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Open Vs. Closed Headphones

If you're confused between open and closed headphones, this Techspirited article should help. Here's a look at how things pan out in the battle of open vs. closed headphones.
Alex Mathew
The Father of Headphones
Nathaniel Baldwin invented the first headphones, way back in 1910. These were first tried out by the U.S. Navy.

Most audiophiles swear by the fantastic sound clarity of headphones, something that earbuds just don't match up to. Headphones are further classified as open and closed headphones. As the name suggests, open headphones have very little or no covering on the outside. So, essentially, they are bare headphones, while closed headphones are the more common headphones that are completely sealed on the outside. So, besides the obvious appearance, what is the difference between them, and which of these is better? Here's Buzzle's take on how open-back vs. closed-back headphones fare against each other.
Audio quality
This one purely boils down to the kind of music you listen to. Open headphones have speakers that transmit sound in both directions―in the ear and on the outside. They produce a more natural sound, which is perfect for listening to jazz, blues, and classical. The downside being that the music tends to merge with the ambient noise. Besides, the people around you may find the blaring music rather annoying. Closed headphones have a more 'boxed' sound output. They also are great at canceling out the ambient noise. They make a great companion for people who love to listen to hip-hop, rock, metal, etc.

Comfort
Headphones, in general, are extremely comfortable to use. Open-back headphones are usually just a tad lighter than closed-back ones. They also are more comfortable as they are more airy than their counterparts. Most headphones have good cushioning all around that makes them great to use.

Durability
The speakers on closed-backs are well sealed and have only one exposed side. On open-back headphones though, the speakers are exposed on the front and back side. Also, there's more room for dust to accumulate in open headphones. We're merely nitpicking though, as most headphones produced by the big names in the industry like Beats by Dre, Sennheiser, Monster, Bose, etc. are of superior build quality and are very durable too.

Headphones are available in variety of price ranges. More often than not, though, closed-back headphones cost a fair bit more than open-back ones. As you may have realized, there's very little to choose between these headphones, as both have their own set of pros and cons. At the end of the day, it all comes down to the kind of music you listen to, and what you find comfortable. We'd recommend that you get a hands-on feel of the headphones before you choose one. Let the music take over then. Cheers.