Passionate audiophiles have specific needs. Not just any headphones will suffice their needs. And we understand the struggle of finding the right set of earbuds.
So, for those searching for the best planar magnetic headphones of 2020, we have compiled an all-embracing guide wherein you can get your hands on the top ten planar magnetic headphones of all times and also learn a great deal of important information about the functionality of these devices. To start, let us first understand the fundamentals of these headphones.
By definition, planar magnetic refers to specialized headphones that convert electrical energy to mechanical wave energy. Or in other terms, you could say, it converts audio signals to sound waves using electromagnetic principles. They come equipped with planar drivers that possess a diaphragm with thin electrical conductors. And the diaphragm vibrates between two magnetic arrays.
If that sounds a bit complicated, then you need not worry. Just scroll down to read the reviews of the top magnetic planar headphones of this very year and a guide that further explains their functionality.
- 10 Best Planar Magnetic Headphones
- 1. Audeze LCD-4 Over-Ear
- 2. Audeze iSINE20 in-Ear
- 3. HyperX Cloud Orbit S-Gaming Headset
- 4. Blue Ella Planar Magnetic Headphones
- 5. HIFIMAN HE-400I Over-Ear Full-Size Planar Magnetic Headphones
- 6. Dan Clark Audio Closed-Back Portable Audiophile Headphone
- 7. Philips Audio Fidelio X2HR Over-Ear Open-Air Headphone
- 8. Monolith M1060 Over-Ear Planar Magnetic Headphones
- 9. SendyAudio Aiva Planar Magnetic Headphones
- 10. Oppo PM-3 Closed-Back Planar Magnetic Headphones
- How to Choose the Best Planar Magnetic Headphones?
- Things to Consider
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Final Words
10 Best Planar Magnetic Headphones
Audeze LCD-4 is one of the most premium planar magnetic headphones in the market, currently. Be it, in terms of construction, performance, feel, or longevity, the masterpiece scores a 10/10 everywhere.
On the outside, the LCD-4 has a two-tiered robust headband and large, circular ear cups. The headband features a steel strip on the upper side to support the overall structure and a leather strip on the underside to provide a comfortable listening experience. On the other hand, the ear cups sport classy Macassar Ebony wood rings that contrast glamorously with aluminum grill.
Ear cups come with soft, foamy ear pads to ensure the user’s comfort. But they also have a leather covering to protect them from possible damage. Furthermore, it comes with a 4-stranded braided cable that’s highly manageable and malleable. The premium cable has a good length and provides excellent signal transmission.
On the inside, however, the manufacturing company seems to have paid even greater attention. The Audeze LCD-4 comes equipped with exceptional drivers featuring nano-thick diaphragms and the company’s proprietary Double Fluxor Magnets.
Combinedly, these contribute to accurate and super-clear sounds. These headphones deliver music in its truest form along with its intended emotional impact. Along the same lines, the soundstage is impressively expansive. You’ll get the feel of listening to live music up close to the stage while sitting in your room.
Collectively, the construction makes the device robust and durable. The headphones will withstand falls and are likely to stay with you for a long, long time.
By now, you might as well be wondering: how can these headphones have no negative aspect at all?
Well, you’re right to question that. But technically, there isn’t. It’s only the expensive price tag that may bother a few individuals. Being as pricey as almost $4000, this luxurious set of earphones is not affordable for all.
The Audeze iSINE20 in-Ear headphones have an attractive, sleek exterior that leaves any on-looker stunned. These are open-back style earbuds with an integrated build and specifications. Compact and lightweight, these headphones have enhanced portability. You can take them anywhere, only if you can tolerate the interference of the noises from the surroundings in your listening experience.
As for the performance, the Audeze iSINE20 in-ear headphones offer a rich, detailed, and accurate sound quality. The produced music is immersive that one might as well as think of it as a live performance. For increased connectivity, there is also a built-in amplifier cable that comes with the product.
HyperX Cloud Orbit S-gaming Headset is one of the most affordable headphones in this list that bring out the rawest aspects of music in the front. And if you’re a passionate or professional gamer, this may as well be your best bet under $500.
