Trying to find the the ideal closed back headphones for you?
It can get annoying and frustrating after a while unless you know where to look.
Well, you’ve definitely found the right place my friend.
I’m going to review the top five closed back headphones under $500 for you today.
Instead of wasting more of your precious time scouring the internet, you can read my reviews or learn from my handy guide below.
Quick List: Top 5 Closed Back Headphones Under $500
- Shure SRH1540 Premium – Best Overall
- Focal H5006 Spirit Classic – Runner Up
- Audio-Technica ATH-A99OZ Headphones
- Bose Noise Cancelling Wireless Headphones 700
- Sony WH100XM3 Wireless Headphones
Researching Closed Back Headphones Under $500
As I perform my research, there are always certain key areas to hone in on when learning about headphones or any audio devices for that matter.
In this case, when it comes to closed back headphones, I’m going to focus on the closed back design itself, the comfort of the headphones, the headphones construction, the audio performance, and more.
Why will I look at so many different aspects of these headphones?
Simply put, I’d like to review each of the products that I recommend in a well-rounded and thorough way. By looking at each of the different features of the headphones that I review, I can personally tell you what I think and feel based on a number of different categories. And that’s exactly what you should look for in a high quality review.
As an example, let’s say you’re looking for the best closed back headphones with an ergonomic design and lightweight construction. At the same time, you want the headphones that have top quality audio since that’s what you’re buying them for.
You may find headphones that have two out of three of these things, but because they’re missing one key ingredient they wouldn’t be a great fit for you. Please look over my lists of ingredients as I review each product to determine if the headphones have everything that you’re looking for and more.
The Best Closed Back Headphones Under $500 In 2021
1. Shure SRH1540 Premium – Best Overall
- 40 mm neodymium drivers deliver superior acoustic performance for an expansive soundstage with clear extended highs and warm bass
The Shure SRH1540 Premium headphones are the best overall because they’re comfortable, made with the highest quality material, and lightweight in design.
✔️ What we like: Solid low end, balanced and natural mids
❌ What we don’t like: Headband hurts after long listening sessions
- Circumaural closed back design
- Expansive soundstage
- Superior acoustic performance
These premium headphones score massive points right off the bat because of their impressive expansive soundstage. This delivers crystal-clear and warm bass with extended highs for an amazing audio experience. And in many cases when you would think the mids sound neutral, they actually have a natural and balanced progression that audiophiles tend to love.
For many, these headphones are even better because they’re constructed using carbon fiber and aluminum alloy and covered up by thick and soft foam that feels absolutely wonderful on top of your head. And the ear pads are also very thick and fluffy and made of soft foam as well, so you don’t have to worry about feeling pain after wearing these for a long stretch of time.
Or do you? One reviewer said that the SRH1540 Premium headphones are really uncomfortable if you wear them for too many hours in a row. They say the headband hurts if you wear them during a long listening session. Now, I’m not the type of person to discount anyone’s feelings. But I only read that one person complained about these headphones being uncomfortable. No one else had anything really negative to say in this regard. But many others felt the headphones were just as comfortable as I feel they’re, so remember that one person’s discomfort is another person’s lap of luxury.
Overall, the Shure SRH1540 Premium headphones are an excellent choice because of the steel driver frame, the oxygen free copper cable, the dual exit cables with gold plated MMCX connectors, and the low density ear pads that are completely replaceable.
2. Focal H5006 Spirit Classic Closed Back Headphones – Runner Up
- Acoustic transparency and ease of use
- Precise and detailed sound reproduction, without distortion
- Excellent isolation and acoustic coupling to the ear
The Focal H5006 Spirit Classic headphones is my runner-up because of the incredibly affordable price, the over ear closed back circumaural design, and an easy listening experience.
✔️ What we like: Excellent sound quality
❌ What we don’t like: Distracting and poorly made build quality
- Great fit for large heads
- Crisp lows, mids, and highs
- Delivers better direct version of sound
Reviewer seems to be incredibly impressed with these headphones from Focal. Why? They love them because of the sound quality first and foremost, but many people also appreciate the great build and comfort that these headphones provide.
Most important of all, people say that they’re the best headphones they have for long listening sessions. You never experience any major discomfort wearing them and you will not undergo any serious issues with fatigue. You can go for many hours in a row and enjoy the rich and open sound, which makes it literally sound like you’re listening to music in a live concert hall.
Now, it’s very difficult to please everyone as you are about to learn. As much as most reviewers seem to love the build quality and the comfort, one reviewer had nothing but negative things to say. He said that his headphones were made poorly and they broke very easily. While this may be true, we don’t know what kind of person he is and how well he takes care of his headphones.
