Open, Closed or Semi Open Headphones?

Discussion in 'Headphone & Earphone General Discussion' started by Lauri Cular, Jun 30, 2017.

  1. Lauri Cular

    Lauri Cular Well Balanced

    Feb 21, 2014
    HiFiHeadphones has all three types of headphones, but what do these names actually mean?

    To the unititiated these terms probably don't help; they may conjour up images of headphones being dismantled.

    "I want closed headphones as I don't want the innards to fall out!"

    These terms refer to the design of the earcups; your choice will hinge on the specific use you wish to put the headphones to.


    If you wish to use the headphones on public transport such as the London Tube and do not want others around you to know that you are listening to Kermit the Frog sing 'Happy Feet', then a closed-back model is for you. This forms a barrier between your sound and the outside world, so that you can hear the music better and exterior noise is reduced.



    These are for home use, and in a quiet room. Open-backed headphones sound a little clearer than closed-back headphones; when the drivers vibrate in order to introduce a sound wave into the ear, they also produce a sound wave on the back side of the driver, and the open-back earcups allow this extra sound to escape without the danger of cluttering the sound we hear.

    Semi Open-Back

    This design can be treated as open-back from a practical point of view; your music will probably be audible from outside and you will be able to hear exterior sounds too. The earcups have holes like with an open-back, but these are covered by fabric or other material which allows some frequencies to escape but not others. It's useful for getting rid of certain resonances and frequencies, in order to help fine-tune the sound of the headphones.
    dalethorn likes this.

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