So, you have decided that you are going to a set of headphones, now what? It is easy to get lost in the sea of terms and specifications that differentiate headphones, sound quality, and the features you have. However, if you are going to drop a few hundred of dollars on a headphone, it is important to choose the best option for your unique needs. One common factor that will pop up is whether or not a headphone is open back or closed back.
The idea behind the two different kinds is rather simple, however, they can have a big impact on what they are designed to be used for. Our team at Haymaker has made a simple guide comparing the usage of open back and closed back headphones, read on to find out more.
What are Open Back Headphones?
If it is your first time doing proper research on headphones, you might not even know what open and closed back headphones are – aren’t they just ear caps with different designs on them?
Well, no. Open back headphones have mechanisms that allow air to pass through the rear of the speaker driver and out the ear cups. This allows them to create clearer and more natural sounding music and noises as closed ear cups can cause low frequency build-up and resonances. However, just as they let air in, they are also going to let outside sound in, and your audio will also leak out. This means that while they sound fantastic, everyone else will also be able to hear how amazing they are. They are therefore more ideal for at-home use.
Due to the open backing, it is also important to note that even when made with high quality materials, these headphones will be a bit more fragile than closed back variations as water and dust will also get into the ear caps easily.
What are Closed Back Headphones?
These are headphones that are completely sealed, meaning that sound is only let out where you put your ears. This means that the audio will sound more isolated and less natural as compared to open back headphones. However, this isolation means that you will be able to hear crisp, clear notes, even during the hustle and bustle of rush hour commute. This makes them perfect for people who are considering headphones for trips or when working in the office and other public spaces.
Another benefit to closed back headphones is if you are planning to record music, the headphones will let you listen to your voice without your microphone picking up sounds from the speaker.
One downside, however, is that closed back headphones can compress or heat up your ears after prolonged use. This means that most people will generally need to take a break after an hour or two just to air out your ears.
In conclusion, we would say neither closed back or open back headphones are necessarily better than the other. They are simply better for different situations. However, for most people who plan to use their headphones in public spaces, it would be better to get closed back headphones just so that external noises will not affect your audio quality.