The best open back headphones give you an experience like no other. If you don’t know what open back headphones are, we break down the details so you know what you’re missing. If you have headphones right now, chances are they have a closed back, so maybe you want something different.

The thing is, there are so many open back headphones on the market, that it can be overwhelming to choose. Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered.

Best Open Back Headphones Product FAQ

The best open back headphones allow a warm feel to your music that lets you experience your favorite tunes within the context of your current environment. Here are some terms and concepts you need to familiarize yourself with in order to understand our discussion of the best open back headphones.

1. What Are Open Back Headphones?

brown and black headphone

Open back headphones are headphones that allow sound to leak out of the back of the ear cups. Music in a confined place has a physical component, and many listeners prefer the best open back headphones because they create a smoother listening experience. One problem with open back headphones is that people sitting next to you will hear the music escaping from your ear cups. Even the best open back headphones are therefore not ideal for use in public places like airplanes.

2. What Is Frequency Response?

girl using a headphone

Frequency response is a measurement of the way headphones to replicate musical frequency. The human auditory range is around 20 to 20,000 Hz in a healthy young individual. However, the best open back headphones exceed that range to allow for a sensory listening experience. Even though you cannot hear frequencies out of the auditory range, you can still feel and respond to the sense of the frequencies.

3. What Is Impedance?

headphone and a cellphone

Impedance is the resistance of an electrical circuit measured in Ohms. The best open back headphones have a high impedance both to improve sound quality and to prevent the headphones from blowing out when hooked up to high powered studio equipment. High impedance comes with a trade off of needing a lot of power to function. If you are looking for the best open back headphones to pair with your mobile device, choose ones with impedance in the range of 30 Ohms.

How We Reviewed

black and gold headphone

We reviewed the products in our list of the best open back headphones on a variety of features. Price and audio performance were the key factors to consider. We also considered comfort and overall aesthetic. We paid specific attention to the frequency response and impedance ratings for all the headphones in our list.

RELATED READS: Budget Noise-Cancelling Headphones for You

What We Reviewed

  • HiFiMan HE1000 Open-Back Planar Magnetic Headphones
  • Sennheiser HD 800 S Reference Headphone System
  • Audeze LCD-X Over Ear Open Back Headphone
  • GRADO GS1000e Statement Series Wired Open-Back Stereo Headphones
  • AKG K701 Open2DBack Reference Class Stereo Headphones
  • Philips SHP9500 HiFi Precision Stereo Over-Ear Headphones
  • Beyerdynamic DT 1990 Pro Open Studio Headphones
  • Audio-Technica ATH-R70x Professional Open-Back Reference Headphones
  • Fostex T50RP MK3 Professional Studio Headphones
  • HIFIMAN – HE-400 Headphones

HiFiMan HE1000 Open-Back Planar Magnetic Headphones

HIFIMAN HE1000 Over Ear Planar Magnetic Headphone
  • World’s First Diaphragm in Nanometer Thickness
  • "sounded remarkable and may motivate me to do a lot more headphone listening" -Jim Hannon《The Absolute Sound》
  • Advanced Asymmetrical Magnetic Circuit offering perfect reproduction of live music
  • Ergonomic and comfortable design fit for most people, with greater reliability and durability.
  • Patented “Window Shade” System reduces sound reflection to gain wider sound stage

With its silver body and leather accents, the HiFiMan HE1000 is a beautiful and stylish set of headphones sure to earn some praise every time you don them in public. But these headphones don’t just look great, they are also fantastic performers. The nanometer-thick diaphragm creates a near-perfect dynamic response.

The frequency response is an unbelievable 8 to 65,000 Hz, and the 35 Ohm impedance means you can use these headphones with anything. This is a pair of professional, studio-quality headphones you can plug into your mobile device and enjoy anywhere.

