Top 5 Best Closed-Back Headphones Under $100 Of 2021


Closed-back headphones are often preferred for their noise-cancellation; low bleed; comfort, and accentuated bass. There are plenty of excellent options on the market that won’t break the bank, either!

In this article, we’ll discuss the best closed-back headphones that fit within a $100 USD budget. Any list like this is inherently subjective though I believe this list is as objective as I can be.

The top 5 best closed-back headphones under $100 are:

The headphones listed above are comfortable and at the top of their price class in terms of sonic performance. To make things even better, each model costs under $100 USD!

Since we’re having a discussion within the context of a price cap, I figure I should leave a link to a related My New Microphone article: Are Expensive Headphones (Or Cheap Headphones) Worth It?


What Makes A Great Closed-Back Headphone?

Though the term “best” is subjective, we should still list out the criteria used for determining what makes a great pair of closed-back headphones.

  • Comfort: this is perhaps the simplest yet most important criterion of any headphone. Though highly subjective, specifications such as weight; contact pressure; earpad shape/material; stiffness, and the overall dimension play a role in comfort. We should also consider the amount of heat that could get trapped around the ears during longer listening sessions.
  • Impedance/device compatibility: compatibility with different audio devices is important. Choose a pair of high-end circumaural headphones that will be easily incorporated into your set up whether that’s a mobile device or a professional studio. Impedance and sensitivity ratings come into play when determining compatibility.
  • Frequency response: a great pair of headphones should be able to reproduce the full audible spectrum from 20 Hz – 20,000 Hz with clarity.

Wireless (especially Bluetooth) capabilities are also seen as a benefit since they further improve the functionality and general comfort of the headphones.

Noise cancelling, both passive and active, is also an important thing to consider when choosing a closed-back headphone. The passive noise cancelling ties into the fit of the headphones. look into the active noise cancelling reduction; the battery life, and how it affects the sound when engaged (if applicable).

To learn more about closed-back headphones, be sure to check out my article: The Complete Guide To Open-Back & Closed-Back Headphones.

With that, let’s get into our top 5 best closed-back headphones under $100!



Sony MDR-7506

Let’s start with the popular Sony MDR-7506 (link to check the price on Amazon).

Sony MDR-7506

The Sony MDR-7506 is a great closed-back moving-coil dynamic headphone that goes for under $100.

The Sony MDR-7506 is also featured in My New Microphone’s Top Best Headphones For Podcasting Under $100 and Top Best Circumaural (Over-Ear) Headphones Under $100.

As part of Sony’s Micro Dynamic Receiver series of headphones, the 7506 is marketed to audio/visual professionals. Its 40mm dynamic drivers deliver deep bass with low distortion and a wide dynamic range.

With a published frequency response of 10 Hz to 20,000 Hz, these closed-back headphones are easily able to produce all the audible frequencies and even some infrasound frequencies (though most audio is filtered above this point).

With a relatively low 63-ohm nominal impedance, the Sony MDR-7506 can be driven by both consumer and professional audio setups alike. In fact, these pro headphones are marketed as a great option for equipment with less-than-powerful headphone amplification.

To learn more about headphone impedance, check out my article The Complete Guide To Understanding Headphone Impedance.

The headphone has a fixed 9.8-foot coiled cable with a typical 3-pin 3.5mm stereo connector. For 1/4″ headphone jacks, the headphone comes with its own gold-plated, stereo Unimatch 1/8″ to 1/4″ adapter.

These lightweight headphones are pretty comfortable and can easily be worn throughout normal session times. They fold up for easy storage/portability and fit well on most heads.

These headphones sound great at under $100 and are a fantastic choice for professionals and music-lovers alike.

Key Specifications:

  • Transducer Type: 40 mm Dynamic with Neodymium magnets
  • Impedance: 63 Ω
  • Frequency Response: 10 Hz – 20,000 Hz
  • Sensitivity: 106 dB/W/m
  • IP Rating: no info
  • Open/Closed-Back: Circumaural/Closed-back
  • Weight: 8.1 oz
  • Wireless/Wired: Wired

To learn more about headphone specifications, be sure to read my article Full List: Headphone/Earphone Specifications w/ Examples.

Sony is featured in My New Microphone’s Top 14 Best Earphone/Earbud Brands In The World and Top 13 Best Headphone Brands In The World.


