Best Open-Back Headphones Under $300 For 2024

Open-back headphones are great, but some of the most acclaimed ones can get very pricey. Big names like Audeze, HiFiMAN, and Focal provide seminal open-back experiences, but where is that experience for audiophiles on a budget? Thankfully, there are some great options that you can look at for less than $300. Many of these headphones offer a solid reference and are mostly dynamic drivers. The HiFiMAN Sundara and Moondrop Para are two planar headphones that just hit the $300 mark at $299, but we’re going to be looking at all of the options you can get for just under that. Here is what we’d recommend.

Grado SR80x

For those who don’t mind on-ear headphones, the Grado SR80x is a great entry-level open-back headphone. It comes in as the most inexpensive set of open-back cans you can get at only $125. You can expect a wide and clear sound that most open-back headphones are known for, with the added benefit of Grado’s one-of-a-kind design. The SR80x is great as long as you only plan on starting with it to get of sense of what open-back sound is like. Once you use the SR80x to break into the world of open-back headphones, you’ll mainly be thinking about upgrading it next.

ThieAudio Ghost

These open-back headphones from ThieAudio are a big surprise. This brand is mainly known for its IEMs like the Monarch and Hype models, but it turns out they have a knack for over-ear headphones too. With the ThieAudio Ghost, you get an impressive sound at only $129. Its open soundstage even reaches that semi-holographic feeling that is a common factor in pricier headphones. Sonically, the Ghost will give your music a touch of warmth and some expressive treble. There’s even an opportunity to expand the sound of the Ghost through different upgrade cables and earpads if you choose to stick with them.

Sennheiser HD 560s

It’s hard to find a best-of list that doesn’t include the name Sennheiser. The 560s are part of their HD line of reference headphones, with the 600 and 650 being some of their most popular. You can find those headphones discounted, but even then they could still be considered a bit pricy. This is where the HD 560s comes in handy, offering a fine level of accuracy and detail for an open-back headphone usually at $199. Everything about it is practical as well as being a budget-friendly option for those not ready to jump to the 600 and 650.

Beyerdynamic DT 880/DT 990

For this entry, I’m combining two headphones that are known to accomplish similar things while being slightly different. The Beyerdynamic DT 880 and DT 990 are those headphones, known for having transparent sound as well as being a great tool for creators. It should be noted that the DT 880 specifically is only semi-open, but it’s still used almost as much as the fully open DT 990. Being fully open does give the 990 some edge though, being better for certain genres of music and gaming. Both headphones are great for casual listening and critical sound listening though, and can be purchased around the $170 to $209 range.

Sivga Luan

Just edging on the verge of $300 is the Sivga Luan, making it one of the least expensive wooden headphones you can get as well. If you can find the Luan on sale, it becomes one of my favorite open-back headphones you can get. This is the closest you’ll hear to an audiophile-grade open-back sound, featuring an exciting bass and refined clarity throughout the sound signature. It brings a fun, but natural sound to those who aren’t concerned with having a reference, and are seeking enhanced casual listening.

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Alex S. is a sound designer and voice-over artist who has worked in film, commercials, and podcasts. He loves horror movies and emo music.