For most people, closed-back or sealed headphones are much more suitable for casual use than open-back headphones. They are more versatile, with their sealed ear cups allowing them to work well both indoors and outdoors. Compared to open-back headphones, they are better at sound isolation: they do a better job at blocking out background noise and keeping sound leakage to a minimum at higher volumes. Closed-back headphones are also recommended for those who prefer a more powerful bass, but for those who put more stock in the soundstage, they are not the best options.
There are a lot of good closed-back headphones on the market, from premium audiophile headphones to noise-canceling headphones. If you are shopping for the best closed-back headphones currently out, this product guide is for you. In this guide, you’ll find the top options on the market, including gaming headphones, noise-canceling headphones, and studio headphones. We also included a few closed-back on-ear headphones for those who prefer the more compact and more breathable design of on-ear headphones.
The MrSpeakers Aeon Flow Closed are closed-back headphones with superb audio reproduction, excellent build quality, and good passive noise isolation. While they are not as ridiculously expensive as other premium headphones, they are still expensive, selling for around $800. They are recommended for audiophiles who also want the passive noise isolation of closed-back headphones.
A pair of planar magnetic headphones, the MrSpeakers Aeon Flow Closed have a unique design that really stands out. They are made of high-quality materials from top to bottom, featuring unique teardrop-shaped ear cups with carbon fiber shells and leather pads. Sturdy and flexible, the dual headband is composed of a leather headband and a Nitinol metal headband. The headband adjusts effortlessly and has a good clamp.
The MrSpeakers Aeon Flow Closed are supremely comfortable to use for long listening sessions. They are lightweight and don’t feel too tight. However, they are not as breathable as on-ear headphones and earbuds due to their sealed, around-the-ear design. They do get a bit warm after a couple of hours of continuous use, but it’s not enough to cause discomfort.
Unlike some over-ear headphones, the MrSpeakers Aeon Flow Closed don’t fold into a more compact format, which hurts their portability. But on the bright side, there are fewer moving parts vulnerable to wear and tear. The headphones come with a hard case, which makes them easier to carry for travel, with the hard case offering protection against scratches, minor drops, and water damage.
The MrSpeakers Aeon Flow Closed have excellent audio reproduction. They are extremely detailed and are good for different music genres. The bass and mid-range performance are both balanced. The imaging is great while the soundstage is good for closed-back headphones. Simply put, these premium headphones sound amazing and are some of the best-sounding closed-back headphones under $1,000.
While they are not as good as noise-canceling headphones, the MrSpeakers Aeon Flow Closed are good at blocking out background noise. You can use them for listening to music while at the office, but for commuting, they are not suitable, especially considering their wired connection and lack of inline controls make for an inconvenient setup. These closed-back headphones also don’t leak a lot of sound at higher volumes, which is beneficial for people around you.
If you can spend close to $1,000 on a pair of headphones, check out the MrSpeakers Aeon Flow Closed, which come from a small California-based company. They are brilliant audiophile headphones with excellent build quality. They are some of the best-sounding and most comfortable closed-back headphones on the market and are well worth the money if you are a headphone enthusiast.
The Audio-Technica ATH-M50x are recommended headphones for audiophiles who have a tighter budget and can’t afford premium headphones like the MrSpeakers Aeon Flow Closed. Selling for around $150, they are wired over-ear headphones that are ideal for professional studio use. They are also great DJ headphones, with their swiveling ear cups allowing for easy one-ear monitoring.
Compared to the MrSpeakers headphones, the Audio-Technica ATH-M50x have a simpler and more discreet aesthetic. There are a few color options available, including a simple black model and a flashier blue model. While not as premium-looking as other audiophile headphones, the Audio-Technica ATH-M50x are well-designed headphones with good build quality. They are sturdy and are comfortable to wear due to their good ear cup and headband padding. They are lightweight and don’t feel too tight.
