How loud are open back headphones? This is a question that many people want the answer to, and several variables can affect how loud they will be.
There’s no standard measurement of “loudness” across different products and types of audio gear. As a result, one listener may find deafeningly loud might be barely audible for another who has become used to listening to music at high volumes.
This article will explore how you can calculate how loud your open back headphones are likely to be based on their impedance and how much power they’re being sent.
How Loud Are Open Back Headphones?
No, the sound is not as loud as speakers on a guitar amp, but it’s still pretty darn loud. As a result, it can be hard to use them for long periods without feeling fatigued or headache.
Open back headphones typically provide a more realistic sound and make you feel like the music is coming from all around rather than just your ears. If this sounds good to you, go ahead and get these!
Open backed headphones leak sound 30 DB louder than closed when being used. An open design provides better audio quality and more space, but it allows for the sound to be heard by everyone around you.
An experiment with open back and closed back headphones was conducted. The test consisted of playing a full range frequency sweep through both headphone types for a dummy head, the sound leakage then recorded by the nearby microphone.
Though this was not the exact conditions in which one would listen to music, it should give us an approximation of how much sound leakage to expect from open back headphone brands like Sennheiser HD 700 or Shure SRH1540.
What is Open Back Headphone?
What does “open back” mean? Open back headphones have a larger opening to allow sound from the outside in.
Open back headphones are designed to have a more natural soundstage. Unfortunately, they let in ambient noise and leak what you’re playing, making them unsuitable for use with an ASMR video or recording a podcast interview.
The tradeoff allows the listener to be aware of their surroundings without being completely cut off from outside sounds like closed back headphones.
The downside is that this means outside noises can also intrude into your listening experience when using open-backed headphones, but if your goal is to enjoy music, then these drawbacks may not matter much.
Advantages of Open Back Headphones
- Some people love this design because it allows them to know what’s happening around them, while others prefer closed-back designs for work where they need to block their surrounding sounds to focus better.
- The open-back headphones are designed to provide a more natural and wide soundscape, but at the same time, you will be able to hear your surroundings, so there’s an increased risk of hearing loss if you listen with high volumes over long periods.
- The sound is more natural because a speaker grille does not block it. This also means that you can hear your surroundings much easier as some noise leaks out from these headphones.
- You might get a better bass response because there’s no enclosure clamping down on the drivers to isolate them from external noise influences such as air pressure and temperature changes.
- Open backs have a larger frequency response range than closed cells do, but at the same time, they don’t isolate outside noises very well, so there’s an increased risk of hearing loss if you listen with high volumes over long periods.
- The other drawback is that open-backed headphones tend to be less durable than closed-backed models because their speakers are exposed and may contact things like pets or dust particles around them, which get caught in between cracks and microfibers.
- Open back headphones may not work very well for people who need absolute silence to focus on work or study. They can’t compare when it comes to sound quality with closed backs because the latter are typically better at blocking external noises.
- The other downside is that open backed models tend to be less durable than closed-backs due to exposed speaker grilles which then come into contact with things like pets, dust particles, or general wear and tear from use. All of these factors make them a more expensive choice as you will inevitably have to replace them much sooner than your average pair of cans would last you.
- Open back headphones are usually more comfortable to wear than sealed cans because they offer a wider listening area for the ears, making them less isolated from external noise sources.
Disadvantages of Open Back Headphones
- Sound leakage can be a problem when you want to hear music but not have others listen in. This is especially true if the headphones are loud enough that they’re uncomfortable for people around you, and even more so if there’s an office next door with speakers blaring or kids watching TV nearby.
- The soundstage on open back headphones will never compare well to closed back models because of the extra noise from the outside world leaking into your listening experience.
- Open back headphones are somewhat more sensitive to head movements, so they’re not always the best choice for someone who constantly has their head on a swivel. This level of distraction can cause listener fatigue or frustration with an open backed headphone if you have any sensitivity around your ears.
