Best Open Back Headphones Under 200 – 5 TOP Picks! With tighter budgets for many of us these days (and probably for quite some time), it’s natural to look for the best open back headphones under $200. True, you may find a lot of these open-back headphones with rather high prices. This post, it’s photos and table include links to products on other websites. If you purchase something through these links we may earn a commission at no extra cost to you. CLICK To Our FULL Product Reviews Many of these headphones come with more advanced drivers, which is part of the reason why they’re great for audiophiles. But it’s also true that you can find more affordable models that still sound great. That’s especially true if you stick to our list of the best open back headphones under $200. Caveats: Issues with Open-Back Headphones If you’re determined to buy one of these, you better understand that even the best open back headphones under $200 come with its own sets of drawbacks. The open back design isn’t meant for all situations. Noise Comes In This is perhaps the most notable disadvantage of the open back design. There’s no chance for noise canceling. It doesn’t block out the outside noise all that much, even with the best open back headphones under $200. If you’re using this on the road, then your music will have to compete with the babble of conversations and the sound of the traffic. That’s why it meant mainly for the studio, or at least when you’re at home alone. Music Comes Out Sound leakage is another issue due to the open back design. Your music will go out of that opening and bother all the people around you. That means you can’t really use this in a library, or in an open workplace with other employees trying to concentrate on their work. You may even annoy family members when you use this at home, when you try to listen to music while the others are watching TV. Lower Bass This is one of the features of open-back headphones that bass-heads don’t care for. The bass you get with the open-back headphone may have very good quality. However, you just don’t get as much bass as you would with the closed-back design. The closed back design traps the air in confined space around your ears, which really boosts the impact of the bass. The Advantages of the Open Back Despite the drawbacks of the open back design, you may still go for this type of headphone due to the following reasons. Better Sound Quality The sound quality is better with the open back compared to the close back design. While there are certainly exceptions to this rule, they’re not all that common. Find a random open back headphone and another with a closed back, and the chances are pretty good that the open back sounds better. It’s no coincidence that most of the audiophile-grade headphones (especially the ones costing a lot more than $200) come with the vents. They’re all open-back headphones. This is because the vents let the driver breathe, without the air pressure causing a hindrance. Larger Drivers Also, you’re more apt to find larger and more advanced drivers in the open back headphones. That’s especially true for the best open back headphones under $200. Greater Comfort With the vents on the headphones, you no longer have to fully enclose your ears. You have air circulating around your lobes, so you don’t have the heat trapped inside the ear cups causing your ears to sweat. In addition, the open design cuts down on the ear cup material, so you have less weight on your head. Best Headphones under $200 — Top 5 Reviews How do you separate the cheap-quality headphones from the open-back headphones that give you a lot of bang for the buck? One sure way to do that is to simply pick from our list of recommended open-back headphones. They’re all terrific, even while the price is well within your $200 budget. 1. beyerdynamic DT 990 PRO Over-Ear Headphones “Professional Grade, Low Price” Our Rating: 4.5 Buy From Amazon The beyerdynamic DT 990 PRO line has long been a favorite of professionals for use in the studio. The build quality is terrific, which isn’t really a surprise as it’s a topnotch brand featuring the legendary German engineering. This is actually available in both the 80-ohm and 250-ohm versions. We went with the 80-ohm version, as it’s more versatile with its more neutral sound. The 250-ohm version is often regarded as your best option for mixing music in a studio. What’s It For? You know how some headphones are great for when you want to fall asleep to your relaxing music? These are not the headphones for sleeping. Instead, these headphones will wake you up, as they’re designed for serious listening. But these over-ear headphones will work for gaming too—that’s not going to lull you to sleep, either. Sound Quality Lots of sound engineers trust the beyerdynamic DT 990 PRO because the sound is both balanced and transparent. It’s great for mixing and studio monitoring, because the transducers (drivers) are highly sensitive. You’ll be able to hear subtle changes in the sound even with the smallest adjustments in the equalizer or panning. Because of the open-back design, the sound you get is spacious and airy, with the kind of sense of depth that works well with the room acoustics. The treble in the 80-ohm version isn’t too shrill, while the bass is great. This also works for just listening to music, but you will really enjoy the subtle audio details that other