Are you looking for the best open-back headphones? If yes, you are in the right place. Today, we will talk about the top headphones for audiophiles, which will give you an authentic audio experience.
An open-back design is the most refined example of the headphone craftsmanship. This design is the pinnacle of audio authenticity as it delivers a natural sound. Also, open-back headphones are not suitable for everyone. They are designed for audiophiles who look for sound perfection that is natural, clear, and wide.
You must be an audiophile and that’s why you are reading this review + buying guide article. We believe you have high regard for both sound purity and quality. If you want to achieve an authentic audio experience, you need open-back headphones. Read on!
Top Headphone Product Reviews
Open-back headphones are designed to deliver an “all-around” audio experience, which mimics concert halls, stadiums, and other open spaces. Here are the best Headphone Products.
#1 – HIFIMAN HE-400I – Best Value Open-Back Headphones
HIFIMAN HE-400i delivers authentic sound, which is both balanced and refined compared to other open-back headphones. It has the planar magnetic drivers, which can produce clarity and transparency in the sound.
HIFIMAN HE-400i has a slightly forward mid-range delivered with great details. The vocals are clear, which makes the mid-range reproduction more realistic. The treble, however, is a bit over-extended and gives more room to the mid-range – but it is still detailed and precise.
Compared to its predecessor, the manufacturer has improved the comfort of HE-400i. These headphones are 30% lighter than the previous version. This makes them highly comfortable to wear for a longer period.
The headband features a new design, which improves the fit. The clamp around the head consistently distributes pressure and eliminates fatigue practically. However, some audiophiles might find the clamping a bit excessive.
The earpads are soft and made of superior-quality velour and artificial leather. HE400i is designed for audiophiles who generally use headphones for listening to music, watching movies, and playing games.
- Quality Sound
- Very comfortable
- Excessive clamping force
#2 – PHILIPS SHP9500S – Best Gaming Open-Back Headphones
Philips SHP9500S delivers a decent soundstage given the price. The headphones feature an accurate and clean musical instrument separation. Many users say that the overall sound of SHP9500S is slightly mid-range centric. It has slightly forward vocals, which shares the stage with other types of instruments.
The headband of SHP9500S has double-layered soft padding, which makes them comfortable. The SHP9500S features a self-adjusting system, which offers an even distribution of the clamping force. Thus, it remains comfy over the long gaming sessions.
The cushions of the ear cups are soft and breathable, which helps distribute the pressure around your ears evenly. Although the SHP9500S has a large size – yet they feel lightweight and sturdy. It features a headband made of steel, which holds the ear cups firmly.
The SHP9500S are powered by 50 mm high-precision neodymium drivers. This is why the headphones deliver a HI-FI, balanced sound across the reproduction of the frequency. The cups are full-size, big over-the-ear headphones and allow for keeping your ears cool.
- Comfortable lightweight design
- Sturdy build
- Clear and balanced sound
- Affordable Price
#3 – Philips Audio Fidelio X2HR – Best Cinematic Open-Back Headphones
Philips Audio Fidelio X2HR features a sleek and classy design. It has an adjustable headband, which features a leather material that gives them a premium feel. Philips is a well-known brand and has used high-quality materials to build solid-quality headphones.
The frame feels composed and rugged – giving it an excellent resistance level to physical damage. The X2HR open-back headphones have ear cups positioned 15 degrees angle, which ensures the projection of the sound into your eardrums directly.
Philips Audio Fidelio X2HR has a self-adjusting headband mechanism that stretches out for you. The weight of the X2HR is around 380 grams. It distributes the pressure comfortably and evenly. They are extremely comfortable to wear for a longer period.
When it comes to sound quality, these headphones create an open and spacious soundstage. They give the user a pure feel of hearing the speakers instead of wearing headphones. All instruments including the piano and guitars come out separated with a good distance between them.
- Prominent and punchy bass
- Great sound separation
- Extremely comfortable
- Not good for mid-range audiophiles
#4 – Audio Technica ATH-AD700X – Best Budget Open-back Headphones
Audio Technica ATH-AD700X has a lightweight aluminum casing, which not only improves the quality of sound but also its overall weight. It has two self-adjusting support paddles. Due to 3D support paddles, the ATH-AD700X open-back headphones feel lightweight and produce a small clamping force.
