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The 5 Best Closed-Back Headphones - Summer 2022 Reviews

Updated
Best Closed-Back Headphones

If you've ever used a pair of over-ear or on-ear headphones, chances are they had a closed-back design. Unlike open-back headphones, which try to create a natural listening experience by fully letting sounds both in and out of the headphones, closed-back headphones keep music to the listener by blocking out background noise coming in while also limiting the amount of audio leakage. These types of headphones suit most listeners due to their versatility as they're better suited to giving you some peace while out and about, without bothering those around you. They also tend to have more bass than open-back headphones. While technically most earbud and on-ear headphones are closed-back, we'll focus on over-ear options in this article.

We've tested over 670 pairs of headphones, and below are our recommendations for the best over-ear headphone with a closed-back design to buy. See also our recommendations for the best noise cancelling headphones and the best headphones.


  1. Best Wireless Closed-Back Headphones

    The Sony WH-1000XM4 Wireless are the best wireless closed-back headphones we've tested. These Bluetooth-enabled over-ears have a sturdy-feeling high-grade plastic construction and a comfortable fit, with ample padding and a lightweight design. They also supply upwards of 37 hours of continuous playback time on a single charge, which should be more than enough for a couple of days, though battery consumption can vary depending on your usage patterns.

    They have a bass-heavy sound profile out-of-the-box, which should please fans of EDM or hip-hop but can also muddy vocals and lead instruments. Fortunately, the Sony|Headphones Connect app features a couple of EQ presets and a graphic EQ to fine-tune your listening experience. They have a highly effective active noise cancelling (ANC) system that lets them filter out a remarkable amount of ambient noise, from the low rumble of bus and plane engines to the high-pitched hum of an AC unit, not to mention background chatter from people nearby.

    Unfortunately, their integrated mic delivers sub-par recording quality, as it makes your voice sound thin, muffled, and lacking in overall detail. Their bulky design can also make them a hassle to carry around. Otherwise, their rich feature-set, solid build quality, and superb noise isolation capability help make them some of the best travel headphones we've tested.

    See our review

  2. More Comfortable Alternative

    If you're looking for closed-back headphones with a more comfortable fit, try the Bose QuietComfort 35 II/QC 35 II Wireless 2018. These over-ear headphones aren't as well-built as the Sony WH-1000XM4 Wireless, but they have a lighter design and a looser fit, making them more comfortable and less likely to cause fatigue for most people. Some may also prefer their more neutral default sound profile, although they don't come with any sound customization features. While their ANC isn't quite as effective at blocking out bass-range noise, like rumbling bus and plane engines, it still does a superb overall job isolating you from ambient sound. They last for about 20 hours of continuous use off of a single charge, and if the battery dies, you can also use them passively with the included cable.

    If you want a better noise isolation performance or headphones with sound customization features, go for the Sony, but consider the Bose if you're looking for a more comfortable fit for long flights or day at work.

    See our review

  3. Best Closed-Back Headphones Under $200

    The AKG N700NC M2 Wireless are the best closed-back headphones under $200 that we've tested. These headphones have an ANC system that automatically adjusts itself and does a great job blocking out noise. Their default sound profile adds some extra rumble and punch to your audio, but it's still well-balanced and suitable for a variety of genres.

    If you prefer a different sound, their companion app includes a parametric EQ and presets that you can use to customize it. You can also use it to map either 'Ambient Aware' or 'Talk-Thru' mode onto the onboard control scheme, so you can hear ambient sound and easily pause your audio without removing the headphones. Their lightweight, comfortable design is suitable for long listening sessions, and they provide about 20 hours of continuous use off of a single charge.

    Unfortunately, while they have a mic with a good recording quality, it's not very good at separating your voice from ambient sound, so you may be hard to hear if you take a call in a busy office. Some users have also reported that their unit's hinges broke with continuous use, so they may not be very durable. Their great noise isolation and robust customization features make them a solid choice if you're looking for closed-back headphones for less than $200.

