Whether you’re looking for the best closed back headphones to improve your gaming sessions or you’re simply interested in boosting your tunes, our guide is the one to read!
But before we start talking about products, let’s first make sure everyone understands the difference between closed and open back headphones. Since they’re both over-ear headphones, it’s easy to confuse them if you’re not accustomed to audio products.
As the name of the design states, closed back headphones are the models with a completely sealed back. This means that the plate covering the drums is solid and there is no space between the ear and the cups.
The closed back design is used more often by artists in music studios because it doesn’t allow the sound to escape the cups. However, the design became popular among regular folks as well because it provides the wearer with some privacy in public areas. Even more, the people around don’t have to listen to your music because the design prevents the sound from leaking out (as it happens with open back designs).
Our Top Picks
How to Choose Closed-Back Headphones
We like them for gaming sessions, listening to podcasts and audiobooks while riding the bus or train, enjoying some good music on the plane, but they work great anywhere. Still, to make sure you will get the best closed headphones for your needs, we put together some of the most important features to consider.
It may not be a technical feature, but it says a lot about the type of headphones you can afford.
For instance, if you want to use them for studio work, the closed back headphones under $200 may not do the trick. However, if all you need is a great set for gaming, your budget is just right.
So, before you start reading about high-end headphones, first make sure you know your upper spending limit. The world of headphones may be impressive, but it is also financially demanding!
Have you ever noticed a song you already knew seems to have new tones? This happens because the device you’re using to listen to it has a higher frequency range, and so it is capable of a more accurate delivery.
The same happens with headphones – the ones that support wide ranges (from 10Hz to 25,000Hz) offer a better audio experience.
If you’re not picky about the way your music sounds, you may not need to know much about this feature. Still, it’s important to understand that some headphones will deliver more bass while others are better with the middle and higher ranges.
But this is usually in direct connection with the price. For instance, even the best closed back headphones under $100 will cut the mid-range (what’s called a U curve). While they do sound interesting at first, you will not be able to hear the entire spectrum of sounds.
Noise Cancelling Features
Many manufacturers boast about their headphones having noise cancellation properties. However, noise canceling headphones need a special module to work actively with the surrounding sounds in order to be able to offer you some peace and quiet.
As you can imagine, low-priced headphones do not implement active technologies for noise cancellation – they only use extra padding in the cups.
Here we’re talking about the materials used for the cups, the headband, and the wires. High-quality designs are engineered to feel light on your head even after several hours of wearing. Furthermore, the materials allow your ears to breath (so no sweat) and the wires are resistant to wear and tear.
9 Best Closed-Back Headphones To Buy in 2020
Now that you know a bit about the features that matter, let’s have a look at some of the best products.
Bose QuietComfort 35 (Series II)
Powerful & Elegant
Bose designed the QuietComfort 35 model with the modern music listener in mind. The wireless headphones feature an elegant design that works with both casual and business outfits, while the noise canceling properties let you enjoy some privacy.
To take things even further, the headphones allow you to connect with Alexa and use voice control at the push of a button. Speaking of buttons, all the necessary controls are placed on the cups, so they’re easily reachable.
But the headphones can also be controlled with your smartphone, using the Bose Connect app. Bose QuietComfort 35 feature a Bluetooth connection and three levels of noise cancellation. Also, the Li-Ion battery will keep you going for 20 hours non-stop.
Finally, the materials used to make these headphones are of the best quality, and the sound is well balanced and powerful (just as one would expect from a Bose product). The headphones are delivered with a neat-looking carrying case, a charging cable, and an audio cable (for when you want to spare the battery).
- Great-looking designs
- No cables to get tangled while wearing them
- Easy to connect with other devices
- Support Alexa
- Three levels of noise cancellation
- Powerful & balanced sound
- Comfortable to wear for long intervals
- Intuitive controls
- Some multi-device connection problems
- No Quick Attention Mode
- Bluetooth connection does not automatically reconnect if disconnected
Professional Sound & Incredible Quality
Audio-Technica is well-known on the market for their professional audio products, so there’s no wonder that the ATH-M50x model delivers exceptional sound. The cups are equipped with specially-designed large-aperture drivers (45mm) with rare earth magnets and copper-clad aluminum wire voice coils. On the outside. As a result, the sound is crystal clear, and the headphones can deliver a wide frequency range (15-28,000 Hz) with an accurate bass response.
