Within only a few hours of usage, you can appreciate the difference a quality headphone can have towards your ear health and audio experience. This article will take you through the best open ear headphones you can get your hands on.
As the world has turned out, the use of computers, laptops, and mobile phones have sky-rocketed.
- Moreover, whether you are listening to an online class on YouTube or trying to relax a bit by listening to soothing music, headphones are a must-have peripheral.
As time spent on computers and similar devices has increased quite a lot, the use of headphones or earphones has also increased. Regular users of headphones can easily appreciate the importance of a quality headphone.
- As ears are comparatively softer than other parts of the body, they easily deform because of the force applied to them via headphones.
Top 4 Editor’s Choice Of Open Ear Headphones
- All new Philips SHP9600 with the perfect blend of performance, comfort, and quality
- Grado's award winning headphone - open back design offer a larger sound stage with greater detail and clarity
- Professional studio Reference semi-open headphones designed for tracking, mixing, mastering and playback.
- Over-ear design for maximum wearing comfort for long work sessions
This deformation can prove to be quite uncomfortable if it’s longer than an hour or so. But while working or even playing games you cannot just keep track of the time that how fast it passes.
All these concerns make it necessary to use only high-quality headphones. They should be properly designed to fit around your ears and doesn’t overload your hearing system.
Keeping these concerns in view we bring you this article on Open Ear Headphones that are also known as Open-Back Headphones. We will introduce what these headphones are and how they perform better than other types of headphones.
Moreover, we will review 12 Open Ear Headphones for you to consider if you are looking for a headphone.
What is an Open Ear Headphone?
Open Ear Headphones are also known as Open-Back headphones. As evident from the name these type of headphones are open from the backside, that they allow some noise from the outside to mix with the sound coming from the headphones.
This produces a more natural sound in comparison to a sound generated by closed-back headphones, which are dangerous for your hearing health.
Moreover, open ear headphones can easily boost the quality of the sound due to the airflow from the back of the headphone.
Generally, open-back headphones are much more comfortable as compared to closed-back headphones. They apply much lower pressure on the ears because of their lightweight and hence may be used comfortably for longer periods.
The only downside of these headphones is the sound leaking from the open back, so people present around you might be able to hear what you are listening to. This occurs, especially, if you are listening to high music.
Do Open Ear headphones Sound Better?
Due to the open back, the open ear headphones don’t have the problem of sound bouncing inside the closed-back headphones. The additional air-flow is also responsible for eliminating the bouncing of the sound.
- This produces a more natural listening experience, taking care of your hearing health, and overall accuracy.
Therefore, as compared to traditional closed-back headphones or bone-conduction headphones, open ear headphones produce a much realistic and natural listening experience.
Things To Know Before Buying An Open Ear Headphone
While looking for headphones there are several things to consider. These things are related to every aspect of the headphone. For example, its connectivity, sound quality, comfort, etc. So, let us talk a bit about the things you should keep in mind before buying open ear headphones.
Primarily there are two options of connectivity when it comes to headphones of any type. The wired and the wireless, and in wireless the Bluetooth protocol is available.
As far as the sound quality is concerned, the wired connected headphones deliver much better quality and clarity. Bluetooth headphones, apart from being wireless, doesn’t offer much of a benefit.
Due to their limited battery and effort to maximize the length of usage, the current levels in Bluetooth headphones are a bit lower than wired ones.
- This degrades certain tones in sound hence affecting the quality and clarity.
Therefore, if you are into listening to great immersive music or want to indulge in the gaming experience, your option should be the wired connection. On the contrary, for athletes especially, Bluetooth connection will be a better choice.
Probably the most important factor while buying a headphone is to be sure about its sound quality. Open ear headphones normally deliver much better sound quality, especially in studio settings.
- This may allow you to clearly listen to certain tones that you might have never heard before.
Therefore, as compared to other types of headphones, open ear headphones can provide better performance for use in the studio.
This factor might not be as important for you if you are just a casual listener of music. However, for someone working in a studio for long hours or playing games for an extended time, comfort might be of prime importance.
The open-ear headphones are inherently lightweight because of their open-back design. Moreover, the use of advanced materials like velour and memory foam bends to fit the shape of your ears.