Pros

  • Stylish design
  • Outstanding frequency response
  • Good impedance
  • Compatible with many devices

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Large for storage
  • Consume lots of power

Sennheiser HD 800 S Reference Headphone System

SENNHEISER HD 800 S Reference Headphone System
  • Open back, around ear, reference class dynamic headphone
  • 56mm ring radiator transducers are the largest drivers ever used in dynamic headphones
  • Innovative absorber technology reduces unwanted frequency response peaks allowing all the music nuances to become audible
  • Unique ear cup design directs sound waves to the ear at a slight angle to create an impressively natural and spatial listening experience
  • Includes two connecting cables: single ended 1/4 inches And balanced 4. 4 mm Pentacon cable

Sennheiser makes some of the best performing audio equipment in the industry. The Sennheiser HD 800 S is the perfect choice for audiophiles who want great performance in a modern-looking package. The HD 800 S features a patented ring radiator that drives the powerful bass and crisp high tones.

The frequency response is 4 to 51,000 Hz, which means these headphones are great for mixing as well as listening for enjoyment. The impedance is 300 Ohms, so you’re going to need a high-powered amp to use them. These headphones are not great for mobile devices.

Pros

  • Terrific frequency response
  • High impedance so these won’t blow out
  • Attractive, modern looking design

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Not for mobile devices
  • Don’t fold for storage

Audeze LCD-X Over Ear Open Back Headphone

Audeze LCD-X Over Ear Open Back Headphone with New Suspension Headband and Travel case
  • TRUE TO LIFE SOUND: Thanks to its incredible dynamic, nimble, neutral and transparent sound signature, the LCD-X is able to reveal even the most minute details of your mix with unparalleled accuracy. With its enormous sound stage and crystal clear midrange, you have a listening experience that really is “true to life”.
  • THE PROFESSIONAL: Many of the current hit recordings you’ve heard have been mixed on Audeze headphones - the headphone of choice for recording engineers, musicians and audiophiles alike. With an efficiency of 103dB/1Mw and an impedance of 20 ohms they are the perfect option for anyone seeking a reference quality headphone.
  • PLANAR MAGNETIC DRIVERS: Large ultra-thin 106 mm diaphragms with Audeze’s proprietary Fazor elements and double-sided magnetic arrays. Frequency response from 10Hz – 50kHz extended out to 50kHz.
  • EXTREMELY COMFORTABLE: 60/20 memory foam ear pads with luxurious leather and an exceptionally ergonomic design all contribute to the comfort and sophistication of the LCD-X with the best possible audio.
  • HAND CRAFTED IN CALIFORNIA: Every Audeze headphone is engineered and meticulously handcrafted then rigorously tested and calibrated before leaving our Southern California facility. This ensures that your Audeze headphones will sound incredible from the first moment you listen to them, and many years after.

The Audeze LCD-X blends an old-school vibe with a very modern look. Large, comfortable ear cups are connected by a minimal headband. The design is attractive, but the connection points between the cups and the band are minimal and might lack durability.

The sound quality is phenomenal, as you would expect from a pair of high-quality headphones like these. The frequency response is 10 to 50,000 Hz, and the impedance is 20 Ohms. The Audeze LCD-X are some of the best open-back headphones you can use without causing an excessive drain on the battery of your mobile device.

Pros

  • Attractive design
  • Low impedance doesn’t draw as much power
  • Comfortable ear cups

Cons

  • Low impedance could be a problem with powerful amps
  • Weak clasp connecting ear cups to headband
  • Expensive

GRADO GS1000e Statement Series Wired Open-Back Stereo Headphones

GRADO GS1000e Statement Series Wired Open-Back Stereo Headphones
  • 4OurEars is the only Grado Authorized Amazon Reseller
  • Uses 50mm dynamic transducers and the new 12 conductor cable design
  • Hand-crafted mahogany earpieces
  • Warm harmonic colors, rich full bodied vocals, excellent dynamics, and an ultra-smooth top end
  • Manufacturers Warranty is only applicable in the US

The GRADO GS1000e are a lovely looking set of headphones with a hand-crafted mahogany earpiece. There’s something about a wood finish on your audio equipment that seems to bring about a warm undertone to anything you listen to. Wood on your headphones is like the difference between drinking beer out of a can and out of a glass.

