Looking for the best closed-back headphones can be tricky with all the options numerous companies throw at us. However, making the right choice is key to having the best listening experience. After all, you don’t want to burn a bunch of cash only to end up with a substandard pair. Whether you’re a casual listener, full-fledged audiophile, or sound-sensitive gamer, there should be a pair that suits your needs. Read on to see our list of the best closed-back headphones you can get right now.
What Are Closed-Back Headphones?
Before getting into the list of the best closed-back headphones, let’s talk about this “closed-back” design, first. What are closed-back headphones? Why do they call it that? Moreover, are there any differences within this category or are they all the same?
Firstly, let’s talk about why they’re called closed-back headphones. There are two kinds of headphones: open-back and closed-back. The main difference between these two is in the design of their rear ear cups.
Open-back headphones are designed with earcups that allow air to pass through. As a result, open-back headphones leak sound outward and allow surrounding noise to enter inward. On the other hand, closed-back headphones provide the opposite effect. Their ear cups have closed rears and, because of that, keep noise in without any leakage.
As you can imagine, either type is good for different use cases. Open-back headphones are great if you want to listen to high-quality, natural-sounding audio. However, they’re not exactly great in noisy areas or in places where you’d want some privacy.
On the other hand, closed-back headphones are more practical when going to different places. If you need to listen to audio somewhere with a lot of surrounding noise, closed-back is the way to go.
13 Best Closed-Back Headphones
What are the best closed-back headphones you can get today? Whether it’s affordable, high-end, or somewhere in the middle, we have you covered. Here are the 13 best closed-back headphones for all walks of life in 2021.
ADAM Audio Studio Pro SP-5
The first on our list is the ADAM Audio Studio Pro SP-5. Music producers would love this pair because they’re one of the best closed-back headphones for the studio. Not only can they provide a natural sounding spatial field, but they can also isolate noise well. Hence, they’re great for both mixing and recording audio in a pinch.
Furthermore, they not only sound good but they also feel good. You can go for hours without feeling any ear fatigue set in, thanks to its special software. Moreover, the padding on both the ear pads and headpiece provides great support and comfort.
On the other hand, the only drawbacks are how stiff and inflexible the headphones are. Moreover, these headphones can be very expensive and cost roughly $500.
One of the best closed-back headphones under $200 is none other than the Audio-Technica ATH-M50x. Not only are they affordable but they also provide great value and comfort all around. Listening to them once will instantly have you hooked, especially for the price.
In terms of sound quality, the headphones are clear, accurate, and provide great value for the money. Of course, there are some things to work on such as the lack of better detail in higher frequencies. Nonetheless, the price-to-performance ratio is spot on. In fact, it might be hard to find a better deal at below two hundred dollars. Overall, these are the best closed-back headphones for gaming, casual listening, and even people who want great sound quality.
Beyerdynamic DT 770 Pro
For some, it might be surprising to find something of high quality at the $150 to $160 price range. However, for the Beyerdynamic DT 770 Pro headphones, that’s not a problem. With this pair of wired headphones, you get excellent sound quality that’s well-balanced and clear. The lows feel punchy while the highs have just the right amount of detail to sound great.
On the other hand, these headphones also come with incredible flexibility. They come with multiple impedance variants and even have replaceable components for easy tune-ups. Moreover, the headphones feel comfortable enough to use for long hours in your studio. However, it can feel slightly tight, thanks to the headband design. Nonetheless, with all of its features and low price, it’s one of the best headphones in the industry.
Bose Quietcomfort 35 II
One of the best closed-back headphones under 300 is undoubtedly the Bose Quietcomfort 35 II. At roughly $250 to $300, it’s hard to find better pairs than these. Not only do they come wireless with three layers of active noise cancellation, but they’re also expertly designed. That goes for both the hardware and the sound quality.
With these headphones, you’re guaranteed clear and balanced audio, regardless of the volume. Both the bass and the highs sound clear and with decent impact. In addition, while it does have Bluetooth, you can also plug it in for wired connectivity.
Lastly, these headphones provide great comfort that can match their 20-hour battery life. Listening to music through long hours of commute or in the studio won’t be a problem at all. Moreover, the headphone itself has a fairly durable construction, making it great for travel.
Focal Listen Professional
One of the best closed-back headphones under $500 is none other than the Focal Listen Professional. As its name implies, this professional headset is one of the best closed-back headphones pro users might want. It boasts the audio quality to prove it with a beautiful aesthetic to match.
