Best Open-Back Headphones in 2024

Step up your bass and audio experience with the best open-back headphones.

Niya Andrew • August 28, 2023

Top Pick

Best Performer

Hifiman Arya SE

Hifiman Arya SE
  • Super comfortable to wear.
  • Good sound imaging.
  • Excellent Bass.
  • Excellent pitch and tone.
  • Weak Bass Dynamics
  • It needs at least 1W of amping
  • The construction is not great

Use Indoors

GRADO SR80X

GRADO SR80X
  • Lightweight and comfortable to wear
  • Repairable spare parts
  • Good overall audio and sound
  • Looks sleek and stylish
  • Leaks Sound
  • Poor noise isolation
  • Treble frequency is not for everyone

Critical Mixing

SAMSON SR850

SAMSON SR850
  • Spacious soundstage
  • Light and secure fit
  • Sturdy built quality
  • Very airy passive soundstage
  • Consistent frequency response
  • Poor noise isolation
  • No protective case is included

Magnetic Planar

HIFIMAN HE400SE

HIFIMAN HE400SE
  • Comfortable to wear
  • Consistent audio performance
  • Spacious passive soundstage
  • Good imaging and resolution
  • Strong built for the given price
  • Weak and muffled vocals
  • Needs good amp for best performance
  • Poor cable ergonomics

Amazing Sound

Sennheiser HD 6XX

Sennheiser HD 6XX
  • Good sound quality
  • Plush earcup padding
  • Affordable price range
  • Spacious soundstage
  • Consistent audio delivery
  • Leaks sound at high volume
  • Poor noise isolation
  • No built-in mic
  • No sound customizing features

Luxury Price

Final D8000

Final D8000
  • Extended, detailed, and powerful bass
  • Engaging vocals are soft and pleasant
  • Unique, custom built design
  • Comfortable to wear all day
  • Great case and cables
  • Proprietary cable connectors
  • Treble could be more defined
  • Fragile earpads, wore and torn easily

Incredibly Detailed

Meze 109 Pro

Meze 109 Pro
  • User-friendly features
  • Very comfortable design
  • Spacious passive soundstage
  • Refined signature sound
  • Average quality cables
  • Caliper force is a little high

Simplistic Design

Philips SHP9500

Philips SHP9500
  • Consistent audio delivery
  • Spacious passive soundstage
  • Very comfortable to wear
  • Leaks sound at high volumes
  • Feels heavy to carry around
  • Poor noise isolation
  • Does not provide a stable fit

Medium Sized

Linsoul RAPTGO Hook-X

Linsoul RAPTGO Hook-X
  • Well-composed bass
  • Natural, controlled, and detailed sound
  • Built from high-quality material
  • Comfortable to wear everyday
  • Good passive noise isolation
  • No built-in mic
  • Due to the swells, the treble is tiring

Super Comfortable

Grado GW100x

Grado GW100x
  • Clear and fun sound performance
  • Impressive battery life
  • Very comfortable
  • Good audio for phone calls
  • Noise isolation could be better
  • Shaky wireless performance

Neutral Tones

Moondrop Venus

Moondrop Venus
  • Sturdy build and design
  • Layered bass
  • Spacious soundstage
  • Feels a bit bulky
  • Requires power to perform

Open headphones, also known as open-back headphones, are a prevalent variety of premium headphones. Typically, their sound has a natural quality that conveys a sense of openness and airiness. Compared to closed-back headphones of a similar price, they offer superior separation and detail.

They are unquestionably outstanding headphones for listening to modern or classical music. We spent months testing nearly every other pair of open-back headphones we could find to finally create the all-in-one list of recommended open-back headphones for 2023. We’ve included headphones that are suitable for nearly every scenario on the list so that every reader can discover precisely what they need.


