Smart Shopping Starts Here - SaleSeekerMart, Where Value Meets Variety

Best Open Back Headphones headed into 2024

The best open-back headphones have been the go-to choice for music producers for several years. And as wireless headphones have increased in overall popularity, casual listeners are hearing the benefits of open-back headphones for standard music listening, particularly in the Hi-Fi world, where audiophiles are after the most natural and clear listening experience possible. There has even been a boom in wireless open-back headphones thanks to cutting-edge brands like Grado offering the open-back listening experience without wires getting in the way.


Best closed-back headphones: Audiophile tested and reviewed

Closed-back headphones offer great comfort and fit for music fanatics and casual listeners alike. These are the top models from Sony, Bose, and more.

Given the abundance of excellent choices and our deep passion for open-back headphones, we’re diving into a review of the current top contenders on the market. From brands like Grado, Sennheiser and Beyerdynamic, these choices span various budgets and utilities. Whether you seek the optimal open-back choice for mixing and mastering or aim to embrace the audio nuances and pristine representation of your vinyl collection, I’ve compiled expertise from my time in the music industry along with conducting extensive research to help you find the perfect headset, starting with the best choice overall, the Beyerdeynamic DT 990 Pro, a music ioslation powerhouse.

Best open-back headphones: Our top picks


Beyerdynamic DT 990 Pro

1. Best open-back headphones for the studio

German genius

There isn’t much to dislike about the Beyerdynamic DT990 Pro headphones. These budget-friendly oriented open-back headphones offer luxurious stereo imaging and an authentic audio representation, making them a highly favored choice among musicians, producers, and studio enthusiasts alike.


  • Wide stereo imagery
  • Fantastic value for money
  • Comfortable for long durations

  • Some may prefer better isolation

The Beyerdynamic’s pourous open-back design allows for a truly natural representation of the subject audio. Since air is allowed to pass through the driver, there is no danger of low-frequency build-up often found with closed-back headphones. The DT 990 Pros build on the free-flowing audio waves and present a truly wide stereo image with lots of space, fantastic for understanding the depth in your mix. With these headphones, even the most subtle acoustic change can be noticed, allowing you to fine-tune your tracks with extra care.


Best luxury headphones: Top picks from Bowers and Wilkins, B&O, and more

Marrying audiophile approved sound and elegant design, these six headphones are luxurious in performance and wear.

Additionally, the DT 990 Pros are a joy to wear. Their soft, adjustable ear cups are extremely comfortable and are ideal for long mixing sessions and the spring steel headband adds a level of sturdiness that the headphones require. If you’ve been on the market for a new set of studio headphones, it may come as no surprise that Beyerdynamic is at the top of our list.

Although some may prefer the isolation that closed-back headphones can provide, it’s hard to overlook the Beyerdynamic DT 990 Pro as the best studio headphones overall.


Sennheiser HD 400 Pro

2. best open-back headphones for long mixing sessions

High in quality and comfort

The Sennheiser HD 400 Pro headphones tick every box when it comes to fantastic open-back headphones; an incredibly wide soundstage, an accurate listening experience and extremely comfortable ear cups. So, if you’re looking for open-back headphones for the studio, the HD 400 Pros may just be a serious contender. 



  • Extremely comfortable ear cups
  • Incredibly wide soundstage
  • Very natural audio playback

  • Quite a competitive price point

The Sennheiser HD 400 Pro headphones are a relatively new addition to the company’s studio headphone lineup, yet, they look rather familiar. Borrowing the design from Sennheiser’s HD 500 series, these headphones deliver an understated, yet attractive look with plenty of ergonomic curves. When in use, the headphones feel pleasantly comfortable and the soft ear cups have certainly been designed with long mixing sessions in mind.

As for performance, the HD 400 Pros deliver everything we’ve come to expect from a decent set of open-backs; a spacious soundstage that feels almost airy. The frequency response is equally impressive and ranges from 6Hz to 38kHz, and although the human ear cannot hear much of the bookend frequencies, the wide range does aid in achieving a precise audio output at all volumes.


Best studio monitors for music production: 6 studio speakers for musicians, producers and artists

From Yamaha to Genelec, these are the best studio monitors whether you’re a fresh faced rookie or seasoned studio hand.

Additionally, each ear cup uses a 120 Ohm transducer, a signature Sennheiser implementation that likely helps with mitigating distortion at loud volumes. The transducers have been cleverly positioned in the ear cups to replicate the position of high-end monitors, which is an attentive implementation on Sennheiser’s part.


Grado GW100X

3. Best wireless open-back headphones

Get into the groove with Grado

Family-run headphone brand Grado is proving that open-back headphones aren’t just for music production. The GW100X wireless headphones sound superb, have a fantastic battery life and offer a comfortable and lightweight construction.


