TV and Audio

The Best Open-Back Headphones in 2022

best open back headphones


If you love natural sounding and can’t stand even the least echoes inside your headphones then you should go for open-ear headphones and enjoy their lifelike sounding. Here you can find the list of the best open-back headphones you can find on today’s market as well as some tips, which will help you choose the best of the lot taking into account your budget and special requirements.

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Last update on 2022-05-17 // The links above are affiliate // Images from Amazon

How to Choose Open-back Headphones

Open-back vs Closed-back

Both open-back and closed-back headphones belong to the category of over-ear headphones. Both of them have their pros and cons and you should know where and when they are the most suitable to use.

Closed-back headphones block out the outside noise, so they can be either noise-cancelling or noise-isolating. They are perfect for public transport and noisy places. Besides, they have minimum sound leakage. Still, they do not sound as natural as open-back headphones and your ears can get tired much faster after wearing them for a longer period of time.

Open-back headphones produce excellent audio with natural sounding. They are great for high-quality files but unlike closed-back headphones they leak sound out and they don’t block the outside noise very well. Thus, choosing open-back headphones you should remember that they are suitable for quiet places.

Budget

The variety of open-back headphones is great. Lots of them have similar characteristics and offer decent performance. Still, the factor which will always influence your final choice is the correlation between headphones price and your budget. Those, who are ready to spend a bunch of cash on an expensive model, have a wider range to choose from.

Sure, premium headphones are never cheap. But if you have current financial constraints it doesn’t mean that there is no chance to buy a pair of nice headphones. Some budget models can also deliver great performance. Just be attentive when considering their specifications.

Drivers

Most top-notch open-back headphones come with magnetic drivers. The point is that this technology delivers consistent output at minimal distortion. What is more, they produce excellent transient response which is important for bass notes. In a word, headphones with magnetic drivers have clear, accurate and natural sound.

Cheaper models have dynamic drivers. They’re effectively a coil of wire attached to a plastic diaphragm, set into a magnet. However, dynamic drivers often produce distorts, especially at higher volumes.

Note that driver size plays an important part as well because it affects the frequency range. So, if you want to have powerful bass then look for drivers which are not less than 40mm.

Sounding

All open-back headphones are aimed at natural sounding. Thanks to their construction type the air freely passes through the ear cups to the speaker element. Thus, pressure doesn’t affect the sound and there are almost no echoes inside the headphones.

Still, it doesn’t mean that all open-back headphones have the same lifelike audio. Its quality depends mainly on drivers and housing materials. If their quality is high then you will get extended frequency response as well as spatial imaging.

Build Quality and Comfort

Choose models with breathable materials that won’t make your ears suffer after long hours of wearing. Besides, check whether the headphones are durable and will survive a trip in your bag. Size is also another point to consider. It should suit your head and ears as well as your bag.

9 Best Open-back Headphones

Sennheiser HD 599

Next Level of Performance

sennheiser hd 599 open back headphone
The HD 599 combines sophisticated sound with an impressive design and wonderful build quality. Expect to hear natural sounds that are well-placed in space and immersive – the listener is immediately transported in the middle of a virtual recording studio. Furthermore, the open back design is supported by the Sennheiser proprietary transducer technology, which makes these headphones the perfect starting point for audiophiles.

The large earcups cushioned with plush velour (replaceable) enhance the experience and the padded headband lets you enjoy your favorite tunes for hours. While they only support wired connectivity, there are two detachable cables in the package: one is 3m long and the other 1.2m.

This way, you can enjoy amazing sound quality inside the house and outside (the shorter cable is for connectivity to a mobile device). Overall, the HD 599 from Sennheiser is perfect for any type of audio entertainment, from music to movies and games!

Pros:
  • Incredibly comfortable design
  • Around the ear cushions
  • Powerful and natural sound
  • Two detachable cables
  • Lightweight and solid frame
  • Bass is not obtrusive
Cons:
  • Some distortions on high volumes

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Philips SHP9600

Excellent Quality, Great Performance, and Comfort in One

philips shp9600

Philips SHP9600 are well-made, affordable open-back headphones that bring much-needed comfort and pretty solid audio performance considering the price. To be exact, their sound is balanced and warm, while the soundstage is open and spacious.

These headphones come with 50 mm Neodymium Drivers and feature 3.5mm, three-meter-long detachable cable, with gold-plated jacks. Inside of its phones, there is a cloth material with memory foam that is the main reason for their comfort.

Philips SHP9600 has a 32 Ohm impedance and a frequency response between 12 and 35,000 Hz. They are highly durable and offer a great level of versatility. In short, they are exactly what you need from the best open-back headphones.

Pros:
  • Comfortable
  • Excellent build quality
  • Durable
  • Balanced sound
  • Spacious soundstage
  • Good quality build
  • Great performance
Cons:
  • A bit inconsistent treble delivery

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HIFIMAN HE-400I

Worthwhile Open-back Headphones From HIFIMAN

hifiman he-400i
HIFIMAN HE-400I are one of the best open-back headphones, which have not only a stylish look but also an impressive sound. These open-back headphones have a single-ended planar magnetic driver, which is responsible for top-notch soundstage and spatial imaging. Note that their magnetic force is distributed evenly and this guarantees low distortion and lifelike sounding.

As there is 93dB efficiency, HIFIMAN HE-400I can be driven with a medium and even small-sized amplifier. You can also easily pair it with a smartphone or portable audio player. Thanks to massive diaphragm these headphones come with high signal input and flexible bass and treble. Though the diaphragm is massive, it’s rather lightweight. That is why these headphones have a fast response time.

