Best Open Back Headphones

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Rating 3 3
Overall Audio features Comfort Control Wireless audio features Wireless connectivity Battery
Audeze LCD-X 8.5 10 7 inapplicable inapplicable inapplicable inapplicable Check price
Audeze LCD-4 8.5 10 7 inapplicable inapplicable inapplicable inapplicable Check price
Audeze LCD-3 8.5 10 7 inapplicable inapplicable inapplicable inapplicable Check price
Sennheiser HD 600 8 9 7 inapplicable inapplicable inapplicable inapplicable Check price
HIFIMAN Ananda 8 9 7 inapplicable inapplicable inapplicable inapplicable Check price
HIFIMAN Arya 8 8 7 inapplicable inapplicable inapplicable inapplicable Check price
Beyerdynamic DT 1990 Pro 8 9 7 inapplicable inapplicable inapplicable inapplicable Check price
HIFIMAN SUNDARA 8 9 7 inapplicable inapplicable inapplicable inapplicable Check price
Sennheiser HD 660 S 8 9 7 inapplicable inapplicable inapplicable inapplicable Check price
AKG K712 PRO 7.5 8 7 inapplicable inapplicable inapplicable inapplicable Check price
Philips Fidelio X2HR 7.5 9 7 inapplicable inapplicable inapplicable inapplicable Check price
Sennheiser HD 650 7.5 9 6 inapplicable inapplicable inapplicable inapplicable Check price
AKG K702 7.5 8 7 inapplicable inapplicable inapplicable inapplicable Check price
Audio-Technica ATH-AD700X 7.5 8 10 inapplicable inapplicable inapplicable inapplicable Check price
Sennheiser HD 599 7.5 8 7 inapplicable inapplicable inapplicable inapplicable Check price
GRADO RS2e 7.5 8 7 inapplicable inapplicable inapplicable inapplicable Check price

There are no perfect headphones on the market. Even the best open back headphones leak sound and the ambient noise can go in and out their ear cups. Closed back models have other disadvantages but here I would like to focus on the devices with an open style. What are their main benefits? They provide airy, clear, and spacious sound that you would never get with any other headphone types.

Open back units are usually intended to be used at home. Manufacturers do all they can in order to make your listening experience really amazing. For instance, most of the wired models on my list have a pretty long audio cable. It means that although open headphones cannot have a wireless design, with a 300 cm long wire you will easily forget about this disadvantage and be able to move quite far from your laptop or tablet.

The benefits of such devices should not be underestimated. For mixing and mastering, the audio quality provided by open back headphones more closely approximates monitor speakers. So, recording engineers usually choose such models. I have divided all the devices here by their price, which may be helpful in finding a perfectly suitable pair of headphones for you.

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Sennheiser HD 650 - best overall

Our rating
7.5/10

Sennheiser HD 650

The mentioned device is the best open back headphones on the market nowadays. They have an unbelievably high level of impedance — 300 Ohm. Their frequency response is impressive as well since the appliance can provide a sound in a range of 10 Hz - 41 kHz. It has to be considered that the sensitivity of Sennheiser HD 650 is 103 dB. The open ear cup design lets the music blend with your surroundings.

Next, let's discuss the comfort of these cans. The first thing I would like to tell you about is that their weight is 260 g/9.1 oz. If you do not want to feel tied to a laptop or tablet, then you must be happy to know that the HD 650 comes with a 300 cm/9.8 ft long audio cable. They have a 1/8th inch headphone jack and a 1/4 inch adaptor. You also get a case for carrying these headphones.

Sound

Sennheiser HD 650 feels perfect in all genres, whether hard rock music, jazzy pop, groovy jazz, or a dignified opera. The frequency-separation is amazing with a huge sense of "space" in the sound field. The sound signature is neutral, however, with a little emphasis on the lower frequencies. You will hear warm and clear mids, that add extra body to the sound.

The headphones have a bit of a bass bump to them, which is especially satisfying when watching movies or playing computer games. Overall, the sound offered by Sennheiser HD 650 is sublime with an awe-inspiring, ethereal quality. Sennheiser HD 650

Key specs

Pros

  • Their huge oblong ear cups wrap securely and snugly around the wearer's ear and feel very cozy
  • The super-soft earpads are extremely comfortable
  • You will not have any problems wearing them for hours
  • High-quality surface design in sterling silver — a real sight for aesthetes
  • Extremely lightweight aluminum voice coils for providing high efficiency
  • The clamping force is relatively strong, so the device will not fall off your head

Cons

  • Requires a powerful amplifier to drive the headphones to their fullest
  • Due to the open design sounds quite penetrate through from the outside

Beyerdynamic DT 1990 Pro

Our rating
8/10

Beyerdynamic DT 1990 Pro

Let me tell you about these headphones with interchangeable earpads and an over ear wearing style. Their impedance is slightly lower than in the case with the previous device — 250 Ohm. Speaking of sensitivity, it is 102 dB. The next feature you definitely have to know about is the frequency response which is 5 Hz - 40 kHz. This appliance is made in Germany and this info is all you have to know about their quality.