Additionally, an adjustable head strap can also make a difference by allowing you to adjust the overall length as per your requirement.
Therefore, if you are going to use headphones for more than an hour continuously then you should give special consideration to the comfortability of the headphones.
Apart from these factors, there are few others as well, but the list we have gathered for you in this article takes care of these parameters. For example, noise cancellation and sound leakage issues are more evident in a few headphones as compared to the others.
Furthermore, for wireless headphones, the concern of battery timing is also sometimes there especially, if you want to use headphones for an extended time.
Our Picks Of Open Ear Headphones
Let’s review the picks of Open Ear Headphones, in the following section, to find out in-depth details and features each headphone has to offer.
Brand: Philips | Model Number: SHP9600 | Product Dimensions: 4.72 x 7.68 x 8.86inches | Weight: 0.728pounds | Form Factor: Over-Ear | Connectivity: Wired
50mm Neodymium magnets produce all the dynamics present in the music to deliver balanced bass tones, mid-range and high frequencies. Check Price from Amazon
Review of Philips SHP9600
- A perfect blend of performance, comfort, and quality from Philips.
The experience of Philips is evident from every aspect of these stylish open ear headphones. They have made sure that you get one of the best listening experiences through this durable product.
Perfectly placed and tuned 50mm Neodymium drivers produce crisp bass. Moreover, performance against midrange and high frequencies is also of professional grade.
The expertly placed driver, coupled with an open-back design and a fit that naturally suits the ear’s geometry makes these headphones stand out.
As far as the headband is concerned, its double-layer cushion provides real comfort. The breathable ear-cups make sure you won’t feel a thing even after using the headphones for hours.
- On top of this, the reinforcement of the headband with durable steel make sure the headphones are always secured perfectly.
To make sure no tone is missed, these headphones feature a frequency response in the range of 12 Hz to 35 kHz. This range covers almost every tone generated by any instrument normally used in studios while recording music and/or other audio.
Furthermore, the gold plated 6.3-3.5mm jack adapter allows you to connect these headphones with any source you wish.
Few notable features are as follows:
- 50mm Neodymium Drivers
- Frequency Response range: 12 Hz to 35 kHz
- Noise sensitivity of 101 dB
- Less than 0.1% THD distortion
- Doesn’t load ears even after hours of use
Brand: Audio-Technica | Model Number: SL-HP-07 | Product Dimensions: 16 x 14 x 8inches | Weight: 2.1pounds | Form Factor: Over-Ear | Connectivity: Wired
The sonic performance is acclaimed by top audio engineers and pro audio reviewers, thanks to high-quality drivers and voice coils. Check Price from Amazon
Review of Audio-Technica ATH-M50x
Top choice of top audio engineers and professional reviewers.
These headphones from Audio-Technica are one of a kind as they house 45mm, large-aperture drivers. The perfectly placed drivers make sure no tone is missed and you get the stunning sound.
The drivers are made using rare earth magnets and copper-clad aluminum wire voice coils that perform exceptionally well for complete frequency range.
Moreover, the circumoral design fits perfectly around the ear. Additionally, the 90-degree swiveling ear-cups allows you to monitor music or audio with one ear as well.
As far as the build quality is concerned, the professional-grade earpads and headband material makes these headphones quite durable. Moreover, the durability may be enhanced by properly taking care while storing the headphones. For this side, the wire is detachable and you’ll get a hardbody PRO headphone case.
Therefore, the storage of this headphone is as safe as possible. Detach the wire, fold the ear-cups completely and place it in the hardbody PRO headphone case. The case is itself quite stylish with a rubberized PVC exterior finish.
In summary, the following are the notable features of these headphones.
- Proprietary 45mm large-aperture drivers
- Excellent performance on a full range of frequencies.
- 90-degree swivelling ear-cups
- Durable ear-pad and headband material
- A bonus of Slappa Full-sized hardbody headphone case
Brand: GRADO | Model Number: SR80e | Product Dimensions: 3.15 x 6.69 x 7.48inches | Weight: 0.51pounds | Form Factor: Over-Ear | Connectivity: Wired
Thanks to the open-back design the headphones are capable of delivering larger sound stage with greater performance and clarity. Check Price from Amazon
Review of GRADO SR80e
This is where comfort meets quality.
