My 10 Best Open Back Professional Headphones Below $100

You know back in the 90’s people would laugh at you if you wore large over ear headphones, but not people are willing to spend hundreds of dollars for a set of open back professional headphones. These 99/100 offer a much better quality of sound and for people who are serious about their sound or even those who are DJ’s.

They need a high quality set of open back headphones. The thing with these is that they have a reputation for being very, very expensive. But the truth is, you can get a high quality set of headphones for right around 100 bucks or even less and that is what we are looking at today.

What Are Open Back Headphones?

Some of you may be reading this and thinking “I did not even know there were different kinds of headphones!” well there are two main types open back and closed back. Most headphones that you will see are closed back, this is where the sound from the outside world is mostly blocked and the music you are listening to is not easily heard by those around you. Open back headphones are different in that they do not block the sound that is going to be heard by those around you. Of course, this means that the people around you may be able to hear what you are listening to. But since you are reading this, we assume you are listening to something cool so it is all good.

Above all else, open back headphones tend to have a more “concert hall” kind of sound. The music sounds more organic and real. Closed back headphones tend to make the music sound like it is pounding in your head. Best way to think of it is that open back headphones have a more real sound to them. Most DJ’s will make use of open back headphones, but for the average joe, they can be just as good.

My top 10 Best Open Back Professional Headphones Below $100

  1. Sennheiser HD 558 Headphones
  2. Klipsch R6i In-Ear Headphones
  3. Grado SR80e Prestige Series Headphones
  4. Jabra Move Wireless Stereo Headset – Black
  5. Sony MDR7506 Professional Large Diaphragm Headphone
  6. Sennheiser HD280PRO Headphones
  7. AKG K 240 Semi-Open Studio Headphones
  8. JVC HARX900 High-Grade Full-Size Headphones
  9. Koss Porta Pro On Ear Headphones with Case
  10. Audio Technica ATH-AD700X Audiophile Headphones

I am one lucky guy as I was given the chance to put 10 of the best and most popular open back headphones for under 100 bucks.

 

1. Sennheiser HD 558 Headphones

Sennheiser HD 558 Headphones

 

The Good

  • They feel fantastic
  • Are nice and light
  • Wire does not get tangled easily
  • Sound is great
  • Hard for others to hear the sound

Check it out

 

The first pair we are looking at is the Sennheiser HD 558 Headphones. These may be a little over the 100 bucks we talked about, but I do feel that they are still a bargain at this price. Before I talk to you about the sound quality, I have to tell you about how well these are made. The padding they have used is awesome and super light. I was kicking back with these for around an hour and honestly nearly forgot I was wearing headphones.

Another reason for this is that while they cover your ears, they do not make your ears sweaty like some other headphones can do. The actual wire is a twist and lock single cable so it just goes down one side and will not get all tangled up and in your way, which you will be very thankful for.

The sound produced is awesome. I listened to a live Guns n Roses album and the quality was very impressive. The bass was nice and rich and as cheesy as it sounds I really was lost in the music. Even a non audiophile would be blown away by how good their records, CD’s and if they are hip, digital downloads sound through these.

What Could Be Better

  • Price is over 100
  • Not ideal for things like movies or talking
See other opinions

 

In all honesty, I would say that for a DJ these are perfect and if all you plan on doing is listening to music at home or on the go, you will be happy. But for things like movies and podcasts the sound has a bit of a “floaty” feel to it. Do not get me wrong it is not a deal breaker at all, but it is something that is worth knowing about.

 

2. Klipsch R6i In-Ear Headphones

Klipsch R6i In-Ear Headphones

 

The Good

  • Great if you do not want over ear headphones
  • Very nice sound
  • Price is very low
  • Volume control on wire
  • Comes with carrying case
Check it out

 

I was very impressed with the Klipsch R6i In-Ear Headphones. I know that at first glance they look kind of basic. But these are some very impressively made headphones. To start with the wire, they have used is tangle resistant. These headphones make use of Dual Magnet, Dynamic Moving Coil Micro Speaker and the sound is amazing.

