Best Open-Back Headphones

Top 10 Best Open-Back Headphones in 2018

In this review we feature the best open-back headphones that provide quality music performance and a comfortable listening experience. These headphones are designed to provide a spacious soundstage and crystal clear sound reproduction for you to hear every single detail in the music. They are great for orchestra and vocal performances where you get an accurate soundscape image that feels realistic and lifelike. Open-back headphones are designed for a more airy sound signature where you can hear precisely where each instrumental note is originating from. Our experts have tested numerous open-back headphones to determine which ones provide the best sound imaging. Be sure to check out our top picks for the best open-back headphones below!

#1 Beyerdynamic DT 990 Open Back Headphones

Beyerdynamic DT 990 Open Back Headphones

Overview: Beyerdynamic DT 990 PRO

The Beyerdynamic DT 990 PRO are some of the best open-back headphones designed for spacious and studio-like sound reproduction. The headphone is most suitably used in a studio setting in order to maximize their transparent, clear sound, as well as their above average stereo imaging characteristics. The DT 990 PRO have an emphasis on the low and high ends, and are capable of delivering very good sound quality with dynamic soundstage. It comes with a comfortable design characterized by the replaceable circular velour ear pads that allows for long periods of listening without causing any ear fatigue. These headphones feature German craftsmanship and attention to detail which enhance the resiliency and durability of the headphones. They are also designed to be lightweight, and are ideal for professional mixing, mastering and editing. It also comes with a practical single-sided 3.0m coiled cable for connectivity. If you are looking for some of the best open-back headphones that deliver good sound quality and comfort, the Beyerdynamic DT 990 PROs come highly recommended.

How does it sound?

The DT 990 PROs are a solid pair of headphones with excellent stereo imaging, clarity and a good, well-balanced frequency response. The bass is a strong element in this equation being slightly emphasized and not compromising dynamics. For an open-back design, the bass definitely gets bonus points as it is prominent without being overpowering. You should avoid making early judgements regarding the bass levels of this product, as it typically requires 8 to 10 hours of usage to ‘break in’, reducing any kind of muddiness in the low-end. The midrange frequencies have a lot of detail and definition to them, but they do not stand out compared to the neighbouring lows and highs. The high end is very clear, with good precision, quality and great extension. Depending on what you listen through them, they may become slightly piercing or tiring. This heavily depends on the sound source, as, for example, hard rock and metal music contain way more high frequency content compared to jazz. For this pair of headphones, the clear stand-out points are the accuracy in representing the stereo field, the spaciousness, transparency and details. Those ensure an authentic listening experience, without degrading or enhancing any elements and are presenting very accurate depictions of the recording.

Design & Comfort

The DT 990 PROs are over-ear headphones with an open-back design and made out of ABS plastic for durability. The DT 990 PRO are very light and the velour ear pads along with faux leather padded headband offer that additional level of comfort, making those headphones a favourite for both quick and long listening sessions. The audio cable has a very simple coiled design with a basic strain relief, ending in an 1/8in TRS connector, with a screw-on 1/4in jack provided. Due to their high impedance and relatively low efficiency, the DT 990 PROs should not be used with portable devices that have low audio outputs, as getting the signal to an enjoyable level will add significant clipping and distortion. We would recommend using a headphone amplifier such as the FiiO E17 when listening through those headphones. The DT 990 PROs come with a robust spring steel headband which provides a comfortable fit for the listener, and features soft adjustable ear cups for added comfort. The single-sided cable allows the DT 990 PRO to be put on and taken off easily.

Are these open-back headphones worth getting?

The Verdict? The Beyerdynamic DT 990 PRO are some of the best open-back headphones for any producer or editor who wishes to have an accurate representation of the recordings and audio soundtracks. The DT 990 PRO headphones provide really good spaciousness and finely graduated tonal depth – it has a mild bass and treble boost functionality which provides a crisp listening experience. As the headphones do not enhance or degrade anything from the sounds that are played, they are ideal for mixing, editing and mastering. The headphone can also pick up small changes in the positioning of the acoustic sources which can be perceived in the stereo imaging with graduated tonal depth. The headphone also has a very lightweight and robust spring steel headband which ensures and comfortable and secure fit. We liked the fact that it comes with soft and adjustable ear cups to relieve ear fatigue after prolonged periods of wearing. Overall, the DT 990 PRO is a really good open-back headphone that provides spacious sound performance and soundstage, and we highly recommend them for both musicians and causal listeners.

