Open back headphones are headphones that have their outer surfaces open to the world, either half-way or entirely, for dispersion of sound, which makes it come off more naturally.
They are more neutral-sounding than the closed-back headphones which have no means of equalizing the sound and end up playing back the whole thing right in your ear. Although the closed-backs are less noisy than the open-backs, you enjoy a less pounding, less-unhealthy sound experience with these open-backs.
Finding the perfect budget-suiting open-back can be quite a chore. You have to ensure it suits you one hundred percent.
Differences between Open and Closed Headphones and When to Use them
When deciding which headphones to buy, you have to decide between a wide variety of shapes, styles and comfort levels (depending on weight, materials and design). But there is one aspect that possibly matters more than anything else: whether they are open or closed.
Are you about to make a decision between open or closed headphones? Before making a decision, it is a good idea to know the differences between the two, to know which is best for you.
Open or Closed Headphones?
Basically, you have to take into account two factors: where are you going to listen to music, and how you like to experience it? The location of use is important, because the use case for home is not the same as on the street.
Then there is the question of how you prefer to listen to your favorite music at home. Maybe you want to be calm so you can enjoy each note, each sound, completely immersing yourself in the song.
Or maybe you just want to have something to listen to while you’re working or listen to your favorite music without disturbing others.
Keeping your priorities in mind will help you decide either headphones with an open or closed exterior are more convenient for you. With this idea in mind, let’s take a closer look at the differences between each type.
Differences between Open and Closed Headphones
Closed headphones are designed to isolate external ambient noise at different levels, depending on the model. The circumaural headphones (those that completely surround the ear) closed, generally provide somewhat more isolation than closed models of smaller size, such as supraaural or intraural.
The closed headphones also minimize the music that comes out, something that happens more often in open headphones, which do not block the ambient noise and allow the audio output of the headphones.
Closed headphones generally provide heavier bass sound. On the other hand, open models can increase the clarity of the sound, depending on the type of music you are listening to.
Your music will sound bigger. You will feel that it flows from all around you, with a deep sound. This is one of the main reasons why you choose an open model.
If you are a music lover who values the experience of a quality stereo system, open headphones are for you.
Nowadays, technology allows the best closed headphones to compete in sound quality with the best open headphones.
Design and Comfort
Both open and closed headphones can be large (circumaural or around the ear), supraaural (above the ear) or intraural (button).
In general, open headphones are more comfortable, since they exert less pressure on the area of the ear. If you plan to use them for a long time, open headphones are better, since heat or humidity will not accumulate inside. Your ears will be more ventilated, so you’ll be more comfortable during extended sessions.
Most professionals who work with music (DJs, mixers, recorders, studio producers) use closed headphones because they need more isolation to hear each note.
In noisy places, a closed design ensures that the sounds around you do not distract you or interrupt your experience. They can be useful if you frequent airports or bus stations or crowded trains.
Open headphones are more suitable if you need to know what happens in your environment. These headphones allow outside sound to filter, and people around you may be able to hear the music you are listening to.
They are probably not the best option for the library, although everything will depend on the volume you use. If you use a low volume, you can use them in the office or in the library without problems.
Now that you understand what the differences between open and closed headphones are, you should assess your priorities. Where will you use the headphones most often? In a quiet place, or with a lot of noise?
There is also the issue of the sound scene. How important is the experience of sound for you? Is it more important to isolate yourself from all noise, or do you prefer a better sound quality?
Different listeners have different preferences. You may even want to have two pairs of headphones (some open and some closed) for different situations. Regardless of what your priorities are, there are so many models, that surely you will find, at least, a pair of headphones perfect for you.
10 Best Open Back Headphones under $200
All open-backs on our list are non-rechargeable and wire-connected only. You need to also consider your weight preference, noise isolation power, speaker capacity, open-back limit, sound technologies, exterior design, your budget allowances and a few more details.
The list below is that of the top ten best open-backs under 200, and we are confident it will be an excellent guide for you to make the right, long-lasting choice.
These Diapason-award-winning open-back headphones from Sennheiser are one of the most natural-sounding sets you can get under $200. Succeeding the HDs 800 and 650, they have an extra-comfortable design with fantastic sound quality.
