I'm trying to decide between some Beyerdynamics 770's (closed), 880's (semi-closed), and 990's (open) headphones. I will use them at home and at work. It appears that the more open the headphones are, the greater the soundstage, and tighter fidelity.

My concern is that I would be a disturbance to my coworker who sits 10 feet away. He listens to music on his headphones, and I can occasionally hear music on his supra-aural headphones, though by the time it reaches my ears, it is not loud by any means.

At low to moderate volume levels, would the music on a set of open, or semi-open cans, be loud enough to be a disturbance to somebody 10 feet away?

1 Answer 1


Your experience with your coworker's second-hand sound is representative of what will happen to your coworkers if you use open headphones. Which is to say, not much, unless you are really blasting the volume, at which point it would be uncomfortable for you as well as them. It is unlikely that you would be listening to music at that volume level in a work environment.

You are correct that the open designs sound better. There is enough leakage, however, that recording studios tend to use the closed-style headphones, especially with vocalists doing overdubs.

For what it's worth, these are the ones I use at work. They're not full-size Beyer or Sennheizer cans by any means, but they are inexpensive; have a big, clear sound; and have very little sound leakage.

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