These days the larger headphones are all in style and open back professional headphones are the kind that many who are serious about their sound want. These are the kind of headphones that most DJ’s will use and people who just want to get lost in their favorite tunes. If you want the best of the best you have to pay for it, but you do not have to spend over 500 bucks to get the best sound possible. That is why today we are looking at the best open back professional headphones below $300.
What Makes Open Back Headphones So Special?
Look I know that some of you guys may be thinking that the headphones you bought from Walmart with Batman logos on them for 20 bucks are the best thing going and if you are happy with that sound, more power to you. But if you want to feel the bass, experience the treble and of course want to hear crystal clear vocals, you need a great set of open back headphones.
What makes open back headphones different is that they do not block out the sound from traveling from your headphones to the outside world. I am not saying that the sound will be blasting and the guy sitting next to you on the bus is going to know you are rocking out to Iron Maiden. But the open back headphones design does give you a more real, raw and live kind of sound that you get with closed back.
One thing that is worth mentioning is that the majority of DJ’s out there will use this kind of headphones, but I feel that even for the average person like myself who just loves their music, these kind of headphones are awesome and honestly I would never look back.
What Are The Best Open Back Professional Headphones Under $300?
I am a huge music lover. I love to collect vinyl, CD’s and in all honesty, if I had the space and my wife would let me, I may even go for a cassette collection too! I was given the chance to try out some of the best open back professional headphones on the market right now and I am going to share what I liked and what I did not like about them.
- Sennheiser HD 600 Open Back Professional Headphone
- Audio-Technica ATH-M50x Professional Monitor Headphones, Black
- Beyerdynamic DT 990 PRO open Studio Headphone
- AKG Q701 Quincy Jones Signature On-Ear Reference Headphones
1. Sennheiser HD 600 Open Back Professional Headphone
- Sound really is fantastic
- Headband is light and comfortable
- Very strong and solid design
- They look pretty cool
First set of open back professional headphones that I had the pleasure to check out were from Sennheiser. I have used Sennheiser headphones before, but never a high end set like these. To start with they have a very nice grey and black design that I think is really cool. While I like the design, I must give the person who designed these a big high five the adjustable headband has a really sturdy feel to it, but it is a nice lightweight material that they have used.
The padding is very nice and to be honest even if you wore these to listen to a few albums, they do not get sweaty or uncomfortable. The ear cup design is also very nice and you can tell that these are high end headphones as they are not just lightweight, they are also very comfortable. The cable that they have used is very thick and I kind of forgot it was there, but at the same time I did yank on it a few times by accident which was a little annoying which to be fair was more my own dumb fault.
Ok so they look cool and they are comfortable to wear, but at over 200 bucks, does the sound make these worth the asking price? The goal of these headphones according to Sennheiser is to offers as clear and undistorted sound as possible. With earth magnets, special coils and all other kinds of technical mumbo jumbo, I would say that they more than achieve this. I tested these out with both CD’s, vinyl and I even connected them to my Samsung phone and tested them with Spotify.
- Price may be a little high for some
- Wire is a little long
Everything I put through these was fantastic, I really do not have a bad word to say about the sound quality of these. I know that some people will look at the asking price and ask if they are really worth the over 200 bucks? But if you are like me and enjoy experiencing music as much as you do listening to it, you really will be blown away by the sound these offer.
2. Audio-Technica ATH-M50x Professional Monitor Headphones, Black
- Price is fantastic
- Are very well made
- They do have other designs
- Padding is nice and soft
- Will be an upgrade for most people
At under 130 bucks, these are the lowest price open back professional headphones that I got to test out. The version I tested was the all black design and they have a rather old school, almost 1980’s kind of vibe and I think that is awesome. However there are multiple designs of these headphones such as a really cool looking gun metal design, but these are higher priced, even though the innards of the headphones are the same.
Anyway, the headband is very solid and a nice size, the padding they have used is great and I found them comfortable while I was wearing them. The only thing I was not super into was the large plastic sections that are used to adjust the headphones, these rubbed my ear a little bit, but I do have large ears! The ear cups enclosed my ears nice and tight and to be fair these were comfortable while I was wearing them, but not quite as comfortable as the headphones from Sennheiser.
In terms of the sound quality, I have actually a large set of Audio-Technica speakers connected to one of my turntables and they are fantastic so I had high hopes for these. As far as open back professional headphones below $300 go. I would say that for most people the sound that these provide is going to be excellent. It is not the best sound I have ever heard and on occasion, when turned up pretty loud, but to be fair, I am being very picky here. These are one of the most highly reviewed sets of open back headphones on Amazon and nearly all the reviews universally praise the sound quality.