The Best Open-Back Headphone for 2024

Hifiman Arya SE

Hifiman Arya SE
Type: Circum-aural
Frequency Response: 8Hz - 65kHz
Impedance: 32 ohms
Sensitivity: 94dB
Connections: 3.5mm input jack
Weight: 404g (14.3oz)

Like a ruler, the bass in Hifiman Arya SE is brisk, powerful, and dead flat. The midrange is flat, with a tiny boost in the high mids to emphasize the singing. Without any roughness or splashiness, the treble extends well.

Excellent staging, with plenty of room to immerse oneself in the performance. The instruments in the mix are isolated with pinpoint accuracy because of the excellent imaging.

The Arya SE is straightforward to find replacement components on Hifiman’s website and quite pleasant to wear.
The driver-friendly requirements are another convenient aspect. The Arya SE’s resistance of 32 ohms and sensitivity of 94 dB/mW place them in an ideal range for most portable DAC-Amps.

These headphones excel in many musical contexts and are used for various purposes. If you’re looking for a single flagship-level pair of headphones that won’t break the bank, the Arya SE is a strong option.


1. GRADO SR80X

GRADO SR80X
Type: On-Ear
Transducer Type: Dynamic
Frequency Response: 20 - 20khz
Impedance: 38 ohms
Sensitivity: 99.8dB
Connections: 3.5mm (with 6.35mm adapter)
Weight: 240 g

The most incredible open-back headphones had to include GRADO. The Grado SR80x is a classic model introducing many iconic pieces that satisfy audiophilia expectations. The SR80x can accomplish many beautiful things and excels at one—good monetary worth. The SR80x’s price tag of considerably under $200 makes it the best in its class.

It is one of the longest-running headphone lines in the world of an updated debut. There are no significant changes, just gentle tweaks that help maintain Grado’s iconic reputation in the industry.

They offer the familiar Grado house sound of an engaging, detailed midrange and crisp and clear treble. If you are coming from a fairly standard level of headphones before this, you will notice an instant jump-up in audio fidelity.

As for what genres work best for the SR80x, we recommend using Rock, Folk, and acoustic to get the most out of them. The original Grado SR80 headphones got me into high-end audio, and I still own the same pair today; even though I have progressed to owning their more luxurious RS1e, the ’80s will always have a place in my heart.


2. SAMSON SR850

SAMSON SR850
Type: Semi-Open-Back, Over-Ear (Circumaural)
Driver Type: Dynamic, 50mm drivers
Frequency Response: 10Hz–30kHz
Impedance: 32 ohms
Sensitivity: 98 dB
Connections: 3.5 mm TRS Straight
Weight: 276g

You don’t necessarily have to stretch your budget to get the headphones that match your preferences.
Premium headphones may offer many additional features that may or may not be helpful to you.

Samson SR850 is a steal of a deal for quality and affordability simultaneously. Compared to the far more costly headphones on this list, like the GRADO SR80X, you can easily listen to music or play games using the SAMSON SR850’s crisp, detailed sound. Even though the headphones are less than 1/4th the price of the expensive alternative, they still offer a spacious soundstage in the entry-level audiophile market, which may give you just what you’re looking for.

However, the materials may appear less high quality than those of the GRADO or Arya SE, but that is not too surprising, given the price. If you can get past how it looks, you’ll find that the SR850s offer equivalent comfort levels.


3. HIFIMAN HE400SE

HIFIMAN HE400SE
Type: Open-backed, over-ear
Driver Type: 1 X Planar magnetic driver
Frequency Response: 20Hz-20kHz
Impedance: 25 ohms
Sensitivity: 91dB
Weight: 390g
Connections: 3.5mm jack

To have HIFIMAN introduce a budget-friendly headset with consistent quality and performance is like a dream. When you use HE400SE, you’ll see that HIFIMAN made no compromises while making these affordable versions. From build to sound production, guessing the set costs around $100 is impossible.

We were surprised (in a good way) to find the fine-tuned transparency and neutrality in the sound production. The lows were powerful while remaining under tight control, and the treble or highs never compromised the midrange.

