Best Closed-Back Headphones For 2024

Dive into an ocean of your favorite tunes with the NC headphones.
Niya Andrew • August 6, 2023 • 22 mins read

Top Pick

Spacious Soundstage

ADAM Audio SP-5

ADAM Audio SP-5
  • Clear, crisp sound
  • Very lightweight design
  • Extensive soundstage
  • Poor noise isolation
  • Very high price range

Excellent Sound

Sennheiser HD 25

Sennheiser HD 25
  • Excellent sound performance
  • Adequate noise isolation
  • Featherweight, convenient design
  • Built with durable material
  • Does not feel comfortable after a while
  • The design could be better

Comfortable Fit

Sony MDR-7506

Sony MDR-7506
  • It is not very leaky
  • Lightweight and comfortable to wear
  • Good sound performance
  • Built with poor-quality material
  • Poor noise isolation
  • Not a secure fit

Premium Price

Focal Stellia

Focal Stellia
  • Warm, bassing sound production
  • Dynamic, Punchy, Impactful Sound
  • Good features and design
  • Super comfortable to wear
  • Low Treble Causes Some Discord in Timbre
  • May feel difficulty with the clamping force

Sturdy Built

Beyerdynamic DT 1770 PRO

Beyerdynamic DT 1770 PRO
  • Sturdy built material
  • Good audio performance
  • Natural frequency response
  • Replaceable spare parts
  • Bass may not appeal to all users
  • Difficult to adjust the headband

Budget-conscious

SENNHEISER HD 280 PRO

SENNHEISER HD 280 PRO
  • Value for money
  • Balanced sound performance
  • Comfortable to wear with glasses
  • Coiled cord
  • It may cause ear fatigue
  • No active noise isolation
  • No carrying case

Noise Isolation

Focal Bathys Wireless

Focal Bathys Wireless
  • Good sound performance
  • Very comfortable to wear
  • Durable built quality
  • Good noise isolation
  • Poor passive soundstage
  • Not lightweight, a bit heavy to carry around
  • High price range

All-rounder

Audio-Technica ATH-M50x

Audio-Technica ATH-M50x
  • Foldable and sturdy design
  • Rotating ear-cups
  • Accurate bass intensity
  • Three removable cables in the box
  • Annoying proprietary cable connection
  • Bulky plastic design
  • Little sound leakage
  • Poor noise isolation
  • Not comfortable to wear with glasses

Sleek Style

Meze 99 Neo

Meze 99 Neo
  • Looks sleek and stylish
  • It comes with a protective case
  • Spacious soundstage
  • Lightweight and comfortable design
  • Too much treble
  • Too punch bass for some users

If you want great sound, minimal leakage, and active noise cancellation, closed-back headphones are the way to go. These are great for noisy environments, providing total immersion while blocking out all other sounds. 

Closed, semi-closed, and open-back headphones are the three main categories of over-ear headphones. The closed-back headphones encapsulate the entire ear with padded earcups that filter out background sounds thanks to the cushioning that creates an almost airtight seal against the side of your head. 

If you spend a lot of time on airplanes, subways, or cars or want to listen to soothing tunes while you work, closed-back headphones are an excellent investment. Closed-back headphones allow you to hear and evaluate your musical creation like a pro while blocking out most outside noise, making them the best choice for studio recording.

However, there is a large variety of cans, and it can take time to narrow your options to the best ones. We put several headphones through their paces to finally water down our preferred choices for closed-back headphones


The Best Closed-Back Headphones For 2024

ADAM Audio SP-5

ADAM Audio SP-5
Type: Over-ear, Wired
Driver Size: 40 mm
Impedance: 70 Ohm
Frequency Response: 8 Hz - 38 kHz
Sensitivity: 95 dB
Weight: 290 g

ADAM Audio SP-5 has quickly captured its market share with high-quality monitors with exceptional accuracy across the frequency spectrum. Their initial step into the headphones market is also noteworthy.

The ADAM Audio SP-5s are based on the same S-LOGIC Plus technology as Ultrasone’s premium PRO headphones; the two companies worked together on their development. It’s designed to reduce listening-related ear fatigue by redirecting sound away from the listener’s ear canal.

The resulting audio field is spacious and realistic, with powerful low frequencies. Particularly for those familiar with other products from ADAM Audio, the SP-5s’ neutral frequency response and lack of bass boost are immediately noticeable.  

My Verdict:

So, do you prefer an immersive listening experience or a professional looking for cans with precise and accurate sound? In that case, this collaboration of the two giants is undoubtedly the masterpiece in the form of ADAM Audio SP-5, a must-have!


