Open-back recommendations

Discussion in 'Full Size Headphones' started by maumastoks, Aug 15, 2011.

  1. maumastoks

    maumastoks Well Balanced

    Aug 14, 2011

    My current heaphones are starting to break down so I decided to start looking for new ones.
    I have always used closed-back ones but this time I'd like to try out the open-back ones.

    I know it is quite rare, but I want open back ones (or semi-open) with rich bass, since I'd like to hear what's going on around me.
    I wanted to buy Audio-Technica ATH-AD700 but checked the reviews and there are 2 main problems: 1) almost no bass response at all; 2) the headphones do not seal tight over your ears.

    So my requirements: good bass response (not asking for perfect, but at least good), clear mid and high frequencies, good seal over the ears, sturdy design in order to last for a very long time (this is the main reason I have to change my headphones), ability to stay on my head even if I tilt my head at least 30 degrees forward (lots of cheap ones just fall off =_=), full enclosure over the ears (to surround them completely, not to press them against the head), and plug must be 1/8" or 3.5 mm (the smaller one), since I mainly use them on my PC, where plug is in front of it - I do not want like 10cm extension. Also the resistance must be low (under 100 ohms), since I wish not to buy an amplifier for them. As well as no volume adjustment on the cord - these things always break and I have to re-solder the wire -_-
    The price should (not neccessarily) be under 140 euros (120 pounds or 200 USD).
  2. Ian Hifi

    Ian Hifi Super Moderator

    Oct 19, 2011
    I think it is worth looking at this from a slightly different perspective. Open Back headphones, by definition, are audible to people in your immediate vicinity. The back of the headphone is perforated to allow a really spatial sound. However, the down side of open backs is that they are not that conducive to being used in a public place, such as on a bus/train/plane. Those around you will be able to hear a level of sound via the perforated back.

    Open Back Headphones

    If you look at the vast majority of the open backs listed above, you will see see that most of them have quite a large ear aperture. Many of them fit over the ear, as opposed to on the ear. This usually makes them very comfy to wear and helps create that huge sound stage you get with open backed headphones. However, even though they are usually comfy to wear, over ear headphones are not always the tightest seal around the ear. The point here, is that there is no real need to compromise the comfort and spatial sound by making them with super noise isolation around the ear piece when this type of headphone has a perforated back, and is therefore audible to others, regardless of the ear seal.

    Whether its super high end open backs like the Grado GS1001
    or cheaper models like the ATH AD 700's anyone sitting next to you will be able to hear what you are listening to.

    Grado GS1000i Open Back Headphones (Grado GS-1000i)


    Audio-Technica ATH-AD700 Open Back Hi-Fi Headphones (AD 700)


    As for the ATH AD 700's bass response, headphones have a similar characteristic as new cars or guitar amplifiers. The often need to be broken in. On a brand new pair of headphones, the driver often needs a few hours of use to break it in and optimize its response. We recently had a similar comment about the 700's but once the owner had used them a while they were fine.
    As with any quality full size headphone, the head fitting should be flexible and durable. Everyone's head is different. There is no reason why they should keep falling off once you have shaped them up a little.

    German Maestro's are almost bomb proof. Robin, here in the office, was invited to jump up and down on a pair by the sales director of GM, and they didn't break in any way. I'm pretty sure they would deal with any amount of flexing to fit.
    GermanMAESTRO GMP 240 Open Back Hi-Fi Headphones (GMP240)

  3. dalethorn

    dalethorn Obsessive Auditor

    Jul 3, 2011
    Charleston South Carolina
    Open headphone

    I'm getting good results and excellent bass with the Grado PS-500, but they are not cheap.
  4. RobinHiFi

    RobinHiFi Super Moderator

    Apr 28, 2010
    Hi Dale

    Are you going to do a review or some impressions of the PS-500? I really like the PS-1000 so I am quite excited to hear what you think.

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