The Audio-Technica ATH-M50x can be folded into a more compact form. This makes them easier to pack, but since they are over-ear headphones, they are still quite bulky. They are not recommended for commuting, travel, sports, and outdoor use in general. They are not the most stable pair of headphones, which makes them unsuitable for running and workouts, and their wired connection makes them more cumbersome to use while on the move. They also lack an inline mic, a common omission among headphones designed specifically for professional use.
For storage, the Audio-Technica ATH-M50x come with a soft pouch that protects them from scratches, but not from water damage and drops. There are multiple cables included in the box, one of which is a coiled cable. Unlike some wired headphones, these headphones lack inline controls – or any form of controls for that matter – but it’s not a big deal when using them in a professional setting.
Featuring a deep bass and excellent mid-range performance, the Audio-Technica ATH-M50x are some of the best-sounding wired headphones on the market. They have a balanced audio reproduction and are suitable for different music genres. They are also good for home entertainment in general, such as watching movies on your computer and gaming. However, their wired connection can be a limiting factor in some home entertainment setups.
The Audio-Technica ATH-M50x are great for listening to music in a quiet room. But for noisy places such as public transport hubs and airports, they are mediocre. Although their closed-back ear cups offer passive noise isolation, they are not the best at blocking out background noise. They don’t offer active noise cancellation, which isn’t surprising for a pair of professional studio headphones. On the plus side, their sound leakage is fairly low at higher volumes. This means the ear cups offer a good enough seal for the benefit of the people around you.
All in all, the Audio-Technica ATH-M50x are outstanding headphones that offer excellent value for the money. They have excellent audio reproduction and good build quality, and they are comfortable to use for long listening sessions. While they are limited in features and are not the most versatile closed-back headphones out there, they are great at their intended purpose.
If you are shopping for the best closed-back gaming headset, check out the SteelSeries Arctis Pro Wireless. They are excellent wireless gaming headphones with great sound quality, multiple connection options, and good app support. While they are marketed specifically for PC and PS4 gaming, they are also good for gaming on Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and mobile phones. They are expensive, though, selling for nearly $300.
Unlike some gaming headphones, the SteelSeries Arctis Pro Wireless have a more understated aesthetic and don’t immediately come off as gaming headphones. They are bulky over-ear headphones with good build quality, featuring a metal frame and durable ear cups. They are not very portable because of their bulky design, not to mention they don’t fold into a more compact format and don’t come with a carry case. Their ear cup outer shells are magnetic and can be easily swapped out when damaged. You can also swap them out for more colorful plates, with SteelSeries offering different “Booster Packs” for a more stylish look.
While they are not the most breathable headphones, the SteelSeries Arctis Pro Wireless are comfortable to use for long gaming sessions. They have spacious, well-padded ear cups and a flexible headband that adjusts easily for a more comfortable fit. They are also very stable and don’t easily fall off, but at the same time, they don’t put too much pressure on the head.
Flexible and retractable, the boom mic – which has a windscreen – is on the left ear cup. You can easily retract it into the ear cup when not in use. The right ear cup doubles as a battery compartment. Both ear cups feature controls: the left ear cup has a multi-function dial and a mic mute switch, while the right ear cup has a multi-function Bluetooth button and a power button. The Bluetooth button has a concave surface while the power button has a convex surface, allowing you to easily identify them. With the on-cup controls, you can easily manage your calls and music and adjust the volume.
The SteelSeries Arctis Pro Wireless come with a wireless transmitter that connects to a PC or PS4 using a USB cable. Featuring an OLED display, the transmitter has multiple connection options at the back, including line-in, line-out, optical, and USB. You can use the USB transmitter to adjust the volume, balance the game and chat volumes, and customize the sound with the onboard equalizer. In addition, the transmitter serves as a charging station for the headphones battery. Since there are two batteries included in the box, you can charge one battery while the other is in use.
