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Open Back vs Closed Back Headphones?

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Open Back vs Closed Back Headphones?

Postby MattMann » Thu Dec 05, 2019 6:05 pm

Hey guys,

My cheapy headphones are falling apart, and so for a bit of fun I thought I'd design my own. I figured I could build the new design using the the electronics from the ones that falling apart.

I've never had open back headphones before, and I've been wondering how big a difference it would make to the quality if I made my new ones open back?

From looking through the forums it seems clear that my question is a bit basic but any advice will be greatly appreciated.

Cheers!
-Matt
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Re: Open Back vs Closed Back Headphones?

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Thu Dec 05, 2019 6:28 pm

It's going to depend on the specific drivers you're using.

Drivers intended for use in a closed-back system can be designed to rely upon the enclosed volume of air to act like a spring, supplementing the compliance of the diaphragm suspension and increasing the damping.

If mounted in an open-backed configuration that loading will be absent, and so the driver will be under-damped and will probably have a much lower SPL capability as a result because as the suspension is likely to be damaged at much lower levels than would be the case in a sealed enclosure. So more distortion at lower SPLs... probably.

And that's before you consider the effects of the different loading paradigm on frequency response...

DIY projects are always fun and good learning experiences, but it might be wise to limit your expectations in this case.

H
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Re: Open Back vs Closed Back Headphones?

Postby MattMann » Sat Dec 07, 2019 8:26 pm

Hugh Robjohns wrote:It's going to depend on the specific drivers you're using.

Drivers intended for use in a closed-back system can be designed to rely upon the enclosed volume of air to act like a spring, supplementing the compliance of the diaphragm suspension and increasing the damping.

If mounted in an open-backed configuration that loading will be absent, and so the driver will be under-damped and will probably have a much lower SPL capability as a result because as the suspension is likely to be damaged at much lower levels than would be the case in a sealed enclosure. So more distortion at lower SPLs... probably.

And that's before you consider the effects of the different loading paradigm on frequency response...

DIY projects are always fun and good learning experiences, but it might be wise to limit your expectations in this case.

H

Hugh, I couldn't have asked for a better answer, thank you.
This was really helpful.
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Joined: Thu Dec 05, 2019 5:36 pm

Re: Open Back vs Closed Back Headphones?

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Sun Dec 08, 2019 12:52 am

:thumbup:
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