With an open-back construction, these non-rechargeable headphones produce your sound to come off as naturally as they can, which is quite better than head-pounding closed-back headphones.
The HD 558 has open sound pores, numerous and covered by a special netting, which acts as a sound filter for better effect. This set has an I.S.R unit, Internal Surround Reflector, which puts up a resonating sound field around our ears for better audio quality. This is a ‘surround sound effect.’ It doubles somewhat like a noise-canceling circuitry, though not quite the real deal.
Excess resonating vibrations are kept out by the heavy-duty duofol diaphragms it’s fortified with.
The design is highly comfort-oriented. Anyone who needs on-ear softness should go for this cool set with ultra-soft velour pads cushioning the ear cups. The minimally-adjustable headband is also cushioned in the center as well. The outer part is primarily made of durable plastic, with the bulk of the weight coming from the cushioning.
It has only a wired functionality, having a 6.3mm headphone audio adapter which ends in a 3.5mm device jack. The length of the cord is 3 meters, and there’s an external 2.5mm plug which can replace the 3.5mm.
The sound quality is lovely, with fantastic bass and slicing naturals. The beats are detailed, and the distortion never occurs, even at high volumes. This is due to the neodymium-fortified magnetic speakers in the sound system.
With a 50-ohm impedance and frequency range of 15Hz-28KHz, sound signals travel directly through your ear channel, thanks to the Eargonomic Acoustic Refinement technology, E.A.R.
Its size dimensions are 3.9 by 9.3 by 8.1 inches, and it weighs 1.43 pounds. There are no controls on the body, so it’s device-controlled.
These headphones are sophisticated sets which find many adaptable applications for phones, systems, particular sound-editing devices and more. The ideal headphones for classical music.
The sound quality is top-notch, and it’s designed to be comfortable wear all day long.
It’s a non-rechargeable closed headset, but it sounds more open than most on this list. This set is a senior in the DT 770 PRO series, where there’s a 32 Ohm model and an 80-ohm monitor model. It’s explicitly designed to give an open-back effect in the studio, which makes it great for music producers.
It has only one option for connectivity, which is a wired mode. There’s a quarter-inch 6.35 mm audio adapter that runs into a 3.5 mm device plug. For this 80 ohm version, the length is 3 meters.
With an impedance of 80 ohms and ultra-sensitive speakers, fortified with high-fidelity studio technology, this model is highly responsive and purifies sound as best as it can go. The sound quality is incredible. The thick bass feel is terrific, and details in beats are well-defined with each note. No distortion or white noise is experienced at high levels. These headphones are quite a good deal for recording in the studio.
It has quite an impressionable noise-canceling system, not necessarily an Active Noice Cancellation, but a higher-than-passive action coming from the closed back effect. So quite an amount of ambient noise is kept off for you to enjoy your music more peacefully.
The design of this set is a very comfortable one, having ultra-soft velour-padded swiveling ear cups, with the middle of the steel-spring adjustable headband thickly padded. You can wear this piece all day long, and you wouldn’t need to take it off. It’s dominantly plastic and very durable.
Its dimensions are 10.0 by 5.0 b7 8.0 inches. It weighs 1.0 pounds and should be controlled from the device.
Very similar to the HD 558 except in outer design, these headphones are great-sounding, high-quality audio mates with a spacious interior and great open-back effect.
The open-back construction of this set is top-notch, having large horizontal pores for sound-spreading. This makes it a bit too noisy, but that’s just like most other open-backs. The sound is spread out nicely to a give natural feel with his one.
Just like the 558, they have the ‘surround sound effect’ created by the Internal Sound Reflector, which douses you into an exclusive field with amplified sound quality.
They also feature the Ergonomic Acoustic Reinforcement, E.A.R, which is a technology that focuses on transmitting the audio signals in a direct path through your ear. This prevents sound leakage and increases sound quality. Excess vibrations from the open-back resonance are dabbed up by the duofol diagrams in the circuitry.
The design of the HD 518 is macho and awesome. It looks something like an air-conditioning vent. The ear cups and middle of the minimally adjustable headband are cushioned with ultra-soft velour padding. The body is mainly made of durable plastic. These headphones are so comfortable and can be worn all day, except that large heads may not accurately relate.