1. Sennheiser HD 25

Sennheiser HD 25
Type: On-ear, Closed-Back
Driver Type: Dynamic
Impedance: 70 Ω
Frequency Response: 16 - 22 kHz
Cable Design: Single-Sided
Sensitivity: 120 dB
Weight: 140 g

In celebration of their 25th anniversary, Sennheiser has released the HD 25 Aluminum, an updated version of their classic HD 25 headphones that have become a standard in the DJ and professional audio communities.

The Sennheiser HD 25 is a type of closed-back headphone known as supra-aural (on-ear) headphones because the ear cups rest on the outside portion of the ear rather than entirely encircling it like the more typical ‘circumaural’ closed-back versions. Since the ear cups are small, this has the added benefit of making them extremely lightweight.

Though some users have reported the headphones to feel fatiguing after wearing them for a while, we found them comfortable and lightweight even after sitting through the entire series of The Witcher. According to our results, the Sennheiser HD 25 delivers exceptional clarity and separation, with a passable stereo image and full coverage from 16Hz to 22kHz. 

My Verdict:

If you’re a professional DJ or mixer, then the Sennheiser HD 25 is the right choice to do the job. Swiveling ear cups and detachable headbands make HD 25 the ideal professional headphones. They are built to last long and feel super light while you mix and edit sounds to create an absolute banger.


2. Sony MDR-7506

Sony MDR-7506
Type: Dynamic, closed-back
Driver Type: Neodymium
Driver Size: 40 mm
Impedance: 63 Ohms
Frequency Response: 10-20kHz
Sensitivity: 106 dB
Weight: 230 g

Sony’s MDR-series headphones have been available since the 1990s, giving them a long history of reliable studio use. These headphones are widely used in the recording and broadcasting industries worldwide. The Sony MDR-7506s are the latest model in the line, and they excel in every category: sound quality, comfort, functionality, and price. 

These closed-back headphones are meant to highlight the flaws in an audio recording without distracting from the good parts, making them ideal for long listening sessions. The sound is powerful and precise across the spectrum (with a little boost in the upper mids) without being excessively flattering, on par with cans costing twice as much. 

My Verdict:

We wouldn’t recommend these legendary headphones for mixing. But these Sony MDR-7506s are fantastic for use in the studio or on location for tracking and other recording forms, and their low price is the icing on the cake. Thousands of sound mixers, DJs, and field recordists can’t all be wrong.


3. Focal Stellia

Focal Stellia
Driver Type: Dynamic
Driver Size: 40 mm
Impedance: 32 Ohms
Frequency Response: 5 Hz to 40 kHz
Sensitivity: 106 dB
Cable Design: Y-Type, Detachable
Weight: 435 g

Brown leather gives these best closed-back audiophile headphones an elegant and sophisticated appearance.

The heavyweight gives off an air of sophistication and value, which justifies the expensive cost of the headphones.

The rubber-coated cables are expertly made, providing a premium experience and sleek appearance. Although thin and rigid, the material is of the highest grade, which bodes well for its durability.

Comfortable and stylish, the Focal Stellia flaunts a ‘cognac and mocha’ color scheme, a brushed metal frame, a leather headband, and plush, padded ear cushions making them a breeze to wear all day or for longer sessions.

If you know everything about your song, you should listen to it on these headphones once. We tried Symphony No. 1 in D Minor (The Gothic) and Small Hours to test the headphones’ details and soundstage; needless to say, we were beyond surprised. The set picked up every single instrument separately through the headphones. 

My Verdict:

Focal Stellia is not the ideal choice for everyone because of its premium price tag. But does it justify the price? As far as we have tested the headphones, we enjoyed everything, from the design to its performance. However, we won’t say that they are unmatched. Beyerdynamic DT 1770 PRO, mentioned next, is just as much of a steal with its fun features and sleek design.


4. Beyerdynamic DT 1770 PRO

Beyerdynamic DT 1770 PRO
Type: Wired, Closed back
Driver Size: 45mm
Impedance: 250 ohms
Frequency Response: 5Hz-40kHz
Cable Design: Straight, Coiled
Weight: 386 g

We found Beyerdynamic DT 1770 PRO an excellent alternative to the Focal Stellia recommendation due to its low price and high value, especially if you prioritize a balanced soundstage when listening to headphones. Their flat mid-range makes the vocals and instruments heard with great clarity as we tested with Helplessly Hoping by Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. Despite being light on low bass, they deliver sufficient punch and boom, thanks to the remaining bass spectrum being entirely neutral. Their muted treble response exacerbates the need for more clarity in vocalists and instruments. Additionally, their soundstage is boxy and artificial.

