5 Best Planar Magnetic Headphones in 2022 – Superior Sound Quality!

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What I’m going to do first before proceeding , is to warn you. I just wanted to say in advance that this article contains more internal details of headphones than any of my other articles, because with the planar magnetic headphones it’s all about the internal structure and formula.

I can assume that you are somewhat confused with the terms planar and magnetic, but no worries, after listing the best planar magnetic, I’ll be writing also about the most frequent asked questions about planar magnetic headphones, and you can find the answer of your questions just by reading that part.

So, without wasting any more time, let me get into introducing you the top 5 best planar magnetic headphones. Let’s start!

ImageProductFeaturesPrice
Epitome of High-End
Audeze LCD-3
Audeze LCD-3
8.6
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Stunning Audio Value
HIFIMAN Arya
HIFIMAN Arya
8.5
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For Audiophiles By Audiphiles
DROP + HIFIMAN HE5XX
DROP + HIFIMAN HE5XX
9.1
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Accuracy, Transparency, and Efficiency
Audeze LCD-X
Audeze LCD-X
8.8
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The Most Comfortable
Monolith M1060
Monolith M1060
8.6
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Top 5 Best Planar Magnetic Headphones

5. Audeze LCD-3 – Epitome of High-End

The LCD Origins series can be traced all the way back to the original LCD-2. Many things have changed over the years, but these planar magnetic headphones still offer the same classic warmth and bright presentation that have enthralled listeners for over a decade.

The LCD Origins series, the most forgiving of the LCD headphones, provides an exciting musical experience with powerful bass and a rich middle. As though you were in the room with the musicians, connect to the music and feel it. These planar headphones deliver excellent sound quality and they are able to provide accurate sound and in my opinion, they perform better than more expensive planar magnetic headphones.

Audeze LCD-3 planar magnetic headphones are designed and handmade in the United States to meet our high standards. For a refined aesthetic that matches our superior audio quality, our exquisite wood rings are meticulously matched by grain and color.

Specifications of Audeze LCD-3: 

  • Style: Over-ear, open-back
  • Transducer type: Planar Magnetic
  • Magnetic structure: Proprietary magnet array
  • Phase management: Fazor
  • Magnet type: Neodymium N50
  • Diaphragm type: Ultra-thin
  • Transducer size: 106 mm
  • Maximum power handling: 5W RMS
  • Maximum SPL: >130dB
  • Frequency response: 10Hz – 50kHz
  • THD: <0.1% @ 100dB
  • Impedance: 110 ohms
  • Sensitivity: 101 dB/1mW (at Drum Reference Point)
  • Minimum power requirement: >100mW
  • Recommended power level: >250mW
  • Weight: 635g

Why Should You Buy It?
These headphones are a tradition of excellence that deliver to you the proper way to connect to the music.

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4. HIFIMAN Arya – Stunning Audio Value

The HiFiMan Arya is a fantastic choice for neutral sound. They have a relatively neutral sound with a little of brightness to them. Because of their open-back construction, they have a small lack of thump and rumble. This design also aids in the creation of a broad and spacious soundstage, allowing you to fully immerse yourself in your audio.

The HiFiMan Arya planar magnetic headphones are lightweight and comfy. They don’t cling to your head too firmly, and the ear cups are roomy. The ear cups are nicely cushioned, and the faux-leather headband evenly distributes the weight. During long listening sessions, you shouldn’t feel too tired wearing them.

The HiFiMan Arya are breathable enough. Their open-back design, as compared to conventional over-ear headphones, aids to promote airflow circulation. Large planar magnetic drivers, on the other hand, can trap heat over time. While you shouldn’t sweat too much at your work if you’re listening to audio, they can make your ears warm when you’re exercising. Definitely better value per dollar when compared to other planar magnetic headphones.

Specifications of HIFIMAN Arya: 

  • Driver Type: Planar magnetic.
  • Design: Open-back over ear (has cup swivel)
  • Sensitivity: 91.2dB
  • Impedance: 41Ω
  • Weight: <400g
  • Efficiency: 94dB/mW
  • Frequency Response: 8Hz-65kHz

Why Should You Buy It?
They provide consistent audio reproduction, so you won’t have to fiddle with them to get the same sound every time you use them.

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3. DROP + HIFIMAN HE5XX – For Audiophiles By Audiphiles

This is the most perfect collaboration you can ever find.

Drop’s sixth collaboration leads down to  with renowned audio company HIFIMAN. The Drop + HIFIMAN HE5XX planar magnetic headphones are a high-resolution exclusive with a long history. The open-back HE5XX mixes powerful, speaker-like audio with new ultra-light components to maximize both quality and comfort, and is inspired by HIFIMAN’s renowned HE500 Series planar headphones.

Through smaller double magnets and Nano Diaphragm membranes, we worked together with Dr. Fang, HIFIMAN’s founder and lead engineer, to substantially reduce weight on the original dual-sided planar magnetic design. What’s the end result? A brighter, more neutral version of the HE500 Series’ signature sound, with improved efficiency and fit than ever before.