With an impedance of 50 ohms and a frequency range of 14Hz to 26KHZ, the sensitive neodymium-fortified speakers do a great job in giving off rich, clear sound. The sound quality is very impressive, with powerful deep bass and detailed beats, coming off as naturally as possible. The listening experience is even made better, with the ear cups being so thickly padded they provide a Passive Noise Cancelling.
The headphones are non-rechargeable, and they have only a wired functionality, with a 6.35mm headphone adapter running 3metres of length into a 3.5mm device jack.
The dimensions are 4.0 by 9.4 by 8.1 inches. It weighs 1.2 pounds.
These are non-rechargeable typical DJ headphones from AKG, with the perfect design and intricate open-back effect. The sound quality it produces is blasting, and it’s also made for all made for day-long comfort.
It has a vented half-open-back system, with orbital openings being covered by a dotted plastic for a more detailed and filtered effect. The sound produced by this set is very natural and soothing to the ear.
This set comes with special 30mm transducers constructed with the powerful varimotion technology, which is peculiar to only the AKG brand. Sound diaphragms are produced with varying thickness for better resonance reduction.
It has only one option for connectivity, which is wired. It comes with a 6.35 mm headphone audio adapter, running into an extractable cable of length 3 meters, and ending in a 3.55 mm device jack plug. The jack-plug is electro-plated with gold for better sensitivity and durability.
With an impedance of 55 ohms and a frequency range of 15Hz to 25KHz, it has ultra-sensitive speakers fortified with High-Fidelity Sound technology, such that it delivers powerful booming bass and well-defined highs and mids in beats, making this set is suitable for studio-sitting.
The design is spectacular and very macho-looking, with a wired headband that can adjust itself. It’s dominantly made of a robust and sleek plastic with highlights of silver on the ear cups. The inside of the cups is cushioned with soft squishy foam and protein leather. It’s not foldable, but the headband can be swiveled in any direction.
This set has a remarkable Passive Noise Isolation, with the heavily bound ear cups providing as much solace as they can in any environment. The holes are large and very comfortable for every ear size, and there are no headphone controls on this one. You have to control from your device.
It has dimensions 8.8 by 9.2 by 4.4 inches. It weighs 1.46 pounds and comes with a limited 1-year warranty.
These over-ear headphones are a powerful Studio set from AKG, with ultra-modern features and a comfortable design that makes them a particular favorite for sound mixing. It’s a very responsive and agile set and is one of the best headphones for the studio.
The open-back construction is full and outright, having a tiny-dotted silver mesh covering and filtering the outer part through which sound is cleared out. It sounds wonderfully natural, though it may be a bit noisy to anyone right beside you at high volumes
Coming with the AKG Varimotion technology, it has double-layered duofol diaphragms for better sound purification and increased sensitivity. The double layer adds a plus to this set, giving out an unmistakable sound and no additional resonances.
It has only a wired functionality, with a 6.35mm audio adapter, running into an extractable cable of length 3 meters, and ending in a 3.5mm device jack.
With an impedance of 62 Ohms and a frequency range of 10Hz to 39.8KHZ, the sound quality of this unit is sure-fire. The sound system is made of ultra-sensitive flat-wired vocal coils, which are faster at picking up signals and more responsive to voice parts in the music, such that they all come distinctly and clearly. The bass presence is as nearly as powerful as the Bose 35, having a luxurious, deep feel, along with well-distinguished high and naturals. These headphones are very professional and studio-perfect.
The design is as macho as everything that comes from AKG. It’s dominantly made of sleek plastic with highlights of silver. The ear cups have large holes and are cushioned by very soft 3-Dimensional foam for maximum comfort. The wired self-adjusting headband is made of smooth, strong leather. This set is not a foldable one, and there are no headphone controls on the body. It’s a device-controlled.
The dimensions are 4.6 by 7.8 by 8.3 inches. It weighs 1.8 pounds and is a very reliable set.
These are very beautiful and powerful over-ear open-backs, and are also the one of the most expensive on our list, but with a good excuse. They are great-sounding sets with a very comfortable build and are one of the best music studio quality headphones right now.
