There are so many headphones in the market today with different levels of sound quality, price range, performance, design and overall listening experience. Some consumers are content with just a basic set of headphones, you know, the typical “anything will do” type. However, for those who are very particular with the brand and type of headphones they are using, they have very specific expectations when it comes to a product and want to get the best value out of their money.

If you’re one of those consumers who are looking for the best open back headphones in the market, this article will guide you in browsing through the cream of the crop. Legit audiophiles know that every single detail, no matter how minor, counts in the overall quality performance of headphones.

Open back headphones are designed to give its users an immersive listening experience and lower the level of isolation between the users and the surroundings. These gears can also provide a spacious and wide soundstage to make its users feel like they are listening to speakers in a room rather than from headphones.

A word of warning, open back headphones may leak a lot of sound, so even if a user is listening to music at just a reasonable volume level, it may still have the tendency to distract other people in the nearby surroundings. Open back headphones may also have some issues in reducing background noise and these gears are at their best when used in a quiet room/studio or peaceful surrounding.

Additionally, open back headphones tend to lack some features that may be considered as a staple in most headphones, like having a wireless design or having a microphone, which is quite of a big blow in terms of versatility. Open back headphones may not be so versatile but if you’re simply looking for a great audio experience from a set of headphones, these gears can definitely deliver.

Before delving deeper into details with the best open back headphones, we may need to answer two of the most common questions asked by the newbies – what are closed-back headphones and what are open back headphones?

What’s The Difference Between Closed Back Headphones and Open Back Headphones?

Basically, the difference between closed back headphones and open back headphones is pretty glaring; closed back headphones are literally closed around the ear to make sure that sound is isolated in the ear cups while open back headphones have an opening around the ears to enable some sounds to leak out.

At first glance, it may seem puzzling why some people would need some sounds to leak out from their ear cups. Well, the logic behind that is, there are instances when an extended use of headphones inside the studio may cause some issues pertaining to build-up of specific frequencies which can mess with the accuracy of certain sound mixes, particularly that of bass in lower frequencies. That being said, there are some instances when using open back headphones is needed in the studio, and the features of the best open back headphones are well-appreciated by music artists or professionals who are mixing and mastering.

On the other hand, closed-back headphones are ideal for recording vocals or any kind of instrument where noise isolation is entirely essential because you wouldn’t want any kind of background noise getting picked up by the microphone, right? Closed-back headphones offer clarity that will definitely erase any chance of you blurring up your recording.

If you ask us what’s the better pick between open back vs closed back headphones, we would have to say that it’s literally impossible to choose between the two because there is a place and time for both headphone designs.Perhaps the only similarity between the two headphones is that they have an over-ear design that provides premium audio quality compared to stock headphones. If you simply want to enjoy your favorite music or enjoy quality, immersive audio while playing your favorite game, either type of headphone will do the job.

If you want an overview of the cons of both type of headphones, just think of it this way:

Closed back headphones: chance of build-up
Open back headphones: sound may leak out which may be slightly awkward when you are
in a quiet room/environment
Low versatility

Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, it’s time to go through the best open back headphones. If you want to further boost your experience with the best open back headphones, you may want to consider using a headphone amplifier, unless you are just using audio interface to mix or master tunes.

Best Open Back Headphones: Beyerdynamic DT-990

What We Like

  • offers accuracy across multiple frequency ranges
  • excellent mixing detail

What We Don’t Like

  • not so budget friendly

Beyerdynamic DT-990 is arguably one of the best open back headphones in the market. It’s a strong contender when it comes to the test of accuracy across multiple frequency range and this model provides excellent detail when it comes to mixing.

The DT-990 is equipped with a super soft and comfortable headband pad and ear cups, an ergonomic design that is built to last for years. Pair that with an extremely clear sound quality and you can be sure that you are investing in something that is definitely worth your money.

Another sweet highlight of the Beyerdynamic DT-990 is it offers an impressively well-rounded flat frequency response that won’t give users inflated treble or bass. Aesthetically speaking, the Beyerdynamic is also one of the best open back headphones that looks really slick and professional.

With all the features that we mentioned, it’s really not surprising that Beyerdynamic DT-990 has been getting a lot of rave reviews from a strong percentage of its consumers. Most prospective buyers of an item depend a lot on consumer reviews, using it as one of the sign whether to go on with the purchase or not. While this gear may not be as budget friendly compared to other available open back headphones out there, if you can afford the price, we say “go for it!”.

Best Open Back Headphones: AKG K 701

What We Like

  • budget friendly
  • ideal for general mixing

If you’re just planning to use headphones for live stream gaming on YouTube or listening to your favorite music while on the commute, you may opt for this brand and model. It also comes at a price that is slightly cheaper than other best open back headphones, ideal for those on a budget.

