Open vs Closed Headphones – Whats the Difference

Open vs Closed Headphones - Whats the Difference

Are you trying to decide between Open vs Closed Headphones-Back? The concept between these two headphone styles is simple. However, the reasons why you would buy an open-back headphone over a closed-back headphone or vise versa should be based on your preferences.

For the most part, open-back earphones are related to top-notch sound. This is the reason the greater part of the best-sounding top-of-the-line earphones is open. Be that as it may, you shouldn’t presumably pick open-back earphones. Shut-back earphones are lower-estimated (not generally) and have better disengagement. Things being what they are, which would it be a good idea for you to pick between these two earphone styles?

It is unreliable to pick without first learning the significant qualifications between the two. In this post, I’ll cover all that you want to be aware of open back versus shut back earphones. I’ll likewise cover the less well-known semi-open-back earphones in this post. You can likewise look at our earphone purchasing guide, In-Ear versus On-Ear, versus Over-Ear guide, or in conclusion, our IEMs versus Earbuds guide.

Open-Back Headphones
Shut Back Closed vs Semi Open Headphones

Semi Open Headphones vs Closed

-Back Headphones
Open-Back versus Shut Back Headphones

Pros: Open natural sound, better sound clarity, comfortable, wide soundstage, better situational awareness
Cons: Do not block noise and other sounds, sound leakage,

Open-back earphones are essentially earphones that have punctured, vented, or network-covered ear cup fenced-in areas that present a sort of transparent quality. In the conversation of Open versus Semi Open vs Closed

Open Back vs Closed Back Headphones-Back, Due to their open nature, when you check the nooks of open back versus shut back earphones, you can ordinarily see the earphone driver.
Sennheiser HD600
Sennheiser HD600

The upside of utilizing open-back earphones is their show of subtleties. Since they have an open earcup walled in the area, soundwaves are allowed to stream without being impeded. This gives out more extravagant subtleties, a more extensive soundstage, and in general, an open vaporous sound. With quality accounts, you can imagine open-back earphones like paying attention to an appropriately set up set of sound system speakers. In conversation of Open versus Closed Headphones-Back, The music propagation is vivid, wrapping, and with exactness/lucidity.

Focal Clear
Audeze LCD2C Open Back Headphones

The downside of using open-back headphones is isolation from the surrounding environment. Thanks to the open design, air can flow in and out. Even when the earcups comfortably sit on and cover your ears, you will still be able to hear the sound around you. This might be ideal for people who want to have situational awareness while listening to music. However, it is a disadvantage if you want to hear even the finer details of sound, which is what open-back headphones are best at.

Pros: Good Isolation, tight and punchy bass response, can be enjoyed at a lower volume, do not leak out sound
Cons: Might get hot during long sessions of use, Overall clarity/accuracy is lower, less soundstage

The easiest way to identify a closed-back headphone is also by looking at the earcups. Closed-back headphones will lack the vents, perforations, or see-through mesh mostly associated with open headphones. Instead, the back of closed-back headphones is completely sealed. This means closed-back headphones offer the best noise isolation even when in a noisy environment. The downside of the closed earcup enclosure is that they may not be as natural sounding as open back vs closed-back headphones.


Nonetheless, in the event that you are searching for an earphone with a bass/low-recurrence upgrade, then, at that point, your pick ought to be a shut earphone. With the earphone driver walled it in, brings about a more extreme/punchy bass. In conversation of Open versus Closed Headphones-Back, The drawback is assuming that the bass isn’t very much controlled, it can significantly influence the other sound frequencies. Some attempt and utilize against full materials that diminish the impression of sound waves in the earcup which can incredibly work on the general lucidity and exactness of a shut back earphone.

Pros: Good sound, wide soundstage, comfortable, situational awareness
Cons: Sound leakage, No isolation
Examples: Beyerdynamic DT800 PRO, AKG K 240, Superlux HD668B

Semi-open earphones are pretty much shut yet don’t totally seal the earphone drivers permitting the section of air and sound all through the earcups. Semi-open earphones versus shut-back earphones are considerably less normal and don’t offer many benefits over shut or open earphones. For the most part, semi-open earphones versus shut accompany a few advantages of open earphones however will likewise have every one of the disservices related to open-backs.

Beyerdynamic DT 880 Pro Semi-Open Headphones

When choosing a headphone, I would advise that you do not let the semi-Open vs Closed Headphones tag be a deciding factor. If you are looking for a good open back vs closed-back headphones headphone and the isolation of a closed headphone, semi-open headphones vs closed option is not the way to go. You are better off purchasing two headphones, an open headphone, and a closed headphone.

Open vs Closed Headphones-Back

1. Sound Quality

When it comes down to sound reproduction and quality, open-back headphones are generally considered to give out superior sound compared to closed vs semi-open headphones. Because of their openness, they tend to be better at delivering natural and more realistic-sounding music. This is because sound and air can come in and out of the earcups. Thus, reflections of sound are minimized leading to better accuracy and clarity of sound.