It has a half open-back construction, which serves well enough to neutralize and iron out the sound for a better natural effect. The outer silver mesh acts as a filter for extra purification. This set is not as noisy as most others, because of the half-open design. It sounds very natural, and the sound it produces is therapeutic.
It has only a wired functionality, with a 6.35 mm audio adapter, which ends in 3.5 mm device jack and runs the length of 3 meters. The jack is electro-plated with pure gold for durability and added sensitivity.
These headphones come from the variable impedance DT Hi-Fi series. With an impedance of 32 ohms, it has powerful speakers fortified with the Hi-Fi stereo technology for smoother audio performance. An outstanding feature of this set is the “Bass reflex” technology, which is a sort of loudspeaker reflex for improving the bass power. That’s why the bass presence of this set is amazingly good, with well-defined details in beats and music.
The design is the most attractive and impressive on our list. With a perfect blend of silver, white and black, anyone would feel comfortable wearing it as a fashion piece. It’s mainly made of plastic, with the inside of the large-holed, swiveling ear cups thickly-cushioned with ultra-soft velour padding, which are so comfortable you can sleep off in them. The Passive Noise Isolation of this set is impressive thanks to this. The headband is also leather-cushioned and adjustable.
The dimensions are 7.0 by 4.0 by 8.5 inches. It’s non-rechargeable, and weighs 1.73 pounds, with no headphone controls on the body. It’s a device-controlled.
Shure brings us a dominant over-ear sound mate on this one, a set with impressive audio playback and high-definition sound quality. It’s also one of the most expensive on the list, and even one of the best headphones for studio mixing.
This set is closed-back but sounds more natural than most open-backs. The construction is entirely circumaural, meaning it entirely swallows up your ears no matter how large they are. The interiors are spacious, so the sound is well-dispersed for the open effect.
Its connectivity technology is wired. It has a 6.35 mm adapter with hold-on clips. It ends in a 3.5 mm device jack. The length of the extractable cable is 3 meters, and it’s coiled into many rings to prevent annoying tangling and internal wire breakage. The jack is electro-plated with gold, making it more sensitive and rust-resistant.
With an impedance of 44 ohms and a frequency rating of 5Hz to 25000Hz, and neodymium-fortified 40mm speaker drivers, the sound quality is fantastic and pulling, with ultra-deep pounding bass, highs and mids clear, and perfect treble. These headphones are lovely sounding and great for professional mixing and surveillance.
The design is heavy-duty and intimidating, made of a sleek and durable plastic hinged at points on the headband. The ear cups and headband are thickly cushioned with soft foam and a good and shiny protein lather which doesn’t hurt the skin. This gives you constant, relaxing comfort for as long as it’s on. The ear cups provide a great deal of noise isolation, thanks to their thickly-padded design. The headband is adjustable and can be folded into a more compact form.
The dimensions are 4.5 by 8.6 by 9.5 inches. It weighs 1.76 pounds and comes with a carry-case and extra ear-cup cushions. It’s non-rechargeable, and there are no headphone controls on the body of the set.
If you wear these headphones, you’ll feel like they were constructed onto your head. Monoprice goes all out with this macho-looking set, giving you a choice for both open and closed back listening. The sound quality is amazing, and it’s very comfortable.
The headphones come as a closed back set with a red-wood covering latched onto the back by magnets, which can be removed to transform it to an open-back for more natural sound and a wider listening scope. The open-back is vented by a plastic covering which also regulates the sound.
It has a wired functionality, with a 6.35 mm headphone adapter on a 3-meter extractable cable, which ends in 3.5 mm and 2.5 mm device jacks. Music and audio are controlled from the device, seeing as there are no controls on the body.
It has an extremely wonderful design, looking somewhat like a rail-covered bridge. This set has one of the greatest Passive Noise Isolation strengths on our list, with the 1-inch thick ear-cup cushioning it’s designed with. The ear cups are bound with foam and protein leather, along with the self-adjusting headband, whose padding is ridged for extra comfort. The build of these headphones makes them perfect for disk jockeying, studio recording and music mastering. The ear cups can swivel, but the headband is not foldable.
With an impedance of 42 Ohms and a frequency range of 16Hz to 40KHz, the sound quality is amazing and powerful. The most outstanding feature of this set is the 56mm planar speaker drivers that are magnetized all round and are very sensitive. They produce a powerful, more booming bass and well-detailed high and mids in music.