The structure and quality of the HyperX resemble the Audeze Mobius quite a lot. They mirror each other’s easy to handle design and sturdy quality. It even features the same black color scheme with hints of silver. Thus, bringing about a stylish look.
You will find all the controls on the left ear cup, including the power switch, multiple ports, microphone input, 3D mode selection button, etc. With that said, the 3D mode brings about a more immersive and expansive sound to the ears. The headphones make the minutest of sounds (even in the background) audible and clear. They do so with an edge of warmth, which makes long listening sessions enjoyable. Also, they come equipped with Audeze planar magnetic drivers. Thus, you will find the sound accurate to the core.
Moreover, it comes with a head-tracking technology that allows adjusting controls with the movement of the head. And an associated software allows advanced audio customization as per every individual’s respective head size and hearing capacities.
In terms of weight, we found it to have the right balance. You may feel the need to shift its position just a little now and then. But the clamping-force of this gaming headset is quite comfortable. The earpads and headband have the right amount of softness and firmness to them.
As a gaming headset, the piece offers average noise isolation, especially when one speaks in the microphone. It does not cut out the outer world entirely. Most users complain of having a fan-like noise in the background when speaking on the microphone. But if you do not have a concern with speaking much, this aspect would hardly bother you.
Second, they are not wireless. Again, as a gamer, we believe you will feel the need to stay nearby the PC, Xbox, Nintendo Switch, PS4, or any other such gaming device. The connecting wire, in this case, will not trouble you a bit. But if you wish to travel here and there with these headphones, then they may not be the best planar magnetic headphones to suit your needs.
Previously, the Planar Magnetic Headphones launched by the company Blue met with much criticism. The products were undesirably bulky, heavyweight, and uncomfortable upon wear.
However, recently, the engineers at Blue has left the tech community at awe with the latest release. The wired Blue Ella headphones have become the new favorite!
At a glance, the Blue Ella looks strikingly modish and sleek. Its dynamic metal structure has beautiful curves and soft cushion-like ear pads.
However, weighing 481g, it is slightly heavyweight. After some time, the heavily padded headband starts causing discomfort. Consequently, these are not a good option for traveling or overall portability.
As the Blue Ella have a closed-back design, you can certainly use them in public places. The design does not allow the sound to escape into the surroundings.
The LED lighting is yet another amazing aspect of the Planar Magnetic Headphones design. These emit a warm white glow at the time of charging, which looks attractive. Well, you might be wondering about the need for charging in wired headphones. Let’s dive into details!
The Blue Ella has an integrated amplifier in it that allows one to enjoy high-quality music, regardless of the audio source. You can plug in them into mobile phones with smaller amps and still listen to detailed as well as powerful music.
However, to use this built-in amplifier mode, you will have to charge the headphones. Amazingly, a single charge offers up to 12-hours of playtime with amplifier mode.
Coming from a leading manufacturer of audio gear, the HIFIMAN HE400i is one of the most remarkable planar magnetic headphones on this list. The headphones are not only tremendously specific in this functionality but have also won the hearts of masses with their comfort.
These over-ear headphones feature an open-back design. The headband comprises two layers: the outer one is of steel while the inner one is of leatherette material for added comfort. It’s ABS Polymer earcups have a glossy finish with soft, foamy earpads. Overall, it’s a mix of plastic and metal material, which does not feel very cheap in hands.
Collectively, the revised design offers a better distribution of pressure. And its weight of only 370 grams keeps it from burdening the head of the user. Thus, it offers the best comfort. Moreover, it comes with a 1.5 m removable cable.
The impedance of these headphones is about 35 ohms, and the sensitivity is 93 decibels. Hence, these planar magnetic headphones reproduce sound that’s engaging and smooth enough for personal use. They will best serve when connected to a desktop, smartphone, desktop amp, etc. We do not recommend them for studio use.
Although its lightweight diaphragm brings about quick response and allows high signal input for good bass and treble, it’s soundstage performs poorly. You can pick where the sound comes from but not with great depth, and sometimes not even accurately. But the sound is rich overall, especially in vocals, and will do good if it’s your playlist that you wish to enjoy.