The AKG K 701 is primarily marketed as “optimized for DJs” but in general, this set of headphones are ideal for mixing in general. In terms of build and design, the AKG K 701 looks and feels sturdy and solid, a sign that it’s going to be a really worthy investment. It is equipped with a 3-D formed ear pad and can be adjusted for a customized snug comfort fit. The K 701 also has a well-balanced frequency response and produces super clear, quality sound.

This is one of the best open back headphones that offer premium features from a trusted brand name. AKG K 701 is also a good alternative for consumers who want to purchase the Beyerdynamic DT-990 but have some budget issues.

Best Open Back Headphones: Sennheiser HD 600

What We Like

  • clear and crisp frequencies
  • aluminum voice calls

What We Don’t Like

  • expensive

The Sennheiser HD 600 is undeniably one of the most established and popular HD open back headphones in the audiophile community. Of course, with it’s premium features and well-known brand, it’s high price point is quite expected but with the Sennheiser HD 600, you can be assured that the gear is worth every dollar.

This best open back headphone is considered to be a beast thanks to its metal mesh grille, aluminum voice calls, detachable cable, clear and crisp frequencies topped off with a comfortable fit. You can also browse through other HD series models of this brand, just be careful, you might end up with multiple purchases because each and every model is just absolutely intriguing.

Best Open Back Headphones: Audio-Technica ATH-AD700

What We Like

  • ideal as gaming headset
  • self adjusting wing system

What We Don’t Like

  • release date not as updated as its counterparts

Unlike the other brands previously mentioned in this article, Audio-Technica may be relatively not so popular. However, the brand has been getting a lot of product reviews that links its affordability and good quality to an overall secure place as one of the best open back headphones in the market.

Audio-Technica is more popular in the realm of gaming headsets, where gamers get to enjoy and test the great sound quality and performance of the AD700. Designed with an aluminum, honeycomb casing, the Audio-Technica ATH-AD700 is equipped with a self-adjusting wing system and superb frequency distribution. While the premise “bigger is better” is not really a strong premise in terms of sound quality or performance, it pays to know that the Audio-Technica ATH-AD700 has a 53mm driver.

In terms of comfort, the ATH-AD700 is one of the best open back headphones, perfect for long hours of usage thanks to its velvet ear pads. This is perfect for video game marathons, listening to your playlist on a long travel or simply strolling through quiet art halls all day. This model is also known to stand the test of time, especially since it has been released a few years back.

Best Open Back Headphones: Shure SRH1840

What We Like

  • replaceable velour pads
  • crisp, clear audio

What We Don’t Like

  • pricey

Another brand joins the list of our guide for the best open back headphones in the market – Shure SRH1840. You can be sure with Shure brand (pun intended) but seriously, the headphones from this brand are pretty solid.

The headphones are equipped with replaceable velour pads with custom/memory foam, dual exit cables on each pair, and of course, super clear and crisp audio quality that will definitely be worth every penny. It also has an impressive set of drivers that ensures delivery of high quality acoustics.

The Shure SRH1840 also comes with a threaded adapter, replacement cable and a case where you can keep the gear secure. If the Sennheiser HD600 is considered to be a beast, the Shure SRH1840 can be likened to a monster, one of the best open back headphones on a totally different level. Comparing it to less premium open back headphones on the market will just make the latter look and feel average. If you have the budget and are willing to splurge more than just the average cost of the best open back headphones, you won’t regret purchasing the Shure SRH1840.

Best Open Back Headphones: Sony MDR MA900

What We Like

  • comfortable
  • solid, detailed sound

What We Don’t Like

  • average looking

If you are on the lookout for the best open back headphones with a simple, no-frills design, the Sony MDR MA900 might be ideal for you. Aesthetically speaking, the headband of the headphones look pretty standard but tons of users report that the gear is very comfortable thanks to the dense ear-pads.

The Sony MDR MA900 produces a solid, detailed sound with a touch of warmth and it has a very clear and distinct mid-range. This contender for one of the best open back headphones works well with almost all types of music and can actually be a strong competitor of the Sennheiser HD600. Of course, the MDR MA900 may fall a bit short in some areas, albeit negligible, but it is actually expected considering that it’s also priced lower than the HD 600.

Most professional pairs of the best open back headphones are considered to be pricey but for the Sony MDR MA900, we can say that it belongs to the middle price point. Sony is already a household brand name when it comes to tech gears and gadgets, so you can pretty much be assured that this is one of the best open back headphones that is durable and can last for many years when handled with care. Trusted brand, budget friendly, good performance – this is all you get with the Sony MDR MA900.

Best Open Back Headphones: Audio-Technica ATH-R70x

What We Like

  • 3D wing support
  • fresh and updated model

Another model from Audio-Technica enters our list of the best open back headphones in the market today. Unlike the ATH-AD700, the ATH-R70x is fresh off the market and equipped with newer features like the advanced 3D-wing support for starters.