#2 Audio-Technica ATH-AD700X Open Back Headphones

Audio-Technica ATH-AD700X Open Back Headphones

Overview: AT-AD700X Open Back Headphones

The Audio-Technica ATH-AD700X are some of the best open back headphones that offer a natural listening sensation and a comfortable wearing experience by having a full open-air design that produces no sense of pressure on the ears. They are equipped with flexible raised fabric ear pads that provide a total ear-fit, a lightweight aluminium honeycomb casting, and self-adjusting 3D Wing Support for maximum comfort and facilitating long listening sessions. The headphones are wired with a highly conducted OFC single sided cord with elastic TPE sheath that prevents tangles. The connectivity is through a gold-plated 3.5mm TRS connector and a removable 6.3 mm TRS adapter. They perform superior power handling due to their Bobbin-wound Copper-clad aluminium wire voice coils. They have a low impedance of 38 ohms which enables usage with lower powered sound outputs, 53 mm drivers that help reproduce clear midrange and high frequencies, and their aluminium honeycomb casting has excellent acoustic properties. On the whole, the ATH-AD700X are some of the best open-back headphones we have encountered and we highly recommend them.

How does it sound?

The ATH-AD700X have a distinguishable feature that is very obvious as soon as you start listening to them; they have great clarity and presence. All details in the sound are very clear and easy to pick out, and the directional audio is very sensitive and enables you to easily pin point the location of the sound. This is clearly a feature that comes from the open-back design, which allows the sound to travel outward, rather than trap everything inside your ear. Because of the open-back design, the headphones lack bass, which might be preferred for certain kinds of music, but anyone interested in purchasing them should be aware of this. With good clarity, presence, and great omnidirectional precision, at Audio-Technica ATH-AD700X are perfect for well recorded live albums, as the realism provided by the headphones can help envelop the listeners and provide a close-to-authentic live experience. Another good usage for those headphones is revolving around video games, where sound localisation is very important. The AD700X can provide gamers an improved experience and an edge in sound localisation.

Design & Comfort

The ATH-AD700X open-back headphones are very comfortable and you can wear them for extended periods of time without feeling fatigued. Having very large cups, they envelop the whole ear without creating any pressure and allowing the headphones to be used for longer without creating any kind of physical fatigue. This is also reinforced by their aluminium honeycomb casting that makes the headphones very lightweight. They headphones also have a self-adjusting 3D Wing Support that can fit anyone without the need of intervention. The ear pads are flexible and raised-fabric that increase the wearing comfort. Because of their open-back design, the headphones do not provide great sonic insulation and would work better in a studio environment, where are minimal outside sounds. Because of their low impedance, the headphones will work as intended without the use of a preamplifier, being also compatible with portable devices such as laptops, phones and tablets. The ATH-AD700X are wired with a 3 metre cable that terminates in a 3.5mm TRS jack with a 6.3 mm adapter. They can be used remotely through any kind of device such as a phone, laptop or tablet because of their low impedance, which do not require them to be plugged in a preamplifier. The low output wattage of portable devices is enough to make the AD700X reach adequate listening levels.

Are these open-back headphones worth getting?

The Verdict? The ATH-AD700X are some of the best open back headphones we have tested which have great acoustic characteristics and are comfortable enough to be worn for long periods of time. They would be a good choice for sound editors and mixers which are not concerned with bass-heavy music such as modern electronic music. They provide great detail and clarity, especially in the high and mid ranges, and they are also excellent at omnidirectional positioning, so they would be a great choice for mixing and listening to live music, such as jazz or orchestral classical music. Their open back design helps with the envelopment of the listener in the music piece which will provide a very immersive experience. The headphones have a robust yet lightweight design, and their headband provides a comfortable and secure fit. They are an excellent choice for studio use, but are also portable and suitable for traveling. If you are looking for some of the best open-back headphones with spacious full-range sound, the ATH-AD700X comes highly recommended.

#3 AKG K240STUDIO Open Back Headphones

AKG K240STUDIO Open Back Headphones

Overview: AKG K240STUDIO Open Back Headphones

The AKG K240STUDIO are one of the best open-back headphones designed to be used professionally in studios, being an updated version of the vintage AKG K 240 Monitor which were released in 1975. They have a 3 metre replaceable input cable that use a mini XLR connector that locks securely into the headphones, and on the other end are equipped with a 3.5mm TRS connector and a 6.3mm screw-on adapter. They feature a semi-open design and extra-large transducers in acoustically tuned vented enclosures with pads that envelop the ears. The XXL transducers use AKG’s Varimotion diaphragm which is thinner, more elastic toward the outside edges and thicker, less resonant in the centre. This technology gives the AKG K240 Studio a powerful bass response, accurate mid-range frequencies and clear, detailed highs. On the whole, the AKGs are some of the best open back headphones with spacious and crystal clear sound and a comfortable design.

How does it sound?