The paddles easily fit most of the head shapes. These headphones are highly comfortable to wear for a long period of listening sessions due to low clamping pressure and a good fit. Audio Technica open-back headphones feature soft cushion with extra padding to further improve comfort.
The padding takes a slight space, despite the large cup size, which means users with bigger ears might not have a good fit. Also, these headphones feature 53 mm drivers design coupled with copper-aluminum wire coils.
The combination of copper and aluminum creates a uniquely vivid sound experience. The musical and vocal instrument separation is good, which is two times better than other headphones. Thus, these are the best-budget open-back headphones.
- Clear and detailed sound
- Comfortable and lightweight
- Great build quality
- Spacious soundstage
- Weak low end
#5 – Sennheiser HD 660 S – Best High-End Open-Back Headphones
The Sennheiser HD 660S has a high-quality build made of matt plastic, which does not leave any fingerprints or stains. It has open metal-mesh grills located outside with the Sennheiser logo. These headphones have an all-black color look, which feels premium and classy than previous models.
The back of HD 660S is open and the driver design mounts through the grill, which makes them solid and sturdy headphones. The earpads are deeper and softer, which makes them comfortable even for extended use.
The Sennheiser HD 660S firmly clamps around your head with adequate force to sit securely and tightly without falling off or affecting the comfort. Besides, these headphones have a medium-wide soundstage and the instruments sound precisely positioned, distinct, and detailed.
Overall, the Sennheiser HD 660S delivers a dynamic sound and makes the transients clearer, refined, and quicker. It produces high frequency and the low-mid range is full and rich. This is a high-end headphone product and the price is higher.
- Dynamic HD sound
- Solid build quality
- Open and immersive soundstage
#6 – Grado Prestige Series SR325E – Top Comfortable Open-Back Headphones
Grado Prestige SR325E has an exceptional build quality as it feels composed, solid, and sturdy. The best feature of this product is 360 degrees rotatable earcups. It is a handy feature when it comes to wearing them around the neck.
The SR325E has foamy earpads, which are the most distinctive features. As a result, you get a perfect and plain sound. The earpads contribute to the signature sound – as confirmed by Grado.
Although the SR325E has metal earcups, the headphones feel lightweight on the head. In addition, it features a good grip but not tight because the SR325E feels well-secured even if you turn the head quickly. You can easily adjust the headband to get a better fit.
Grado is popular for its distinct sound signature notable in different products including the SR325E. These headphones do not emphasize much on the punching bass and exquisite highs. Overall, the quality of sound is great. The headphones are neither cheap nor expensive.
- Sturdy and robust
- Hand-build quality
- Open sound and amazing tonal balance
- Dynamic sound reproductions
- Bad Bass Quality
#7 – Beyerdynamic DT 990 Premium – High-Value Open-Back Headphones
The Beyerdynamic DT 990 Premium has a plastic build with a metal headband. The headband has soft padding, which is wrapped around it securely as it has two bolts at each end. Overall, this is high-value open-back headphones with a minimalistic design featuring truly classic design.
The earcups of the product are large, which fit most users’ ears. Compared to other headphones in this review list, the earpads are made of memory foam, which is wrapped in velour material – making them plush and soft.
The combination of velour, memory foam earpads and padded leatherette headband makes them comfortable, which allows the user to wear them over longer sessions with ease.
The Beyerdynamic DT 990 Premium has an average clamping force, which delivers a secure fit for long-lasting comfort. It won’t be wrong if we say these are the most comfortable headphones on this list.
When it comes to the quality of sound, the Beyerdynamic DT 990 Premium is truly special. It is the only reason audiophiles buy this headphone. The lows, the mids, the highs, bass, treble, everything is up to the mark.
- Detailed and dynamic sound
- Light and comfortable
- Wide soundstage
- Open sound and tonal balance
- Unbeatable value
#8 – Koss UR40 Collapsible – Best Over-Ear Open-Back Headphones
Koss UR40 is another great headphone product, which is a hybrid of open-back and closed-back. The Koss UR40 has high-quality titanium-coated diaphragms, which produce accurate sound. Koss has used neodymium iron boron to make the magnetic structure. Despite all these features, the Koss UR40 has an affordable price.