The dimensions are 12.1 by 11.3 by 3.2 inches. It weighs 2.95 pounds, is non-rechargeable, comes with a cool black carry-pouch, and a 30-day cash-refund guarantee.
These non-rechargeable over-ear headphones are one of AKG’s open-back pride, powerful, awesome-looking, and great-sounding. The come with an optimized sound unit and several other features and are one of the best headphones for the studio.
It has a spacious interior with a full open-back construction. The outer surface is covered by a pored plastic material and a small silver mesh which acts as a filter and an equalizer for sound. These headphones may be quite the noisy sets at high volumes, but they naturalize your music very effectively.
The sound is purified and kept devoid of unnecessary resonances with the AKG varimotion technology of diaphragms. The diaphragms iron out the sound and cut down resonating signals, making it clearer and sweeter to the ear.
It has one option for connection, which is wired. It comes with a 6.35 mm audio adapter, which runs into a non-extractable cable of length 3 meters, and ends in a 3.5 mm device plug. The plug is electro-plated with gold for extra sensitivity and to prevent rust.
With an impedance of 120 ohms and a frequency range of 12Hz to 39.5KHz, it has neodymium-fortified speaker drivers that produce very powerful bass and well-detailed beats. These speakers are also designed with the High-Fidelity stereo technology, which increases the quality of the sound produced.
The design of the K612 is simple yet sophisticated. It’s made of both plastic and steel in equal proportions, with the ear cups being covered and cushioned by very soft velour padding. These provide effective Passive noise isolation. The headband is self-adjusting, though it may pose a bit of discomfort to large or bald heads. Altogether the design is comfortable and durable.
The dimensions are 9.9 by 8.8 by 4.3 inches. It weighs 1.45 pounds. This set is device-controlled as there are no headphone controls.
These over-ear headphones are cool-looking, great-sounding units from AKG, and they are perfect for all-day wear, thanks to their light weight and cool feel.
These headphones are of a closed-back construction with a spacious interior that makes them sound more natural than most full-blown open-backs. It’s not noisy in any way and not as pounding as most other closed-backs.
It has only a wired functionality, having a 6.35 mm adapter, with a 3-meter cable that’s fixed into the device. It ends in a 3.5 mm device jack and is compatible with nearly all your devices, except those with non-standard jacks.
With an impedance of 32 ohms and a frequency rating of 12Hz to 28KHz, it has two 50mm sound transducers for increased sound quality. The bass produced is strong and booming, with an ultra-low feel to the ears, and the naturals and highs in sound are well-detailed. Each beat comes off precisely and clearly on this one.
The design is very cool and compact, with a 2-Dimensional collapsible build which makes it easy to pack away. It’s made of both plastic and steel equally, with the headband having no padding and hinged strategically to create a very foldable design. The ear cups are heavily muffed with soft foam and strong protein leather, which gives this set a great noise Isolation power, along with the closed-back build.
The dimensions are 9.3 by 8.8 by 4.5 inches. It weighs 1.40 pounds. It’s device-controlled because there are no headphone controls on the ear cups.
So there you have it. Our list of the Top 10 ten Best Open Back Headphones Under 200. Each headphone explained is rounded off with pros and cons to give anyone an idea of what the headphone embodies, it’s special and not-so-special features.
Everyone has different needs and purposes in mind when going through the list. You won’t see a set without a downside or two, but those cons may be negligible to you, making it quite the perfect headphone.
Here’s a final summary of what exactly you should look out for in a headphone up there matching your most important needs:
- If you need one for studio mixing and disc jockeying, you should get a set with powerful speakers and High-fidelity technology, along with good noise isolation.
- If you’ll be wearing it for long hours on end, a lightweight option with velour padding on the ear cups is best for comfort.
- Some of them have incredible designs if you need a fashion accessory headphone.
- If you don’t want it bothering anyone around you, you should get one with a half or semi-open construction.
- Get a thickly muffed one if you’ll be using it a noisy area. This will help to isolate the noise passively.
We do hope the few points above, along with the top 10 reviews will help you pick the perfect sound mate.