Not only does it deliver solid sound reproduction even at low volumes, but it’s also perfectly well-balanced. The bass is punchy, the mids are clear and full-sounding, while the highs are smooth and detailed.
On the other hand, the overall fit in the head is top-notch, too. While these headphones have a snug fit, they also don’t go so far as to apply too much pressure. However, while the top cushion may feel comfortable, it’s also prone to collecting sweat. Hence, you might need to do more maintenance on this compared to other headsets. Nonetheless, the distinct look and design are sure to make you stand out, even among other professional music producers.
The Focal Stellia headphones are among the best headphones in 2020. However, while 2020 might have passed, Focal Stellia’s reputation remains. It’s one of the best closed-back headphones in terms of sound quality — enough to satisfy even audiophiles.
The headphones come with a wide frequency range, allowing you to listen to all those juicy details. Moreover, you can get an even better experience if you use it alongside the right amplifier. Regardless, the bass is rich and punchy, the mids are clear and clean, and so are the highs.
On the other hand, these headphones provide extremely comfortable ear pads and cups thanks to the use of memory foam. However, these headphones are extremely expensive, costing even more than modern flagship smartphones.
Sennheiser HD 280 Pro
One of the best closed-back headphones on our list is the Sennheiser HD 280 Pro headphones. If you want a Sennheiser gaming headset with good sound and an even better price, these are the right choice. Not only do they go for below $100, but they also deliver solid sound quality for the price.
In fact, this headset is even good enough for music producers, DJs, and musicians. Hence, you can also use them for casual listening and gaming. Moreover, this model is lightweight and comfortable, making them great to use even during long periods. If you want something affordable with good-quality audio, this is one of the best closed-back headphones you can get.
Shure microphones are some of the best in the industry. Hence, they’re often recommended to those looking for a good mic. However, Shure also makes great quality headphones, which is why we’re recommending the Shure SRH440 here.
This headset is one of the best closed-back headphones overall if you’re looking for something well-balanced. That’s because it checks all the boxes for good-quality headphones. The fit is comfortable with an adjustable headband, and it even has a collapsible design for easy portability. Moreover, the sound quality is pretty good, although it’s not perfect. However, at below $100, its faults in audio quality are more than excusable.
Shure is at it again and has created one of the best closed-back headphones with the Shure SRH840. Yes, it’s pricier than the SRH440s, but it also comes with better quality overall while keeping the price below $200.
With the SRH840s, you get better sound quality as a whole, with prominent bass, accurate mids, and decent highs. Moreover, the sound isolation on the SRH840 is also much better. Lastly, it’s constructed well, with a padded headband and comfortable earpads. Moreover, it even comes with an extra pair of ear pads in case they wear out.
Sony has been one of the industry’s main players — and that comes as no surprise. Their MDR series has been around since the 90s and boasts in-depth knowledge of industry needs. One of the best closed-back headphones within this series that exemplifies this is the Sony MDR-7506.
Not only do these provide great sound quality but they’re also functional and comfortable to use. The sound is clear and impactful regardless of the spectrum without being too over-the-top. On the other hand, they’re just comfortable enough to last throughout the day without hurting your ears.
However, they’re not the perfect pair for mixing; for that, you might need something with better sound quality. Nonetheless, they’re great for everything else. Moreover, at below $100, they’re some of the best closed-back headphones you can buy at this price.
One of the best closed-back headphones on the higher end is Sony’s MDR-Z1R. Not only do these over-ear headphones sound incredibly polished, but they also have high-quality construction. You can be sure that they’ll perform well on the day-to-day, especially if you need best-in-class sound quality.
By using them, you’ll immediately notice the high-resolution sound that’s almost lossless in terms of detail. Despite this and its powerful bass, however, the headphones still manage to sound even and well-balanced.
In terms of construction, these headphones are incredibly durable and sturdy, with the body made from titanium and magnesium. Moreover, they also retain a certain amount of flexibility, despite the sturdiness of the device. Lastly, the ear pads are made with memory foam that’s both comfortable and functional for sound isolation.
The only downside is that you need an amp to fully utilize their potential. Furthermore, they’re incredibly expensive, costing more than $1500 for a single pair.
Status Audio CB-1
The best closed-back headphones don’t always cost an arm and a leg. In fact, one of the best pairs cost as little as $50 to $80 with the right retailer. We’re talking about the Status Audio CB-1.