The open ear headphones from GRADO has won the hearts of many. They provide extreme detail and clarity no matter what range of frequencies you are listening to.
The 4-conductor connector and a larger ear cushion provide a more open stage, in addition to improved bass resonance. Moreover, the vented diaphragm doesn’t allow the air to resonate and produce any disturbance.
The comfortability comes from the lightweight design and soft circumaural ear-cups. Moreover, the headphones have a detachable cord connection. You can either use a standard 3.5mm wire or may use the included 6.5mm audio jack adaptor.
To further win your confidence these headphones come with a warranty of 1 year.
In short few worth-mentioning features of these headphones are as follows:
- Lightweight as well as comfortable design
- Durable and robust structure
- Vouched by 4OurEars and What HiFi
- Sleek and beautiful design
- Cover the entire listening frequency range
- Come with a 1-year warranty
Brand: Samson Technologies | Model Number: SASR850C | Product Dimensions: 8 x 8 x 4inches | Weight: 1.05 ounces | Form Factor: Over-Ear | Connectivity: Wired
Semi-open design combines the advantages of the closed-back and open-back headphones to deliver truly dynamic listening experience. Check Price from Amazon
Review of Samson Technologies SR850
A reasonable blend of everything you want to see in the headphones.
Samson Technologies SR850 is not fully open ear headphones, in fact, these are semi-open headphones. Utilizing the 50mm neodymium driver, these headphones produce a nice and smooth response at all frequencies.
The semi-open circumoral design provides easy-wearing to provide longer recording and mixing sessions at the studio. Moreover, the flexible velour ear-cushions make sure the ear-cups perfectly fit no matter what ear size you have.
The drivers can through-put any tone in the range of 10 Hz to 30 kHz. This range is more than enough for handling any tune generated by any instrument in the studio. Furthermore, the performance is quite linear over the whole range, so you don’t have to worry about missing any frequency while reviewing the music in your studio.
These open ear headphones have as low as 98 dB noise sensitivity and option for both 3.5mm and 6.3mm audio jack. Moreover, the self-adjusting headband makes these headphones quite desirable.
Few notable features of these headphones are as follows:
- Studio reference over-ear headphones
- Proprietary 50mm rare earth magnets drivers
- Circumoral, velour cushioning ear-cups for increased comfort
- Self-adjusting headband
- Large frequency response range
Brand: Philips | Model Number: Fidelio X2HR | Product Dimensions: 4.33 x 7.48 x 9.06inches | Weight: 0.88pounds | Form Factor: Over-Ear | Connectivity: Wired
50mm Neodymium drivers with LMC diaphragm produce all frequencies not matter low for bass or higher for ultimate clarity with great efficiency. Check Price from Amazon
Review of Philips Audio Fidelio X2HR
These headphones are something to be missed as Philips has poured every bit of experience into them.
You can experience the heritage of 50 years of headphone acoustics in these refined open ear headphones. The iconic design is complemented with an astonishingly clear and crisp sound range. The listener can dive into an immersive concert-like experience from the comfort of his sofa.
The open-back style takes the sound quality to another high, in addition to double-layered ear-shells. No air pressure buildup at the rear of the drivers allows it to vibrate freely, hence produce a pure and smooth sound.
The all-new Layered Motion Control (LMC) driver utilizes a multi-layered polymer diaphragm, encased with damping gel to handle any exaggerated frequencies. This results in a much smoother response even at higher frequencies.
A pre-tilt of 15 degrees is there to match the natural geometry of your ears and hence allow you to experience sound in the most natural way possible. The sound signal is routed directly towards your ear canal in the right direction, without any reflections, giving rise to a truly authentic listening experience.
As far as the frequency range is concerned, these open ear headphones cover each and every frequency in the range of 5 Hz to 40 kHz. Now, this is a range that won’t miss out on any sound in your studio.