The AKG K240STUDIO provide accurate and high-fidelity sound performance; they are designed for studio use and having a fairly flat frequency response. All the songs that are being listened through those headphones are very close to what they’re intended to sound like, thus offering the listeners a more authentic experience. The semi-open design is a great feature, creating a natural equalization to the bass and treble. The bass is present, yet not overpowering, the highs are bright, yet not piercing. The accurate representation of recordings also helps in bringing out subtle details which can be lost with headphone coloration. One downside with the semi-open design of this headphone pair is that the sound isolation is quite poor and they also have a lot of spill both ways, people can hear quite clearly what you’re listening to, and you can hear outside sounds fairly clearly. The K240SUDIO open-back headphones deliver a wholesome listening experience, with recordings of music with multiple instruments being presented as an integrated, unified piece, tight, powerful and sharp. The sound has a level of spaciousness and separation rarely heard in other headphones.

Design & Comfort

The AKG K240STUDIO open back headphones have a very sleek and lightweight design. The the soft faux leather caps and leather headband make wearing these headphones very comfortable for prolonged periods of time. The headphone is self-adjustable, so there is no initial tinkering or re-adjustment necessary. Another benefit of the semi-open design is that the open back end allows airflow, thus keeping the ears cooler compared to other headphones. The open back design creates a spacious and clear soundstage which helps you appreciate every single detail in the music with pristine clarity. Another good feature of the AKG is that it has a removable wire that’s a mini XLR connector on the end dedicated for the headphones and a 3.5 mm TRS jack to plug into the sound source. The K240s are durable with a rugged construction and non-twisting headband.

Are these open-back headphones worth getting?

The Verdict? The AKG K240 are some of the best open back headphones with spacious and crystal clear sound reproduction. They present to the listener every available frequency fairly and equally, rendering the music just as the sound engineer intended it to be consumed. They can be used for both mixing and listening purposes and are great for a wide range of genres, from rock to orchestral and electronic dance music. They have good transient response and reproduce sound in a very solid manner, more than one would expect a pair of semi-open back headphones. The design is very well thought and that can be observed in the balanced and confident frequency response. The design of the headphones mimics the sound characteristics and is very robust and resilient. The headphones can manage being handled roughly because of their un-twistable headband and high quality materials. They have a replaceable wire, which is useful as the headphones are sturdy and destine red to last a long time, so the cable would be the weak link in this equation. Replacing the wire can potentially offer the headphones a few more years to work properly. Overall, the AKG K240 are some of the best open back headphones with spacious sound performance and we highly recommend them.

#4 Sennheiser HD 598 SR Open Back Headphones

Sennheiser HD 598 SR Open Back Headphones

Overview: Sennheiser HD 598 Open Back Headphones

The Sennheiser HD 598 SR are some of the best open back headphones and a modern version of the HD 598s which features the same open-backed design, delivering natural and well-balanced sounds. They are suitable for long listening sessions as they are equipped with velour covered ear pads and a padded leatherette headband. The headphones come with two cables, a 3 metre cable with a 3.5mm TRS jack intended for home or studio use, and a 1.2 metre cable terminated with a 3.5 mm jack and an in-line one button remote with a microphone suitable to taking phone calls, suitable for remote and outdoors usage. The HD 598 SR feature SYS38 transducers which deliver good dynamics and low distortion by using aluminium voice coils. If you are looking for one of the best open back headphones with refined and spacious sound, the Sennheiser HD 598 is a great choice.

How does it sound?

Sennheiser HD 598 SR can serve well across multiple music genres as they have musically accurate sound signature. They have a detailed and balanced sound, and with the aid of the open back design, they benefit of good spatial positioning, sound imaging and separation. In addition to the aforementioned open back configuration, the designers at Sennheiser also added the E.A.R. technology, which stands for ‘Ergonomic Acoustic Refinement’, positioning the transducers inside the ear cups so that the signal is sent directly into the ears of the listener, creating a more immersive experience, giving the feeling of being ‘in the room’.  They slightly lack in the lower range of the frequency spectrum, but are wonderful in the mid and high ranges, thus making vocals and other instruments extremely clear and detailed, while some of the bass-heavy music might not be rendered as good as it could be. Even at low volumes, the HD 598 SR deliver great details, and this is only possible because of the very low signal to noise ratio that the whole ensemble provides.

Design & Comfort

The Sennheiser HD 598 SR open-back headphones can be worn for long periods of time from a comfort point of view, even though some people might find them to be a bit tight. The weight is quite low as they are made out of plastic yet they can withstand rough handling. The way in which they ensure superior sound quality is through the use of the SYS 38 transducers which were designed by Sennheiser for accurate sound reproduction. They also use aluminium voice coils which ensure low distortion, good transient response and high efficiency. All those factors put together create the high standard experience promoted by Sennheiser. The headphones are equipped with a replaceable wire connection. In the product box will be two audio cables, a 3 metre cable with a standard 6.3 mm jack intended for studio and home use, and a 1.2 metre cable with a TRRS connector that features a microphone and a button to answer calls. They have an impressive frequency response of 12 Hz to 38,500 Hz, rendering sounds as accurately as possible. The headphones also have an adequate impedance of 50 Ohm that allows the pair to be turned into a headset alongside the 1.2 metre cable with a built-in microphone. The HD 598 SR also features an impressively low harmonic distortion of under 0.1%, which is to be expected considering the clarity and details that the headphones produce.

