Best Open Back Headphones (Over Ear) – Complete Buyer’s Guide

Best Open-Back Headphones buyers guide

Our Picks For Best Open Back Headphones

Overall Rating
Sennheiser HD 599

​Sennheiser HD 599

You can detach everything with this Sennheiser 599. Plug in the cables, put on the earpads, and let the music wash over you.

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​Sennheiser HD 650

​Sennheiser HD 650

​Strong drivers, improved frequency response, and magnet drivers; all of these features help provide you with a sound quality you wouldn't expect in your home.

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​Beyerdynamic DT 990 Pro

​Beyerdynamic DT 990 Pro

​Comfort and durability are only two of the key features of the Beyerdynamic Pro. Use these headphones in a professional setting or just at home relaxing.

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Phillips SHP9500

​Phillips SHP9500

​The Phillips headphones are designed to be comfortable on your head. They're padded and breathable, while still providing you with the great sound quality too.

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​Audio-Technica ATH-R70x

​Audio-Technica ATH-R70x

​The unique design of the Audio-Technica headphones are made to improve your listening experience. It helps that these are durable, comfortable, and look great.

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​AKG Pro Audio Headphones

​AKG Pro Audio Headphones

​Use the AKG Pro Audio Headphones to work all day without even noticing that they’re there. They're comfortable, ergonomic, and high-quality.

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​Shure SRH1440

​Shure SRH1440

​Everything is fully reinforced in the Shure headphones, which are made to be fully adjustable and optimized for the best sound quality possible.

There's nothing like a good set of headphones. The right pair will fit your head well, provide you with high-quality sound, and be easy to use. Don't forget to get a pair that matches your style and comfort levels too. Check out these open-back headphones to find an option that fits you well without compromising the sound quality you've come to expect.

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​Sennheiser HD 599

Sennheiser HD 599

Pros

  • Comfortable feeling and high sound-quality
  • The bass is audible without being too much
  • Lightweight and doesn’t put pressure on your head

Cons

  • May not handle the mid-level sounds as well

Summary:

The Sennheiser 599 open-back headphones include soft and replaceable ear pads to keep you comfortable all day long. Plug in one of the two included cables or unplug them if you'd like, as well. Everything is detachable in these wired headphones, which won't impact your sound one bit. This is because they have 50-ohm transducers to make every sound a good one.

​Sennheiser HD 650

​Sennheiser HD 650

Pros

  • Impressive audio nuances, detail and sound clarity
  • The amp quality is stunning
  • Excellent tonality

Cons

  • You will need an amp if you're listening to a lot of instrumentals

Summary:

This Sennheiser HD 650 is designed to enhance your sound and give you the best precision in your audio. On the headphones, there is acoustic silk to reduce the THD to only 0.05 percent. This provides you with a frequency response of 10 decibels. With the hand-selected matched driver elements and the optimized magnet systems, distortion will be a thing of the past. Just plug in the cable to get started. Featured by     many professional audiophile magazines over the years, the HD 650 is definitely well received in the community and doesn’t disappoint.

​Beyerdynamic DT 990 Pro

​Beyerdynamic DT 990 Pro

Pros

  • The resolution for the sound is good
  • Lightweight yet robust design
  • Great price point for its professional quality

Cons

  • The highs are very piercing and can be a lot to take

Summary:

The Beyerdynamic pair of headphones are ideal for professional mixing, editing and mastering. This makes them perfect for studio applications, especially since they have transparent and rich bass and treble sound. They also have stunning sound reproduction, thanks to a diaphragm weight reduction.


They feature soft and replaceable velour pads atop the durable and robust construction. With the DT 990, you’ll get to enjoy balanced and crisp audio alongside a good level of comfort.

​Phillips SHP9500

Phillips SHP9500

Pros

  • Build quality and finish is excellent
  • Comfortable and breathable ear pads
  • Large 50mm drivers

Cons

  • There is a somewhat uneven treble response

Summary:

You'll be listening to 50 mm neodymium drivers and a full spectrum of sound with these Phillips headphones. Plug in the 1.5-meter-long cable to move around as you'd like and slip on these durable yet comfortable headphones right over your ears. The headband is double-layered and breathable, but it's the sound you care about. Check out the frequency response of 12-35,000 Hz for the sound you can't find anywhere else.


The SHP9500 focuses well on the midrange but still delivers when extended to treble and bass ranges. In fact, they perform great together with digital pianos as they are sensitive enough. To get the best use out of the SHP9500, use them on your computer and utilize digital equalization for the best results.