Specifications of DROP + HIFIMAN HE5XX: 

  • Operating principle: Open back
  • Drivers: Nano Diaphragm planar magnetic drivers
  • Magnets: Double sided
  • Frequency response: 20 Hz – 20 kHz
  • Sensitivity: 93.5 dB
  • Impedance: 18 ohms
  • Finish: Matte black with high-gloss black printing
  • Headband: Spring steel with adjustable sliders
  • Earpads: Hybrid Focus pads
  • Laser-etched serialization
  • Cable: 4.9 ft (1.5 m) stereo cable
  • Termination: 3.5 mm
  • Weight: 12.5 oz (355 g)

Why Should You Buy It?
Just two giant companies saving a legendary driver’s legacy, for audiophiles by audiophiles.

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2. Audeze LCD-X – Accuracy, Transparency, and Efficiency 

The LCD-X planar magnetic headphones are comparable to high-end speaker systems thanks to their class-leading resolution and astonishingly low distortion, without the need for huge, expensive acoustic room modifications. The LCD-X planar magnetic headphones puts you inside renowned studios when combined with Audeze Reveal+ to create an AI-generated map of your own hearing, allowing you to mix consistently and efficiently from anywhere.

LCD-X employs unique Audeze technologies such as Ultra-Thin UniforceTM diaphragms, Fazor waveguides, and strong neodymium magnets to provide exceptionally accurate and detailed sound. LCD-X can produce outstanding sound from practically any device with a headphone output because to the advanced planar magnetic drivers’ high efficiency and low impedance. Together, these advancements allow audio professionals to get their mixes done quickly and accurately in a variety of situations.

Over time, Audeze has developed the LCD-X, making it lighter and more comfortable. It has a suspension headband for even weight distribution and premium earpads that are extremely comfortable. Listening fatigue is avoided thanks to the neutral tune and low distortion, so those late-night sessions can continue indefinitely.

Specifications of Audeze LCD-X: 

  • Style: Over-ear, open-back
  • Transducer type: Planar Magnetic
  • Magnetic structure: Proprietary magnet array
  • Phase management: Fazor™
  • Magnet type: Neodymium N50
  • Diaphragm type: Ultra-Thin Uniforcemium N50
  • Transducer size: 106 mm
  • Maximum SPL: >130dB
  • Frequency response: 10Hz – 50kHz
  • THD: <0.1% @ 100 dB SPL
  • Sensitivity: 103 dB/1mW (at Drum Reference Point)
  • Impedance: 20 ohms
  • Max power handling: 5W RMS
  • Min recommended power: > 100mW
  • Recommended power level: >250mW
  • Cable: 1.9m (6.8ft) length, Single ended 1/4″ (6.3mm) termination
  • Wire material: 20 AWG high-purity OCC audio-grade copper
  • Weight: 612g

Why Should You Buy It?
These planar magnetic headphones guarantee you the most perfect accuracy, transparency, and efficiency. Designed and comfort also come along with these planar magnetic headphones.

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1. Monolith M1060 – The Most Comfortable

These over-ear headphones produce wonderfully balanced sound. The highs, mids, and low bass end never compete with one other and always complement each other perfectly. This remains true for all types of music, including rock, pop, classical, and opera (yeah, I had to try some with these), dance, and electronic dance music (EDM), and, especially, rap and old-school hip-hop.

The fact that these feature huge 106mm drivers that really push out the sound helps a lot. The audio was clear and sharp with no sign of distortion even at maximum volume, which is far too high for extended listening. If you’re lucky enough to have a gadget that can play Hi-Fi audio, you’re in for a treat.

The Monoprice Monolith M1060 Over-Ear Planar Magnetic Headphones boast a unique floating headband design that is both refined and beautiful. The 3/4-inch metal headband is incredibly thin, measuring just 1/32-inch thick. The top has three oval cutouts that flatten out when worn. The metal headband’s sides are curved and have eight little holes carved into them where they meet the top. When it comes to comfort, these are definitely the best planar magnetic headphones out there.

Specifications of Monolith M1060:

  • Style: Open
  • Transducer Type: Planar Magnetic
  • Magnetic Structure: Linear Symmetry Magnets
  • Magnet Type: Neodymium
  • Driver Size: 106mm
  • Maximum Power Handling: 10W (for 200ms)
  • Maximum SPL: >130dB
  • Maximum SPL: >130dB
  • Frequency Response: 10Hz ~ 50kHz
  • Total Harmonic Distortion: Less than 1% at 1mW; 1kHz
  • Impedance: 50 ohms
  • Efficiency: 96dB / 1mW
  • Optimal Power Requirement: 200mW – 4W
  • Weight: 1.1 lbs (500g)

Why Should You Buy It?
The perfect way to experience your music collection.

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FAQ About Planar Magnetic Headphones

What Are Planar Magnetic Headphones?

Planar magnetic headphones (also known as orthodynamic or isodynamic headphones) are a hybrid of dynamic and electrostatic headphones. A planar driver is made out of a conductive diaphragm sandwiched between an array of magnets, which can be circular or square.

