FIVE! Best Planar Magnetic Headphones | 2020 Reviewed

Planar magnetic headphones are a combination of both dynamic and electrostatic drivers. The demand for planar magnetic headphones has increased over the years. The increase in demand for audiophile companies is due to its affordable price, sound quality, and many other benefits. Planar magnetic headphones deliver high-frequency response and transience. These two qualities are essential for producing bass notes.

Both dynamic and planar magnetic headphones are excellent choices for listening to music. But purchasing planar magnetic headphones is a more difficult task than buying dynamic headphones. In this article, some of the best planar magnetic headphones that are currently available in the market has been explained.

What Are Planar Magnetic Headphones?

Apparently, you will find no difference between the old headphones with dynamic drivers and planar magnetic headphones. The only difference visible is the size of the cup. Planar magnetic headphones have larger ear cups. The primary difference is in the drivers and working principles.

Planar headphones stand between dynamic driver headphones and electrostatic headphones. It uses an ultra fast-moving and super thin diaphragm set between the two magnets. These assure that there are no limitations imposed as in dynamic headphones.

Planar headphones function a bit differently. Inside the driver, it has a flexible film sets. A magnet is put in front and behind the film, and thin wires pass by the film. To produce sound and move the driver, the headphones give a current via those thin wires. The permanent magnets placed in front and behind the film to move the film back and forth for producing the sound. 

Though planar magnetic headphones are traditionally over or on-ear headphones, RHA has announced the production of the first pair of planar magnetic earbuds, and Audeze also offers planar magnetic earbuds.

How Planar Magnetic Headphones are Better?

The drivers in planar headphones make their use extremely resistant to all types of electronic and audio distortion. This happens due to the diaphragm material placed in between the permanent magnetic fields. It also provides them with a speedy response with a little or a no transient sound as the audio source stops transmitting high or low frequencies.

In simple words, planar magnetic headphones have got precise sound even without using headphone amplifiers.

What Features to Look For While Buying Planar Magnetic Headphones?

Some of the features that can help you in deciding are perfect planar headphones are:

1. Driver Technology of Headphones

A driver in headphones is a small speaker unit that moves the sound down in your ear canals. Drivers are an electromagnetic device that translates the electric signals into audible sound. It is essential for any pair of headphones to function.The speakers in planar magnetic sound generate high quality sound in comparison to ordinary dynamic speakers and headphones.

2. Check its Overall Build Quality

Some of the elements that make magnetic headphones sound better than regular headphones are:

  • These headphones are more durable because there are fewer moving parts that can cause sonic degradation.
  • Additionally, the planar drivers also have a better capability of dealing with heat.

3. Open vs. Closed-Back Planar Headphones

The option as to which option is better to open or closed back can be quite confusing. Most importantly, your choice must rely on what you want in your headphone. Closed-back earcups generally deliver stronger low frequencies.

Whereas open-back earcups leak more sound both in and out, but they provide a more natural sound. There is no massive difference between open or closed earcup design besides their sound system.

Hence, before buying the pair of headphones, it is better suggested to check which one is better for you.

5 Best Planar Magnetic Headphones

1. Audeze LCD-4

Review

These headphones feature among one of the heaviest headphones tested. The Audeze LCD-4 can be worn for several hours without any signs of fatigue. It has got thick and soft-angled earpads. The headphone is coupled with a tremendous and clamp-free headband and makes it comfortable to use. There is enough flexibility in the headphones to fit in a wide range, different head shapes, and sizes. The comfort and fit are very high in LCD-4.

Description

The Audeze LCD-4 is one of the most advanced, featuring models having incredibly open and spacious sound. The LCD-4  has got faster response time with the most accurate bass. The LCD-4 has thinner diaphragms than hair. The only drawback of this headphone will be the price. At close to $4000, the LCD-4 is, by the way, outside many people’s budgets.

Benefits

  • Outstanding Build Quality
  • Good Soundstage
  • Instrument Separation

Drawbacks

  • Can be most expensive than other headphones

Our Verdict

The instruments in LCD-4 are detailed, well-textured, and lifelike. As explained by Audeze, the bass extends down to 5Hz, and after listening to LCD-4, all the claims get approved. The treble of Audeze LCD-4 is the main discussion while buying it. LCD-4 is very natural, as well as pleasant.

2. Fostex T50RP MK3

Review

The headphone comfort is good. The modifications made on the earpads move a long way to improve its comfort. Both the left and right earcups are marked. A 3.5 mm terminal is located on the left earcup. The earpads are a bit of disappointment. The openings for the ears are way too small; also, the paddings are thin. Though it is an over-ear headphone, the earpads make it look more like an on-ear headphone. But the best thing about Fostex T50 MK3 is that the earpads are replaceable. Hence, if you have decided to buy this headphone be ready to replace its earpads.

