Open and closed headphones: what are the differences?

There are many different types of audio headwear. We all aware of the differences between headphones and earphones – but the divide goes even further. When we talk about headphones, what do we really mean? When looking to buy your next pair, you might be confronted with the terms open and closed headphones. To help you make the right choice, and understand your audio equipment better, we’re going to breakdown all these terms and more in this article.

Open headphones

With this version, the casing of the headphone shell is perforated and thus permeable to air. Open headphones are therefore lighter, making them more comfortable to wear. In addition, your ears are well ventilated and you hear a slightly open sound with very good spatial imaging. However, the music is audible from the outside, and even sounds from outside are hardly attenuated. It’s therefore recommended that you use open headphones at home or in an undisturbed environment – and not on the bus or train, for example.

Closed headphones

These headphones are completely closed, therefore less air-permeable and also slightly heavier. On the other hand, external noise is a lot more reduced and the music is usually not or only minimally audible to others. For an even stronger isolation of external noise, some headphones offer the so-called active noise cancelling. A difference in sound compared to the open version is particularly noticeable in the bass, which is even more powerful when the headphones are closed. Closed headphones should only be worn where you don’t have to pay attention to ambient noise – i.e. never in traffic.

Semi-open headphones

This is a mixture of the open and closed headphones. Semi-open headphones are less permeable to air and sound (both inside and out) because they use different materials and have a tighter fit. They are also more comfortable to wear than many of the closed models. This makes semi-open models a good compromise solution when you want to enjoy music on the go or at home in peace and quiet.


In-Ear, On-Ear, Over-Ear: Headphones in the Teufel shop

Which headphones are right for you? Find out with our headphone comparison.


The REAL Thing: Closed headphones by Teufel

In Teufel’s Berlin office, the closed headphones REAL PURE or the REAL BLUE NC are popular. No wonder: who wants to disturb their colleagues with constant noise from their headphones? It is also good for concentration if the ambient noise is muffled.

Teufel REAL PURE Over-Ear-Kopfhörer
REAL PURE: Closed over-ear headphones with open sound

▶ The REAL PURE are the successors of the open REAL. For further development, we have worked hard on the sound to achieve the most open, airy sound possible in a closed system. The result: the sound is absolutely precise, very open and yet noise is eliminated. The sound is detailed and transparent, the bass is broad and defined. The ventilated rear chamber also ensures a climate-free reproduction. Suitable for all music genres – and thanks to very good padding also for spectacle wearers.
▶ As Bluetooth headphones, the REAL BLUE offer more freedom of movement and thus allow not only wireless music listening and telephoning but also smart voice control and music streaming. The design is no different from the REAL PURE.
▶ The REAL BLUE NC have the same features as the REAL BLUE, but come with additional active noise reduction. Aircraft noise, open-plan office, construction work nearby – nothing bothers you! And thanks to Bluetooth, you’re also extremely flexible.
▶ All our headphones in comparison.

MASSIVE reloaded – Hi-Fi headphones for bass lovers

closed headphones - TEUFEL MASSIVE - product image
Teufel MASSIVE: Closed headphones with extra strong bass

▶ Compared to the models of the REAL series, the Teufel MASSIVE has an even warmer sound with even stronger basses – so it is predestined for electronic music. Due to the closed construction, very little sound penetrates both inside and out. The MASSIVE convinces with a rich, filling bass, 50 mm drivers ensure distortion-free playback even at higher volumes. Ideal for noisy environments, such as for DJs. The workmanship is robust, of the usual high quality and very comfortable.
▶ We have developed the CAGE especially for gamers: 40 mm linear HD drivers produce a balanced sound – for gaming as well as for listening to music and watching movies. In addition, the CAGE can play virtual surround sound – so you can really enjoy gaming worlds and always hear exactly where the next opponent is lurking. All this without annoying sweaty ears – thanks to the ventilation openings – and with a unique feel: All elements of the CAGE are designed in such a way that you can operate them intuitively even in complete darkness.

Even more for gamers

Mini-Soundbar Cinebar One


Shop now


Shop now


To the Concept E 450

Conclusion: The Teufel wears closed over-ear headphones

  • Over-ear headphones are available in open, closed and semi-open designs.
  • Closed headphones have the advantage that they attenuate noise from and to the outside. They also reproduce more defined bass than open headphones.
  • Whether noise cancelling, Bluetooth or gaming headset: no wishes remain unfulfilled with our over-ear models.

Related posts

Write a comment

Note: Comments that include support requests will not be published. Please contact our customer service for topics such as operation, complaints or compatibility. Thanks a lot.

Your comment will be moderated before it will be published on the website.


Teufel Editorial

All about headphones, Bluetooth speakers & home cinema. Plus, practical tips and tricks for amazing audio quality from our team of in-house experts.