Closed-back headphones are a great choice for those people who intend to use the headphones in a fairly noisy environment or want very deep bass, as closed-back headphones are a lot better in these two factors from the open-back headphones.
The sound leakage of these headphones is also very low, which is why you will not be disturbing your colleagues in the office. There are not a lot of closed-back audiophile headphones like the open-back ones, but still, we will be reviewing some of the best closed-back headphones ever designed in this article.
Sennheiser designs some of the best headphones in the world, whether that be closed-back or open-back headphones. The company recently released the Sennheiser HD 820, which is quite similar to the legendary HD 800 but these cans are closed-back while the HD 800 headphones were open-back. The headphones keep the original comfort levels, providing an immensely beautiful experience. The headband feels ultra-soft while the ear pads provide a great mixture of softness and solid leathery texture for noise isolation.
The Sennheiser HD 820 are known for their brutal amount of detail and textural richness. There is substantial brightness in the headphones as well, although the lows are really tight and deep too. Since it comes with the closed-back design, the soundstage of these headphones is quite inferior to the HD 800. However, it is still, higher than most of the midrange open-back headphones, let alone talking about closed-back headphones. You would need a high-end amplifier to drive these monsters and if you are looking to reduce the brightness you can couple them with a relatively warm amplifier.
Overall, Sennheiser HD 820 are among the best closed-back headphones ever designed and is worthy of its cost if you can afford it.
Sony is an internationally renowned company which manufactures tons of electronic products, which we cannot even categorize so easily. The company’s headphones are very popular and Sony MDR-Z1R Signature is their recently-released closed-back headset, which provides staggering visuals along with top-notch sound quality. The size of the headphones is quite big, which is due to the usage of 70mm drivers. This also leads to a higher weight than many headphones, although it is not too heavy that it causes a headache, etc.
The sound signature of the headphone feels very musical, with a slightly V-shaped frequency response. The highs are not totally boosted but the frequency-ranges which are boosted, cause piercing sound at high volume. This can be solved by using a very warm-sounding amplifier. The bass of the headphones, we will say, feels out of the world and with such great noise isolation, the overall experience seems magical.
Overall, Sony MDR-Z1R WW2 Signature is among the top-notch closed-back headphones and seems like a nice alternative to Sennheiser HD 820, if you are more interested in sculpted sound signatures.
Shure is one of the oldest companies associated with audio equipment and is known for durability and performance. The Shure SRH1540 is a beautiful and premium-looking masterpiece from the company, which comes with an over-ear closed-back design and provides 40mm dynamic neodymium drivers. These are one of the most attractive headphones we have ever seen, with a well-balanced design while not compromising on the comfort levels by any means. The headband can be adjusted greatly and the earpads are magnificently soft and thick. The headphones come with an extra pair of earpads and cable too, which is a nice practice from the manufacturer.
These are regarded as a great pair of headphones for critical listening, i.e. for studio purpose. This means that the frequency response of the headphones is quite neutral, without any major boost for certain frequency ranges. Although this might be a great thing for music producers or purists, the sound might feel a bit boring to some people. The detail of the headphones is just amazing though, and one gets surprised to see these details coming from a pair of headphones under $500. The impedance of the headphones is a lot lower than most of the studio-grade headphones, which is why it can be used with fairly low-power amplifiers.
In the end, we will say that the Shure SRH1540 presents a perfect blend of visuals, sound quality, and detail-levels, which is pretty difficult to attain and you should definitely have a look at the headphones if you have a budget around $500.
Beyerdynamic is a German company which designs ultra-durable and very high-quality headphones. Beyerdynamic DT 770 Pro looks almost the same as the higher-end DT 1770 Pro, although it does not use the Tesla neodymium drivers and cost a lot less too. The headphones are built very strongly and yet they feel quite comfortable on the head. The earpads and the headband feel super soft while the headphones are visually pleasing as well, although the coiled cable doesn’t suit the headphones much.
The detail of the sound the headset produces is quite impressive for the given price, although the impedance asks for a high-end amplifier as well, leading to somewhat pricier results. The headphones also have 32-Ohm or 80-Ohm variants, where the basic idea is to reduce the need of the amplifier. The soundstage of the headphones feels pretty wide than any other closed-back headphones at this price, making them quite popular.
Conclusively, the Beyerdynamic DT 770 Pro provides a great value and if you own a good-quality amplifier already, you should definitely check these out.
When Audio-Technica announced they were releasing the ATH-M50X, the budget audiophiles could not keep calm. Its predecessor the ATH-M50 was doing so well it was hard to imagine that things can get better than that at this price. But they did, and the ATH-M50X is currently one of the best pairs of headphones you can own under a hundred and fifty bucks. Most of the material is plastic which might feel too cheap to some people. Other than that, the headphones feel somewhat tight as well, especially to people with large heads.
Unlike its predecessor, the cable is detachable, and they included three cords in the package (1.2 m – 3.0 m coiled cable, 3.0 m straight cable and 1.2 m straight cable) that you can interchange for increased flexibility. Additionally, it features 45mm large-aperture drivers that are further reinforced with rare earth magnets and copper-clad aluminium voice calls to give you an outstanding sound quality.
A great feature of the headphones is the ability to swivel the cups through 90 degrees which are perfect for single-ear monitoring in case you are using the headphones for music production. The earpads and headband are made using professional-grade material for sufficient cushioning and more durability. Both cups can be folded to achieve a compact size that is easy to store and carry around.
The ATH-M50X is at last on our list due to relatively lower performance, however, they have proven themselves to be one of the best closed-back headphones under $150.