But another reviewer complained that his headphones cracked after a year. He said he emailed support and they sent him a brand-new pair without giving him any trouble whatsoever. They went out of their way to make their customer happy and I have a feeling they would go out of their way to make you happy too if you ever ran into the same problem.
I believe you’ll love the Focal H5006 Spirit Classic headphones because of their amazing clarity, their crisp vocals, and the wide soundstage that presents an overall amazing listening experience. Just don’t use these headphones for noise cancellation because they aren’t designed with that feature in mind.
3. Audio-Technica ATH-A99OZ Closed Back Headphones
- Frequency Response - 5 – 45,000 Hz and Impedance - 11.5 ohms
The Audio-Technica ATH-A99OZ Headphones are great closed back headphones because of the newly designed 53 mm drivers and the lightweight aluminum housings.
✔️ What we like: Top mounted PCB drivers
❌ What we don’t like: The treble appears almost non-existent
- Double Air Damping System
- 3D wing support system
- Premium ear pads
There is so much to love about these closed back headphones from Audio-Technica, but I’m particularly a big fan of the fact that these headphones are trusted by industry professionals and audio experts far and wide.
They have given them their stamp of approval because they’re being used in broadcasting, live concerts, recording studios, and they even use these headphones in houses of worship for live religious broadcasts.
Do you think all of these major institutions would trust these headphones if they didn’t provide amazing sound? Combine this with the enhanced 3D wing support which provides a stable and closer fit and extra comfort, and you can literally put these headphones on for many hours and feel no discomfort during long listening sessions.
Even better, they use premium ear pads that are made of soft foam to add even extra comfort to the mix.
One reviewer chose to buy these headphones because his previous headphones lacked bass. He was very excited to find out that they had a Double Air Damping System that provides deep bass reproduction. But he wasn’t too thrilled with the treble. As far as treble goes, he says it’s practically non-existent.
He was hoping for a better balance between the treble and bass. Is this a regular complaint from many reviewers on the Internet? No it’s not. It’s just this one guy having this one issue so it may come down to his personal preference and nothing more.
Overall, I’m a huge fan of the Audio-Technica ATH-A99OZ Headphones because of the large 53 mm drivers that create beautiful sound, the integrated yoke for precise diaphragm movements, the lightweight design, the added comfort, the soft ear pads, and the awesome cloth wrapped cable that never seems to get tangled up.
4. Bose 700 Noise Cancelling Wireless Closed Back Headphones
- Powerful noise cancelling headphones: 11 levels of active noise cancelling let you enjoy music, podcasts, videos & calls without distractions
The Bose Noise Cancelling Wireless Headphones 700 is a favorite choice of many headphone aficionados because it’s optimized for Google Assistant and Alexa.
✔️ What we like: 11 levels of noise cancellation controls
❌ What we don’t like: They aren’t comfortable wearing them for long periods
- Adaptive mic system
- Touch controls
- Noise cancelling technology
The microphone system that you gain access to with the Bose 700 noise cancelling headphones is unrivaled in the industry. These microphones have the ability to pick up your voice and isolate it while talking on the headset. At the same time it has the ability to remove all of the additional noise from the background.
This is incredible because you not only have the ability to hear the audio coming through your earphone speakers with pure clarity, but the people that you talk to will also hear you with absolute clarity as well because they will not have any background noise or distortion interfering with your calls. Even more impressive is the 11 levels of noise isolation. You can adjust the settings to however you see fit.
Besides the impressive microphones, these headphones are also Alexa enabled. All you have to do is press a button to activate Alexa and you can use the voice assistant however you see fit. These headphones are also compatible with Google Assistant, which means you have many options for voice assistants when using this powerful headset.
According to one unhappy reviewer, although he loved the sound quality that these headphones provided, he wasn’t very thrilled with the level of comfort that he experienced after wearing these headphones for many hours in a row. He said that they began to feel really uncomfortable on top of his head and provided unnecessary strain that he wasn’t expecting.
While this is certainly a disappointing discovery from this one reviewer, it seems to be isolated to this particular individual. Maybe he has a large head or an odd shaped head and the headphones just don’t seem to fit him correctly.
On the whole, the Bose Noise Cancelling Wireless Headphones 700 is a great choice because of the touch controls, the noise cancellation, and the 20 hours of rechargeable battery life.
5. Sony WH1000XM3 Wireless Closed Back Headphones
- DIGITAL NOISE CANCELING: Industry leading ANC lends a personalized, virtually soundproof experience
The Sony WH1000XM3 Wireless Headphones are a fine set of earphones because of the built-in microphone, the closed back over the ear design, the Alexa voice controls, and the excellent noise cancellation tech.