headphones may not offer. Comfort Level The weight isn’t all that heavy, as it weighs about 250 grams. It’s not as if you’re putting a lot of weight on your head. This is comfy enough to work with, as you get a nice, secure fit with the headband. This headband is made with robust steel, so it won’t fail you quickly even when you accidentally drop it. The earcups are quite soft, and they’re adjustable as well. The velour ear pads are also replaceable, in case you prefer other pads (or when they wear out eventually). Wired As this is a professional headphone set meant for serious work in a studio, don’t be surprised that it’s wired. Wireless headphones don’t really offer the stability you want with studio work. At least the wired cable is attached to just one side, and you don’t get entanglement issues even when you adjust it too often. However, you need to keep in mind that the cable here is permanently attached, so you better take care of that cable. If you damage it, you may have to replace the whole headset as you can’t just replace the cable. What We LikeProfessional-grade qualitySturdy buildTerrific sound (meant as a studio headphone)Quite versatileComfy to wearLightweightNot So GoodWired cable can’t be replaced easilyHighs can fatigue the earSomewhat power hungry 2. AKG Pro Audio K240 STUDIO Over-Ear, Semi-Open, Professional Studio Headphones “For the Studio or Home” Our Rating: 4.5 Buy From Amazon With this, you get a semi-open back design, which is a bit different. It basically has a closed back, but the speaker elements aren’t completely sealed. That means you get some of the advantages of the open-back headphones. While this design is mostly suited for the casual listening experience (preferably at home where it’s quiet), keep in mind that this is the “Studio” model. This is actually meant for sound engineers, producers, and musicians. Audio Quality You’ll find advanced 30mm XXL transducers here, instead of the puny drivers that you might find in other affordable headphones. These even comes with the special “Varimotion” diaphragms that give you the high sound levels, enhanced sensitivity, and wide dynamic range you want. At the same time, the semi-open design offers very clear highs with solid bass. You can actually hear subtle differences in the bass notes, though it’s not the obnoxious thumping that bass-heads may go for. Just don’t use this in a library or where the sound can bother people around you. The semi-open design still leads to sound leakage. Comfy and Long-lasting The leather headband here is actually self-adjusting for a great fit, even while it was made to last for hours working in a studio. This has springs that somehow give you a perfect fit without the need to adjust the earcups. It’s also a wired model, but the cable is detachable. If you want a cable that’s 10 meters long to replace the stock 3-meter cable, then go right ahead. Being detachable also means that if something goes wrong with it, you only need to replace the cable and not the whole headphone. Lightweight It’s also lightweight (the headband is made with leather, remember), while you also have leather for the cushions. You can actually use this for listening to music for hours, though it can be harder for bigger ears. If you have smaller ears, then it’s a perfect fit. What We LikeLightweightFits great without adjustmentDetachable cableGreat sound with clear highs and solid bassWorks for many uses, including in a studioNot So GoodA bit too small for large earsBass not enough for fanatical bass-headsSome sound leakage despite “semi-open” design 3. Philips Audio Philips SHP9500 HiFi Precision Stereo Over-Ear Headphones (Black) “Great Sound with Comfy Design” Our Rating: 4.5 Buy From Amazon With its low price, you can buy a Philips SHP9500 for yourself, another one for a buddy, and still have a lot left over. But the build quality here sure isn’t cheap, and you might even check the features and mistake this for a high-priced model. Huge Drivers How large are the drivers here? Small drivers sound terrible, as a rule. Try these, as you get 50mm drivers with high-power neodymium magnets. These drivers were even angled precisely to fit the shape of your ear. That way the audio signals are directly sent to the ears for a more accurate sound. The highs are clean and the midrange is transparent, while the bass is crisp and well-balanced. Minimizes Air Pressure It helps that the open-back design minimizes the air pressure behind the driver to let the diaphragm move more freely. This leads to improved sound transparency and smoother higher frequencies. Comfortable It sure is comfy to wear, as it’s designed to match the natural shape of the ear. You’ve got an extra layer of breathable cushion on the headband, so it sits nicely on your head. Even the ear cushions are breathable, and it’s also designed to dissipate the heat and pressure inside the cushions for hours of listening pleasure. The cable is 1.5 meters long, and it’s also removable for easy replacement. If it’s too short, then you can just replace it with a longer cable. What We LikeHuge drivers, and they’re angled as wellBreathable extra layer on headbandThe other headband layer is steel for durabilityBreathable ear cushionsDetachable cableVery affordableNot So GoodCable too short for some peopleBass is weakDoesn’t fit snugly; could fall off 4. GRADO SR80e Prestige Series Wired Open