With a cup design that covers the ear, these are the bass headphones you’ve been dreaming for! The padding on the cups ensures excellent sound isolation, so you can enjoy any bass-heavy tunes you want.
Besides the killer sound quality, the ATH-M50x also comes with an incredible design that makes them easy to wear. We love the swiveling cups (for one-ear monitoring) and the soft headband that doesn’t make you feel like you’ve been hit in the head after a few hours of wearing them.
Furthermore, the cable is detachable, and the cups can be easily tucked inside the headband for easy transportation. With these features, the ATH-M50x are easily among the best headphones under $200 on the market right now!
- Clear sound
- Can be used in the studio, on the road, or at home
- Comfortable design
- Easy to transport
- Fantastic price
- True bass
- They need to be used with devices that have good sound specs
- No Active Noise Cancellation
Plantronics Backbeat Pro 2
Prepare for an Immersive Sound Experience
The sound is well-balanced with a good representation of the bass, highs, and mid-tones. Also, the audio experience is immersive due to the sound-isolating design of the cups and the active noise cancellation feature (ANC can be switched on and off).
The Backbeat Pro 2 features a wireless design, with 24 hours of autonomy and the possibility to recharge using a cable. The wireless connection is done via Bluetooth and streams a clear audio stream for up to 330 feet.
The design is comfortable, with a padded headband that promotes good ventilation and the cups swivel, so you can lay them flat on any surface. Finally, the Backbeat Pro 2 headphones are equipped with smart sensors that pause the music while the headphones are not on your head.
- Good audio quality
- Comfortable design
- Incredible battery life
- Solid Bluetooth connection
- Very little sound leakage
- The ANC is nothing to be thrilled about
- A bit bulky and heavy
Jabra Elite 85h
Ideal for Travel and Work
If you’re looking for the best noise-canceling wireless headphones, you must take a good look at the Jabra Elite 85h!
Their design is elegant, so you can wear them in public spaces and at work, and they come with up to 36 hours of battery life, with ANC on. Furthermore, due to the use of a protective nano-coating, you can wear them in the rain without worrying they’ll get damaged.
The sound quality is also impressive due to the 40mm speakers that deliver a sharp music experience. To make sure you get to enjoy your tunes, the headphones are equipped with SmartSound technology that automatically adapts the sound level to your surroundings. This way, you’ll be able to hear any important announcements without being bothered by the chatter of other people.
Lastly, since they are equipped with Voice Assistant options (Alexa, Google, and Siri) and due to the built-in 8 microphones for enhanced call quality, users can take important calls when on the go.
- Impressive sound and call quality
- ANC and SmartSound technology
- Fast charge – you get 5h of battery time in only 15 minutes
- Comes with a protective carry case
- Elegant and comfortable design
- Protected against Sweat & dust
- Can be personalized using the Jabra Sound+ app
- Support Bluetooth 5.0 technology
- Not exactly low-cost
- Charging cable is rather short
- The micro USB charging cable is a proprietary design
Adaptive Comfort & Incredible Sound
Sony comes with a simple and elegant design packed with high-end features that adapt to your need as you move through the day.
The first feature you’ll notice (and fall in love with) in the WH1000XM3 headphones, is the digital noise cancellation. When you couple it with Smart Listening, you get a set of headphones that adapts to your activity by detecting the noises you should hear (voices, instructions, ambient, and so on).
Furthermore, the cups are equipped with touch and sensor controls, so you can turn the volume up and down, skip, fast forward or pause the music by covering the right cup when someone is talking to you.
The wireless mode promises up to 30 hours of autonomy and you can send voice controls to your phone by using your favorite voice assistant. Of course, the audio equipment is superior, and it allows you to listen to high-res music without any distortions.
- High-quality sound
- Industry-leading noise cancellation
- Long battery life
- Light & elegant design
- Touch controls on the right cup
- Easy-to-use app for your phone
- Some background noise during phone calls
- Touch controls can be activated by mistake
- A bit heavy
Bowers & Wilkins PX7
The Purest Listening Experience
These over-ear wireless Bluetooth headphone’s design was inspired by race cars! The carbon fiber composite arms feature strength and durability without being too heavy or overbearing, just like the fastest vehicles don’t need a heavy-duty body.
