Open vs Closed Back Headphones!
There are many headphone brands out there and they come with computers and mobile devices, new technologies and they show the user’s personality. But how do you choose the right headphones for yourself? Unfortunately, as in most aspects of music, the solution is determined by your personal taste. You should, however, narrow down your choices depending on how you want to use them.
In music production, the headphones you use are largely determined by what you want to do with them both in and out of the studio. I’ll clarify what it means by open and closed-back headphones below.
Basic Information About Open/Closed Back Headphones
Open-Back headphones are designed to allow audio leakage out of the back of the earpieces. On the other hand, Closed-Back headphones are designed to isolate you from external noises or sounds and minimize the audio leakage of the sound out of the earpieces. So this would be the main difference between Open-Back and Closed-Back headphones. But let’s learn more about each type.
Sennheiser’s HD 414 headphones became the first open-back headphones to enter the market, debuting in 1968. Closed-back headphones and open-back headphones are identical in appearance, but there is a key difference. Air and sound will easily flow into the earcup since the exterior housing has built-in holes.
A perforated housing reduces pressure buildup and promotes a more natural tone, making it suitable for vital listening. They’re thin and easy to wear for extended periods of time.
Open-back headphones have better sound amplification at the cost of isolation. Since open-back headphones do not filter out ambient sounds, someone around may be able to hear what you’re listening to. This lack of isolation, on the other hand, results in a unique listening experience.
Instead of making you feel like you’re in an isolation booth with an artist, they make you feel like you’re being treated to a private concert in the warmth of your own home. Open-back headphones are ideal for critical listening, mixing, and daily use at home.
beyerdynamic DT 990 PRO
Sennheiser HD 600
beyerdynamic DT 1990 Pro
Closed-back headphones were mostly used by the military and radio/telephone operators prior to 1937. Beyerdynamic launched the DT 48 headphones, the first consumer-grade headphones, to fill a niche in the industry. They became very successful, but they were unable to play audio in stereo. By 1958, the Koss SP/3 stereo headphones, the first modern closed-back model, had taken the world by storm.
Closed-back headphones are constructed precisely as their name implies. Closed-back headphones have sealed housing that prevents sound from leaking. Outside noise is also muffled by this, resulting in remarkable isolation. You’ll note that these headphones are a little heavier and chunkier than open-back headphones.
Closed-back headphones are common because they block out the outside noise and allow the music to shine. You’ll see a small increase in bass response as well as some passive isolation. Closed-back headphones have passive noise cancellation, making you sound as if you’re in the studio with the people you’re listening to.
This success trait is ideal for situations requiring a high level of attention and concentration. Closed-back headphones are still the preferred choice for studio use. They allow you to track silent instruments or voices without having to think about your mic picking up the sound from your headphones.
beyerdynamic DT 770 PRO 250 Ohm
SENNHEISER HD 280 PRO
Headphone Calibration Software & Plugins
There are some headphone calibration software and plugins which give you a better experience, for listening to music in a virtual studio, mixing, and mastering. like:
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