​Audio-Technica ATH-R70x

​Audio-Technica ATH-R70x

Pros

  • Natural and neutral sound that is still rich and warm
  • Extra lightweight and easy to wear on your head
  • Precise and suitable for mixing

Cons

  • The earpads will be a little small and might need to be replaced

Summary:

Check out the unique design of the Audio-Technica headphones with their high-efficiency magnets built right in. Those magnets and the pure alloy planar magnetic circuit reduce distortion and ensure that you get a good frequency response. 


The headphones themselves are made of carbon composite resin for durability, without compromising the breathable earpads. You will enjoy its natural open-back sound as well as its enhanced design of their famed 3D wing support system for even better comfort. Strong, robust yet lightweight, the ATH-R70x certainly ticks many boxes for the audiophile in search of a stunning open back.

​AKG Pro Audio Headphones

​AKG Pro Audio Headphones

Pros

  • Huge soundstage with great crispness
  • Accurate and detailed sound experience
  • Rich, punchy bass

Cons

  • You may want to purchase your ear pads to help with the sound

Summary:

If you're working for a long time with your headphones on, one of the best headphones for you will be the AKG Pro Audio. The over-ear design is made to be comfortable, while the open technology will keep your head cool while you work. These include a patented variation two-layer diaphragm for better frequency range, sensitivity, and sound. Don't forget the foam ear pads for maximum comfort and best fit.


The AKG Pro does extremely well with the mid-range while still enjoying a balanced treble. Overall, its accurate bass and great soundstage all contribute to a stunning audio experience.

​Shure SRH1440

​Shure SRH1440

Pros

  • Sturdy build with a good solid feel to them
  • The soundstage is natural and very wide
  • ​Extremely comfortable for long hours or usage

Cons

  • The lows are very good, but the highs are a bit harsh

Summary:

The Shure headphones are well loved for their sleek and stylish design. They feature 40 mm neodymium drivers that will let you listen to full-range audio with a rich and controlled base, along with an open back for natural sound and increased depth of field. These headphones are perfected for a direct connection to your audio devices, and of course, are fully adjustable and comfortable too. Enjoy its versatile full range audio along with a rich, punchy bass.

What To Look For In Open Back Headphones

Comfort

 Open back headphones automatically have a greater level of comfort because they keep the ears a lot cooler than other types of headphones. This allows for long listening. There are of course a multitude of other factors to consider in terms of comfort. 

You want to ensure that they are comfortable enough to wear without discomfort for long periods of time. It is therefore essential that the headband does not put pressure on the head or ears and that the earpads are comfortable on the ears. The location of any connection cables is also important to consider. You want to ensure they are not going to constantly be in your way and impede your listening experience. 

Wired or Wireless?

At first consideration, wireless headphones seem like a better choice for convenience alone, but there are other factors to consider. Wired headphones usually always offer better sound quality as they are not reliant on a Bluetooth connection. You also have the length of the battery life to take into consideration. For the most part, wired headphones are also a significantly lower price than their wireless counterparts. 

Comparing Open and Closed-back Headphones

Headphones have changed drastically since they were first. Open and closed back are the two major different types of over the ear headphones. Closed-back headphones are still overall the most popular of the majority of casual music listeners. The purpose of the closed cups in closed-back headphones is that no other outside sounds or frequencies interfere with the users' experience. 

However, because of this closed back, there will be a certain level of resonance that can have an effect on the sound. This can lead to less accuracy than you’d normally get with open back headphones where this resonance doesn't exist. This accuracy allows the user to experience the sound as close as possible to the original recording. 

Open-back headphones are mostly used by music professionals as they need to hear the recording as accurately as possible. As well as accuracy in sound, the main difference between the two types of headphones is that closed-back ones offer a greater level of sound isolation. Increased sound isolation is the major benefit of closed-back headphones. This makes them better suited for noisier environments, or for those that use headphones while commuting. 

Open-back headphones usually weigh less than closed-back headphones, simply because of the lack of outer cups. This decrease in weight can optimize comfort levels over extended periods. For example, closed-back headphones tend to be more portable and are more likely to have a foldable headband. Closed headphones also tend to have a better quality of bass created by the enclosed space. While not an important audio factor for many, bass quality is highly important for some. 

Open-back headphones are most suitable for home listening. This is because just as the soundwaves can escape through the vents, outside noise can also get in easily and interfere with the audio. 

Conclusion

Open-back headphones offer unparalleled accuracy of sound, thanks to the lack of resonance caused by reverberating sound waves in closed-back earphones. The quality of sound is as close as you will get to live music. The only con, when compared to closed-back headphones, is the lack of sound isolation. 

With so many brands of open-back headphones on the market, choosing which one to buy can be overwhelming. Keep in mind your price point and the important features you want. This way, you can narrow down your options and find the perfect headphones to suit your personal needs.


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