A few notable takeaways for these headphones are as follows:
- High definition 50mm neodymium drivers coupled with Layered Motion Control diaphragms
- Lightweight hammock with the ability of self-adjustment
- Genuine leather headband
- Options for both 3.5mm and 6.3mm audio jack
- The large frequency range of 5 Hz to 40 kHz
- Pre-tilted ear cups for better contact with your ears.
Brand: Sennheiser Consumer Audio | Model Number: HD 599 SE | Product Dimensions: 7.2 x 6.1 x 3.2inches | Weight: 0.57pounds | Form Factor: Over-Ear | Connectivity: Wired
The around ear headphones provide extreme wearing comfort thanks to large ear cups having plush velour ear cushions and a padded headband. Check Price from Amazon
Review of Sennheiser HD 599 SE
These open ear headphones from Sennheiser are truly lightweight and hence comfortable.
Being lightweight doesn’t mean they are not durable. These headphones are premium, audiophile-grade over-ear headphones that can give a tough challenge to any open ear headphone in the market.
As far as the outlook is concerned, the luxurious velour covered jet black ear pads, along with a timeless design makes these headphones the most stylish in the lot.
The beauty is coupled with unique transducer technology from Sennheiser, along with Ergonomic Acoustic Refinement (E.A.R) design. This came from a long journey Sennheiser has covered over a period of more than 70 years in the industry.
Along with a proprietary transducer, every aspect of these headphones seems special. The premium quality headband, the ear-cups outer, ear-cushions, everything has its own class.
Furthermore, the option for using a 6.3mm audio jack or a 3.5mm audio jack allows you to connect these headphones with any platform you like.
In summary, the following are the main features of Sennheiser HD 599 SE headphones:
- Premium-quality components
- A padded headband and plush velour ear cushion for enhanced comfort
- Open-back, around-ear headphones
- Ability to connect to any platform
- Sleek and catchy design
Brand: AKG Pro Audio | Model Number: K702 | Product Dimensions: 4.45 x 7.83 x 8.35inches | Weight: 0.51pounds | Form Factor: Over-Ear | Connectivity: Wired
Patented Varimotion two-layer diaphragm delivers improved quality at high frequency range and equally good performance for low frequencies. Check Price from Amazon
Review of AKG Pro Audio K702
These reference studio headphones will give you a memorable experience while listening, mixing, and mastering.
The K702 headphones from AKG Pro Audio are meant for business in the studio. These reference studio headphones will never miss a frequency and hence will allow you to have a keen eye on everything in the music.
The proprietary Varimotion two-layer diaphragm complemented with a flat-wire voice coil produces the most accurate response to any frequency. To add on the completely open ear design and high-grade cable makes sure there is no room left for improvement.
As for the frequency range, these headphones can handle it ranges from 10 Hz all the way up to 39800 Hz.
On the other hand, the comfortability is equally well-invested in these headphones. The uniquely shaped 3D-foam of the ear pads and a genuine leather headband provide comfortability and a perfect fit as well.
Furthermore, the professional mini XLR connector allows you to quickly replace the cable if the need arises. Moreover, you can well imagine how seriously AKG Pro Audio takes the quality, by the fact that each K702 is individually checked and numbered to keep a track of it.
In the summary following are the few notable features of these headphones.
- Open ear, over-ear design
- Varimotion two-layer diaphragm with flat-wire voice coil
- Genuine leather headband with 3D-foam ear pads
- High-frequency response range of 10 Hz to 39.8 kHz
- Extremely comfortable and doesn’t load the ears at all
Brand: Koss | Model Number: UR40 | Product Dimensions: 11 x 7.75 x 4inches | Weight: 6 ounces | Form Factor: Over-Ear | Connectivity: Wired
The fully collapsible design allows you to carry these headphones in your jacket effortlessly without any fear of damage. Check Price from Amazon
Review of Koss 155524 UR40
These ultra-lightweight headphones are best suited for listeners on-the-go.
The UR40 headphones from Koss are the only headphones on the list with titanium coated internal elements. This coating doesn’t only protect the elements against mechanical wearing but also allows it to produce accurate sound.
Furthermore, the dynamic elements allow these headphones to respond to a frequency range of 15 Hz to 22 kHz. Coupled with neodymium magnets, it is made sure that low power consumption can generate greater volume.