Description

If you want to experience an orthodynamic headphone, the Fostex T50RPMK3 is the cheapest available planar magnetic headphone. If you want to modify your headphone, Fostex T50MK3 is the best option, to begin with. The Fostex T50RPMK3 is presented in a card box, and inside the headphone sits wrapped in a bubble wrap included with a warranty card and spec sheet.

This product provides maximum comfort with a low repulsion head pad and earpad.It is semi-open for clear and flat sound.

Benefits

  • Good bass response
  • Durable and Modular Parts
  • Descent Sound

Drawbacks

  • Earpads are not good enough.
  • Treble is a bit harsh.
  • Need a better headphone amp to drive

Our Verdict

The bass sound is the best part of this headphone. The treble is clean and transparent. The instruments come out in a better way, and the vocals can be a little laid back.

3. Mr. Speakers Aeon Closed

Review

The comfort in this headphone is excellent. The unique teardrop shape of earpads in Aeon Flow Closed provides ample room to fit in different sizes. The earpads are large in size. The protein leather earpads offer a comfortable, soft, and plush surface to rest on the skin. The earpads may get a little warm in warm climates, but overall they work fine

Description

The Aeon Flow has closed back and is an over-ear planar magnetic headphone. The materials used in Aeon Flow Closed are top-notch. The headband also features a pleather material of good quality. The pads are replaceable, and the pad replacements can be done from the Mrspeakers website. The earcups’ housing is made of high-quality carbon fiber, which decreases the weight of the headphone.

Benefits

  • Comfortable
  • Spacious Sounding
  • Good Isolation

Drawbacks

  • Nothing Much

Our Verdict

The Aeon Flow closed is very efficient at isolating the ambient noise into the headphone and sound from getting out. The people sitting next to you won’t get disturbed because of this feature. No external sound can disturb you while using this headphone.

4. OPPO PM-3

Review

At a weight of 320g, this headphone is a very light orthodynamic headphone. PM-3 is a comfortable headphone because its weight is coupled with the headphone’s comfy construction. The headphones are well-padded and provide enough adjustments. But after some amount of time, you can feel the pressure due to weight. The earpads in OPPO-PM 3 are not deep enough. These can cause irritation and get a bit warm after a period of usage.

Description

The Oppo PM-3 has a closed-back and over-the-ear headphone. The materials in its design feature plastic and pleather. The headphone’s construction is excellent, solidly built with high standards. The headband is covered with padded foam and a protein leather. The structure of the headband also features a steel metal strip that provides it the shape.  The Aluminum gimbals connect the headband to the earcups.

Benefits

  • Neutral Sound
  • Comfortable and Portable
  • Good Isolation
  • Easy to Drive

Drawbacks

  • Non-Replaceable earpads

Our Verdict

You can feel the music in these headphones. The voice does not leak outside. The midrange is very well designed and comes out smoothly, especially while listening to acoustic music. The vocals come out very naturally. The treble response makes you feel the music.

5. HIFIMAN HE400S

Review

At a weight of 320g, this headphone is a very light orthodynamic headphone. PM-3 is a comfortable headphone because its weight is coupled with the headphone’s comfy construction. The headphones are well-padded and provide enough adjustments. But after some amount of time, you can feel the pressure due to weight. The earpads in OPPO-PM 3 are not deep enough. These can cause irritation and get a bit warm after a period of usage.

Description

The HiFiMAN HE400S has an open-back and is over-the-ear headphone. The headphone build is good, but the materials  that are used in the construction  are not desirable. Except that the headband is a metal and a protein leather head strap, most of the HE400S materials are made of plastic. The headband of the HiFiMAN HE400S is similar in style to the headband of the HE-400i and HE-560.

Benefits

  • Comfortable
  • Easily Driven
  • Affordable Planner

Drawbacks

  • Inexpensive and flimsy materials

Our Verdict

HiFiMan HE400S is great and comfortable. The Angled HM5 pads increase the mid-bass and sub-bass response. The treble is quite similar but there is a reduction in the soundstage.

Conclusion

This article has featured some of the planar magnetic headphones that offer the best value for money. It is tough to pick one, as all of them have their own set of pros and cons. Hence, the final choice must primarily depend on what features you are looking for.  If you want to have a good music experience and are prepared to spend more, you must purchase Planar magnetic headphones. But you must know that these headphones are more expensive than old school headphones. There is no upper price limit for best planar headphones. Still, it is worth the price as you will have your best vocal experience with this pair of headphones.

 

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