For these, I fired up some vinyl. I used an older REM record (hey no laughing) and I really did appreciate the sound quality that these offered. You have to remember that at a little over 50 bucks, you are not getting a sound like you would with a pair of Beats headphones.

But if you want great sound quality, for a reasonable price, you cannot go wrong with these. Also, they come with a neat carrying case and an extra four ear tips for all sizes of ears, speaking of ear tips they are actually very comfortable and I have ears as big as the Grand Canyon! Klipsch patented their mold for in ear headphones! So that tells you how good they are.

What Could Be Better

  • Cable has some issues
  • Volume control is high
See other opinions

 

The only issues I had with these headphones are quite minor. So, I really do think these are some of the best open back professional headphones. But the wire, while it does not tangle easily is rather thick and heavy which if you are walking around for a long period of time may pull on your ears a little. Also, while I love having volume control on the cable, it is very highly placed which may not be an issue for most people, but it does take a while to get used to.

 

3. Grado SR80e Prestige Series Headphones

Grado SR80e Prestige Series Headphones

 

The Good

  • Smart design
  • They are comfortable to wear
  • Very good sound quality
  • They have large ear cushions
Check it out

 

When I first used the Grado SR80e Prestige Series Headphones what I first noticed was the ear cushions. These are made with some very nice foam and padding which the headband is also made from. It really does make these very comfortable to wear for extended periods of time and I was kicking back with a little Dream Theatre and the sound was great.

There is a real balanced sound that comes from these and that is something I really did like. At around 100 bucks, I do feel that these are a great pair of open back professional headphones. They provide great sound and I felt that they were comfortable to wear. The cable that is going to connect these to your stereo is nice and long so you do not have to sit too close, but of course, this can be something that bothers some.

What Could Be Better

  • Design might not be for everyone,
  • Cables can tangle
See other opinions

 

When you talk about comfort with these, they seem to be something you either like or do not. For me, they were great, nice and soft, but some say they are heavy. I, however, did not have that issue. The design does make these looks like they are from the 80’s so that might not be to everyone’s taste. My main complaint is the cable, they can tangle quite easily and the wire did get in the way sometimes, but this was something that I managed to deal with so maybe I am just being nitpicky.

 

4. Jabra Move Wireless Stereo Headset – Black

Jabra Move Wireless Stereo Headset - Black

 

The Good

  • They are wireless
  • The design is cool
  • 8 Hours of runtime
  • Lightweight
  • They have an adjustable headband

Check it out

 

The Jabra Move Wireless Stereo Headset – Black is the first set of wireless open back professional headphones that I got to check out. For under 100 bucks these are a steal and they really did impress me. The sound is great. I am not going to sit and tell you that these are any better than other similarly priced headphones.

But I used these for pretty much a whole afternoon with my iPhone and I never once winced at the sound quality. They connected to my phone easily and they even allow you to take a call. The 8 hour runtime is fine by me and they are very, very lightweight. While I got to try the black ones, red and cobalt are also available and I think the other colors look even cooler.

What Could Be Better

  • Ear cups have questionable quality
  • You will have to recharge them
See other opinions

 

The ear cups for me were fine and I used these all days, but some people have stated that after a year or so of use the seams can come undone so they may not be suitable if you are going to throw them in a bag or on the bed. You also will have to remember to charge them, especially if you are using these on a daily basis. As long as you are not too heavy handed with these, you should be ok.

 

5. Sony MDR7506 Professional Large Diaphragm Headphone

Sony MDR7506 Professional Large Diaphragm Headphone

 

The Good

  • Great classic design
  • Sound quality is fantastic
  • Closed ear design
  • Large ear cups for comfort
  • Non tangle cable
Check it out

 

The first “expensive” set of headphones I got was a pair of Sony’s back in the early 90’s. For me what makes these one of the best open back professional headphones is the style. They have a really classic, almost 80’s kind of design and if you were a lover of Sony’s high end high-fi equipment from this era, you will get a real kick out of this.

