Do you want headphones for listening at home? Then open-back headphones are probably the best choice for you.
What are open back headphones?
Open back headphones let air move freely between the outside world and your ears. This means they don't block out any sound, but means they can be almost completely free of resonances and other issues that plague closed back headphones.
Usually, open back headphones are more detailed and have a better defined "sound-stage" than closed back headphones at the same price point.
Sometimes open back headphones can be a little bit more difficult to "drive", because they don't have sound bouncing off the internal walls of the headphones to reinforce the sound. Also, the revealing nature of open back headphones often means hums and hisses are much more noticeable.
How do I choose an open back headphone?
Headphones can all be extremely different, and quite personal. We always recommend trying on several pairs of headphones before purchasing to make sure that they are comfortable and sound great with whatever music you enjoy.
Basically, come in to one of our NZ stores, and we'll set you on the right path.
If you're not sure where to start, here are some tried and tested options that we love and we think you should review in 2016...
The best budget open back headphones:
Grado SR-80 ($185.00)
The best mid-range open back headphones:
Audio-Technica R70X or Sennheiser HD650
Why choose these headphones?
The Audio-Technica R70x is just about the most "fun" headphone on the market. They have a big open sound and are really comfortable for long listening sessions too. They are perfect if you want to get excited about your music collection again. Also one of the best headsets for gaming due to the accurate sound-staging.
The Sennheiser HD650s are quite a different beast. Very accurate and natural sounding. These are the perfect headphones for people who listen to a real variety of music. The shape of the ear-cup also makes them really comfortable for long listening sessions.
Oppo PM-3 / Sennheiser HD700 / Audio Technica AD900
The best high-end open back headphones:
Why choose these headphones?
Both the Oppo PM-1 and Sennheiser HD-800 are kings in their respective categories. In a perfect world, everyone would get to own and use both depending on the mood and type of music they were listening to.
The Oppo PM-1s have a very smooth, detailed, and very refined sound. Their high resolution planar magnetic driver allows accurate, natural and textured low and mid frequencies. These are the perfect headphones for sitting back and listening to your favourite tracks for hours on end.
The Sennheiser HD-800s on the other are world renowned as some of the most resolving headphones on the planet. Their ultra large, beautifully designed driver is exceptionally accurate, these are the perfect headphones for eeking every last subtlety from your music collection. Their unique design also makes extremely comfortable no matter what shape your head is!