If you are passionate about high fidelity sound then am sure you know about the hefty price tags that come with these audio equipment.
For audiophiles, choosing the best while still keeping track of expenses is a challenging experience.
So what is a planar magnetic headphone?
(Also referred to as planar drivers) These are headphones that use a thin diaphragm material sandwiched between two powerful magnets. Planar technology goes way back and was first popularized by Yamaha in 1976 by the name “Orthodynamic” headphones.
How do planar magnetic headphones work?
Like the standard dynamic headphones, planar magnets make use of magnetic field around a conductor that has electrical current flowing through it to drive the diaphragm to move.
Planar magnetic drivers come with advantages and disadvantages, and here I will list some as shown on innerfidelity’s page:
So without further ado, here are the best planar magnetic headphones.
|1. Focal – Utopia||550g||Closed|
|2. OPPO PM-3||320g||Closed|
|3. HiFiMan HE1000||477g||Open|
|4. Audeze LCD-4||600g||Open|
|5. AUDEZE LCD-2||550g||Open|
|6. MrSpeakers ETHER C||394g||Closed|
|7. OPPO PM-3||320g||Closed|
|8. Audeze Sine||300g||Closed|
|9. Hifiman HE-400i||370g||Open|
|10. Fostex TH-500RP||380g||Closed|
Best Planar magnetic headphones
Table of Contents
- Best Planar magnetic headphones
- 1. Focal – Utopia Headphones – ‘World’s best Headphones’
- 2. OPPO PM-3 Closed-Back Planar Magnetic Headphones
- 3. HiFiMan HE1000 Open – Best Balance Planar Magnetic Headphones
- 5. Audeze LCD-4
- 3. AUDEZE LCD-2 – Planar magnetic headphones With bass
- 6. MrSpeakers ETHER C Closed Back – Lightest Planar Magnetic Headphones
- Best planar magnetic headphones under $500
1. Focal – Utopia Headphones – ‘World’s best Headphones’
First on our list are the Focal Utopia Headphones.
These headphones termed ‘The world’s best headphones’ are undoubtedly one of the highest quality planar magnetic headphones in the market right now.
The price tag of these headphones is quite hefty standing at a near $4,000 mark which compares to the Audeze LCD-4 on our list.
According to Headphone’s research on the focal utopia, they say it is one of a kind with its level of accuracy, smoothness, and dynamism. They go ahead and conclude despite the nearly $4,000 price tag. It maintains its almost perfect tonal balance and immediately responsive dynamic speed.
Well talking about the design, the focal utopia is ergonomically designed and is comfortable to put on for long hours without any strains. They are also highly portable despite weighing 490g and combine beautiful leather, carbon fiber and metal to their design.
Compared to their other model elear, Focal utopia has way more clarity and better notes.
So, is the focal utopia aka the 'best headphone in the world worth your money? Well, if you can buy these and still have money to pay bills, then why not? Compared to what you get when you pay for the I would say go for it.
2. OPPO PM-3 Closed-Back Planar Magnetic Headphones
Next up on our list is the OPPO PM-3 that combines styling and true audiophile performance into a pair of lightweight planar magnetic headphones. At just over 10 oz., the OPPO PM-3 is one of the lightest magnetic headphones on the market. This makes them portable with no inconvenience.
The synthetic earpads that come with the OPPO make them comfortable to listen to for long hours without straining yourself.
The sound quality of these headphones is great and without distortion, since they are closed back planar headphones. The closed back planar make the ideal for use in a noisy environment and still get quality audio.
3. HiFiMan HE1000 Open – Best Balance Planar Magnetic Headphones
Its ergonomic design is comfortable and can on most people without any fuss. The earpads are shaped asymmetrically; the back is thicker than the front so that they are angled slightly towards the ears for better soundage.
The HE1k comes with a product weight of 477g (Ref), which I think is quite good considering other options in the market.
The HiFiMAN HE1000 planar magnetic headphones come in three designs that vary in prices namely:
5. Audeze LCD-4
The Audeze LCD-4 is a luxury headphone that compares to the types of Focal Utopia, but still, the Focal Utopia makes my day.
Regarding its build, the LCD-4 has a sturdy design a flexible leather band and an outer carbon fiber frame.
3. AUDEZE LCD-2 – Planar magnetic headphones With bass
Next on our list is another one from AUDEZE, The AUDEZE LCD-2 headphones. These planar magnetic headphones come from Audeze one of the leading in the industry of planar drivers making.
