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Headphones saturate the market right now and it can be difficult deciding which type to get. The versatility of closed-back headphones makes them right for home, in public, and at the office. Noise isolation lets you lose yourself in the joys of your music or your favorite show while the design can keep you comfortable for long periods.
Choosing the best headphones can be hard, so we have found our favorites. Each product has it's pros and cons, so let’s dive in and find what works best for you. Click which pair of headphones you want to learn more about to jump to that section of the buyer's guide.
According to our tests, the best closed back headphones are the Marshall Monitor II ANC headphones. These headphones are described as "authentic but modern" and feature the trademark Marshall sound, but are packed with fun techy add-ons.
9 Best Closed Back Headphones - Top Picks of 2020
Check out our top picks in this category to get familiar with what makes closed back headphones such a great option for music, podcasts, phone calls, gaming and more.
1. Marshall Monitor II A.N.C - Best Closed Back Headphones
When Marshall was making the Monitor II A.N.C headphones, it's clear how much thought went into their design and performance. While these closed back headphones are great at cancelling out the sounds around you, that's just the tip of the iceberg.
These headphones are described by Marshall as "authentic yet modern", and we couldn't agree more. They have the classic quality we expect from Marshall, but with a ton of high-tech features. They have 40mm drivers that produce Marshalls signature sound, and an impressive battery life.
On the side of the headphones, there's a multi-directional control knob that lets you control everything from volume, to skipping tracks, and phone functionality. This isn't a unique feature to Marshall, but there's another knob that allows you to shuffle between EQ presets, which is the first of its kind. This means you can change the sound profile on the go, without pulling out the app to adjust for different music styles.
The active noise cancellation is some of the best in the industry. The headphones are constantly pinpointing ambient noise so they can cancel it out so you can focus on your music.
On the flip side, by far our favorite feature of these headphones is "monitoring mode". This allows you to essentially reverse the noise cancelling, and instead amplify your surroundings so you can hear conversations more clearly.
The Jabra Elite 85H is a well-built premium pair of headphones with incredible battery life, even when using active noise cancellation. The headphones themselves weigh 10.4 ounces, and are made from a combination of materials, including a fabric outer layer. While this is a nice tactile change from what we're used to, we did notice it tended to collect more dust than other materials.
As far as sound quality goes, these are the upper level of the spectrum, and will be great for most people, but don't have as high of quality sound as some slightly pricier alternatives like the Sony WH-1000XM3.
The controls of these headphones are located on the outside of the earcup. You get 3 buttons, one for play/pause, and two others for skipping tracks and controlling volume. Fairly easy to use and standard among headphones in this price range.
One of the great things about these headphones is the SmartSound active noise cancellation that analyzes the sounds around you in real time to adapt your noise cancelling as you move from room to room, or commute. They're perfectly designed to cancel background noise and keep music isolated to your headphones. This makes them a solid choice for most situations, including home or office use.
The Jabra Elite 85 headphones also boast a massive battery life of about 36 hours and if they go off, the fast-charge feature enables you to enjoy up to 5 hours of playback time from 15 minutes of charge.
Overall, these headphones are reasonably priced for the quality, comfort and features you get, and we recommend it if you're using them for travel, commuting, or to listen to music while you're in the office.
Related: Jabra Elite 85H Review
The box design is super-premium, something we expected from the Sennheiser brand. The packaging is primarily black, with small blue streaks at the bottom. The headphones are proudly presented at the front of the box with very minimal text. Similarly, the package comes with essential mentions of the gadget specs at the back. Wondering how the headphones sound? Keep reading!
Opening the box is a piece of cake; pull up the top, and you behold the gadgets right dead center. The over ear headphones are carefully tucked inside a foam-like material. The material protects the headphones from physical damage during shipping. The purchase package also comes with a manual. The box also comes with a 3-meter cable that has a 6.3mm jack and a 1 meter 3.5mm jack. All the cables are both removable.
Sennheiser’s HD569 closed-back headphones are designed to go around the ear for ultimate comfort and sound quality. Replaceable and cushioned, the ear pads are great build quality for the price range if you are looking for enhanced comfort and practical use. They also provide decent noise isolation, whereas the frame is well-cushioned to enable you to comfortably use your headphones for hours.
The soft, plush material that lines the ear-cups also lines the padded headband for extreme comfort. If long term listening is what you are after, then these headphones should be on your list of considerations.
