Top 13 Open-back Headphones For Music Production

After reviewing “Top 13 Closed-back Headphones For Music Production” just a few days ago, we will not let them hang in the air alone. It`s time for a new read and a new side of the music monitoring tools to successful production. Everything is already nicely, straight out of the blur, put in the main title. Today it all comes to “Top 13 Open-back Headphones For Music Production”. Sharpen your eyes, clear those lenses and dive in.

 

Top 13 Open-back Headphones For Music Production

13 – Sure SRH 1440

Top 13 open-back headphones
SRH 1440

At 13 we got Sure`s SRH 1440 cans to start with. These open-back headphones are a mid-range price ear-caps that produce a clear sound and for our Hip Hop producer team, a pretty steer bass. A frequency range of 15 Hz – 27 kHz enables a wide stereo image and exceptional depth. Great design also keeps the commodity in place.

Here are the main features:

  • Frequency Range – 15 Hz – 27 kHz
  • Impedance – 37 ohms (nominal, 1 kHz)Sensitivity – 101 dB SPL/mW (1 kHz)
  • Maximum Input Power – 1000 mW (1 kHz)
  • Connectors – Gold-plated 3.5mm stereo mini plug with threaded 1/4″ adapter
  • Cable Length – 6.9′ (2.1 m)

 

Price ~ $300

 

 

12 – Samson SR850

Now these babies are in my personal possession and for their ultra-affordable price, you won`t find a better match. Although announced as studio reference ones, and though they bring quite a sound for the given price tag, still you cannot fully rely on them. Their low budget offer brings a decent amount of stereo imaging that you cannot understand until you get a better open-back studio phones or, like in my case, super-quality studio monitors.

Top 13 open-back headphones
SR 850

Only then will you see the lack of mid-range, and maybe a bit too much open in high-end. But the low end and desired depth is definitely there. And also, you won`t find a better comfortable phones at this amount. Having in mind that your hair as well as earrings are out of the cans way, the SR850 can easily survive on your ear shells for hours. Check out the rest of the specs:

  • Frequency Range – 10Hz – 30kHz
  •  Impedance – 32 Ohms
  • Connectors – Gold-Plated 3.5mm Stereo Mini Plug
  • Driver size – 50 mm 
  • Cable Length – 0.21m
  • Plug Size – 1/8″ (1/4″ Adapter Included)

 

Price ~ $40

 

 

11 –  AKG K240 MKII

Top 13 open-back headphones
AKG K240 MKII

Harman`s AKG K240 MKII is another great top 13 open-back headphones pick. Comfortable and precise wise, they are most useful in reference monitoring, not the actual main mixing (if you are the one of them producers that mix on headphones). But it`s also, under no circumstances, to be underestimated. Their natural line keeps the character imposing and ready to give you that full ear pleasure, so don`t quit just yet.

 

Features:

  • Frequency Range – 15Hz – 25kHz
  • Impedance – 55 Ohms
  • Sensitivity – 104 dB SPL/V
  • Maximum Input Power – 200mW
  • Connectors – Gold-Plated 3.5mm Stereo Mini Plug with 1/4″ Adapter
  • Cable Length – 9.8′ (3m) Single-Sided Cable
    16.4′ (5m) Coiled Cable
  • Weight – 8.5 oz (240g)

Price ~ $150

 

10 – Superlux HD668B

Top 13 open-back headphones
HD668B

Top 13 open-back headphones list keeps getting better and warmer sounding. Next in line is another on-a-budget pair that brings a fine wave art. Superlux HD668B is a great build, comfortable on-head phone gem with just enough isolation to get your mixing things done.

Still, keep in mind that their frequency range will not enable you to play with that bottom as you would wish when Hip Hop comes to action. Still, they are pretty awesome for the price and one more pair that cannot be neglected in a glimpse of a thought.

 

Features:

  • Driver Type: Dynamic
  • Impedance @ 1kHz: 56 ohms
  • Sensitivity: 98 dB SPL/V
  • THD+N:
  • Isolation: -12dB ~ 15dB
  • Connector Type: 3.5mm (1/8″)
  • Cable Length: 3ft and 9ft
  • Cable Style: Straight Left-Side
  • Weight: 7.8 oz.

 

Price ~ $37

 

 

9 – Sennheiser HD 600

At 9th spot of the “Top 13 Open-back Headphones” sits Sennheiser`s HD600 model. It`s a mid-range priced headphone system that raises a few bars on the sound quality meter. With computer optimized magnet system that decreases harmonic distortion and duofol diaphragms reducing standing waves, there`s really no need to guess twice about the pro level use with HD600. 