Shure SRH440

To continue our discussion on the top 5 best closed-back headphones under $100, let’s have a look at the Shure SRH440 (link to check the price on Amazon).

Shure SRH440

The Shure SRH440 closed-back headphone delivers a professional sound at an affordable price. It has dynamic drivers in a circumaural (over-ear) design.

The Shure SRH440 is also featured in the following My New Microphone articles:
Top Best Moving-Coil/Dynamic Headphones Under $100
Top Best Headphones For Podcasting Under $100
Top Best Circumaural (Over-Ear) Headphones Under $100

The reference-worthy sound of the SRH440 is achieved with 40mm dynamic drivers and tuned housing. Shure has designed these headphones to accurately reproduce audio with solid bass, clear mids and non-fatiguing highs.

To learn more about dynamic drivers and driver size, check out my articles The Complete Illustrated Guide To Moving-Coil Dynamic Headphones and What Is A Good Driver Size For Headphones?, respectively.

The nominal impedance of the SRH440 is rated at 44 ohms, which is low enough to work with any consumer or mobile audio device. A detachable 3 m (10 ft.) coiled cable and threaded 1/4″ (6.35 mm) gold-plated adapter are included with the 440 to ensure compatibility with the most widely used headphone jacks.

As would be expected, the closed-back, circumaural design offers a great deal of noise isolation in noisy environments.

Shure’s SRH440 is designed with an adjustable and collapsible headband for improved comfort and portability. The earpads are easily replaceable if and when they wear out.

Key Specifications:

  • Transducer Type: 40 mm Dynamic
  • Impedance: 44 Ω
  • Frequency Response: 10 Hz – 22 kHz
  • Sensitivity: 105 dB/mW
  • IP Rating: no info
  • Open/Closed-Back: Circumaural/Closed-back
  • Weight: 311 g
  • Wireless/Wired: Wired

Shure is featured in My New Microphone’s Top 14 Best Earphone/Earbud Brands In The World and Top 13 Best Headphone Brands In The World.


Sennheiser HD 280 Pro

Next up is the widely-cherished Sennheiser HD 280 Pro (link to check the price on Amazon).

Sennheiser HD 280 Pro

The Sennheiser HD 280 Pro is a popular closed-back dynamic headphone option below $100 with a circumaural earcup fit.

The Sennheiser HD 280 Pro is also featured in the following My New Microphone articles:
Top Best Moving-Coil/Dynamic Headphones Under $100
Top Best Circumaural (Over-Ear) Headphones Under $100

Sennheiser’s HD 280 Pro delivers an extended and accurate bass response, clear mids and non-fatiguing highs thanks to its 40mm dynamic drivers and tuned closed-back design.

Taking a look at the published frequency response, we see that the extended lows (and highs) of the HD 280 Pro push beyond the audible range of hearing. Though we can’t hear these frequencies, it tells us the headphones are well-suited to produce bass and high-end sound.

The detachable 1.3m|3m coiled cable is designed with typical 3.5mm plugs. A 1/4″ (6.35mm) adapter is also included for easy connecting to the vast majority of headphone outputs.

To learn more about 3.5mm and 6.35mm headphone plugs/jacks, check out my article The Differences Between 2.5mm, 3.5mm & 6.35mm Headphone Jacks.

A 64-ohm nominal impedance means the Sennheiser HD 280 Pro will sound great with high-end professional headphones that require dedicated amplifiers and “regular” headphones that will work with typical mobile and consumer-grade audio devices.

Robust and comfortable, the HD 280 Pro is designed with a durable headband and housing and is enhanced by soft earpads and adjustable parts for a comfortable fit. Expect a good amount of passive noise isolation once these headphones are fitted properly around the ears. The earcups are folding and rotating for compact transport and storage.

Key Specifications:

  • Transducer Type: Dynamic
  • Impedance: 64 Ω
  • Frequency Response: 8 Hz – 25,000 Hz
  • Sensitivity: no info
  • IP Rating: no info
  • Open/Closed-Back: Circumaural/Closed-back
  • Weight: 285 g without cable
  • Wireless/Wired: Wired

Sennheiser is featured in My New Microphone’s Top 13 Best Headphone Brands In The World and Top 14 Best Earphone/Earbud Brands In The World.


Status Audio CB-1

At mention number 4, we have the Status Audio CB-1 (link to check the price on Amazon).