Earlier, the model saw some complaints regarding the quality of material used in construction. Hence, the company released this revised version, wherein the yoke now comprises steel for increased rigidity.
Formerly known as MrSpeakers, Dan Clark is a reputable and well-established name in the headphones manufacturing industry. The company’s innovative approach towards technology development has enabled them to produce some masterpieces. Hence, when the new Aeon Flow 2 entered the markets in November 2019, it wasn’t long before masses were in awe of its features. Let’s determine its worth ourselves!
The Aeon Flow 2 is almost identical to its predecessor, the Aeon Flow. It has tear-drop shaped ear cups, a leather strap, and a Nitinol headband. However, the Aeon Flow 2 has a much remarkable and striking exterior due to the rich red-tinted body.
Plus, weighing only 11.5 ounces, these headphones are quite lightweight. Despite the bulky ear cups, you will not feel any discomfort after hours of listening. Unlike most of the Planar Magnetic Headphones, the headband clamp is not overly tight but firm. So, you can get the desired balance between stability and comfort.
Moreover, the incorporation of a folding mechanism allows you to easily fold the ear cups underneath the headband. Thus, making it easier to carry and enhancing portability. There is also a travel case included in the product box.
You will also receive a tuning pad and an audio cable with the package, which extends connectivity. But, the cable lacks an in-line remote for audio control that may be inconvenient for some audiophiles.
Perhaps, the highlight of Aeon Flow 2 is that it has two different versions, open-back, and closed-back. While the rest of the features remain the same, both differ in performance and sound quality.
The closed-back Aeon Flow 2 offers noise isolation so that external sounds do not disrupt your listening experience. Also, it offers a warm bass, detailed, and smooth treble.
Whereas, the open-back Aeon Flow 2 offers tight bass, balanced mid-range, and a wider soundstage. But, they have little noise cancellation.
Here come the next budget planar magnetic headphones: the Phillips Audio Fidelio X2HR. These over-ear, open-back headphones have a gorgeous minimalistic exterior.
It comes with a double-layered headband. There’s a layer of a sturdy leather band on the outside and a soft mesh band on the inside for your comfort. The earcups in the sides are circular and big with soft velour earpads. Although they may appear bulky for its size, they do not add much to the weight. Overall, the headset has a contemporary look with its glossy black surface and a sleek structure.
As for the sound, it offers the best you can get for this price. The vocals cast full emotional impact, and the instruments are distinct. Generally, the sound is clear and smooth. However, it lacks the kind of depth and soundstage that a professional may seek. For home and daily use, however, it works perfectly fine.
When researching the best Planar Magnetic Headphones, you will find the name of these over-the-ear headphones on the top. But, why are people choosing Monolith M1060 when industry giants, like Sony and Oppo, have released their versions too? What is unique about the Monolith M1060 that outshines even the best Sony headphones? Let’s find out!
Aesthetic and eye-pleasing, the Monolith M1060 encapsulates the onlooker’s attention. It has a metal body that bends and curves near the ear cups. At a glance, these ear cups appear extraordinarily large and bulky that might make one decipher to be discomforting.
However, upon wear, you’ll come to realize the soothing effect of these faux leather covered and soft ear pads. Also, the heavily padded headband increases comfort levels. You can use these to listen to the audio for hours and still feel no tiredness or soreness. Plus, it weighs only 4.2-ounces, which increases portability and makes it easy to carry anywhere anytime.
Having an open-back design, the Monolith M1060 offers an immersive listening experience. Instead of blocking the sounds, it allows them a free passage so that the resultant music resembles a live performance.
The integration of a 106mm Planar driver enables these headphones to replicate the audio with immense details and accuracy. There are minimal distortion and richer bass.
SendyAudio Aiva headphones are one of the mid-range planar magnetic headphones that promise a balance of all. Be it, sound quality, or built.
Analyzing the exterior first, it will delight those who like to stand out from the crowd. Unlike the usual, black sleek exterior, the manufacturer chose a combination of wood brown and metallic silver for this one. The speaker’s unique design that’s visible on the open-back further enhances its extraordinary look.