The GRADOs don’t just look great, though: they’re also high performers. With a frequency response of 8 to 35,000 Hz, you’ll get the feel as well as the sound of your music. Impedance is 32 Ohms, so these are acceptable for use with a large range of products.

Pros

  • Mahogany finish
  • Superior frequency response
  • Comfortable
  • Compatible with a large range of products

Cons

  • Don’t fold for storage
  • Heavier than plastic headphones

AKG K701 Open2DBack Reference Class Stereo Headphones

The K701 open-back headphones are headphones fit for an old-school radio mogul from the golden age of broadcasting. The silver design and amply sized round ear cups suspend from a comfortable leather headband with wire supports. The frequency response is 10 to 39,800 Hz, and the impedance is 62 Ohms.

These headphones draw a bit of power, but can still be used for mobile devices, and the impedance is high enough you aren’t likely to blow them out with powerful professional studio equipment.

Pros

  • Superior frequency response
  • Old school design aesthetic
  • Mid range impedance

Cons

  • Draw extra power from mobile devices
  • Don’t fold for storage
  • No longer made in Austria

Philips SHP9500 HiFi Precision Stereo Over-Ear Headphones

Sale
Philips Audio Philips SHP9500 HiFi Precision Stereo Over-Ear Headphones (Black)
  • 50mm neodymium drivers deliver full spectrum of sound
  • 1.5m cable gives you freedom of movement for indoor use
  • Comfortable double layered headband cushion, breathable ear cushion for longer wearing comfort
  • Finishing of connector: gold-plated, acoustic system: open, Magnet type: neodymium
  • Impedance: 32 ohm, maximum power input: 200Mw, sensitivity: 101 dB, speaker diameter: 50mm, Frequency response: 12-35 000Hz

There was a time when every college student had a Philips TV. Philips made a great quality product at a fraction of the price of other manufacturers. The Philips SHP9500 represents a similar model of high performance and low cost. The ear cups are ample and comfortable, and the headband is well-padded.

With a frequency response of 12 to 35,000 Hz and a 32 Ohm impedance, the Philips SHP9500 have the technical specs to compete with much more expensive headphones.

Pros

  • Superior frequency response
  • Compatible with many devices
  • Economical

Cons

  • Loose fit
  • Don’t fold

Beyerdynamic DT 1990 Pro Open Studio Headphones

Sale
beyerdynamic DT 1990 Pro Open Studio Headphones
  • Open studio reference class headphones for mixing and mastering, Made in Germany
  • 250 ohms, 45 mm dynamic Tesla neodymium drivers
  • Single sided, detachable cable with mini-XLR connectors
  • Soft, replaceable ear pads and headband for long studio sessions. Headphone frequency response : 5-40,000 Hz. Nominal sound pressure level : 102 dBSPL (1mW/500Hz)
  • Delivery contents: 2 ear pads with different sound characteristics (analytical and well-balanced), two pairs of cables (3m straight and coiled), premium hard case

The Beyerdynamic DT 1990 feature a sleek black design and produce excellent sound from 45 mm dynamic Tesla neodymium drivers. The ear cups are loud and almost ample enough to create an echo effect. The frequency response is 5 to 40,000 Hz, and the bass comes through loud and clear. The 250 Ohm impedance means that these headphones are great for professional work in the studio but not ideal for use with portable devices.

The purchase price also includes two cables and a carrying case.