- As far as sound quality goes, it’s difficult to compare frequency response and distortion between fully closed models and those that leak some sound because each type is designed for different purposes. One being leakage control, while the other offers better imaging/soundstage but poorer isolation in loud environments.
- Open back headphones are a little more difficult to drive without an amp/DAC, so they might not be the best choice for someone with a low-powered device like your phone or laptop, but these can usually at least get some loudness before reaching their limits.
What is the Sound Leakage of Open Back Headphones?
The sound leakage of open back headphones is the amount of noise escaping from one ear to the other.
You don’t need to worry about this problem if you are using your headphones on a crowded bus because there will be so much background noise and what comes out of your phone or MP player that it would not make any difference.
However, if you’re playing music at home and someone else is trying to sleep nearby, they may find themselves being woken up by the sounds coming from inside the room where their partner has been listening to all night long.
If possible, always consider investing in closed back headphones for personal use and keeping them close around others when you do share them with family members or friends.
Why Do Open Back Headphones Leak Sound?
Open back headphones are designed to be open-backed. This design is intended to allow sound waves from the speaker drivers within the enclosure (headphones) out into the environment while allowing environmental noise inside and outside of your ear cups.
These headphones will typically have vents on either side or in front of each driver that allow sounds to disperse more evenly through a wider area than closed-backed designs, which can create a larger listening space for you and others nearby who want to hear what you’re hearing.
Open backs also allow air movement around your ears, so they don’t get too sweaty when wearing them for long periods at once. The downside, however, is that these types of headphones leak sound very easily because nothing is sealing off any audio coming out of the ear cups.
It’s a tradeoff between sound quality and noise isolation, but those looking to keep their audio private may want to consider closed backs instead.
Do all Open Back Headphones Create Sound Leak?
According to rtings experiment, An Open Back headphone would have an approximately 15% higher leakage than a closed one due to its entire ear cup being exposed instead of only exposing the drivers on each side like in Closed Headphones.
The average person’s hearing range is from 20Hz to 16kHz, which means they won’t hear sounds below or above this frequency even if leaking occurs.
However, it’s important to note that some people may have more sensitive ears and notice the sound leakage easier than others.
So you’ll want to determine your level of sensitivity before deciding whether an open back headphone meets your needs for isolating yourself from external noise sources.
How to Detect Sound Leakage?
Sound leakage is not only a problem for musicians, but it’s also an issue with listening to music. Contrary to popular belief, sound leaks through the earbuds and headphones when you turn up the volume on your device or play music loudly.
To detect sound leakage from headphones, you need help from another person. Put one headphone on this friend of yours and ask them to put any song they want into their phone while making sure that no outside noise can get in at all – just silence.
Gradually increase the volume until either: You hear what’s coming out of your friend’s ears, OR The other person starts getting annoyed by how loud it sounds inside their head (it might feel like they have a headache).
That’s when the sound leak started happening. Thanks to using this simple way, you can easily check for the leakage of your headphones and make sure it doesn’t get too bad before using them again.
When you use this method, try playing different kinds of music because their levels will vary depending on what kind is played. Sound leakage does happen in some cases but not with every song or even at all volumes, so just be warned that there are risks involved with wearing earbuds out loud!
Are Open Back Headphones Good for Gaming?
Open back headphones are not the best for gaming. You will have a hard time hearing game sounds, and, likely, your teammates in multiplayer games cannot hear you well either.
It does depend on the type of open-back headphones. If they don’t leak sound out, they can be good, but otherwise, they’re terrible!
If you want accurate sound reproduction, then most definitely closed-back or semi-closed would be better suited. But if you want isolation from external noise or something more “fun” sounding like bass-heavy music, then an open-backed model might suit your needs better (though there are always exceptions).
Game audio should take priority over other things, though, so I would recommend closed-back models if you’re looking for headphones to game with.