Are these open-back headphones worth getting?

The Verdict? The Sennheiser HD 598 SR are some of the best open back headphones and an updated model of the predecessor HD 598 which definitely bring in some improvements and deliver great results in sound reproduction. The acoustic driver are built to deliver crystal clear and accurate sound especially in the mid and high frequency ranges. With an impedance of 50 Ohm, they are able to perform in lower output devices, but they should ideally be used with preamplifiers that can enable them to shine in their strong points. They are thoughtfully designed, featuring multiple types of technologies such as the SYS 38 Transducers and the Ergonomic Acoustic Refinement. They are comfortable and can be worn for long periods of time because of their padded leatherette headband and soft ear pads. The open back design also helps with ventilation and preventing overheating. Overall, for their price range, these headphones perform at an above-average level and having the option of choosing between the two types of cables, the one intended for studio use and the one for remote usage, definitely enhances the versatility of these headphones and turns them into a complete all-rounder. Overall, the Sennheiser HD 598 are some of the best open back headphones designed to deliver spacious sound quality and come highly recommended.

#5 Beyerdynamic DT 1990 PRO Open-Back Headphones

Beyerdynamic DT 1990 PRO Open-Back Headphones

Overview: Beyerdynamic DT 1990 PRO

The Beyerdynamic DT 1990 PRO Studio are some of the best open back headphones intended for editing, mixing and mastering. They are reference headphones which deliver studio sound clarity and can pick up virtually every single detail in the music with precision. Their design is revolved around the idea of ‘uncompromising’, thus featuring a frequency response between 5 Hz and 40,000 Hz, a nominal sound pressure level of 102 dBSPL (or 1 mW/500 Hz), an impedance of 250 ohms and 45 mm dynamic Tesla neodymium drivers which are characterized by accurate resolution and high power output.  The DT 1990 PRO have a robust construction that can allow them to manage rough handling. They also feature a detachable wire connection that plugs into the headphones with a mini 3-pin XLR cable that locks securely in place. They come with a hard case, 2 pairs of 3 metre cables, one straight and one coiled, and 2 sets of velour ear pads with different sound characterises, an analytical pair and a well-rounded pair. Overall, the Beyerdynamic DT 1990s are some of the best open back headphones designed for sound engineers and are a great choice for studio reference headphones.

How does it sound?

The beyerdynamic DT 1990 PRO Studio headphones produce spacious, open and analytical sound that feels very enjoyable to listen to. The can literally pick apart every single detail in the music and are highly sensitive to the source audio recording. The design as reference headphones is achieved very well, allowing the listeners to experience music just as the engineer intended it to sound like. Having robust bass, mids and trebles, the headphones deliver a great experience without coloration and other impediments. The DT 1990 Pro Studio are also extremely precise in terms of imaging, giving listeners the feeling of being in the recording avenue. This is granted by the fully open-back design which give the headphones their impressive immersive quality. The said quality can make the DT 1990 PRO a good choice for movies and gaming. The headphones also offer good instrument separation quality, being capable of pulling apart individual instruments in each track across any genre. Right out of the box, the headphones might seem surprisingly bright, or even piercing, but they will ‘break in’ following continuous moderate levels of brown noise for about 100 hours.

Design & Comfort

The beyerdynamic DT 1990 PRO open-back headphones are handcrafted in Germany with high quality materials and excellent workmanship. The headphones have very accurate resolution and high output power achieved with beyerdynamic’s latest Tesla driver technology. They are equipped with passive transducers which dramatically increase the lifetime of the headphones. To remove any kind of filtering and aliasing possibilities, the frequency range of the headphones is huge, ranging from 5 Hz in the best to 39,950 in the high range, thus preserving the most genuine reproduction of sounds. Another good feature of those headphones is the interchangeable ear pads which accentuate different sound qualities. In order to make those headphones perform at their highest, a good quality stereo amplifier needs to be used. The DT 1990 PRO are both comfortable and robust, the designers at beyerdynamic using high-tech textiles for the pads and build of the headphones to ensure great comfort and durability. These open-back headphones also have a single-sided cable which increases the user’s level of convenience.

Are these open-back headphones worth getting?

