Have you ever found yourself being in a state of music junkie? Imagine what it would be like to listening to your favorite beat?
I know the feeling…
Put on the open back headphones, and boom! You’re there.
The best open-back headphones produce a spacious soundstage that can feel like you’re listening to speakers rather than something in your ears.
Since there are overwhelming options available, you might feel lost finding the best bang for your buck.
In this guide, we are going to review the best open back headphones that money can buy.
What is an Open Back Headphone?
As the name goes, you might get an idea that these headphones are not designed to block out external noise. This might put you off because you think that you need more sound in your ear from the headphones, as the general impression.
But you don’t realize that blocking out all noise from the outside (what those closed-back headphones do) creates an internal pressure in your ear. This pressure reduces sound quality significantly. So you begin to feel as if you are in a closed space.
That is why open-back headphones are a thing now because they don’t block external noise and dish out exceptional sound quality. You are in for a more immersive sound experience and excellent breathability for your ears.
And when you use them in a quiet environment, the sound quality will increase trifold.
But here’s a catch!
You won’t get an extraordinary sound quality when you are in a crowded palace or when commuting.
Best Open-Back Headphones of 2021
1. Philips SHP9500 – Best Option Overall
The SHP955 open-back headphones are great for all-day wearing. They produce an incredible sound, thanks to their 50mm neodymium drivers. We are talking about an impedance of 32 ohms and a maximum output power of 200mW. You will be able to comfortably listen to those minor frequencies pretty easily, allowing you to enjoy an immersive listening experience.
Speaking of frequencies, these headphones have a frequency response that ranges between 12Hz and 35 kHz. It means that you will be able to listen to those vocals as well as instruments pretty clearly.
With a sensitivity of 101 dB, these headphones will provide you with all those minor details in your tracks, and you can use them for your calls as well.
These headphones are pretty lightweight, so you can wear them all day long if you want. These headphones produce a pretty decent bass. But if you are really into that, you should use them with a quality DAC with bass control.
- Excellent value for money.
- Balances treble and bass really well.
- Nice comfortable design.
- Large neodymium drivers for great sound quality.
- Long cable for easy movement.
- Not best for bass lovers.
2. Samson SR850 – Best Open-back headphones under $100
For a budget-friendly option, you can go for the SR850, and they also have a semi-open design. With a semi-open design, you will still be able to enjoy a quality sound output.
These headphones are great for use when commuting and even in crowds. You will be able to enjoy your music with these pro headphones. This pair is designed for tracking, mastering, playback, and mixing.
These headphones feature large 50mm drivers with rare earth magnets for improved frequency response and an excellent dynamic range. There is plenty of cushioning in these headphones. You can use them for long listening sessions.
These headphones also come with a self-adjusting headband that will provide you with an optimal fit. Apart from that, you will also get a ¼-inch stereo adapter for enhancing your listening experience.
- Excellent for a budget-friendly option.
- Lightweight and comfortable.
- Self-adjusting headband.
- Comes with a stereo adapter.
- Better equipped for crowded places.
- Requires properly equalized.
3. Audio Technica AD700X – Best Option for Midrange Sounds
These Audio Technica headphones feature 53mm, dynamic drivers for reproducing quality treble, and can handle midrange sounds well. They also come with CCAW Bobbin-wound voice coils and 38-ohm impedance handling. So, you can connect it with other instruments directly.
They come with a sensitivity of 100 dB and can detect low-pitched sounds really well. Plus, they have an open design, so your ears will remain comfortable as you listen to your favorite tunes.
Another great feature that they have is their aluminum casing. It keeps the overall weight on the lighter side and guarantees top-notch acoustic properties.
There is a 3D wing on top that allows the headphones to comfortably self-adjust for an optimal fit. This design also ensures less pressure on your ears. They have a maximum power output of 700mW and can manage a frequency response ranging from 20 Hz to 20 kHz.
They also come with a special 3.5mm connector type that you can attach to the jack to increase your connectivity range.
- Large 53mm drivers.
- Superior power handling with Bobbin-wound voice coils.
- Comfortable wearing with no pressure on ears.
- Self-adjusting headband.
- Excellent for low and mid-range sounds.
- Better equipped for gaming.
4. Beyerdynamic DT990 – Best open back headphones under $200
Looking for a premium quality open-back headset? These headphones are equipped with a highly innovative bass reflex system to guarantee an excellent audio output.
These headphones also come with a quality carrying case for you to use on the go. You will get a 3.5mm jack with a 6.5mm connector and a more versatile connectivity option.
You’ll also get a 2-year warranty directly from an authorized dealer of Beyerdynamic. These headphones come with a frequency response rate that ranges between 15 Hz and 24 kHz, and you will also get an impedance of 40 ohms.
There is a highly adjustable headband on top of these headphones that will ensure an optimal fit. In addition, there is plenty of cushioning in these headphones, so you can wear them for those long listening sessions.
- Handles all types of sounds.
- High-quality materials.
- Includes a carrying case.
- Comes with a 2-year warranty.
- A wide frequency response range.
- Doesn’t give the drive.
5. Sennheiser HD660S – Best for High Impedance & Frequency Response
Sennheiser needs no introduction in the headphone world, and the HD660S is very much like that too. These open-back headphones come with large 53mm drivers that can nicely handle low and high sound.
