Best Semi Open Headphones

Votes 37 37
Rating 4 4
Overall Audio features Comfort Control Wireless audio features Wireless connectivity Battery
Beyerdynamic T1 2nd generation 8 9 7 inapt inapt inapt inapt Check price
Fostex T60RP 7.5 8 7 inapt inapt inapt inapt Check price
Fostex T50RP MK3 7.5 8 7 inapt inapt inapt inapt Check price
Beyerdynamic DT 880 Pro 7 8 6 inapt inapt inapt inapt Check price
AKG K240 MKII 6.5 7 7 inapt inapt inapt inapt Check price
AKG K240 STUDIO 6.5 7 7 inapt inapt inapt inapt Check price
AKG N60NC 6 7 7 8 3 5 7 Check price

It might be confusing to choose the best semi open headphones since there is not much information about them on the web. So, I decided to check a few such units by myself in order to create my own summary about them.

Semi open headphones are not as popular as other models, however they do have a lot of benefits. For instance, closed back devices are usually not breathable since all the area behind is covered with some material.

Speaking of the headphones with an open design, they often leak sound and are not suitable for using outside. With regard to semi open devices, they are the middle way between these kinds of headphones.

Such appliances can provide a pretty wide soundstage. Their headphone drivers are not completely sealed which allows the air to come through. If you like listening to music with string instruments, semi open headphones will reproduce maximum accurate tunes.

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Beyerdynamic DT 880 Pro - best overall

Our rating

Beyerdynamic DT 880 Pro

In case you want to buy the best semi open headphones from the world's leading manufacturer, here they are. Let me tell you about this wired device with a pretty stylish design. One of its most impressive features is the frequency response since this model produces the sound in a range of 5 Hz - 35 kHz. You may be also astonished by the level of impedance which is 250 Ohm. The headphones terminated in a 1/8th-inch TRS plug, threaded for a 1/4-inch adapter which is used for high-end/high-output systems. When it comes to sensitivity, it is average — 96 dB.

I have to mention that this device weighs 295 g/10.4 oz which is not much for a pair of over ear headphones. They are pretty light and come with a carry case. The DT 880 Pro has a quite long audio cable — 300 cm/9.8 ft. This means you can move around your room without having a problem with a wire.


If you want to hear natural, open, and uncolored sound from a good set of professional headphones, Beyerdynamic DT 880 Pro is perfect for you. Their semi open design offers an excellent sense of space. On tracks with intense sub-bass content, the headphones produce full-sounding, accurate low frequency response. This appliance manages to provide strong bass depth without inventing lows where they don't exist. If you want to get the most out of them, it makes sense to use an AMP. Beyerdynamic DT 880 Pro

Key specs


  • Matte chrome finish on the back side and a nice black finish on the headband make the headphones look premium
  • Left and right ears are demarcated not only with an L and R, but with braille
  • Thank the soft velour ear pads the headphones are incredibly comfortable and suitable for those who wear glasses
  • The headband is amply cushioned
  • Since the backs are “semi” open, heat does not tend to go up


  • No inline remote or mic for taking calls
  • The cable is not detachable

Beyerdynamic T1 2nd generation - best premium

Our rating

Beyerdynamic T1 2nd generation

These are premium semi open headphones for real audiophiles who cannot imagine their life without quality music. You get this device with a hard carry case that is efficient in protecting the T1 2nd generation from damage. The mentioned model, as well as the previous one, has an extremely high impedance — 600 Ohm. However, there is another feature that is going to impress you. The frequency response of the headphones is 5 Hz - 50 kHz. The device has 102 dB of sensitivity.

The special thing about them is that the audio cable is shielded over its entire length. This provides powerful radiation and emission protection. Beyerdynamic T1 2nd generation has the most premium look and construction of the models on this list. It weighs 360 g and comes with a 1/4 adapter.