These high-end headphones have a sturdy carrying case that will keep them safe when not in use, and they sound great to boot. They have a detachable audio cable, unlike the Beyerdynamic DT 770 PRO, so you can swap it out if it gets broken. Their soft ear cup padding makes them an excellent option for extended listening periods. They also don’t leak much sound at high volumes and can passively block out much background noise.

My Verdict:

We recommend the Beyerdynamic DT 1770 PRO if you’re all in for a soothing music marathon. They have a well-balanced sound reproduction, making you fall in love with your favorite song all over again. However, we won’t recommend them for travel, workouts, or gaming.


5. SENNHEISER HD 280 PRO

SENNHEISER HD 280 PRO
Type: Over-Ear, Closed-Back
Driver Type: Dynamic
Impedance: 64 Ohms
Frequency Response: 8 Hz to 25 kHz
Cable Design: Single-Sided, Coiled
Weight: 285 g

Sennheiser created the HD 280 Pro with the professional audio industry’s budget in mind. The headsets are plastic, but they are among the most durable on the market because of their sturdy construction and modular design.

The SENNHEISER HD 280 PROs’ robust padding makes for comfortable short-term listening. You can even comfortably wear glasses while using them.

The HD 280 headphones may be giant, but they are nonetheless easily transportable. Thanks to the movable sides and ear cups, they may be shrunk to almost nothing. Unfortunately, they are not protected by a case, so you should be careful with them on public transportation.

The neutral sound of the Sennheiser HD 280 Pros makes them an excellent choice for monitoring and mixing. However, low frequencies are underrepresented because they are not emphasized enough.

My Verdict:

Wearing SENNHEISER HD 280 PRO in public or loud places may not be ideal as the pair doesn’t offer active noise isolation. However, it encapsulates your ears inside its earcups, blocking much ambient noise from seeping into the headphones. Moreover, if you use them too long, you risk ear fatigue. So we’d recommend them for remote employees and traveling, given that you take breaks occasionally for a more relaxing experience. 


6. Focal Bathys Wireless

Focal Bathys Wireless
Type: Over-Ear, Closed-Back
Driver Size: 40 mm
Connectivity: Bluetooth 5.1
Supported Audio Codecs: AAC, aptX, aptX Adaptive, SB
Frequency Response: 15 Hz to 22 kHz
Weight: 350 g

Look at Focal Bathys Wireless if you’re searching for a wireless option. With convenient features like noise canceling (ANC), multi-device pairing, and a built-in mic, these high-end over-ears provide the audiophile experience on the road. Compared to the more balanced sound of the Beyerdynamic DT 1770 PRO, their bass-rich sound profile also provides pleasing thud, rumble, and boom right out of the box. However, the vocals and instruments are buried and muted in the background. The graphic equalizer and presets in the app’s companion let you dial in the perfect sound.

These noise-canceling headphones are portable and comfy, with a sturdy case to keep them safe. They are excellent at silencing outside sounds like bus engines and idle conversation. With the ANC turned on, they have a continuous use time of more than 29 hours so that you may wear them comfortably throughout the day. However, the lack of active sound design in Focal Bathys Wireless makes their soundstage feel flat and lifeless.

My Verdict:

Based on our assessment, we’d say that the Focal Bathys Wireless headphones are fabulous for travel and commuting despite their bulkiness. They are designed for extended listening sessions and provide a comfortable fit, making them perfect for home and office use. They feature an ANC system that effectively blocks low rumbling noise from bus or airplane engines. Moreover, their battery life is reliably long-lasting, perfect for extended periods of use while on the go.


7. Audio-Technica ATH-M50x

Audio-Technica ATH-M50x
Type: Closed-back dynamic
Driver Size: 45mm
Driver Type: Dynamic
Impedance: 38 Ohms
Frequency Response: 15 Hz to 28 kHz
Sensitivity: 99 dB
Cable Design: Single-Sided, Detachable
Weight: 284 g

Of course, when we talk about the best closed-back headphones, Audio-Technica ATH-M50x can not skip our list. It’s a perfect all-rounder headphone that offers comfort, stable and balanced sound, and portability. 

Audio-Technica is well-known for producing headphones of superior sound quality that are also comfortable for extended listening sessions. The Audio-Technica ATH-M50X are state-of-the-art studio headphones that accurately recreate music as the composer, performer, or engineer originally envisioned. The bass may seem slightly reduced when switching from consumer to studio headphones, but this is on purpose and not a flaw.

The Audio-Technica ATH-M50X are foldable headphones with swiveling ear cups and a detachable wire. Although we sweated a little bit, it is to be anticipated with such massive over-ear headphones. If you’re looking for high-quality headphones without breaking the bank, check out the Audio-Technica ATH-M50X. 

