When it comes to closed-back headphones, some audiophiles might hesitate to invest in a pair due to common misconceptions about their audio quality. However, closed-back headphones have a lot to offer, particularly in terms of sound isolation and bass extension. In this article, we'll focus on these benefits and showcase some top closed-back headphones that are perfect for audiophiles.
What are Closed-Back Headphones?
Closed-back headphones are a type of headphone design where the ear cups are entirely sealed, effectively isolating the listener from external sounds. This design not only provides better passive noise isolation but also prevents sound leakage, ensuring your music doesn't disturb those around you. Closed-back headphones are ideal for use in noisy environments, during commutes, or when privacy is essential.
The closed-back design typically results in a more pronounced bass response and a more intimate soundstage, giving listeners a feeling of being fully immersed in their music. However, some audiophiles argue that closed-back headphones can produce a more "in-your-head" sound experience compared to open-back models, which offer a more natural and spacious sound.
What are Open-Back Headphones?
Open-back headphones are designed with ear cups that are partially or entirely open, allowing air to flow freely in and out of the headphones. This design results in a more spacious and natural soundstage, often described as having an "airy" quality. Open-back headphones are favored by many audiophiles for their ability to reproduce a more accurate and lifelike sound, as they can minimize the resonance and reflections that can occur in closed-back designs.
However, open-back headphones do have some drawbacks. Because they allow sound to leak out, they may not be suitable for use in public places or shared spaces where noise disturbance could be an issue. Additionally, open-back headphones typically provide less noise isolation, making them less effective at blocking external sounds.
Both closed-back and open-back headphones have their unique advantages and disadvantages, and the choice between them ultimately comes down to personal preferences, listening environments, and audio priorities.
The Advantages of Closed-Back Headphones
Sound Isolation in Various Listening Environments
One of the primary benefits of closed-back headphones is their ability to provide excellent sound isolation. Whether you're listening to music in a noisy office, during your daily commute, or at home, closed-back headphones help to minimize external noise so you can fully immerse yourself in your audio. This isolation also prevents sound leakage, ensuring that your music won't disturb those around you.
Bass Extension Capabilities and Its Impact on Audio Quality
Closed-back headphones are known for their impressive bass extension, providing a deep and powerful low-frequency response. This enhanced bass performance contributes to a rich and immersive listening experience, making them ideal for audiophiles who appreciate well-rounded audio quality.
Spotlight on Apos Audio Closed-Back Headphones
Focal Elegia: Unrivaled Sound Purity and Comfort - Price: $399
Focal's Elegia headphones are a testament to French engineering and craftsmanship. These high-end closed-back headphones boast a suite of innovations that deliver exceptional sound quality. Their "M"-shape inverted dome, frameless copper voice coil, and 110-micron surround speaker drivers ensure precise sound reproduction and impressive dynamics.
With a frequency response of 5 Hz to 23 kHz, the Elegia can reproduce the subtlest sound details at both very high and very low frequencies. The design also offers excellent ambient noise soundproofing, making them ideal for on-the-go listening.
In addition to their audio performance, the Elegia headphones are incredibly comfortable, featuring a well-mastered geometry that molds perfectly to the head and memory foam microfiber earpads for a luxurious feel.
HIFIMAN HE-R9: The Beauty of Topology Diaphragm Design - Price: $369
The HIFIMAN HE-R9 closed-back headphones showcase the power of topology diaphragm design. Dr. Fang Bian, HIFIMAN's founder, discovered that by applying a nanoparticle coating to a headphone diaphragm, acoustic performance could be significantly enhanced.
These headphones boast a frequency response of 15 Hz to 35 kHz and a comfortable, lightweight design featuring a solid steel band covered in high-grade memory foam and leather. The large crimson ear cups provide ample interior space for optimal acoustics and a visually striking design.
Focal Celestee: Luxurious Design Meets Impressive Sound Performance - Price: $999
The Focal Celestee headphones blend modern design, luxurious finishes, and superior audio performance. Their 40mm aluminum/magnesium electrodynamic full-range speaker drivers ensure excellent dynamics and high-precision sound, with a linear frequency response extending to 23 kHz.
Designed for home and on-the-go use, the Celestee headphones have low impedance (35 Ohms), making them perfect for use with portable audio players. The semi-aniline leather ear pads and ear cup design contribute to both comfort and soundproofing, ensuring an immersive listening experience.
Hifiman Sundara Closed-Back Planar Magnetic Headphones: The Future of Audio Technology - Price: $399
The Hifiman Sundara Closed-Back headphones represent a significant step forward in audio technology with their planar magnetic design. The headphones employ a diaphragm less than two micrometers in thickness, allowing for exceptional detail and lifelike imaging.
With a frequency response of 6 Hz to 50 kHz, the Sundara Closed-Back headphones deliver unparalleled audio quality. The use of acoustically-invisible stealth magnets reduces wave diffraction turbulence and minimizes distortion, ensuring a pure listening experience.
Comparing Closed-Back and Open-Back Headphones
While open-back headphones are known for their spacious soundstage and natural sound reproduction, closed-back designs have their own advantages. Closed-back headphones provide better sound isolation, making them ideal for use in noisy environments or when you don't want to disturb others around you. Additionally, closed-back designs often deliver more powerful bass, which can lead to a richer and more immersive listening experience.
That being said, both closed-back and open-back headphones have their unique benefits, and the choice ultimately comes down to personal preferences and listening environments. For audiophiles who value sound isolation and bass extension, closed-back headphones are a worthy option to consider.
Tips for Selecting the Right Closed-Back Headphones
When choosing a pair of closed-back headphones, there are several factors to consider:
- Comfort: As with any headphones, comfort is crucial. Look for headphones with well-padded ear cups and adjustable headbands to ensure a comfortable fit during extended listening sessions.
- Sound signature: Different closed-back headphones will have distinct sound signatures. Some may prioritize bass, while others may focus on clarity and detail. It's essential to select a pair that aligns with your audio preferences.
- Budget: Closed-back headphones are available at various price points, from budget-friendly options to high-end models. Set a budget and look for a pair that offers the best performance and features within your price range.
- Build quality: Durability is an essential factor to consider, especially if you plan to use your headphones frequently or in various environments. Look for models with a sturdy build and high-quality materials to ensure longevity.
Closed-back headphones offer numerous benefits, including excellent sound isolation and impressive bass extension. Audiophiles who have been hesitant to try closed-back designs can rest assured that there are high-quality options available, such as the Focal Elegia, HIFIMAN HE-R9, Focal Celestee, and Hifiman Sundara Closed-Back. By exploring these headphones and understanding the advantages of closed-back designs, audiophiles can enjoy an immersive and isolated listening experience without sacrificing audio quality. So go ahead and dive into the world of closed-back headphones and discover their unique offerings for yourself.
Apos Audio: Your Destination for Audiophile Gear
Apos Audio is committed to providing top-quality audio products for the audiophile community. With a range of closed-back headphones that offer exceptional sound isolation and bass extension, Apos Audio is the perfect destination for those looking to explore the benefits of closed-back designs.
When you buy from Apos Audio, you'll also benefit from the Apos Promise, which includes Free Priority Shipping, an Extended 2-Year Warranty, a 45-Day Return Policy, and our 30-Day Lowest Price Match. With such an attractive package, there's never been a better time to explore the world of closed-back headphones and expand your audio horizons.