The Verdict? The Beyerdynamic DT 1990s are some of the best open back headphones designed for a comfortable studio listening experience. They have been engineered for clarity and precision of sound reproduction and provide a relatively wide soundstage. They are at their best in a studio environment paired with other high quality equipment such as digital to analogue converters and preamplifiers. They would not be suitable at all in any other environment, especially used outdoors or remotely, because of their open-back design which provides poor sonic isolation, being a lot of spill from the outside contaminating the sound. Another important factor is the very high impedance, which require a preamplifier to deliver a good enough sound level for listening, low power outputs from mobile devices such as phones or tablets not being enough to drive the headphones. They are also designed to last a very long time because of the passive transducers. If you are looking for one of the best open-back headphones that represent a good value investment, the DT 1990 PROs are a great choice.

#6 Samson SR850 Open Back Headphones

Samson SR850 Open Back Headphones

Overview: Samson SR850 Open Back Headphones

The Samson SR850 are a pair of professional and one of the best open-back headphones for studio reference sound reproduction with a slight V-shaped sound signature. Accurate sound reproduction and wide dynamic range are achieved with the use of the large 50 mm drivers made of rare earth magnets. They have a frequency response between 10 Hz and 30,000 Hz which go beyond the human hearing range and may account for good bass and treble projection. Their impedance of 32 Ohm allows them to be used without a preamplifier, the output from a computer, laptop or phone being enough to drive them Their semi-open back design allows the creation of a wider soundstage with a big, enveloping sound. However, because of the semi-open back, the sound isolation is fairly poor and there is a lot of spill both ways. The headphones can be used remotely because of their low impedance, but might not be practical to use in public because of the spill. They do behave wonderfully well in a home studio where they can be plugged in directly into a computer without a preamplifier and be used for mixing and mastering. The SR850 also feature a fixed wire terminated in a 3.5mm TRS jack and a 6.3 mm gold plated adapter. The headphones are comfortable due to a self-adjusting headband that fits naturally and securely. Overall, the Samson SR850s are some of the best open-back headphones developed for studio reference sound and we highly recommend them.

How does it sound?

The Samson SR850 are a pair of professional headphones with a distinct sound and immediately noticeable coloration. They have a ‘V’ shaped frequency response that emphasizes bass and treble, while the mids are less pronounced. This is in part due to their wide range frequency spectrum that goes between 10 Hz and 30,000 Hz, which go well beyond the human hearing range. They are great at creating a convincing soundstage especially in music where a lot of instruments are present, giving the listener the ability to locate exactly the sound of each source. The first impression you get from listening with those headphones is very good, getting a clear sense of a big sound. The SR850 perform very well in presenting the details of a recording very clearly and precisely. They are suitable for listening to all kinds of music genres, from electronic to acoustic and orchestral. For a semi-open back design, the bass produced by the headphones is very impressive. Even though they have good bass and treble, the SR850 sound a bit thin, lacking the depth that other studio headphones have.

Design & Comfort

The Samson SR850 open-back headphones are designed to be very comfortable and relatively lightweight.  Right out of the box, the headphones might seem a little bit tight, holding a lot of pressure on the ears, but once they start being worn, they will loosen up for a more enjoyable experience. They are equipped with a self-adjusting band which works consistently and precisely. The cable is very long which is intended for studio use where users need to move around the workplace. The look of the headphones is professional, being easily distinguishable compared to consumer headphones. The semi-open back does not provide very good sonic isolation, but, when used in a studio environment mainly for mixing and mastering purposes, it should not create any problems as there would not be outside noises. Even though the headphones might feel ‘cheap’ to some people, they are durable and can manage rough handling.

Are these open-back headphones worth getting?

The Verdict? The Samson SR850s are some of the best open-back headphones designed for reference sound performance and are very comfortable to wear. They are best used in a studio environment for mixing and mastering, where their open-back design is more of an advantage than a disadvantage. If you are looking for high-end, very high quality headphones, those might not be suitable for you. However, if you are on a budget and want a pair that definitely punches above its weight, the SR850 might be the perfect addition to your studio. The SR850s are open-back which provides a spacious soundstage and allow you to get a directional sense of where each musical note is originating from. They can deliver plenty of volume without any distortion and provide a comfortable listening experience. Overall, the Samson SR850s are some of the best open-back headphones we have tested and are great for professional sound engineers or music lovers.

#7 Sennheiser HD 600 Open Back Headphones

Sennheiser HD 600 Open Back Headphones

Overview: Sennheiser HD 600 Open Back Headphones

The Sennheiser HD 600s are some of the best open-back headphones for high-fidelity sound reproduction and vibrant acoustics. They have neodymium ferrous magnets which are excellent at maintaining optimum sensitivity and dynamics, as well as lightweight aluminium voice coils that ensure good transient responses. They have a very low handling noise due to their Kevlar-reinforced, oxygen free copper cables. Their diaphragm design is capable of providing sounds free from acoustical disturbances by eliminating standing waves, and minimizes harmonic and intermodulation distortion through computer optimized magnet system. The open metal mesh grills help deliver clear sound. It also has a sleek and modern looking design and comfortable ear padding that reduces ear fatigue. If you are looking for one of the best open-back headphones with dynamic sound quality and spacious soundstage, the HD 600s are a great choice.