Additionally, the clear, oxygen-free copper wire allows the signal to be transmitted without any distortion, hence producing noise-free sound output.
Moreover, these headphones will give you the benefits of both the closed-back and open-back headphones. Although the outer is open-back the inner ear-cushions make a light seal on the inside around the ear that enhances the bass frequencies.
The lightweight and airy mesh sling provide a light breathable support so that you can wear these headphones for extended hours even if you have a touch-sensitive scalp. Further comfort is enhanced via an adjustable headband that perfectly fits any sized head.
If not in use, these headphones can be folded up into a compact configuration so that it may be stored and carried conveniently.
Let us list a few worth mentioning features of these headphones below:
- Ultra-lightweight headphones
- Frequency response range of 15 Hz to 22 kHz
- Titanium coated diaphragms and inner elements for increased performance and durability
- Open-back and closed ear cushions
- Breathable mesh support for increased comfort
Brand: Beyerdynamic | Model Number: DT 990 PRO | Product Dimensions: 8.7 x 4.7 x 9.1inches | Weight: 0.55pounds | Form Factor: Over-Ear | Connectivity: Wired
The soft circumoral velour ear pads, in addition to being replaceable, makes sure you get the most comfortable listening experience with these headphones. Check Price from Amazon
Review of Beyerdynamic 459038 DT 990 Pro
Beyerdynamic produced DR 990 Pro for nothing but professional mixing, mastering, and editing.
Beyerdynamic has won the confidence of many professionals over the last few decades are continuously producing improved versions of the headphones.
These made in Germany headphones combines comfort with performance in a nice manner. The open-back design allows spacious, strong bass and treble sound making them perfect for studio usage. Moreover, the outstanding tonal depth allows detection of the slightest positioning changes in eh acoustic source while mixing.
The circumaural headphones provide spaciousness and mild bass and the treble boost to ensure soothing sound. The bass is not overstated and on the other hand, the treble boost doesn’t make the sound extra sharp, hence conserving the natural tones.
The spring steel headband design makes sure these headphones fit snugly and provide a comfortable fit. Moreover, a single-sided cable keeps the cable away that doesn’t hinder frequent putting-on and off of the headphones.
Furthermore, the velour ear pads are fully replaceable which additionally makes sure that comfort is never compromised. These headphones are the only ones on the list that come to different colours and that is jet black and silver-grey.
In the short following are notable features of DT 990 Pro headphones:
- Open ear, over-ear design, best suited for professionals
- Takes care of bass and treble perfectly
- Replaceable velour ensures extreme comfort
- Overall robust and durable structure
- Hassle-free single-sided cable
Brand: Superlux | Model Number: HD 681 | Product Dimensions: 4.21 x 7.36 x 7.87inches | Weight: 0.54pounds | Form Factor: Over-Ear | Connectivity: Wired
Forget about adjusting the headband again and again, the self-adjusting headband fits perfectly like it was made just for you. Check Price from Amazon
Review of Superlux HD 681
The most budget-friendly open ear headphone on the list.
The Superlux HD 681 is not a fully open-back headphone, in fact, it employs a semi-open headphone design. The premium quality elements used by the Superkux in HD 681 allows it to deliver detailed sound in a lightweight and comfortable package.
The aim over here is to provide comfortable, high-performance professional headphones to the musicians, especially, while remaining inside the bounds of the budget.
The semi-open nature allows the ear-cups to provide isolation against the noise and eliminate the leakage as much as possible. Moreover, the semi-open design ensures deep bass response is delivered for an enhanced listening experience.
Just like some high-quality open ear headphones, HD 681 also utilizes 50mm, neodymium drivers, to provide a high dynamic range of frequencies.
Lastly, the thick soft around-ear cushions and a self-adjusting headband provide a comfortable fit to the users. As for the connection options, both 3.5mm and 6.3mm audio jacks are fully compatible with these headphones.
