If you have a pair of full-size headphones, chances are they have standard dynamic drivers as this is a traditional and very popular technology that has been used for many years now. These headphones are so popular because they are easy to make and cheap. Inside their cups, you’ll find a cone-shaped diaphragm and a voice coil with a magnet behind them.
We cannot say that they are not good, but their main problem is the inconsistency of sound production at different frequencies, which makes the sound they are delivering not completely accurate. Also, the cheap ones make the inside of the cups stick to each other and over time the glue sticks out and the headphones start to break. The sound gets worse along with the hardware.
On the bright side, the development of technology has potentially solved all these problems and created Planar magnetic headphones. The technology is not perfect and there are still some disadvantages that need to be addressed in the future but the concept is very good. The most important thing about these headphones is that they sound good and last longer. That is why we have decided to write this article. We have decided to introduce you to them and all their pros and cons.
A planar magnetic headphones or driver uses a magnetic field around a conductor in which an electric current flows. It moves the diaphragm with a very thin and flat electrical conductor.
The planar magnetic driver can be thought of as a combination of two headphone driver technologies, a dynamic driver and an electrostatic driver.
Like the electrostatic driver, the diaphragm of the planar magnetic driver is a thin sheet of flexible transparent film and is from dynamic drivers. The planar uses a magnetic field around the conductor from which an electric current flows to drive the diaphragm.
You may find other different terms in various forums or websites to describe Planar magnetic headphones. Some may refer to them as isodynamic, Magneplanar, magnetostatic, or Orthodynamic headphones.
In planar magnetic headphones, the diaphragm is suspended between two magnets, each having the same magnetic force. When an electric current is applied, it passes through a conductor in the diaphragm and creates a magnetic field. The magnetic field causes the conductors in the diaphragm to move so that the diaphragm also makes a sound.
The significance of having the same strength as the magnets is to ensure that the relation of the magnetic force applied to the diaphragm is constant with the current flowing regardless of the position of the conductor moving through the magnetic field.
With so many advantages of this driver, I am not surprised that it has been gaining ground over the years. I’m sure Planner headphones will become more popular in the coming years. So, let’s see what makes this driver better.
1. Low Distortion
Due to the electrical conductors in the diaphragm of the Planar Magnetic Drivers, the diaphragm is forced to rotate on its whole surface. This means that at higher volumes and frequencies, planar magnetic headphones will not suffer distortion as found in dynamic drivers. In dynamic drivers, the diaphragm is usually driven to the center where the voice coil is attached. When operated at a high volume or frequency, the surface of the cone often begins to shake in undesirable ways.
2. Tight Bass Response
In the world of headphones, Orthodynamic headphones are considered the best in terms of reproduction of low-end frequencies. In the same caliber, Planars will outperform most of their competitors in the dynamic and electrostatic worlds.
Why is this the case?
First, the diaphragm of planar magnetic drivers is so thin that it enables it to respond more quickly to changes in the audio signal. The thin diaphragm allows for the reproduction of thick and solid bass that is not more robust. But, even with electrostatic drivers having a thin diaphragm, planar headphones have another thing that makes for excellent bass.
It moves the electromagnetic force diaphragm. In electrostatic drivers, the diaphragm moves with constant force. The static force is weak compared to the electromagnetic force, which makes it difficult for the electrostatic headphones to deliver the power needed to hit the big bass notes. In planar magnetic headphones, the electromagnetic force with the thin and large-diaphragm makes it possible to move the diaphragm in the right proportions, creating the best bass output from the headphones.
3. Amplifier Friendly
Dissimilar to dynamic drivers that utilize rounded voice coils, planar magnetic headphones use an S-shaped or serpentine pattern for their voice coils.
This pattern makes them less resistant than the coiled windings of a dynamic driver. Although Planer headphones require a small amount of voltage to operate, they are easy to operate with most amplifiers. Most Planar headphones are below 100 ohms in impedance rating.
Also Read: Best Magnetic Rowing Machine Guide
4. Better Soundstage
Dynamic headphone drivers are mostly round and small which gives them a rounded wavefront. Planar magnetic drivers are usually larger, and due to the movement of the entire diaphragm, they form a planar wavefront.
The soundstage of headphones depends a lot on the driver’s design and how the sound reaches your ears. The spherical wavefront is reflected when the outer ear collides with the planar wavefront in a different way. The planner sound wavefront is usually superior and produces a good sense of imaging and in-depth soundstage effects.
However, planar sound waves can also be associated with headphones such as the AKG K1000, Sennheiser HD 800, and Stax electrostatics. This is because the model is large enough. Orthodynamic headphones like the Oppo PM 3 have a circular driver and hence the circular sound wavefront.
The Planer Sound Wavefront is synonymous with Planar magnetic and electrostatic headphones due to their large size.