If you live for your music and you want to be isolated from the rest of the world it is time to consider closed-back headphones. The best closed headphones have ear cups that use a solid metal, plastic or other non-breathable material on the outside backing of the ear cup, instead of a grill or a grate. Closed-back headphones really isolate you from the noise of the world passing by.
Finding the perfect closed headphones can be difficult because there are so many different styles and features to choose from. We have put together a complete guide to help you find the best closed headphones that fit your personal style, needs and budget.
Benefits and Disadvantages
There are a plenty of benefits and disadvantages of closed-back headphones, which are important to be aware of before making a purchase decision. Here are the main benefits:
- Provides the best isolation from outside noises, making them perfect in noisy environments
- Protects against sound leaking out and being heard by people near you
- Produces stronger low-frequencies or bass than open headphones
- Less natural sound than open headphones
- Smaller soundstage or “distance” than open headphones so the sound seems like it is being produced in your head
Things to Consider Choosing Closed-Back Headphones
- Comfort. Not all closed-back headphones are created equally. The amount and type of padding on the ear cup varies from model to model so it is important to know what level of comfort you need for the type of listening you will be doing. If you use the headphones several hours a day you will want headphones with better padding.
- Location. If you will be using the closed headphones when you travel you will want to find a good quality set that folds so they are easy to carry with you when traveling. If you will be suing them primarily at home or work then you can choose a non-folding or full size model.
- Musical Styles. Headphones cater to specific sound types. Headphones that are excellent for classical music may not deliver the bass or lower frequencies needed for hard rock and heavy metal for example.
- Budget. It is important to know your budget before you start looking for headphones. There is little point in looking at headphones that cost $300 if your budget is $50. Focus on the best closed headphones that deliver the highest sound quality and features for your price range.
Top 10 Closed-Back Headphones Chart
3 Best Closed Headphones Reviews
The ATH-M50x is a solid over the ear headphone that is well built and sturdy. The sound quality is quite good although it does not perform at quite the same level as professional studio headphones offered at higher price points. For a middle of the line consumer headphone it delivers better than average sound that is clear and balanced throughout the low, middle and higher frequencies.
The headband and ear cup padding is made of pleather and foam and it is pretty soft and comfortable. The headband is easy to adjust and it hugs your head. Another nice feature is that the ear pads fold up and in so they are easier to store and to use when traveling. They also swivel 180 degrees so the ear pads lie flat when you place them on a table or if your wear them around your neck.
These headphones are not hard wired. They have a connector on the left ear cup and the unit comes with three different cables:
- 3m coiled cable
- 3m straight cable
- 1.2 thin, straight cable for portable use
All in all they are a good, solid performing set of closed headphones at a reasonable mid range price point and a set should be at the top of your list for those that want good sound and good noise isolation.
If you are willing to spend a little more money the V-MODA Crossfade M-100 headphones may be your best choice. Preferred by many of the highest profile DJ’s they offer several advantages. They have a clean bass heavy sound, dual inputs, comfortable, collapsible memory foam ear cups and a tough, durable design.
With the accent on a heavy bass thee headphones are perfect for driving rock and beats. The one draw back to these headphones is the nose isolation. They do a reasonably good job of blocking out external noise but they do leak sound if you crank push the volume to max.
These headphones have a great sound, a rich sound stage, warm vocals and a powerful, undistorted bass that provide a fantastic sound experience.
These full sized, closed headphones from Sony offer terrific, balanced sound and are very comfortable to wear. Given its moderate price point you will find it difficult to find another set with the same quality sound and comfort in the same price range.
One of the things that helps with the comfort is its lighter than average weight. Weighing only 8 ounces and made from plastic it reduces the weight of the set on your head. The outer ear cups are made of metal and you can even buy replaceable ear pads to help prolong the life and comfort of your set.
The big advantage of these headphones is that it does all ranges well-bass, midrange and treble. The sound is smooth, there is a sense of a spacious soundstage and the noise isolation is better than average.