Also, it sports premium quality wood for earcups along with aluminum for speakers and steel for the headband. The grip of the headphones is firm on the head but not inconvenient. Its rigidity will last longer than most other headphones in this price range.
Some users reported having encountered a bit of issues while using the headphones because they found the ear cups too small or inconvenient. So, before you buy it, we’d recommend you to compare its dimensions with other preferred options on your list. Also, it weighs around 14.7 ounces, which may be a bit too heavy for some people.
As for the sound, the headset has an impedance of 32 ohms and a sensitivity of 96 decibels. Plus, it comes equipped with the ultra-nano diaphragm. Collectively, its specs make it capable of delivering clear and true music with good bass and harmonic balance. The soundstage may appear a bit narrow, but it will work fine for most.
Perhaps, the most budget-friendly Planar Magnetic Headphones that offers high-quality performance are the Oppo PM-3 Closed-Back Planar Magnetic Headphones. Plus, the lowered costs do not compromise on the product’s feature richness. Let’s find out more!
With the dimensions of 10.87x 9.76 x 5.12-inches, the Oppo PM-3 appears to be rather short and compact. Its simple, black-colored matte body reflects modish minimalism. Plus, it has a lightweight build of 11.4-ounces, which makes it portable.
The Oppo PM-3 headphones have a closed-back design to prevent external noise interference in your listening experience. Unlike open back, you can use these in public spaces and crowds too.
Other than noise cancellation, these headphones have high sensitivity and rich audio delivery. But, some users have complained of inconsistent sound quality with considerable distortion in the background.
Furthermore, these headphones are not for longer listening times. The tight-fitting headband may become discomforting over time.
How to Choose the Best Planar Magnetic Headphones?
Generally, you must have heard Dynamic Headphones being the best option. However, recently, the Planar Magnetic Headphones have established a good reputation in the hearts of audiophiles. But how? And, why should you choose a Planar Magnetic Headphone? Well, here’s why:
The Planar Magnetic Headphones contains a larger and much more powerful diaphragm. Its increased surface area enables more air to move easily. Hence, the diaphragm and powerful electromagnetic force give a tight bass response to drivers.
Moreover, the diaphragm is thin and moves rapidly when the force gets applied. Consequently, it has a better response to minute changes on the input signals and offers an improved, punchy bass.
Easy to drive
Traditionally, the presence of coil windings in a headphone results in higher impendence and difficultly in driving. However, Planar Magnetic drivers use a serpentine voice coil pattern that reduces impendence and eases functionality.
A Planar Magnetic Driver has two magnets, with conductors evenly distributed across the surface. So, there is almost no chance of diaphragm move unsteadily. Hence, resulting in minimal distortion and more sound accuracy.
Planar Magnetic Wavefront
When the complete diaphragm of a large driver moves, a unique shape of the sound gets produced called Planar Sound Wavefront. These particular sound waves function better than traditional spherical sound wavefront by decreasing sound reflections and improving the sound direction. Hence, this innovative characteristic of Planar Magnetic Headphones augments the overall performance by providing excellent imaging soundstage.
Concisely, using a Planar magnetic headphone comes with great benefits for those seeking a quality listening experience. However, with the presence of a diverse variety in the market, you cannot trust any product to be your best earphones or headphones. Read more to learn how to choose the best ones!
Things to Consider
You’ve read the reviews by now. But if this is the first that you are purchasing planar magnetic headphones, then we would advise you to acquaint yourself with the fundamentals before making the final decision.
Below, you will learn all the technical details about planar magnetic earbuds and headphones. And also, what will best serve your needs.
Built & Comfort
As of yet, we see magnetic headphones from all companies come in three types of structures. These include:
The in-ear headphones, also known as intra-aural headphones, fit well into the ear canal and possess no cables. Thus, they are one of the most portable options of all. If they fit your ear well, they will not leak the sound and also provide an appreciable noise blockage. But if it goes otherwise, these headphones may feel a bit uncomfortable and may also provide average sound quality.
