Planar magnetic headphones use the interaction of two magnetic fields to create sound waves and can be distinguished from dynamic headphone drivers which use moving coils. They work by spreading the electronic charge across the driver on a thin flat film, rather than focusing the electronic field on a single voice coil. This spreads the sound across the diaphragm and requires larger and more powerful magnets than a dynamic driver array. This helps to reduce distortion because all the sound is spread across the entire diaphragm as opposed to being focused in a single voice coil. It also delivers better frequency response and transience which is important for reproducing bass notes. Planar magnetic headphones are capable of producing very clean and accurate sound that tends to be more lifelike than dynamic audio headphones. That being said, they require more power to drive the headphones and you will need a dedicated portable headphone amp for this purpose. Here are our top picks for the best planar magnetic headphones for audiophiles and music lovers.
#1 HIFIMAN HE-400I Planar Magnetic Headphone
The HIFIMAN HE-400I is one of the best planar magnetic headphones with a massive diaphragm designed for excellent transient response and quality sound. These headphones are made for audiophiles looking for high-performance listening at home or for studio recording – it can deliver extremely clear sound quality with very responsive transience. It comes with a massive diaphragm that allows high signal input and flexible bass and treble response – it also delivers very fast response time due to the lightweight diaphragm design. The wide diaphragm provides evenly distributed magnetic force for low distortion and reproduction of live sound, and provides lifelike sound performance with realistic soundstage. The HE-400 has ABS polymer ear cups in a gloss charcoal finish which gives it a contemporary appearance, and has an improved pressure pattern designed to provide great comfort. We also liked the fact that the HE-400I comes with specially designed bevelled ear pads made of pleather and velour which provide a comfortable listening experience with good sound isolation. Overall, the HE-400Is are undoubtedly one of the best planar magnetic headphones you can find on the market and we highly recommend them.
The biggest advantage that the HE-400I has over other planar headphones is the sound quality. The headphones are capable of producing sound performance that has an amazing level of detail – with crisp highs, detailed midranges and good bass response. You can literally re-listen to your audio soundtracks with these headphones and pick up details in the music that you might not have noticed before. Music and instrumental performances sounded extremely lifelike and you can get a sense of where each instrument is coming from with good accuracy. The music flowing through the diaphragm sounds very pure and refined, and we did not hear any distortion or harshness at high volume levels. The headphones also provide very good transience and can reproduce frequency ranges very fast – this allows you to hear multiple frequency bands at one time with precision and provides a level of soundstage and detail that we rarely hear in headphones. The level of separation on the HE-400I is superb, and we thoroughly enjoyed the refined sound production in each musical note – it’s like listening to a high-performance home theater system around your ears with layers of detail. If you are looking for planar headphone that can deliver a vibrant sound signature with very good transience, the HE-400is are your best bet.
The design of the HE-400I looks very sleek and classy, and is 30% lightweight than comparable planar magnetic headphones which provides a good level of comfort. The ear pads are plush and soft and feel very comfortable on the ears – you can practically wear these headphones for hours on end without feeling fatigued. Additionally, the HE-400i comes with a newly designed headband and bevelled hybrid ear pad which provides good security and comfort. The HE400I uses single-ended drivers and would require a headphone amplifier to driver them – it has an increased efficiency of 93dB which allows it to be driven by a good portable headphone amplifier. It comes with a premium cable made of crystalline metal with oxygen-free copper and silver for seamless connectivity. Ihe headphones have ABS polymer ear cups in a gloss charcoal finish which looks really classy.
The Verdict? If you are looking for one of the best planar magnetic headphones with great transience and lifelike sound quality, the HE-400I comes highly recommended. It is a headphone designed for audiophiles who want to listen to music recordings exactly as the artist intended – it delivers a vibrant sound signature with great emphasis on accuracy and detail. Listening to these headphones sounded as though we were sitting inside a music orchestra and provides good detailed separation on both sides – you can pick up details in the music which you might not have noticed before. It delivers highly accuracy and superb frequency response and transience, which makes the music sound very smooth with plenty of detail and imaging. Furthermore, these headphones are very comfortable to wear and are designed to be 30% lighter than comparable headphones. It also comes with a newly-designed headband with an improved pressure pattern to reduce long-term fatigue. Overall, the HE-400i are some of the best planar magnetic headphones you can find that delivers pure audiophile performance and we definitely recommend them for headphone enthusiasts who prefer a pure sound signature.