  • Fantastic battery life
  • Lightweight construction
  • So much to like about the sound

Starting to make a name for themselves in the headphone industry is the family-run Brooklyn-based company, Grado. With a history spanning around seven decades, this family outfit knows a thing or two about headphone audio. What’s perhaps most surprising is that they almost exclusively produce open-back headphones, ideal for our task at hand.

The GW100X headphones are a fine example of their prestige. An improvement from their first wireless headphone offering – the GW100 – this new iteration boasts a few well-thought-out improvements. These upgrades include Bluetooth 5.2, new drivers and an extended battery life. The new 4th Generation 44mm dynamic drivers are perhaps the most important upgrade and, when testing the GW100Xs we found that the headphones boast a wide soundstage, incredible detail that shines, and a pleasant surprise – a solid low-end response that’ll groove with you. The battery life is now capable of 46 hours of playback from a single charge, which is fantastic.

Grado GW100X review: photo 10


Although the headphones sport Grado’s signature retro style, they are quite lightweight. Costing around $350, these headphones aren’t cheap and some may find this lightweight construction a bit below par for a mid-priced set of headphones. However, their lightness does allow for comfortable listening over extended periods.


HiFiMan HE1000se

4. Best audiophile open-back headphones

For those looking for opulence

Although costing a bomb, the HIFIMAN HE1000sem headphones certainly live up to the hype. Their sophisticated diaphragm technology, ergonomic asymmetrical ear cups and lots of connectivity options will have audiophiles purring. If you can afford it, they are certainly worth consideration.


  • Ergonomic asymmetrical ear cups
  • Very sophisticated diaphragm technology
  • Lots of connectivity options

For the aficionados seeking an open-back wired audio experience like no other, the HE1000se headphones stand as the best option for audiophiles. The HE1000se showcases an innovative planar design incorporating a nanometer-thin diaphragm synergized with an acoustically elusive stealth magnet. Beyond technical complexities, this amalgamation results in an impeccable, distortion-free, and meticulously detailed, well-resonating soundstage.


Best Xbox headsets: Top wired and wireless headsets

If you’re looking for the best Xbox wireless and wired headsets out there, we’ve gathered the top options for Series X, Series S, and One.

HiFiMan’s signature asymmetrical ear cups conform ergonomically to the ear’s natural contours, ensuring a very comfortable feel. The company also sweetens the deal by including three premium cables: a 3.5mm headphone jack, a 1/4-inch jack, and an XLR balanced connector, catering to diverse connectivity preferences.

Should budgetary constraints not tether you, immersing yourself in the HiFiMan HE1000se experience is an indulgence worth embracing. These headphones epitomize a caliber and allure that live up to the hype, rendering them a fantastic addition to any connoisseur’s collection. If there is one potential detractor that may dissuade people, it is the fact that these headphones are wired. If you’d prefer to lose the wire, check out other suitable options on our list.


Philips SHP9600

5. Best budget friendly open-back headphones

Big frequency response for a lower price

$65 $129 Save $64

The Philips SHP9600 emerges as a fantastic open-back option for those looking to keep within an affordable budget. The drivers have been tuned well to best reflect modern music, they have an impressive frequency response for the price and are very comfortable.


  • Pleasingly tuned drivers
  • Very lightweight and comfortable
  • Wide frequency response

Philips, a 1891 Dutch-founded brand started its specialization in light bulbs and quickly progressed to be a more encompassing tech company. The Philips SHP9600 open-back headphones emerge as a brilliant option for those looking to dip their toes into the world of open-back headphones.

Typically costing around $65, there’s a lot to love about these affordable headphones. Firstly, the 50mm drivers are rather large and do a commendable job of delivering a well-balanced audio response across the frequency range. The bass is crisp and the mid to high frequencies are impressively articulate for headphones at this price point. Philips has gone the extra mile, carefully shaping the drivers to snugly fit the ear’s natural contours. This thoughtful design approach aims to provide accurate detail, ensuring a more comfortable and personalized experience.


JBL Xtreme 3 review: Boshing out the bass

The robust party speaker – complete with carry handle – adds dust protection to its design tweaks. It brings big bass, but can it bring big love?

Of course, at this price point, you can’t expect the world and although lightweight and pretty comfortable, the plastic does feel and look a little cheap. That being said, if you want something a bit more luxurious, there are plenty of other options on our list.


EPOS I Sennheiser Game One Gaming Headset

6. Best open-back headphones for gaming

Get an edge on your gaming

Open-back headphones are a relatively new idea when it comes to gaming headsets. However, this collaboration between EPOS and Sennheiser is proving they are a viable choice for gamers. With fantastic spatial sound, a noise-cancelling microphone and a robust construction, this is a great choice for you gamers out there.


  • Noise-Cancelling Microphone
  • Fantastic spatial sound
  • Lightweight yet robust

The EPOS | Sennheiser Game One gaming headset is leading the way for open-back gaming headphones. Sennheiser is well renowned for their headphone and audio equipment and there is plenty of that quality present in this headset.

