The Best Closed Back Headphone [An Interesting Buyers Guide] [2020]

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After covering a handful of guides about open-back headphones, this is the right time to dive deep into a closed-back headphone, and if you want to go straight into the recommended closed-back headphones, you can use the table of contents to quickly reference different sets of closed-back headphone.

The closed-back headphone doesn’t allow air to pass through the speaker element and doesn’t leak sound like an open-back headphone; imagine sealing off your home speaker, they sound like the audio is coming from your head (box-like sound).

However, Closed-back designs have changed throughout the year, and are now designed with anti-resonant material, which makes the listening more realistic, and enjoyable.

A closed-back headphone can be differentiated by their earcup design which can either be an over-ear headphone or an on-ear headphone.

When a Closed-Back Headphone Is an Over-Ear Headphone, It Has…

  • A circular earpads and cover all the ear area
  • Larger earpads compared to other types of headphone and circumscribe the ears
  • It is also called a Circumaural headphone, “Circum” – Goes around to surround the “Aural”(the visible part of the ear)

When a Closed-Back Headphone Is an On-Ear Headphone, They…

  • Don’t circumscribe the ear like the over-ear types, an on-ear closed-back headphone rest directly on the ears area rather than going around them
  • Aren’t as big as an over-ear headphone, so, they tend to be easier to carry around and lighter when compared to a circumaural type
  • It is also called a Supraaural headphone

With that out of the way, Let’s look at some of the reasons you should buy either an On-ear or an over-ear closed-back headphone, this would help you make sure, you are buying the preferred types of a closed-back headphone.

Use an Over-Ear Closed-Back Headphone if You…

  • Want passive isolation; over-ear headphones are good at attenuating ambiance noise
  • You want a lighter pressure on the ear area; this is because they go around the ear, depending on the overall design, they can be used for an extensive period of time

Use an on-Ear Close Back Headphone if You…

  • Want a smaller and portable headphone
  • They are well suited for sport than an over-ear headphone; this is because they are directly sitting on the ear area.

That covered, let’s look at some of the factors you should consider before buying a closed-back headphone, you can skip this section, but it is recommended you take a quick look, this way you can easily differentiate which fits your need.

Factors To Consider When Buying A Closed-Back Headphone

Choosing a pair of good high-quality closed-back headphone can be a daunting task if you are inexperienced, and moreover you can easily get baffled if you don’t know the differences in specifications, although you necessarily don’t need to know what a specification means, but specification helps make it convenient in comparing some components to one another, say output impedance, the power output, the sensitivity, frequency response, etc.

A good quality closed-back headphone with no comfort is a no-no, durability is also of utmost importance, your headphone needs to serve you for a long period of time with little to no damage.

Before jumping into the selection of a good quality Closed-Back headphone, here are some factors to consider:

  • Your Budget – Your budget would play a good role in the selection of a good quality closed-back headphone, and “no”, the higher the price of a headphone doesn’t necessarily mean the greater it would be. The price point I will recommend for a closed-back headphone would be from $100 – $500 (this depends on the features you want)
  • Comfort – The design or to put it in another perspective, the structural design and the size of a closed-back headphone can affect the balance between portability and the fidelity. If you all for quality and audio transparency, then go for an over-ear headphone, and if you are in for portability, then go for on-ear type.
  • Durability – By all means, you want your headphone to be durable, and this can vary depending on the material they are made up from, luckily, I have sifted through some of the best closed-back headphone, which would ensure high durability
  • Extra Features/Additional Parts – You should definitely look out for features, some provide comfort with the aid of the flexible raised-fabric earpads, while some closed-back headphone allows the removal of components. such as ear pads. As an added bonus, some manufacturer includes gold metal connectors (jacks/plugs) which are designed to resist corrosion compared to a silver connector which isn’t as durable than gold metal.

I hopefully guided you through the meaning of a closed-back headphone, the different types and some factors you should consider before buying one, let’s dive into the realm of the best closed-back headphone in the market.

(1) OneOdio Over-Ear Headphone

The first closed-back headphone on our list is the OneOdio Over-Ear wired headphone, which comes built with 50mm drivers combined with neodymium magnets for a pristine high-quality sound.

One of the features I dig about the OneOdio headphone is the swiveling earcups that are self-adjustable and has a flexible headband which not only helps in listening comfortably but also eliminates fatigue for listening for a longer period of time.