#2 Blue Ella Planar Magnetic Headphone
The Blue Ella planar magnetic headphone is a high-fidelity headphone designed for audiophiles. It is specially built to deliver planar magnetic sound quality with a built-in 250mW amplifier for added convenience – the amp pairs with the Blue Ella custom matched drivers to deliver crystal clear audio performance. The headphone is capable of pushing out uncompromising clarity and detail in the sound quality with advanced planar magnetic technology and features a custom double-sided 50mm driver which delivers great accuracy and frequency response. The headphones are custom-made for superior comfort and have a closed-back design for immersive sound isolation. It also allows you to toggle the amp on or off to increase the sound output or restore the low-end frequency ranges to vinyl-era music where you can hear the bass clearly and accurately. You can also deactivate the built-in amplifier and connect the headphone directly to high-performance AV gear if required. Overall, the Blue Ella is one of the best planar magnetic headphones available and we highly recommend them.
The sound quality from the Blue Ella headphones is crystal clear and very well-articulated. The sound quality on these headphones far exceeded our expectations and brings out the best in audio recordings and music soundtracks. You can practically hear every single detail in the music with great accuracy and very fast transience – the sound is smooth, complex and layered. When we played a couple of instrumental music genres through the headphones, we could easily detect the recording artist’s decisions on instrumental placement and mixing levels and individual notes. Vocal performances were accurately reproduced with a good level of detail and soundstage, making them sound vibrant and pure. These headphones are highly sensitive to the audio recording source – we would recommend using vinyl or FLAC file formats for the best sound quality. The built-in amplifier on the Blue Ella headphone works really well and adds the necessary push to the music while increasing the depth of the lower-frequency ranges. The sound separation on the Blue Ella headphones is very good – you get crisp sound performance with crystal clear details and well-balanced tonal ranges.
The Blue Ella headphones have a very sleek and unique design – the headphones are slightly heavier than plastic headphones due to the metallic design but still feel very comfortable to wear. It comes with a multi-jointed design and plush ear padding which delivers a comfortable listening experience for prolonged periods of time. The multi-jointed headband adapts easily to a variety of head shapes and sizes and provides a level of fit that most other headphones do not offer. The ear pad design provides a good seal around the ear resulting in deep bass response and improved sound isolation while reducing any leakage. We also liked the fact that the Blue Ella headphones have intelligent power management – the amplifier automatically turns off when you take the headphone off your head. The built-in battery charges in approximately 3-4 hours and delivers up to 12 hours continuous music playtime on a single charge which is very good.
The Verdict? The Blue Ella is one of the best planar magnetic headphones available that delivers audiophile-quality sound performance. It comes with advanced planar magnetic technology for great clarity and detail, and has a built-in 250mW amplifier which provides high-fidelity sound performance. It also comes with a custom double-sided 50mm driver which delivers good accuracy. The headband is custom-made for a personalized fit and the ear pads are plush and soft which make them very comfortable to wear for extended periods of time. The headphone also features a closed-back design for immersive sound isolation and provides great listening comfort. The sound quality on the Blue Ella headphones is incredibly crisp and crystal clear, with great attention to detail in the treble and midrange frequencies. The bass performance on the Blue Ella headphones is decent although you can turn the amplifier on to improve the low-end frequency response. Overall, the Blue Ella is one of the best planar magnetic headphones available that is built for audiophile-level performance and we highly recommend them if you want to experience music in its purest form with high-fidelity.
#3 Monolith M1060 Planar Magnetic Headphones
The Monolith M1060 are some of the best planar magnetic headphones with detailed aural landscaping and crystal clear sound performance. These headphones are specially designed with a 106mm planar driver which produces a detailed aural landscape and brings forward all the sonic detail from audio recordings. The planar drivers are capable of providing impressive sonic imaging, low distortion and balanced sound performance which allows you to appreciate every single detail in the music. The M1060 headphones have an optimal power requirement of 200mW – 4W and a incredibly wide frequency response from 10 Hz to 50 kHz. We also liked the fact that the Monolith M1060 has an open-back design that provides a holographic listening experience for better soundstage and music performance. They are also engineered to provide a comfortable extended listening experience to reduce ear fatigue. Overall, the Monolith M1060 are hands down one of the best planar magnetic headphones available with superb sound and we highly recommend them.
The sound quality of the Monolith M1060 far exceeded our expectations. The sound from these headphones is beautifully presented with crisp attention to detail – they have extremely good soundstage, clarity and high end accuracy at any volume level. The soundstage is wide and you can appreciate details coming from the left and right channels, as well as from the front to back. Music performances sounded very smooth and well-balanced, and the planar drivers allow you to pick up every single detail in the music with great accuracy. The highs and midranges sound spacious and open, and you can really crank up the volume with these headphones without hearing any distortion. Orchestra and vocal performances sound uncannily clear and lifelike – it feels as though you are sitting at the front row of a live performance. These headphones are capable of emphasizing details that are barely noticeable, such as the stroke of the piano or vibration of guitar strings in the background. Everything is presented with clarity and sophistication, and you can hear music exactly as the artist intended it to be heard.