Furthermore, the materials used for the frame and the padded headband and cushions manage to deliver the purest of sounds. Moreover, the 43mm drivers (the largest ever supported by Bowers & Wilkins) manage to deliver impressive and well-detailed notes from the full spectrum!
The PX7 supports Bluetooth connectivity and features ANC to deliver the best audio experience. Furthermore, the ANC responds to the environment and obeys your every move. For instance, when you want to hear what’s going on around, it’s enough to lift one ear cup, and the music will stop automatically. Put the cup back on, and the music will resume.
Lastly, the PX7 can play music for about 30 hours without asking for a recharge. And if this is not enough, charging them for 15 minutes will give you another 6h!
- Impressive audio experience
- Sound is tuned by specialists
- Comfortable design with high-grade materials
- 30h of battery life
- 15 minutes fast charge adds another 6h of battery
- Responds to gestures and controls are easy to reach
- ANC works well
- They can be paired with an app for higher customization
- The price tag is a bit high
- They can feel a bit tight at times
- The microphone picks up a lot of ambient noise
The Best Closed-Back Headphones Under $100
These are perfect for use at home for music, movies, gaming, and other listening activities! The cool thing about these headphones is that they’re just that; closed-back headphones with amazing sound delivery.
You won’t find any ANC, wireless design, or voice assistants. But you will find a pair of 40mm drivers and Neodymium magnets that deliver crystal-clear, powerful, and detailed (frequency of 10Hz – 20 kHz) sound. The headphones are delivered with a ¼-inch adapter, so you can use them with other devices.
While there is no ANC, the padding on the cups is great at isolating the environmental noises and keeping the music inside. Also, the cups fit over the years and the headband is extremely comfortable. While the design may not be much, the Sony MDR7506 are fantastic at delivering high-end sound quality and can be used for hours without any discomfort.
- Impressive sound quality and frequency
- Comfortable for long periods of wear
- Solid build and durable
- They can be folded to occupy less space
- Gold-plated connectors
- Work great for professional work
- The padding will make your ears warm
- Cable is a bit too heavy and very long
- Cable cannot be replaced
Beyerdynamic DT 770 PRO
For Professional Recording and Monitoring
The DT 770 PRO is a wired design that’s wildly popular among professionals. These are considered some of the best closed-back over-ear studio headphones for studio and stage recording because they can deliver a hi-res audio experience.
Moreover, they are comfortable due to the padded headband and soft velour ear cushions that can be replaced if it gets damaged by wear and tear. Also, the 3.0m cable is single-sided, so it won’t get tangled while you’re working.
So, if you want a pair of headphones that deliver incredibly spacious, transparent, and detailed notes without any fancy features, the DT 770 PRO is a wonderful choice!
- Comfortable to wear for a long time
- Wired, single-sided design
- Favored by music producers, sound technicians, and broadcast users
- Deliver impressive sound quality
- 80 Ohms impedance
- Perfect for monitoring purposes
- Great value for the money
- Earcups get a bit warm over time
- No wireless connectivity
- The cable is not detachable and feels a bit rigid
Sennheiser PXC 550
Your Perfect Travel Buddy
Designed with travel in mind, the Sennheiser PXC 550 are wireless and have built-in commands to respond to your needs. They use Bluetooth 4.2 connectivity and the cups are equipped with touch commands on the back so it’s easy to control them.
To keep environmental noise from disturbing you from work or relaxation, the PXC 550 is designed with Noise Guard (Sennheiser’s proprietary ANC). Even more, the design is lightweight and comfortable, so you can wear them for long periods of time.
To make things even simpler, the headphones follow your moves and know when to pause or switch on or off. They’re also great for making phone calls due to the triple microphone array embedded in the design.
Finally, the headphones can be paired with CapTune, a music player designed by Sennheiser that helps you fine tune the music you’re listening for an optimized performance.
- Up to 30h of battery life
- Collapsible design for easy transport
- NFC pairing
- Touch controls that are intuitive
- Wide frequency response (17 – 23,000Hz)
- Multi-device pairing
- It takes about 3 hours to charge
- The touch controls need some getting used to
If you are looking for a good pair of headphones that can be used regardless of your location, we believe our list above can help you find the right fit. As you can see, we have both wired and wireless models, designs for audiophiles and gamers, and designs for busy people who need to take phone calls while traveling the world. Now it’s your time to make a decision!