Ben McKimm

Open-Back vs. Closed-Back Headphones: Buyer's Guide | Man of Many

Offering the perfect balance between quality acoustics and natural clear tones, open-back headphones are perfect for at-home listening. In our tests, we put the new EPOS H6PRO open acoustic gaming headset up against its closed counterpart and found a few critical differences in audio quality and accuracy.

What are Open-Back Headphones?

  • Natural sound stage
  • Cooler for extended use
  • Ideal for quiet environments
  • Lighter than closed-back options
  • Benefits of Open-Back Headphones

    Closed-back headphones are what you probably own right now. They’re completely sealed around the driver and earcup meaning less sound leakage and an isolated experience from the outside world. As the drivers are sealed inside the closed compartments, the audio is less ‘natural-sounding’ and more controlled in terms of frequency. You’ll hear a lot more at either end of the audio spectrum with deeper basslines and harsher highs as less sound escape from the earcups.

    What are Closed-Back Headphones?

  • Commuting
  • Noise isolation
  • The sound stage is more pronounced but less natural.
  • Perfect for office workers
  • Benefits of Closed-Back Headphones

    In practice, unless you’re using your headphones in a quiet space you’ll have no choice but to opt for a pair of closed-back headphones – and that’s far from a bad thing. Our tests revealed that under most applications we actually preferred the sound coming from the closed-back version of the EPOS H6PRO as we’re not lucky enough to be afforded a completely silent space when gaming and listening to music. That’s not to say that we wouldn’t prefer the open-back headset, however, it’s completely situational and that’s the main thing to consider when deciding between the two.

    Open-Back vs. Closed-Back Headphones Verdict

    In our testing, we compared two identical models. This allowed us to accurately compare the sound capabilities between the two configurations. We chose the new EPOS H6PRO line, a gaming headset that is offered in a closed-back and open-back setup. All information below is provided thanks to EPOS.

    What We Tested

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