On-ear headphones are the ones that do not cover the ear entirely, neither they sit in the ear canal. These maintain a balance. And thus, provide with a sound quality that’s better than in-ear but not better than over-ear. The same goes for comfort.
Over-headphones that cover the whole ear, and sometimes may build up heat. Other than that, they perform phenomenally.
Open-back VS Closed-back design
After in, on, and over-ear, the mention of open VS closed-back design may confuse you. How does this separate from that? What’s the need even?
Well, the design difference mentioned above refers to the overall structure of the headphones. On the contrary, open VS closed-back headphones differ from one another in terms of ear cups.
The open back earphones have an open design, which gives a highly natural and crystal clear sounds but often leaks it too. Along the same lines, they are not suitable for open and noisy places because the outer noise may interrupt the music too.
Comparatively, closed-back planar magnetic headphones retain the music within their limited boundaries and do not let the outer and inner sounds interfere. It does not let the outer world sneak into your playlist, neither it lets you disturb those in your surroundings. But this pro comes at the price of sound quality, which is not as perfect as open-back earphones.
So, conclusively, open-back earphones are best for listening to music at home or in isolated environments, while closed-back headphones best serve the needs of those who spend their time outside or in public.
There’s another design known as semi-open back earphones, which has the pros and cons of both types. Thus, the collective result does not offer distinguishing benefits. Rather, it is inconvenient to use, which accounts for their unpopularity.
Impedance & Sensitivity
To find yourself the best earphones, you ought to consider the impedance and sensitivity combination. Impedance is a measure of electrical resistance provided by the speakers of the headphones, while sensitivity is a measure of the maximum possible loudness of headphone speakers at a certain power level.
Ohms represent impedance. And decibels represent sensitivity. The key is to look for a combination that has a wide gap between its numerical values so that they’re easier to drive to acquire good listening levels.
Say, if you happen to be seeking the best planar magnetic headphones for daily use, then you ought to go with a model that offers:
- Low impedance
- High sensitivity
Although high impedance works great too, we do not recommend headphones with high impedance values for use in public places.
Don’t forget to check these!
Apart from the product’s technical specifications, you must consider some external factors to verify its quality and durability. Firstly, never purchase from a comparatively new brand. Select reputable, well-established companies to prevent investing money again and again in headphones.
To check the brand’s authenticity, you can read customer and expert reviews. For example, this Best Planar Magnetic Headphones Review and Guide 2020 is a great source of finding out a product’s quality and performance.
Moreover, always purchase headphones that come with warranty cards. So, in case of poor durability, you can get them repaired, exchanged, or even refunded.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do Planar Magnetic Headphones need a preamp?
Unlike the dynamic headphones, the Planar Magnetic Headphones do not require preamps for proper functioning. However, it may vary with the source of audio.
How do Planar Magnetic Headphones work?
The Planar Magnetic Headphone has a different structure than dynamic and electrostatic headphones. It contains two magnets that hold up the diaphragm. Upon the current application, the conductors in the diaphragm help create a magnetic field. The magnets automatically interact with the magnetic field, creating movement in both the conductors and diaphragm. Regardless of the movement, these magnets ensure constant current flow, and force gets exerted on the diaphragm.
Do Planar Magnetic Headphones burn-in?
In headphone terms, the burn-in refers to the process of exercising new audio equipment. It helps in loosening the crisp, tight diaphragm, and stressing the drivers of new headphones. As a result, the headphones can function at their optimal performance.
So, yes, the Planar Magnetic Headphones can also burn-in. But, it is also about preference whether you want to burn-in your headphones or not. Usually, headphones consume 40hrs for burning-in.
Planar Magnetic Headphones are indeed an amazing option for dedicated music lovers and audiophiles. These headphones generally tend to function better and deliver a rich, consistent sound quality.
Well, in this comprehensive and best Planar Magnetic Headphones Review and Guide 2020, you have unraveled all about the advantages, top-rated products, factors to consider, and whatnot. Hopefully, you must be well-equipped with knowledge and tips when shopping for your best magnetic earbuds.
But, do remember to conduct thorough research about the product before making the final decision. Do question yourself and figure your needs to make the best possible purchase. Until then, happy shopping!