They are exceptionally well crafted and comfortable to wear, as you won’t feel your ears numb or sweaty when you take them off after a long time. Our ears were kept comfortably cool by the hybrid earpads’ velour covering and the airflow from the open back grills, and we sat through with these can on throughout the longest seasons on NETFLIX. Finally, we appreciate how flexible the HE400SE regards source compatibility; it can be easily driven from various source components while remaining remarkably power-efficient.


4. Sennheiser HD 6XX

Sennheiser HD 6XX
Type: Circumaural, Over-Ear
Driver Type: Dynamic
Frequency Response: 10Hz - 41kHz
Impedance: 300 ohms
Sensitivity: 103dB/mW
Weight: 260g
Connections: 3.5mm jack

The Sennheiser HD 6XX is almost always more expensive than the official version from Sennheiser, but it occasionally goes on sale for roughly that price. Thus, it might be considered part of the sub-$ 200 groups. In terms of audio quality, they are very similar but different. Many audiophiles vouch for the HD 6XX (and HD 650) as the apex of a high-end tube amplifier, although this varies greatly depending on the upstream equipment employed. These headphones require an amplifier to function correctly, yet even budget-friendly amplifiers bring impressive results.

The capacity to recover minute musical details and nuances are their greatest strength. They have a relaxed treble presentation and a generally warm and pleasant tone balance, which makes them more enjoyable. In addition, the headphones’ presentation of sound will appeal to people who seek a more realistic “timbre” in their musical selections.

However, their soundstage is too small and “blobby,” with space in the front left and proper channels.


5. Final D8000

Final D8000
Type: Over-ear, Open-back
Driver Type: 50mm driver
Impedance: 60 ohms
Sensitivity: 98dB
Weight: 523g
Connections: 3.5mm mini plug

It’s uncommon to find open-back headphones like the Final D8000 perfectly balanced bass quality and quantity. Bass is a genre that must be experienced to be appreciated. Even a slight bass boost turns some people off. Then there are the “bass heads,” who aren’t happy unless they can feel the lows thumping in their chest.

Since the type of driver used, the shape of the housing, the presence of passive radiators, etc., can all impact how the bass is perceived, tuning the bass becomes more of an art form.

With an excellent mid-bass punch and a deep, rumbling sub-bass that can descend into the lowest octaves, bass notes are treated as equals in these. The rush you get from the satisfying thud is hard to resist. These keep the beat and tempo fast enough to keep up with intricate bass lines.

However, you may feel wary or fatigued wearing the earcups if you clamp them a bit too tight, though the foam-based earcups are covered in breathable fabric, so you’re less likely to feel sweaty or warm on your ears. The upper-mid recession obscures some midrange nuances, and the treble is likewise not uniformly distributed.

But in the end, what matters is the subtle tweaks and new finish that make the set well more than reasonable for a die-hard headphone enthusiast who can spare a few extra bucks on their new cans. Its built finish, quality, and design undeniably stand out from its competitors.


6. Meze 109 Pro

Meze 109 Pro
Type: Over-ear
Driver Type: 50mm driver
Frequency Response: 5Hz – 30KHz
Impedance: 40 ohms
Sensitivity: 112dB
Weight: 375g
Connections: 3.5mm single-ended jack

Don’t be surprised by our Meze 109 Pro recommendation; trust us when we tell you it’s worth reading. The headset sets aside all the typical impressions of its ancestors. The Meze 109 Pro is a legitimate all-rounder worth considering; the set is not as technically impressive for instrument separation and control as some of the planar magnetic headphones on this list, nor as punchy and impactful as the Focal Clear or Elex.

The tone has a refined ‘fun’ character, and the frequency response isn’t too far off from that of the Ananda or the Edition XS. Again, it’s a ‘u-shaped’ presentation with more body and punches in the bass end, sparkle, and air in the upper treble above 10khz. The soundstage presentation is solid, coming off as open and large, with competitive clarity for tonal tails. The Meze 109 Pro is one of the most comfortable headphones on the market, and it also has excellent build quality, which is parring for the course with Meze headphones.