The considered headphones are much warmer and richer-sounding than a lot of other ones. The famous spike in the treble ranging up to 12 dB at 10 kHz makes listening very realistic. I was amazed by the T1s’ ability to render fine detail. Instruments are defined very well — these headphones capture the texture of instruments brilliantly. Beyerdynamic T1 2nd generation

Key specs


  • Lovely leather-topped headband and pretty big velour ear pads
  • The 300 cm/9.8 ft long audio cable is detachable
  • The company used a 'tesla' coil magnet which is significantly more powerful than that of an average pair of headphones
  • Has german quality which means Beyerdynamic T1 2nd generation is durable and reliable
  • Does not hurt the head even after being worn for many hours


  • Not for general portable use since the headphones isolate very little

AKG K240 STUDIO - best budget

Our rating


Those who want to get a really nice looking pair of headphones for an affordable price should definitely pay attention to this model as it is budget-friendly and quality. The headphones have a golden-black pattern and come with a 3 m long audio cable. One of their benefits is the weight since the device has only 240 g/8.4 oz which is very light as for a pair of semi open headphones. The slim design has two suspended earpieces for flexibility.

Let's talk about the technical features of AKG K240 STUDIO. They have 55 Ohm of impedance and 104 dB of sensitivity. With regard to frequency response, it is 15 Hz - 25 kHz. The headphones are not equipped with a microphone which makes it impossible to take phone calls while listening to music.


AKG K240 STUDIO features very detailed and clean mids and highs. Imaging is great and airy. Speed and detail resolution on high notes are both absolutely fantastic. The soundstage feels as if it is floating around your head. The amazingly crisp highs, crystal clear mids, and pretty flat frequency response makes these headphones honest and lets them provide a natural sound. AKG K240 STUDIO

Key specs


  • Vocal mixing/treatment is particularly easy with it
  • Imitation leather padding and coverings can be replaced easily
  • Has a self-adjusting non-twisting headband
  • Ideal for use with tablets, smartphones and media players
  • Features a mini XLR input that can usually be found only in fairly expensive models
  • One of the most honest sounding headphones in this price category


  • Not for those who want to have plenty of thumping boomy powerful bass

What are semi open headphones

Lots of mixing and mastering engineers prefer to use exactly semi open headphones since they keep the sound from leaking out. Such a unit is more or less closed-back, but the ear cups there have small vents for air to pass through. Semi open vs closed back headphones have a number of advantages. A lot of mixing and mastering pros prefer less sound leakage than a typical open back device provides.

Some appliances with such an enclosure can be used even for traveling. However, most of them are mainly made for professional use such as mixing, studio monitoring, and mastering. Stereo listening with semi open headphones is great as well. Since normally the devices have an over ear design, that includes a self-adjusting headband with soft padding for comfort.

In addition, there is a quite high number of well-sounding and relatively cheap semi open headphones on the market. If you want to get the budget ones, some of them are shown above.

Semi open headphones pros and cons


  • Absolutely perfect for mixing, mastering and listening to music because of its natural openness
  • Much more breathable compared to closed back models
  • There are many German manufacturers who make incredibly durable and quality semi open devices
  • For those who want to buy a headphone for gaming and streaming needs, a semi open appliance should be a prime choice


  • Too bulky to carry it with you
  • Normally are intended to be used only at home or a studio
  • The choice of such devices is not as great as the choice of models with a different design

Semi open vs closed back headphones

The thing is that semi open headphones allow for some sound leakage to offer a realistic experience. You are unlikely to ever get such a wide soundstage, as these devices provide, with a pair of closed back headphones. Moreover, half-open models are more breathable, so they would be a better choice for summer.

The frequency response of the headphones from my list offers you a very wide dynamic range and a high degree of sensitivity. Some affordable semi open models have nice features that inexpensive closed back devices usually do not have. For instance, mini XLR input.

Semi open vs open back headphones

Semi open device retains more of your music than open-back headphones and provides a better bass response. Compared to open back units, they can have a chamber to partially block out noise while letting some sound through via openings or vents. Semi open vs open back headphones often have a better outlook, so if you do care about the design, keep it in mind.

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