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When you’re using your open back headphones, you won’t necessarily be the only one hearing what you’re listening to, everyone around you can hear the sound coming from your headphones. Exactly how loud are open back headphones?

How Loud Are Open Back Headphones

First, What are Open Back Headphones?

Open back headphones are headphones that are not closed in on the outer part of each earpiece. They enable air to pass through the ear section to reach the speaker element. The pressure is not able to build up, and there will be no echo sounds in the headphones.

What are Open Back Headphones Used For?

They are known for producing the most detailed and authentic audio experience. Open back headphones are ideal for the audiophile with high regard for quality sound and its purity. Check out our Best Budget Audiophile Headphones.

What are the Pros and Cons of Using Open Back Headphones?

  • ✓ The sound is much more natural and sounds as though it’s coming from within the room.
  • ✓ They make the vocals, and each instrument’s sound appears to be coming from different directions.
  • ✓ They remove the sound isolation between the environment and your ears.
  • They aren’t able to block outside noise well, and the external noise getting in may interfere with your listening experience.
  • They are more fragile, as the sensitive electronics are more exposed than with closed-back headphones.
  • They leak sound.

What is Sound Leak?

Sound leak is caused by the audio being pushed inward and outward through the headphones. The resulting sound leak is the noise that can be heard by people in the vicinity of the person wearing the open back headphones. But how loud are open back headphones? Read on.

Do All Open Back Headphones Create Sound Leak?

Yes, all open back headphones do create some sound leak and are louder than closed back headphones. The amount of sound leak varies according to which brand you purchase. It is estimated that some open back headphones have roughly 30-50% sound leak. When you are shopping for your pair, you have to keep some considerations in mind.

How to Test For Sound Leakage

The best way to test for each headphone’s amount of sound leakage is to bring a friend shopping with you. Assuming the store you are shopping at is a reputable one, you should be allowed to try out as many pairs of headphones as you need, to decide before you buy. Take the following steps to begin figuring out how much sound leaks from each pair that you try.

  • Find out if there is a studio room where you can test each set of headphones
  • Have your friend put the headphones on.
  • Put on some music.
  • Listen.

Now you can be the judge of how much sound leak is coming from each set of headphones, and you’ll be able to determine if it is acceptable for your needs. Be sure to use varying volumes and music genres while you’re testing, as the sound leak may change with different conditions.

What Will I Be Using These Headphones For?

Open back headphones are the right choice if you are going to be using them for mixing in a studio. The sound leak shouldn’t be much of a concern here unless you are going to be recording tracks, as the backing track can leak out of the headphones and back into the microphone.

If you are going to be home alone gaming or listening to your music, you don’t have to worry about how loud your sound leak may be.

If there are other people in the house, even if they are in another room, you may want to shop for a pair of headphones without a massive amount of sound leak. Most sound leak won’t travel through walls, but you may still experience a humming sound that can be bothersome to others.

Can I Travel or Make Commutes With Open Back Headphones?

If you are using your headphones while riding a subway or a bus, you don’t necessarily want to use your open back headphones. Most people have the music they prefer to listen to or have a book to read, and you don’t want to be that annoying person with loud, annoying headphones. If you feel it’s a must, then this is a situation that calls for shopping around and finding a pair of headphones with a very minimal sound leak.

If you live alone or if you know you will always be using your headphones in your room with your door closed, then pretty much the sky’s the limit. Choose whichever pair you like, and don’t give a second thought to what the sound leak percentage may be.

If there are other people in your home, you’re going to have to figure out if they will be able to hear your music, and if it will bother them.

Suppose you will be commuting on public transportation of any kind. In that case, you need not only to be concerned with annoying the other riders, but you have to realize that everyone else will be able to hear your music.

How to find the Best Open Back Headphones

Please take a look at our article for the Best Open Back Headphones for Gaming, here we review many different brands of open back headphones ranging in value from $100 to over $6000! Although you won’t be able to bring your friend and listen to the actual sound leak from each set of headphones, you can read all about their qualities and see if they fall within your budget.


So how loud are open back headphones? They are as loud or as quiet as you want them to be! Take a look at this youtube video for a more indepth look if you need more information.

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