Regarding the sound, these are open back headphones, but they are very close to being noise canceling headphones! I must say that this really did blow me away and I am sure my wife was thankful for this as I was listening to some epic 80’s rock like Iron Maiden and The Scorpions through these. I never had an issue with the weight or the comfort of these.

The design of the ear cups is perfect for me, my ears did not get sweaty and the headband is adjustable. The wire is an 80’s design as well and as a result, it is a coiled cable so it will be very hard for this to get tangled. The last great thing I want to mention is the handy carrying case that these come with.

What Could Be Better

  • Price may be a little high for some
  • Classic design may not be to your taste
See other opinions

 

I honestly have next to nothing negative to say about these. But while I think the rather retro design and coiled cable is really cool. I could see why for some this is not ideal. Also, while these are being sold for a great price. For those looking for a set of open back professional headphones that are well under 100 bucks, this may be a little on the high end in regard to price.

 

6. Sennheiser HD280PRO Headphones

Sennheiser HD280PRO Headphones

 

The Good

  • Price is good
  • Smart and cool design
  • Ear pads and headband can be replaced
  • Nice padding on the ear cups
  • Awesome sound
Check it out

 

It is important to note that the Sennheiser HD280PRO Headphones I got to check out is the older version. They do offer a newer version at the same price so you might want to look into that. The version I used though was great. The headband and ear cups are very well padded and apparently, Sennheiser state that the headband and the ear pads can be easily replaced, which is great if they wear down over the years.

These are very comfortable and while I used them for a few hours, I could have had these on all day and the padding would not have been an issue and the headband was nice and light also. There is only one cable which I always like and in general, the way that these are designed is just fantastic and should result in you getting many years of use out of them before you even have to consider replacing the padding. The sound is great and I was rocking out with the volume really loud!

What Could Be Better

  • Replaceable parts!
  • Cable is a little heavy
See other opinions

 

I know that I said being able to replace parts was also a bonus, but the fact they make a big deal of this makes me worry that there could be an issue down the line. The only other negative that I have is the coiled cable. It is great do not get me wrong, but it is a little thick so it can be quite heavy.

 

7. AKG K 240 Semi-Open Studio Headphones

AKG K 240 Semi-Open Studio Headphones

 

The Good

  • They have an interesting design
  • Great for DJ’s
  • Very robust
  • Headband is adjustable
  • Cable can be removed
Check it out

 

The first thing that you notice about the AKG K 240 Semi-Open Studio Headphones is the design. They have made sure that these are very sturdy and I love how there is a bit of metal that goes from the ear cups to the headband which will offer protection if dropped. Now I am not a DJ, but I know great sound when I hear it so I can see why AKG are marketing these towards musical professionals.

But for me, the sound was great, these are certainly open back headphones as they have that “real” sound. The cable can be removed so if it does get damaged from general wear and tear it is easy to replace. In all these are a pretty cool set of headphones that are currently right around 80 bucks which is a good price.

What Could Be Better

  • Cable may be a problem
  • Ear cups do not cover the whole ear
See other opinions

 

My complaints with these headphones are pretty minor to be fair. I like how the cable can be removed, but I am sure some people will end up pulling it out by mistake. Also, the ear cups did not fully enclose my ear. For a person making a song or mixing some tracks, I know this is ideal.

But for me, a guy just trying to rock out to a little Kiss, I could hear some outside noise. Again, these are more personal problems, but it does make me feel these are not aimed at a guy who just wants to listen to music, more so a person who wants to work with it if you get what I mean.

