Open-back full-size headphones are considered to be the best sounding headphones. This is where audiophile headphones are found and they are mostly used for listening sessions in quiet environments. With that said, they provide the least amount of isolation and leak a lot of sound to the outside world. Without further ado and in no particular order, here are the top open-back full-size headphones today:
Stax SR-009 – Most people refer to this as ‘the best’ headphone in the world. The speed, clarity, resolution, and imaging are totally unmatched. Owning this is undoubtedly expensive and almost unreal. Not only because it costs $5000+ (200,000 PHP), but also because you need a top-notch amplifier to drive this electrostatic headphone.
A $10K plus investment on having a high-fidelity audio setup is required if you’re looking to purchase this headphone. Stax SR-009 on Amazon.
Cons: Extremely expensive. Requires an equally expensive setup.
Focal Clear – Focal Clear is the best all-around headphone in the sub $1500 price range. Finely treading the line between Elear and Utopia, this headphone improves upon the weaknesses of those headphones while retaining great dynamics and good resolution.
This good looking headphone is also fairly easy to drive but you’re better served pairing it with a good neutral amp as it scales quite well. Focal Clear on Amazon.
Cons: Can be a touch bright to some due to a tiny bit of treble glare.
Most enthusiasts rave for this headphone’s amazing detail retrieval and imaging which is arguably the best among the bunch. Sennheiser HD 800s on Amazon.
Cons: Perhaps too detailed to be enjoyable. Lacks musicality.
Sennheiser HD 600 – I had a chance to audition HD 600 from a friend of mine and they’re just stunning. The relaxed sound signature of these headphones will attract a lot of audiophiles out there looking for simplicity without degrading sound quality. They’re also very comfortable to wear and scales incredibly well with a good rig. Sennheiser HD 600 on Amazon.
Cons: For a reference headphone, the sound may be too relaxed/veiled.
The current street price of this headphone makes it even more competitive these days against the newer Beyer cans on the market. Beyerdynamic DT880 on Amazon.
Cons: Maybe a bit bright for some and midrange can sound a tad dry. It has a metallic timbre as well.