How does it sound?

The Sennheiser HD 600 open-back headphones deliver a well-balanced listening experience and give the impression of a large sounding space due to the open back configuration. They have good, punchy bass, which is notable considering the open back design which usually means sacrificing a bit of the bass presence. The midrange for those headphones is excellent, with good detail resolution and a very subtle and pleasing coloration. Lastly treble, just like the other ranges, sound very good. It is clean, neutral and transparent, and you can have long listening sessions without suffering from fatigue. They work well across a wide range of music genres, bringing out all details and subtleties which give the user an enhanced listening experience. Because of the high definition rendition of sounds, they are suitable for both professionals and consumers, whether they are used for mixing and editing or just listening. The sound of the HD 600 can be described as natural. The headphones do not produce any kind of enhancement that could make a song seem better, such as adding a sparkling top, or pounding bass. They are truthful in their representation of what is being played, all sounds seemingly falling into their own place and forming that overarching listening experience that transports the listener right in front of the performance. Through the HD 600, sounds are perceived the way they should be with very little distortion.

Design & Comfort

The Sennheiser HD 600 might not be very impressive at first sight, especially because of the thin and frail wires, but also because of the plastic build and associated lightness. They also have a convenience disadvantage as both speaker pads are wired, making them more difficult to put on and take off compared to headphones which have only one speaker pad wired. On the other hand, the pads have been commended and the overall comfort level of the HD 600 is high, to the point where users can get so accustomed that they forget they are wearing the pair. The HD 600s have high impedance, which make them require an amp to have a decent level sonic output, which will require the HD 600s to be mainly kept for studio usage. There is a lot of design thought that went into those headphones, with an diaphragm design specifically for eliminating standing waves which provides a clear sound, and the computer-optimized magnets that minimize harmonic distortion.

Are these open-back headphones worth getting?

The Verdict? The Sennheiser HD 600s are some of the best open back headphones that deliver spacious and dynamic reference sound quality. The HD 600s are well-engineered with great attention to detail and feel very comfortable to wear. For example, details such as the advanced diaphragm design which eliminates standing waves and magnets optimized in such a way to minimize distortion are playing a major role in ensuring consistent quality from the HD 600.  These headphones have a reputation for professional studio engineering, which is understandable given the high definition, clear audio that they render. They are intended for studio use almost exclusively as they are not as durable as some of it’s same price range counterparts, but also because they have a very high impedance of around 300 Ohms, which make them required a good quality preamplifier that matches the definition of the headphones. The headphone cans are very comfortable and ideal for long listening sessions which are commonly required for mastering and other detailed work. Their light weight and comfortable ear pads and headband allow the listener to adjust to the headphones for a pleasurable listening experience. Overall, the Sennheiser HD 600s are some of the best open back headphones with smooth studio-like sound and come highly recommended.

#8 Grado GS1000e Open Back Headphones

Grado GS1000e Open Back Headphones

Overview: Grado GS1000e Open Back Headphones

The Grado GS1000e are some of the best open-back headphones that stand out through their manual crafted mahogany earpieces that have been cured in such a way to optimize the sound to be warm and tight. The GS100e has a renowned midrange, and the bass and treble frequency ranges are tight and stable because of the wood, driver and cable design. It provides a larger soundstage with enhanced spatial experience due to the enveloping ear pads and open back design. They also have an extended frequency range of 8 Hz – 35,000 Hz, and a low 32 Ohm impedance which makes them ideal for both professional/studio application and casual listening through portable devices. The designers at Grado have carefully taken into consideration all aspects of their materials, especially of the real mahogany and the headphone driver to be perfectly attuned to each other and create a unique listening experience that renders a warm sound with excellent dynamics. Overall, the Grado GS1000e is one of the best open back headphones available that provides crystal clear sound, so don’t forget to check them out!

How does it sound?

The Grado GS1000e open-back headphones live up to their distinguishable looks with very detailed, harmonically full sounds and great transient attacks. The GS1000e perform best after they are ‘broken in’, which happens after they have been used for a high number of hours. Initially, the headphones might see a bit bright, but after the breaking in period, they render all kinds of genres of music with full transparency. The bass has a subtle yet clear presence, with easily identifiable pitches and virtually no smearing effect, suitable for music such as jazz. The mid-range performs equally as good and they give an overall excellent listening experience. The high end is where the headphones truly stand out, having complex harmonics and adding a nice subtle colouring effect to the sound. They also have s very detailed soundstage with multiple layers, rendering recordings of complex ensembles to be brought to life and transport the listener to the location of the performance.  The soundstage, while impressive, lacks a sense of height, possibly because of the reduced bass response. Alongside with all the clarity and presence, the GS1000e are very non-fatiguing and can be used for long listening sessions very easily.

