If you’re looking for headphones that’ll allow you to work on mixing your tracks in a noisy environment or in a professional studio setting, closed-back headphones are the best pick.
Videos by American Songwriter
Professionals need accurate audio from headphones to mix tracks for the best audio production. The closed-back headphones are practical because they’ll allow you to record without much danger from the mic picking up unwanted background noises.
Closed-back headphones are designed to block outside noise and yield better sound isolation. Although they seem a little bit bulky, they’re versatile and they usually have greater bass quantity compared to open-back headphones
In this article, we rounded up the best closed-back headphones for balanced sound and an excellent listening experience.
As for the top pick, we recommend the SENNHEISER HD 450BT Wireless Headphones. It packs a punch in terms of important features such as the equalizer on the Sennheiser App and virtual assistant. It’s also ideal for long studio sessions because of the 30-hour battery life.
Now…let’s find out what other headphones choices we’ve got for you!
Quick Summary of the Best Closed-Back Headphones
- SENNHEISER HD 450BT Wireless Headphones with Noise Cancellation (Best Closed-Back Headphones for Non-stop Listening)
- Steven Slate Audio VSX Modeling Headphones – Essential Editions (Best Closed-Back Headphones for Heavy Listening)
- Audio Technica ATH – M50X Closed Back Monitoring Headphones (Best Closed-Back Headphones for Neutral Listening)
- Beyerdynamic DT 700 Pro (Best Overall for Durable Closed-Back Headphones)
- Blue Ella Planar Magnetic Headphones (Best Overall for High-End Closed-Back Headphones)
- 5. Best Overall for Premium Studio Headphones – Direct Sound EX-29 Isolation Headphones
- Metrophones Headphone Digital Metronome with Gel-Filled Cushions (Best Closed-Back Headphones for Practicing Drums)
- Direct Sound HP-25 Extreme Isolation Headphones (Best Overall Closed Back Headphones for Ear Protection)
- Sterling Audio S452 Studio Headphones (Best Overall for Professional Studio Headphones)
- ADAM Audio SP-5 Studio Pro Closed Back Headphones (Best Closed Back Headphones for Professional Use)
Top Picks for Best Closed-Back Headphones
9. Best Closed-Back Headphones for Non-stop Listening – SENNHEISER HD 450BT Wireless Headphones with Noise Cancellation
- intuitive control including Siri and Google Assistant
- Bluetooth 5.0
If you’re traveling long distances and in need of headphones with long battery life, the SENNHEISER HD 450BT is the right choice. Apart from its active noise-cancelling feature, it also comes with 30-hour battery life.
The SENNHEISER HD 450BT is an over-ear headphone that can be integrated with Siri and Google Assistant. These virtual assistant features are helpful when it comes to more complex tasks such as mixing multiple tracks to create professional sound.
In addition, Sennheiser App also comes with an equalizer which is ideal for deep bass lovers out there. They’re a great help for making vocals more accurate to make a more detailed sound profile.
2. Best Closed-Back Headphones for Heavy Listening – Steven Slate Audio VSX Modeling Headphones – Essential Editions
- 37 ohms
The Steven Slate Audio VSX Modeling Headphones are made for anyone who’s into long listening sessions. This is the ultimate pick for anyone looking at $300 budget headphones.
The Audio VSX Modeling headphone has a frequency range of 20Hz-20kHz which means you’ll be able to hear the punchy bass but the mid-range is still very clear, and the music production in this range won’t hurt your ear despite the heavy listening.
These headphones rock at 37 ohms which is considered low. 37 ohms is a good level of impedance for an audiophile-grade headphone for use in studio and high-fidelity music.
With the Audio VSX, you’ll have a relatively good sound quality when using phones, music players, and other portable devices while mixing tracks.
2. Best Closed-Back Headphones for Neutral Listening – Audio Technica ATH – M50X Closed Back Monitoring Headphones
- passive noise isolation
If you’re an audiophile that wants to hear the purest audio possible through your headphones, the Audio Technica ATH M50X is a practical choice.
Although even the most expensive headphones may not have the luxury of offering the most neutral sound profile, Audio Technica ATH-M50X is the closest audio gear that can provide you with a neutral sound.
This light foldable closed-back headphone is designed with circumaural earcups blocking unwanted noise. It has a frequency response of 15Hz-28kHz producing well-balanced sound quality with an exceptional production of bass, mid, and treble ranges.