Whether you are into story-driven RPGs or action-packed shooter games, the SteelSeries Arctis Pro Wireless are superb gaming headphones. They are some of the best-sounding gaming headphones on the market. This makes them especially great for games such as Undertale, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, and other games with an excellent soundtrack. The mic performance is also great, even in a noisy environment. With the SteelSeries desktop app, you get a good amount of customization options to make your gaming experience more enjoyable.
As mentioned, the SteelSeries Arctis Pro Wireless offer different connection options. You can use either the USB transmitter or Bluetooth for wireless connection. The wireless range is excellent in both cases, with SteelSeries claiming up to 40 feet range with the USB transmitter. And as for battery life in wireless mode, the headphones can run up to 10 hours on a single charge, according to the official specs sheet. This translates to a total battery life of 20 hours when both batteries are consumed. If both batteries are out, you can switch to a wired connection with the audio cable.
Overall, the SteelSeries Arctis Pro Wireless are outstanding gaming headphones. They check pretty much all the boxes. While they are obviously designed for gaming, they are also great for other usages, such as listening to music and podcasts. They don’t fare well in a noisy room, though, as their noise isolation is not that good – which brings us to the next product on this list.
If noise isolation performance is the most important aspect to you, get the Sony WH-1000XM3. They are some of the best noise-canceling headphones on the market, featuring active noise cancellation technology for superior noise isolation. They are great headphones for commuting, travel, and office use, with their wireless connectivity adding more convenience.
A pair of over-ear headphones, the Sony WH-1000XM3 are stylish headphones made with high-quality materials. They are quite bulky, which is a given for over-ear headphones, but they are not as heavy as other headphones. They are comfortable to use for long hours, featuring softly padded ear cups that don’t feel too warm after just a couple of hours. The slim headband has just enough clamp to keep the headphones secure without putting too much pressure on the head.
The large ear cups can be folded into the frame for a more compact form. On one hand, this adds more moving parts susceptible to wear and tear. But on the other hand, the foldable design makes it easier to pack the headphones for travel. On a related note, the Sony WH-1000XM3 include a hard case for a more secure container. Unlike a soft pouch, a hard case offers more protection, keeping the headphones safe from scratches, minor drops, and water splashes.
With their responsive on-cup touch controls, the Sony WH-1000XM3 make it easier to manage your calls and music and activate your voice assistant while on the go. You don’t need to fumble around with inline controls and flimsy dials or buttons. You can also quickly switch to listening mode just by covering the touch surface with your hand, allowing you to engage in a conversation without taking your headphones off.
The Sony WH-1000XM3 are good-sounding closed-back headphones and are recommended for those who prefer a bass-heavy sound. They are good for listening to music, podcasts, audiobooks, and other media while commuting. They have an excellent wireless range and pair easily with compatible devices, with their NFC pairing feature allowing for an easier setup. The integrated mic is also decent, which is beneficial for those who take a lot of calls daily.
Of the best closed-back headphones on this list, the Sony WH-1000XM3 offer the best noise isolation, with the capability to effectively block out background noise in public transport hubs, airports, and noisy offices. You can adjust the noise cancellation feature on the companion app, which also offers other customization options for the headphones. In addition to their excellent noise isolation, the Sony WH-1000XM3 are also good at preventing sound from leaking out, which is especially beneficial when using the headphones in the office.
Regarding battery life, the Sony WH-1000XM3 are great. They allow for up to 30 hours of playback on a single charge with active noise-canceling enabled. They also charge fast, with 10 minutes of charging already providing five hours of playback. When the battery runs out, you can switch to wired mode with the included audio cable.
Whether you need noise-canceling headphones for commuting or office use, the Sony WH-1000XM3 are the best option. They are well-built headphones with superb noise isolation, good sound quality, and great on-cup controls. They are perfect for long commutes and extended hours at the office, thanks to their comfortable design and long-lasting battery.
The Bose QuietComfort 35 II are noise-canceling headphones with better sound quality than the Sony WH-1000XM3. They are more versatile and can connect to multiple devices at the same time, which is a big plus for some people. On the other hand, they are just as expensive, selling for around the same price, but unlike the Sony headphones, they come in multiple color options. You can also get a custom color scheme for an additional fee, which is great if you want a more personalized look.