Unlike the OPPO, the Audeze are well known for their better bass response and warm high frequencies. The treble on Audeze, however, needs improvement as it is below par. Instrument separation is neither better and could use some improvement.
Weighing in at 550g the audeze are quite heavy and would not be better for long hours listening or traveling with around.
The build quality of the LCD-2 is great, sturdy and durable.
6. MrSpeakers ETHER C Closed Back – Lightest Planar Magnetic Headphones
Lastly, on our top list of best headphones is the MrSpeaker ETHER C closed headphones.
The MrSpeaker are metal constructed for optimal audio sounds and nickel- titanium alloy makes up the headband. The head strap includes leather for increased comfort and durability.
The weight of the ETHER C come up to just a mere 394g making it one of the lightest planar magnet headphone in the market right now.
The weight of the ETHER C come up to just a mere 394g making them one of the lightest planar magnet headphones in the market right now.
The Ether C comes with a bonus pouch that holds the headphones securely inside. The pouch offers extra protection in case of sudden emergencies.
As for the sound, the MrSpeaker ETHER c produces good neutral and smooth sound presentation without much emphasis on the bass. The bass quantity is not that just in the middle: not too loud not too low, but does the job. The midrange of the ETHER is quite good compared to others in the market. Same for vocals, that come out clear and just natural.
Best planar magnetic headphones under $500
The planar magnetic headphones market has been gradually growing as years pass. This has led to planar manufacturers such as AUDEZE to come up with cheaper priced headphones to carter for the growing market needs.
So this list could not be complete without listing some of the affordable planar magnet headphones. These are headphones that range up to $500. The cheapest orthoffk headphone on our list being the HIFIMAN HE-400i
7. OPPO PM-3– Best Planar Magnet Headphones under $500
The OPPO PM-3 consolidates good audiophile execution, elegant styling, clamor confinement and versatility into a couple of smooth, lightweight Planar Magnetic headphones. With the PM-3, you can undoubtedly reproduce the experience of tuning into a pair of lead earphones on a leader intensifier or an astounding 2-direct speaker framework in an excellent listening room, yet in a convenient shape consider that can be taken anyplace.
Tipping the scale at only marginally more than 10 oz., the PM-3 are one of the world’s lightest closed back planar headphones. This makes the PM-3 the perfect earphones for people who are always on the move.
Its rich styling and perfect quality make the earphones a delight to wear in broad daylight, and its light weight and extraordinary solace make it simple to tune in for a considerable length of time.
The closed back nature of the PM-3 provides isolation from the outside world, shutting out the encompassing clamor while staying away from sound spillage from the headphones.
8. Audeze Sine
The Audeze sine are probably one of the cheapest planar magnet headphones from the giant company AUDEZE.
The main difference from other models is that these pair is lighter but definitely not the best among other competitor models.
The audeze sine is a great option for people who are looking for better sounds that is not incredibly expensive. When it comes to sound quality, the Audeze sine perform better overall without emphasis on a particular range. The soundstage and layering is excellent making it easier on the ears to make out different instruments clearly.
The design is also sturdy which ensures it lasts long.
9. Hifiman HE-400i Full-Size Planar Headphone
The HIFIMAN HE-400i open planar magnetic headphones and this means they cannot be effectively used in noisy environments. This is because they leak a lot of sounds in especially in noisy environment.
The headphones are lighter than their predecessors the HE-500. They are also comfortable for use for long hours.
In terms of sound quality, the bass is good but could use some revisions. The treble, on the other hand, is great and improved compared to the previous model HE-400. They have great mids and vocals come out clear and vibrant.
10. Fostex TH-500RP – Affordable Planar magnetic Headphones
Last on our list is the Fostex TH 500RP planar headphone. The TH 500Rp does not appear on the bottom of this list because it is any worse or lacks in features.
So, let’s get down to business, The build quality of the TH-500RP is quite fantastic and features an aluminum and magnesium structure that makes it one of the lightweight planar headphones in the market.
Regarding sound, the TH-500RP has all the right low frequency of a planar magnetic headphone. The bass is well balanced and does not seem to overshadow other sounds. While the bass and midrange sound fine, the treble performance is not up to par.
Diffrence between planar magnetic headphones Vs dynamic
Dynamic headphones utilize conductors that vibrate in limited areas of the diaphragm. Result is that a large percentage of the diaphragm cannot be directly driven by those conductors.Some of the best dynamic headphones are beyerdynamic headphone, Sennheiser Momentum Wireless, etc.
Planar magnetic headphones have conductive layers over almost all of the diaphragm. Evenly driven by these conductors, result is significantly lower distortion than conventional dynamic headphones.