Best Closed Back Headphones In 2024

Do you work in a noisy environment? Do you want to escape from the world around you and experience your favorite music with no distractions? Then closed-back headphones are the ideal choice for you.

This guide covers the best closed-back headphones on the market today, including premium options along with budget-friendly choices. Our Editor’s Choice is the ultra-comfortable Beyerdynamic DT 700 Pro X. It has exceptional sound quality and a clean, modern design.

Our years of experience in the music industry have helped shape our website into a one-stop resource for DJs, studio professionals, and live performers. It’s a reputation we are incredibly proud of.

Our gear guides are a cornerstone, and studio headphones are an integral part. We put the top 18 choices through our thorough testing process. These candidates came from an initial detailed research list of over 80 options, highlighting just how competitive this section of the headphone market is.

Beyerdynamic DT 700 Pro X

Beyerdynamic DT 700 Pro X

Best Overall Headphones

4.7/5
Three quarter view of the Shure SRH1540 headphones

Shure SRH1540

Best For Producing Music

4.7/5
Three quarter view of the AKG K371 headphones.

AKG K371

Ideal For Mixing

4.7/5
Three quarter view of the Mackie MC-250 headphones

Mackie MC-250

Best Budget Option

4.7/5
Table of Contents

Product Reviews

With so many choices out there it can be difficult to find good studio headphones for your needs. But we have you covered with our comprehensive guide. Below we take a closer look at some of the best closed-back headphones on the market.

Beyerdynamic DT 700 Pro X Review

Best High End Closed Back Headphones

Specifications

Pros

  • Exceptional Sound – The DT 700 Pro X delivers phenomenal sound quality. Excellent performance across the full range with great neutrality.
  • Marvelous Comfort – The super plush padding on the ear cups is among the best in the business. Ultra-comfortable and perfect for long listening sessions.
  • Polished Design – Sleek modern design that retains class. No gaudy colors or accents. Clean and refined design that is timeless.
  • Plays Nice – The low impedance level means these closed-back headphones work well with a vast array of devices.

Cons

  • Not Portable – Unfortunately these don’t fold. While highly durable they are not a great choice for on-the-go listening.

The Beyerdynamic DT 700 Pro X is a firm favorite amongst both casual users and professionals. And it is not hard to see why.

The impeccable sound quality is a real stand-out feature that sets it apart. Punchy and warm lows that are not overbearing. Mids that are full and defined. And highs that are not overly bright and sharp.

The excellent comfort level is also appealing. Plus there is enough passive noise isolation present to keep ambient noise out. A fantastic pair of studio headphones that can tackle any task.

With exceptional build quality, these are easily one of the best closed-back headphones you can buy today.

Read our full Beyerdynamic DT 700 Pro X review for more detailed information.

Three quarter view of the Beyerdynamic DT 700 Pro X headphones.

Beyerdynamic DT 700 Pro X

Shure SRH1540 Review

Best Closed Back Headphones For Music Production

Specifications

Pros

  • Neutral Sound – These closed-back headphones offer excellent neutrality. This makes them perfect headphones for music production due to the high level of accuracy.
  • Generous Imaging – Closed-back headphones often suffer from a cramped soundstage. These are surprisingly wider than most options out there. Very good soundstage.
  • Excellent Accessories – Hardshell case as well as a spare set of ear pads and another cable. Fantastic inclusions which add to the value offering.
  • Breathability – Another area where these headphones set themselves apart from the competition. Highly breathable ear pads that do a good job of minimizing heat build-up.

Cons

  • Not Ideal For Casual Listening – The neutral sound profile results in a restrained bass profile. Not as lively as some may want for casual listening.

These over-ear headphones from Shure are a standout option for music production. Closed headphones suffer from a few issues which these address very well. Breathability and imaging.

The neutral sound helps define lead instruments for precise production work. The build quality is also high and parts are replaceable. This makes them an appealing option if you need long-lasting studio headphones.

But, the detachable cables are on the short side. I would have loved to see a longer option included.

It is also worth mentioning these are a little pricey compared to some other options. If you are on the hunt for budget headphones you’ll need to look elsewhere. But for everyone else, these are among the best closed-back headphones you can pick up.

Read our full Shure SRH1540 review for more detailed information.