    See our review

  4. Best Audiophile Closed-Back Headphones

    The best closed-back audiophile headphones we've tested are the Beyerdynamic DT 770 PRO. They have a very neutral sound profile that's well-suited for a variety of audio content. Vocals and lead instruments sound clear, accurate, and detailed, while a bump in the mid-treble makes sibilants like cymbals bright, which is good if you prefer a more analytical sound to pick out imperfections in your mixes.

    These over-ears have a wide passive soundstage, and your audio seems like it's coming from speakers placed in the room around you rather than from inside your head. They also have a great build quality and feel sturdy and dense. Their plush microfiber padding on the ear cups helps keep you comfortable during long listening sessions.

    Their audio cable isn't detachable, so if you damage it, you'll need to replace the entire unit. They don't block out as much background noise as other closed-back headphones on this list, and they bleed some audio at high levels. Luckily, they can still cut down a decent amount of ambient chatter around you, which is handy if you're listening to audio in a shared space.

    See our review

  5. Best Budget Closed-Back Headphones

    The best budget closed-back headphones we've tested are the Anker Soundcore Life Q20 Wireless. These headphones offer decent performance at a more affordable price. Thanks to their ANC system, they do a good job of blocking out ambient chatter as higher-pitched noise like the hum of an AC unit.

    These over-ears have a comfortable and lightweight fit. If you enjoy genres like EDM and hip-hop, their excited v-shaped sound profile adds intense thump, punch, and boom to mixes while vocals and lead instruments are bright. They have 32.3 hours of continuous playback time, so you don't need to worry about running out of battery life during your workday. You can use these headphones passively with their included 1/8" TRS cable in a pinch.

    Unfortunately, you can't adjust their sound to your liking since they don't have EQ presets or other sound customization features. They also lack a more sturdy carrying case, and while they come with a basic pouch to keep dust from accumulating when you're not using them, it won't protect the headphones from water or fall damage. Still, they have a good ANC system and comfortable fit suitable for casual use.