Despite its pretty big size, these headphones are not heavy. The unit has 370 g/13 oz. The headband can be easily adjusted without creaks. Beyerdynamic DT 1990 Pro has a 6.35 mm jack where you have to plug its 300 cm/9.8 ft long audio cable. I have to mention that the cable is detachable, so if it breaks, you can order a new one. Anyway, the wire has a solid thickness and appears to be quite durable. Another nice thing about these headphones is that a 6.35 mm adapter and little zipper pouch come with them.

Sound

The headphones Beyerdynamic DT 1990 Pro are little V-shaped with the right amount of bass. Keep in mind that the sound signature offered by them depends a lot on the earpads. Luckily, Beyerdynamic comes with two different sets of earpads for listeners to choose what they prefer. The midrange sounds neutral. When it comes to soundstage, it is vast and incredibly deep. Beyerdynamic DT 1990 Pro

Key specs

Pros

  • Super-soft microfibre-velour pads
  • The metallic logo on the black aluminum ear cups just looks premium
  • The flexible adjustable headband distributes the weight very nicely
  • You get a set of replacement earpads
  • A great choice for audio professionals, video-editors, vloggers, and amateur producers
  • There are two cables, one coiled and one straight

Cons

  • Can feel slightly tight on the head

HIFIMAN SUNDARA

Our rating
8/10

HIFIMAN SUNDARA

This pair of headphones is made mostly for professional use. They look stylish and have an over ear design. Compared to the models which have been mentioned already here, the impedance level of HIFIMAN SUNDARA is not high — it is only 37 Ohm. The sensitivity of this device is 94 dB. Pay attention to the super-wide frequency response which is from 6 Hz to 75 kHz.

If you want to get comfortable headphones, the SUNDARA model would be a perfect choice since it weighs 372 g/13.1 oz and feels good even after several hours of listening. Its audio cable does not get tangled due to its material and length which is 150 cm/4.9 ft. In addition, you get an adapter with this appliance.

Sound

The sound signature of these pretty cheap open back headphones can be described as amazingly clear with a quite wide soundstage, decent bass response, and extension, however, fun enough to be non-fatiguing. The sound stage naturally expands depending on the songs being played. The sub bass and mid bass have a satisfactory amount of tightness and details. Mids sound very present, neutral and uncolored, whilst highs shine almost as much as the bass. With the SUNDARA listening is enjoyable, having good channel separation and clearly focused central information. HIFIMAN SUNDARA

Key specs

Pros

  • Has elegant simplicity of the package and the initial appearance of the device itself
  • The clamping force is ideal since it is strong enough to hold the unit in place without exerting any excessive pressure on the head
  • Most of the components are matte black metal that looks stylish and sturdy
  • The pretty wide headband does a wonderful job of evenly distributing any pressure on the top of the head

Cons

  • The cable is a bit stiff
  • Some grain or haze in treble

Philips Fidelio X2HR

Our rating
7.2/10

Philips Fidelio X2HR

The headphones I am going to tell you about have a wired connection only. However, they also have a great number of benefits. Let's start with the fact that they have a detachable cable which means that if something happens to it, you do not have to buy a new pair of Philips Fidelio X2HR because you can simply get another wire. It has to be noted that the length of the cable is 300 сm/9.8 ft. With this model, you will not be limited in your movements around the room.

As you are going to buy a pair of open back headphones, probably you care about their technical specs a lot. The considered device has 100 dB of sensitivity and its impedance is 30 Ohm. What is much more impressive about the Fidelio X2HR is the frequency response since the appliance produces music in a range between 5 Hz - 40 kHz. The construction of the headphones is pretty big and weighs 380 g/13.4 oz.

The single 3.5 mm cutout on the left ear cup makes it great for converting the X2HR into a gaming headset with a V-Moda BoomPro microphone. So, if your aim is to find good open back headphones for gaming, I would recommend choosing this model.

