So you’ve decided you want to up your streaming game with a pair of open-back headphones. Excellent choice – open-back headphones provide an expansive soundstage that makes music, movies, and games feel more immersive. The trade-off is that they leak sound, so they’re better for private listening.
We’ve rounded up 7 of the best open-back headphones for streaming so you can find a pair tailored to your needs and budget. Whether you’re an audiophile looking for reference-level accuracy or just want an affordable pair for casual listening, you’ll find something on this list.
Read on to discover our top picks for open back headphones to elevate your streaming experience.
Top Brands of Open Back Headphones For Streaming
This German company is known for its high-quality headphones that deliver a balanced and detailed sound. Some of their popular open-back models include the HD 800 S1, the HD 660 S2, and the HD 6XX3, which are all suitable for streaming music, movies, and games.
Another German brand that specializes in professional audio equipment, Beyerdynamic offers a range of open-back headphones that are praised for their comfort and durability. Some of their popular open-back models include the DT 1990 Pro, the DT 990 Pro, and the TYGR 300 R, which are all great for streaming various genres and media.
This American company is famous for its handmade headphones that have a distinctive retro design and a warm and lively sound. Some of their popular open-back models include the SR325X, the RS2X, and the GW100 Wireless, which are all ideal for streaming rock, jazz, and acoustic music.
This Chinese company is renowned for its planar magnetic headphones that produce a spacious and detailed soundstage. Some of their popular open-back models include the Ananda, the Sundara, and the HE400i 2020 Edition, which are all excellent for streaming high-resolution audio and immersive soundtracks
Open-back headphones do have some downsides, like sound leakage and lack of noise isolation. But for serious home listening, an open-back design is the way to go. Once you experience the open, airy sound and lifelike spatiality, you’ll never go back. The open road is calling—are you ready to take the ride?
Sennheiser HD 800 S
Beyerdynamic DT 1990 Pro
Philips Fidelio X2HR
Sennheiser HD 800 S – Flagship Reference Headphones With Spacious Soundstage
If you’re an audiophile looking for open-back headphones that provide an incredibly spacious soundstage, the Sennheiser HD 800 S should be at the top of your list. These flagship reference headphones are the pinnacle of Sennheiser’s headphone line, delivering a balanced, detailed frequency response that makes streaming your favorite tunes an absolute joy.
The HD 800 S feature 56mm ring radiator drivers in an open-back design, allowing sound to flow freely and create an expansive sense of space. The ear cups are shaped like hemispheres, with the drivers firing sound at an angle for a wider sound dispersion that mimics listening to speakers. The result is a holographic soundstage where you can pick out the location of individual instruments.
While the price tag is steep, the HD 800 S are crafted with premium materials like microfiber ear pads, metal headbands, and high-quality plastic and metal accents. They’re built to last and keep you comfortable for hours of listening. An included cable and carrying case add extra value.
If you want to experience your music like never before, the Sennheiser HD 800 S open-back headphones are audiophile heaven. Their spacious, high-resolution sound and premium design are worth every penny for serious music lovers and critical listeners.
Beyerdynamic DT 1990 Pro – Versatile Studio Headphones With Great Imaging
The Beyerdynamic DT 1990 Pro are versatile studio headphones that provide an open-back design for great imaging.
These high-quality headphones are made in Germany and built to last, with a durable metal design and padded velour ear cups that you can wear for hours. The open-back configuration gives music an airy, spacious quality by allowing sound to freely move in and out. This creates an expansive soundstage, making it seem as if the music is playing around you rather than being piped directly into your ears.
The DT 1990 Pro come with two sets of ear pads you can swap out depending on your needs or preferences. The “balanced” pads offer an even frequency response for mixing and mastering, while the “analytical” pads have a slightly brighter tone that may suit some listening preferences better. Either way, these headphones deliver a crystal-clear midrange, tight bass, and smooth highs. Vocals and instruments shine through with stunning realism.