The Monolith M1060 requires approximately 30 hours of burn in before the sound starts to feel rounder and fuller. We would recommend using a headphone amplifier to drive these headphones due to the power requirement – a FiiO E17 amplifier would suffice for this purpose. The M1060 headphone has a very comfortable and modern design that feels very comfortable to wear. It comes with a padded headband with ear cushions that can be easily removed and replaced. It also comes with a nice threated cloth over wire split cable for durability. We also liked the fact that it comes with a shell casing to protect the headphone cans. The removable ear plates are made of actual wood and look really premium – you can tell that the manufacturers put in a lot of effort into designing and making these headphones. The headphones are capable of producing very spacious sound due to the 106mm planar magnetic drivers and the open back design of these headphones provides really good soundstage and detailed separation.
The Verdict? The Monolith M1060 are some of the best planar magnetic headphones available that provides spacious detail and balanced sound. These headphones are equipped with large planar magnetic drivers with a diameter of 106mm and produces sound that has lower distortion, cleaner bass and better sonic imaging. They are designed as open-back headphones which provide a holographic listening experience with super soundstage. You can practically pick up every single detail in the music with these headphones and deeply appreciate the subtle nuances in music soundtracks. Furthermore, the Monolith M1060 has a very comfortable design with large comfy ear pads that help to reduce ear fatigue for extended listening periods. They are also great for musicians who want to listen to pure detail in the sound quality. You can tell that the manufacturers really put in a lot of effort into designing and making these headphones to a high standard. Overall, the Monolith M1060 are planar magnetic headphones that deliver sound quality above expectations and we highly recommend them.
#4 HiFiMan HE-560 Planar Magnetic Headphones
The HiFiman HE-560 headphones are some of the best planar magnetic headphones designed for reference sound for professional musicians and audiophiles. These headphones feature a very premium design and come with bevelled ear pads for increased comfort – they are designed to be 30% lightweight than other full-size planar magnetic designs for a comfortable listening experience. They are full-sized planar magnetic headphones that can provide increased sound efficiency and crystal clear audio clarity with good transience. The HE-560 headphones have a wide frequency range of 15 Hz to 50 kHz and an impedance of 45 ohms. It also has an efficiency of 90dB and can be driven with a modest sized headphone amplifier. It also comes with a premium cable comprised of crystalline copper and silver for better conductivity. We liked the fact that the HE-560 comes with real wood ear cups for a rich and classic appearance. If you are an audiophile looking for one of the best planar magnetic headphones with great transience, the HE-560 is definitely a great choice.
The HE-560s headphones are very musical and detailed. They produce sound quality with great attention to detail with deep bass response and full midranges. The trebles are crisp and clear and sound very smooth. The HE-650 stands out from other planar magnetic headphones with its wide soundstage, sound resolution and transient sounds with textured bass response. It delivers high-fidelity sound performance and is very sensitive to the audio source recording – the headphones will literally pick apart every single detail in the music and exposes any flaws in the audio. The sound signature on the HE-560 is analytical and smooth at the same time; it respects the audio quality and produces music exactly how the artist intended it to be heard without being overboard. When we combined the HE 560 with the Fiio E17 headphone amplifier, the sound quality was superb with very impressive soundstage and imaging. It also has an airy presentation and spacious soundstage that makes it feel as though you are sitting in a real life orchestra. For instrumental music performances, you can literally hear every single instrument and focus on a specific sound if you choose to do so. The HE-560 has an extremely wide frequency response from 15 Hz to 50 kHz and an efficiency of 90 dB which means that you are getting full-range sound form these headphones.
The HE-560 features a single-ended planar magnetic driver designed to produce good soundstage and spatial imaging. It has a very classy design with a real wood finish on the sides of each can which makes it feel very premium and classic. We liked the fact that the HE-560 is 30% lighter than other magnetic headphones and provides increased comfort and sound efficiency. It also comes with plush ear padding for increased comfort, and comes with a newly designed cable comprised of crystalline cooper and silver. The HE-560 headphone has an impedance of 45 ohms and an efficiency of 90dB with a weight of only 13.3 oz. The headphones are very comfortable to wear and you can wear them for hours on end without feeling fatigued. The headphones have increased efficiency and can be driven by a modest size amplifier, such as the FiiO E17 amplifier.