If we compared the M50X to the Audio VSX by Steven Slate in terms of external noise cancellation, the M50X might be more prone to sound leakage. However, it’s suitable for neutral listening sound-wise.
3. Best Overall for Durable Closed-Back Headphones – Beyerdynamic DT 700 Pro
- swappable ear cups
- 80 ohms
- robust construction
If you have a budget that is a little over $150, you can get the Beyerdynamic DT 700 Pro. It is an extremely durable headphone with swappable ear pads.
It blocks external sound fairly well and if you want to keep it in the studio, it should be more than enough for monitoring or tracking.
At 80 ohms, you’ll hear more bass than treble but still, good sound performance. Rest assured, the DT 700 Pro is durable and can withstand heavy listening.
The main difference between the Beyerdynamic DT 700 Pro and the DT 700 Pro X is the impedance. DT 700 Pro has an impedance of either 32, 80, or 250 depending on the variety relative to DT 700 Pro X with 40 ohms.
4. Best Overall for High-End Closed-Back Headphones – Blue Ella Planar Magnetic Headphones
- built-in audiophile amp
- 12 hours of playtime
- adapts to a variety of head shapes and sizes
The Blue Ella Planar Magnetic Headphones are by far one of the best closed-back headphones on the market. Blue is famous for creating mics podcasters love and asserts itself as a respectable headphone maker too.
The Ella Magnetic Headphones have a built-in audiophile amp designed for crystal-clear audio from all your devices. It makes music fuller and richer while reducing the cracking noise.
The audiophile amp is most useful if you get into the world of mixing tracks to create a clear and balanced sound.
Although it comes with a hefty price tag, the Ella Planar Magnetic Headphones are worth a buy because it guarantees human-friendly comfort and a better listening experience compared to other over-ear headphones.
5. Best Overall for Premium Studio Headphones – Direct Sound EX-29 Isolation Headphones
- 114dB/mW @ 1KHZ 1mW
- dynamic closed-back headphone
- 40mm super high fidelity driver
The EX-29 Isolation Headphones are ideal for drummers doing their recording sessions in a small studio. It comes with a closed-back isolation chamber that guarantees extreme background noise isolation for high-quality audio.
It has a frequency range of 20Hz–20kHz with advanced an-isotropic magnet drivers offering superior fidelity and sensitivity. As a result, higher tones are more distinct when you’re using the EX-29 isolation headphones.
The main difference between the EX29 and EX25 is that the latter is around 7dB more sensitive and slightly larger and heavier. Still, Direct Sound market the EX29 as the better closed headphones for noise canceling.
6. Best Closed-Back Headphones for Practicing Drums – Metrophones Headphone Digital Metronome with Gel-Filled Cushions
- ultra comfort gel-filled cushions
- toggle type tempo control
- 15Hz–25kHz along with a 1/4″ stereo line-in jack
The Metrophones Headphone Digital Metronome is popular among drummers because of the toggle-type tempo control with volume control. This is ideal for setting the groove, mood, and tempo for each song being played.
It is designed with gel-filled cushions for ear comfort and better sound isolation. Also, with this pair of headphones, ambient noise is reduced to 29 dB which enhances hearing protection while mixing or listening to tracks.
The Metrophones Headphone Digital Metronome offers passive noise isolation at 29 dB. All outside noises are isolated and you’ll be able to just focus on your music. Besides, headphones with passive noise cancelling features are healthier to use because you’ll be exposed to lower decibels.
Additionally, the Methrophones Headphone Digital Metronome has a studio frequency response of 15Hz-25kHz along with a 1/4″ stereo line-in jack and a replaceable stereo cord.
7. Best Overall Closed Back Headphones for Ear Protection – Direct Sound HP-25 Extreme Isolation Headphones
- up to 25 dB noise cancellation
- comfortable ear cups
If you’re mostly in noisy environments, the HP-25 Extreme Isolation Headphones are a good fit for you. It’s one of the most affordable choices in the market offering a high degree of isolation from noise at 25 dB.
It’s called HP-25 because it reduces noise up to 25 dB to protect your hearing and isolate background noise. Also, this type of audiophile headphones is ideal for working when you have some kind of loud tools in the background.