 

Top 13 open-back headphones
HD600

Here are main features:

  • High-quality open metal mesh earpiece-covers aid in delivering extremely transparent sound
  • Computer optimized magnet system minimizes harmonic and intermodulation distortion
  • Duofol diaphragms to reduce standing waves for distortion free sound
  • Neodymium ferrous magnet system ensures optimum sensitivity and dynamic response
  • Extremely lightweight aluminum voice coils for highest transient response
  • Very comfortable to wear due to BioNetic design
  • Detachable Kevlar-reinforced OFC copper cable
  • Frequency Range – 12 Hz – 39 kHz
  • Impedance – 300 ohms
  • Sensitivity – 97dB SPL/mW
  • Maximum Input Power – 200 mW
  • Connectors – 1/8″ stereo mini-jack, with 1/8″ to 1/4″ TRS phono adapter
  • Cable Length – 10′ (3 m)
  • Weight – 9.2 oz (260 g)

Price ~ $300

 

 

8 – AKG K702

One more diamond carefully polished at AKG Company is their K720 series model. About the same range as its previous colleague, the AKG K702 is one of the most used and praised open-back professional headphones. Clear, almost impeccable flat response from all the parts of the frequency spectrum is exactly what you`ll need when getting serious about your mixing job.

Top 13 open-back headphones
K702

Light, therefore very easy on the use, durable and crystal clear in sound deliverance, this is one of the top-notch shots to fire when mix, master and record your Hip Hop.

 

Features:

  • Driver Size – 45mm
  • Frequency Response – 10Hz-39.8kHz
  • Impedance – 62 ohms
  • Cable Length – 9.8′

Price ~ $230

 

 

7 – AKG K701

Top 13 open-back headphones
K701

Oh, but we are not done with the wonderful magic spills from AKG. The twin brother AKG K701 stands as one of the best proven open-back headphones. Its quality spreads on the various professional opinion comments, most affecting maybe being this one:

“The K 701s provide superbly reliable reproduction of instrumental music during tracking and mixing; Finally…reliably true sound (no phony extra bass, etc.), no ear fatigue (even after a 6-hour mixing session), and the price, especially from B&H, is on the money. Nothing I’ve ever purchased has made me feel as good about spending my hard-earned money.

If you are a WORKING (home) studio musician and you want your next CD to sound professional…mix it using these, and it will.”

 

So there yo go. If you still on your pondering road of decisions making, check out the main specs:

  • Frequency Range – 10 Hz – 39.8 kHz
  • Impedance – 62 Ohms
  • Sensitivity – 105dB SPL/V
  • Maximum Input Powe – 200mW
  • Connectors – 1 x 1/4″ TRS Phone, Gold Plated
    1 x 1/8″ Stereo Mini Plug
  • Cable Length – 10′ (3 m)
  • Weight – 8.3 oz (235 g)

Price ~ $100

 

 

6 – Audio-Technica ATH-AD500X

Top 13 open-black headphones
Ad 500X

Audio-Technica creates this fantastic pair of cans to match up with the very tough competition in our top 13 open-back headphones. The ATH-AD500X model not only is it highly affordable, but stands proudly with its 53 mm drivers, making vocal tracking a supreme piece of work.

With clean bass response and a lightweight category championship ring, AD500X shows to be just as good as any of its high-priced competitors.

 

Features:

  • Driver Diameter – 2″ (53 mm)
  • Frequency Response – 5 Hz to 25 kHz
  • Maximum Input Power – 500 mW
  • Sensitivity – 100 dB/mW
  • Impedance – 48 Ω
  • Cable Length – 9.8′ (3.0 m)
  • Connector – 1/8″ (3.5 mm) Gold-Plated Mini-Stereo
  • Weight – 8 oz (235 g)

 

Price ~ $70

 

 

5 – Beyerdynamic DT990 Pro

Top 13 open-back headphones
DT 990 Pro

Beterdynamic DT990 Pro is another very valuable pair of studio monitoring caps and pretty much affordable too. Its character of slick sounding voice and “brilliant bass” as noted in description kind of explains why such accessible urge among them audiophiles and pros both.

Envious frequency range simply jumps out of the low-price logic, but we can only be drastically thankful it still is. And if this doesn`t get your attention, maybe one of many frenzy user reviews will. Here is one that really caught my taste:

“The way it responds with the High and Mid frequencies is priceless and I have never seen any other headphones do it. The lows are extremely precise and truly make your overall mix and stereo image sound amazing and very polished. If it sounds good on a DT 990 Pro, then it sounds good anywhere. Speechless!”

Main frequency:

  • Driver Size – 45mm
  • Frequency Response – 5Hz-35kHz
  • Impedance – 250 ohms
  • Cable Length – 9.8′

Price ~ $180

 

 

4 – Beyerdynamic DT 880 Pro

But, we are not done with Beyerdynamic just yet. Once more, we have a twin brother that cannot be neglected. No. 4 in the top 13 open-back headphones belongs to amazing DT 880 Pro type. Both 990 and 880 are equally top-notch assembled and offer almost indistinguishable quality, except they do differ slightly.

Top 13 open-back headphones
DT 880 Pro

First distinction goes to the hands of 880`s price. They are couple of tens over the 990. But much bigger divergency lies  in DT 880`s ability to provide a sound quality of both open and closed-back studio headphones. That way proving its much costly manners. You can play, record, track and do a full mix, that special open-back design enables. It brings crystal clear sound, but also the minimal possible leakage to the outside world, making these maybe the best of the best picks yet.