Three quarter view of the Shure SRH1540 headphones

Shure SRH1540

AKG K371 Review

Best Closed Back Headphones For Mixing And Mastering

Specifications

Pros

  • Wonderful Midrange – Fantastic delivery in the midrange frequencies. Considering this is the frequency most listeners focus on it is ideal for mixing and mastering.
  • Clean Sound Reproduction – Clarity is high and delivery is neutral across the full band. Good choice if you want an accurate response when mixing.
  • Value For Money – Well-priced option that isn’t as expensive as many highly recommended closed-back headphones.
  • Low Clamping Force – The relaxed fit is great for people with larger heads. But as a result, the isolation isn’t the greatest.

Cons

  • Acute Highs – To some people, the top-end may come across as a little bright. Good for picking out details but can be fatiguing.

The AKG K371 is an excellent pair of over-ear closed-back headphones with high-quality audio. It is also one of the most commonly recommend headphones for mixing and mastering.

The sound profile is generous and precise. The low-end features punchy bass. The midrange is very detailed and accurate. The top end is a little bright. How much this is an issue will come down to personal preference.

Comfort is also another standout feature. Good padding on both the self-adjusting headband and the ear cups. Plus the low clamping force is ideal for people that don’t want a supreme seal.

At an affordable price, the AKG K371 is among the best closed-back headphones available today.

Read our full AKG K371 review for more detailed information.

Neumann NDH 20 Review

Best Closed Back Headphones For Recording

Specifications

Pros

  • High-Quality Sound – The NDH 20 provides fantastic sound quality. Plenty of richness and life across the full range. Punchy and warm low-end is a highlight.
  • Stable Fit – The clamping force is on the tighter side but this ensures a reliable and secure fit. Plus it assists with isolation.
  • Great Noise Isolation – The high isolation of up to 34dB makes these an ideal candidate for recording sessions in the studio.
  • Resilient Build – Tough construction with high-quality components. A pair of headphones that should last you a long time.

Cons

  • A Little Expensive – Top-notch build quality and sound do result in a high price tag. Not the best value for money.

The NDH 20 from Neumann is another fantastic pair of closed-back headphones.

With high noise isolation, they are a perfect choice for recording. But equally great for studio work when you don’t want any distractions from external noise.

The sound quality is also very impressive. Detailed and clean top-end. Full and generous midrange. Plus warm bass that offers a satisfying punch.

While the fit is a little tight the good isolation is worth it. One of the best closed-back headphones on the market.

Read our full Neumann NDH 20 review for more detailed information.

Three quarter view of the Neumann NDH 20 headphones.

Neumann NDH20

4.7/5

Sennheiser HD 300 PRO Review

Best Portable Closed Back Headphones

Specifications

Pros

  • Balanced Sound – Excellent sound with minimal dips and bumps throughout the range. Rather neutral but still providing plenty of life across the audible spectrum.
  • Superb Noise Isolation – Background noise is not an issue with these closed-back headphones. Perfect for noisy environments.
  • Transport Friendly – These headphones collapse into a compact profile. Great for travel and storage when not in use.
  • Good Build Quality – Component quality is high while the price point is reasonable. Excellent value.

Cons

  • Short Cable – The shortish cable might be a bit restrictive for some people. But it is ideal for on-the-go listening.

The Sennheiser HD 300 Pro is a closed-back headphone with a lot going for it. The combination of affordability and features is fantastic.

The sound delivery is better than you’d expect at this price point. Neutrality is there making it a good choice for monitoring. But there is also definition for enjoyable casual listening.

The robust construction also scores a few extra points in our book. Plus the high level of noise isolation is perfect for eliminating unwanted noise.

Super portable and offering a pleasant listening experience. A worthy addition to this best closed-back headphones list.

Read our full Sennheiser HD 300 PRO review for more detailed information.

Three quarter view of the Sennheiser HD 300 Pro.

Sennheiser HD 300 Pro

4.6/5

Blue Microphones Mix-Fi Review

Best Closed Back Audiophile Headphones

Specifications

Pros

  • Pleasing Sound Quality – These closed-back headphones provide a pleasing listening experience. Lots of clarity and an excellent balance across the full range.
  • Powerful Sound – With a built-in amp these headphones deliver plenty of headroom. If you like loud and powerful music these are a good choice.
  • High Comfort Level – Despite coming in at 1 lb. (453 grams) these are surprisingly comfortable. Intelligent design and weight distribution.
  • Unique Design – An unusual design that catches the eye. Might not be to everyone’s taste but certainly unique.

Cons

  • Bulky – These headphones are large and heavy. If you prefer more slimline headphones you’ll need to look elsewhere.

Blue Microphones has done what many high-end microphone companies have done and stepped into the headphone market. And what an entrance.