Firstly, the sound quality is fantastic. Sennheiser has purposely designed these headphones with a neutral frequency response. This means that you will be hearing sound and audio exactly as the creators of your preferred game intended. It also means that controlling the audio settings through the game is the best way to get them tuned exactly as you’d like.

Onto the microphone, which features noise-cancelling technology. It has been designed to block out any unwanted background noise. This is a great feature, especially if your teammates are always complaining to you. The microphone really comes into its own when supplied with extra power, so if you have an audio interface or other form of preamp, it will start to shine. With that in mind, these headphones perhaps aren’t the best option if you’re a beginner.

The bottom line: What are the best open-back headphones?

For all of you music producers out there looking for a fantastic set of open-back headphones, do your mixes a favor and go for the Beyerdynamic DT990 Pro headphones. As far as open-back headphones go, these Beyerdynamics are an industry standard thanks to their affordability, wide stereo imagery and honest articulation. There’s really not much to dislike about these headphones, and we’d accept no substitutes for the studio.


Beyerdynamic DT 990 Pro

Editor’s Choice

There isn’t much to dislike about the Beyerdynamic DT990 Pro headphones. These affordably priced open-back headphones offer expansive stereo imaging and an authentic audio representation, making them a highly favored choice among musicians, producers, and studio enthusiasts alike.

For those on a budget and who would prefer to spend a bit less, check out the Philips SHP9600 headphones. They are comfortable, are tuned very pleasingly and offer a wide frequency response. These headphones are a great option if you’re just looking to dip your toes in the world of open-back headphones.

How we choose the best open-back headphones

With more than 6 years of professional experience in the music tech industry and a life-long passion, our expertise allows us to curate the finest open-back headphones available today. Our selections stem from hands-on product experiences because nothing beats firsthand knowledge. We also considered various specifications when making our selections, such as sound quality, comfort, build, price, and customizable options.

What actually are open-back headphones?

Simply put, open-back headphones are headphones which allow air to flow through the back of the ear cups through the speaker driver. This is in contrast to closed-back headphones whose ear cups are blocked and block out the passage of air through the speaker drivers. Lastly, you also get semi-closed headphones, which you’ve probably figured out is a combination between partially open and partially closed.

Closed-back vs open-back headphones: Which type is better?

If you’re on the hunt for headphones, especially studio ones, there’s a critical consideration: closed-back or open-back headphones. Both have their merits and drawbacks.

Closed-back headphones, sealed at the ear cups, excel at blocking outside noise, making them ideal for on-the-go use. They offer enhanced bass due to resonances within the enclosed cups, making them a favorite for bass-heavy music in studios.

However, open-back headphones provide a more authentic representation of your source material. Since the back of the ear cups aren’t sealed, they permit air to flow through the drivers, preventing the buildup of low frequencies found in sealed cups. They are the ideal option for critical listening and provide the most neutral representation of the music you are listening to. Yet, they struggle in noisy environments like trains or offices due to poor noise isolation.

So, determining the best choice really comes down to your desired application. For a genuine representation of your audio, open-back headphones outshine closed-back ones, although closed-back options dominate in reducing external noise.

What’s the difference between studio headphones and regular headphones?

Studio headphones have been purposely tuned to provide the most flat response curve possible, meaning they don’t add any additional volume to specific frequencies and influencing the source material. Although this may sound flat whilst listening to music on Spotify, it’s the ideal set-up whilst creating and mixing your music, since you want the truest representation of the source material possible.

Regular headphones traditionally emphasize the bass and treble frequencies. Slightly boosting these frequencies tends to make for a more enjoyable listening experience and is particularly suitable for modern music. Of course, since you want an accurate representation of your source material when in the studio, standard headphones will color your audio too much for accurate mixing.

Should you choose wired or wireless open-back headphones?

The answer to this question largely depends on your intended usage. If you’re after a set of open-back studio headphones, you’ll probably want to stick to a wired set. This is because Bluetooth and other wireless connections can suffer from latency problems. This isn’t a big deal whilst sitting on the bus listening to Erasure, but in the studio, even the slightest latency can cause serious timing issues. A wired set of headphones negates this potential fatal studio issue.

On the other hand, if you’re after a standard set of open-back headphones, the wireless choice almost seems irresistible. Wireless headphones are much more convenient, and you don’t have to worry about the cable going down on you after owning them for a year. Also, Bluetooth codecs are improving year-on-year, so going wireless means you no longer have to suffer from below-par audio quality.

Trending Products

Add to compare
Corsair 5000D Airflow Tempered Glass Mid-Tower ATX PC Case – Black

Corsair 5000D Airflow Tempered Glass Mid-Tower ATX PC Case – Black

Add to compare
CORSAIR 7000D AIRFLOW Full-Tower ATX PC Case, Black

CORSAIR 7000D AIRFLOW Full-Tower ATX PC Case, Black


We will be happy to hear your thoughts

Leave a reply

Register New Account
Compare items
  • Total (0)
Shopping cart