This wired pair of headphones reduce ambient noise with the closed-back design and use premium components, like aluminum voice coils, to deliver a crisp and clear listening experience. These headphones are great for watching shows on a laptop or even listening to music on the bus.
With over 50 years of experience and history in audio production, Audio Technica has gained popularity amongst closed back headphones enthusiasts. The company has earned its reputation by generating unmatched quality audio products mostly appreciated within the music production industry.
The M-Series is a staple set of products among closed back headphone lovers and music producers. M-Series is a professional studio monitoring headphones line. The most renowned headphones in this line are the undisputed Audio Technica ATH-M50x closed back headphones. These headphones are commonly a top-of-the-list choice and vastly recommended for music producers.
Audio-Technica is an iconic company that is known by fans and top audio reviewers alike for their high-level audio equipment. The ATH M50x is no different. Using top quality materials like rare earth magnets and copper-clad aluminum wire voice coils, the sound these Audio Technica headphones create will smoothly dance right into your ear with crystal clear clarity and deep bass.
Aside from offering good sound quality, their comfy fitting cups swivel 90 degrees to fit your head shape while the cups fit around your ears for exceptional noise cancelling. These headphones are suitable for studio use with a detachable cable and two included cables with your purchase – straight cable and coiled cable.
Audio Technica headphones are ideal for casual listening or for those on-the-go listeners who want headphones that are lightweight with adequate sound isolation. You even get a nice carrying case for them.
These Beyerdynamic 770 Pro over-ear headphones have a soft, cushiony feel made for studio or home use. You will feel like Victorian and classy with the soft velour cloth that covers the ear pads.
This velour fabric not only gives you a dreamy softness, but the texture also helps keep the headphones secure while you do what you need to do. Hard-wearing and durable, you really can’t beat that.
The headband pad is soft as well and adds plenty of cushions, which is beneficial for those who need the extra padding. For those with larger craniums or those who run hot, these adjustable headphones have the extra perk of being able to remove the headband pad.
The sound quality you get with these headphones is superb. Spacious reproduction and clarity are possible because of the closed headphones. High frequencies create a clear and detailed sound. These headphones are great for home or studio use rather than on-the-go since they are a bit bulky.
The Shure SRH1540 comes in a vast hard case that consists of two pouches. The pouches comprise 6 ft cables and a flap of cloth that protects a pair of replacement ear pads.
The manufactures ensure top-notch build quality evident in the aluminum extenders and headband. A pleather padding on the headband and the permissive cloth lining on the ear cups enhance comfort during the long listening sessions.
There’s a twinge when it comes to bass; however, treble remains pleasant. The closed back headphones maintain detail all through the frequency range. You enjoy decent separation and soundstage.
We found the Shure SRH1540 perfect for slightly bass-heavy tracks. The closed head headphones paired perfectly with ambient stuff and math rock. The over ear headphones also adapted quite well with operas and classical music.
The Shure SRH1540 is rich in sound and dreamy in comfort. These premium headphones will not disappoint on all fronts. Whether you want to be enveloped in warm bass or taken to new levels with extended highs that keep your listening experience feeling new and exciting each time around – again, no disappointment here.
Professional quality wireless headphones that will get extended use due to materials like aircraft-grade aluminum alloy. Tough quality material, but it doesn’t add on weight. Quite the opposite. These headphones are lightweight and are ideal for lengthy sessions in the studio without discomfort.
These wireless headphones are on the pricier side, so you may want to take these off your list if you are on a lower budget. Otherwise, these headphones hit the top specs in other categories.
MrSpeakers Aeon Flow headphones are a practical and high-quality choice for audiophiles looking for a dignified new listening experience. Step outside of the typical cup shape and take a look at the Aeon Flow.
The sound can take some getting accustomed to, especially if you are into headphones for the bass. While these do produce clean bass, it is not overpowering. The treble is detailed with great depth. Voices come through smooth and clear.
The teardrop shape of the ear cups provides a natural and comfortable fit on most heads. Carbon fiber materials make up the housing of the headphone unit keeping the whole piece lightweight and built for long-term use. The clamping on the head is tight enough to keep it in place, but you won’t notice it after a few minutes.
One thing that separates Focal’s headphones from competitors is the full-range speaker drivers. People who have used the over ear headphones know how exceptional being surrounded by acoustic speakers feels. The company has now incorporated this technology into closed-back headphones design without compromising low frequencies detail.