With an impedance of 250 ohms, the DT 1990 Pro requires a headphone amplifier to reach its full potential. But driven properly, they provide an unparalleled listening experience for audiophiles and studio professionals alike. The open soundstage and articulate, high-resolution sound make them ideal for critiquing mixes, enjoying high-fidelity recordings, or just getting lost in your favorite tracks.
Hifiman Sundara – Affordable Planar Magnetic Headphones With Wide Soundstage
The Hifiman Sundara are affordable planar magnetic headphones that provide an open, spacious sound with precise imaging and a wide soundstage. Planar magnetic drivers are known for their speed, clarity, and detail. At under $300, the Sundara offer stunning value for open-back headphones.
The large, open ear cups allow for an airy, three-dimensional presentation of music with clearly defined instrument separation and placement. Vocals and instruments have a lifelike quality. The bass is tight and impactful without bloat. Mids are lush and present. Highs are crisp and extended without harshness.
The lightweight yet durable build features a metal headband and ear cup frames with comfortable fabric ear pads. The detachable cable is sturdy and tangle-resistant. Sensitivity and impedance specs make the Sundara easy to drive with most sources, though they scale up nicely with more powerful amps.
If you’re looking for open-back headphones to experience the space and depth of your favorite streaming content, the Hifiman Sundara should be at the top of your list. They represent the pinnacle of value in the hi-fi headphone market. Once you hear the huge, holographic soundstage created by the planar magnetic drivers, you’ll find it hard to go back to anything else.
Philips Fidelio X2HR – Fun Sounding Headphones With Strong Bass
The Philips Fidelio X2HR are fun-sounding open-back headphones that provide strong, impactful bass. These lightweight over-ear cans have 50mm neodymium drivers that deliver a wide soundstage and crisp highs. The detachable cable gives you flexibility in length and connectivity.
For deep lows and an engaging listening experience, the X2HR are a great choice. The bass has depth and punch, bringing electronic, hip hop and rock music to life. Mids are clear and natural, showcasing vocals and instruments. Smooth highs provide detail without harshness.
The open-back design creates an airy, spacious sound that seems to surround you. Great for gaming or movies, the X2HR provide an immersive experience for streaming media. They’re easy to drive too, with an impedance of just 30 ohms, so they’ll work with most devices.
Replaceable velour earpads and a padded headband keep you comfortable for long listening sessions. An included 6.3mm adapter allows use with pro audio gear. For audiophiles seeking an affordable, engaging set of open-back cans, the Philips Fidelio X2HR are an compelling option.
Grado RS2x – Handmade Headphones With Vivid Midrange
The Grado RS2x is the latest update to the Reference Series of headphones from the Brooklyn-based company that has been making open-back headphones since 1953. The RS2x features a unique combination of maple and hemp-fiber composite for the ear cups, which are said to enhance the sound quality and durability of the headphones.
The RS2x has a classic Grado look, with a leather headband, metal rods, and foam ear pads. The ear pads are replaceable and can be upgraded to different types of cushions for different comfort and sound preferences. The headphones are lightweight and comfortable to wear, although they do put some pressure on the top of the ears.
The sound quality of the RS2x is impressive, with a balanced and natural presentation that suits most genres of music. The bass is tight, punchy, and warm, but not overpowering or boomy. The midrange is the highlight of the headphones, with a pure, lucid, and sweet sound that brings out the vocals and instruments.
The treble is smooth, refined, and detailed, without being harsh or sibilant. It has a good sparkle and airiness, without being too bright or piercing. The treble is crisp and clear, suitable for genres such as pop, metal, and electronic.
The RS2x is a great pair of headphones for those who appreciate the heritage and craftsmanship of Grado, as well as the open-back sound that they are known for. The RS2x offers a refined and musical sound that is enjoyable and engaging to listen to.
AKG K702 – Lightweight Headphones With Smooth Treble
The AKG K702 are lightweight, open-back headphones ideal for long streaming sessions. Their open design creates an expansive soundstage, allowing you to get lost in your favorite tunes or shows.
The K702 are designed with comfort in mind. They have large, circular ear cups that fit over your ears instead of on top of them. This reduces pressure and heat buildup, even after hours of use. The headband is adjustable and distributes weight evenly across your head. Forgetting you have them on is easy!