Being open likewise implies, open-back earphones have less gaseous tension to neutralize; accordingly, the drivers in the earcups react all the more proficiently and rapidly to the progressions in the sound sign. In conversation of Open versus Closed Headphones-Back, With Closed earphones, the earcups are shut accordingly they contain the sound and air inside. This, by and large, gives shut-back earphones a high ground by repeating low frequencies (Bass) that are more extravagant and punchier than open earphones.

However, the sealed nature can also work against closed vs semi-open headphones. When the sound waves get trapped in the earcups of closed headphones, they cause the sound to lack clarity or somewhat be colored. To enhance the sound, as I stated above, manufacturers try to incorporate anti-resonant materials that absorb sound waves and reduce the reflection.

2. Sound Isolation

Closed-back headphones are best in offering the maximum possible level of sound isolation. Once the earpads create a complete seal around or on your ears, then there should be no air or sound flow in or out. If sound escapes into the earcups, then the quality or density of the material used on the earpads should be improved.

On account of better solid confinement, shut earphones are appropriate and ideal for individuals who need to partake in their music in occupied places, for example, train stations, shopping centers, air terminals, and so on In conversation of Open versus Closed Headphones-Back, Most sound experts like DJs, studio makers or blenders, likewise incline toward shutting back earphones since they permit better fixation and separation.

Takstar PRO 82

Not exclusively do shut versus semi-open earphones offer sound separation, yet they likewise decrease sound spillage. This could prove to be useful in spots like the library or on a plane/vehicle/transport where you can pay attention to your music without upsetting people around you. Shut earphones will likewise offer security since nobody can determine what you are paying attention to, regardless of whether the person is sitting close to you.

Open earphones are poor at offering sound separation, particularly in loud places. On account of their open-back nature, when utilizing them you can in any case hear all or most sounds around you.

Thus, the utilization of open earphones in the rest of the world may accompany difficulties yet, in calm spots where you can hear your music without obstruction, they would work better. Nonetheless, on account of sound spillage, involving this kind of earphone in places like the library would be unscrupulous.

Notwithstanding, for those individuals that need or need to know about their environmental elements, then, at that point, open-back earphones are incredible. In the event that you partake in your music while running or running in a bustling region, then, at that point, open-back earphones can be more secure to have on while as yet working out.

3. Soundstage

Another area where open headphones beat closed vs semi-open headphones hands down is the soundstage. Soundstage is the ability to perceive the depth and location of instruments or speakers of both.

Open-back headphones have a broader/wider and deeper and more open soundstage reproduction since their backs are not sealed. The soundstage of open headphones can translate to the feeling you get when you are listening to a correctly placed stereo system. The music out of open headphones is more immersive and has more presence.

On the other hand, closed-back headphones tend to have a smaller, less airy soundstage. The experience can be described as “in-your-head” because you can hear and feel like the music is coming from the inside of your head rather than flowing past your ears. The effect of the soundstage in closed-back headphones can range depending on the headphone’s construction, material, and price tag.

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4. Portability

A versatile earphone is an earphone that can be conveyed or moved around without any problem. In any case, for this situation, with regards to versatility, a shut-back earphone scores high. In conversation of Open versus Closed Headphones-Back, Whether in boisterous or calm conditions, Closed earphones are adaptable to most circumstances. They offer better strong confinement and don’t release a lot of when they make an appropriate seal with your head.


Open-back headphones leak sound to the outside world. Besides, they do not provide any noise isolation for the user. For this reason, open-back headphones are a preferred option to use at home or at the office where you can listen to your music without distractions from the outside world, or without interfering with other people.

5. Comfort

Usually, what determines the comfort of a headphone is the build and material quality, and not really by the fact that a headphone is open or closed.

However, comparing open and closed headphones each has its highs and lows. For example, Using open-back headphones in a hot environment would be ideal because they do not warm your ears as much as closed headphones. However, in cold environments, closed headphones too would come in handy. Comfort-wise, I think it would largely depend on the build and material quality used in the construction of the headphone.

6. Price Tag

As of now, the absolute best earphones in the market are open-back earphones. These incorporate any semblance of the Focal Utopia, Audeze LCD-4, or the Sonoma Model One Electrostatic earphone. However the absolute best top-of-the-line open earphone models are really costly, In conversation of Open versus Closed Headphones-Back, You can get less expensive ones like the HiFiMAN HE400-S or the Grado SR60i. Look at our aide on the best open-back earphones for additional decisions.

Shut earphones are moderately all around evaluated and promptly accessible across a wide scope of costs. A few models like the OPPO PM-3 (One of my top picks) come in at under $400. Notwithstanding, some top-of-the-line shut earphones merit a fortune. Any semblance of the Audeze LCD-2 Closed-back or the Campfire Audio Cascade are instances of some costly picks in shut earphones.

In Conclusion

In general, every earphone style accompanies its benefits and drawbacks. Regardless of whether to pick an open earphone over a shut earphone altogether relies upon your inclinations. In conversation of Open versus Closed Headphones-Back, I trust this aide is going or has assisted you with settling on a superior and informed choice prior to choosing your next earphone. Anyway, which earphone style do you like and why? Leave your remarks beneath and how about we proceed with this discussion.

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