The Verdict? The Hifiman HE-560 is one of the best planar magnetic headphones designed to provide professional-grade audio performance. These headphones are designed with a full-size planar magnetic driver to provide increased transience and improved sound efficiency. The level of soundstage and separation that you get with these headphones is very impressive – music performances sound very lifelike and instrumental orchestra performances sound very detailed. The headphones will be able to pick up virtually every single detail in the music and you get a good sense of direction where each note is originating from. We would best describe the sound signature of the HE-560 as airy and spacious with natural frequency ranges – the sound quality is natural and does not feel over analytical. We also liked the fact that these headphones feature a real wood finish with bevel ear pads for increased comfort – they have a very classy and premium appearance and are lighter than other full-sized planar magnetic headphones. We would recommend using a dedicated headphone amplifier to go with these headphones as well. Overall, the Hifiman HE-560 are some of the best planar magnetic headphones that deliver very good value for money and we highly recommend them.
#5 Fostex TH-500RP Planar Magnetic Headphones
The Fostex TH-500RP are some of the best planar magnetic headphones developed with a regular phase diaphragm for high-resolution sound. These headphones combine regular phase technology with a large TH-900 diaphragm to deliver crisp highs, rich midrange tones and good low bass reproduction. The regular phase diaphragm consists of etched copper foil on the surface with high heat resistant polyimide film as the base material. This high specific gravity baffle plate creates high resolution sound with solid midranges and reduces unwanted resonance and distortion. The headphones also come with an aluminium and magnesium structure which provides a lightweight quality construction; it comes with soft leather ear pads that provide a comfortable wearing experience for long periods of time. The TH-500RP also comes with gold-plated ¼ inch plug used on the HiFC connection cable which provides sonic purity and excellent conductivity. We also liked the fact that the manufacturers provide a leather-texture carrying pouch for protection during transportation. If you are looking for one of the best planar magnetic headphones that can provide spacious and full-range sound quality, the Fostex TH-500RP comes highly recommended.
We really enjoyed the sound performance and detailed sound signature of the Fostex TH-500RP headphones. They produced very balanced sound and have a warm, tube-like rolled off treble range. They can deliver great detail and sound imaging in music performances without sounding too harsh or brittle. They can literally pick apart and reveal details in the music which you may not have noticed before, and you you can practically re-listen to all your favorite soundtracks on the TH-500RP. We also liked the fact that the TH-500RP headphones have a neutral and natural tonal balance which is great for instrumental and vocal performances – they sound very crisp and lifelike. When we played orchestra music through the TH-500RP headphones, it sounded very surreal as though we were sitting in the front two rows of the musical performance. They produce a great amount of detail without sounding too harsh or brittle – they are revealing without becoming too rough on the ears. Apart from the detailed sound quality, the Fostex TH-500RP does have decent bass impact and natural depth which makes music sound layered and enriching. It’s a headphone that provides crystal clear and spacious sound quality with full-range detail reproduction.
The Fostex TH-500RP are very comfortable headphones to wear with plush soft ear padding – they look bulky but feel lightweight and rest comfortably over the ears. The headphones are also relatively easy to drive and we recommend using a FiiO E17 headphone amplifier to drive these headphones – they have a 48 ohm impedance and a 93 dB/mW sensitivity. We would recommend a period of burn in for at least 30 hours for the sound to round off and sound more balanced. Since they are planar magnetic headphones, they have a very natural and good tonal balance – you will not feel any ear fatigue listening to these headphones for hours on end. It also features uniquely developed regular phase diagrams which eliminates any distortion at maximum volume level. The headphones have a very sleek and durable aluminium and magnesium construction and also come with a protective leather-texture pouch. Our only quibble with the TH-500RP headphones is that the cable is not detachable which may cause some issues with portability.
The Verdict? The Fostex TH-500RP are hands down some of the best planar magnetic headphones that provide good transience and spatial clarity. The headphone uses a specially developed regular phase diaphragm that provides high resolution sound quality with rich highs, detailed midranges and nice bass reproduction. The sound from these headphones is very crisp and has an airiness and level of spaciousness that makes the music sound lifelike. Vocal performances and instrumental music performances sounded very clear and well-defined, with great attention to detail and harmonization. We also liked the fact that the headphones are relatively lightweight and come with soft ear padding which provides extended comfort for prolonged wearing. You can also crank up the volume on the TH-500RP headphones without hearing any distortion which is a great added plus. Our only quibble with these headphones is that it does not come with a detachable cable which may cause portability issues. Overall, the Fostex TH-500RP planar magnetic headphones provide superior full-range and spacious sound quality, and we definitely recommend them.