Made of durable yet lightweight materials, the K702 weigh just 8.3 ounces. You’ll barely notice them, whether gaming, binge-watching or jamming out. Their open design also allows for airflow, keeping your ears cool. Overall, the K702 aim to disappear on your head, leaving just the audio experience.
The K702 produce a balanced, natural sound ideal for any genre. Their open design creates an airy, immersive soundstage, allowing you to detect subtle details. The bass is tight and controlled, the midrange clear and forward, and the treble refined without harshness.
Whether streaming music, movies or games, the K702 provide an engaging listening experience. Their neutral yet fun signature works for acoustic, classical, rock and everything in between. For gaming, the wide soundstage helps detect enemies sneaking around you. The K702 reveal layers in your media you never knew existed.
At around $200, the K702 offer audiophile-level sound for a steal. For long streaming sessions, their combination of comfort and high-fidelity sound is hard to beat. If you want to get lost in your audio for hours, the K702 will take you there.
Audio-Technica ATH-AD700X – Detailed Headphones at a Budget Price
The Audio-Technica ATH-AD700X are open-back headphones that won’t break the bank. For under $100, you get high-quality headphones with an open and spacious sound ideal for streaming.
The large ear cups and self-adjusting headband provide comfort for long streaming sessions. The open-back design creates an expansive soundstage, allowing you to immerse yourself in what you’re listening to. You’ll feel like you’re right in the middle of the music.
The 53mm drivers produce clear highs, detailed mids, and accurate bass. The sound signature is neutral, so you’ll hear the audio as intended. The highs are crisp without being harsh, the mids bring out vocals and instruments, and the bass has good impact. This versatile and balanced sound works for streaming all music genres as well as movies, games, and videos.
While the open-back design provides an amazing listening experience, it also means that the ATH-AD700X headphones leak sound and don’t block outside noise. They are best used in a quiet place away from distractions. The long, coiled cable may be inconvenient for some, though an adapter is included to convert the mini-XLR plug to a standard 3.5mm.
For high-quality open-back headphones on a budget, the Audio-Technica ATH-AD700X are an excellent choice for streaming media and enjoying an immersive listening experience.
How to Choose the Right Pair of Open-Back Headphones for You
Choose a pair of open-back headphones based on how you want to experience your audio. Some key factors to consider:
For critical listening or high-resolution audio, look for a wide, balanced frequency range and clarity. Brands like Sennheiser, Beyerdynamic and HiFiMan are known for this. For a fun, lively sound, consider Grado. Their RS2X model is great for streaming rock and acoustic music.
If you plan to wear them for long periods, comfort is key. Look for lightweight materials, adjustable padding and a self-adjusting band. The Audio-Technica ATH-AD700X are praised for comfort. Their open-back design and large ear cups are ideal for long streaming sessions.
Higher impedance models like the AKG K702 (250 ohms) require a dedicated amplifier to power them. If using a basic source, choose a lower impedance for the best experience. The Philips Fidelio X2HR (30 ohms) work great with most devices.
Open-back headphones leak sound and don’t block noise. They’re best for quiet, isolated places. If you need sound isolation or private listening, closed-back headphones are better.
Stick with reputable brands known for quality, open-back models like Sennheiser, Beyerdynamic, AKG, Grado, HiFiMan or Audio-Technica. They continually improve their technology and materials to deliver the best listening experience. Lesser known brands may cut corners.
With so many options, take your time exploring reviews to find the perfect open-back headphones for streaming your favorite media. The right pair can transform your listening into an immersive escape. Happy streaming!
So there you have it, 7 of the best open-back headphones for streaming are available today. Any of these would be a great choice for comfortably listening to your favorite streams for hours on end.
Open-back headphones provide an open, airy soundstage that creates an immersive experience perfect for streaming music, podcasts, gameplay, and more. With options at various price points, there’s something here for every budget. What are you waiting for?
Pick up a pair of open back headphones and dive into the wonderful world of streaming audio.
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