At first glance, you might assume this headset comes from a luxury brand. After all, its aesthetics are superb and so is the sound quality. You might even assume the price would cost twice as much given its level of polish. That’s why buyers find themselves pleasantly surprised whenever they look at the price tag.
Unfortunately, the company did cut corners here and there to be able to lower the price. As a result, you get a less-than-ideal build quality. Sure, it’s aesthetically pleasing. However, the material its paddings use wrinkle easily. Moreover, some build quality issues might spring up here and there.
V-MODA Crossfade M-100
Last but not least of the best closed-back headphones on our list is the V-MODA Crossfade M-100. These headphones aren’t for the faint-hearted or for those who simply want a casual listening experience at the gym. That’s because they’re not cheap, coming in at $250 to $300 for a pair.
However, they are built with high-quality materials and provide a wide and clear sound field. You can hear deep bass sounds well with clear separation from the highs mixed in. Moreover, the mids and highs are sharp and clear, without sacrificing any sort of detail. Lastly, you even get noise cancellation to enhance your listening experience.
On the other hand, the headphones also excel in terms of durability thanks to the high-quality construction and materials. However, they don’t look the best, sporting a hexagonal shape instead of the regular ovals. Nonetheless, these are some of the best closed-back headphones you can get, hands down.
How To Choose The Best Closed-Back Headphones
Choosing the best closed-back headphones can be tricky if you don’t know what to look for. That’s why it’s always important to keep a few considerations in mind before you pick one.
The first consideration would be comfort. Comfort is arguably the most important factor because even the best closed-back headphones can hurt after a while. Hence, it’s crucial to check the weight, material used, contact pressure, the earpad’s material and shape, etc. Knowing these specifications beforehand can save you from headaches down the line.
On the other hand, it’s also important to check on compatibility. Making sure your headphones are compatible with your audio devices is key, especially if you want them for your studio. Moreover, if all your devices lack a headphone jack, then a wired pair is an immediate pass.
Thirdly, the best closed-back headphones should have a great frequency response. This just means that they should be able to clearly showcase audio across the full 20Hz to 20,000Hz spectrum.
Lastly, the best closed-back headphones might be the ones that have the best noise-canceling. Granted, this is a luxury feature that’s optional for the average listener. However, it’s also good to consider if you truly need something that cancels out even the slightest ambient noise.
How To Take Care Of Closed-Back Headphones
So, you’ve finally bought the best closed-back headphones for your setup that can excite you to use them. However, before you recklessly use your new toy, it’s important to know how to maintain it for longevity. After all, the last thing you’d want is to spend hundreds of dollars on a pair that breaks soon after.
Now, we do acknowledge that all things can break and damage eventually. However, there are a couple of things you can do to make sure that day comes later than sooner. The first is to take care of the cable. If you’re using a wired pair, make sure to keep the cables wound loosely in their natural coil. Don’t bend or wind it up too tightly, as this can easily damage the cable.
Keep the earpads clean
Secondly, it’s important to always keep your headphones clean. The earpads could get sweaty over time which could spell trouble. Hence, if your headphones have an IPX5 to IPX7 rating, try to take the earpads to rinse them off. On the other hand, brands should provide instructions for cleaning for non-water-resistant models.
However, if your ear pads somehow damage beyond repair, you can usually replace them with new ones. Of course, that depends if your model comes with replaceable ear pads. Regardless, make sure to follow the instruction manual if you’re ever going to replace the ear pads.
Pros And Cons Of Getting A Pair Of Closed-Back Headphones
Choosing the best closed-back headphones can be great if you want to listen to quality audio on the go. That’s because the closed-back nature of these headphones provides no sound spillage in the surrounding area. You can listen in peace with no worry about privacy.
Moreover, it’s the best type of headphones if you want to listen to music without letting noise in. With it, you can focus fully on the sound of the music you’re listening to without distractions. They’re also great for recording audio, allowing singers to focus on their voice as they sing. Lastly, they’re great for commutes on trains, planes, cars, and buses.
However, the closed-back design also comes with a couple of caveats. For example, since their rears are completely close, you can’t regulate heat properly with them. Hence, they’re not great for working out when your body temperature’s high. Moreover, they can hurt your ears after wearing them for a long time.
With all that said, it’s up to you whether the benefits of closed-back headphones are greater than the cons. It all depends on your use case, after all. If you can afford it, why not buy both open and closed-back headphones for different situations? That would provide the best of both worlds without sacrificing listening quality in any scenario.