The old-school headphones with dynamic drivers and planar magnetic headphones appear to be identical at first glance. The only obvious distinction is the cup size variation. The ear cups of planar magnetic headphones are typically bigger.

The actual distinction between them is in their motivations and operating philosophies. The old-school headphones have dynamic drivers which pretty much look like miniature speakers and have the same working principle.

So, in comparison to dynamic drivers, headphones with planar magnetic transducers sound tighter, more controlled, and have better extension capabilities with less bass distortion.

How Planar Magnetic Headphones Work?

In order to understand what planar magnetic headphones are, first you need to understand what they are not.

To put it another way, electromagnets power the drivers (speakers) within headphones. An electrical current is transmitted through a tightly wrapped coil in the most popular and inexpensive “dynamic” kind of driver construction. This coil is surrounded by a circular magnet and attached to a “cone” or “diaphragm”—the huge, cone-shaped component of the speaker visible from the outside.

The diaphragm is moved by regulating the electrical current of the coil, which causes it to move up and down inside the donut-shaped magnet, compressing and expanding air particles and creating sound waves that your ears take up. The driver may convert the electronic source into standard music and other audio by precisely managing the electrical current that runs through the coil.

The electric coil and the diaphragm are merged into a single portion of the equipment in more unusual and complex electrostatic drivers. Both pieces are replaced with a thin sheet of electrically charged material sandwiched between two metal plates, one positive and the other negative. The outer plates manage the electrical charge by pushing the inside material back and forth between positive and negative, vibrating the molecules in the air and creating sound waves.

How Planar Magnetic Drivers Are Different?

Planar magnetic drivers combine elements of both dynamic and electrostatic drivers in their operation. The part that actually generates sound in a planar magnetic setup is an electrostatic-style thin, flexible material sandwiched between the mechanism’s outer layers. However, that diaphragm, like a dynamic driver, comprises incredibly tiny wires with electrical current flowing through them, which governs the back-and-forth vibration.

The sound in a planar magnetic driver is generated by modulating the electrical flow through wires suspended in between magnets, similar to a dynamic driver. The diaphragm mechanism is replaced by directly vibrating a big, flat sheet, similar to an electrostatic driver, allowing for greater precision and range.

Planar magnetic drivers can be built in smaller, less expensive speakers and headphones (at least compared to extremely expensive electrostatic gear) that nonetheless provide significantly better sound than typical dynamic speakers and headphones by combining these operational principles.

How Are Planar Magnetic Headphones Better?

Due to the evenly suspended diaphragm material in between permanent magnetic fields, planar magnetic drivers make headphones that use them very resistant to all types of electronic and audio distortion. It also allows them to respond quickly, with little to no transient sound when the audio source ceases providing high or low frequencies.

Simply put, even without the use of headphone amplifiers, planar magnetic headphones produce a very even, crisp sound (though some audiophiles will still want to use them). One disadvantage is that the design lacks the “oomph” of a traditional dynamic driver, which can produce a larger, wider sound that bass fans prefer. They’re also a lot heavier than regular designs.

What to Take Into Consideration When Buying Planar Magnetic Headphones?

Planar magnetic drivers have been available for nearly four decades, but they’re seeing a resurgence thanks to a variety of firms using different labels to advertise the technology. The terms “magneplanar,” “isodynamic,” and “orthodynamic” are used by different businesses to describe their planar magnetic drivers, but they all refer to the same operating principle.

Many audio hardware companies have been introducing planar magnetic headphones in the last few years. Almost majority of them are large, over-the-ear designs that compliment the drivers’ multilayer appearance. Audeze is an exception, selling planar magnetic on-ear headphones and even in-ear buds.

Planar magnetic headphones typically cost approximately a thousand dollars and go up to several thousand dollars, although many manufacturers have created budget sets that compete with luxury dynamic sets for less than $500. The Hifiman HE-400s, the OPPO PM-3, and the Audeze Sine are all well-reviewed examples.

Noise Isolation

Most planar magnetic headphones don’t have noise cancellation features, but most of them offer great noise isolation because of their ear cups and ear pads. The noise isolation capability of the headphones i mentioned in this list should be more than enough for day to day tasks. After all, you are probably going to use these headphones mostly indoors, so you don’t need crazy noise isolation.

Final Words

If I have to be honest, this was one of the most complicated articles that I have ever written, because planar magnetic headphones consist of so many details that you can’t simply skip. I just hope that I’ve been clear enough and that you are satisfied with my choices.

Further Reading

I know I have mentioned the word magnet many times in this article, and you are probably wondering why headphones have magnets, so give that article a read to find out.

Besides, not only headphones as audio items have magnets. Vinyl records consist of magnets, as well, so find out how vinyl records work.

So, have fun reading and I’ll see you next time. Enjoy!

Whether you’re looking for information on audio equipment, looking to learn more about how things work in the music field, or looking for reviews of products, we got you covered!

 
 
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