My Verdict:

The Audio-Technica ATH-M50x is the best option for wireless headphones with a cable connection and Bluetooth capability. The headset supports Bluetooth and a traditional cable connection for nonstop play. You may need to go elsewhere than the Audio-Technica ATH-M50x, though, if active noise cancellation (ANC) is also high on your list of must-haves.


8. Meze 99 Neo

Meze 99 Neo
Type: Open-back, over-ear
Driver Size: 40mm
Impedance: 26 Ohms
Frequency Response: 15Hz - 25KHz
Sensitivity: 120 Ohms
Weight: 260 g

The Meze 99 Neo, from a distance, is merely like a black variant of the traditional model.  When compared side by side, except for the materials used, they look identical up close. But, unlike the Classic version, the earcups on the Meze 99 Neo headphones are made of black composite plastic with a textured finish. Everything about the construction and finishing is top-notch. 

The soft earpads, the lightweight, and the well-designed headband make these headphones among the most comfortable closed-back headphones we’ve discussed so far. 

With their closed-back construction, these headphones let in very little ambient noise, and while they aren’t the best at blocking out noise, they work adequately in quiet environments like a library or an office. The sound quality of the Meze 99 Neo is almost similar to the Classics, except it gives more bass, while the Classics have a more refined and balanced sound performance. 

My Verdict:

This is a watered-down version of the classic Meze dish, Meze Classic. You save money while enjoying many advantages of the original model’s design. Many would be pleased with headphones with a similar sound to the Classics but a bit more bass.


Other Recommendations

Audio-Technica ATH-AD900X

If you favor a high level of comfort, roomy sound, and a reasonable price range above all for your closed-back headphones, then this is it!

Austrian Audio Hi-X65

The open-backed Hi-X65 from Austrian Audio is advertised as a professional mix-monitoring pair of headphones, a prominent choice amongst the best closed-back audiophile headphones.

KEF M500

The M500 headphones have a great sound, are lightweight and comfy, and fold up for easy storage. Perfect for daily use. 

V-Moda XS

The headphones are sturdy and durable, with customizable options to adjust to your head. If you’re a fan of V-moda’s sound performance, you’ll love this pair, too.

Sony MDR-1AM2

These headphones have a design that makes them lightweight and comfortable enough to use all day. However, some users found the sound a little too bassy for them.

OPPO PM-3

A great pair of planar magnetic cans to experience the planar sound and other technical features at an affordable price. 

Frequently Asked Questions About Closed-Back Headphones:

Which type of headphones is superior, open-back vs closed-back?

For gaming, however, most people favor open-back headphones for their greater comfort and more authentic sound. 

What are semi-open-back headphones?

Semi-open-back headphones offer the best of both worlds of closed and open-back headphones. They’re sturdier while still allowing the driver some mobility, and they feature openings that allow air to circulate and dampen low-frequency rumbles. Remember that even semi-open-back headphones let some sound escape, so they’re not ideal for quiet environments. 

What Sets Studio Headphones Apart from Regular Headphones?

The sound quality is the primary distinguishing feature between studio headphones and other types of headphones. Studio headphones are specially made for studio use, and their flat frequency response and high fidelity are crucial for mixing and mastering. While regular headphones are fantastic for listening enjoyment, their excessive bass or treble response makes them unfit for critical listening.

Open-back vs closed-back headphones, what is the difference?

In contrast to open-back headphones, closed-back headphones enclose the driver entirely within the ear cups. This results in better noise isolation, more bass, less sound leakage, distorted sounds, and a more compact soundstage.

Do closed-back headphones leak sound?

No, the closed-back headphones have a hard plastic shell over their earcups that prevents the sound from passing through or out of the earcups. 

Do the closed-back headphones offer more bass? 

The bass from closed-back headphones is typically more powerful and resonant. When you put on headphones, the music is contained within the ear cups, which can reverberate off the material and into your ear canal.

Grab your pair of closed-back headphones right away!

We hope you found a pair of closed-back headphones that check out all your priorities and expectations. But if you’re still confused or fiddling between two or more choices, here are a few points to ponder. 

Before choosing the best closed-back audiophile headphones, you must identify your need, where you will use these headphones, and why. 

Secondly, if you’re planning to wear them for longer hours, like at the gym or studio, comfort should be on the top list, and the ear padding should be encapsulated with breathable fabric. But if you only use it for meetings or household chores requiring you to wear your earcups for a short while, you may push comfort down to your second priority. 

Lastly, realize your spending limit for your new cans. If you have a limited budget, go for pairs like Sony MDR-7506. But if you want to move from your previous headphones to a more premium one, go for Focal Stellia and make every penny worth it. However, if you’re still looking for more precise sound headphones for your studio, you may want to expand your search to open-back headphones. 

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