Back Stereo Headphones “A Reliable Classic” Our Rating: 4.5 Buy From Amazon The “Prestige” in the name is well-earned, since this is actually an award-winning headphone from the Grado brand. With this latest version of the famous SR80e, Grado actually managed to make it even better. The design of the driver is new, and there’s a new type of polymer used in the plastic housing to dampen the resonant distortion. Even the cable design is new, so it’s more durable. This works whether you’re a musician jamming with buddies, or just a gamer using this to set the mood. Fantastic Sound What the new design to the driver really did was to move the air more efficiently. That way the headphones react to the sound vibrations in a way that basically eliminated the transient distortions. That means the signal flow over this new cable reproduces the sound much better. This retains the trademark excellent midrange quality, but now you also get enhanced tight control over the higher and lower frequencies. This means that when you’re listening to your music, the higher frequencies are super-smooth, the harmonics are warm, and the vocals are full-bodied. It’s not really for bass-heads, though, if that’s what you’re looking for. Plastic Housing with Standard Padding Grado doesn’t really care a lot about your comfort, though, as the overall design is a bit mundane. This feels like typical foam padding, which is nice enough but not really superb. At least all the plastic here makes for a lightweight headphone, though you may not want to just throw this around. Besides, the open back design doesn’t give you the hot spots around the ears that you might get with other headphones. What We LikeFantastically full soundMatches the quality of headphones that cost way more than $200Very lightweight with leather headbandNo hotspotsNot So GoodYou’ll need to baby it with all that plasticThe bass isn’t enough for bass-headsCheap build quality 5. Sennheiser HD 599 Open Back Headphone, Ivory “Virtually Audiophile-Grade” Our Rating: 4.5 Buy From Amazon Sennheiser calls this a “premium” open-back headband, which is why its price is only a few cents under the $200 limit we set for ourselves. This really does look expensive, especially in the ivory color it came in. Even a single glance tells you that this is one of the best open back headphones under $200. With this headphone, you’re not getting something that even an audiophile won’t sneer at. Proprietary Technology Sennheiser uses their unique transducer technology here, along with special aluminum voice coils. Here you also get the E.A. R design, which stands for Ergonomic Acoustic Refinement. The sound is simply terrific, with the audible bass that’s not obtrusive at all. The highs are pristine, and actually nice to listen to as it’s not harsh at all. Maybe the midrange is merely acceptable, but then we’ve already spent a lot of time with other headphones that offer truly detailed mids. Great for Audiophiles The HD 599 is really one of the best open back headphones under $200. So it’s a bit over the top for heavily compressed audio, actually, such as MP3s. If that’s more your style, then the quality here is wasted. This is more for audiophiles, who use more detailed music formats and premium-grade sound cards. Great Wearing Comfort Lots of headphones aren’t designed for many hours of straight use, but you can don this for extended listening sessions. This is lightweight, but it’s still robust enough that it’s not flimsy at all. With the headband, you have lots of padding so it sits nicely on your head. The ear cups are large, so you don’t have that annoying pressure on the ears when the ear cups are too small. You even have the plush velour ear cushions here that set the cups so nicely over your ears. 2 Detachable Cables Your purchase also comes with 2 detachable cables. One is 1.2 meters long, which is perfectly suited for use with your smartphone and laptop. But the other cable is 3 meters long, which may be enough for gaming. These cables aren’t long enough for watching TV (especially in the bedroom), but then you can always buy extra cables for that sort of thing. Terrific Looks We don’t really focus on the looks here, since these open-back headphones are mostly for studio use or for when you’re alone at home relaxing. But there’s no denying the sheer luxurious vibes you get with the look of the HD 599. The cool ivory color matches well with the metallic matte detailing, so you immediately understand that this is no cheap headphone at all. What We LikeAudio quality that audiophiles won’t sneer atLarge ear cupsPlenty of padding in the headbandLightweight yet robustLooks expensiveComes with 2 cables of different lengthsNot So GoodThe most expensive on this listCable not long enough for TV viewingCheap looking plastic parts Conclusion on the Best Open Back Headphones Under $200 As long as you remember that open-back headphones aren’t really for traveling, you’re good to go with one of these excellent headphones. Maybe you need a headphone for serious music mixing. Or maybe you really want to enjoy the details of your music, using these terrific-sounding headphones with premium sound cards and more sophisticated music file formats. You may even just want to relax at home, or perhaps use this for gaming or for re-watching Game of Thrones. Try one of the best open back headphones under $200, sit back, and enjoy!