Computer & Electronics

Planar Magnetic Headphones – The Best & Affordable Planar Headphones

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.

While there are many high-quality sound devices out there, today we are going to look at planar magnetic headphones.

This post in summary:

Best planar magnetic head phonesOPPO PM-3 Closed back planar headphones

Best In-Ear planar magnetic headphonesAudeze iSINE 20 In-Ear Headphones

Best Planar magnetic headphones under 500HIFIMAN HE-400I Over Ear Full-size Planar Magnetic Headphones

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.

Planar magnetic headphones also are known as orthodynamic headphones are becoming popular as days pass. You might have come across them on Amazon or discussion site such as Reddit or head-fi.

How do Planar 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.

For a detailed read on how magnetic planar headphones work, visit sites below:
Wisdom Audio, Innerfidelity and Audiopur.

Planar magnetic drivers come with advantages and disadvantages, and here I will list some as shown on innerfidelity’s page:

advantages and disadvantages of Planar Magnetic Headphones

Best Planar Magnetic Headphones

Here are the top planar magnetic headphones we have reviewed.

1. OPPO PM-3 Closed – Best Planar Magnetic Headphones

The OPPO PM-3 consolidates good audiophile execution, elegant styling, clamor confinement and versatility into a couple of smooth, lightweight Planar Magnetic headphones.

The synthetic earpads that come with the OPPO make them comfortable to listen to for long hours without straining yourself.

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.

The bass sound on these headphones is well balanced but not emphasized, so these would not be ideal if you are a bass kind of person. However, the OPPO PM 3 does have great mids and good instrument separation

2. 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:

1. HiFIMAN HE1000 V2 (expensive model)
2. HIFIMAN Edition X V2  (cheaper model)
3. HIFIMAN HE1000 (fairly priced)

Well if you are looking for a planar magnetic headphone that combines both worlds of bass (LCD-3) = “soundstage” of the HD800, then look no further. The HE1k guarantees better musical presence to audiophiles.

3. AUDEZE LCD-4 Reference Open Circumaural Headphone

 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.

The main difference between the LCD-2, LCD-3 and the LCD-4 is the diaphragm thickness. Compared to the LCD-2, the LCD-4 has a thin diaphragm; this helps in producing a more accurate sound.

For the hefty price of nearly $4,000, I think the Audeze LCD-4 is not any better than the best in the market.

4. 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 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.

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 downside of these planar headphones is that they are a little overpriced compared to other planar magnetic headphones in this range.

Cheap 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 planar headphone on our list being the  HIFIMAN HE-400i

5. Audeze SINE On-Ear Planar Magnetic Headphones


The Audeze sine are probably one of the cheapest planar magnet headphones from the giant company AUDEZE.

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.

The main difference from other models is that these pair is lighter but definitely not the best among other competitor models.

6. HIFIMAN HE-400I Over Ear Full-size Planar Magnetic Headphones – Best Cheap Planar Magnetic Headphones



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.

7. Fostex TH-500RP Premium Planar-Magnetic Stereo 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 mid range 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 headphoneSennheiser 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.


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