Closed Back Headphones
Closed back headphones are one of two main variants of headphones. The ear cup of closed back headphones is fully closed, creating an effective seal with the side of the head, which keeps sound within the ear cup. This is effective in passive attenuation of ambient noise, and will eliminate the majority of ambient/environmental noise – much more than with open back headphones. The seal created by closed back headphones allows for greater resonance – which results in a greatly improved bass performance over open design headphones.
Because of their sealed design, closed back headphones are ideal for use in situations where ambient noise levels are high, meaning you hear less of what’s going on around you and more of your music. They are also ideal for public environments where you don’t want to disturb others with your music, making them ideal for use when commuting. Some closed back headphones, particularly higher end models, feature a detachable headphone cable. This means that this can be replaced for a different or upgraded cable, and also means should any issues with the cable arise, it can be replaced rather than having to buy an entirely new pair of headphones.
When listening to music through speakers, the left speaker plays sounds intended for the left ear, and the right speaker those destined for the right ear. However, much of this information is mixed, with the right ear hearing sound destined for the left and vice versa. With headphones in general, but particularly closed back headphones due to the isolation of their design, each ear hears only what it is supposed to. This results in much better stereo imaging and front to back coherency. This can help give the impression of a tangible soundstage in front of the listener, creating a much more involving listening experience.
The trapping of sound within the closed ear cup can increase the loudness of an audio source, which can result in a more immersive and larger sound. Closed back headphones can also give the impression that the origin of the sound is within the head due to the proximity of the driver to the ear and the isolation of each channel, which can be more involving, and may be preferred by some users.
When buying a pair of closed back headphones, it is important to consider their specifications, and how they will pair with your existing or proposed equipment. As with all headphones, they will likely sound much better through a dedicated headphone amplifier, which is specifically designed for use with headphones, and tends to offer better performance than the headphone socket included with integrated amplifiers or other devices. Matching your headphones with an amplifier requires some consideration, due to headphone impedance, which dictates how easy it is to drive a pair of headphones. Some amplifiers feature multiple inputs to allow driving of high and low impedance headphones. Most amplifiers should work with most headphones, however some can be particularly difficult to drive, which limits the range of amplifiers suitable. We are always happy to offer advice or demonstrations and also offer free UK delivery.