Open-back headphones are a type of headphones that allows the audio to be heard through the back of the ear cups. It is different from closed-back headphones, which cover both ears and prevent sound from escaping. Open-Back Headphones use less power than closed-back headphones, which also makes them more efficient in battery life.
Open-back headphones are designed to provide the most natural hearing for the listener. The sound is provided by the speaker or drivers placed in the back of each ear cup. Closed-back headphones tend to muffle the sound, making them better for music playback than their open-back counterparts. However, Open-back headphones can cause damage to the ears. The sound waves created by the speakers in open-back headphones can cause damage to the eardrums, causing pain and earwax build-up.
Apart from these pointers, there are several other good and bad points of Open-Back Headphones. Let’s have a look at both:
Situations When It Is Ideal to Use Open-Back Headphones
- Suitable For Critical Listening
Open-Back Headphones are ideal for critical listening. These headphones have a larger, more open soundstage and a better sense of depth. They are ideal for mixing or mastering projects, where it is crucial to distinguish the subtle variations of a song. It also helps you hear exactly what’s going on in a song without being distracted by background noises.
- Mixing And Mastering Expert
Most producers and musicians prefer open back over closed-back headphones because they offer better soundstage, clarity, and greater precision when mixing or mastering tracks with them.
- High-Quality Audio Files
Musicians and producers usually prefer the open back because their music sounds more natural. Open-back headphones can make your mixes or masterings sound less compressed and give you better quality audio files.
- Best For At-Home Listening
Open-back headphones produce superior sound and allow you to listen to music without disturbing anyone around you. They are also highly durable and provide a better bass response, which means they provide better surround effect, especially under poor or cheap speakers. They are ideal for at-home listening.
Here Is Why You Should Avoid Using Open-Back Headphones
- Not Suitable For Commuting
Open-back headphones are not ideal for commuting or public transportation because they leak sound, which means the people around you can hear what you are listening to.
Most of the time, open-back headphones are preferred by musicians because they are perfect for critical listening because of their design that allows better sound quality. They are also great for mixing because of their wide range of tones and tones, but they can’t be used for commuting or work since their sound leaks out.
- Block Outside Noise
Open-back headphones are not suitable for blocking out background noises. They don’t work well when you’re on a crowded bus or subway because the people sitting around you can hear your music, and they can also hear your conversations, which isn’t ideal for working or commuting.
- Not Recommended To Listen On The Plane
Although open-back headphones don’t leak sound like closed-back headphones, they tend to leak sound more than most other headphones on the market. It is why they aren’t perfect for listening on an airplane, although this is not their intended use.
- Not Perfect For Listening At The Office
Open-back headphones don’t work well in quiet environments or office settings because they leak sound, which means that it is easy to hear what you are listening to. It makes open-back headphones not ideal for listening at the office because people around you will hear your music.
- They Are Not Made For Listening To The Gym
Open-back headphones do not make fabulous workout headphones because they leak sound and isolate noise well enough. If you wear them while exercising, people can still hear your music and background noises leak through.
Top Four Brands of Open-Back Headphones
Sennheiser is one of the most popular brands in the headphones industry. It manufactures some of the best headphones available at various price points. All of the products manufactured by Sennheiser are guaranteed for durability and performance. Their high-end product line includes HD800, HD650, etc., which are some of the best open-back headphones on the planet right now. The HD800 is known for its soundstage, which is enormous. The 650 is also great, but it lacks the wide range of tones available in the HD800. The HD800’s high impedance makes them ideal for amplifying professional studio monitors. The HD650 are also fabulous headphones, especially if you want to go with a cheaper option that does not sound too bright but still offers a good soundstage and has excellent clarity and tonal accuracy. The Audeze headphones are incredibly comfortable and offer a great soundstage as well.
Beyerdynamic is another company that specializes in designing high-quality headphones at all price points. Their top-end products are known for their superior sound, comfort, and durability. Their DT-990 is available in various colors and comes with a detachable cord. It delivers a good bass response, which makes it ideal for listening to EDM music. The DT-770 comes with an open-back design that is best suited for critical listening. It is available in various colors and ear cups that you can choose from, depending on your preference.
Audeze has been gaining popularity over the years because of its comfortable and lightweight design, which makes them one of the best open-back headphones you can buy right now. These headphones are ideal for mixing because of their excellent soundstage and clear treble range. They are also ideal for critical listening because of their high resolution, accuracy, and clarity. The soundstage is truly impressive on these headphones. The Audeze’s soundstage can be compared to that of the HD800 at around half the price.
Focal is another excellent company that produces excellent open-back headphones known for their signature drivers, which they sport on most of their headphones. They offer very delicate designs as well as good durability and longevity. Their open-back headphone line includes Focal Open, Utopia, One Avant 2, Utopia Mini 3D, Open Black Edition, etc.
When it comes to open-back headphones, you will find brands known for their top-notch designs, durability, accuracy, and comfort. You can go with cheaper options since these do not sound as good as the more expensive models.