Featuring a sturdy headband and large ear cups, the Bose QuietComfort 35 II are wireless over-ear headphones with a nice aesthetic that is neither boring nor too flashy. While they have a lot of plastic parts, they are well-built headphones that feel durable. They can be folded into a more compact form, which adds to their portability. They come with a hard case that protects them from both scratches and minor drops.
The Bose QuietComfort 35 II are more comfortable than the Sony WH-1000XM3, which makes them more suitable for long listening sessions. They are some of the most comfortable closed-back over-ear headphones on the market. They are lightweight and don’t feel too tight on the head, but at the same time, they are stable and don’t easily slide off when moving around. Their headband is sturdy and flexible, while their ear cups are roomy and softly padded.
For controls, the Bose QuietComfort 35 II feature an on-cup control scheme that is easy to use and has good feedback. You can adjust the volume and manage your calls and music with the three buttons on the right ear cup. And with the single button on the left ear cup, you can easily activate your voice assistant and switch between the three noise cancellation levels, which is very convenient. That’s it for controls, though, as the headphones don’t feature an inline remote in the included audio cable.
As mentioned earlier, the Bose QuietComfort 35 II are better-sounding noise-canceling headphones than the similarly priced Sony WH-1000XM3. They have better bass, better treble, and better imaging, with the audio reproduction being well-balanced overall. You can easily pair them with compatible devices, with the NFC pairing feature allowing for an easier connection setup. You can also connect them to two devices at the same time, which is great if you want to connect them to your computer and smartphone while at the office.
Compared to the Sony WH-1000XM3, the Bose QuietComfort 35 II are slightly inferior in the noise isolation department, but they are still excellent for commuting, flights, and office use. They are worse at preventing sound from leaking out at higher volumes, though, which can bother people around you, most especially at the office. On the bright side, the battery life with both Bluetooth and active noise cancellation enabled is great, with Bose claiming up to 20 hours of playback.
While the Bose QuietComfort 35 II are most suitable as casual everyday headphones for commuting and office use, they are also good for watching movies and gaming at home. Their great sound quality makes for a more immersive experience. However, for watching movies on your computer and gaming, they are best used in wired mode to eliminate latency issues.
If you want versatile Bluetooth headphones for commuting, office use, and home entertainment, check out the Bose QuietComfort 35 II. They are better-sounding and more comfortable noise-canceling headphones than the Sony WH-1000XM3. You can’t go wrong with either product, though, as both are excellent headphones with good build quality.
The Koss UR20 are cheap closed-back headphones selling for less than $20, easily making them the most affordable product on this list. They are comfortable to wear for long listening sessions and sound decent for cheap headphones. Their build quality is not that great, though, which can be said for most other headphones in the same price range.
Like all our other top picks above, the Koss UR20 are over-ear headphones with a bulky design. They are wired headphones that don’t really stand out due to their bland, all-black aesthetic. They are made of plastic and their build quality is mediocre. You need to be careful when handling them, as they are not the sturdiest nor the most durable headphones.
While their build quality is not something you’d write home about, the Koss UR20 are comfortable to wear for several hours without a break. They are lightweight and don’t put too much pressure on the head. Their large ear cups are well padded and don’t feel too warm after just a couple of hours, while their headband is flexible and has good padding as well.
The Koss UR20 are not very portable. They don’t fold into a more compact format for easy storage and don’t come with any form of case for basic protection. Their wired connection also makes them more cumbersome to use while outdoors, especially since the audio cable is not detachable from the left ear cup. You need to secure the long cable when walking around, as it might get caught into something and cause the headphones to get yanked from your head.
