Planar Magnetic vs Electrostatic Headphones: What’s The Difference?

This post may contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase using one of these links it means we may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. Learn More

Headphones are simple and confusing at the same time, and I am pretty sure that they achieve to confuse human beings quite easily. We are all aware that there are different types of headphones, but still, it doesn’t mean that everybody cares about them as long as they provide you with good sound quality, right? Well, as a professional I always think that it is better if you find out more and notice different things about them.

For you guys that are like me, those that care about the types of headphones, I am more than here for you! In this article, I will deal with the two most famous types of headphones which are planar headphones and electrostatic headphones. What are they, what do they do, and what are the differences or the similarities between them, you will be able to answer these questions super simply!

Without losing your time any further, let us get straight to the topic, and find out more about planar magnetic and electrostatic headphones!

General Important Information

I mentioned above that there are different types of headphones, and yet I cannot help but mention some of the most important things about them. The first thing first that should be known is the headphone’s driver, as it is the main thing that helps in differentiating types of headphones.

 A headphone driver has the essential job in headphones and it is to convert or transform electrical signals into sound. That being said, you guys can understand that a driver’s job is to bring sound to you and it owns three parts: Magnets, Voice Coils, and the Diaphragm. 

Basically, the parts that I mentioned above are added in any type of driver that headphones may own, and I say any type of driver because headphones can own full six types. They are:

  • Planar Magnetic Drivers
  • Electrostatic Drivers
  • Dynamic Drivers
  • Balanced Armature Driver
  • Piezoelectric Drivers
  • Magnetostriction Drivers (bone conduction headphones)

Now that we know the main and most important things, let us go into detail about the first two types of drivers which are our concern in this article. 

What are Planar-Magnetic Headphones?

Planar magnetic headphones are mostly called the open-back headphones that we are used to seeing, and that is because they work with full planar magnetic drivers. Planar Magnetic headphones use magnets and magnetic fields in order to produce the sound that you will be listening to. These magnets are in contact with the diaphragm and they activate it immediately without the need for anything else.

You can tap on the best planar magnetic headphones and choose your favorite ones. 

What are Electrostatic Headphones?

Electrostatic headphones are simply said, headphones that work with an electrostatic driver. Hence their name again, these headphones work with static electricity which is found again in open-back headphones, but in those that are dedicated completely to musicians. The static electricity in these headphones is in charge of creating vibrations, which make the diaphragm move and cause air, in order to provide or create sound waves of any kind.

You can tap on the best electrostatic headphones and choose your favorite ones. 

As an overall saying, these two types of headphones are the most commonly used types of headphones by different professionals in the world of sound, and by those people that consider themselves audiophiles.

Planar Magnetic vs Electrostatic Headphones/ Which Are Better?

Understanding what they are and how they work is an important thing, but here I would like to go into some specifications that make these types of headphones different and similar at the same time. I will be dividing this section into some main parts:

Design and Build

Design-wise, these headphones are quite similar. That’s because both planar magnetic and electrostatic drivers are mostly added in open-back headphones, and you may already know how open-back headphones look, as they all have almost the same design. Both of them allow air to pass through the earcups that they own, and it makes us feel like everything that is inside the headphones can be seen.

All being said, you can never differentiate planar magnetic or electrostatic headphones from one another. 

Sound Quality

The sound quality is one of the things that these two types of headphones are mostly known for and basically bought for. In a general way speaking, both planar magnetic headphones and electrostatic headphones perform amazingly when it comes to sound, but still, there is a difference. 

Planar magnetic headphones are known for their low frequencies/ bass response which is brought to the listener in an extreme way, as they bring it just as it should be, deep and powerful. The other frequencies are also well produced and delivered, but still, these headphones are the greatest ones when it comes to bass.

When we move on to electrostatic headphones, the sound quality in them isn’t only about the bass, but here we deal with a super-rich sound in a general form and every frequency is brought perfectly. 

At this point, I can gladly say that both types of headphones bring good sound quality, but still, the electrostatic ones are the greatest ones at this part as they are able to deliver an audiophile type of sound that covers all the frequencies. 


Most headphones work with the same connectivity, and here I mean the ones that we are used to seeing and using. However, when it comes to planar magnetic and electrostatic headphones, things change a little bit and it is the amplifiers that they “require”.

In planar magnetic headphones, an amplifier may be needed in order to boost the voltage or the current, meanwhile, in electrostatic headphones, we have high impedance, and an amplifier would be the best thing that you can use, and they need more specific amplifiers in order to work as they should.

This concludes the fact on using amplifiers. Planar magnetic headphones can work with one, but electrostatic headphones need it. 

Price Range

There is a huge difference that should be known between these two types of headphones, and it is the price range that they come at!

Both of these types of headphones are expensive, but a fact that you should definitely know is that electrostatic headphones are the most expensive types of headphones that were ever created, and they come at super high prices.

Final Verdict

Coming at the end, I would only like to say that these headphones are more professional than you can imagine! In a general way, they are both great but still, they have some slight differences, just like the ones that I mentioned throughout today’s article.

Still at the end of the day dynamic drivers remain the most common and traditional ones. No matter what type of drivers you are getting just make sure you take care of your headphones and don’t damage the drivers.

Voice coil is another thing that you take caution of. If the voice coil of headphones get damaged that probably will lead to their demise.

I really hope that this article will help you differentiate between Planar Magnetic and Electrostatic headphones! Have fun!

Further Reading

Carry on and do some further reading if you liked what you read so far.

There is a blog on how to prevent headphone hair, as well as another one on how you should get water out of speakers.

additionally, there is one how to pair 2 JBL speakers, in case you planning to throw a pool party.

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!



647 Glen Creek St.
Westland, MI 48185