Of course, you can still enjoy the usual offerings from Audio-Technica such as the honeycomb mesh build, the dual sided detachable cable, natural sounding audio that gives its users an impressive sound experience.

If you are looking for the best open back headphones that belong to the most recent or freshly released section, the Audio Technica ATH-R70x is up for grabs.

Best Open Back Headphones: HiFiMan HE-400

What We Like

  • loud volume
  • crisp sound quality

What We Don’t Like

  • bulky

HiFiMan brand can be considered as a relatively new and indie brand when it comes to the best open back headphones. However, as the popular adage goes, don’t judge a book by its cover (or popularity for this matter). Upon closer scrutiny and investigation, the HiFiMan HE-400 is actually a brand of headphone that’s building its reputation slowly but surely.

Several reviews in different social media platforms (Twitter, YouTube, etc) have revealed that the HiFiMan HE-400 gives a pretty loud volume with crisp sound. Additional perks of this gear include a comfortable fit with large ear cups (bigger than most open back headphones) and well-built drivers.

Perhaps one disadvantage of the HiFiMAn HE-400 is that it’s not highly recommended for travelling because of its quite bulky build. Basically, it’s like travelling with a giant metallic pillow that’s going to be the center of attraction as it rests on your ears and head. However, if you really want to push through with travelling with these bulky open back headphones, you’re in for a great surround sound, concert like experience with the HE-400.

Best Open Back Headphones: Philips Fidelio X1

What We Like

  • premium aesthetics
  • custom fit

What We Don’t Like

  • quite heavy headband

Another great option as the best open back headphones is the Philips Fidelio X1. The 3D mesh material is perfect for a custom feel on the head and ears and the drivers are also “pre-tilted” at 15 degrees, primarily aimed to increase precision of sound in reaching the ears. It also has a solid, metal build and a leather headband that are expected to make the gear last for quite some time. The Philips Fidelio X1 is also equipped with 50mm neodymium drivers

The Philips Fidelio X1 is considered to be at the same midpoint price range as that of the Sony MDR MA900. With its premium aesthetics and key features, purchasing this best open back headphones can be quite a steal.

You can also check out our Philips headphones recommendations for more options!


Best Open Back Headphones: AKG K 240 MKII

What We Like

  • clear, high frequency sounds
  • self adjusting headband

What We Don’t Like

  • semi open

This is the second entry of AKG in our roundup for the best open back headphones. Technically, the AKG k 240 MKII is considered to be just “semi-open”, but there’s still the word open, so why not?

The AKG K 240 MKII is actually cheaper than most of the headphones featured in the article so if you’re looking for the best open back headphones that won’t cost you a fortune, this model will be perfect for you.

Yes, it may be cheaper, but the features of the AKG K 240 MKII are definitely not compromised. You can still enjoy a reliable set of open back headphones with clear, high frequency sounds, a 3D fit system, a self-adjusting headband and the crowd favorite: a detachable cable.

Best Open Back Headphones: Sennheiser HD 800 S

We’re bringing in another entry from Sennheiser for the best open back headphones in the market. The Sennheiser HD 800 S gives users an immersive and exceptional sound experience, perfect for enjoying optimum audio at its fullest.

With a premium design, the audio fidelity of the Sennheiser HD 800 S is bright and well-balanced, which is quite a delightful treat for fans of classical and jazz music. The soundstage is also outstanding, giving a natural and spacious touch that creates an overall immersive audio experience without needing external speakers.

The headphones of the Sennheiser HD 800 look and feel premium and generally well-built, thanks to the metal frame and dense plastic material. The ear cups are well-padded with a suede-like material and are spacious and large, which can perfectly get listeners through long periods of listening sessions.

Budget-wise, this set of headphones may fall on the high-end, expensive price point, but serious audiophiles definitely know that this is one of the best open back headphones worth investing on. As we mentioned in the beginning of this article, if you want to up the ante of your audio experience, purchasing an amplifier is an option.

Best Open Back Headphones: Astro A40 TR Headset MixAmp Pro 2019

What We Like

  • can also be used for gaming
  • can accommodate long usage

What We Don’t Like

  • lack of detail
  • reduced treble

Looking for the best open back headphones for gaming? Look no further and set your eyes on the Astro A40 TR Headset MixAmp Pro 2019. This best open back headphones for gaming is also available in Xbox One and PS4 variants and are primarily designed to give amateur and professional gamers an exquisitely immersive gaming experience, especially for marathon sessions.

The Astro A40 TR Headset MixAmp Pro 2019 is also equipped with well-padded, spacious ear cups that are soft and gentle on the skin to accommodate long gaming sessions. The wired design also lessens the distractions of players, keeping them worry-free when it comes to lag or battery life.