You can have the HP-25 on your ears for hours without any discomfort. Thanks to the comfortable ear pads that are heavily padded which also prevent internal sound from leaking out.
8. Best Overall for Professional Studio Headphones – Sterling Audio S452 Studio Headphones
- 45 mm drivers
- rotatable drivers
- closed back dynamic
The Sterling Audio S452 Studio Headphones are most suitable for long studio recording sessions. It rocks in 45 mm drivers producing a good bass with a frequency range of 15Hz-28kHz. This is perfect for creating mixes that play well in different playback systems.
Also, the S452 comes in closed-back ear cups that rotate up to 180º which is convenient when you’re trying to accommodate and monitor other approaches.
That said, the S452 may also be the ideal headphones for the one-ear-off technique. If you’re DJ-ing, you’ll be able to hear the house sound system as well as monitor the other speaker at the same time through these closed headphones.
Portability is something that should be considered when packing for a recording session at the studio. The S452 is foldable and does not require much storage space. You can slide it into the pocket of your guitar or bass gig bag.
10. Best Closed Back Headphones for Professional Use – ADAM Audio SP-5 Studio Pro Closed Back Headphones
- 8 Hz-38 kHz
- 70 ohms
- S-LOGIC ® Plus technology
The SP-5 Studio Pro Close Back Headphones offer fantastic sound quality and are designed for professional use in the studio or mobile setup. It has a frequency response of 8Hz-38kHz from its 40mm gold-plated diaphragm allowing transparent sound with low distortion.
The SP-5 comes with 70 ohms impedance which is considered high and may require robust amplification for excellent sound. That said, the SP-5 performs excellently in a studio environment.
Moreover, the SP-5 utilizes the S-LOGIC ® Plus technology which enables audio depth and clarity. It requires less volume which creates less fatigue resulting in better hearing protection while maintaining sound quality.
Best Closed Headphones Buying Guide
Choosing the best closed-back headphones for your needs is simple and easy as long as you keep these things in mind: impedance, noise-canceling, and comfort.
Headphones with higher impedance are usually better for use in studio settings.
Higher impedance devices require an amplifier to sound fantastic. On the other hand, lower-impedance headphones are suitable for use with phones, iPads, laptops, etc.
Generally, the higher the impedance, the better the sound output, by default. You’ll have a clearer sound, cleaner bass, and low distortion with higher-impedance headphones.
That said, you must choose a headphone with an appropriate impedance for your audio source.
You can either choose headphones with passive or active noise cancellation.
In most cases, headphones with active noise cancellation are better because you’ll be able to hear music at a lower volume. However, that’ll depend on what you’re using headphones for.
For instance, if you’re a DJ working in a noisy environment, passive noise-canceling headphones are more suitable for you because of the noise-isolating feature. PNC headphones are designed with thick ear pads that block ambient noise.
As you’ll be listening to tracks through the headphones for a longer period of time, ear comfort and protection is important. Ear cushions, weight, clamping force, and ear cup extension are some key things to consider.
Choosing headphones with thick padding is obvious but the ear cushions can also add to comfort. Also, choose a headphone that is lighter to avoid any sore feeling while listening.
Lastly, there should be an even amount of clamping force throughout all contacts made by the ear pads to avoid fatigue while listening.
Do Closed-Back Headphones Leak Sound?
Sound leakage in closed-back headphones is minimal. They have low bleed and high isolation compared to open-back headphones.
Are Closed Headphones Bad for the Ears?
Closed headphones are better for the ears due to their good external noise isolation. This means the sound is less intense because you can control the volume level.
There are various choices for closed-back headphones nowadays and choosing the best fit for your needs is essential.
There are a few things you must consider in terms of noise-canceling features, how noisy your environment is, comfort, and versatility. With all of these things considered carefully, you can easily pick the best closed-back headphones for your needs.
Therefore, we choose the SENNHEISER 450BT Headphones as the best closed-back headphones on this list.
The 450BT is a professional headphone that offers background noise isolation and 30-hour battery life.
You can easily adjust the tracks and the mixing of your music using the equalizer on the Sennheiser App. Also, they’re comfortable to use and you can have them on ear with less fatigue even after hours of listening.
We hope you we’re able to choose the best headphones for your need on our list. Let us know how it goes for you!
Photo Courtesy Guitar Center, Amazon, & Sweetwater