When it comes to personal audio, Open back headphones have a special place in my heart. The sound coming out of it is fantastic, especially for genres like jazz, blues, classical, etc. Today, we are going to see a few of the best open back headphones in India. The price range of open back headphones is varied by a long way. In fact, almost all high-end headphones are open back. Let us see what is an open back headphone and then will see what are the best open back headphones in India.
Related post: 10 Best earphones under Rs 1000
What is an open back headphone?
Open back headphones are, as the name suggests, has an open backside. In normal earphones or headphones, the space behind the driver is closed. However, in open backs, the driver is open on either side. There will be mesh or grill to protect the driver from touching. But, it is sonically open on either side.
Why open back headphones?
In open back headphones, the sound is radiated both inside and outside. Since it is open back, there isn’t any enclosure that makes the sound resonate and disturb the diaphragm in producing sound by resonance. This makes the sounds that are heard through the earphones sounds open. You will get wilder soundstage and great instrument separation. You will feel like you are inside the music. Music sounds three dimensional. Simply put, you will feel like you are in the same room as the singer sings the song. For gaming, it gives 3d positional audio and You can pinpoint the location of the enemies with the sound and kill them. Using an open back earphone is fun altogether.
There are two disadvantages with the open backs. The First one is that the sound from the headphones. Since the earphone is open back, when the driver works, sound radiates from either side of the diaphragm. The sound that is emerging from the ear side will go into the eardrum while the sound that comes out on the other side goes to the surroundings. If you’re in a quiet place, like in a library, people can hear what are you listening to. It will be a bit loud.
The second caveat is the noise isolation. Since the driver is open on either side, there is no way the external noise that is coming to the earphones are filtered. You not only radiate sound, but external sounds also come in. For example, if you’re in a crowded place, you will hear all the noises with the music.
Another minor caveat is that the bass of any open back headphones cannot compete with the closed back alternative. The bass just cannot be loud like a closed-back earphones.
Enough said. let’s dive in to the list.
Samson SR 850 is the cheapest available semi open back headphones in the market. It is partially open and partially closed. This is a studio microphone and can also be used for casual listening. It has a 50mm driver. This is a rarely seen case but gives great bass. And, it has got great bass. The mids and highs are great too. Not in the league of expensive pairs but for the price, they are really good. Since it is a studio headphone, the sound signature is neutral. What comes in goes out. For the price, it is a great headphone for sound engineers and casual listeners alike.
Sennheiser HD 599 is one of the best pairs of open back headphone within the budget. It sounds like Sennheiser’s open back lineup. It sounds great. The ear cups are large and offer exceptional wearing comfort. The headphone is huge and gives terrific comfort and good sonic performance. It has a frequency response of 12 Hz to 38.5 kHz.
The maximum SPL it can go to is 106dBSPL. At an impedance of 50 OHMs, you would need a decent amplifier to run this. Although most phones can run this well, an external amplifier would do justice to the headphones. It weighs 250 grams and it is light and you wouldn’t feel the weight on your ears. The headphone has a soft ear pad that increases the comfort of the listener.
AKG is one of the finest headphone manufacturers and their products are full of quality. This headphone is foldable unlike any of the open back headphones. It is quite convenient to carry it around. It is a perfect studio headphone. The frequency response is near flat and you will feel like you’re in front of a pair of studio monitors. The sound quality is fantastic and the mixes translate very well. You can use it for mixing and for casual listening as well. It serves both of the purposes very well. K 245 has a bigger 50 mm drivers for bass, mids, and treble duty. T
he bass has very good extension, thanks to the larger 50mm driver, It punches well. Not only that, it can reproduce all the texture of the bass because of the larger driver. The frequency response is 15 – 25000 Hz. The mids are clear and it can convey the emotion of the singer. The treble is nice and airy. It is one of the best open back headphones you can buy in India.
Beyerdynamic dt990 is an open back headphone from Beyerdynamics. They are circumaural headphones meaning, they cover the ear lobs like a circle. This aids for better comfort. The headphones are made in Germany and each pair has outstanding clarity. The headphones are made for studio works like mixing and therefore can reveal the finest changes to the audio. They look beautiful and are very comfortable to wear.
The bass is outstanding and great for an open back design. The mids are clean and beautiful. The treble has an extension. It is pronounced but not at all sharp and therefore ear fatigue is not a thing for most people. Being an open back headphone, the 3d spaciousness is incredible. This is simply one of the best open back headphones in India.
Philips SHP9500 is a consumer-grade open back headphone. This sits behind Phillips’s Fidelio X2 range of headphones. It has a 50mm neodymium driver and it delivers perfect sound across all frequency ranges. The bass, mids, and treble are very good and they show the neutral tone of the music. The breathable ear pads not only seals well but also give a very comfortable listening experience. The headband cushion is double layered for added comfort. The headband is made of steel and that shows the product’s impressive build quality. The open back design eliminates the back pressure on the driver and therefore gives superior sound in return. The drivers are angled as the ears for added sound quality.
Hifiman deva is a product from audiophile headphone maker, Hifiman. It looks superb and chunky. Like others, it is a wired headphone. The sound signature is balanced. This means, there is a balance between the bass, mids, and treble. It is fantastic for indoor usage and is ideal for audiophiles.
The open back design makes it sound natural. The sound stage is wider and the imaging is intact. It uses Hifiman’s NEO ‘super nano’ diaphragm which is almost 80% thinner than regular diaphragms. This makes the sounds with transients sound excellent. The sound quality of the diaphragm is really very good. The overall characteristics are great for the price and therefore, it is one of the best open back headphones in India.
The above mentioned are the best open back headphones in India under a budget. Sure, there are many more headphones but not necessarily in the budget. Irrespective of what you choose, the main function of an open back headphone is to provide spatial audio. Still, my choice would be the Sennheiser HD 599 and Hifiman Deva. If it weren’t for studio usage. For studio usage, AKG K 245 or Beyerdynamic DT 990 will serve better. Thanks for reading.
Aju Vignesh Sathiaraj Padma is a mechanical and audio engineer. He is a person who loves technology and things. He is also an audiophile and loves to listen to audio gears. He is an avid writer and loves to blog.