September 23, 2021 A Technology Blog

5 Best Open Back Headphones 2021

There are two acoustic designs on a headphone viz open back and closed back. Out of these, open-back headphones are mostly known for their natural sound experience. This is due to their open-back design which helps air pass through and makes them much breathable as compared to their closed-back friends. However, these headphones provide little to no noise isolation due to the same reason. Therefore, making them a favourite of audiophiles who love enjoying music without losing the essence of environmental noises. If you are usually at quiet places or you usually travel to serene destinations, these are a perfect choice any day!


  • Sennheiser HD 800 S

Sennheiser has been a prime brand in the world of audiophiles. The brand has never failed to impress with its high-end lineups of headphones. Thankfully, the Sennheiser HD 800 S is one of the premier headphones with an open back design. These headphones are also used to test other audio equipment hence making them good reference-class headphones!

 

  • These open-back headphones deliver crystal clear sound quality with the help of huge 56 mm drivers.
  • The sound profile is neutral and balanced which makes it versatile across genres. The lows are subtle and the highs are clear.
  • It provides a good bass emphasis which sounds good in most genres. However, it lacks emphasis on low-frequency thumps and rumbles.
  • Avoid them for travelling as they don’t provide any noise isolation and are not very portable due to a lack of mobile phone support.

 

PROS CONS
Excellent audio quality Quite pricey
Extremely comfortable Slight distortion of bass at high volumes
Detachable cable

  • Astro A40 TR Headset + MixAmp Pro 2019

These open-back headphones are peculiarly oriented towards gaming. They deliver a power-packed performance and are extremely comfortable for extended hours of gaming However, avoid these for workout sessions as they are bulky and get sweaty. 

  • These Astro headphones deliver brilliant sound quality and have a warm sound profile. You can even adjust the audio through companion software.
  • There is no noise isolation due to the open-back design hence they are not suitable for loud environments.
  • It comes with a detachable boom mic which has a mute/unmute function as well. It produces a crisp and clear voice during gaming.
  • The headphones have a bulky design so it’s difficult to travel with them. Although the earcups can be folded flat, they still don’t do much.
  • Talking about the built quality, the headsets feel sturdy and quite durable with metal and plastic chassis. 

 

PROS CONS
Comfortable Bulky design
Spacious soundstage Poor noise isolation, by design
Great microphone


  • Philips Fidelio X2HR

These are a great pair of wired headsets with an open-back design. They are budget headphones that deliver crystal clear sound quality and a balanced audio profile. However, these headphones lack a microphone and are ideal for listening to music. 

  • The sound profile is pretty much well balanced that makes it versatile across genres
  • The bass emphasis gets the job done but low bass is quite underwhelming which is common for open-back headphones.
  • The soundstage is wide and natural due to the design.
  • There is no background noise blockage, hence, avoid them in loud environments. Also, there is a lot of sound leakages hence making it unsuitable for quiet offices and libraries.
  •  There is no microphone making it a bad choice for gaming or attending calls.
  • The headband is self-adjusting and the earpads are quite comfortable.

 

PROS CONS
Comfortable Bulky design
Value for money Audio leakage and no isolation, by design
Well balanced audio profile


  •  Beyerdynamic DT 880 Pro 

These semi-open back, over the ear headphones, keeps up to the brand name due to great sound quality which is natural sounding. These open-back headphones can be a great choice for both home studios and for mixing and mastering also. Professionals usually have a great time recording with this pair of headphones.

  • It features a strong neodymium magnet system that produces highly detailed sound.
  • It offers slight audio isolation and reduced noise leakage too as they are not completely open back.
  • The build is quite solid and sturdy with aesthetics on point. You don’t need to worry about the comfort as the soft velour ear pads make it perfect for a comfortable experience. 
  • In the package, you also get a 1/4″ adapter (threaded), assorted documentation, and a carrying pouch. The cable is quite long with 3 metres of length offering you enough movement.

 

PROS  CONS
Top-notch audio quality Requires amplifier for best performance
Replaceable ear cups Highs can get too sharp
Comfortable

 . Focal Utopia Open Back Circumaural Headphones

 Designed and manufactured in France, Focal Utopia Headphones are unarguably one of the finest headphones for professional studios making it a favourite among audiophiles. These open-back headphones are specially designed for mixing and mastering engineers for professional work. Although they are very expensive, it proves to the value due to its great dynamics and performance.

 

  • The open back circumaural provides a realistic sound experience with no isolation for a natural sound stage.
  • The audio profile is well balanced and sounds more of a 3D than flat.

 

  • The headphones feature 40 mm pure beryllium drivers offering full-range speakers at a frequency response of 5 Hz to 50 kHz. 
  • The remarkable design makes it the world’s first headphones to feature a wide-range loudspeaker.
  • The material used is carbon fibre and is extremely light and comfortable for long hours of usage.

 

PROS CONS
Exceptional sound quality  Long and heavy cable 
Expansive soundstage and detailed sound  Heavily priced 
Replaceable earpads No sound isolation

 

At the end of the day, open-back headphones are purely designed for audiophiles who want to enjoy music, gaming or even for mixing studios. The lightweight, breathable and spatial design is what makes them stand out. They may not provide good sound isolation or noise cancellation but they serve the purpose of natural-sounding audio and comfort. Most of the time open back headphones remain a great choice due to their inability to block background noises because many people don’t want to cut off from the environmental noise. This also eliminates the major problem of not being able to listen when someone wants to talk to you! 

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