    See our review

Notable Mentions

  • Apple AirPods Max Wireless: The Apple AirPods Max Wireless are well-built headphones with a balanced sound profile right out of the box. They use an H1 chip, which allows you to seamlessly pair with other Apple products. While their active noise cancelling feature rivals others on this list, like the Bose QuietComfort 35 II/QC35 II Wireless 2018ย or the Sony WH-1000XM4 Wireless, they can be fatiguing to wear as they're heavy. See our review
  • Bose 700 Headphones Wireless: The Bose 700 Headphones Wireless have a more premium look and build than the Bose QuietComfort 35 II/QC35 II Wireless 2018. Their integrated mic also does a good job recording your voice, even in a noisy environment. Their sound profile isn't as well-balanced, and they aren't as comfortable. See our review
  • Plantronics BackBeat Pro 2 Wireless 2016: The Plantronics Backbeat Pro 2 Wireless 2016 have a premium and sturdy-feeling design. However, their active noise cancelling performance falls short compared to the Razer Opus, as they don't block out as much bass or mid-range noise. Their sound profile is less balanced, and their companion app doesn't offer any sound customizations. See our review
  • Bowers & Wilkins PX Wireless: The Bowers & Wilkins PX are decently versatile wireless headphones with a fantastic active noise cancelling feature and excellent build quality. They're a viable alternative for the Bose QuietComfort 35 II/QC35 II Wireless 2018 or Sony WH-1000XM4 Wireless, but they aren't as comfortable. See our review
  • Sennheiser Momentum 3 Wireless: The Sennheiser Momentum 3 Wireless are decent Bluetooth over-ears with a stylish retro design. They have a well-balanced sound profile, and their companion app has a parametric EQ and presets, meaning you can customize them to your liking. However, while they have a great active noise cancelling feature, it doesn't cut down as much ambient noise as the Sony WH-1000XM4 Wireless. See our review
  • Sennheiser HD 4.50 BTNC: The Sennheiser HD 4.50 BTNC are versatile wireless headphones with many features. However, they're not as comfortable or well-built as the Razer Opus Wireless. They also lack a companion app and sound enhancement features to help customize their sound to your preferences. See our review
  • Beats Studio3 Wireless: The Beats Studio3 Wireless are very comfortable, well-built, and stable enough for moderate exercise. They also offer a more stylish and colorful alternative to the Bose QuietComfort 35 II/QC35 II Wireless 2018 and Sony WH-1000XM4 since they come in several color variants. However, their active noise isolation doesn't perform as well as the Bose or Sony. See our review
  • Marshall MID ANC Wireless: The Marshall MID ANC Wireless are versatile on-ear headphones with a sleek retro look. They have decent battery performance, and you can use them wired as they come with a coiled 1/8" TRRS cable. However, while they have a balanced sound profile, they're not as neutral-sounding as the Audio-Technica ATH-M50x. Their active noise cancelling feature doesn't perform as well as most other picks on this list. See our review
  • Plantronics BackBeat Go 810 Wireless: The Plantronics BackBeat Go 810 Wireless are more affordable closed-back headphones. Unlike the Anker Soundcore Life Q20 Wireless, they have a companion app that has EQ presets so that you can customize their sound. However, some users have reported that their unit's headband had cracked or broken with continuous use. See our review
  • Jabra Elite 85h Wireless: The Jabra Elite 85h Wireless are decent Bluetooth over-ears. They have a well-balanced sound profile that's versatile enough for a variety of audio content. They also have a comfortable design and last up to 34 hours on a single charge. Their companion app also offers a graphic EQ and presets to help tweak their sound. However, their active noise cancelling feature isn't as strong as the Bose QuietComfort 35 II/QC35 II Wireless 2018ย or the Sony WH-1000XM4 Wireless. See our review
  • Anker Soundcore Life Q30 Wireless: The Anker Soundcore Life Q30 Wireless are over-ear Bluetooth-enabled headphones. They're a good alternative to the Plantronics BackBeat Go 810 Wireless, thanks to their fantastic noise isolation capability, 44-hour-plus battery life, and full-featured companion app. They're a little more expensive and leak quite a bit of audio. See our review
  • Audio-Technica ATH-M50x: The Audio-Technica ATH-M50x are headphones designed with audiophiles in mind. They have a fairly neutral sound profile and come with three detachable audio cables that you can swap depending on your preference. However, they have a bit of a more boomy sound than the Beyerdynamics DT 770 PRO and don't block out much sound. See our review

Recent Updates

  1. Apr 25, 2022: Verified that picks represent the best recommendations and that the products are available.

  2. Feb 24, 2022: Replaced the Audio-Technica ATH-M50x with the Beyerdynamic DT 770 PRO as the Beyerdynamic have a more neutral sound profile. Moved the Audio-Technica to Notable Mentions.

  3. Dec 21, 2021: Replaced the Razer Opus Wireless with the AKG N700NC M2 Wireless as the 'Best Closed-Back Headphones Under $200' because the variant of the Razer we tested is no longer available.

  4. Oct 28, 2021: Checked out picks for product availability and accuracy. However, there hasn't been a change in our recommendations.

  5. Sep 01, 2021: Checked our picks for consistency and product availability. There hasn't been a change in our recommendations.

All Reviews

Our recommendations above are what we think are currently the best closed-back headphones to buy for most people in each price range. We factor in the price (cheaper headphones win over pricier ones if the difference isn't worth it), feedback from our visitors, and availability (no headphones that are difficult to find or almost out of stock everywhere).

If you would like to choose for yourself, here is the list of all our reviews for closed-back headphones. Be careful not to get caught up in the details. There are no perfect headphones. Personal taste, preference, and listening habits will matter more in your selection.

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