They also feature improved transducers to ensure an extraordinarily low harmonic distortion. It means that you will hear clear and precise sounds no matter what you are listening to. These headphones are versatile enough for listening to music as well as gaming.
The transducers that are in there in these headphones are precise, and they can match right and left with +/- 1 dB variation for exceptional stereo spatial properties.
These headphones also feature 150-ohm impedance, and you can connect them to whatever device you like. That’s why they are great for connecting with mobile devices and homes.
These headphones also have detachable cables and have OFC copper to maintain signal integrity. Your purchase will also include two separate cables for 4,4mm and 6,5mm connections. And there is a 3.5mm connector included for a vast array of connectivity options.
Sennheiser HD660S can handle a frequency response range from 10 Hz to 41 kHz. The headband on the top has a self-adjusting design.
- Quality transducers guarantee precise sound.
- Versatile connectivity options.
- Wide frequency range.
- Detachable cables.
- Very comfortable wearing experience.
- Slightly weak sound stage.
6. Drop & Hifiman HE4XX – Best Option for Durability
Drop & Hifiman headphones feature Planar Magnetics. So, you don’t need any fancy amp to enhance your listening experience. You can connect these headphones directly to any of your smart devices or a computer and enjoy them right away.
The headphones are designed to handle all kinds of low and high-resolution sounds, but you will notice that they are not great when it comes to mid-range sounds. However, with that being said, these headphones are great for gaming and listening to music. This is because they can produce quality bass and handle low sounds nicely, keeping them precise.
These headphones have a very comfortable top headband made of spring steel. It will keep things very easy going on in your head. The spring is covered with hand-stitched leather to keep everything breathable and fit your head during those long usage sessions.
They have a frequency response that ranges from 20 Hz to 35 kHz and a sensitivity rate of 93 dB.
Last but not least… There is a 4.9 feet long detachable cable.
- Handle low and high sounds very well.
- Detachable cable.
- Planar magnetic drivers.
- Durable and comforting.
- 6.35mm connector included.
- Slightly heavy.
- Not that great for mid-range sounds.
7. Hifiman HE400SE – Best for Comfortable Wearing
These headphones are all about comfortable and great sound. They also feature Hifiman’s signature planar magnetics, which is way better in handling distortion than the conventional dynamic drivers.
This technology aims to create sound waves to pass right through the magnets without creating any interference. The result is a crystal-clear sound acoustically transparent and accurate.
These headphones also come with a 3,5mm cable and a 6.35mm connector for more connectivity options. With higher sensitivity, these headphones are great for you to connect with low-voltage sources like your smart devices and audio players.
You can use these headphones for long hours without any discomfort, and they are highly breathable so that you can wear them in warm weather.
If you are looking for good quality audio performance and don’t want to break your wallet, this is the best option to consider.
- Large planer magnetic drivers.
- Excellent for handling different frequencies.
- Durable construction with a comfortable fit.
- Comes with a detachable cable.
- A 6.35mm jack is included.
- Not for music production.
Related: We reviewed the best budget spotting scopes you can find.
Open-Back Headphone Buyers Guide?
Here are some important features that you need to consider when buying these open-back headphones.
Here’s the tricky part of going for open-back headphones. They are going to provide you with a more natural listening experience. It means that you will still be able to hear background or external noise.
So, you will have to be in a quiet place if you are looking to get the most of these headphones. But as these headphones can produce natural sound, you will be in for an immersive experience.
Not for the likes of bass lovers
If you love bass in your beats, these headphones are not for you. You should go for closed-back headphones to provide you with more bass in your sounds.
This is why open-backs are more suitable for gaming, streaming, and other online activities. If you like to listen to things and stay in touch with your background, you need to go for open-backs.
As background noise is not much of a problem here, therefore, you can continue to wear these headphones for longer listening sessions. And for that, you need to go for a lightweight design, so your neck, ears, and head don’t feel much strain. Therefore, opt for a lightweight model so you can continue to wear them for as long as you want.
If you are looking for an option that allows you to connect your headphones with a vast array of devices and instruments, you should go for open-back headphones.
Many of these models allow you to connect them with your smartphones, gaming consoles, companies, and tabs. It also comes with different connector types that connect them with other musical instruments like piano, guitar, etc.
Make sure to choose a pair of open-backs that come with a wider range of frequency responses. With a wider range, your pair will be able to detect low, midrange, and high sounds very comfortably. It means that you can conveniently use them for music, gaming, and other stuff.
Frequently Asked Questions
Open back headphones are designed to let airflow through the ear cups from the back side of the speaker driver. This design eliminates resonances low frequency build up normally caused by the rear enclosure.
People who wear open back headphones wil tell you that they sound significantly better compared to closed-back headphones. Open back headpones are known for poriving clearer and less muffled music. Open back headphones even provide a better sense of dynamics and stereo imaging.
When it comes to open-back headphones, the best ones on the market are the Philips SHP9500. They come with a wide frequency response rate and are comfortable to wear for long listening sessions.
Open-backs are great for an immersive listening experience. They can produce quality sounds when you don’t have much background noise.
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