Therefore, the package provides accurate, warm, pleasant, and bassy music production for audiophiles. These open-back headphones have 50mm dynamic drivers, capable of producing high-frequency and detailed sound, ideal for audiophiles and music enthusiasts.


7. Philips SHP9500

Philips SHP9500
Type: Over-ear
Driver Type: 50mm neodymium
Frequency Response: 12 – 35kHz
Impedance: 32 Ohms
Sensitivity: 101dB
Weight: 295g
Connections: 3.5 mm jack

The SHP9500S is alluring to audiophiles and critical listeners with a limited spending budget. The headphone design favors indoor usage and offers versatility for various activities, such as listening to music, streaming podcasts, or live gaming sessions on your PS5 or Xbox ONE.

The first thing you’ll notice as you pick up these excellent cans is the high-quality construction, which was a surprise for us, given the price range. The only questionable element in terms of build quality is the earpad cushioning.

As you put them on, you can feel the extra layer of plush padding in the headband, making it exceptionally pleasant to wear around the ears as you move around the house. Thanks to the self-adjusting wing system during extended gaming sessions, your head won’t get too hot.

The overall tone focuses primarily on the midrange. The vocals are slightly up front but separate from the other instruments on stage. No sibilance is present in the midrange reproduction.


8. Linsoul RAPTGO Hook-X

Linsoul RAPTGO Hook-X
Type: In-ear
Driver Type: 14.2mm Planar driver
Frequency Response: 20Hz- 40KHz
Impedance: 15 ohms
Sensitivity: 105dB
Weight: 297g

Minami is known to support the product development of electroacoustic parts and equipment. All prior Raptgo monitors, including the GR-40CP, use Knowles balanced armatures. But, the Hook-X is the company’s first in-ear monitor to employ a hybrid arrangement of planar and piezoelectric drivers.

Upon receiving our Linsoul RAPTGO Hook-X, we realized we got way more than we ordered. The 14.2mm planar driver, with its wide frequency range and powerful sub-bass tuning, made us try this set.
But RAPTGO HOOK-X doesn’t limit itself to the planar drivers. Instead, it employs a piezoelectric driver to handle the higher frequencies, giving it an edge over competitors like the Hifiman Arya SE headset we mentioned earlier.

From the comfort point of view, we wore the RAPTGO Hook-X throughout our 3-4 hours of streaming session and felt almost no ear fatigue after taking off our Hook-X, thanks to its closed-back IEM sound pressure and usual sealed-chamber resonance. So, the headset is suitable for enjoying your music and streaming movies and seasons online. You may use it for gaming, too, given its precise, balanced sound performance with a high-frequency range.


9. Grado GW100x

Grado GW100x
Type: Over-ear, wireless
Driver Type: Dynamic
Frequency Response: 20Hz - 20KHz
Impedance: 38 Ohms
Sensitivity: 99.8 dB
Weight: 187g
Connections: Bluetooth Version: 5.2

Grado headphones are known for having a no-frills presentation, chunky circular grills, smooth, black-leather headbands, and incredibly light and balanced sound. It’s signature on-ear fit and foam earpads make them super comfortable to wear for the most extended period.

The GW100x is an upgraded version of the original GW100 model, which also has one of the most significant wireless sounds we’d heard at the time for the price. Grado has added 44mm drivers, updated speaker housings, support for the aptX Adaptive codec, and several other improvements to this potent combination of its GW100x model.

However, their bulky, non-foldable design with no ANC feature and sound leakage makes them quite undesirable for long trips. So, if you’re only looking to attend meetings or enjoy your music at home, the Grado GW100x pair is a good choice.