Sound

These headphones are neutral with a little warmth to them. There is impressive instrument separation and insight from top to bottom, and their accurate, organised manner is not a trade-off for punch. Philips Fidelio X2 offers rich bass and warm sound without compromising on clarity and airy, spacious sound. Philips Fidelio X2HR

Key specs

Pros

  • Smooth style aesthetic and great build quality
  • The earpads can be easily replaced
  • X2s speakers are pre-tilted at an angle of 15 degrees to match the natural shape of the ear

Cons

  • The headband looks bulky

Budget (under $200)

Audio-Technica ATH-AD700X - best budget

Our rating
7.5/10

Audio-Technica ATH-AD700X

Lots of audiophiles are already enjoying high-quality sound produced by these over ear headphones. Let's see what is special about them! The frequency response is great — from 5Hz to 30 kHz. Next, I would like to tell you about the impedance of Audio-Technica ATH-AD700X — 38 Ohm. Another thing to consider is the level of sensitivity which is 100 dB.

If you are looking for a device that is easy to carry, then this model would be an excellent choice. You can fold the headphones and put them in a pocket while going somewhere. This is a brilliant opportunity to get a relatively inexpensive pair of headphones with an lightweight honeycomb casing (265 g/9.3 oz) that provides an awesome acoustic. I can say without any doubt that these are the best budget open back headphones.

The unit made by Audio-Technica can be connected with smartphones, tablets, and PCs via a 300 cm/9.8 ft long audio cable. I have good news for you — the cable is detachable. If it gets damaged, just buy a new one. This is much more profitable than buying a new pair of headphones from the Japanese company.

Audio-Technica offers a huge range of headphones, so if you are looking for a device that will match your style, it is not hard to do. With regard to the model ATH-AD700X, it looks sleek and modern.

Sound

With this appliance, you can enjoy listening to your favourite songs with fabulous detail across the entire spectrum. The headphones offer a superb airy presentation of the mids and highs. The open model ATH-AD700X feels balanced with no overtuned bass or quietened treble. It also keeps up on the gaming side of things, providing great 3D accuracy. Audio-Technica ATH-AD700X

Key specs

Pros

  • 360-degree projection
  • Built to provide an incredibly comfortable listening experience
  • The flexible raised-fabric earpads are very soft and cover the listener's ear sufficiently
  • Bobbin-wound CCAW voice coils provide a fantastic power handling
  • The ear cups are well-padded and feel nice
  • IPX7 waterproofing
  • Perfect for jazz, classic rock, instrumental

Cons

  • The headband design makes the headphones quite bulky

Beyerdynamic DT 990 Pro - best for gaming and mixing

Our rating
7/10

Beyerdynamic DT 990 Pro

These are the best open back headphones for mixing and they are already used by thousands of those who are in music business. The velour earpads of this over ear unit look fantastic. The first thing worth mentioning is the optional level of impedance that can be either 80 or 250 Ohm. The sensitivity is also pretty good — 96 dB. Probably you will be glad to know that the headphones have a great frequency response — from 5 Hz to 35 kHz.

The headphones weigh 360 g/12.6 oz, but the comfortable headband distributes this weight all over your head. So, wearing the device for a long time is not going to be a problem.

Keep in mind that Beyerdynamic DT 990 Pro has a 6.35 mm jack where you have to plug in a 300 cm/9.8 ft long cable. One more feature you should know about the best open back headphones for gaming is the ¼ adapter (6.35 mm) you get with this appliance. Despite the fact that the DT 990 Pro is not foldable, the device comes with a carry case.

Sound

These headphones cannot be called overblown, however, they definitely bump and deliver enough bass hits. The mids are beautiful, musical, and pretty accurate. The soundstage is present and broad, sounding very wide while retaining an excellent sense of depth and focus in the centre. Beyerdynamic DT 990 Pro

Key specs

Pros

  • Comfort is great in spite of the higher clamping force of the Pro model
  • The gray ear pads on the black headphones are adding zest to the minimalist design
  • Deep velour ear pads have plenty of room for the ears

Cons

  • The coiled audio cable is integrated which could prove to be a pain to replace if damaged

Philips SHP9500

Our rating
7/10

Philips SHP9500

The first thing I want to say is that these are gorgeous wired headphones with an over ear design and a lot of benefits. Their impedance is 32 Ohm, while the frequency response is from 12 Hz to 35 kHz. In addition, the level of sensitivity is 101 dB.

The audio cable that comes with this Dutch device is 300 cm long. But its biggest advantage is that it is detachable. An important thing to mention: if you are going to replace the cable, choose a high-quality one since a cheap wire can lead to connectivity issues and general sound degradation.

In the package, you will also find a ¼ adapter (6.35 mm). So, if the fact that these headphones do not have in-line control does not make you disappointed, you should get SHP9500 to have an unforgettable listening experience.