Main specs:

  • Single-sided, coiled cable with gold vaporized stereo jack plug
  • Easy servicing – all parts replaceable
  • Leather pouch included
  • Dynamic transducer with semi-open earpieces
  • 5Hz-35kHz frequency response
  • 250-ohm nominal impedance
  • 96dB nominal SPL
  • Gold vaporized stereo 1/8″ mini-jack and 1/4″ adapter
  • Driver Size – 45mm

Price ~ $220 

 

 

3 – Sennheiser HD 650

Top 13 open-back headphones
HD 650

With another Sennheiser stop, we touch base on the HD 650 model. This is the superhero among these top 13 open-back headphones. It could easily be at first place and not fall under the pressure of the first two.

Its specially designed silk armor provides steady attenuation in both ear-cups. And its super-light aluminium coils produce superb transient response. When at response, its low end one goes beyond the expected mark too. And my favorite review quote: the sonic split between notes is like being in a concert hall no matter what type of music“.

But the real question here is, can this “blissful sound” be enough for your shopping cart?

Features:

  • Frequency Range – 16 Hz to 30 kHz (-3 dB)
    10 Hz to 39.5 kHz (-10 dB)
  • Impedance – 300 Ohms
  • Sound Pressure Level – 103 dB at 1 kHz, 1 Vrms
  • Maximum Input Power – 500 mW as per EN 60-268-7 
  • Maximum Input Power – 200 mW
  • Connectors – Connector: 1/8″ / 3.5 mm
    Adapter: 1/4″ / 6.35 mm
  • Weight – 9.2 oz / 260 g

Price ~ $300

 

 

2 – Sennheiser HD 800

Top 13 open-back headphones
HD 800

We come to the very end of our super “Top 13 Open-back Headphones” list. And this team follower is, of course the third Sennheiser family member. The awesome HD 800 cans. And if the previous pick is a Superman, these baby here is his much cooler and stronger cousin.

If you didn`t already heard, let me break it down for you. Supergirl beats the Superman and IS officially known as the strongest superhero in the Universe 1. 😉 Ok, joke aside, but since HD 800 really dwells outstandingly in its beauty and is a better model, then my comparison is only righteous. 🙂 But the main proof, if you decide or already own it is its stainless steel cape. 😉 Right?! 😀 Hand-assembled in Germany, boys and girls the Hip Hop just got richer for one more exceptional fighter. And like all of  them superstars, it is going to be a lot harder to get to.

 

Features:

  • Frequency Range- 6Hz – 51kHz (-10dB)
    14Hz – 44.1kHz (-3dB)
  • Impedance – 300 Ohms
  • Sensitivity – 102dB
  • Connectors – Gold-Plated 1/4″ Stereo Plug
  • Cable Length – 9.8′ (3 m)
  • Weight – 9.2 oz (260g)

Price ~ $1000

 

 

1 – Audeze LCD-2

Top 13 open-back headphones
LCD-2

Don`t know if you should realy be judging the character by its price, but if you would like to, this is maybe the winner among them heavy-tagged ones. Audeze`s LCD-2 has nothing to do with LCD TVs and everything with lavish sound performance. This is for audiophiles and sound engineers as a reference super-cans. It can deliver a supreme wide range of frequency response.

Its no. 1 spot on the Top 13 open-back headphones is defined by its pristine sound response in every part of the frequency spectrum. And given the price, you`d have thought that the cons are simply unimaginable here. But, unfortunately, although only one fault, it happens to be not so tiny one.

Top 13 Open-back headphones
LCD-2

Features:

  • Transducer Type – Planar magnetic
  • Magnet Type – Proprietary self-closing high-grade Neodymium design
  • Diaphragm – 6.17 square inches (39.8 square cm)
  • Maximum Power – 15 W (for 200 ms)
  • Optimal Range – 1 to 4 Watts
  • SPL – > 130 dB with 15 W
  • Frequency Response – 5 to 20,000 Hz, extension to 50,000 Hz
  • Impedance – 70 Ω
  • Efficiency – 93 dB / 1 mW
  • Cable Length – 2.5 m (8.2 ft)
  • Weight – 21.2 oz (600 g)

 

Most of the reviews by professionals synced up on terrible comfort of the LCD-2. The grip is just too tight on the head, and is really hard keeping up with them in long hours. Also the price keeps the main negative connotation to Audeze, but that`s why it is good that you have 12 more to pick from.

Price ~ $1000

 

 

Final Audio Thoughts

Top 13 Open-back headphones
Open-back headphones

With the gold medalist our audio fantasy ride stops here, but not for long. We are getting to another useful and cool review as soon as there`s a next big need for it. Until then, stay in your studio zen and keep the rhythm going. Beat out!

tanja cookbeat

Producer/Blogger/Music Critic

32-year-old self-taught artist (Hip Hop producer/dj, blogger/critic, quote writer/enthusiast photographer).... Certified Fitness Coach. Former Ryan Leslie`s "BPBC" member. Occasionally on a Composer Agreement with LA`s "Smash Haus Music Group". Owner of online personal label "CoCo Beatz Music Group". Certified Fitness Coach (has 17 years in recreational bodybuilding). Living for Hip Hop Culture.

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