#6 Fostex T50RP MK3 Planar Magnetic Headphones
The Fostex T50RP MK3 are some of the best planar magnetic headphones designed for studio listening and professional recording. They are professional-grade monitor headphones used by recording studios and features Fostex unique planar magnetic driver unit with Regular Phase technology diaphragm for a refined sound experience. The Regular Phase diaphragm on this headphone uses copper foil etched polyimide film and neodymium magnets to create a wide and spacious soundstage. The headphones have a maximum input level of 3000mW to comply with various professional listening uses and are semi-open for flat and clear sound performance. The headphones also come with low repulsion ear padding and head pad for maximum comfort, and have a 3m ¼-inch plug detachable cable for serviceability and a 1.2mm mini plug cable for portable audio use. The T50RP housing, ear pads and head pads have been redesigned both to enhance the sound performance of the RP driver and provide a comfortable listening experience. If you are looking for one of the best planar magnetic headphones for professional monitoring, the Fostex T50RP MK3 headphones come highly recommended.
The T50RP headphones deliver crystal clear audiophile-grade sound quality. They are great for music lovers and professional recording artists, and can showcase the best and worst in music recordings. The Fostex MK3 has a very crisp and precise sound signature that captures literally every single detail in the music. The midranges feel very present and it has a slightly mid-bass focused sound signature while delivering subtle low-bass notes. The headphones can reproduce bass guitar mid-bass notes really well and you can hear the low-end crunch of electronic and acoustic guitars. The treble ranges are crisp and high and feel quite sharp but not harsh. Vocal performances sounded clean and very smooth with detailed soundstage. There is a level of stereo separation and airiness that you get with the T50RP headphones that precedes other headphones. Apart from this, the T50RP has a more exciting sound signature and is able to elevate music performances with detail and accuracy with effective transience. It also nails the bass response in most music genres without sounding muddy or bloated – the bass stays where it should be as bass without muddying into other frequencies or the midrange. Overall, the Fostex T50RPs are headphones that can really produce quality sound performances with vibrant details for those with more discerning music tastes.
The Fostex T50RP has a standard professional studio monitoring headphone appearance with durable ear cans and a very soft headband. The leather headband feels very comfortable to wear and it distributes the weight of the headphone evenly so your ears will not feel fatigued. The headband is adjustable to different head sizes and for extra comfort. We liked the fact that T50RP comes with plush and soft leather ear padding which rests comfortably over the ears without causing fatigue after prolonged periods of time. The headphones have a semi-open design for flat and clear sound reproduction; it also has a low repulsion ear pad and head pad for maximum comfort. The headphones have a maximum input level of 3000mW for professional grade monitoring, and can also be pushed by a portable headphone amplifier. It also comes with a detachable plug cable and 1.2mm mini plug cable for portable use when required.
The Verdict? The Fostex T50RP is one of the best planar magnetic headphones built for professional monitoring. These headphones come with Fostex proprietary regular phase diaphragm technology which uses copper foil etched polyimide film and neodymium magnets to deliver crisp sound quality. The sound signature on the T50RP is analytic but not overly flat – you can hear very well-defined highs, smooth midranges and a good mid-bass performance with spacious soundstage. Vocal and instrumental performances sounded very clean and well-defined, and listening to orchestra music felt as though we were sitting in a front row of a theater performance. Apart from the audiophile-grade sound quality, the T50RP has a very comfortable design with a semi-open architecture for clearer sound reproduction. It comes with a low repulsion ear pad and head pad to reduce wearing strain and feels very comfortable. It also comes with a 3m ¼-inch plug detachable cable for recording studio use. On the whole, it’s one of the best planar magnetic headphones designed for professionals and music recording artists.
#7 Audeze LCD2 Over Ear Planar Magnetic Headphones
The Audeze LCD2 is one of the best planar magnetic headphones with an open-back design and warm audio presentation. The headphones come equipped with dual bamboo wood rings for a warmer sound signature and come with planar magnetic drivers that can capture the subtle details and nuances in your music for high-fidelity sound. The LCD2 has impressive dynamic range and with clear extended highs and balanced midranges. It can deliver a wide and open soundstage with a flat frequency response extending well into the sub-bass ranges, and can pick up details in the music which you might not have heard before. The LCD2 headphones are engineered with thinner diaphragms that are four times larger than typical headphone diaphragms for faster response times and exceptional clarity. The LCD2 features a luxurious design with lambskin leather, acoustical foam earcups and rosewood rings that give it a premium appearance. It also comes with a custom designed travel case which provides good protection for the headphones. Overall, the Audeze LCD2s are some of the best planar magnetic headphones we have tested and highly recommend them.