Sound

The headphones Philips SHP9500 include 50 mm neodymium drivers that create a crisp clarity. Moreover, the angle of the earpieces fits closely to your ear, therefore that there is risen stability and focused sound. Mids are simply amazing and present. Highs are a little elevated and at times there is sibilance, however, the SHP9500 sounds lively and dynamic exactly because of that. Philips SHP9500

Key specs

Pros

  • The steel built of the earpiece connector ensures durability
  • The vocal performance you get with these headphones is absolutely phenomenal
  • Engineered wonderful and does not feel cheap at all
  • The headband has a good layer of padding
  • Very good ventilation, by design

Cons

  • Everyone around you will hear your music even at low volumes
  • Non-removable earpads

Premium

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Audeze LCD-X

Our rating
8.5/10

Audeze LCD-X

Let me introduce you to this fantastic pair of headphones with pretty high sensitivity — 130 dB. Their frequency response is extremely wide — 10 Hz - 50 kHz, while the impedance is only 20 Ohm. Generally speaking, these are studio headphones with premium quality and decent technical characteristics. Even plugged into an iPhone or iPad, the LCD-X can just about deafen you at 10 Hz with no audible distortion or distress at all — something no usual dynamic headphone can do.

Speaking of other features, the audio cable that has to be plugged in a 3.5 jack, has length 190 cm/6.2 ft. You do not have to worry that the wire can get damaged over time since in this case, you can easily get a new one. To add, a nice carry case made of a tough plastic comes with these headphones, too.

Sound

Headphones have an impressively neutral tone, but at the same time detailed, not exaggerated representation of transients and a pleasant sense of musical dynamics. Their bass is deep, uncolored, and unboosted. The LCD-X always sounds pleasant, warm and soft. When watching movies on the iPad, the sound is spacious and natural. Audeze LCD-X

Key specs

Pros

  • Comes with two cables: one for the ¼ headphone jacks, and the second with a 4-pin XLR plug for balanced use
  • The super-soft ear cups are big enough to completely cover just about any sized ear
  • The magnets located inside the headphone drivers are extremely strong

Cons

  • Weighs 635 g/22.3 oz which is a lot for a pair of headphones
  • There is some variation in audio with changes in position on the head

HIFIMAN Arya

Our rating
8/10

HIFIMAN Arya

If you think that you have already had headphones with the widest frequency response, just try these cans. They work in a range of 8 Hz and 65 kHz which is well beyond the range of human hearing. The next thing you have to know about them is the level of impedance which is 35 Ohm. Among other technical features, sensitivity is important as well. HIFIMAN Arya has 90 dB of sensitivity.

When it comes to weight, the headphones have 404 g/14.3 oz. The interchangeable ear cushions are a combination of imitation leather on the outside and skin-friendly polyester-covered imitation leather on the inside. The headphones have a detachable cable which is 150 cm/4.9 ft long. With the considered device, you get a 6.35 mm adapter. Sound

The frequency response is fairly balanced, you can hear pretty flat bass. In the low end, the Arya provides a driving and energetic performance. Good detail and excellent fidelity abound in the mids. Low and high mids are equal, allowing rock songs to reach their full potential in terms of fullness and warmth. HIFIMAN Arya

Key specs

  • Wearing style: over ear
  • Enclosure: open back
  • Wireless: no
  • Wired: yes
  • Full specs

Pros

  • The cable does not generate noise when it rubs against clothing
  • Very easy to drive
  • Has a beautiful and elegant black plastic frame
  • The oval shape makes it easy to put the head against a surface, such as on the bed

Cons

  • Comes with only one cable

What are open back headphones?

Everyone prefers to listen to their favorite tunes in different ways. Some want to completely disengage from extraneous noise, for example, cars, screaming, talking, extraneous sounds. But for others of great importance is the possibility to hear what is happening around, talk with friends.

Open headphones are chosen by music lovers who usually listen to music in a quiet home environment, without significant external noise. Open-type headphones do not protect the listener from such interference since their ear cups have openings on the backside.

Another design feature of such devices is that the sound vibrations created by the emitters pass freely outside — that is, a “leak” of sound occurs. When listening to music at high volume, it will be heard by others, which in some cases may be undesirable.

Speaking of benefits, the design of the headphones allows for a more natural sound projection, and everything seems less emphasized on the low end. But consider that the audio will be this good only if you use good quality headphones.

These devices are perfectly suitable for analytical listening, listening to hi-fi audio, and home use. In addition, open headphones are great for listening to movie soundtracks — even in the case of using a two-channel signal, the viewer can feel in the very center of what is happening on the screen.

Pros

  • Light and laid-back sound, as realistic as possible
  • Earpads and headband are usually made of soft velvet. This material is not only pleasant but also allows the ears to breathe
  • Usually very comfortable with prolonged use

Cons

  • You will hear absolutely everything that is going on around, and the people will hear the tracks you are listening to
  • Bass is not transmitted as richly as in closed ones, although these are individual feelings
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