what is the difference between open and closed headphones?

i know what the difference is i the way it looks but how does it actually affect sound and which one is better to use in a recording studio?


tie breaker anyone?

Update 2:

sorry i didnt specify, i wouldnt be using the headphones for recording really, but more for mixing (and obviously i would do a final mixdown over speakers) so i think im gonna go with open headphones unless anyone objects?

4 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer


    Open headphones sound more ‘natural’ than closed models. Generally an open model will have much better soundstage (the ‘width and depth’ of sound), more natural bass (tighter and faster) and better separation (how well individual sounds/instruments/details are defined).

    Closed headphones on the other hand tend to have a more ‘boxed in’ sound to them (where it sounds like the music is coming from inside your head) and boomier, more resonant (slower) sounding bass. Often this leads to closed headphones sounding bassier, but if you listen closely it’s normally just because the bass is stopping and starting slower, and less accurately, than it would on an open model. This is why using the term “better” can be very subjective. You might consider slow, boomy overpowering bass to be “better” than well defined and clear bass ;)

    It's really up to you, but i would recommend open headphones

    Source(s): i work at an Apple store and i used to work at a Mac store i own a grand collection of iPods and iPhones =]
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  • 1 decade ago

    According to Wikipedia "Earcup headphones

    Earcup or on-ear headphones rest on the exterior of the ear and were the earliest headphone form designed.

    The housing, or earcup, of an earcup headphone will be either open or closed. Open headphones, sometimes marketed as “open air” headphones, have an open grille on the back of the earcup, exposing the driver to the outside and allowing sound waves to propagate away from the ear freely. This backing type does not isolate the listener from outside sounds; in addition, sound through open headphones can be heard by others in the vicinity of the user. They usually have less distortion due to the lack of earcup resonance. Closed headphones have a sealed backing, which attenuates sound waves propagating away from the ear. As a result, listeners away from the headphones cannot hear the produced sound easily. In addition, sound from outside is attenuated by the sealed backing, providing a level of isolation to the listener. A sealed chamber is often claimed to have the negative effect of distorting sound in certain frequencies due to resonances within the earcup housing, however, bass frequencies are stronger in a sealed chamber headphone design."

    You want closed headphones because you don't want sound leaking out and being recorded by the machines. That is what I am assuming.

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  • nodell
    Lv 4
    4 years ago

    With open headphones the casing and the decrease back of the little speaker unit is open to unfastened air. With closed headphones the casing and decrease back of the little speaker unit is closed or sealed to unfastened air. There are advantages and drawbacks to the two.

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  • B W
    Lv 4
    1 decade ago

    Always use cloed phones in a studio. Open phones will bleed into your microphone, and if you are listening loud enough will cause feedback and actually hurt your ears!

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