The Audeze LCD2s have extremely smooth sound quality and very detailed sound with a slightly warmer sound signature. It has an impedance of 70 ohms and is one of the warmer sounding headphones in the Audeze range of headphones. The planar magnetic drivers are capable of delivering spacious sound quality with deep bass, together with a rich and engaging midrange performance. The bass on the LCD2s are extremely well reproduced and go very deep with nice attention to detail. The bass does not sound muddy or extend into the midrange frequencies – it stays where it should be as bass and adds a pretty good lower-end punch to music performances. The midranges are some of the best that we have heard, and every instrument sounded exactly as they should with very smooth detailed reproduction. The LCD2s have a warmer sound signature in the midrange frequencies and handle them very well. The highs and timbre ranges on the LCD2 are crisp and clear with good transience – we did not hear any harshness or distortion at high volume levels. We also liked the fact that the LCD2s are large and open enough to provide a good level of soundstage for you to discern where each different instrument and sound is coming from. The sound has a nice level of separation that allows you to appreciate the finer details and nuances in the music.
The Audeze LCD2 headphones are some of the most luxurious headphones we have tested. They come with plush lambskin pads and leather bad which make them look really premium. They have pretty good weight distribution and spread the weight of the headphone evenly over the head. The cans are relatively heavy but feel soft and comfortable to wear over the ears. They have reasonable clamping force over the ears and may take some time to loosen up. We liked the fact that the headphones with acoustical foam eartips and rosewood rings which provide a good level of comfort and a premium appearance. You can practically wear these headphones for hours on end without feeling any fatigue. The LCD2 headphones are also designed with double-sided magnet arrays which deliver uniform driving force across the diaphragm for zero distortion. It’s a headphone that feels luxuriously spacious with deep powerful bass and an engaging warm sound signature.
The Verdict? The Audeze LCD2 is hands down one of the best planar magnetic headphones with a vibrant and spacious soundstage. They can handle almost every single genre of music thrown at them and replicate every single detail in the music with detailed clarity. These headphones are acoustically engineered for accuracy and can bring out the all the details in the music with clarity. They can handle subtle notes and nuances in music really well with dynamic range. It also has a flat frequency response extending into the sub-bass range which provides punchy and well-rounded sound performance. The LCD2 headphones feature thinner and larger diaphragms that provide faster transience and clarity, and can be powered by a portable headphone amplifier. The LCD2 headphones feature lambskin leather and acoustical foam earcups with rosewood rings that look very sleek and elegant. It also comes with a custom designed travel case which provides good protection for long distance travelling. Overall, the Audeze LCD2 is one of the best planar magnetic headphones available and is a masterpiece in its own right.
#8 OPPO PM-1 Planar Magnetic Headphones
The OPPO PM-1 are open-back planar magnetic headphones that deliver lifelike and crystal clear sond quality. They are essentially open-back headphones with planar magnetic drivers with higher sensitivity and scalability, and come with a circumaural design. It features a planar magnetic driver with a wide dimension of 85mm x 69 mm and a symmetric push-pull neodymium magnet that produces crystal clear sound. The OPPO PM-1 headphones have a very wide frequency range between 10 to 50 kHz and a long term max input power of 500 mW which is suitable for professional monitoring. We liked the fact these headphones have plush padding and a lightweight design for a comfortable wearing experience. The headphones come with 6.35mm and 3.5mm cables for versatile connections and also have an alternative set of lambskin leather ear pads with velour ear padding. The manufacturers also provide a user manual for easy reference. If you are looking for one of the planar magnetic headphones with a comfortable design and lifelike sound quality, the OPPO PM-1s are a great choice.
The sound quality on the OPPO PM-1 headphone is very impressive with a relatively wide soundstage. These headphones have planar magnetic drivers that can disperse the sound across the headphone with detailed separation – while they do not pack as much power as Sennheiser headphones, they do perform relatively well when connected to a headphone amplifier. They can also be driven by iPhone or android devices with the 3.5mm input although you will need to boost up the power on these headphones. We would describe the sound profile of the Oppo PM-1 headphones as leaning towards the more fun and mildly exciting, while preserving the natural tones and neutrality expected from planar magnetic headphones. You can revisit your music collection and listen to your music soundtracks from a different angle and pick up the subtleties and nuances that you might have missed. The highs and midranges are crystal clear and very nicely defined, while the lower-midrange and sub-bass ranges are present without sounding too overwhelming. It also has an expansive soundstage that makes instrumental performances sound refined and lifelike.