The Mix-Fi closed-back headphones offer a unique aesthetic that takes a different approach to headphone design. The rechargeable built-in amplifier ensures powerful sound no matter what device you use.

The headband adapts and cradles your head for both security and comfort. Sound-wise these also deliver. A well-defined audio profile that is very satisfying. With deep bass and premium sound, these are ideal for music lovers.

If you want to enjoy music powered by an analog amplifier these are among the best closed-back headphones available.

Three quarter view of the Blue Microphones Mix-Fi headphones.

Blue Microphones Mix-Fi

4.6/5

Sennheiser HD 569 Review

Specifications

Pros

  • Dynamic Mid-Range Performance – The HD 569 excels in mid-range frequency delivery. This critical range is exceptionally defined and clear. Excellent for music production and causal applications like gaming.
  • Splendid Comfort – The earcups adapt well to the side of your head and offer ample room for your ears. The padding is also outstanding and ensures comfort even for long listening sessions.
  • Capable Isolation – The seal is adequate enough to provide a respectable level of isolation. The bleed level is also very low.
  • Well Constructed – These are aggressively priced headphones but the build quality doesn’t reflect the lower price. These are well built and will last the distance.

Cons

  • Lackluster Low End – The top end and mid-range are fantastic but there is a noticeable lack of oomph in the lower frequencies. Bass heads will need to look at other options.

Sennheiser continues to expand its exceptional range of headphones with the closed-back HD 569. This well-priced option is an excellent balance between cheaper entry-level options which can be underwhelming and more expensive choices that offer diminishing returns on investment.

There is a lot to like here, but the superb mid-range delivery is the star of the show. The exceptional clarity in the top end is also impressive. This combination makes these headphones ideal for any application that prioritizes these elements, like gaming and vocal performances.

The in-line microphone also hints towards its potential application in those settings. With great build quality and impressive comfort, there is little to fault. The only drawback is the weak bass which will disappoint fans of bass-heavy genres.

While not perfect, Sennheiser has delivered a solid pair of headphones that will be ideal for some people. And at this price, they offer excellent value for money.

Sennheiser HD 569 Headphones.

Sennheiser HD 569

4.5/5

AKG K553 MKII Review

Specifications

Pros

  • Detailed Sound – The sound profile of the K533 MKII is very detailed. Plenty of precision and accuracy. Perfectly reflects the source material, especially in the midrange and top end.
  • Metal Construction – Super durable construction with an abundance of metal. Great for people that tend to be a little rough with their headphones.
  • Detachable Cable – Gone is the hardwired cable from the original model. In its place is a long detachable coiled cable. A big improvement.

Cons

  • Anemic Bass – Despite a large driver and low impedance the bass profile on these is a little light.
  • Sharp Top End – Much like many AKG headphones the top end may be a little harsh for some people.

The AKG K533 MKII closed-back headphones are a big improvement over the previous model. It offers a transparent sound that is both detailed and accurate.

But this is where some people may have issues with these. Accuracy reveals flaws. As a result, these are not the best for casual listening. But well suited to some studio tasks thanks to the neutral sound profile.

The comfort level is also quite good for headphones that, on the surface, appear bulky. The padding is sufficient, albeit not amazing, and the clamping force is just right.

These over-ear closed-back headphones are worth considering if you desire a spacious soundstage and a focus on midrange delivery.

Read our full AKG K553 MKII review for more detailed information.

Three quarter view of the AKG K553 MKII headphones.

AKG K553 MKII

The Best Budget Closed Back Headphones

High-end headphones can be expensive. But that doesn’t mean you can’t pick up a serious set of closed-back headphones on the cheap. Below are some of the best closed-back headphones that won’t hurt the wallet.

Mackie MC-250 Review

Specifications

Pros

  • Good Sound Accuracy – Normally budget closed-back headphones are not ideal for the studio. But these headphones are surprisingly neutral while retaining a lively sound profile.
  • High Comfort Level – Great for long sessions. Either in the studio or for casual listening. Firm yet forgiving padding adapts well and blocks background noise.
  • Foldable – Easy to fold these down into a compact package. Pop them into the included pouch and you are good to go.
  • Appealing Price – An aggressive price point that is budget-friendly. Great value for money.

Cons

  • All Plastic – As with many budget offerings there is an abundance of plastic. It feels solid enough but not sure how they will hold up after aggressive long-term use.

Mackie has an excellent reputation for producing budget-conscious products. But they don’t just focus on price. There is a distinct focus on providing top-notch value.