Few mentionable features of these headphones are as follows:
- Semi-open design to provide noise isolation
- Minimal sound leakage and deep bass response
- 50mm neodymium drivers than respond to a wide range of frequency input
- Compatible with 3.5mm and 6.3mm audio jack
- Comes with protective storage pouch
- Has a limited 2-year warranty
Brand: Shure | Model Number: SRH1440 | Product Dimensions: 10.5 x 6.5 x 11.25inches | Weight: 4.7pounds | Form Factor: Over-Ear | Connectivity: Wired
40mm Neodymium Drivers make sure you get the enhanced performance for full-range audio in addition to rich, controlled bass. Check Price from Amazon
Review of Shure SRH1440
SRH1440 features a relatively small driver but delivers a rich sound experience.
These headphones from Shure are housed with a 40mm neodymium driver which is relatively smaller than all other drivers on the list. However, the open-back design makes sure there is no air pressure buildup on the rear of these drivers, hence allowing them to vibrate freely.
Furthermore, the drivers respond to a wide range of frequencies which makes sure that no tone is missed. Additionally, the circumoral design allows natural sound and increased depth of field during the listening experience.
As far as comfortability is concerned, the circumaural round design fits snugly around the ear. This is complemented with a fully adjustable headband that has premium padding on it to provide ultimate comfort even after using it for hours. The headband further houses a sleek steel frame that makes sure the fit never gets lost.
The durability is ensured with a Kevlar-reinforced jacket and performance is enhanced by the use of an oxygen-free copper cable. The oxygen-free copper cable makes sure no noise is induced while the sound signal to travelling through the wire and hence perfect signal reaches drivers.
You’ll get a storage case, an additional set of velour earpads, and extra cable so that your listening experience remains uninterrupted for years to come.
Few mentionable features of these headphones are as follows:
- Optimized impedance for connection with almost any audio source
- 40 mm neodymium-magnet drivers for a wide frequency response range
- Fully adjustable headband reinforced with steel frame
- The oxygen-free copper cable ensures enhanced performance
- The open-back circumaural design provides natural sound
Brand: HIFIMAN | Model Number: HE400i 2020 | Product Dimensions: 4.02 x 3.43 x 1.85inches | Weight: 0.79pounds | Form Factor: Over-Ear | Connectivity: Wired
Large diaphragm makes it possible to intake high signal input and provide a flexible tone control. Check Price from Amazon
Review of HIFIMAN HE400i 2020 Version
HIFIMAN claims these headphones to be at least 30% lighter than the comparable open ear headphones available in the market.
The outstanding quality of the sound is delivered by the large diaphragm which is capable of handling high input signal and produce a fine frequency control. Even though the size of the diaphragm is large, it is not even closer to any heavy headphone in weight.
Therefore, the lightweight allows a faster time response and evenly spreading magnetic force responsible for attenuation of distortion and production of high-quality sound.
The single-ended planar magnetic driver is the one behind the widest soundstage and spatial imaging. Moreover, the lightweight design is claimed to be 30% lighter than any comparable headphone.
The outlook is all-attractive jet black with a reworked headband in the 2020 version. The looks are further enhanced by the ABS polymer ear cups having a charcoal glossy look. The all-new headband and the soft ear cups provide improved pressure on the ears, hence increasing the comfortability.
What’s more! The HIFIMAN HE400i 2020 comes with a 1-year warranty but you can extend it for a further 3-months by just registering your product on the HIFIMAN website.
Following is a list of few notable features of these headphones.
- The large lightweight diaphragm provides fast response and the widest soundstage
- Smooth tone control for the full range of frequencies
- Sleek and classy jet-black look
- Increased comfortability due to the enhanced headband and ABS polymer ear cups
- Comes with only a 3.5mm audio jack option
Final Words On Open Ear Headphones
For a number of applications, the quality of the headphones is of prime concern. Mostly, for studio workers, high quality and comfortable headphones are everything. The state-of-the-art drivers make sure you hear each and every tone present in the music or any other sound.
The article reviews 11 such high-quality open-ear headphones that are known for their improved performance and better sound quality. It is highly recommended to go through the article especially if you are associated with any studio and have to wear headphones for long periods.
Do give your feedback about the article and the headphone you are using to let others benefit from your experience.
Thank you and Take Care!