As to the comfort level, these open-back headphones are designed with ABS polymer ear cups in a gloss charcoal finish and a headband with an improved pressure pattern. Their beveled ear pads are made of pleather and velour.

Pros:
  • clear and detailed sound
  • low and high-frequency extension
  • comfortable and lightweight
Cons:
  • too short cable
  • fingerprint magnet

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Beyerdynamic DT 990 PRO

The Best Open-Back Headphones for Mixing

beyerdynamic dt 990 pro
Need open-back headphones at a reasonable price? Lucky you are as you have just found them. Beyerdynamic DT 990 PRO cost less than $200 but its features make them one of the best open-back headphones on today’s market.

Beyerdynamic is well-known for their high-quality audio which always comes with detailed resolution. DT 990 PRO is not an exception and can also boast of transparent and spacious sound. This pair of open-back headphones would be suitable not only for long listening sessions but also for professional mixing and editing. There is a wide stereo image as well as highly sensitive transducers which provide well-balanced audio.

Note that despite its affordable price DT 990 PRO are made of great materials which guarantee comfort and durability. Its soft and velour earpads are replaceable, and its connecting cable is coiled. These open-back headphones also come with a solid steel headband and super lightweight construction.

Pros:
  • transparent and detailed sound
  • comfortable and lightweight
  • affordable price
  • high build quality
Cons:
  • build quality could be better

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Philips Fidelio X3

Designed for Audiophiles

philips fidelio x3
Open back design, premium finishes, and solid build are some of the features that put Fidelio X3 on top of the list for anyone looking for high-quality. However, the 50mm acoustic neodymium drivers and the double-layered ear shells are among the elements that make the Fidelio X3 a must-have for audiophiles.

The drivers are engineered to tilt at 15-degrees to fit the natural geometry of the human ear (for a natural resonance), while the ear shells help reduce resonance and vibration. Also, the open back is covered with acoustically transparent Kvadrat speaker fabric, which eliminates air pressure buildup and helps create an amazing, spacious sound.

Overall, the diaphragms are perfectly balanced, delivering impactful bass, smooth midrange frequencies, and well-detailed high frequencies.

Lastly, the headphones are extremely comfortable due to the combination between the light and soft inner headband and the slightly more rigid outer one. In addition, the memory foam ear cushions perfectly cup your ears, into a soft & light embrace.

Pros:
  • Amazingly well balanced audio quality
  • Solid design
  • Spacious sound due to the open back construction
  • Comfortable to wear for long periods of time
  • 5 – 40,000 Hz frequency response
  • Detachable cables
Cons:
  • It takes a bit of work to find the right fit
  • The cables are microphonic

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AKG K702

Great Open-back Headphones Under $200

akg k702
Another pair of open-back headphones for a reasonable price is AKG K702. It comes with flat-wire voice coils and a patented Varimotion two-layer diaphragm. Together they bring extremely accurate response and spacious sounding. Keep in mind that its pre-selected transducers guarantee minimum channel tolerances as needed for professional audio applications. Besides, AKG K702 have a completely open design and a high-performance cable.

AKG K702 are designed with a cushioned genuine leather headband for improved comfort. What is more, there is an individually tested attached cable. Its specially shaped 3D-foam ear pads provide comfortable fit during long hours of wearing. Note that its ear pads are also replaceable.

Pros:
  • great audio
  • affordable price
  • comfortable and lightweight
  • high build quality
Cons:
  • large
  • lacks bass

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Audio-Technica ATH-AD700X

The Best Open-back Headphones Under $100

audio-technica ath ad700x
If you are not ready to pay a pretty penny for a pair of new headphones then have a look at Audio-Technica ATH-AD700X. These open-back headphones are really cheap as they cost less than $100.

ATH-AD700X have 100dB/mW sensitivity and leaves no sense of pressure on the ears. This results in comfortable wearing and natural sounding. There are well-designed 53mm drivers, which come with bobbin-wound CCAW voice coils. Together they deliver clear treble as well as midrange.

These open-back headphones are wired. They have lightweight aluminum honeycomb casing with great acoustic features. Thanks to total ear-fit design as well as self-adjusting 3D Wing Support Audio-Technica ATH-AD700X provide a comfortable fit.

Pros:
  • great audio
  • low price
  • comfortable and lightweight
Cons:
  • too sensitive to external noises
  • bulky
  • poor cable quality

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GRADO SR325x

Ideal Open Back Headphones

grado sr325x

If you seek good-quality open-back headphones that bring an excellent audio experience, with a detailed and articulated sound, GRADO SR325x are the ones for you.

These headphones come with 44mm drivers and feature a rugged design, eight conductor copper wires, and braided cabling that provide great reliability. Moreover, these headphones are easy to use and offer a bit modest one-year warranty.

GRADO SR325x has a frequency response between 18Hz and 24 kHz and offers both 3.5 mm and 6.3 mm connection (through the adapter) offering a great level of versatility. In other words, these present everything that the best open-back headphones should; therefore, if you need them, GRADO SR325x is more than a solid option.

Pros:
  • Sturdy
  • Reliable
  • Excellent audio quality
  • Great dynamics
Cons:
  • There is some sound leakage

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Summary

Open-back headphones are a must if you prefer natural sounding. So, hurry up to choose a model that will suit your pocket and taste.

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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