I should also mention that OneOdio over-ear headphone has a high-quality padded ear cushion that is designed for noise isolation, and if you are an audio engineer, this is perfect for mixing and mastering.

This has an impedance of 32 ohms, and it is claimed to have a sensitivity of 110dB which is pretty useless as we aren’t sure if the sensitivity is measured by dB SPL per milliwatt (1/1000 of a watt) or as dB SPL per volt.

However, OneOdio is the perfect headphone of your choice if you would be using it for smartphones (iPad, iPod, iPhone, Android, etc) and even Laptops.

If you would be using this for mixing or mastering, then you can get an amp to further increase the sensitivity, I doubt you would need one but again, it depends on how you want it loud.

Note: The Q & A are frequently asked questions, this would help others in finding answers to baffling questions.

Few Questions and Answer About One-Odio Over-Ear Headphone:

Q: Do they block outside noise?

A: This is not a noise-canceling headphone, but when you play music, the padded ear cushion together with the music, aid as noise isolation, so you shouldn’t hear any outside noise.

Q: Do I Need an Amp

A: No, it can perfectly work without an amp, but if you feel you need an amp, then you can use one, but be wary of the volume levels

Key Features:

  • Closed Back, Over-Ear
  • Frequency Response: 20 Hz-20 K Hz
  • Cable/plug Type: 3.5mm and A 6.35mm Stereo
  • Speaker: 50mm Driver
  • Impedance: 32 Ohms
  • Sensitivity: 110d B
  • Swiveling Earcups that Are Self-Adjustable
  • High-Quality Padded Ear Cushion that Is Designed for Noise Isolation

Check OneOdio Price at Amazon

(2) Sennheiser HD 569

Up next is Sennheiser HD 569 Closed-back headphone which is built for those interested in noise isolation and pristine high-quality audio.

Sennheiser HD 569 is powered by the Sennheiser’s own 23-ohm transducers, which uses aluminum voice coils to deliver excellent dynamics and low inaudible distortion.

One of the advantages of using a Closed-back headphone is the way it provides its noise isolation, the HD569 is built to effectively reduce ambient noise, this way your listening could be much more enjoyable.

My favorite feature of the recent Sennheiser products is the E.A.R or ‘Ergonomic Acoustic Refinement’ technology, which is built to channel audio directly into your ears for a more ‘in-room’ like listening experience.

What about comfort? It is lightweight and designed with luxurious velour covered ear cushions plus a sleek padded headband that delivers excellent comfort when used for longer listening sessions.

HD 569 comes with 2 detachable cables, the first one is a 1.2meter mini-jack (3.5mm) for use with a smartphones &laptops, and the second is a 6.3mm (quarter-inch jack) that is 3meter long which is suitable for a home system.

The sensitivity of the Sennheiser HD 569 is 115 dB/V SPL by the voltage and 98.62 dB/mW SPL by power, where dB means decibels, decibels is measurement of how powerful a sound is, the dB/V or dB/mW is just a standard used in measuring decibels, the international standard used the mW, while newer method uses dB/V.

You don’t need an amplifier for this, its impedance is at a lower range (23 ohms), which could be driven easily by smartphones, portable audio players and would even work great with your home system.

Note: The Q & A are frequently asked questions, this would help others in finding answers to baffling questions.

Useful Question and Answer About Sennheiser HD 569 Headphone:

Q: Can you connect to a computer (P.C) without buying a separate adapter?

A: Yes, but the cable made for computers (1.2meter 3.5mm cable) is shorter which is great for smartphones/laptops but not ideal for a personal computer system unless you are willing to buy a separate adapter. So, if you are a P.C user beware.

Key Features:

  • Closed Back, Over-Ear
  • Frequency Response: 10 – 28,000 Hz
  • 2 detachable cables;  1.2meter mini-jack (3.5mm) and  a 6.3mm (quarter-inch jack) that is 3meter long
  • Soft, replaceable ear pads for enhanced comfort
  • Powered By a 23-ohm transducers
  • Impedance: 23 Ohms
  • Sensitivity: 98.62 dB/mW

Check Sennheiser HD 569 Price at Amazon

(3) AKG K72 Pro Audio

AKG has been manufacturing audio equipment (Dynamic & condenser microphones, headphones, etc) for over 70 years, and their headphones are one of the best in the market right now.

The AKG K72 Pro headphone is ideal for anyone looking for a reference-quality closed-back headphone; they reveal subtlest nuances, can translate accurately across the system when used for mixing and are cheap (currently under 50 bucks).