An amazing feature of the Koss UR40 is its compatibility for all genres of music – whether you have a deep bass or high transient details, you will hear the audio as it was aimed for you to hear.
The Koss UR40 has an airy mesh-design headband, which is perfect for users who want minimum contact on their heads. Likewise, the adjustable headband feels comfortable on any head shape regardless of the size. It has a 4-feet long dual cord as well as a quarter-inch adapter, which you can use with high-fidelity systems.
The quality of Bass is an amazing feature of this masterpiece headphone product. The rigid earcups are intended to last longer because it has a leather sealing. Anyone can use the Koss UR40 headphones as they fit every head size. The price is affordable too.
- Rare magnetic drivers and deep bass
- High-end Comfort and ergonomic design
- Suitable for a wide range of frequencies and music
Open Back Headphone Buying Guide
If you don’t know what to look for when choosing the best open-back headphones, here are a few buying factors. Continue reading!
Choosing the best open-back headphones requires you to look for the factor of noise cancellation. Remember noise isolation and cancellation are two different things. However, both provide similar output.
Noise cancellation headphones work conventionally and block the outside sound so that when you wear the headphones, you can hear the inside sound. Noise isolation headphones seal the outer sound because the earcups are placed directly on the ear canal.
On the other hand, headphones with noise isolation feature isolate the ambient noise. This feature forms a physical barrier between the ear and the offending sounds. It is up to you to choose the type of headphones. Over-ear open-back headphones are thought to be the best when it comes to noise isolation or noise cancellation.
Many headphones come with playback and volume controls. This is an important feature, which allows you to control the volume of the audio as well as you can pause the music and connect or disconnect calls. You can also change your soundtrack. So, make sure you choose open-back headphones with this feature enabled.
If you are looking for the best open-back headphones, which can wear in workouts, then this feature is important. The headphones with the waterproof feature are designed specifically and regardless of any condition.
So, if you wear them in the rain or during intense workouts, the waterproof feature can cover the headphones without causing any damage. Remember, this is a premium feature, which means the product costs you more.
Another important factor you must consider is the microphone. This feature allows you to access voice notes, receive calls, control the music, etc. If you want to play multi-player video games, the microphone can be handy in communication with other players.
Although this feature is great, it is not necessary for audiophiles since they are more concerned with the quality of audio and comfortable fit when it comes to open-back headphones.
This, perhaps, is the most important feature of open-back headphones. You must look for comfortable headphones so that you don’t feel irritating while listening to music for longer hours.
Compared to closed-back headphones, open-back headphones are more comfortable. The headphone headband must be cushioned so that it does not overheat or cause sweat.
Likewise, experts recommend mesh-type material to absorb moisture and keeps the ear cool. Always look for the breathable material.
This factor covers both portability and comfort. The rule of thumb is that the headphones must not feel heavy on your head and your ears. You must choose headphones with smaller drivers, which provide a snug fit.
Also, the weight of the headphones depends on their size and type. Sometimes, heavy headphones are useful for fulfilling certain needs. However, for audiophiles, the choice must be the headphones with smaller drivers.
Durability is an important factor – and for this, you need to check the quality of the material. Also, you must read reviews online and do your research to find the best material. The durability of the headphone product also depends on the brand.
Frequently Asked Questions – FAQs
Open-back headphones are designed specifically to perforate the outer shell of your ear with horizontal cutouts.
The main difference between these two is that open-back headphones allow the sound to pass through ear cups back. On the other hand, closed-back headphones do not allow passage of sound through the back of the earcups.
Most of the open-back headphones are noise-canceling or noise-isolating. It is important to check them before you buy the headphones.
You can find a wide range of open-back headphones with a variety of prices – ranging from expensive to affordable to cheap. An affordable one would be the best choice.
Since open-back headphones have a wide soundstage and good imaging, it can help you comfortably play games. Open-back headphone product does a better job as the air moves in and out of the earcups easily.
Open-back headphones are comfortable with a great fit, breathable without causing sweat, and have high-quality soundstage. There are many products available on the market. However, choosing the right open-back headphones for audiophiles is not easy. Therefore, using the buying guide mentioned in this article can help you select the right product.
Lastly, we have given you a list of the best open-back headphones. Each has its unique quality, which means you have to choose any of them depending on your requirements. Good Luck!