The OPPO PM-1 headphones have a sleek and modern looking design that feels premium. It has an open-back design that provides spacious sound quality and can go very loud without producing any distortion. We liked the fact that these headphones have a comfortable plush ear padding design that reduces ear fatigue after prolonged periods of wearing and are easy on the ears. That being said, because these headphones have an open-back design they will not seal out environmental noise. They are meant to be enjoyed at home or in a quiet space. The PM-1 headphones use planar magnetic acoustic drivers that requires more power – it has an impedance of 32 ohms with a sensitivity of 102 dB in 1mW. This means that you would require a portable headphone amplifier to drive these headphones for optimal sound performance. Apart from this, the OPPO PM-1 headphones are relatively large and come with a carrying case for portability. The manufacturers also provided another set of lambskin leather ear pads and a set of velour ear pads so you can replace them when required.
The Verdict? The OPPO PM-1 is one of the best planar magnetic headphones with a spacious and open sound signature. The headphones have a circumaural open-back design that provides good soundstage and separation, and the planar magnetic acoustic drivers are capable of delivering crisp highs, detailed midranges and decent bass performance. The sound signature of these headphones are best described as leaning towards more fun and exciting, although they preserve a neutral and well-balanced tone for most music genres. The headphones handle the lower-midrange and sub-bass frequencies really well, and can deliver high volume output without any distortion. The PM-1 headphones have an impedance rating of 32 ohms and a sensitivity of 102 dB – they should be powered by a portable headphone amplifier to get optimal sound quality. It also comes with a 3m detachable OCC cable, 1m detachable OFC cable and mini output jacks for versatility. These headphones have an extremely wide frequency response between 10 to 50 kHz and can reproduce very single detail in the audio spectrum relatively well. They also come with quality velour and lambskin replacement pads for a comfortable listening experience. Overall, the OPPO PM-1 is one of the best planar magnetic headphones available and are definitely worth a closer look.
#9 HIFIMAN Sundara Planar Magnetic Headphones
The HIFIMAN Sundara is a uniquely designed planar magnetic headphone with wider planar diaphragms and more efficient frequency response. These headphones are designed to be 80% thinner than the HE400 series which provides more transience and detailed sound quality. It comes with an ultra-fine diaphragm that can produce high quality sound performance and has an extremely wide frequency range between 6 Hz to 75 kHz. The headphone comes with a weight spreading strap for comfort and for a more fashion conscious look with a sleek and sumptuous matte black finish. The headphone also comes with a 3.5mm headphone connector for versatility. The Sundara headphone is designed to be relatively lightweight and weighs around 372g, and has an impedance of 37 ohms with a sensitivity of 94 dB. They also work great with portable headphone amplifiers and deliver crystal clear and spacious sound performance. Overall, the HIFIMAN Sundara is one of the best planar magnetic headphones we have tested and deliver much cleaner and crisper sound performance than expected.
The sound performance of the HIFIMAN Sundara exceeded our expectations when compared to other planar magnetic headphones. They have really good low-end frequency response, clean midrange and crisp highs with pretty good soundstage. The Sandara headphone performs especially well for orchestra music genres and can pinpoint the direction of each instrument with great accuracy. The planar magnetic drivers on the Sundara headphones are capable of delivering full-range sound performance with very good transience and fast frequency response. When we paired the Sundara headphone with the Fiio E17 amplifier, the sound from the headphone felt very well-rounded and much better sounding than we expected. Music genres such as country folk and classical music sounded very lifelike and refined; the separation in the detail is very apparent and you can feel that the headphone exposes all the details in the music with great accuracy. We were also surprised that the Sundara headphone was not lacking in bass response – the bass and lower sub-midrange frequencies was present and layered. Vocal performances sounded natural and original, and the timbre ranges are consistent without producing any harshness. Overall, the HIFIMAN Sundara headphones have really good sound quality and consistent soundstage and feel very enjoyable to listen to.
The HIFIMAN Sundara has a very sleek and modern design that feels premium. It comes with a weight distributing strap that spreads the weight evenly around the head to prevent ear fatigue from prolonged listening. The headphone has a black matt finish with really nice engravings on the sides of the headphone which gives it a stylish appearance. The Sundara headphone can be powered by a portable headphone amplifier and has an impedance of 37 ohms and a sensitivity of 94dB which is really good. You can practically crank up the volume on the HIFIMAN Sundara headphones without any distortion and get crystal clear sound quality. It also features a 3.5mm headphone connector which allows you to connect it directly to mobile devices on the go. The headphone comes with soft and plush ear padding which provides a comfortable listening experience without causing much ear fatigue. Do note that these headphones require at least 30 hours to break in and for the sound to smoothen out.