The Mackie MC-250 is a closed-back headphone that is equally capable in the studio as it is for day-to-day listening. Satisfying bass, rich mid-tones, and clear highs. These headphones sound good.

Other notable features like detachable cables and foldability add to the appeal. For over-ear headphones this cheap they are also surprisingly very comfortable.

There is a lot to like about these headphones. One of the best closed-back headphones for budget-conscious buyers.

Read our full Mackie MC-250 review for more detailed information.

Three quarter view of the Mackie MC-250 headphones

Mackie MC-250

4.5/5

Sennheiser HD 25 Light Review

Specifications

Pros

  • Excellent Sound Profile – The HD 25 Light inherits the same exceptional sound quality as the more expensive HD 25. Rich and dynamic while maintaining a neutral response.
  • High Passive Isolation – The firm clamping force ensures a tight seal around your ears for maximum passive isolation from the outside world.
  • Replaceable Components – The HD 25 Light features fully replaceable components. This allows your o replace any worn-out components without having to buy new headphones.
  • Slim Profile – The on-ear earcups combine well with a minimalist headband. These are discreet headphones with refined styling.

Cons

  • On-Ear Design – While comfortable some people might prefer full over-ear headphones for maximum comfort.

The Sennheiser HD 25 Light is an excellent budget-focused pair of closed-back headphones. The sound profile is a highlight. It’s powerful and dynamic, with crisp and tight delivery across its full frequency range. A popular pair of headphones for monitoring, producing, and DJing.

The on-ear design and tight fit ensure that sound is delivered directly into your ears. The thick padding and seal deliver high isolation, which makes these ideal in noisy environments or for recording sessions. Sound bleed is also minimal, adding to the appeal.

While these don’t offer some of the bells and whistles of other headphones like swiveling earcups or a collapsible design, they are still one of the best budget-focused closed-back cans on the market, and if you have a bit extra to spend, the regular HD 25 is another superb choice.

Read our full Sennheiser HD 25 Light review for more detailed information.

Three-quarter view of the Sennheiser HD 25 Light headphones.

Sennheiser HD 25 Light

Shure SRH440A Review

Specifications

Pros

  • Wide Response – The SRH440A delivers a broad response and, more importantly, delivers great neutrality and balance.
  • Long-Lasting – The build quality is also very good. The ear cups feature dependable padding, and the frame is solid.
  • Good Design Features – These headphones feature swiveling earcups along with cables that detach. Great features for this price point.
  • Clean Appearance – The slick and restrained design aesthetic blends in seamlessly in any environment. Modern and refined.

Cons

  • Bright Highs – The top-end leans rather bright. If you are sensitive to sharp highs you may want to look at other options.

Shure is a dependable brand that consistently delivers high-quality products. The SRH440A is a closed-back headphone with impressive build quality when you factor in the price.

But even more impressive is the sound profile. Meaty low-end and boisterous mids combine with a slightly bright top end. Overall a very balanced and neutral pair of headphones. A good choice if you want a set for the studio that isn’t expensive.

Once you add in the portability of these there is little to fault. A solid pair of budget closed-back headphones that are worth adding to your shortlist.

Read our full Shure SRH440A review for more detailed information.

Three quarter view of the Shure SRH440A headphones.

Shure SRH440A

4.7/5

Audio-Technica ATH-M40x Review

Specifications

Pros

  • Authoritative Bass – As with most Audio-Technica ATH headphones these offer a substantial and satisfying low-end response. Good thump without muddiness.
  • Good Price – A pleasant listening experience that punches well above its price point. Good value headphones.
  • Replaceable Cables – Secure cables that easily detach. Choice of both coiled and straight is a welcome inclusion. Both of which offer plenty of length.
  • Mobile Device Friendly – With a low impedance rating these are easily powered. From your PC to your smartphone these won’t disappoint.

Cons

  • Average Isolation – Audio-Technica ATH headphones tend to offer decent isolation. But these are average at blocking ambient noise.

The Audio-Technica ATH-M40x headphones offer an affordable entry point. A good balance between features and price that other headphones struggle to deliver.

These over-ear headphones don’t do a great job of keeping out background noise. But they do provide a satisfying sound profile that is full of punch and life. Not the most balanced sound but great for casual listening.

The inclusions at this price point are also generous. Plus the build quality is also better than you’d expect at this price.

This combination of features makes the Audio-Technica ATH-M40x one of the best closed-back headphones in this price bracket.

Read our full Audio-Technica ATH-M40x review for more detailed information.

