Closed Back vs Open Back Headphones

Closed Back vs Open Back Headphones

AONIC 40 Wireless Noise Cancelling Headphones

AONIC 40 Wireless Noise Cancelling Headphones


Whenever most consumers think of headphones, the closed back ones would naturally come to mind for the simple reason that closed back headphones are often the ones readily available in both online and retail shops.

In fact, open back headphones are not the most head of or talked about by the everyday consumer. Their emphasis would tend to be geared more towards wired vs wireless headphones or if it is a pair of noise cancelling headphones. These are the factors they would usually consider when making a purchase.

Audiophiles, would however, beg to differ on this. They do also take into account if it is a pair of closed or open back headphones.

 

What are Open Back Headphones?

SRH1840 Professional Open-Back Studio Headphones
SRH1840 Professional Open-Back Studio Headphones 

Open back headphones, like the name suggest, have an open back that enables air to pass through their ear cups from the rear of the speaker driver. Through this, the resonances and low-frequency build-up (which is created from the rear being enclosed), would not be a concern. This is also the reason why open back headphones tend to be priced at a steeper level as they are more natural and clear sounding.

However, open back headphones do not function like noise cancelling headphones or sound isolating earphones where they have the capability of blocking the exterior noises around you. On the contrary, open back headphones can possibly leak sound out due to the way they are designed. This makes them more suitable for home usage or as a pair of professional headphones in the studio for mixing and mastering. 

 

What are Closed Back Headphones?

SRH840A Professional Studio Headphones
SRH840A Professional Studio Headphones

Closed back headphones are typically the ones you would see being sold in most online and retail shops. They are completely enclosed around the back so that the sound will be kept surrounded around your ears alone. The drawback to this sound isolation is that the sound might not be as natural-sounding compared to that of open back headphones.

Perhaps another drawback to closed back headphones is that it could possibly cause some discomfort or warmth if they are being worn over an extended period of time. Nonetheless, when it comes to commuting, closed back headphones are generally ideal over open back headphones.

 

Are Closed or Open Back Headphones For You?

So after giving a rundown of both closed and open back headphones, you can understand why audiophiles do not just based their decision purely between wired headphones or wireless headphones. They would first look at the purpose of their purchase and the setting they will be using them in mostly.

For the everyday consumer, it is natural to favour closed back headphones as most would use them during their daily commute. At the same time, they are built in a way so that the sound remains isolated around your own ears and will not disturb others around you.

If sound quality is paramount to you and you are using it primarily in an isolated setting such as your own home, then open back headphones is the way to go. Whether you are using it for gaming, listening to music or even producing music, this is the ideal choice for an accurate listening experience. Do take a look at Shure's Headphones Collection, where you can find a wide range of closed and open back headphones that cater to varying needs.