Design & Comfort

The Grado GS1000e certainly stands out because of its unique look and mahogany build which play an important role in their tone. The wood goes through a curing process that optimizes their specific tonal quality. designers of the headphones have spent a lot of time in finding the correct balance between the driver and the wooden housing. They are using 50mm dynamic transducers and a new 12 conductor cable design. All those pieces, the cable, driver, wood come together to form the GS1000e experience. The cushion design covers the whole ear which helps greatly with the level of comfort. They are light, airy and made out of firm foam without any velour or leather covering. The headband of the GS1000e works well with the rest of the design, being made out of leather and with minimal padding. The headband connects the two earcups and adjusts them with a couple of retractable metal plates. The earcups are the visual point of focus for anybody looking at the headphones. They are made out of mahogany wood and with their open back design, they only have a metal grill to protect the dirvers inside. They are fairly heavy, but make up in sound for their unique wood warmness.

Are these open-back headphones worth getting?

The Verdict? The Grado GS1000e are some of the best open back headphones with a vintage style design. There is a lot of attention given to these headphones, mainly because of their distinctive bulky look with real mahogany wood. The performance on the other hand is what truly deserves the attention as it is an excellent experience listening through those headphones. They have a harmonically full sound with tight and powerful bass and clear mids and highs. Their manual crafting and attention to detail make the most out of the mahogany wood. The GS1000e also feature an impressive soundstage where multiple layers are identifiable, and reproduce the sounds of live ensemble recordings at a very high standard. These headphones are ideal for users who are interested in listening well-rounded, subtle bass music, such as jazz, folk, bluegrass, country. More modern types of music such as EDM might not be represented as intended due to the lack of bass. That being said, the Grado GS1000e deliver crystal clear and high-fidelity sound quality with great precision and we highly recommend them.

#9 Sennheiser HD 650 Open Back Headphones

Sennheiser HD 650 Open Back Headphones

Overview: Sennheiser HD 650

The Sennheiser HD 650 are some of the best open-back headphones that reproduce sound with great clarity and precision. It has a wide frequency response between 10 Hz and 39,500 Hz, aluminium voice coils with fast transient response and an impressive total harmonic distortion ratio of 0.05%. It also features a detachable cable which is made out of oxygen free copper and reinforced with Kevlar, having a very low handling noise. The neodymium ferrous magnets ensure good dynamic response and optimum sensitivity. They have a very high impedance of 300 Ohm and come with a detachable 3 metre cable that terminates in a 6.3 mm TRS jack connector. They are good with any kind of music, from classic rock to electronic music because of the clarity they provide throughout the frequency spectrum. Overall, the Sennheiser HD 650s are some of the best open back headphones with a classic and dynamic sound signature and great for studio monitoring.

How does it sound?

The Sennheiser HD 650 open-back headphones can re-spark your interest into your old favourite songs with their impeccable clarity and extremely fast transient response. They bring out details which might have been missed so far. The bass comes through clearly and punchy without overpowering everything else. The mid and high range frequencies are very well balanced and render exceptionally clear representation of each instrument, while adding a slight warm, veiled sound with coloration. Percussive instruments also stand out with those headphones, with a tight snare sound, deep toms, and clear but not harsh metalwork. Compared to other headphones, the HD 650s sound great right out of the box without the need of ‘breaking them in’. In order to make the sound of the Sennheisers as good as they can, you will need high qualities stereo preamplifiers. The headphones will not shine by being used on low power sources such as computers or phones. The left and right drivers are very well matched and are an important factor in creating a good soundstage, helping with the accurate localization and placement of sounds in the stereo field.

Design & Comfort

The Sennheiser HD 650 are well designed, made with high quality materials and are comfortable to wear. Their highlight from a crafting point of view are the ear pads, which are long lasting, durable and comfortable, with a silk lining and have an efficient design for enveloping the listener’s ears. They are a signature touch of Sennheiser. However, the headband is the weaker element of the headphones, the joint where it is connecting to the earcups being fairly fragile and prone to breaking under physical stress. On the other hand, the external part of the ear cups is also high quality and designed to be long lasting and resilient. With proper care, there is a potential of a very long lifetime for those headphones. The HD 650 also feature an open back design which helps with air circulation, preventing overheating and enabling longer term listening sessions. The headphones are quite large and bulky, and because they don’t fold up to enable the user to carry them around easily, they are not suitable for remote usage. This is intended by design as the high 300 Ohm impedance requires them to be played with a preamplifier, and their open back design offer very poor sound isolation which would make those headphones studio-bound.

Are these open-back headphones worth getting?