10. Moondrop Venus

Moondrop Venus
Type: Over-ear, open-back
Driver Type: Dynamic, 100 mm
Frequency Response 6Hz-80kHz
Impedance: 18 Ohms
Sensitivity: 100dB
Weight: 615 grams
Connections: 3.5mm Single-end

Although Moondrop is most known for its in-ear monitors IEM, the company has recently expanded and created a fantastic open-back planar magnetic headphones set. The Moondrop Venus caught our eye for the first time with their unconventional design featuring a shiny aluminum frame, a scored grill, a leather headband with a built-in adjustment mechanism, and detachable ear cushions, which, to be honest, passed the vibe check for us.

We were further surprised with the 100mm drivers that allow them to respond to all the details in Legend Of Zelda, picking up all the sudden frequency changes, giving each instrument an effect on its audio layer in the video game, and making Moondrop Venus an excellent pair of headphones for those who love high-end listening and gaming experience.


Other Recommendations For Best Open-Back Headphones

Monolith 1070

It is an excellent, affordable option for more oversized 107 planar driver headphones with an open-back. 

Hifiman Ananda

We highly recommend these open-back headphones with good bass and aesthetics. The best part is that they fall within your budget, too. 

Warwick Acoustics Aperio

It is a well-rounded open-back headphone with incredible sound and treble, bringing it in close competition with its more expensive alternatives.

Sennheiser HE-1

The extravagant price tag on this legendary set makes it go beyond the range of many fans. However, if you can spare the bucks, you’d see the cans cross their merits, from their build to performance. The HE-1 are the dream headphones for every audiophile. 

What Makes Open-Back Headphones Worth Buying?

Open-back headphones are it if you enjoy a more realistic soundstage while listening to your songs or for your streaming sessions! Their design allows the free movement of air and sounds across the earcups, creating a much more realistic and spacious soundstage. 

Another critical benefit of the open-back design is breathability, which means your ears won’t heat up or sweat after using it for long periods, which is a plus for streaming sessions. 

If you’re a music producer, mixer, or critical listener, there is nothing better to satisfy you than a good pair of open-back headphones. The design of these headphones gives the most accurate and detailed sound compared to closed-backed headphones. 

Even though open-back headphones tend to be leaky, they are still safer to wear in a public place. For instance, if you’re jogging in the park, you wouldn’t want to be completely immersed in your music and be unaware of your surroundings. Or, while driving, you can enjoy your music while being aware of the situation on the road with your open-back headphones. 

Frequently Asked Questions About the Best Open-Back Headphones: 

What is meant by semi-open headphones?

As the name suggests, the semi-open design is between closed and open-back headphones. 

Unlike in open-back, the semi-open headphones will cancel out ambient noises to some extent but do not prevent the sound from leaking out of the headphones. 

Regarding sound performance, the semi-open headphones have much deeper bass and better sound than open-back. 

Why are open-backs better than closed-backs?

Sound quality and wearability favor open-back headphones.

The sound would come from the headphones’ ear cups, which contain vents to direct sound away from the listener’s ears. The converse is also true in that ambient sounds can seep in and ruin a listening session.

What is the proper way to get rid of my old open-back headphones?

Throwing away your obsolete electronics in the bin adds to pollution and landfill sites as the components used to manufacture these items are primarily non-biodegradable. So, the best way to discard these items is to sell them to recycling stores. Some examples include Best Buy, Staples, Amazon, or Apple stores that recycle your discarded items to manufacture a new, good-to-go item. 

Are open-back headphones a good choice for making music?

Yes. One of the main advantages of wearing open-back headphones is that they more closely mimic how your music will sound when played over speakers. Read our open-back headphones recommendations in this blog to choose one for your music. 

Compared to closed-back headphones, how much lighter are open-back models?

The answer to this question depends on the models in question. Although open-back headphones use less material in their design, some of them have thicker or denser constructions than their closed-back plastic counterparts. You can check out some of the Best Closed-Back Headphones For 2024.

Are open-back headphones a good choice for immersive listening?

The innovative design of open-back headphones allows for a more exciting listening experience. The immersive quality of their sound is enhanced by their ability to provide a large, room-filling soundstage that responds to and amplifies the acoustic environment.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *