Open Back Vs Closed Back Headphones – Which Is The Right One?

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Open back vs closed back headphones comparison outcome is here. Each item has its strengths and weaknesses. Keep scrolling down for more information! 

Open Back Vs Closed Back Headphones - Which Is The Right One?

Which One You Should Buy

“Open back vs closed back headphones: What is the difference?” is one of our favorite topics that we spent the most time on. Understanding the audio review will not be easy as a piece of cake, especially when you are not familiar with the parameters indicated on each headphone.

As an audio lover, we were in your situation before, and we sympathized with your confusion when choosing the suitable headphones.  There are many types of headphones on the market, but open-back and closed-back headphones are two models that people love the most. 

In addition, when doing the research, we have seen many headphone lovers are getting interested in “what are semi-open back headphones”. This is a hybrid model with a new design type. However, we have not tested its music quality in a quiet or noisy environment. Therefore, the review of this ear headphone model will be in our next published article. 

Back to our topic today, the comparison between open-back and closed-back headphones is below; let’s dive in. 

What Are Open-Back Headphones ?

What Are Open-Back Headphones ?

A “sexy” Open-Back Headphone

In 1968, Sennheiser’s HD 414 headphones generated a tremendous wave hitting the consumer market. It has another name which is “game changer”, people always mention its alias name more than the original ones. So why did it have a name like that?

In the past, the hi-fi headphones were heavy and bulky, which was not fashionable and comfortable to wear. And when the compact Sennheiser’s HD 414 was released, people coveted this model as it was the first on-ear and open-air headphones in the world. It has forecasted and shaped the future of headphones for listening to music until now. 

Since then, other brands have developed and equipped more details to the open-back headphone, bringing them to the new generation of utmost comfort, portability and performance.  


Open-back design allows the air to go through the ear cups, which means you should expect that it will not work well in noise cancelation. However, these headphones will not generate any pressure; hence your sound will have no impact. And the rhythm will be natural, clear, and suitable for casual listening. 


As we have mentioned above, you will experience the noise outside because of the open-back design. Also, the leaking sound will not hesitate to bother you, and people surrounding you will get what you are hearing. So we would not recommend you to use this model in a public area.

Now you might ask, what is the strength of the open-back model? And our answer is “experience.” It is not an excess judgment. With these headsets you will feel like the musicians and singers execute the live music in front of you. 


  • Real music experience 
  • No pressure
  • Weightless
  • More breathable 
  • Open sound
  • Impressive listening environment
  • Good audio quality


  • Sound leaking 
  • Noise cancelation 
  • Not an ideal for noise-canceling headphones

See more:

Bose QuietComfort 35 II Review: The Best Noise-Canceling Headphones?

The Best wireless Open Back Headphones On The Market Of

The 10 Best Open Back Headphones For Gaming  : Review & Buying Guide

What Are Closed Back Headphones? 

What Are Closed Back Headphones?

An Attractive Closed-Back Design Headphone

Back in 1937, military and radio operators used to utilize closed design headphones. Beyerdynamic saw the demand from others and leveraged its opportunities to produce mass headphones, but they do not play audio in stereo. Then 20 years later, the first world closed-back headphones created a storm in the market. 

After multiple developments, the closed-back headphones have worn new appearances with high-end equipped technology, offering different listening modes. They are now less heavy, more realistic, and affordable.


Closed-back headphones represent its model like its name. The frame of the appliance will prevent any sound from leaking. In other words, the back of the earcups blocks the airflow when listening. Therefore, the sound will stay in each headphone, and people will not know what you are listening to even when staying next to you.


We believe that if you have more than one headphone, chances are one of those will be the closed-back model.

So what is the strength of the closed-back model? Does it have a noise isolation function? And our answer is yes. For this model, you will not experience any noise surrounding you, and it can eliminate noise up to 30dB. Therefore, you could improve the audio quality of your favorite music. 

You may think 30dB is not an impressive performance, but it does an excellent job as you can definitely enjoy your music in noisy environments. 

The second attribute of this model comes from the sound leaking function. Thanks to its frame, no sound can go out of the headphone even with music at the maximum level. Hence, you will not disturb other people sitting next to you.

With the above-mentioned functions, you will have the experience of listening to the music in the studio. Also, the chipset integrated in the headphones enhances the bass and gets the lows louder. 

Changing the sound frequency is now not impossible with closed-back headphones. The sound you receive through the device will tend to be tight and punchy. 

And another bonus point of this model is portability, you can easily fold it without worrying about breaking it. 


  • Noise isolation
  • Great choice for loud environment
  • Minimized sound leaking
  • Portability
  • Music indulgence enhancement 
  • Bass response
  • Private listening experience
  • Ambient sound mode
  • Frequency adjustable


  • Less breathable
  • Bass heavy

The Difference Between Open-Back And Closed-Back Design

In this section, we will give you a comprehensive comparison between these two items. Scroll down for more!

Sound Quality

The design of open-back headphones is breathable, making it closer to the natural hi-fi system. The sound from the headphone will be warm and low tone. 

On the other hand, the closed-back headphones will tend to be sound isolation which is good especially when you are in a quiet environment, but it is not breathable and the sound generated from it will be punchy and not warm.  Therefore, it will not be as good as the open back design does when using music streaming services. 

For this open back vs closed back headphones encounter, one point is undoubtedly for open-back ones.


If you are a frequent or business traveler, portability will be one of your main concerns. The closed-back headphone goes with various components to block the sound from leaking and supporting sound dampening. Therefore, it will be significantly heavier than its opponent. 

Noise Canceling Headphone

In this round, closed-back headphones are the winner. 

Lack of noise cancelation will be awkward and pitiful as you may have disturbed by the noise surrounding you. We wish that the open-back model has had this function or we may see it in the future. If it does have passive isolation for external sound, it will be a game changer.


Imagine wearing headphones over two hours consecutively, and your ears will give you a lot of sweat, especially with the closed-back model. On the other hand, the open-back technically allows the air to go through the headphone, which means it benefits from heat dissipation. And you will not experience built-up heat as the closed-back model does. 

Another unbeatable point is for the open-back headphones. 

Closed-Back And Open Back Headphones? Which Design Suits Your Need?

Closed-Back And Open Back Headphones?

An Unbeaten Battle Between Two Rivalry 

Depending on the purpose of use, there will be various strengths from each type of headphone that will benefit your experience. Below is the list of recommendations that you may want to consider.

Studio Use 

A Helpful Open-Back Headphone

A Helpful Open-Back Headphone

It is no doubt that a pair of headphones will make your work outstanding and enhance your productivity. When you record quiet instruments and vocals, open-back design is your best option for the studio headphones

This model generally generates the flattest response as well as preventing click bleed. And these functions will save you a lot of time from editing or removing the external sounds. 

At Home

There is no better place than your home. There will be no one who can disturb you, or you can hardly give any disturbance to anyone by using open-back headphones. You can immerse yourself in the enjoyment that headphones offer. Moreover, you will not experience any heat for a long time. How convenient it is!  

In The Office 

A High-End Closed-Back Headphone

A High-End Closed-Back Headphone

If you have a private office that accommodates only you, the open-back headphone is your suitable option. However, if you are not lucky enough to have a room for yourself, we would recommend you to take the closed-back model, as it will not generate any sound leaking, so you will not disturb your colleagues staying next to you. 

Moreover, the closed-back model can eliminate noise surrounding you effectively, which will be an ideal tool to evoke your project creation. 


A Well-Design Open-Back Headphone

A Well-Design Open-Back Headphone

Are you a gamer, or do you want to enjoy music streaming services when cooking or running? If yes, we believe that comfort is the point you want to have a look at. 

Wearing heavy headphones will result in fatigue and discomfort. Also, your ear will be covered by the earpad without heat dissipation. In this case, open-back headphones are the way to go for you as it is compact and breathable.  


This open back vs closed back headphones debate will come to an end. The winner overall will be the open-back model because of its comfort and compact design. Also, it will bring you a pure and natural sound that closed-back can not offer. 

However, it does not mean that a pair of closed-back headphones is not good enough to satisfy the listeners. If you seek to fulfill the music enjoyment without disturbing others, the closed-back version will be your best choice. 


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