The Verdict? The HIFIMAN Sundara is one of the best planar magnetic headphones that delivers really smooth and crystal clear sound. It has an extremely wide frequency range between 6 Hz to 75 kHz and delivers crystal clear sound quality with very good soundstage. The Sundara headphone has a neutral and well-balanced frequency response while pumping out decent bass and lower-midrange performance. The headphone can be driven by a portable headphone amplifier and has an impedance of 37 ohms. Music performances and vocal soundtracks sounded extremely detailed with a wide spacious sound, and we could hear almost every single detail in the music with great clarity. You can also practically crank up the volume on the Sundara headphones without hearing any distortion. The headphones have a sleek and modern looking design with a black matt finish for enhanced durability. Overall, the HIFIMAN Sundara is a planar magnetic headphone that provides very good transience and optimized wide diaphragm for great sound, and we highly recommend them.
#10 Audeze LCD4 High-Performance Planar Magnetic Headphones
The Audeze LCD4 is one of the best planar magnetic headphones built for audiophile-grade sound performance. The entire headphone is acoustically engineered to provide superb sound accuracy and incorporates planer magnetic technology that delivers great dynamics and an incredibly open soundstage. The LCD4 has a nano-scale diaphragm that weighs less than any other headphone diaphragm and provides faster and better sonic imaging with accurate bass performance. The Audeze LCD4 headphone has double the magnetic driving force of Double Fluxor Magnet arrays which provides much faster transient response and better sound resolution. The sound quality on these headphones is extremely precise and accurate, and it has near zero distortion at high volume levels. The headphone also comes equipped with internal soundwaves Fazor Elements which guide internal headphone soundwaves to avoid resonance for a more accurate waveform. On the whole, the Audeze LCD4 is a really solid planar magnetic headphone built for serious audiophiles who demand superb sound quality at all levels.
The Audeze LCD4 has one of the widest frequency response you can get in a planar magnetic headphone, with a range from 5 Hz to 50 kHz. The headphone does require enough power to drive them and has an impedance of 200 ohms. These are headphones that do make a difference in how you perceive sound quality – they have crystal clear highs, rich midrange sound and good low-bass performance. The lower midrange frequencies are crystal clear with great attention to detail, and you can practically hear every single note and instrument movement in music pieces without any distortion. The level of soundstage and clarity that you get with the LCD4 is superb – classical and orchestra performances feel lifelike and very detailed, while vocal performances seem almost as though you are sitting in a real life concert hall. We would be characterize the sound performance of the LCD4 headphone as having a sound with very good upper-mid to treble range and good sonic presence in the midrange tones. It has a wide band, tone neutral coloration with a very transparent sound signature that stays true to the audio recording.
The Audeze LCD4 is an extremely luxurious headphone that has a premium quality build. Despite its superb sound quality, it requires a really good DAC or amplifier combination to power these headphones. You will need to use amplifiers that can match up to the high impedance level of the LCD4 headphone to truly bring out the best sound quality in them. We liked the fact that the LCD4 headphone has ebony wood rings and leather ear pads with a 6 feet long premium braided cable. It also comes with a ¼ headphone connector with mini XLR connectors at the ear cups for versatility. The headphone also comes with a travel case for easy portability. The Audeze LCD4 headphone comes with an advanced diaphragm design from Audeze with a nano-scale film design that is extremely responsive to electrical signals and has far better transience and imaging. It produces very deep and accurate bass response in all the Audeze line of headphones that we tested.
The Verdict? The Audeze LCD4 is one of the best planar magnetic headphones we have tested that delivers extremely good dynamics and an incredibly open and spacious sound. The sound signature from the LCD4 is neutral and tonally well-balanced with very good transparency. When coupled with a quality headphone amplifier, the LCD4 can deliver stunning sound performance with very crisp highs, good timbre ranges, strong midranges and deep bass performance. The headphones deliver crystal clear sound at any volume level and have near zero distortion. It also comes with a magnetic flux array which doubles the power to the diaphragm for more transience and reduces distortion. We liked the stylish design of the LCD4 headphones and they also come with plush soft ear padding which makes wearing them a very enjoyable experience. It also comes with connectors on both sides of the headphone and has a comfortable adjustable headband. Overall, the Audeze LCD4 is one of the best planar magnetic headphones available, so don’t forget to check them out!