 

8. JVC HARX900 High-Grade Full-Size Headphones

JVC HARX900 High-Grade Full-Size Headphones

 

The Good

  • Cost around 50 bucks
  • Clear and deep bass
  • Comfortable ear cups
  • Sturdy design
  • Headband is super soft
Check it out

 

I really do think that when it comes to value that these JVC HARX900 High-Grade Full-Size Headphone are some of the best open back professional headphones. They are right around 50 bucks which is a steal! The ear cups are nice and large so they cover your ear, but the mesh and padding they are made from is nice and soft so they are comfortable and do not make you sweaty. The headband is also very well padded and a good size too. The sound is fantastic with nice clear bass and defined treble that really does bring your music to life. For the price, I really do think you would struggle to find another set of good sounding pair of headphones as these.

What Could Be Better

  • Cable is very long
  • Maybe a little bulky for some
See other opinions

 

These are a bit on the large size, but that is something I like about them. But for some, they may seem a little on the bulky side. Also, the cable is about 6 feet long! When sitting at home this is not an issue, but walking around with these connected to an MP3 player or an iPod might result in you having to play a quick game of jump rope!

 

9. Koss Porta Pro On Ear Headphones with Case

Koss Porta Pro On Ear Headphones with Case

 

The Good

  • They are very portable
  • Interesting ear cup design
  • Very cool futuristic style
  • Sound is very nice
  • Comes with a lifetime warranty

Check it out

 

I was a bit taken aback by the look of the Koss Porta Pro On Ear Headphones at first as they do look kind of strange. But the design is something I really like about them. These are super light and the ear cups do not cover your whole ear. At first, I thought I would not like these, but they are designed so that you can position them perfectly over your ear so you can hear the sound best and also be comfortable.

They can fold up which is handy and they even come with a case so you can keep them safe when not in use. The sound may not blow you away, but for 40 bucks, I think it is fantastic. Also, even at this low price, they are giving you a lifetime warranty which is just crazy.

What Could Be Better

  • Headband is made from metal
  • Full open back design
See other opinions

 

Ok, so I know saying full open back design in a review of a set of open back professional headphones is weird. But these are quite small so they do not cut out much of the noise from the outside world so they might not be ideal if you are on a bus for example.

Also, the headband while super light and you will not even notice it. Has no padding so you will want to make sure it is adjusted before going on your head as it may pull your hair a little bit. Still, even with these minor complaints at around 40 bucks, these are an amazing set of headphones!

 

10. Audio Technica ATH-AD700X Audiophile Headphones

Audio Technica ATH-AD700X Audiophile Headphones

 

The Good

  • Sound is phenomenal
  • Made to last
  • Designed for audiophiles
  • Ear cups feel great
  • Nice and light
Check it out

 

Ok, so I know that these are priced at just a little over 100 bucks. But the Audio Technica ATH-AD700X Audiophile Headphones are the perfect headphones if you want truly amazing sound, but do not want to spend a few hundred bucks. These are made with audiophiles in mind. With amazing base, great mid range and wonderful treble. It is not just the insides that give these their great sound.

The ear cups are made so that they surround your ears and give as natural and real a sound as possible, plus they do this without making your ears all hot and sweaty! The build quality is great, I actually dropped these on the back steps and they were fine, not even a scratch. So while the price is a little higher, if you want something that little bit more high end, I would seriously consider these.

What Could Be Better

  • Cable is kind of weird
  • Cost over 100 bucks
See other opinions

 

There is nothing technically wrong with the cable. It is a nice length and solid enough, but it had a kind of fold to it and from what I have read this is the case for the majority of these headphones. Not a deal breaker by any means, but something to know about. Also, the price may be a little off putting for some.

 

 

Final Thoughts On the Best Open Back Professional Headphones For Under 100

For me, there was not really a bad set of headphones in this bunch. When looking for the right pair for yourself. Be sure to not just think about the sound quality, but also the comfort factor. If you are going to be kicking back listening to music for a few hours or even making your own tracks.

You want to make sure they are going to be nice to wear for the whole day. While it would be hard for me to pick just one pair out of this whole list. I must say that I am a little bit partial to the headphones from Sony! In all honesty, you cannot go wrong with any of these.

Related posts

Leave a Comment