Three quarter view of the Audio-Technica ATH-M40X headphones

Audio-Technica ATH-M40X

PreSonus HD9 Review

Specifications

Pros

  • Thumpy Low End – The HD9 delivers a thumpy and full low-end. But it retains good clarity and no distortion. Good for bass lovers.
  • Cheap Price – At this price, these perform extremely well. Decent build quality and an included pouch present a firm value offering for budget buyers.
  • Engaging Sound – Beyond the healthy bass, the rest of the sound profile is also lively. Balanced sound that does lean more toward a consumer-style profile.

Cons

  • Non-Detachable Cable – The hardwired cable is a disappointment. This means you’ll be stuck with just the one cable choice.
  • Not Very Neutral – If you need a pair of headphones with high accuracy these are not the best choice.

These over-ear headphones from PreSonus are another excellent budget option. The low price is appealing but it is backed up by a solid sound profile.

No, these are not ideal for analytical listening. But for light studio work and casual listening, these are a joy. A high level of comfort is another strong feature. Reliable padding on the ear cups and a secure fit for long sessions.

Component quality is also very respectable for headphones this cheap. The hinges are solid and the driver housing is robust. Good balance between price and quality.

Despite the more consumer-style sound, the PreSonus HD9 is still an excellent low-cost pair of closed headphones.

Read our full PreSonus HD9 review for more detailed information.

Our Expert Buying Guide

Choosing the best headphones comes with tricky decisions. You need to balance price, sound quality, comfort, and more. You may also be seeking a wireless option. While these may be appealing they are not ideal for DJing or for studio work due to latency.

Closed headphones have one distinct advantage over other types of headphones. And that is isolation. Below we cover isolation in more detail.

Benefits of Isolation

Closed headphones don’t allow much air to escape from the ear cups. As a result, there are several benefits of this type of design.

  • Better Bass – Since there is nowhere for the air to escape closed headphones tend to deliver a deeper and more thumpy bass response. Ideal for electronic music or hip hop.
  • Blocks Background Noise – If you are in a noisy environment you can enjoy your music without interference. Helpful in crowded areas or when traveling.
  • No Sound Leakage – Closed headphones provide a seal to prevent sound from escaping. This is great if you want privacy. But also ideal if you don’t want to disturb anyone else. Plus these are perfect when recording.
  • Longer Lasting – The closed-back design helps to minimize the chance of dust and moisture getting to the drivers. This means your headphones will last longer than open-back options.
Man holding headphones while creating music on a controller.

Closed-back headphones are great for DJs and producers due to their strong isolation.

Passive Vs Active Noise Cancelling

Closed headphones will either offer passive or active noise canceling. Passive noise-canceling means no extra components are trying to suppress outside noise.

The combination of clamping force, ear padding density, and sealed back usually does a great job of minimizing noise.

Active noise-canceling headphones will feature technology to actively block noise. This is achieved via a microphone that will detect the noise. It will then produce a phase inverted sound that will then cancel out this exterior noise. They may also have other features like Bluetooth connectivity.

Active noise canceling does produce better isolation but often at the cost of sounding more restraining and unbalanced. If you need studio headphones passive isolation will be a better choice.

FAQ

Do Closed-Back Headphones Sound Better?

Closed-back headphones offer an engaging and in-your-head approach to sound. Whether they sound better is debatable. A lot of this will come down to personal preference. Closed-back headphones are a great choice if you like big bass and need isolation.

Are Studio Headphones Closed Back?

Both closed-back and open-back headphones are appropriate choices for the studio. Studio headphones need to deliver a neutral and accurate sound so you can make educated decisions when working. Both of these types of headphones can deliver in this area.

Which One Should You Buy?

As you can see there are several enticing options when it comes to closed-back headphones. Some specialize in certain elements while others attempt to please everyone. Which one is right for you will depend on your needs.

But there is one pair that I can confidently recommend above the rest. The Beyerdynamic DT 700 Pro X is our choice for the top spot. The stunning sound coupled with the supreme level of comfort set it apart from the competition. The quality on display is superb. Easily one of the best closed-back headphones you can buy today.

Three quarter view of the Beyerdynamic DT 700 Pro X headphones.

Beyerdynamic DT 700 Pro X

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Article by Patryk Biernacki
Article by Patryk Biernacki

Patryk has been immersed in the world of music since the early 90s. This coupled with his creative talents, drove his passion to become an expert writer in the music industry. He constantly researches and tests new products, and enjoys playing with all types of gear in his spare time. Electronic music runs through his veins and he absolutely loves DJing in his home studio.

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