Difference Between Open backed vs Closed Back Headphones
Loudness in open-backed vs. closed-backed headphones is determined by the amount of air that goes into them.
In general, an open back headphone will be louder because there’s more room for the sound to enter, and so it has a wider and bigger space to resonate around within. This gives you a better sense of the live performance audio.
The downside with these types of headphones, though, is they let outside sounds through, which may not always be desired, such as people talking or traffic noise.
This can also lead to some leakage on stage if wearing while performing music on stage, like guitar playing, where any noise coming from your instrument would bleed onto other instruments (such as vocals).
You’ll find many musicians who prefer to use closed back headphones when doing shows to avoid this type of problem.
Closed back headphones will be a bit tighter on your head than open-backed models, and they also trap sound which means that the music is often louder, but you don’t get as much ambient noise or feedback from outside sources (much less leakage).
The downside to these kinds of headphones, though, is when it comes to live performances onstage like guitar playing. You can’t hear anyone else’s performance through them so well.
Because there’s little room for reflection off walls and other surfaces, especially if you’re wearing an instrument mic simultaneously, you have no idea what someone just played with closed-backed headphones unless they were right next to you before starting their solo.
Do Open Back Headphones Sound better?
According to most audiophiles, the short answer is that the sound quality of open-back headphones is better than closed-back headphones. However, they also leak more sound and will not block any outside noise. This means they’re great for recording but not so much for traveling or commuting.
However, you might want to go with a different type of headphones in some instances, depending on your goal. For example, if you work at home, like listening to music while gaming or have young children who make a lot of noise, then an open back may be less practical though it’s worth considering using them when possible.
However, if portability is an important issue and you don’t need isolation from outside noise, an open back is the way.
Can you Use Open Backed Headphones in Public?
Can use open-backed headphones in public without disturbing others around you. But they are not exactly noise cancelling headphones, and the sound will leak out of them, so it’s best to listen at low volume when using these types of headphones.
The open-back design comes with some advantages as well, including better airflow, which helps keep your ears cool! And since there is no need for a seal against your ear canal, wearing large headsets becomes more comfortable too!
These types of headphones have been popping up everywhere lately, and we feel that this trend is here to stay because many people find them more useful than closed backed designs!
We also want our readers to know that while these may seem very technical choices they’re very easy to use!
Frequently Asked Questions
Are open-back headphones loud to others?
Open-back headphones are not loud to people nearby because the sound is projected out to not bounce around in your head. This means you can listen at a higher level without annoying those around you (or blasting them).
However, it’s important to note that if an open-back headphone leaks some of its sound pressure into the outside world, such as from holes for mounting arms or vents on their ear cups, this noise will be picked up by someone standing close enough to hear it.
What are some tips for open-back headphones?
Investing in good audio equipment that matches your taste can make all the difference between a great performance and one that’s mediocre, so don’t skimp on the cost!
And while there’s no guaranteed way to know if a model of headphone will be loud enough for you, the best approach is often trial-and-error: try out as many pairs as you can and find one that fits your needs.
Are open-back headphones good?
Open-back headphones tend to have more desirable sound quality than closed-back models because they are less likely to suffer from potential acoustic flaws such as “spitty” or distorted bass frequencies (although this isn’t an issue with higher-end equipment).
They also typically provide better isolation making them ideal for use in noisy environments where others around you may not appreciate lower volumes that don’t leak outside their ear cups.
What do I need when searching for high-fidelity audio gear?
When looking for high-fidelity audio equipment, it’s important to have a good idea of your taste in music or genre. For example, some people may prefer cheap headphones that produce “tinny” sound, while others may want more bass and higher volume levels.
If you plan to spend a lot of time sitting in front of your laptop with headphones, open-back headphones are the way to go. They’re significantly less expensive than closed-back models and offer sound quality that’s comparable or better in many cases.
I hope you get your answer about how loud are open-back headphones.