to hear the noise. We still have those cans and they are there for us every time we are in need of monitoring. The only thing that might separate it from the others is the fragile feel as they are not that heavily made.
You may spend hundreds or thousands of dollars on loudspeakers and acoustic room treatments. You could invest a lot of money to get the sound as smooth, clean, and natural. But it will surprise you revealing these headphones provide you with that, for a tiny fraction of the price. The K702 is a really cheap way to get incredible sound for a very long time to come.
- Impedance: 62 Ohm
- Peak SPL: 105 dB
- Frequency range: 10 – 39800 Hz
- Max input power: 200 mW
- Wide Sound and Great Listening Experience
- Comfortable and Good Value
- Detachable Cable
- Feel Fragile
9. Mackie MC-450
These are the primary open-backed headphones Mackie has launched, and the company hit a hole-in-one on their first shot. They feature a sturdy, but comfy headband actual leather-based padding, and stitched leather-based ear cups, giving off the looks and impression that they’re much more costly than you may count on.
The ear cups hug and suit your ears however aren’t confining, and we’ve been in a position to comfortably put on these for hours on end without being eager to throw them off the head.
Within the listening department, we had not one of the dreaded ear-fatigue. The headphones include a fairly lengthy, 10ft braided 1/8” cable which by no means will get tangled or turn into restraining.
We can’t let you know what number of pairs of headphones we’ve cherished previously, however, we’ve needed to exchange the inventory cable for an extended one (or wished we had the power to). This cable made our faces appear like the “heart eyes emoji” for sure. First impressions are built from the little issues.
Although the bass isn’t as punchy and outstanding as you may like for boasting to your EDM bass drops, that’s not what these cans are geared for. They provide you with a non-hyped, correct illustration of the sum of your mix, and we’ve discovered mixing with these on reference has since made our mixes translate better on a wide selection of different speakers.
That doesn’t imply the bass isn’t there, by any means. It’s good and round and you may hear particulars right down to sub-frequencies without it being overbearing and clogging to different areas in your mix.
In whole honesty, we never listened to those cans, but we talked with our audio engineer friend that actually has them. He said they are great for critical listening and are very well made and durable. Compared to the other units he possessed, they are ones that he swears by for studio work, both mixing and mastering checkup.
- Impedance: 54 ohms
- Sound pressure: 101 dB
- Frequency response: 20 – 20000 Hz
- 42 mm Converter
- Great and Precise Sound
- Amazing Built and Feel
- Detachable Cable
- Wideness can appear narrower
10. Shure SRH1840 Open-back Headphones
The Shure SRH1840 premium open-back headphones provide a distinctive array of options. Good audio quality coupled with premium supplies makes them among the finest choices out there right now. The audio expertise is at first for any assessments. And the Shure SRH1840 doesn’t disappoint.
As with all open-back headphones the design lends itself to spacious and pleasurable listening expertise. There may be loads of room for the music to breathe without undesirable frequency build-up. The SRH1840 does a distinctive job of making you feel like you might be listening to speakers rather than headphones.
This precision extends to the frequency response. These headphones are exceptionally flat and on par with a number of the most impartial headphones out there today. The highs are vivid and clear. They could be a bit overly shiny for some, however, we like a definite hit of sharpness and clarity within the highs. The mids are equally clear and exact.
Loads of warmth without colorization. Although the lower mids do begin to present some weak spots. As with many neutral headphones, the bass is flat which can disappoint some individuals. In case you like thumping bass you’ll need to look elsewhere. However, for crucial listening these are nice.
The SRH1840 lives up to its premium title and worth. It’s clear they’ve taken the identical legendary consideration to detail they provide of their range of microphones and applied that here. With that being said, these headphones are one of the best productions from Shure, have detailed sound, great build, and are really wide in sound. I use them every time when in need for precise checking of a signal.
They’re a critical set of very successful headphones. Nice sound, practical design, and premium accessories. In case you are searching for high-quality studio headphones, the Shure SRH1840 is a superb alternative.
- Driver Size: 40mm
- Frequency Response: 10Hz-30kHz
- Impedance: 65 ohms
- Detailed and Accurate Sound
- Great fit and Design
- Spacious Sound
- More padding on the headband
Best Open Back Headphones – 2023 Additions
11. Sennheiser HD 660S2
There’s no surprise that Sennheiser didn’t start with a blank slate when developing the HD 660S2. This company’s headphones have evolved slowly on this side of things, as they have a long lineage in the audiophile world. According to some audiophiles, neutrality is the goal of hearing music exactly as it was recorded, without any distortions or changes caused by software or hardware.
The 660S2 features a few new components inside, even though the outside doesn’t seem to change much. This driver features an ultra-light aluminum voice coil that minimizes the driver’s weight.
Additionally, a new airflow system has been implemented, with the goal of minimizing distortion and eliminating obstructive artifacts. In addition to altering the impedance of this driver, it has also increased its sensitivity. In addition to being 300 Ohm headphones, the 660S2 requires a dedicated headphone amplifier to deliver enough power.
When you look at the rest of the 600 series, it’s really not that egregious that they didn’t go with a new design. In general, I think the 600S2 is a good upgrade, and if you have the funds to cover the increased price, you can benefit greatly from them. Also, compared to the other models on the list, these are the newest ones, so expect something new and fresh in them.
- Frequency range: 8 – 41,500 Hz
- Impedance: 300 Ohm
- Weight: 260 g
- Driver size: 38 mm
- Amazing New Design
- Great Sound
- Sturdy Build and Fit
- You will need an amp
When you compare closed-back headphones and open-back ones, you will notice several things. There is less sound leakage on the closed ones and a touch better audio quality on the open-back headphones. Both will probably provide balanced sound and are great for long listening sessions, giving you very natural sound, and sound isolation, and will provide nice sound performance for all music lovers.
If you are after accurate sound reproduction, then open-back headphones are a great choice for sound engineers. You might not get perfect noise canceling but will get a great frequency response range and well-balanced sound. You can get semi-open-back headphones for the best of both worlds, but with semi-open headphones, you will still hear external noise if you wear them outside your studio.
In case you are not after some ultimate sound quality, you can check the closed-back headphones or some semi-open-back headphones. You will be able to find a great set of wireless headphones that have superior sound quality, but it all has its own purpose. Open-back headphones have great build quality, are made from high-quality materials, have aluminum voice coils, and have neutral sound.
All in all, we listed some professional studio mixing pairs of headphones that you can use for extended listening sessions from which you can expect great sound quality. In case you have any questions about this topic, please let us know in the comment section and we’ll try to answer!