Additionally, their low compliance and exclusive electrodynamic transducers are designed to operate effectively in an internal environment without bargaining on the extended frequency response of 23kHz and dynamics. The gadget’s build is light and preserves the high rigidity and damping that characterizes all high-performance cans.
Focal’s Elegia is an area crafted from high-end materials to bring us a remarkable listening experience. Focal has put their technology under the cutting edge and meticulous testing to ensure that the sound reproduction is precise and the sound is powerful.
These sleek looking headphones pack an exceptional audio quality with full-range speaker drivers and exceptional dynamics that produce precise sound. Any audiophile would be happy to have this in their grasp as the tonal balance is glorious, capable of reproducing even subtle details.
Comfortable from ear cups to the headband, you can listen to these while at home, on the bus, or in the studio. You will also be in your own little sound bubble with perfect sound isolation technology. These are great headphones for all walks of life.
You will get a protective case with your purchase as well as three different sized cables.
V-MODA’s M-100 is feature-packed and quality tested for consistency and extraordinary sound. At first look, you will notice the sleek black and red appearance of these classy looking headphones. They look appealing with lots of eye-catching details that will be sure to turn heads.
The sound quality is lively and engaging, owing to its 50MM dual-diaphragm drivers. Music of all genres will be appreciated and enjoyed with its clear vocals, deep bass, and nice velocity. Experience immersive soundstage with acoustics and live performance tracks.
Whether you want to listen to your music at home, watch a movie in bed, or hit up the studio, these headphones have you covered. The ergonomic design of the headband is designed to fit your head shape and minimize gaps.
Sound leakage is reduced by superiorly fitting ear cushions. Meanwhile, analog noise isolation can cut out annoying outside distractions to let you focus on what you are doing.
What are Closed Back Headphones?
Closed-back headphones are easy to identify by the design on the back of the ear cup. The ear cup is completely sealed on the back which will mostly seal sound within the ear for your listening pleasure.
Sound isolation is possible and many higher-end models are capable of noise cancelation. This means that they'll keep out external noise and ensure your audio stays in, so you can listen freely to your music without bothering other people and without outside noises bothering you.
Pressure can build up in closed-back headphones which can affect the sound, but most users won’t notice this unless they turn the volume up loud enough to damage the speakers.
The market for high-end closed-back headphones has been growing for the last few years. Why is that? Whether it is because we are always near other people and the need for closed-back headphones is growing or whether we just want to be in our sound bubble, we may never know.
But, one thing is for sure, the need is there and it is always best to do your research and find the best product for you.
Closed Back Headphones Advantages
We can’t speak for everyone, but the best part of closed-back headphones for us is noise isolation. Since your ears are encased within form-fitting ear cups, the noise will not be able to penetrate your ears. Be in your bubble with your music with no distractions. They help you listen and concentrate on your music by blocking out background noise while also limiting the level of audio leakage.
Unlike open back headphones, since air is trapped within the earpiece, this is perfect for building a bass. Thus, greater bass is usually possible with closed-back headphones. Another perk that goes alongside this one is that people near you will also be less likely to hear your bass or what you are listening to.
Factors to Consider when Buying
As always, with any big purchase, you will want to consider the many factors involved before making that final choice. Even with headphones, you will have your fair share of options to choose from.
Noise Canceling or Not?
With closed-back headphones and open back headphones alike, you get two types of noise canceling headphones: Active noise cancelling and isolating sound. High-end headphones use active noise canceling features that use an integrated circuit built directly into the ear cups to cut the noise out.
Higher quality headphones will be encased in comfortable material around the entire headpiece. Many budget-friendly choices will have a hard-plastic piece that fits around the top of the head – however hard this may look, depending on how you jam, this may not be a deal-breaker. Earpieces need to be soft and form fitting to your head, but not trap heat or generate sweat.
Some headphones come with extra pieces that you may find helpful depending on your lifestyle. Things like cases, replaceable ear pads, extra cables, and other accessories are always something to look into if you know you will need something extra.
Closed-back headphones run the market with how versatile they are and their potential to go from home to the office. Meeting all of your needs can be tricky, so figuring out what you are considering before making a choice will help out immensely.
Our list of the best-closed back headphones features some of the top choices on the market at all budget levels, so figure out what features you desire and let us help you make that final decision.