Status Audio CB-1

The Status Audio CB-1 is a closed-back headphone designed for audio professional that require sonic neutrality to make their living. This headphone offers incredible clarity at an affordable price.

Based around 50mm moving-coil dynamic drivers, the CB-1 reproduces audio from 15 Hz to 30,000 Hz without any emphases on bass, mid or high frequencies. What we get is a transparent sound for professional reference monitoring.

With a nominal impedance of 32 ohms, the CB-1 can be successfully driven by low-power mobile and consumer-grade headphone jack DACs and amplifiers. That being said, the headphones could certainly be used with a dedicated amplifier in order to reach their full sonic potential.

To learn more about headphone amplifiers, check out my article What Is A Headphone Amplifier & Are Headphone Amps Worth It?

These headphones come with a coiled cable and an extended-length straight cable for multiple studio applications. Both cables end with a typical 3.5mm stereo plug and are detachable from the headphones via a keyed locking mechanism. The CB-1 comes with a 1/4″ adapter for compatibility with the vast majority of headphone jacks.

For more info on headphone cables, check out my article An In-Depth Look Into How Headphone Cables Carry Audio.

Premium overstuffed earpads fit over the ear and the luxurious headband provides a comfortable and secure headphone for long listening and working sessions. The unique bi-fold design collapses into a small form factor, making these headphones easy to store in the studio or take to remote sessions.

Key Specifications:

  • Transducer Type: 50 mm Dynamic
  • Impedance: 32 Ω
  • Frequency Response: 15 Hz – 30,000 Hz
  • Sensitivity: 97 db +/- 3 db
  • IP Rating: no info
  • Open/Closed-Back: Circumaural/Closed-back
  • Weight: 13.2 oz
  • Wireless/Wired: Wired

Audio-Technica ATH-SR30BT

Last but not least is the Audio-Technica ATH-SR30BT (link to check the price on Amazon).

Audio-Technica ATH-SR30BT

The Audio-Technica ATH-SR30BT is a wireless set of closed-back over-ear headphones.

These headphones are built around the exclusively-designed 40 mm drivers and dual-layer isolation housing structures that optimizes phase and transient response. The sound is powerful and exceptionally pure across the entire audible frequency spectrum, even when the headphone is paired wirelessly.

The dual-layer isolation structure keeps the audio signal and electric circuitry separate from the acoustic space for optimal phase and transient response.

The Bluetooth 5.0 chipset is compatible with AAC and SBC codecs for high-quality wireless audio transfer within an operational range of 10 metres (33 feet). Pairing these headphones is easy and automatic pairing happens with the last paired device as the headphone is turned on.

To learn more about wireless headphones, please consider reading the following My New Microphone articles:
• How Bluetooth Headphones Work & How To Pair Them To Devices
• How Do Wireless Headphones Work? + Bluetooth & True Wireless

The internal battery has an impressive 70-hours of continuous use when fully charged. The included 30 cm (1.0′) USB charging cable makes topping up the battery easy, when convinient.

The ATH-SR30BT headphones also feature a built-in mic with controls in the left earcup, making it easy to answer calls, adjust volume and handle music playback on smartphones and other devices.

When going wired, the 32-ohm nominal impedance of the ATH-SR30BT means that it can be properly driven by low-level headphone outputs like those found in mobile and consumer-grade devices.

The soft memory foam used in the earpads and headband guarantee a snug but relaxed fit over lengthy periods of time. When it does come time to put the headphones away, they fold flat for easy storage and portability.

Key Specifications:

  • Transducer Type: 40 mm Dynamic
  • Impedance: 32 Ω
  • Frequency Response: 5 Hz – 35,000 Hz
  • Sensitivity: 99 dB/mW
  • IP Rating: no info
  • Open/Closed-Back: Circumaural/Closed-back
  • Weight: 193 g (6.8 oz)
  • Wireless/Wired: Bluetooth 5.0

Audio-Technica is featured in My New Microphone’s Top 13 Best Headphone Brands In The World.


Honourable Mentions

Let’s have a look at a few “honourable mentions” worth your attention. The follow 5 closed-back headphones are great options that cost under $100 USD:

Arthur

Arthur is the owner of Fox Media Tech and author of My New Microphone. He's an audio engineer by trade and works on contract in his home country of Canada. When not blogging on MNM, he's likely hiking outdoors and blogging at Hikers' Movement (hikersmovement.com) or composing music for media. Check out his Pond5 and AudioJungle accounts.

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