✔️ What we like: Quick attention mode and touch controls
❌ What we don’t like: Doesn’t work with laptop or desktop computers
- 30 hours of playtime
- Foldable headphone with carrying case
- Additional cable for wired connection
So many people fully appreciate these headphones from Sony because of the many wonderful features that they provide. Like the ability to use them as a wired or wireless headset if you desire.
You can connect them to your Bluetooth enabled devices or if you prefer, plug-in the 3.5 mm audio cable and use it to make a wired connection. It’s definitely nice having the option between the two in case you don’t own too many Bluetooth enabled devices or you just prefer doing things old-school.
But if you do prefer to connect wirelessly, you’ll be happy to know that the battery lasts for up to 30 hours on a single charge. So if you plan on going for a long day trip or you’ve signed up to run a marathon and you’ll need extra hours of battery power, you’ll definitely love the extra juice and so much more with these headphones.
Thirty hours is a long time to go without recharging, but that’s exactly what you’ll experience and you’ll appreciate the incredible longevity just like I do.
On a negative note, one reviewer was very upset because he contacted customer service and they told him that these headphones don’t connect to desktop computers and laptops. He really means that these headphones don’t connect via Bluetooth or some other way wirelessly.
If you plug in the 3.5 mm jack into your laptop or computer these headphones work perfectly. You just cannot connect wirelessly, so if that’s a problem you may want to steer clear of these headphones because they aren’t going to give you exactly what you want.
At the end of the day, you’ll like the Sony WH1000XM3 Wireless Headphones because of their closed back noise cancelling design, their long battery life; their ability to connect to Alexa and other voice assistants, and their comfortable and foldable ergonomic design.
A Guide to Choosing Closed Back Headphones Under $500
What did you think about my recommendations? Are you impressed with my choices or would you like to attempt to find your own headphones? Every answer is a good answer so you shouldn’t feel like you have to go with one of my picks if you aren’t 100% satisfied.
But here’s what I’d like you to do…
I’d like you to think about the perfect closed back headphones under $500 and think about all the great features and benefits that you expect to receive from them. You may have different wants and needs then me so it’s best to come up with your own reasons why you prefer certain headphones over others.
To help you along, I’m going to share my thoughts on a few important features that you should get when choosing new closed back headphones under $500. Consider these features when making your final purchasing decision.
I can tell you from personal experience just how important noise isolation is to me. I want to drift off into my own world and forget about all of the exasperating and stressful things going on in the real world when I strap on my headphones and sit down for a listening session. I want to focus on the funny podcast or the amazing musicians or the talk radio hosts and nothing more. I do not want random noises entering into my awareness for any reason at all. So noise isolation is critical for me when I choose headphones. Is it critical for you too? Or does it not really matter at all?
Comfortable & Durable Design
Comfort and durability is also critical when choosing closed back headphones under $500. Do you tend to listen to music on your headphones for many hours in a row? Do you use your headphones often? If you answered yes to either of these questions then you have to find headphones that you feel are comfortable and built to last. Otherwise you’ll end up disappointed when they break or begin hurting the top of your head or ears after using them for 2 to 3 hours straight.
Stereo Quality Sound
Obviously if you’re in the music profession you need headphones that are going to deliver stereo quality sound. This is an absolute given because your tracks are going to sound like crap if your headphones sound like crap. So make sure dozens or hundreds of professional music producers love these headphones because of their audio quality before you even consider buying them. Otherwise you may end up spending a lot of money on headphones that do not live up to the hype.
Studio Quality Sound with Closed Back Headphones Less Than $500
I hope you like my reviews of the best closed back headphones under $500. I really went out of my way to share the best of breed with you today.
In fact, I only shared five headphones that I know deliver the goods.
- Shure SRH1540 Premium – Best Overall
- Focal H5006 Spirit Classic – Runner Up
- Audio-Technica ATH-A99OZ Headphones
- Bose 700 Noise Cancelling Wireless Headphones
- Sony WH100XM3 Wireless Headphones
Feel free to try any or all of these headphones because they’re definitely the best of the bunch. I wouldn’t have shared them if I didn’t feel they were the top-of-the-line closed back headphones less than $500.
Or use my short and to the point guide to choose your own headphones.
Either way, just know that amazing headphones do exist and you’re on the right track to finding them.
Thanks for stopping by!
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Simon is a music lover, musical instrument player and passionate audio afficionado. When he is not playing the guitar or listening to music he is either eating tacos or snoring too loudly.