TV and Audio

The Best Closed-Back Headphones in 2021

best closed back headphones

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.

The Budget

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!

Frequency Range

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.

Sound Curve

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.

Overall Design

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

Now that you know a bit about the features that matter, let’s have a look at some of the best products.

Bose 700 Wireless Headphones

Out of This World Noise Cancelation Technology

bose 700 wireless headphones

The excellent Bose 700 noise-cancelling headphones are some of the best closed-back cans money can buy today. Not only they offer class-leading noise cancelation technology, but they also sound great and look awesome. It’s true that you’ll have to cough up a few bucks to get them, but trust us, it will worth the effort.

The Bose 700 are focused on sleek design, which is the company’s specialty actually, as well as noise cancelation technology. Everything revolves around a stainless-steel headband, and streamlined earcups, which are also amazingly soft and comfortable. The cans are lightweight and ergonomically designed, but the most important thing to mention is the new acoustics and new digital signal processing, powered by Bose’s in-house NC chip.

The Bose 700 feature an 8-mic system, 6 to cancel noise and 2 for voice, and eleven increments of noise-cancellation intensity. If you combine high noise-cancelling technology with Bose’s strikingly modern look, minimalist design, slim profile and top-notch build quality, you’ll end up with the 700 series.

To make a long story short, Bose 700 offer the ultimate noise-canceling in the industry, superior performance for both music and calls and supreme comfort, as well as precise and balanced audio. We must also mention the Bose Music App, which, just like the cans, has a clean and sleek appearance. The app comes packed with features and settings, and allows you to fine-tune the headphones, control your music, noise cancelation level, adjust volume, change tracks and so on and so forth.

  • Lightweight yet sturdy
  • Wide soundstage
  • Balanced audio output
  • Impressive noise cancelation
  • Smart controls
  • Alexa compatible
  • 20 hours battery life
  • Kind of expensive

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Audio-Technica ATH-M50x

Professional Sound & Incredible Quality

audio-technica ath-m50x
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

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Sennheiser Momentum 3

High-End Stuff

sennheiser momentum 3
Sennheiser is synonymous with Hi-Fi and high-end gear, and the Momentum 3 cans are yet another proof that high end gear comes with high end prices. To begin with, here’s our question for you: what are the best closed-back design headphones and why are they Sennheiser Momentum 3? All jokes aside, if you’re shopping for a pair of top-notch headphones coming from a reputable manufacturer that’s in this business since the 1930’s, well, this is it.

These headphones ooze quality the moment you unbox them. The craftsmanship is exemplary and the materials used are second to none in the industry. Besides awesome looks and ergonomic design, the Momentum 3 sound fantastic and they can be easily customized via a dedicated app.

Mind you, these are wireless headphones, they’re pretty expensive, yet they offer 17 hours autonomy and audiophile-grade sound quality. What’s not to love, right? We must also mention that these are noise-cancelling headphones, with minimalist housing, and metallic hardware, which will last you for a lifetime.

Both the earcups and the foldable band are made using sheepskin leather, which is extremely soft and uber-comfy even if you’re wearing the headphones all day long. There are no buttons to speak of, yet you’ll get an automatic on/off sensor that can determine if you’ve taken the cans on and off your ears.

This is a very cool feature and it’s well implemented fortunately; there’s also the Tile app, and once connected to your smartphone it allows you to fine-tune your cans, and even to find them if misplaced via the Tile tracker. In terms of sound quality, the Sennheiser Momentum 3 offer high levels of detail, natural-sounding highs and warm bass, while the highly customizable noise cancelation thing works pretty well.

Bottom line, if you’re looking for Bluetooth cans with noise cancelation and near-perfect sound quality, not to mention outstanding build quality, just give these babies a try, provided you can live with the price tag.

  • Impressive sound
  • Noise cancelation
  • Supremely comfy
  • 17 hours battery life
  • Customizable settings
  • Tile and NFC integration
  • App-based controls
  • Expensive

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Jabra Elite 85h

Ideal for Travel and Work

jabra elite 85h
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

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Sony WH1000XM3

Adaptive Comfort & Incredible Sound

sony wh1000xm3
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

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Bowers & Wilkins PX7

The Purest Listening Experience

bowers wilkins px7
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

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Sony MDR7506

The Best Closed-Back Headphones Under $100

sony mdr7506
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

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Beyerdynamic DT 770 PRO

For Professional Recording and Monitoring

beyerdynamic dt 770 pro
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

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Sennheiser PXC 550-II

Excellent Alternative to Momentum 3

sennheiser pxc 550-ii
Here comes another cool headphone from Sennheiser, the PXC 550-II respectively. These Sennheisers are excellent if you’re looking for high-end yet relatively affordable closed-back headphones with amazing battery life. That’s due to the fact that the PXC 550-II boast 30 hours of autonomy, as well as cutting edge features like touch-sensitive controls and NoiseGard adaptive noise canceling technology.

As usual with Sennheiser, you’ll also benefit from the exceptional sound quality on the go, plus one-touch access to voice assistant. And by voice assistant we mean that these headphones are fully compatible with Siri, Alexa and Hey Google. On the right ear cup, you’ll find a small touchpad which controls basically everything: volume, pause, play/stop and track skipping, and also allows you to switch to an incoming call. Controlling the PXC 550-II is basically instinctive and as easy as it gets.

There’s also a sensor that detects if you’re wearing the headphones or not, i.e. the headphones are automatically turned on or off. Build quality and materials are as good as it gets, as expected from a $200+ headphone, and even the design is stylish enough to recommend the PXC 550-II to the pickiest person.

All in all, if you’re looking for a top-shelf headphone from Sennheiser that’s significantly cheaper than the Momentum 3 reviewed earlier, the PXC 550-II would definitely fit the bill.

  • Excellent noise cancelation
  • 30 hours autonomy
  • Amazon Alexa support
  • Easy to operate
  • Rich bass
  • Detachable audio cable
  • Can feel a bit tight
  • Recessed highs

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Wrap Up

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!

About author

In her work, Mirela studies, tests and reviews the latest releases in audio, video, gaming, gadgets, and more. Mirela has been writing about tech for over 5 years now, during which she collaborated with people all over the world on various projects.
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