The Verdict? The Sennheiser HD 650 are some of the best open back headphones that provide really open sound and precise sound signature. The Sennheiser HD 600 and HD650 headphones are similar in ability and appearance, but the HD 650 is just a bit better in every aspect. These open-back headphones are often chosen by sound engineers as their main headphones for their studio, but they would also be just as good for enjoyment listening. They have been designed in such a way to provide the best listening experience for in-studio usage, which meant cutting down on other aspects such as portability, remote usage or casual listening. Even though they are almost exclusively intended for professional studio use, they are above-average at rendering high quality, clear sounds that create a very good listening experience. The headphones are great for critical listening and their lightweight and comfortable design enables the users to be able to spend hours on doing their craft. If you are looking for one of the best open-back headphones for accurate studio monitoring and listening, the Sennheiser HD 650 comes highly recommended.

#10 SIVGA SV007 Open Back Headphones

SIVGA SV007 Open Back Headphones

Overview: SIVGA SV007 Open Back Headphones

The SIVGA SV007 are some of the best open-back headphones handcrafted with natural wood, enhancing their deep bass and warm tones. They feature an open back design to reduce listening fatigue and provide a bigger sound stage. The two wooden ear cups are built for comfort, featuring rotation capabilities to 180°, enabling single speaker use and soft ear pads to enable long listening sessions. The headphones come with two detachable audio cables, a 1.4 metre one that features a built-in microphone which is suitable for taking hand-free calls, and a 1.8 simple cable, both of them terminating in a 3,5mm jack. The frequency response is 20 Hz to 20,000 Hz, they have a sensitivity of 100 dB and an impedance of 32 Ohm. This makes them ideal for using them with low-output devices such as phones and tablets, making those headphones even that more versatile. Besides the eye-catching wooden ear cups, the headphones are robustly built out of metal, which makes them more durable, and have a comfortable leather headband which provides a high degree of comfort. If you are looking for one of the best open-back headphones with high-fidelity sound, the SIVGA SV007 comes highly recommended.

How does it sound?

SIVGA SV007 might catch your eye with their wooden design, but they will also catch your ear with high quality sound reproduction. Harmonically speaking, they have more emphasis on treble while cutting down on bass, yet all sounds are rendered in great detail, with impressive clarity and tone separation. The weaker bass is to be expected with an open-back design, but the advantages are regained in soundstaging and imaging. All sonic elements can be precisely located using those headphones, so they can also provide a good experience for playing video games or watching films. The tonal quality of the headphones is standing out as the wooden earcups have different qualities, which makes them unique. Their frequency response across all three ranges, bass mids and treble, are adequate for most genres of popular music and classical music as well. Classical and instrumental music sounded lifelike with crystal clear tones and spacious soundstage, and it feels as though you are sitting in a real life orchestra while listening to these open-back headphones.

Design & Comfort

The SIVGA SV007 headphones are just as well designed as they are good-looking, with very high comfort levels straight out of the box. They are equipped with fenestrated leather pads that go over your ears and also have a padded headband. They use true Rosewood or Walnut for the cups, while the rest of the headphones are made out of metal. This makes the headphones very durable and robust, excellent to use in live environments, such as DJ sets. Another good aspect about the headphones which can be used in a live DJ set is that both earcups can be rotated 180° which can allow the performer to comfortably listen to only one of the earcups at one time without wearing the headphones. With a high sensitivity and low impedance, the SV007 are ready to be plugged in any device, including low output portable devices, which is perfect for remote usage. These open-back headphones come with two separate cables of different lengths and a plane adapter for travelling. The headphones have a removable 3.5 mm TRS jack connector, which is a great feature that can enhance both portability, convenience and can extend the lifetime of the headphones significantly. Out of the box they come with two cables, one 1.4 metre cable with a built-in microphone which allows the user to make hands-free calls, and another, longer 1.8 metre standard stereo audio cable that terminates in a 3.5 mm connector which can also be connected to a 6.3 mm jack adaptor.

Are these open-back headphones worth getting?

The Verdict? The SIVGA SV007 are some of the best open-back headphones with a spacious and open sound signature. These headphones are great for studio monitoring and have a relatively flat sound signature which allows you to pick up details in the music. The SV007 do not disappoint in any respect as they fair very well both sonically and physically. They are suitable to be plugged into any kind of device and the two available cables make it a perfect candidate for remote and outdoors usage. As they are lightweight and comfortable, they are very versatile and could be used in all sorts of contexts, such as travelling, gaming, performing live, mixing, editing and mastering. We also liked the fact that they feature a unique wooden design and versatility that make these open-back headphones very good candidates for an all-rounder pair that can be used every day in any context. If you are looking for one of the best open-back headphones that is aesthetically appealing and comfortable to listen to, the SIVGA SV007 comes highly recommended.

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