Unlike some budget headphones, the Koss UR20 don’t sound like complete garbage. They are decent-sounding wired headphones with good bass performance. They are not going to impress audiophiles, even those with low standards, but they should be good enough for most people, especially those who prefer a bass-heavy sound. Since they are wired headphones, there is no need to worry about connectivity issues, as most devices have a standard analog port and adapters are easy to get. The wired connection also eliminates latency issues, which is great for gaming.
Although their closed-back over-ear design provides passive noise isolation, the Koss UR20 are not the best at blocking out background noise. Their noise isolation is poor, which makes them unsuitable for commuting. If their cumbersome wired connection and portability issues are not enough to dissuade you from using them for commutes, then their poor noise isolation will. They are best used in a quiet room, ideally with no one sitting beside you, as their sound leakage is also quite high at higher volumes.
If you have a tiny budget for headphones, go for the Koss UR20. While they are limited in features and feel cheaply built due to their plastic construction, they are decent-sounding wired headphones for casual use. You can use them for listening to music, audiobooks, and podcasts, but only while indoors.
The following products are also great options if you are shopping for the best closed-back headphones currently out. Some are perfect for casual everyday use while others are designed for professionals and audio enthusiasts.
A pair of wired over-ear headphones, the Beyerdynamic DT 770 Pro are recommended headphones for professional use. They have excellent audio reproduction and are comfortable to use for long listening sessions in the studio. You can use them for sound mixing and critical listening, with their sealed ear cups providing decent noise isolation to keep background noise from seeping into the audio. You can get these studio headphones for less than $150, which makes them a great alternative to the similarly priced Audio-Technica ATH-M50x.
The Beyerdynamic DT 770 Pro have a good build quality. They have a thick headband and large ear cups with soft padding. They are durable headphones that will last a long time, with their non-foldable design translating to fewer moving parts susceptible to wear and tear. On the other hand, they are not very portable headphones; they are bulky and non-foldable and don’t come with a hard case for travel.
If you prefer closed-back headphones with a more portable and more breathable design, check out the V-Moda XS, which sell for less than $200. Unlike all the other products mentioned so far, they are on-ear headphones. They are more compact than over-ear headphones, with smaller ear cups that rest on your ears instead of around them. Their build quality is excellent; they feel sturdy and durable and don’t squeak alarmingly when being folded.
The V-Moda XS are good-sounding on-ear headphones suitable for everyday use. They are comfortable to use for long hours due to their well-padded headband and ear cups and not-too-tight fit. They come with a hard case that protects them from scratches and drops, which can’t be said for some headphones selling for a similar price. Overall, they are a great pair of closed-back headphones that work well for listening to music and podcasts, among other media.
The Beats Solo3 Wireless are on-ear headphones with good audio reproduction and good on-cup controls. Unlike the V-Moda XS, they are wireless headphones, making them more convenient to use, whether at home or in the office. They can be folded into a more compact format, which adds to their overall portability. They are available in a variety of colors, including black, red, and silver.
Featuring easily accessible call and music management controls, the Beats Solo3 Wireless have excellent battery life. They can run up to an incredible 40 hours on a single charge, which is a top-tier battery life for wireless headphones. There aren’t many wireless headphones that come close to that mark, even the more expensive ones. If you want closed-back on-ear headphones but prefer the convenience afforded by wireless connectivity, check out the Beats Solo3 Wireless, especially if you want a long-lasting battery.
For professional use, be sure to browse our list of the top studio headphones.
Whether you are shopping for headphones for professional use or casual use, Sennheiser is one of the first brands you should check out. The German company is one of the best in the business, offering a wide range of headphones. A part of the HD 500 Series, the Sennheiser HD 569 are some of the best closed-back headphones in Sennheiser’s lineup. They are sealed over-ear headphones with excellent audio reproduction and good passive noise isolation.
The Sennheiser HD 569 are wired headphones under $200 with an understated look. They have minimal branding on the headband and ear cups. They are comfortable to use for long listening sessions; they are well padded and don’t feel too tight on the head. Unlike some over-ear headphones, they don’t fold into a more compact format, which hurts their portability. There are two audio cables included in the box, one of which is a shorter cable with an inline mic and remote.