Powered by high-performance 40mm drivers that deliver excellent dynamics or to put it in another perspective, a wide frequency response (16Hz – 20kHz) range with no distortion.

AKG K72 has a self-adjusting headband plus its lightweight design makes it extremely comfortable even if worn for a longer period, so, if you are mixing or a mastering engineer, you should definitely lay your hands on this one if you don’t joke with comfort.

AKG didn’t specify some technical specifications (impedance, max power, and sensitivity) of the AKG K72, but according to the reference-audio-analyzer report, the K72 has an impedance of 32.77 ohms and a sensitivity of 101.02 dB/mW, which makes them work well without an amplifier. You can add an amp to take things further when working on mixes, and you feel you need to listen loud enough.

Useful Question and Answer About AKG K72 Pro Headphone:

Q: Since the K72 are studio headphone, are they also good for recording vocals

A: Yes, they are closed-back headphone which doesn’t leak sound (although, they do leak sound but not so much compared to open back headphones), so, you would most likely experience bleed into the mic.

Key Features:

  • Closed-Back, Over-Ear
  • Powered by high-performance 40mm drivers
  • Precisely balanced response provides reference-monitor accuracy
  • Frequency Response: 16Hz – 20KHz
  • Lightweight design for exceptional comfort
  • Self-adjusting headband ensures a perfect fit
  • Impedance: 32.77 Ohms
  • Sensitivity: 101.02 dB/mW

Check AKG K72 Price at Amazon

(4) Philips SHP6000

Philips SHP6000 is a high-quality closed-back headphone that is powered by a 40mm speaker driver for strong bass and precise audio reproduction. This headphone is way below its price (currently under 40 bucks) and comes built with powerful features such as the self-adjustable soft foam floating cushions which not only make it a perfect fit but an exceptional comfort even if worn for a longer period.

An over-ear headphone is good at sound isolation and they add a lighter pressure on the ears area, SHP6000 is an example of an over-ear headphone and it is built to provide good sound isolation.

We shouldn’t ignore the connectivity aspect of the Philips SHP6000, it comes with a 3meter desirable cable length which is perfect for general uses (Smartphones, audio players, laptops, etc) and as an added bonus, it comes with a 3.5 – 6.35mm adapter.

The Philips SHP6000 has a sensitivity of 103dB and an impedance of 32 ohms, however, the sensitivity of Philips SHP6000 is useless because we don’t know if it is measured by dB SPL per milliwatt (1/1000 of a watt) or as dB SPL per volt. By looking at the ohms I can say for sure, this headphone could easily be driven by lower voltage devices and if you feel you are in reaching a desirable volume level you might try adding an amplifier.

Key Features:

  • Closed-Back, Over-Ear
  • Frequency Response: 8Hz- 40,000Hz
  • Powered by high-performance 40mm drivers
  • Lightweight design for exceptional comfort
  • self-adjustable soft foam floating cushions
  • Impedance: 32 Ohms
  • Sensitivity: 103dB

Check Philips SHP6000 Price at Amazon

(5) Audio-Technica ATH-A550Z

Audio-Technica ATH-A550Z is a closed-back dynamic headphone powered by a large-aperture 53mm driver that delivers a high fidelity sound reproduction. ATH-A550Z features enhanced 3D wing support, which is self-adjustable and is built to perfectly adapts to your head for perfect fit and long comfort.

I should mention this headphone does not only comes with a tangle-free cable, but it also provides a cloth-wrapped for the cable which in turn ensures long-lasting durability.

The sensitivity of the ATH-A550Z is 100dB/mW SPL by power plus a nominal impedance of 40 ohms., the sensitivity reflects the efficiency of a headphone, the higher the sensitivity the less power from your device, there isn’t any fixed rule about the sensitivity you should go for but generally, I’ll recommend 95dB and above.

Useful Question and Answer About Sennheiser HD 569 Headphone:

Q: Is the cable detachable?

A: No, it comes with a 3.5mm fixed cable, and if you feel you need a 6.35mm plug, there is a 6.35mm stereo adapter

Key Features:

  • Closed-Back, Over-Ear
  • Frequency Response: 5Hz- 35,000Hz
  • 53 mm drivers with CCAW Bobbin-wound voice coils
  • Lightweight design for exceptional comfort
  • Self-adjustable enhanced 3D wing support
  • Impedance: 40 Ohms
  • Sensitivity: 100dB/mW

Check ATH-A550Z Price at Amazon

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