- Not the best sound quality I have ever heard
- Plastic above ear cups can be annoying
I would say that if you are looking for an upgrade from your Walmart headphones, you will be truly blown away by these, but for a real audiophile, you will be happy, but you will notice the odd echo here, hiss there and so on. I would happily have these as a second set of headphones in my upstairs office for when I want to rock out while my wife and kids are in bed.
3. Beyerdynamic DT 990 PRO open Studio Headphone
- Sound is very impressive
- Nice powerful bass
- Have a design that is really cool
- Nice strong design
- Ear cups can be replaced
These Beyerdynamic DT 990 PRO open Studio Headphone currently go for around 170 bucks so if you are looking for open back professional headphones for under $300, these certainly come way below that price point. The design of these is really neat, they are black, but the ear cups are grey, which I think looks cool. These ear cups are replaceable so if they ever get a bit dirty, you can get new ones which is a nice touch. The headband and the ear cups appear to be made of the same material and it is very soft.
Out of the three headphones, I would say that these have the softest ear cups. The overall design is very solid and if you drop these (like I did) they will not easily break. I would say that if the open back professional headphones you want need to be solid and robust, these certainly fit that description. The only thing in the design that I am not too thrilled about is the wire, it is rather clunky and while you get used to it, it is very rigid.
Sound wise these are awesome, Beyerdynamic is actually targeting people like DJ’s and studio engineers with these. The bass, in particular, I noticed as being very powerful, but not overbearing like cheaper and lesser quality headphones tend to be. The treble and even the vocals (Axel Rose sounds awesome through these) is all very nice and I found myself sitting on the floor surrounded by records and CD’s trying out my favorite songs. I am trying to think of something negative to say about the sound quality, but at well under $300 for a person who wants to really hear music the way it is meant to be heard, you really will struggle to beat these.
- Wire is a little on the annoying side
- People may not like the black/grey design
While we are looking at the best open back professional headphones below $300, if you want to be well under that price tag, you have to take a real serious look at these as I have a hard time believing that anyone would be disappointed with the sound these provide and how well made they are.
4. AKG Q701 Quincy Jones Signature On-Ear Reference Headphones
- Available in all kinds of funky colors
- They are very well made
- Have a ton of positive reviews
- Great if you are into music production
- Endorsed by Quincy Jones
Last, but not least I have for you these very cool looking AKG Q701 Quincy Jones Signature On-Ear Reference Headphones. These are branded by legendary producer Quincy Jones so that along with the very unique and interesting design is what caught my eye. Now I have not actually used these headphones and they are a little over the $300 price tag we are talking about.
But these are so cool and have such a great reputation. I did a little research on these and wanted to share my thoughts on them. The design of these is really unique, the headband has a very interesting looking, almost protective couple of bars over it and it really does look awesome, while offering that extra protection in case you drop them. The pair that I really like is a lime green, but they do these headphones in other colors too.
I did a lot of reading about the sound quality of these and as you would expect with Quincy Jones lending his name to them. These are aimed at music produces, DJ’s and people who are really serious about their music. On Amazon, these have over 600 reviews with over 80 percent of them being very positive. I really like how people are talking about the vocal clarity as well as the bass and treble. It really does make me want to actually check these out so if anyone has a spare pair laying around, send them my way!
- Cost a little over 300 bucks
- Funky colors may not be to everyone’s taste
I know that at a little over 300 bucks, you may be asking why I have these on a list of the best open back professional headphones below $300. I know that some of you guys will want the most high end headphones for your money possible and I feel that many of you will be willing to spend that extra 40 bucks to get these.
So What Are The Best Open Back Professional Headphones Below $300?
Picking between the three that I got to test out is tough as they all did what they did very well. If I am being brutally honest it comes down to the Sennheiser headphones against the Beyerdynamic headphones and I am having a really hard time picking between them. They both do many, many things that I really like so narrowing it down is hard.
The Beyerdynamic pair though are considerably cheaper so if you are tight on funds and want the best sound for your buck, go for these, honestly as great as the Sennheiser headphones are, you could argue that they are not 100 bucks better than the Beyerdynamic. So while I loved all three pairs, if I had to absolutely pick one pair as the best open back professional headphones below $300 I would go for the Beyerdynamic headphones. They sound great, look cool and are comfortable to wear for hours on end.