If you like the design and build quality of the V-Moda XS but prefer over-ear headphones, check out the V-Moda Crossfade M-100. They are stylish headphones that easily stand out, featuring uniquely shaped ear cups with customizable backplates. They have an excellent build quality and feel very durable with their metal frame. They can be folded into a more compact format and come with a hard case, both adding to their portability.
While they are a bit tight, the V-Moda Crossfade M-100 are comfortable to use, featuring well-padded ear cups and headband. Their tighter clamp also makes for a more stable and secure fit, but they are not recommended for running and workouts despite their better-than-average stability. The included audio cable is durable and has a single-button inline remote. All in all, the V-Moda Crossfade M-100 are some of the best closed-back headphones under $500. Their overall audio reproduction is good while their build quality is excellent.
The Marshall Mid ANC are some of the best on-ear headphones currently out. They are wireless noise-canceling headphones with great audio reproduction and good battery life. With their 20-hour battery life with both Bluetooth and active noise-canceling enabled, they are perfect for long commutes and long flights. While they are not as good as the Sony WH-1000XM3 and some of the best Bose noise-canceling headphones, they provide decent noise isolation for office use and commuting.
Featuring the iconic Marshall look, the Marshall Mid ANC are stylish headphones for office use with square-shaped ear cups. They have a good control scheme, with the multi-directional knob on the left ear cup allowing for easy call and music management while on the move. They can be folded into a more compact form, which makes them even more portable, and come with a collapsible travel case. If you can spend more than $200 on a pair of headphones and prefer an on-ear design, check out the Marshall Mid ANC. They are versatile headphones for casual everyday use and are comfortable to wear for long hours.
The Meze 99 Classics are over-ear headphones that not only look terrific but also sound great. They are wired closed-back headphones that include two detachable cables, one of which has an inline remote and mic. While they are quite bulky, they are lightweight and very comfortable to use for long hours; they have a self-adjusting headband that distributes the weight evenly and a pair of well-padded ear cups made of walnut wood.
There are better-sounding audiophile headphones than the Meze 99 Classics, but only a few of them are as good-looking. If you can spend around $300 on a pair of closed-back headphones, the Meze 99 Classics are an excellent option. They are well-designed headphones with outstanding build quality and decent noise isolation. They are not recommended for those with larger ears, though, as their ear cups are a bit smaller than usual.
You may also like these top-quality semi-open headphones from our list. Check them out.
Selling for around $500, the Shure SRH1540 are wired over-ear headphones with an impressive build quality and great audio reproduction. They are sturdy and durable headphones with a metal headband and carbon fiber-reinforced ear cups. While they are quite bulky due to their oversized ear cups, they are very comfortable to wear for long listening sessions; their clamp is firm but not too tight while their ear cup padding feels luxurious.
The Shure SRH1540 are good headphones for studio use. You can also use them at the office, with their sealed ear cups providing decent passive noise isolation with music playing. They are not the most portable headphones, though. In addition to being bulky, they don’t fold into a more compact format, but on the plus side, they do come with a hard case for travel.
For more impressive audio quality, check out our list of the top-rated laptop headphones.
If you can spend more than a grand on the best closed-back headphones, consider the ZMF Eikon, a pair of wired over-ear headphones that not only sound fantastic but also look beautiful. They are high-end headphones with excellent build quality, featuring wooden ear cups and a metal headband with a leather cover. Their ear cups are well-padded and are spacious enough to cover most ear sizes. On the other hand, these premium headphones are bulky and heavy, but their weight is evenly distributed for a more comfortable fit.
The ZMF Eikon are recommended for headphone enthusiasts. They are great-sounding headphones that are suitable for different music genres. Their passive noise isolation is good while their sound leakage is low – both are beneficial if you want to use the headphones at the office. Obviously, the ZMF Eikon are not designed for commuting, with their mediocre portability being the chief reason for that.