This best open back headphones also comes with a USB dock that offers a variety of options for connectivity. The added bass is definitely a plus, adding more vibrancy to the game play – making explosions and gunshots sound a lot more boomy. The microphone of the Astro A40 TR Headset MixAmp Pro 2019 is also superb, making communication in co-op games or online games a lot easier, even in noisy environments.

In terms of its sound profile, there may seem to be a lack of detail and presence because of the reduced treble, however, thanks to its companion software, the Astro Command Center, it’s easier to EQ sounds to your liking. With the Astro Command Center, the MixAmp can be assigned with custom EQ presets.

Best Open Back Headphones: Sennheiser HD 58X Jubilee

What We Like

  • low price point
  • well-balanced sound

What We Don’t Like

  • punchy bass

A collaboration of Massdrop and Sennheiser, this best open back headphones are amazingly offered at a lower price point in spite of its great sound value.

The ear cups are made with fiber that’s eerily similar to microfiber that gives an overall, premium feel. The headphones also have a durable and dense effect that makes for a good build quality. The sound these best open back headphones produce is extraordinarily well-balanced but has a little bit more punchy bass than its counterparts in the same brand.

Some users who are used to using large, spacious ear cups may find the Sennheiser HD 58X Jubilee to be a bit uncomfortable because of its tight fit. While the ear cups are still large in the HD 58X, if you have a small head, the headphones can fit up to the jaw.

You also need to be careful with the audio cable because if you damage it, it might be quite difficult to find a replacement cable as thick as what the HD 58X Jubilee uses, since they are less common and quite difficult to locate online. However, if you don’t mind the tight fit, their price-to-performance ratio is great for those on a budget.

In totality, the Sennheiser HD 58X Jubilee is quite a steal, offering a decent soundstage at its price point. If you can go past the fact that they might be a tight fit, the price to performance ratio of this gear still makes it one of the best open back headphones in the market.

Best Budget Open Back Headphones: Philips SHP9500

What We Like

  • spacious, neutral sound
  • great soundstage

What We Don’t Like

  • narrow and small
  • low bass
  • no companion app

Another option for the best open back headphones is the Philips SHP9500. At first glance, many might think that this model comes at an expensive price point, but in reality, it is actually one of the best open back headphones for audiophiles on a budget.

For a set of affordable open back headphones, the Philips SHP9500 delivers spacious, well-balanced and neutral sound that gives an overall great performance. Although quite narrow and small, this set of best open back headphones produce an unexpectedly great, open soundstage.

The SHP9500 is also easy to drive so you can opt not to have a fancy amp to enjoy the best sounds quality. The Philips SHP9500 is also ideal for periods of long usage thanks to its durable and comfortable design.

One of the glaring disadvantages of the Philips SHP9500 is its lack of low-bass and the absence of a companion app to EQ. Users with sensitive skin might also have issues with the fabric coating on the ear cups, which feel a bit rough to touch. Overall, this set of best open back headphones are still impressive considering its low price point. This is perfect for newbies or audiophiles on a budget who want to try using one of the best open back headphones.

How Much Should I Spend on Headphones?

In these current times, headphones can be considered as a staple of daily life, pretty much like a smartphone or car keys. Most people rarely leave the home without it, because headphones can be used for many different activities – relaxing while on a long commute, running on a treadmill, for gaming or for tedious, professional music mixing and mastering, online meetings or conferences. Whatever the purpose of a headphone may be, each individual has a different set of headphones which are chosen based on the following factors: price, design, durability, etc.

To answer the question, one doesn’t really have to spend a fortune on a set of headphones. There are so many designs, brands and models of headphones out there and fortunately, they also come at such a wide and varied price range. That being said, whether you’re looking for the best earbuds or the best open back headphones, you will definitely come across a brand or model that fits not only your requirements but your budget as well.

At the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter if you are using a set of headphones that’s $50, $100 or $200; the important thing is that it gets the job done. Of course, the durability and lifespan of a set of headphones may be correlated to its price point. Most of the cheaper ones may tend to break or get damaged easily, but this premise doesn’t mean that the expensive ones are bionic as well. Whether you choose the high-end ones, the mid-priced ones or the super affordable best open back headphones, the usage of the headphones are still a big factor to consider.

Picking the best open back headphones for you is not as simple as picking a random brand from a cookie jar. You need to know what you need in terms of specs so that you can weigh the pros, cons and overall features of a certain brand or model that you are eyeing. There’s a headphone for DJs, there’s a headphone for gamers, there’s a headphone for professional music artists. Sometimes, a headphone may seem to have all the desirable features and versatility but of course, it comes with a price, a heavy price, to be more specific. 

So that’s it for our round up of the best open back headphones. We hope this article was a helpful guide in your journey to picking the best open back headphones for you.