Pros

  • Superior frequency response
  • High impedance ideal for studio work
  • Ample ear cups

Cons

  • Not ideal for use with mobile devices
  • Ear cups are too large for some tastes
  • Draw a lot of power

Audio-Technica ATH-R70x Professional Open-Back Reference Headphones

Sale
Audio-Technica ATH-R70x Professional Open-Back Reference Headphones
  • High-efficiency magnets and pure alloy magnetic circuit design reduce distortion and ensure accurate and extended high-frequency response
  • Carbon composite resin improves structural rigidity to provide detailed transient response
  • Acoustically transparent, aluminum honeycomb-mesh housings provide a natural and spacious open-back sound
  • Breathable fabric earpads and improved wing support provide long-wearing comfort
  • Feather-light weight (approx. 210 g w/o cable) and robust construction make headphones perfectly suited for professional use

Audio-Technica offers a lightweight set of headphones that rest on your head with a dual flap design supported by a mesh style headband. The head mount allows maximum versatility for all head sizes and is very comfortable. The ear cups are flat and relatively small. These headphones have a fantastic high-frequency response because of their pure alloy magnetic circuit design. The 5 to 40,000 Hz frequency response is fantastic.

These headphones have 470 Ohm impedance, which allows for an astonishingly pure sound but also means they are compatible only with high-powered studio equipment.

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Superior frequency response
  • High impedance for great quality sound
  • Affordable

Cons

  • Require a lot of power
  • Small ear cups
  • Made in Taiwan

Fostex T50RP MK3 Professional Studio Headphones

Sale
Fostex T50RP MK3 Professional Studio Headphones, Semi-Open
  • Refined Fostex proprietary Regular Phase (RP) diaphragm driver using copper foil etched polyimide film and powerful neodymium magnet
  • Maximum input level of 3000mW to comply with various professional uses
  • Semi-open for flat and clear sound
  • Low repulsion ear pad and head pad for maximum comfort
  • Comes with 3m 1/4-inch plug detachable cable for best serviceability and 1.2m mini plug cable for portable audio use

The Fostex T50RP MK3 are a set of semi-closed back headphones that endeavor to give you the best of both worlds between open back and closed back performance. The design is bulky, with large ear cups that adjust on slides mounted to the padded headband. A red cable is visible on each ear cup, and that cable is exposed and vulnerable to damage.

Frequency response is 15 to 35,000 Hz and impedance is 50 Ohms. These headphones are a terrific choice if you want the warmth of open-back headphones combined with the precision of closed-back headphones.

Pros

  • Semi-closed back
  • Superior frequency response
  • Good impedance for mobile compatible headphones

Cons

  • Exposed red cable
  • Draw a lot of power
  • Bulky design

HIFIMAN – HE-400i Headphones

HIFIMAN HE-400I Over Ear Full-Size Planar Magnetic Headphones Adjustable Headphone with Comfortable Earpads Open-Back Design Easy Cable Swapping
  • Get an extra three-month extended warranty by registering your products on our official website.
  • 30% lighter than comparable headphones
  • Newly-designed headband with an improved pressure pattern
  • The FocusPad, new beveled hybrid ear pads made of pleather and velour
  • Intended for high performance listening in the home or studio

The steel and leather construction of the HIFIMAN HE-400i headphones makes them both durable and heavy. Some users might not like the size and weight, but others might prefer the solid construction and hefty feel. These headphones create exceptional sound from planar-magnetic drivers. A Y cable connects each of your ear cups to your amp.

The frequency response is 20 to 35,000 Hz. Impedance is only 35 Ohms, but these headphones are not optimized for efficient use with mobile devices. The price is mid-range for high-performing studio equipment.

Pros

  • Durable
  • Superior frequency response
  • Leather ear pads

Cons

  • Heavy
  • Not optimized for mobile players
  • Cumbersome Y cable

The Verdict

Wireless Open Back Headphones

Any of the items in our list of the best open back headphones would make a perfect choice depending on your listening needs. We picked the GRADO GS1000e as our choice for the best open back headphones. The mahogany finish adds a kind of warmth and resonance to the sound that the plastic body headphones can’t replicate. The GRADOs are a great choice for getting the most out of your music collection.

Last update on 2021-04-19 at 12:22 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API